Firaxis announces "Sid Meier's Starships"

Discussion in 'Starships' started by SupremacyKing2, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Watched the gameplay part of that video, it definitely doesn't look like a bad game.

    Have they discussed how much it'll cost yet?
     
  2. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    No, not to my knowledge.
     
  3. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    What leads you to those conclusions? (simple game, just can't get that experience)
     
  4. NASAROG

    NASAROG Prince

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    It does, I also liked what I heard at the beginning. They aren't done with CIV:BE, much more to come. Interesting.

    I am very interested by what I saw, but it still reminds me of a cross between SM'S Pirates and SM'S Ace patrol.. in SPAAAACCCCEEEEEE! with a CIV:BE spin.
     
  5. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    In fact, I'd argue that turn-based strategy games are the one type of game that could find its way to a tablet with the least difficulties.

    The usual problem with tablet games is that they are underpowered, too simplified and have bad controls.

    Turn-based strategy, however, doesn't need that much horse power (some of the most revered classics like MoO2, SMAC, Civ or even the Paradox games) run on decade-old hardware. You only have to be willing to compromise on the graphics side compared to games like Civ5 or Endless Legend (and not even that much, I'd argue, with good art design).

    If not real-time, then there is no need for hotkeys per se (since speed doesn't matter, making hotkeys merely a "nice to have" feature), meaning with some decent context-sensitive UI design it should play the same.

    As for the simplified... that isn't a problem inherent with tablets, it's a problem with what people imagine the "typical tablet gamer" is: they approached the tablet gaming (due to its ties to the mobile market) the same as mobile gaming, i.e. games that can be played while waiting for the bus or while on the train.

    Firaxis, however, targets the tablet market from "the other side", i.e. as smaller, more convenient PC that becomes the main computing device for more and more people, i.e. something you use at home with longer sittings, much like a PC game.

    Don't mistake problems with the culture for problems with the technology.
     
  6. NASAROG

    NASAROG Prince

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    Well, XCOM:EU for the tablet is a pretty solid game.
     
  7. s0nny80y

    s0nny80y Emperor

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    this is maybe highly redundant but i think highlighting the civilian applications of military tech might ground us better.
    i understand that civ be has quests underlining the dual use of military turned civilian tech, and i hope to see the tradition continued in starships as well. thanks :crazyeye:
     
  8. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    Strategy games on tablets have the same inherent problem as consoles: the lack of a mouse and keyboard limits the things you can do with the UI, which in turn puts pressure on the game design to limit the complexity of the game systems. Take XCOM:EU as an example: the gameplay is greatly streamlined from the original, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but if you tried to include all of the complex resource management and multi-base, multi-vehicle control from the original game into XCOM:EU's obtuse console-friendly menu system, it would probably become unplayable very quickly. Tablet UI design is even more restrictive, as you don't even have different controller buttons, but only two touch actions (click and drag). Imagine trying to code Civ V's UI for a tablet. No mouse hover tooltips (which contain a huge amount of information), no difference between left clicks to select and right clicks to move, no hotkeys. Everything must be giant buttons and an endless series of menus and dialogs, like a Japanese CRPG from hell; no single screens with multiple sources of information.

    Starships is clearly a "streamlined" game in the model of XCOM, so it's probably quite playable on a tablet. However, a complex, information-dense strategy game of the kind which I suspect most of the users on this forum prefer would be very hard to present on a tablet without the UI turning into a complete mess. So I disagree very strongly with the assertion that tablets are ideal for turn-based strategy games.
     
  9. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Except that XCOM was designed for PCs first and ported to tablets later, so your complaints about the UI have nothing to do with the mobile paradigm.

    Also, the original XCOM had an interface that ranks amongst the worst out there, even amongst traditional classic games which have dated UIs.
     
  10. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    Sure they do. XCOM was a streamlined game with a UI that was originally designed so that it would run on both PC's and consoles. That made the tablet port relatively straightforward. A complex, information-dense PC-only game that made full use of mouse and keyboard support would have been very difficult to port to a tablet without dumbing it down.

    Absolutely true, but hardly relevant to the point.
     
  11. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    It isn't a conclusion, more of a hunch.

    Like I said, I watched the gameplay video people were linking in this thread and it looks like I was probably wrong to assume it would be a typical "casual" game.

    Kudos to Lord Tirian for articulating this issue better than I could. My problem is not with tablet games per se, it is with the tendency of tablet games to be "casual" games, which I am simply not very interested in.

    I agree with AriochIV as well, though I think the problems he outlines are likely not totally insurmountable with good enough design.
     
  12. s0nny80y

    s0nny80y Emperor

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    notes from pax vid (i hope a z axis, solar sails, and gravity wells are introduced in starships 2 =);

    - there is a tactical layer (battle space) and a strategic layer (solar system) kinda like xcom
    - Harmony affinity automatically repairs flagship (main ship in fleet) during Shore Leave (next turn?)
    - ARC's Fielding (designated 'economist') generates 50 credits (according to dev, still means energy = emcee squared - Orinoco Catolico) per city on each planet each turn
    - Supremacy affinity has one random wonder built already (Civ style gameplay still present in addition to combat focus)
    - Purity affinity gives double the resource awards for completing missions
    - PAC's Sochua (noted 'progressive') starts with two random tech upgrades
    - Kavitha ('humanitarian') begins with one extra city
    - Brasilia's Bolivar ('warrior') begins with one extra starship
    - Slavic Fed's Kozlov ('industrialist') has a 25% increase in metals production
    - Planet special ability 'fighters' allows the [planet itself? or global effect] to build fighters at a reduced cost
    - Every sponsor begins with two starships waiting to be outfitted by the player with upgradable systems
    - Upgrading engines increases speed and maneuverability to gain 'the most advantageous battle locations'
    - Upgrading shields reduces damage and recovers per turn
    - ' ' armor increases HP by 30HP (HP is not fixed at at 100 HP or 10 HP like the Civ series)
    - Lasers are long ranged weapons, demanding for a clean line of fire for maximum effect (strategy!)
    - Torpedoes are powerful, slow moving, and are manually maneuvered, useful for flushing out enemy behind cover (asteroids, planets, etc.). Replenished at the start of each mission
    - Sensors reveal cloaked enemy.
    - Stealth hides your ship upon activation within it's radius hiding the starship from enemies (automatically activates upon movement)
    - Fighters are launched one group per battle turn. Extremely fragile, (reusable weapons delivery systems)
    - introductory mission on first planet to expand your jurisdiction, "Duel at Dawn", rewards 1 free tech, 2 influence points, 'fighter' planet based (or applied to entire political entity?) characteristic upgrades starship fighters more efficiently, produces 50% more food (applied to established trade route, prior to complete influence over planet)
    - variable sized space masses/cover, (some planets are 7 hexes, some moons are 3 hexes) occupy the battle space
    - prior to battle/mission, an introductory bridge view allows option to explore planet (whom is providing mission) details (i.e. ' a ring of fast moving space debris surround the planet' states the nature of the upcoming battlefield like use of planetary cover augmented by debris field), advice, details on enemy vessels (specific percentage of probability to succeed mission provided as well as details of systems outfitted on enemy fleet), and build/repair starships (option to 'reconfigure' starships within own fleet prior to battle, useful after reviewing enemy fleet details)
    - [here's where combat starts =] http://youtu.be/FU35uyc9bYg?t=39m50s
    - fighters are launched and are controlled like another albeit more fragile starship
    - laser damage determined in provided data by 'laser power', 'crew %' (fatigue vs. efficiency starts at 100%), 'distance' (of laser delivery), 'asteroids', 'enemy shields', and...
    - ...effectiveness of shield modules determined by ship orientation from enemy fire i.e. rear of ship receives more damage than damage received to front as the rear is less shielded
    - asteroid openings and closings to ship passage determined by green circular indicator for the former and red circular indicator for the latter. asteroids also lessen damage delivered and received through asteroids.
    - if enemy gets within your cloaking radius (without the enemy equipped with sensors?), then your ship is revealed.
    - mission reward factors in level of difficulty (easiest setting multiplies reward by 1)
    - skill percentage is accumulated upgrading crew (efficiency?)
    - 50% of the planet's production actors fall under your jurisdiction after completing introductory missions for new planet, trade route with your designated 'homeworld' established sharing 50% of the new planet's resources with your monopoly on the use of violence er political entity. Four diplomatic points required to harbor planet under your complete jurisdiction.
    - available beginning techs;
    1200 sci pts for 'Xeno Materials' = +10 armor hit points
    1000 sci pts for 'Artificial Intelligence' = fighter groups gain 1 random module
    1000 sci pts for 'Ion Energy' = +25% short range Plasma Cannon damage
    900 sci pts for 'Ion Drive' = +25% speed/(movement pts?) generated by engine module
    800 sci pts for 'Field Theory' = shields absorb 25% more damage
    800 sci pts for 'Nano Electronics' = own long range lasers cause 50% more damage
    500 sci pts for 'Thermal Compression' = own torpedoes cause 25% more damage
    400 sci pts for 'Quantum Cognition' = own sensors 50% more effective
    400 sci pts for 'Quantum Suppression' = own stealth systems 25% more effective
    - green missions are less difficult
    - undetermined by PAX South demo...are A.I. fighters under player control?
    - four influence points required to bring planet entirely under your political jurisdiction/federation (i.e. introductory mission of first planet encountered 'duel at dawn' rewards two influence points)
    - travel and missions cause crew fatigue noted by 'red' heads, efficiency determined by 10 'green' heads to begin with, augmented by crew skill accumulated after mission successes i think
    - fleet travel in solar system is fixed by planetary and single hexed asteroid fields (denoted as 'dark matter' and seems to limit political borders) waypoints, independent of more detailed combat map
    - shore leave (next turn on strategic? layer) recuperates crew fatigue, grants +1 (only?) influence point with planet rested on
    - limited to one fleet under player control
    - diplomatic dialogue reveals additional details of other space forces
    - highlighting enemy homeworld reveals the following details;
    "The Kingdom Battle Fleet is 1 move(s) distant and can take advantage of the Planetary Defense facility to defend this planet with 4 additional Megabots."
    - 'Megabots' defend planet as main battle fleet is away(?), likely enhances enemy's main battle fleet if the Kingdom's fleet were present
    - warp gates exist on battlemaps
    - during 'shore leave' ('next turn' on solar system map), competitor research and diplomatic activity noted
    - asteroid belt denotes boundary of battle space
     
  13. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    I agree with all this. And, I would add, I think people are imagining CIV or CiV ported as is to the tablet.

    The main challenge there isn't the interface, or the functionality, but the extensive 3D modeling. It results in a game with huge required graphic files (= big download on tablets) and bigtime display processor requirements (= probably would blow up the tablet). I'll note that this element could easily be scaled back on a game marketed to tablets, without sacrificing the actual gameplay.

    We should point out here, that tablets have keyboards. You just have to hide part of the screen while using them. Most tablet apps don't bother, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be an easy to use function to pop it up, do what you need, and auto close the keyboard. Furthermore, a game that really needed/wanted it, could easily program in onscreen Ctrl, Alt, or Fn toggle buttons which would change the click/drag into multiple permutations giving as much functionality as a keyboard/mouse provides.

    I'll repeat what I said the other day, what leads to this conclusion?

    The reason I keep hammering that point is because, if it is dumbed down or streamlined, then it's almost certainly not for me. I want an immersive, full-featured game. If Starships edges toward CiV:Col or worse Civ:Rev, I won't even bother.

    That said, I haven't seen any indication from Firaxis that it is in fact such a game. Just speculation. I remain hopeful that this game will break new ground. The tablet market is the future of gaming, especially MP gaming, I'm firmly convinced.
     
  14. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    We're on the same page. I agree with your evaluation of the "typical" tablet game. I guess I'm hoping (beyond hope? fingers crossed) that Starships breaks that mold.
     
  15. s0nny80y

    s0nny80y Emperor

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    hopefully interest in very portable gaming leads to increased capabilities of mobile devices =]
     
  16. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    Have you seen the gameplay demonstration? It's essentially across between Pirates! and XCOM:EU... you're limited to a single fleet, and the gameplay is centered around hopping around from system to system performing missions. You appear to have little or no direct control over your planets, and infrastructure doesn't seem to account for much -- you can modify your ships or even purchase new ships at the start of each mission (at which point your fleet is usually not in friendly territory). There are only 9 different ship components; technologies appear to only increase the functionality of these components rather than providing new ones.

    By Sid's own admission, Starships is not a AAA title; it was developed on a short schedule and a reduced budget. That's not to say that it won't be enjoyable, but if you're expecting Firaxis' answer to MOO2, I think you're going to be disappointed.
     
  17. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    That doesn't come out as a surprise. The game is scheduled for spring and was announced in January it was a given from the get go that this wouldn't be a huge release.
     
  18. s0nny80y

    s0nny80y Emperor

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    I wonder how much Starships will retail for?

     
  19. s0nny80y

    s0nny80y Emperor

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    i wonder if planets might offer missions to pacify rebellions.
     
  20. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    Of course, that means you need to really make a good user interface, so I think AriochIV's concerns are very valid - CivRev is a good example of how they tried but didn't quite succeed. XCOM, to me, is an example showing how well it can work. I heard the (Windows) touch UI for Civ5 is also decent-ish.

    In any case, even if I don't plan to get Starships on a tablet (definitely more of a PC person), I'm rather happy that Firaxis is at least trying to make "proper" games for tablets, even if it's not a success, it's another step towards making tablets etc. more viable gaming platforms for the less casual crowd - and it feels like an earnest effort, so I'm not holding the "tablet game" against them at the moment.
     

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