Imagine that you are a race just beginning to explore the space outside of your home planet. You scout out the nearby galaxy, send colony ships to colonize new worlds, maybe build some warships to protect yourself, just in case. Then one day you make contact with an alien civilization. What happens next is up to you. This is the basic idea behind Battle for The Planets (Working Title).
This game for the Nintendo DS follows in the tradition of games like Masters of Orion and Civilization. The player will build ships and send them out to explore, colonize or conquer the galaxy. When another player gets within wifi range the two of them can send probes to explore each other's space and find out where the other player's planets and ships are, and they can send their own ships out to conquer the other player's space and add it to their own. As other player's galaxies are conquered they get added to the conquering player's DS, however ships take time to travel across the galaxy, so even if a player conquers large amounts of space they may not be able to get their ships in position in time to take advantage of that!
The planets themselves can have properties that can lead to more or less production or population growth. Once a world has enough population it can start building various types of ships. Although it won't have the complexity of Masters of Orion or Civilization, it should still have enough similarity to maintain the fun and addictivity of those games.
To add to the addictiveness, the game will be transferable to another potential player over wifi (yes, the first one really is free;)).
A multiplayer Nintendo Gameboy DS turn-based 2-D game of interstellar exploration and conquest founded on the appeal of games like Masters of Orion & Civilization.
Players choose the alien race they want to use to conquer the galaxy and play against the computer or a friend for head to head action. The game players control all of the action, from sending out exploratory probes, to selecting which type of ship to build next, to deciding how many ships will attempt to conquer a planet. Simplified rules and controls streamline play for players of all types.
The player starts out as one of 4 possible races, just beginning to emerge from their own homeworld. Depending on the player's choice, the options are:
Human - despite widespread belief among more enlightened species in the galaxy that it would never happen, humans have somehow managed to get over their differences and form a coherent enough global government that they are finally able to stop focusing on blowing each other up and struggling to fix their own problems. Instead they are finally able to focus on developing a real space program and colonizing other worlds without any critics commenting that the money could be better spent on "x". They are now finally starting to emerge from their home planet, Earth, and see what else lies in the nearby areas of space.
Dwarves - although they look nothing like their namesakes, the dwarves are very like them in other ways. Coming from a very mineral-rich homeworld, they have a very high production rate. While trying to figure out what to do with all this 'stuff' they kept building (which was piling up and causing the planet to become quite crowded and disorganized), someone came up with the bright idea of building spaceships in the hopes of finding someone else to pawn some of that 'stuff' off on. If nothing else they can build a lot of ships far faster than other races.
Bunnies - well, they may not be as cute as their namesakes but they sure do breed like them! The bunnies come from a world with few mineral resources but heavy agriculture. No one's sure how they managed to get up into space, but theories range from some females getting tired of being breeding stock and looking for a way out to some of them getting tired of the fact that their planet was so overcrowded they couldn't get a moment alone. In any case, colonization was badly needed to relive the overcrowding of their home planet. But will even the galaxy be enough room for them?
Psilons - This high-tech race is the beanie-wearing, pocket protector race of the galaxy. They don't get invited to many parties (since they're likely to spend the entire time showing off their latest tech gadget) but when someone needs a computer fixed they're suddenly the Psilon's best friends. They also have better, faster ships so the other races tend to tiptoe around them.
Each of these races has just started branching out from their homeworld and is now exploring the space around them. Then, one day, 2 of them will meet up. The rest, as they say, is history (or the game, anyway). It's all up to the players and what they make of it.
Note: race names are placeholders only and are subject to change.
The main gameplay will be similar to Battleship. Each player sends ships to planets in various sectors of their own star system, divided into a grid on their DS screen. When you connect to someone else via wifi you can send probes into parts of the other player's sector of space to find their colonized planets and ships. The game will make use of the dual screens (the battleship idea is ideal for this), the stylus, and wifi. I also plan to make it so you can send the game to another player over wifi.
I will start with that basic idea, and from there I plan on adding more features as time permits.
When the game first loads there will be a splash screen, and then the game will start right up. The player will see a grid displaying their sector of space. Their homeworld will be in a random sector, and other sections may contain 1 or more planets, or no planets at all. The player starts with pre-built scout ships that can be sent to explore this space, and to find habitable worlds to send colony ships to.
The player starts out with a predetermined number of ships of different types, and can select a sector with the stylus to get to the planet management screen, where they can choose what types of ships to build at that planet. Once the player has colonized other worlds and built them up enough, they will also be able to build ships.
When a player is ready they can contact another civilization, or if the other player is ready first the first player will get a message that another civilization has made contact with them. From that point on, although the player must continue to build up his own sector or space, he must also send probes to explore the other person's space, and can then send ships to conquer worlds, or colonize world the other player hasn't colonized yet (note: you may lose contact with these worlds if the other player disconnects and you have not conquered their entire sector of space and transferred it to your own ds).
Travel to planets in your sector or another player's sector will take a certain number of "turns" depending on distance. The program will need to be able to calculate a path between 2 points. (Finally a chance to do a little AI!)
The interface for the game will be entirely stylus-based. The player clicks on sectors of a grid to manage the planets in it or to send ships there.I will make use of both screens to show your sector and the other player's sector at the same time, although I will need to have a mechanism to switch between screens easily so they can make use of the stylus (I'm really starting to think this might actually work better on a Palm, and might port it to that platform in the future)
The game will be turn-based. Once 2 players meet up they should have to wait for each other to finish their turns so their actions will be synced up. The game should not be too difficult, but obviously some players have too much time on their hands and will get very good at the game and completely trounce the other players. Theoretically, the poor players will get tired of getting their asses kicked and not play with those people anymore:).
The current version is a 1-player version using simple AI, since I got the hardware late and didn't have time to implement multiplayer gameplay. It is also a more simplistic game closer to Battleship, rather than Masters of Orion. However, I hope to continue to work on this in the future and make it closer to this full design.
Note, all artwork currently used is purely placeholder art, and all names are also placeholders.
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