Good day, Stardock community, recently I have been pondering how mining and combat are going to be implemented in the fourth installation of the Star Control series. And after much though I have come up with some ideas.
Take 2: Do any of you SC2 fanatics remember the thrill of finding a rainbow world? Or discovering one of those rare and oh so satisfying ruby worlds? As much as I loved the mining mechanics in the SC2 its 2D surface map always...bugged me, it served its need sure, but something about it always bugged me. Now that we have far greater potential for graphics I think that a few adjustments and twists to the original mining formula could be done. First, instead of the old surface exploration I think mining could be made far more engaging if the minerals are located on a 3D globe, in which the camera will be locked (unless the user presses certain key where he can move the camera at will) on the lander wherever it goes. With this 3D map we can have a whole variety of new features, such as night time on certain parts of the planet (where the lander automatically activates some of its lights to illuminate all things in front of it), of course I would like to point out that like, like Star Control 2 the lander will be scaled up so it makes traveling far quicker, and I believe this should also hold true for SCIV, so sorry, no hour long planet traveling as that will take away some of the charm of Star Control's mining mechanics. Another thing that should be implemented into the new globe system is the utilization of mineral "biomes", where certain parts of the planet have different resources. For example, a radioactive-rich biome, while holding valuable minerals, is surrounded by huge lava and fire pits, making more common minerals, like basic metals, much more attractive. This creates a risk-reward situation where a person has to ask: "There are some nice radioactives and tzo crystals over there, but there are a lot of hazards surrounding these valuables, and I have lost most of my crew thanks to running in to a Ur-Quan dreadnought, should I risk it? Or should I mine the more common minerals?" I believe this will force the player to make more tough decisions which can make the game more exciting (at least, from my perspective). By adding this new mining system I believe that the outcome would be more exciting then the SC2 version while still holding true to its basic roots.
Combat: Now I know that SCIV combat is something of much controversy among Star Control fans, some love the old, arcade style of combat seen in Star Control 2, while others believe that it needs a complete overhaul. I have a few ideas that will hopefully cater to both sides of this debate. I believe using Galactic Civilizations III combat as a starting point is a good idea. I think the idea of a top-down view with the option of a free-roaming camera would work wonderfully in Star Control IV, imagine seeing an Earthling Cruiser and Ur-Quan dreadnought fighting at close range with all of the advantages of modern graphics, and the ability to view the battle at any angle. Now I believe that Star Control combat can be taken to a new level with the implementation of "escorts", ships controlled by the AI, but can add extra firepower to the battle. Generally I think the player should be controlling his flagship, with his escorts acting as the front-line. However, the player should have the option to not include his flagship in certain battles and therefore, control one of his escorts (a la Star Control 2). Allowing to have all of your fleets ships engage in combat at once will certainly help out new players, as when they engage a lone Ur-Quan scout they can rely on their escorts to take it down, while still learning how to control their flagship. This will also make combat move much faster, as you will not have to pick off every ship in the enemy's fleet in 1v1 battles like SC2, but instead be able to fly each fleet into each other in one, beautiful battle. I believe customization is also a very important thing for combat vessels, and I think you should be able to upgrade you flagship and escorts extensively. This will allow you to make your own combat style, whether relying on strong escorts to protect your flagship (which could then be made into a pure mining and cargo vessel) or relying on the awesome power of your capital ship, which in the end could mount hellborne cannons that do massive amounts of damage. Each class of ship (be it capital, cruiser, destroyer or frigate) should have their own individual advantages and upgrades, which will enrich the combat experience of Star Control IV.
Tell me what you think of these ideas and don't forget to pitch in your own! Constructive criticism is welcome.
P.S. sorry for the blank page before, I have no idea what happened.