★ TouchArcade is in READ ONLY mode this weekend while we upgrade. Please support us on Patreon.

Star Command (Game Dev Story meets Star Trek)

01-30-2012, 03:23 PM
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: England
Posts: 257
Hi jp...sorry if you've answered is before...but will the game be universal? Will there be an iPad version?

01-30-2012, 04:42 PM
Interesting - sounds like the game's moved on quite a bit. I'll admit my first reaction was to go "but you promised us xcom on the iPhone!" but thinking about it it makes a lot of sense. The base defence levels of xcom were the least fun of the lot, especially if you got a whole load of them in the same base, and that might well put people off if that's the only turn based bit to start with.

My only concern with saving all of the turn based stuff for a later expansion is that it might seem a bit out of place, if people have gotten used to what sounds like a pretty hectic game - like if Angry Birds released an update that turned every third level into a realistic street racing game. Sounds a bit like a game of two very different halves like xcom was and you're selling us one half first to pay for writing the other half; it's an odd idea but the App store is all about odd ideas and I can't wait to see how it works out.

What's more intriguing is the glimpses this gives us into how the rest of the game works, and at the moment I've got to say I'm a bit confused. The last lot of screen shots (unless I've missed some and I'd be surprised, I've been obsessing over this game pretty seriously!) all looked like fairly standard (if awesome) TBS game stuff, but the picture you're painting now seems much more Kairosofty.

Not saying that's a bad thing, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel qualified to suggest how you fit boarding into your ship to ship combat because I've got no idea how it works. Is it a dual stick shooter, an external view point and click thing, or a view from the bridge, or a plan view of your ship and you just instruct the people and hear second hand about the enemy ship, or what? Actually, that last one sounds pretty good! Definitely intrigued, but I reckon it might be time for a gameplay video, another set of screenshots or if there's nothing that looks good enough to show yet then just a decent description of how the wobbly flip it works would be great!

01-30-2012, 04:48 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 90
I really hope that they go for the turn based option and also that it's a non freemium game. I usually skips everything thats free in the appstore because there's always a catch. Ill rather pay up front. But that's just me... The game looks awesome btw!
01-30-2012, 05:06 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Westchester, NY
Posts: 288
Wait. I thought the only reason anyone gave a shit about this game was that it had X-Com style turn based combat. They're thinking of scrapping it? The hell?

I won't even give this game a chance if it's real time. Real time completely utterly SUCKS on an iPhone.
01-30-2012, 05:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 1
I think a hybrid might work for the combat, each side has squads that move about the ship in real time. You click on squads and then click destinations to have them move/flank/engage the enemy. When squads meet, then it shifts to turn based combat in the section of the ship where those groups met. This keeps the action moving and also allows for smaller map engagements.

As for freemium. Please don't. Just take all of my money up front and let me enjoy the game without constantly having to worry about "Oh, I hope nothing awesome drops in this next fight that I might have to worry about buying. My wife already wonders why I spend so much blah blah..." I don't want to have that lurking in the background when I'm playing. I just want to play and enjoy myself.
01-30-2012, 05:13 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Westchester County, NY
Posts: 477
My thinking is to move to option 2. The proviso is that the UI needs to be quick and intuitive enough to make real-time decision making a realistic possibility. If I'm struggling with the UI while trying to deal with a crisis, then that won't work.

If the UI isn't streamlined enough to make that approach realistically possible, then you should choose option 2 and make it semi-real time. By that I mean that when I assign resources, time pauses so I can make my assignments. Once I choose "go" then everything else goes back to real time and orders are carried out.

As for IAP, I'm all for new DLC provided that the initial game is substantial in size and scope, and it's complete without having to buy something. I personally hate freemium, and Gameloft has become a great example of how to do freemium poorly. I'm a Kickstarter backer of Star Command, and I'm perfectly happy to pay an appropriate amount of money for the game (and I don't mean $0.99!). I think DLC is a great addition, and is the right way to generate additional revenue. I think that DLC should offer additional missions, factions, ships, parts, etc. When doing this, the additional missions need to be significant and enhance the overall experience of the game.

I also think that way down the line, Star Command could become a great universe for expanding into an MMO. In that case, charging some monthly fee makes sense, and is a good way to monetize the member base while adding a ton of functionality. Again, if I were War Balloon, this isn't something I would touch until 2013.

There's my 2 cents, and frankly, as I like to say...everyone's entitled to my opinion!


P.S. BattleCruiser 3000 AD!
01-30-2012, 05:29 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 143
Originally Posted by jpcoombs View Post
So a couple points here.

On paper this is exactly how we had the game set up. Our first builds were almost identical - but some problems quickly arise.

1) This is a mobile game. We believe in depth and long gameplay experiences - but we also acknowledge that gameplay sessions will be, as a whole, considerably shorter than say your "cancel the rest of weekend, im gonna play TF2 for 36 hours straight". To this point, starting each battle with essentially 8-16 crew members is neat the first two times, and tedious every time after that. It is a lot to manage and frankly "feels" unfair - half of your guys are cannon fodder (not in a good way) and the other half are far to integral into winning. Plus each turn takes a very long time, if with small mount of time units for each character.

2) As we moved into the 5 person idea (pick your team) the other problem that showed itself was that defending your ship in tactical combat was only fun after 5 or 6 times. After that you really kind of knew your ship inside and out and started just using the same strategies over and over. Since we wont be having ship invasion missions (where you get to explore other worlds or enemy vessels) until later this year, the repetition of on-ship combat became a little too much.

3) A lack of chaos. There were three things we talked about capturing when we started the game and if we got all three we would consider the game a big success by our own metrics.

The first was the day to day - what is it like when you're not doing these epic missions and just scanning nebulas for particle emissions.

The second was building this crew that you fall in love with - that really have no personality. We want you to start to feel for all your senior staff and really kind of have an affinity for YOUR crew, which is going to be different than everyone else's crew. And when one of your characters dies, its a big loss cause you built them, trained them, and have them as a vital part of your crew.

The final was chaos of battle. We love X-Com and its still our #1 influence, but for Star Command, the chaos of battle supersedes any wish to capture the tactical combat of X-Com. That means a spreading fire in the Plasma Cannon room, while two crew members are quickly dying on the bridge all while trying to get your shields back up so you can't be invaded. Deciding who lives and who dies - the needs of the one outweigh the blah blah blah.
Right now, tactical combat isn't conveying that.

What we discovered is that the reason X-Com works is because the designers knew exactly what they wanted to do - build tension. You're slowly exploring, you dont know where you're enemy is, you don't know their capabilities and you probably aren't well equipped for dealing with them even if you did know. Even the music of X-Com hints at that - just this slow, tension building beat in the background. If we had to guess, we're betting that Microprose decided that they wanted to capture the feeling a mystery and suspense and the system was an offshoot of that, rather than coming up with a tactical combat engine and then fitting a game into it. Just a hypothesis though.

Star Command is about chaos, and unfortunately tactical combat doesn't really convey that. You get to assess situations, think things through, calculate the best person or strategy, and then execute it. Star Command is about the complete opposite: quick thinking and bad decisions with consequences. If we had it our way, every player will have to decided between two of their really high level crew members and send them to certain death. We didn't really get to the heart of this until we put it in our game and realized that as good as the combat system is, the thing that X-Com does is build an ambience and tension. Our game is supposed to do the opposite.

That said, we want that exact sense of tension when you invade another ship or go to a new world - the feeling of entering the unknown. But as the game is currently designed, your ship is your home and you never leave it. So its hard to create tension in an area you literally built and know by heart. But it is fun to blow it all up and make you feel like all that hard work is about to be sucked out into the vacuum of space.

We're reading these comments pretty thoroughly and really do take into account all of your feedback, so please keep it coming.
Hmm... this sounds a little different from what was described late last year. I'm sorry to say this, but I'm a LITTLE bit less enthusiastic now about this game as I was previously.

But hey, ultimately it's down to the developer to create the game, and then for us to love/ hate it. I sincerely believe there will always be one half of the people in this forum really for one idea, and the other half really against that idea. As a great man once said: "It's not the consumers' job to know what they want".

I'm just geared up to see SOMETHING earlier than summer 2014.
01-30-2012, 06:05 PM
Genuine question: When has real time combat in this kind of game ever actually been fun and provided a compelling gameplay experience? I can understand some the intention behind it, but it almost always ends up just being a mess (see X-Com Apocalypse for example).

A 3.5" mobile device sounds even less suited to it in my opinion, but maybe that's just me.

I wish you luck with whichever option you pick though.
01-30-2012, 06:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Forge World
Posts: 6,307
I have to admit, at first when there was all the talk of this being like some kind of game dev in space I was all excited. But with all this freemium talk its put me off quite a bit.
I love the turn based combat option, but also if the combat was real time and didn't really require much input, like there was a good AI controlling stuff so you could just watch the battle play out that would be cool too.
01-30-2012, 07:16 PM
Originally Posted by oooooomonkey View Post
I have to admit, at first when there was all the talk of this being like some kind of game dev in space I was all excited. But with all this freemium talk its put me off quite a bit.
I love the turn based combat option, but also if the combat was real time and didn't really require much input, like there was a good AI controlling stuff so you could just watch the battle play out that would be cool too.
Yeah, assign your crew to battle with your strategy... and throw them into deep space if they suck !

About freemium stuff (as I read it on the front page of TA), I didn't gave you my bucks on Kickstarter to make a freemium game, I want the complete experience right away.
Seriously, if you don't find the item you want in space, will spending a buck make it pop right away ? IT'S AN ADVENTURE, COME ON

GameCenter : Putosaure
Openfeint : Putosaure