New Game

Hi Everyone,

I am an indie game developer (with over 20 plus years of experience in coding and design.. so you don't think I'm some kid with big aspirations :) )

I'm also a huge fan of the wing commander and free space franchises. I basically grew up playing these games.

I'm now looking to have a bit of fun and design my next game to be a "wing commander" like game. I intend to include:
-Fully 3D environment both inside and outside the cockpit.
-Branching missions and stories based on mission success criteria
-The arcade like controls of WC with challenging AI for the enemy. This way it feels easy to learn to fly but takes skill to truly be an ace pilot.

Before i get too deep into my project I wanted to ping the WC fan community and ask what would you like in the this type of game? What features would you like to see if this style of game was reborn? what would you like to see done differently?

I can't promise to implement every suggestion as some things will have to fit into the overall design and lore of the world I am building.. but I value feedback immensely

As a side note: I always like using fans of a genre to alpha / beta test games. If your interested let me know.

@WindPoweredGame on Twitter.
or reply to this thread :)
 
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Hi Jamie, welcome.

I'd be interested to know a bit about your back catalogue from your 20 years of coding and design.
My coding background is not heavily in games but it is varied :)
-Black box monitoring software for uncertified aircraft (flight test)
-CRM and billing software for consulting company
-Warehouse and website software for an internet startup
-Software to manage the parts and repair schedules for planes
-The Chip in your debit card and the point of sale software that TD bank uses.
-Lots of other bank software and services... ( I've been a coder, designer and now an IT Architect for TD Bank)

As for games. I got into writing games a few years ago as a hobby.
I've competed in two gamejam competitions (Global Game Jam and more recently Ludum Dare 33)

(here is my most recent.. please keep in mind that this had to be created from scratch and solo in 48 hours for the competition)
http://ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-33/?action=preview&uid=55117

I currently have two indie projects on the go. One is called Squire. Its a adventure game that I'm working on with two others. (an artist and composer)

The other is SkyFire which is my code name for a wing commander "like" game.

Attached is some rough tests of done recently of reproducing a Hornet.
Once in the game engine (the pic with the space background) the ship is fully flyable. Rolls, yaw, pitch and speed controls are already working.

My intent is not to reproduce wing commander but instead to make a brand new game that is in the same genre.

Some of my design goals
-Fully 3D cockpits and environments
-Branching story lines
-Customizable weapon load outs
-Ship selections when accepting missions (based on current progress and unlocks)
-Physics based collision detection will be the heart of combat.
-Pilot controls will aim to be the "arcade" feel of wing commander vs realism

Things I'm not doing to keep the scope manageable (but maybe in a sequel )
-Multiplayer
-Build your own ship as you play. ( i have a game design based on this i would love to explore one day)




WIP5.png
WIP4.png
WIP3.png
WIP2.png
WIP1.png
 

Mindcrime

Commodore
Give it the old wing commander 1 story style with a starlancer style controls. For a great graphics reference check out wing commander saga for free. Great looking space and ships in this game.
 

Kaunisto

Commodore
Things that IMO make Wing Commander 1 the best game ever (and therefore should be imitated):

- wingmen: firstly it's always nice to have someone on your side instead of just a game of "player vs thousand enemies" and secondly it's even better when they're characters
- damage system: besides the dual system of regenerating shields and armor, there's variety of damage to ship and weapons
- ejection seat: frankly I don't use it much, but it's a nice idea, especially related to...
- the basic concept of game going on despite failing a mission or ejecting; not having to win every fight
- mission chart: why I prefer WC1 to later games; you can play second time to (an) end without hitting any missions again except the first ones


Things I (would) like and recommend in general:

- missions should be 5-10 minutes long (not 30 minutes!)
- difficulty should remain steady or raise slowly; if playing bad makes game easier there's no point trying, if it makes game harder you either win all the time or lose all the time (even WC has this problem with losing track missions are usually harder)
- it would be cool to eject while sending your ship to ram an enemy...
- more branching is better; I would like a diamond mission chart (if you want single ending for story) or pyramid with large number of endings
- speaking of ending, I always think it cool when at the end of a game (particularly long one) you're told/shown various things you achieved (or failed) along the story: "you take a moment to remember your fellows who didn't get to see this celebration" *followed by Oscars style In Memoriam*
- one thing I've wished WC had is weapons with different effects: for example laser guns damage shields and then armor, physical bullet guns hit straight to armor ignoring shields (but have limited ammo), some scifi ray wipes quickly out shields but does no actual damage, maybe a fourth type (radiation?) that ignores armor and starts damaging systems when it has shield down...
- last mission should be a typical battle, just big one (not some special gimmick thing)
- escort/protect missions are not completely awful thing if you don't absolutely have to succeed (and thus play again and again till you do)
- one-on-one duels are great
- compared to WC, it would be good if you could tell wingmen to stay far away from player (and ignore enemies near player)
 
Things that IMO make Wing Commander 1 the best game ever (and therefore should be imitated):

- wingmen: firstly it's always nice to have someone on your side instead of just a game of "player vs thousand enemies" and secondly it's even better when they're characters
- damage system: besides the dual system of regenerating shields and armor, there's variety of damage to ship and weapons
- ejection seat: frankly I don't use it much, but it's a nice idea, especially related to...
- the basic concept of game going on despite failing a mission or ejecting; not having to win every fight
- mission chart: why I prefer WC1 to later games; you can play second time to (an) end without hitting any missions again except the first ones


Things I (would) like and recommend in general:

- missions should be 5-10 minutes long (not 30 minutes!)
- difficulty should remain steady or raise slowly; if playing bad makes game easier there's no point trying, if it makes game harder you either win all the time or lose all the time (even WC has this problem with losing track missions are usually harder)
- it would be cool to eject while sending your ship to ram an enemy...
- more branching is better; I would like a diamond mission chart (if you want single ending for story) or pyramid with large number of endings
- speaking of ending, I always think it cool when at the end of a game (particularly long one) you're told/shown various things you achieved (or failed) along the story: "you take a moment to remember your fellows who didn't get to see this celebration" *followed by Oscars style In Memoriam*
- one thing I've wished WC had is weapons with different effects: for example laser guns damage shields and then armor, physical bullet guns hit straight to armor ignoring shields (but have limited ammo), some scifi ray wipes quickly out shields but does no actual damage, maybe a fourth type (radiation?) that ignores armor and starts damaging systems when it has shield down...
- last mission should be a typical battle, just big one (not some special gimmick thing)
- escort/protect missions are not completely awful thing if you don't absolutely have to succeed (and thus play again and again till you do)
- one-on-one duels are great
- compared to WC, it would be good if you could tell wingmen to stay far away from player (and ignore enemies near player)
Amazing suggestions! this is exactly the sort of feedback and recommendations i was hoping for !
I dont have too much time right now but would like to discuss this further in another post.

As for point "- compared to WC, it would be good if you could tell wingmen to stay far away from player (and ignore enemies near player)"
how about the ability to order your wingman into formations. Some can be close formations designed to jointly attack the same target while others would be more spread out design to attack separate targets in a sortie.
This could be an upgrade from the "attack my target" system in WC
 
hi Klavs81, +(Kauniso)

Because i want the game to be an entirely new one, i likely wont use the WC models. But with your permission i would love to use them as inspiration and reference.

Kavs81 and Kauniso - can you guys ping me via twitter at @windpoweredgame
I'd like to have you both review the game design document as the game formulates and provide input on early builds (assuming your ok / interested in that)

thanks
j.
 

Mindcrime

Commodore
I like where all of this is going. The comments made about wingmen is great! That was one of the best things about Wing Commander that have been forgotten in new games like Elite Dangerous and others. Being able to tell wingmen to attack my target!, or cover me!, or to taunt your enemies was my favorite. Nothing like talking shit to your enemy. It also serves to draw them to you instead of attacking something you are defending. So story is key, the way Wing commander did it best was in conversation. When not on a mission you are on your ship and you can talk to your fellow pilots. This and mission briefing serves to push the story further and to allow you to understand everything going on around you.
 
I've started working on the Game Design Document (GDD) for the game. Currently I'm running with a project name of SkyFire for the game.
I would very much like to continue bouncing ideas of you all and getting feedback. i would also like to credit anyone who has given feedback in a special thanks section of the credits of the game.
So ping me your details and ill make note of them in the GDD so they get added.

For this project I'm going to be doing an open GDD. This means i will leave it 100% publicly readable. (SPOILERS ALERT!)
Yes there will be some story elements in the this doc. That being said i likely will do a separate script for the dialogue to make recording and casting the voices easier later on.
 
Flight Controls

Should A and D be YAW or ROLL? or should the player choose?

Its a simple enough thing.. but important none the less. I always found i was rolling and pulling up to "speed turn" in WC.
Given that.. should in a ASWD configuration: the A and D keys be roll or Yaw?

let me know your thoughts.
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
If you go with the set of default keyboard controls they have in KSP, W/S are pitch, A/D are yaw and Q/E are roll. That'd be what I personally am used to anyways (and I fly planes via keyboard a good deal in that game; folks keep telling me I should switch to a joystick...).
 

Kaunisto

Commodore
I've mostly played WCs and equivalents with mouse, so I don't have much keyboard touch. But I say yaw, I've never use roll much. Unless the game has much close contact with very large ships (destroying guns, antennas etc.) then roll might be more important, but as long as emphasis is on dogfight, definitely yaw.
 

Mancubus

Rear Admiral
Few suggestions:
-Again, Wingmen
-Quality over quantity: Basically what I mean it's better to have just a few ships with well defined roles and each one feeling different than gazillion of them but most very similar to one another. Same goes for weapons. On Enemies side also I think fewer more challenging enemies are better than lot's of cannon fodder
-Don't overdo a super ship in the end. I always felt that both WC3 and especially WC4 suffered from giving you a completely overpowered machine in the last few missions
-Again failing a single mission doesn't fail a game is a great thing WC games did. Of course failing too many should make you loose, and it's okay to have some fail=instant loss missions, as long as Player is properly informed (IE told in briefing something along if we fail here aliens have clear and straight path to Earth etc)
-Don't overdo scripting events, Players prefer to be in control. Also try to avoid what freespace modding community called "Battle of Endor syndrome" - battles so large that they play out the same no matter what a player does
-Ace enemies with backstory and some sort of build up before you meet them are a cool thing
 

Mancubus

Rear Admiral
Oh and one more thing, which is extrapolation on some points from earlier. as you want' to let player choose their ship you should avoid two things:
1. A ship that makes most people think "I flew this once and I will never want to fly it ever again"
2. A ship that makes most people think "Now that I can fly this, I don't want to fly anything else ever again"
 
Oh and one more thing, which is extrapolation on some points from earlier. as you want' to let player choose their ship you should avoid two things:
1. A ship that makes most people think "I flew this once and I will never want to fly it ever again"
2. A ship that makes most people think "Now that I can fly this, I don't want to fly anything else ever again"
Love the comments!!!

interesting points about the ships.
Having a small number of purposeful designed ships is better than increasingly more nibble & strong ones. point well noted .. so much so im added it as a design rule in my game design document.

[Dev Update]
I started coding some of the foundations this evening.
http://www.windpoweredgames.com/blog/

I'll be redesigning the main studio website in the next few weeks to reflect the new project.
 

Dondragmer

Rear Admiral
I agree with most of the existing comments here, especially Kaunisto on mission length and Mancubus on scripting and mission size. I used to admire games that integrated storyline into the gameplay (and WC2 was an innovator here), but these days I just want to see flight simulators where the missions play out entirely as simulations, with no custom events, conversations, scripted invincibility or scripted death. For a diverse set of viewpoints on this, see Q's anger management thread. I hope any threads inspired by your game are happier ones.

I wouldn't overdo your initial design document. Just aim to create a sequence of maybe five missions, to investigate these possibilities:
  • Player fighting one enemy. Does it degenerate into an endless turning fight or sequence of head-to-head encounters? If so, your AI needs more variety.
  • Player and one wingman fighting three enemies. Is it fun? Until it is, adding more ships to either side will not help.
  • Escort mission. Is it a fair and fun challenge? Can your AI make sensible decisions about attacking and defending the target?
  • Striking a capital ship. Is it an adrenaline rush, or just an exercise in tedium where you destroy all the fighters and turrets, then aim at the target and hold the fire button down until you whittle away at its armor?
You've had some discussion of complex wingman orders. These seem tempting, but risk turning your game into an RTS with a clumsy control scheme. If you want to make an RTS, make it control like Homeworld. If you want to make a space sim where we care about our wingmen, keep the scale and length of most missions small. (Exception: I can imagine a fun space simulator that works like a few of the tactical squad FPS games do, where you assign targets and formations in a planning phase, then try to carry it out in an action phase. I think Enemy Starfighter was going to do this, but now the planning phase seems to have been removed.)

One other thing: create a script to generate all of your dialog files with a speech synthesiser. If you find them long and painful to listen to, edit the dialog. Keep editing until it's at least tolerable, and only then go looking for live voice actors. You can find some enthusiastic volunteers for this job, but only once.
 
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