It's been a long time since I last had a dev topic on this forum. I've been working on this current project for several months in secrecy, more or less, but after I made that topic about the nova TCs, I decided I'd go public about my current project.
The goal of this project is to make gameplay interesting and hard in ways it wasn't in Nova. The first way is exploration. In Nova, the systems are generally fairly empty; you fly in, you visit the one planet dead center in the middle of the system, then you leave. It's even worse when you have to go through scads of totally empty systems to get to your destination; it makes traveling deadly boring.
To address this first thing, I have situated the entire total conversion within a single syst resource. And no, it's not a Teacup TC; it's intended to be a fully featured total conversion. So far, it has 14 planets contained within that single syst resource. They are scattered around pretty widely; navigation will be very difficult, especially considering that you don't start with a radar. If you want a radar, you will have to buy one, and they aren't cheap. To get a reliable one, you'll have to perform mission strings to unlock the more advanced and capable radars. This is going to be far more challenging than navigating in EVN; in fact, if you don't cheat, you could even be forced to make maps to keep track of where the planets are located relative to one another.
The second way is related to combat. I wanted to create a distinct feel to the combat in Project Micron, without needing to wrestle with dozens of ships and tons of outfits. I liked how Josh Tigerheart created his combat system and made it completely distinct, but that particular style didn't appeal to me as much.
After some thought, I decided to base the combat for the TC on resource management. All your energy weapons rely on fuel. All missile weapons are very powerful, but very limited in ammunition. Your engines continuously consume fuel; how fast is determined by the type of engine (a faster engine consumes fuel faster, a slower one takes less fuel). I have carefully balanced the damage to armor to ensure that a ship can only kill so much on one tank of fuel, with its onboard missiles & space mines. This is obviously a totally different approach as from Nova. You can't just fight and fight and fight, you will run out of fuel eventually, and then you're screwed, so you have to be very careful
I'm shooting for a realistic, used future setting, but I'm trying not to make it too depressing. Things aren't perfect in the world, and aren't even particularly civilized at times, but at other times they're better. The world is just what it is. It isn't Star Trek, or Babylon 5. I'm thinking I'll go with a sort of Cowboy Bebop feel to it.
Anyway, that's the grounding. Here's some more specific details;
The interstellar society humanity had forged periodically expanded its borders in order to ensure new markets and new tax subjects, as well as to increase profits for major corporations, ensure the neccesity of increased military spending, and find somewhere for the political and religious undesireables and the independent thinkers to go. This was the principal reason for interstellar colonization.
During the 13th mass expansion period, a plan was drafted to colonize the EV Lacertae system, which could serve as a junction point for travel to a few other nearby solar systems. After initial scans were carried out and surface composition of the two inhabitable planets was checked, arrangements were made to perform the colonization.
The colonies were started by a recruited, then trained population of colonists, mixed with experienced planetformers. These colonists were carried on a series of Colony Ships, equipped with Interstellar Jump Drive. The ships were broken up into their component modules, which were used to contruct shelter for the colonists. The colony ship set out from Eta Cassiopei, arriving at the EV Lacertae system some weeks later in real time, although mere hours passed in jump time.
The worlds, Hermes and Mirinda developed individually, however certain patterns did exist in both. For example, civilization was based around a few small cities, a couple of spaceports, and some outlying settlements devoted to resource extraction or large scale agriculture. The vast majority of the planet's sufaces were to remain untouched. The idea was careful resource utilization, in a gradual and slow expansion. The cities each became their own independent citystates, organizing their own resources and their own settlements.
In terms of military equipment, the colonists posessed simple slugthrower weaponry to use to hunt and nonlethal armament for police actions. In technological terms, they were expected to rely principally on sustainable wind and solar power, due to their low energy requirements. They posessed a small number of electrically powered all terrain vehicles. In terms of space technology, they had the use of a sizeable number of small aerospace shuttles, designed for extremely high fuel efficiency. They had a few satellites in orbit, which enabled communication between cities and colonies.
Unions representing the workers for their citystates were a powerful influence driving the city states into co-operation, as the unions demanded fair and equal working conditions, pay, and treatment for all of their people, across the board, from all the cities. They were vocal in their representation of the people, and ultimately they were able to secure agreements with all the factions.
This new co-operation enabled the citystates to achieve things they couldn't do realistically by themselves. Some of those things included the replacement of the old, unreliable communications satellites providing the intercity communication grid and planetary overwatch. They were able to contruct facilities for the stored aerospace shuttlecraft that came with their colony ships originally and perform the repairs, and from there things accellerated naturally. Each planet ultimately found itself at work on space stations, and they ended up making contact.
Diplomatically, Hermes had always had more trouble with crime and violence because it ended up with a more religiously, racially and ideologically diverse population. This caused friction, which caused occasional violence. Hermes had always had a strong police arm. Mirinda had less problems, mainly because the population was fairly homogenous in comparison, but also because they tended to occupy their time fully with work of one kind or another, but the Hermes populace had plenty of time to think about their situations and sometimes come to unsatisfying conclusions. In summary, violence was a part of life on Hermes. This wasn't as much the case for the Mirindans.
The new operations in space each faction pursued ensured they encountered one another often, and they had a chance to build a picture of one another. The Hermes came to conclude the Mirindans were lazy, soft, and easily offended. The Mirindans came to conclude the Hermes were harsh, fatalistic, and unnervingly different. It wasn't a perfect first contact, but it was civil enough.
The realization of just how much they could get from space without needing to perform damaging mining on their planet surfaces, as well as the amount of industry that could be performed in space to minimize potential difficulties. This was coupled by the realization that either planet alone might make discoveries and not share them with the other planet. Ideally, joint operation would prevent this and ensure they all benefited from the expansion. This ultimately led to the creation of the Union.
Joint expansion also was reinforced later for various other reasons. The markets in space travel were massive. Resources that were shipped in or out were extremely valuable wherever they were going. These markets were served with increasingly industralized operations, operated by large Union subsidies such as Union Shipping or Union Mining. These elements made it worthwhile for the two planets to work in co-operation rather than operate individually.
Independed captains and operators became less important in some sectors, and some of them became angry at the loss of their livelihood and chose a new way of life; Piracy. The pirates used armed spacecraft to steal what they once produced. To protect the trade lanes from piracy, the Union created a space combat arm called the Union Space Police.
The spacecraft at that time were fairly primitive, designed with rotational gravity on the larger freighters and drives on either end. The smaller light freight vessels were fairly fragile, but could be equipped with weaponry originally designed for asteroid mining. Repurposed, this weaponry could deal heavy damage on impact, even if it did consume fuel to fire. The range was short, neccesitating the attacker to be fairly close, and giving the defender a good opportunity to fight back. A freighter was a sitting duck, basically incapable of defending itself due to the strict fuel requirements it had to accellerate and deccellerate, therefore the Union Space Police began escorting the freighters personally.
As always, conflict drove technology. The pirates had no intention of going away, and the police were determined to wipe them out. Warships were built for the U-POL forces, and new weaponry was developed. The new ships were fast, armored, equipped with high power engines, equipped with heavy main guns and, with time, high yield seeking missiles, with powerful heptanitrocubane warheads.
The pirates did not fall too far behind. Although they were not much for research and development, they were able to steal technology, ships, and systems and repurpose them. Over time, the pirates became more and more experienced at hacking together new kinds of ships and equipment from disparate parts, and a sort of standard pirate vessel became common. In appearance they did not much resemble each other, however their firepower capabilties and handling were similar due to the generalized needs of a pirate captain.
The frontier worlds were colonized during these early days of the pirate wars, when prospector shuttles returned with evidence that the nearest planetoids had much in the way of valuable materials on them to be mined and shipped back to the Union. The knowledge that that mining could be done on a colony established on one of those colonies made Asteroid Mining undesireable, due to its increased danger, and a plan was made to transport colonists to the frontier and establish mining colonies. The abandoned deep space mining platform beyond the frontier was reopened by the pirates after the Union abandoned it, and renamed Buccaneer.
Pirates harassed the ships headed to the frontier, seeking to rob them even with the colonist's police escort, however the ships made it all the same. The ships to be used were heavily modified Freighters, designed to land and function as habitation until permanent shelter could be established. The colonists were mostly former miners from the core worlds, promised far superior rewards for frontier mining.
Piracy at the time of those early days was strictly business; the captains engaged in it were just doing it for their livelyhood. They weren't neccesarily evil or cruel, even if they were robbers, and didn't deliberately mistreat their hostages. However, as time passed, piracy quickly became a popular option for harsher people as well. They weren't just interested in livelyhood, they wanted the feeling of power over others they got from piracy. They desired to create pain and suffering-they enjoyed it. They were cruel men, and they remade the face of organized piracy in their image.
To combat piracy, which was principally an economic problem in nature, the Union cut back on the use of heavy industrialization in shipping, to recreate a place for the independent ship owner. Independent asteroid mining and freight carrying was preserved by saying it is illegal for a company to personally own more than a certain number of ships carrying cargo, mainly applying to the Union Shipping Corporation. This required that the USC hire out, subcontracting shipping jobs to independent contractors who handled their excess shipping demand. This mechanism was put in place to protect the independent ship owner, where no such mechanism was in place before.
They then offered conditional amnesty for any pirate captain willing to turn himself, his crew, and his ship over. They had the chance to start a new life in the job they had performed before they turned to piracy, albeit while being watched closely by Union officials and police. Many older pirates took the opportunity. The newer pirates scorned the offer. The new breed of pirates were more interested in their own newfound power, and didn't intend to give it up at any price. This began a new, cruel chapter in the Pirate Wars.
With this new mechanism in place to protect the independent ship owner, the number of said individuals increased dramatically. New license requirements were instated by law to ensure that they were properly trained by reputable authorities. Specifically, a captain must possess proof that he is qualified to operate a spacecraft commercially. Proof constitutes a Commercial Pilot License from the Union Academy of Space Education. There is no non-commercial form of operator license, mainly because there is no non-commercial use of a spacecraft. It is possible to acquire an Aerospace Vehicle License, which allows you to operate and fly vehicles which are designed for limited orbital operation, but are still basically aircraft and are incapable of space flight. Operation of spacecraft weaponry requires a separate, special licensing procedure, involving a background check and interview with a U-POL investigator.
The current date is the year 453 Colony Time. The new pirate wars are in full swing, and the Police have had time to grow jaded. This is the world we live in. It's tough, but it can be good too, so it's not all bad. We'll get by, as we always have.
The Union: The largest, most powerful faction in the solar system. It is not a perfect government, but it works. It controls the two main worlds of Mirinda and Hermes, as well as the colonial worlds of Lakota, New Riu, and Fargone. It has orbiting space stations in space around the two core worlds, which serve as construction facilities as well as Union bases. There are several subsidies and subdivisions of the Union, as listed below;
The Union Space Police: The Union Space Police, or U-POL, is the military arm of the Union. Their principal purpose is protection of the trade lanes and destruction of pirate vessels wherever they can be found. However, they have become less focused of late. The Union has taken to employing them against any organized crime threat rather than using the appropriate groups, which is not how the U-POL are suppose to work.
Operating as a U-POL pilot is enormously stressful, and not all of them are able to handle it. It is common for U-POL personnel to view anything not U-POL suspiciously, as a potential threat, including the civillians they are suppose to be protecting. U-POL recruit new captains in a pretty simple way; if you can do the job, follow orders, and keep out of trouble, they don't care about your past. As far as they are concerned, you could have been a criminal, and as long as you weren't a pirate they won't care. They have a terrible time recruiting new personnel, so they accept those willing to join up with little analysis.
Union Shipping: Union Shipping do most of the heavy duty freight transport in the Union, however they have been restricted by law to a certain number of cargo vessels. They are required to make up the rest of their contracts by subcontracting. Union Shipping pays its own captains much better than independent operatiors, though, so they get their revenge against the system in a fashion, as many people would very much like to become a Union Shipping operator.
Union Shipping takes care to ensure the nature of any cargo they contract to ship, as well as ensuring all the papers are in order, even if they aren't (if you get my meaning). Certain cargo is flagged to go to trusted Union Shipping captains, to ensure discretion.
Union Mining: Union Mining is a less significant part of the Union, which mainly concerns itself with running mining operations on the frontier worlds. Most of the colonists on the frontier are employed by Union Mining. The amount of immigration into the frontier from people seeking a new life and willing to work hard ensures that the Union Mining officials are able to pay their employees a low working wage, due to high demand for the job.
The Pirates: The Pirates are a disorganized group of loosely affiliated criminal captains, intent on robbery and murder of their victims. The nature of piracy has changed for the worse since the early days, with the behavior of the group reinforcing the behavior of the individuals.
Ship Identification Number:
Company ID-Ship #-Ship Model-Ship Build Date-Ship Owner ID
The Aerospace Shuttle is a streamlined and aerodynamic light transport vehicle that is designed to carry cargo down to planets or over to space stations for the base spacecraft that it is based at. It can be used as an interplanetary transport as well. The Aerospace Shuttle is very slow, relying on its booster to attain a reasonable speed, and has limited fuel supplies.
Union Shipyards Class B Courier
The Union Shipyards Class I Courier is a small freight vessel designed to handle light freight transport duties. It functions as a light duty freight vessel. It has fairly low fuel capacity. It isn't designed for self defense, but if the pilot is properly licensed he could convert a forward hard point for use as a weapon mount.
Union Shipyards Class C Cruiser
The Union Shipyards Class FII Cruiser is a large, slow, but powerful ship with durable hull armor. The design is extremely reliable, and features reinforcing plates beneath the main armor. The Cruiser can carry a large amount of cargo, and has hardpoints that can be adapted to carry onboard weapons.
Outreach Shipyards Class E Courier
The Privateer is technically a type of Courier ship, however its real purpose appears entirely separate from cargo transport. While it possesses a cargo bay, it also possesses high power engines, several fuel tanks, thick armor plating, and two weapon mounts. It futhermore has been equipped with equipment hardpoints that can be easily adapted to carry missile racks. The company, Outreach Shipyards, is believed by the Union to be attempting to circumvent Union laws on combat spacecraft by marketing the ship as an armed courier, but there is no direct evidence, and the stock ship does not even come with weapons mounted.
The Union Shipyards Class E Gunboat is a small, fast, well armed warship built for the Union Space Police. It is designed for taking out enemy ships with well planned, fast attacks. It carries a substantial amount of fuel, but has fairly light armor plating.
The Union Shipyards Class D Gunship is a heavy duty, high fuel capacity long range operation warship built for the Union Space Police. It is designed to operate far from any outside support and deal heavy damage to any target. The Gunship is a very powerful ship for 1v1 combat, however it can be taken out with a group attack.
The Pirate Raiders are ships pieced together from many various sources. They have a hodgepodge appearance, but despite this have heavy firepower. They have been known to break down at times due to their haphazard construction, but that's the risk you take for operating such an overpowered ship.
NOTE: Any of this could change at any time. I've got no cool graphics yet, I'm working on the writing, world, missions, etc first (to try to walk my talk, lol). I haven't decided whether or not to post version uploads here periodically also or not, but I'm considering it. Let me know what you think, thanks!
This post has been edited by Shlimazel : 14 September 2010 - 10:01 AM