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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsAethernoughts: (Mostly) Steampunk Sky/Space RTS
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Author Topic: Aethernoughts: (Mostly) Steampunk Sky/Space RTS  (Read 2688 times)
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« on: May 07, 2014, 08:57:59 pm »

Like Neo Generation Games on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NeoGenerationGames
New website coming soon.

The game will be mostly an open world sandbox real time strategy game, but the primarily gameplay will be based on your fluid level progression, somewhat like Spore in a smaller scale.

One may progress from a fighter pilot (action shooter), to a ship captain of one ship (role playing), to a fleet commander of many ships (real time tactics), to the mayor of a floating city-fortress (city simulator), to a ruler of nation (nation simulator), to the emperor of the skies (grand real time strategy).

Aethernought is set in an alternate Earth in an alternate universe with a completely different history.

This Earth's dimension is intersected by another dimension, something of a cross between Narnia, Hyperspace, and the Chaos Warp, called Aethr. Intersections of this Aethr dimension are in the form of auras, time dilation and manipulation, portals, wormholes, and at worse, disastrous maelstroms and reality breaking shattering.

Because of the unstability, the civilizations on the planet have widely differing technology levels. But as the civilizations mingled into one vague Earth human civilization, the different technology, specialties, and ideologies of the cultures of the civilization became diplomatic factions. While there are disagreements and various levels of isolation from each faction, there is no open hostility. At least not yet. Under the factional system, or rather, alongside it, the mass of humanity organizes themselves as tribes, villages, cities, states, nations.

This is where you come in.

Progression is based (but not solely) on how many units you have under your control. The more units, the more management tools come to play to equip you. The number of resources to be managed and needed will also increase. As a fighter pilot, you won't have any use for much except probably currency. When in your fleet command, the supply/food resource comes into play. Once the player gains manufacturing and economic capacity at the city level, materials become important. At higher levels, researching technology becomes important, which uses energy/power, and also allows powerful weapons to be charged. Resources will be limited to only 4 maximum so not to overwhelm the players.

Interface in Aethernoughts will be minimal as much as possible. This is to ease the progression between game levels and also simplify RTS for mobile. The most complex command will be toggle buttons in the build menu. Micromanagement is possible, but will be intuitive and not need any extra buttons.

Factions are not the traditional factions in an RTS. Factions aren't technically in an all-out-war with each other, and cooperation or at least interaction with each is useful. Each represents an ideology, specialty, and technology tree to unlock. Pledging allegiance to a faction will allow you access to that faction's technology, equipment, and weaponry and the more aligned you are with that faction, the more benefits you gain from them. It's also possible to be completely neutral and have access to all the basic technology from all the factions, but no more buffs. You can also change allegiance to another faction at any time, though this is seen as being untrustworthy.

It's useful to see Factions as International Guilds (or various United Nation non-government organizations) that offer services to those that pay, though they are more than that. They don't solely measure their power by the property they own (and they own a lot), but the influence they have on the various societies, whether a small tribe or a large metropolis.

A player may research technology once he is at least in city-level (Unless he has pledged earlier to the Tesla/science-based faction, then he can start at ship captain. Which brings up a point, the faction you pledge to will allow you access to different gameplay elements earlier on). Technology is partly based on random trees and mostly on blueprints. This will make starting available technology choices plentiful, while still keeping some to be reached later. So it's not a totally flat system of technology. Again, depending on your standing with a faction will determine what technologies do they choose to share with you.

We already covered the increasing resource management and different gameplay levels of the level progression. Again, progression is mostly tied to how many units you control, but that's not the sole indicator. One can also be demoted from one level down, though players will not lose everything at the outset from that level.

Example: A destruction of 2 floating-cities out of 3, all research has halted. However, the player does not lose the technologies he researched. However, even further destruction may erase those blueprints the next level down to fleet commander. (As unless the remaining loyalists are mostly scientists, technology blueprints are probably a last priority to store in a ship in the midst of escape).

Units come in two classes: Ships and Fighters. Ships cover everything from frigates to battleships to floating-city fortresses to Death Star-like stations. Fighters cover everything from drones to biplanes to bombers to ground forces, simply, fighters cannot sustain themselves, while Ships can.

Turrets can be attached to either Ships or Fighters, and each Turret targets independently.

Ship sections can be built and expanded upon, while as, most of the time, Fighters are impractical to be built through modular means.

Units are modular, especially Ships. Multiple sections of a ship may be destroyed without destroying it completely.
Top-down 2D graphics. There will be character avatars holo-projected by the flagships so that players can relate to the gameplay.

Testing the modular system and avatar (early):

Very, very early screenshot: http://instagram.com/p/mlC3l6rRku/
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 07:39:50 am by gmx0 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2014, 10:08:08 pm »

Faction Aristoligartica
Function: The Houses of Nobility
Technology: Steampunk (as opposed to clockpunk, etc.)
Specialties: manufacturing and diplomacy

A house of Aristoligartica is a cross between a noble family line ruling territories with a feudal-like disposition complete with peasantry, and a capitalistic megacorporation of employees.

Most houses are known for their quality mechanical craftsmanship, as many houses started as trade and craft businesses. Refining their arts over the ages, the houses profit well. Their wealth and industry allows for more exquisite and yet hardy designs. And combined with their expertise is their industrial might of their secret of the assembly line. Factories dot the landscape of Aristoligartic owned lands. The firstborn inherits the masterwork knowledge from his father. At least in most traditional houses.

Their wealth also provide them with much influence over political matters. Nobles act as well-funded and well-connected lobbyists and diplomats for their cause. Many a son and daughter and parent pursue Machiavellian feats. Throwing banquets and hosting dinners is but a common occurrence.

Alternatively, instead of continuing the trade or playing with political ambition, the nobles take up knighthood in the service of defense of his house or a Theorderchurch of his choosing. This is seen as most moral and self-sacrificing act.

The largest, most powerful, and influential house of Aristoligartica is rumored to host a royal family of what once a world empire in which the sun never set upon.

It would be the advantage of the player to have a powerful contact of wealth in the Aristoligartica, as snooty as they can be.

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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2014, 03:35:16 am »

Faction Marshalgunnery (also Martialgunnery)
Function: Mercenaries of the Weapons Industrial Complex
Technology: Dieselpunk
Specialties: weaponry and military

A Martialgunnery group is a hydra entity of a for-profit mercenary private army, military officers training school, and also a military weapons crafting, trading, and smuggling guild corporation.

Most of the weapons Martialgunneries field are cheap and highly conventional, but extremely effective. Martialgunneries also have divisions researching and incorporating other factions' weapons technologies into their own designs. If it can be weaponized, it is safe to say that a Martialgunnery somewhere has experimented its usefulness a a weapon. Martialgunneries uses the forces they wield to test these weapons.

The speed and efficiency of Martialgunnery mercenaryship (Look, a word I made up) is terrifying. A special operatives force of at least a squad can arrive guns ablazing in any destination within minutes of a deal being struck. The only force that can rival that shear terror is an Inquisition, and Inquisitions are usually fielded by religious Martialgunneries. Forces on-call range from an elite ground force commando to a heavily armed gunship squadron to a complete invasion force or even a superweapon to boot.

Alternatively, a Martialgunnery may be hired to command or train one's military forces. Many top notch commanding officers of today pledge at least half their loyalty to a Marshalgunnery relatively to the nation they are fighting for, if not more. They have the knowledge of the latest formations, discipline, and application of force and doctrines, and it is in one's best interest to make use of that outsourced knowledge.

Martialgunneries prefer not to dabble in strict political matters, doing their jobs based purely on the profit they make. That being said, some groups rely on a ideological concept one or another and provide their services to the ones who follow close to their ideals (such as an Inquisitorial Martialgunnery), but as a rule, it's all about the gold (and guns and glory).

If instead of hiring them out, one can opt to buy or trade their advanced weaponry instead. They predictably sell the bulk of the weapons batteries in the world.

The most powerful Martialgunnery group trace their lineage to a home of the brave and land of the free that was the incubator of their military patriotism and fervor.

Martialgunneries thrive on being dealers of war and death. They are important players in a world filled with piracy, revolution, shifting geopolitics, and unstability of the planet.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 07:40:52 am by gmx0 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2014, 08:55:02 am »

Early screenshot:

Ships can be randomly generated, either symmetrically or not.
Most graphics are probably placeholders, obviously.

Faction Prospecteoniners
Function: Miners and Traders and Other Assorted Merchant Unions and Protectorate
Technology: Cattlepunk (Wild West steampunk)
Specialties: mining and trade

Though much of the ground of Earth is desolate and shattered, life below is still quite important, and there are only some resources that can be mined deep below. That's where the Prospecteoniners come in. The Prospecteoniners are an assorted collection of miners, traders, prospectors, caravan drivers, frontier explorers, sheriffs, and merchants that deal with the raw materials used to build the great Ships.

The Prospecteon's trading posts, skyelevators, frontier towns, and ranches thrive even in the wilderness of the ground. The Aether shattering makes the materials in the mines imbued with energies and thus makes them even more valuable than before.

Not only are Prospecteon mastery of mining found on the ground, but they also have a sizeable fleet of skyminers that convert the stray skyrocks into resources. Humanity also relies on the Prospecteon Skycaravan network for fast transport and sale of cargo. In harsher atmospheric places, gigantic Groundcaravans crisscross the wilderness. These caravan groups can convert an area into raw material in hours, and are hired out.

Those not willing to outsource their mining operations, such as some Aristoligart houses,  instead buy the necessary mining technologies from the Prospecteon. Refining and alloymaking are also in the technologies Prospecteonineers are best at.

The two largest Prospecteon companies are prevalent. The first traces its history to a  resource rush movement that headed westward. The second traces its lineage to a mining powerhouse of pure carbon in the dark places.

The hardy Prospecteonineers only rival the more business and luxury-minded Aristoligartic houses, but in the matters of their own separate specialties, the two provide each other services for a fee.

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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2014, 11:37:13 pm »

Progression Levels:
-2 fighter (unit) pilot
-1 section controller/very small ship pilot (1 section size)
0 small ship captain (2-3 section size)
1 medium ship captain (4-7) or two small ships (RTS/MOBA control system)
2 large ship captain (8-14) or two medium ships or four small ships... (population/food/ morale)
3 very large ship captain (15-30) or as many ships (economy: materials, supplies, caravans, squads)
4 floating fortressmeister (31-60) or as many ships (manufacturing, mining, energy/power)
5 floating city mayor (61-125) or as many ships (religion: congregations, missionaries)
6 county leader (126-250) (research: tech tree, laboratories)
7 principality leader (251-500) (politics: government)
8 nation leader (501-1000) (diplomacy, doctrines)
9 conqueror (1001-2000) (superweaponry)
10 emperor/faction leader (2001+) (colonies, planetary)

To repeat the concept above, losing units/sections will demote a player's level.
1 to 0: RTS controls are retained, but action (keyboard/touch) controls are more effective.
2 to 1: Morale effects, both negative and positive, gradually ease off until it is ignored. Religious capacity (5) is immediately ineffective.
3 to 2: Squads system is rendered immediately ineffective. Economy is lost when all economic parts are lost, otherwise, economy continues. Economic automation (automatic harvesting of resources) is lost, however. Researched technology (6) is gradually lost.
4 to 3: Manufacturing capacity is lost when all manufacturing parts are lost, otherwise manufacturing continues. Manufacturing automation (queuing orders) is gradually lost (cant queue more than it already has queued so far).
5 to 4: Religious capacity is lost when all religious parts are lost, otherwise religion continues. Religious parts also become more "independent", and you only have passive control over it. (The required chaplain to open an Aether portal is an exception)
6 to 5: Research capacity is lost when all research parts are lost, otherwise researching continues. Research is slowed and the tech tree becomes limited.
7 to 6: Political capacity is lost when all political parts are lost, otherwise politics continue (used for automating AI). Diplomatic relations (8 ) gradually decay.
8 to 7: Doctrine system (which buff the player) is rendered immediately ineffective.
9 to 8: Superweapons remain operational until destroyed or runs out of energy, and the player cannot build any more. Planetary (10) representation is lost.
10 to 9: Any colonies revolt or become independent.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 10:40:43 am by gmx0 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 11:15:53 pm »

Artists: I'm considering hiring a pixel artist for a one-time fee to create all the units and ship parts to the game. If you're interested, please message me or email me at sam_i_am77 (at) yahoo. I might eventually do all the artwork myself, but it would be nice to have some options.

Also contemplating whether to go a 2.5D-ish route, but that might double the artwork needed. Decisions, decisions...

Faction Zciensortium
Function: Scientific Council and Library of Assorted Laboratories
Technology: Teslapunk
Specialties: technology research and sensors

A fearsome force if they chose to apply themselves to warfare, the Zciensortium is concerned mainly with scientific research. Their more-than-competent science vessels trail after the Prospectioneer explorers gathering and calculating data and are armed with mostly electric-based weaponry, or some dangerously experimental device or devices. Pirates are hesitant to attack a science vessel, because the vessels have a penchant of releasing mutating radiation, exploding vehemently, and not containing anything too much of worldly value. Most of the technology that can be salvaged can only be sold with the scientists and researchers who worked on them, and Zciensortium policy is to escape battle with the research data as soon as possible, and put the vessel in an autopilot-defense mode.

The Zciensortium holds the most comprehensive library of technology blueprints, as well. Their archivists and librarians protect the blueprints in a heavily guarded Skyvault station. Most of the blueprints have copies in circulation. The only technologies the Library does not possess is the ones passed down by oral tradition or is incomprehensible.

The Zcien does lease ships for military use, especially their ships that carry electric or experimental weapons. Martialgunneries have a special working relationship with the Zcien concerning weaponized technology, as Martialgunneries often test the prototypes into battle, while a nearby Zcien vessel records the experiment.

One very important thing that the Zciensortium cannot comprehend with its instruments is Aether itself. That is Theorderchurch territory.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 08:56:53 pm by gmx0 » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2014, 08:54:57 pm »

Figured out how to make screen capture GIFs:


Fixed some cross-platform bugs. Working with GM: Studio's different modules are iffy. Acceptable, but iffy.

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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 11:34:34 am »

"Interface Singularity" Concept:
I made this phrase up, but basically, it means the interface style used by the original Command and Conquer games, but with select modifications.

If you can recall those RTS mechanics (CnC to Red Alert 2):
"Primary" structures can be set by double clicking. Otherwise, the first-built factory/barracks/etc. is the primary factory/barracks/etc.
Construction of units are straight-forward, just click, and the unit will be created at the selected primary structure.

If a primary building is destroyed, a remaining building of the same type becomes the primary.

What makes this interface style different to RTSes today is that the player has to select the specific factory he wants to create a unit from, and navigate the building menu, and then select that unit he wants to build. That's at least two more clicks!

My proposed modified version for Aethernoughts is a similar system. But once the player starts having multiple factories and shipyards, they have an options:
to select a specific factory before they queue a unit to build, or
set it so that the nearest factory will build, or
default back to the primary structure.

This too can be applied to research, diplomacy, etc. In most modern RTSes, you'd have to click the laboratory building before assigning a technology to research, etc.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 11:40:30 am by gmx0 » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 09:58:22 am »

Been thinking how to go about researching and implementing technology.

In most regular RTSes, the player just has to research the appropriate technology to make a stronger, different unit.

In real life, experimental prototypes are built. Depending on how those work, the technology gets more efficient and cheaper as new prototypes are built until the final iteration/mass produced model or a superior technology comes along.

What I envision for Aethernoughts is that to research a new section of ship or weapon turret, an expensive prototype is required to be fielded and installed on a ship. The more that prototype is used, research points go up, and the cheaper and more effective each next similar weapon is created. Once research is about halfway, new prototypes of new technologies will be available. Once research is complete, the weapon is available for your mass production.

This has the potential for really cool but malfunctioning and erratic weaponry to be available early, and then once players spend considerate amount of time with them, they get maxed out.


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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2014, 08:51:44 pm »

Victory Conditions:
I want this to be a more open sandbox than most (though pre-set scenarios and goal-based "missions"/requests that can have consequences, not only rewards, exist)  but I also want the player to want to achieve something. So "victory" conditions work like Achievements in that they are optional, however they add a new gameplay element (such as a rare weapon or section or even a new enemy). They also have consequences, not to punish the player, but to give him an extra challenge.

Following are just ideas:

Conquest Victory:
Destruction of all organized opposing. Rewards consist of monuments and superweaponry. Consequences may include increased revolution within and plots against you (since there are no external enemies). A hidden resistance/guerilla force might even show up.

Diplomatic Victory:
Election to a Planetary Council and peace with most factions. Rewards the game with a long peace (Pax Aetheria) but barbarians, pirates, space monsters get a boost and be more hostile.

Economic Victory:
Having a trade and mining monopoly by owning most if not all economic posts. Rewards with a Central Bank/Reserve that can set prices. Organized piracy/privateering will be consequences.

Faction (Specific) Victories:
Faction specific victories are enabled by completing a Faction's ultimate request. A faction victory will garner you the top technologies and resources of a faction, but will lock you out into that faction and the rival faction will be extremely hostile to you. You'll get a Faction Flag Section or something to that effect.

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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2014, 11:47:40 am »

Governmental Theory:
One of the things that (most) games do not simulate well, in my opinion, is government. Or at least the actual workings of government. Sure, there are games like Democracy or Civilization, but all that government does is buff. No actual mechanic of government usually exists. There's no option to redirect or distribute power. Government in games is usually just an indicator (Anarchy, Monarchy, Democracy, etc.).

Government in Aethernoughts will come to play as to managing a large empire as your semi-independent AI assistants.

To properly show the workings of government, I have boiled down government to three distinct, fundamental elements:
Power Node: The actual executive decision maker node (ie king, mayor, etc.)
Elector Node: Those that can choose other nodes (ie citizens)
Submission Node: The node that carries out action (ie soldiers, government workers, etc.)

There will be additional governmental nodes (law nodes, adviser nodes, etc), but those are the very basic. All nodes will be represented in-game as section/parts of ships. For example, a throne flagship will have a Power Node that houses the emperor.

To show the structure of government, each node can connect to another node. For example, connecting the Power Node to ships with Submission Nodes will have that Power Node control the ships with that Submission Node. And so on.

There will be examples in-game on how different government types can be represented. Here is a couple:

Absolute Monarchy:
Throne Ship with Power Node and Elector Node
Every other Ship has a Submission Node
(An Oligarchy instead of Monarchy will have more than one Ship have both a Power Node and Elector Node interconnected)

Presidential Direct Democracy:
Presidential Ship have a Power Node and Submission Node
Each Civilian Ship housing a family residence will have an Elector Node
Government Ships have a Elector Node and Submission Node
(A Representative instead of Direct Democracy will have middlemen Representative Ships)

If you want to make a theocracy, easy, just append the Power Node into the Church Ship. How about a Banking Consortium? Then append it to the Banking Ships. Possibilities are endless and very flexible. To enforce traditional government types, there will be achievements/buffs for different government structuring, but flexible enough that there will be leeway for creativity.

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