Yesterday I cited the space marines that populate the starships during battles.
Space marines defending the central area of a module
My idea was to develop the MekaWars control unit system (as you may already know, in MekaWars the players develop the AI of their units - that's how MekaWars is meant to be played) and recycle it for Gun-Tactyx-2 (that is the sequel of Gun-Tactyx). Then, recently, I had a more interesting idea: why don't merge the two projects? This brought to an additional mechanic of the game. During starship battles, hits can destory a unit (producing wreckage that is going to be collected), but starship modules can't. The latter are only disabled, but hulls may be robbed of their resources (up to a certain percentage). The additional mechanics is: before materials can be brought away from a module, a space marine unit must assault it and defeat the defending troops. Here is where the Gun-Tactyx fight-style comes in. You can imagine hard fights between starships and, at the end, you'll see assault units moving to the modules; then the attention is focused on the inner corridors of the modules, where attackers fight the defenders (as in the initial scene of the first Star Wars movie) to steal the contained resources or the whole module.
Space marine on an assault unit waiting for the attack
The starships concept included in MekaWars was extended and improved. Additional modules apart (research module to develop the projects from which devices, units and ships are designed; factory module to effectively build devices, units and new modules), the ships have now got a crew. I'm not talking about the pilots of units or the captains of the ships (or even the admiral that commands the fleet), but there are also the space marines that defend the ships from outer attacks. I'll descibe them more deeply tomorrow. For the moment give a look to the starship's corridors.
Yesterday I talked about the Galaxy. Today is the time of stellar systems.
The star, one planet with a moon and a fleet exiting the hyperspace
Each sector of the Galaxy contains a stellar system. The prototype of the system is given by a star, with several planets, each with its moons. The asteroids rich of resources will be located in that environment, so the units must scan the space to avoid the star, planets and moons and look for asteroids or enemy units. I already told of a different combat system. One of the differences is: once a unit (fighter, harvester, exoskeleton etc.) is destroyed its deviced will be available as wreckage, after the explosion. Special units will look for that wreckage to collect it and bring it to the fleet hulls. Then such devices will be used to assemble other units or sold to other players. Some ship will mount research modules and factory modules to build units, but collecting devices from enemy players will save a lot of energy and resources.
MekaWars Offline will feature a strategic map like the one you can see below.
MekaWars' strategic map
Each player has got a sector to manage, separated from other players by neutral sectors. A fleet can travel from sector to sector through hyperjumps, because travels among stellar systems needs too time being performed at sub-light speeds. A fleet can jump in a neutral sector only if no more than two fleets are already there (well, one can jump, but it's almost sure that the fleet will appear too near to the star to survive). Then there are three possibilities: if no fleet is there, the harvesters can freely work to collect resources (the usual iron, silicon and uranium) to research and produce new devices, units and ship modules; if there is a friendly fleet that is already harvesting, the cargos can commerce exchanging materials; finally, if there is an enemy fleet, a battle could take place. A new kind of battles, different from the usual ones described in past posts and shown in the demo, will be available, but let's discuss it in one of the next posts. Different rules apply when a fleet enters the sector where the base of a player is located: only one enemy fleet at a time can enter and enough time since the last attack must have passed. Just an additional note about resources: asteroids rich in uranium (useful to produce energy) will be more frequent near the center of the galaxy, the silicon (useful to build devices) will have an higher density along the border, while iron (necessary to build any kind of structure) will be located more frequently in between.
Almost three months have passed since the last post. I was quite busy and it was impossible for me to publish the promised daily post. However recently I've found some spare time to spend and I used it to continue the development of MekaWars Offline. In particular I have successfully ported the already working Lua simulator to C++, so very large starship battles are going to be possible. The port wasn't very difficult, because the Lua code was already object oriented, and the final result is more mantainable and error proof.
CodeBlocks & Borland C++ at work to compile the MekaWars simulator
As you may know, MekaWars Offline is a project different from MekaWars Online. In fact, the latter is going to be played online among a large number of users, who are going to manage their empire like in other browser games, but its core will be the battle simulator of MekaWars Offline. This one will be more similar to a mixture of JRobots and Gun-Tactyx (where the players are only going to share the algorithms of their bots), as I'm going to describe in the next posts.