Realistic wishlist of features for a new WC game


Rear Admiral
I thought of this thread after reading and participating in the "Wing Commander for a Modern Age" thread. So here are two things, off the top of my head, that I would want to see in a new WC game:
  1. Unique Weapon Effects - as an example, the meson blaster was supposed to cause damage as the mesons decayed once the target was struck, so maybe a ship would take damage over time even after it had been hit
  2. Integration of Planetside and Space - instead of having a pre-rendered scene of us entering the atmoshphere or going back into space, shouldn't we now be able to actually fly into the atmosphere and back into space in-game?
Feedback and other ideas are welcome! As the thread title suggests, let us try and keep the ideas constricted to those that seem feasible.
Remember when you invest in tech such as planetside/space transitions that something else will have to suffer... to me it would be more in the spirit of WC to just concentrate on having a real solid space combat experience. Remember in wc3/4 how strange the planetside missions felt - especially if you set your throttle to zero? That would never fly (excuse the pun) today, so there would have to be work on gravity/atmospheric tech, and all that development time would take away from time that could be spent polishing the space parts. And lets be honest - we play WC to fly around in space!

Interesting idea with weapon effects - a bit like a flame/fire effect on a character in an rpg game! (damage over time) I like. Other games have had things like different weapons damaging at different rates (shield penetration/armor penetration/subsystem damage etc. etc. - Freespace did this a lot)

My thing to add to the wishlist is true character-in-cockpit presentation, like wc1/2/3 - where you see hands flying around as you do things.
No live action and a mini-RPG element to the in-between sequences (think a limited version of Mass Effect). It would be like WC3, just more of what they did using 3D models instead of Live Action footage.
Here's some of the features I'd like to see in a new WC game:
- 3D cockpits in the style of WC1/WC2 with real Render-to-texture MFDs.
- Modding capabilities, like a mission/intermission sequence/campaign builder, ability to add new ships, weapons, characters, etc.
- More event-related inflight dialogue, especially since it makes the story and plot shine.
If it's fast, fun, well-written, has afterburners and supports a joystick, I'll be happy. Everything else is a bonus. I'm not really expecting to get flight stick support, though...
As a preference, random mission generation and sequencing. No mission failure/success, just consequences.

The former:
Random missions 'generated' at a final trigger point (i.e. enter mission briefing room) so I can't 'save' that mission. The idea is that on reply I don't know what mission I will get next.

The latter:
The results of the mission I just flew has a consequence on the next mission. If I do destroy all targets somehow in a patrol mission, next mission could be chosen from an offensive capability (strike missions etc), maybe a RIF. The escape of a couple of targets instead results in having to fly more patrols, RIF to discover their base/carrier etc, or still get a strike mission but with heavier defenses (they are now warned we are in the neighbourhood) or carrier defense (they found us). Having a shot up fighter, ejecting, many targets escape etc means I will likely get carrier defense with varying degrees of difficulty, maybe a RIF.

I'm not looking for mission 1 success leads to mission 2, failure leads to mission 3. The mission trees we have now. I'm looking for variability. Depending on my 'success' in missions, I might fly 3 or 15 missions in a system before we 'win' and move on to the next system.

One game might be 15 missions to complete to the endgame and win over the skies of {target enemy planet}.
One game might be 256 missions where I've failed in one system, fell back to a 'safe' system, run resupply missions to fuel & ammo up, defense missions against the enemy push, new attack on the original system. Success in that system and the next, lost the safe system and have to retake it with limited supplies, now in position to go for broke....
Third game might be half way along, then had successive 'losses' and find myself over the skies of Earth for desperate defence. Loss endgame, or successful defense mission series leads to a counterpunch offensive... which gets me back to where I started and off I go again.
As I mentioned in another thread; if voice input peripherals soon become available (and supposedly they will) then I definitely want that integrated in a new game.

If there were branching missions (I don't really want them myself), then they should do it the way Colony Wars (remember that series?) did; have multiple paths and endings with intermediate levels of victory and defeat and not just ultimate triumph or destruction.

I would also like to see success and failure reflected in the game other than determing which missions you fly. To use an example from WC3; if you play the Blackmane missions in which the base is shutting down you get nothing, but if you play them where you are defending the base maybe Blackmane is able to send you so upgraded versions of your fighters...or even spare a Morningstar or two! This is something that would be very easy to implement and rewards the player for doing well at the game.
Some RTS games went down this track of success/failure and variability of missions. The Dawn of War: Dark Crusade campaign often had you fighting over the same area multiple times - if you didn't defend land you had captured adequately it could be re-captured by one of the enemy factions, and you would have to go and re-re-capture it... sometimes multiple times! Made for a longer campaign for sure. I guess you could extrapolate this to a WC game if you were the one calling the shots - more like Fleet Commander than Wing Commander... but even on a smaller scale it could work.

Imagine being directed to capture a system. You have jump points to defend, planets to secure, and an enemy fleet to destroy. Winning conditions for the system involve holding all the jump points, clearing out the enemy fleet, and securing said planets. If you lose a jump point, more enemy can arrive to reinforce those in-system. If you don't secure a planet, enemy can be repaired/constructed. Not dealing with the fleet means they can re-invade the planet you just secured...

I guess its a little like Armada, huh?
What I want for Christmas in the next Wing Commander game is...

  • The ability to walk around your carrier (Walking on Carrier, Woc!) in first person in order to interact with the crew.
  • At a glance ability to find events on the carrier (i.e. which pilot is available to talk and where are they!).
  • The ability to quickly transition around the carrier to get to important events.
  • Pause, rewind, fast-forward or skip cutscenes.
  • Replay unlocked cutscenes without having to play the game.
  • A decent save system (Don't force me to sit through the same cutscene after just dying and restarting).
  • Seamless transition between the landing/launching and getting in/out of the cockpit.
  • A true 3D cockpit when flying, seeing your character control the joystick and press buttons on the controls when you do it on the keyboard.
  • First person view ejection sequence!
  • First person view deaths, followed by a 3rd person replay!
  • A replay system (like Halo's to provide just one example).
  • QTE's! No seriously, but not lame one's like "Press A not to die", or changing them each time so you have no clue or connection (I'm looking at you BF3 single player campaign!):
    • Give me QTE's which make sense, i.e. push button in direction and acceleration trigger to perform an evasive manuever (make said evasive manuveur available in normal gameplay). That way, while you are directing the player in their actions, they will connect with the game.
    • 3 stikes on QTE's. No one likes to be killed by a single miss of a QTE. Make it so they die on 3 subsequent misses, then reward or scold the player based on it, i.e. enemy/pilot chat or some advantage/disadvantage when comming out of the QTE.
    • Make QTE's space based on WoC. I.e. If the enemy attacking the carrier you need to avoid some explosions on the sprint to the hangar deck! Maybe you are on Comm's duty and get a scambled priority tranmission which could affect the next mission (in some non game breaking random event) based on how quick you can clear up the static.
  • Failing or succeeding in a mission affects future missions. Perhaps there is less back up in a mission, or a lighter enemy presence.
  • Crew relationships:
    • Talking to crew on the carrier and your actions in combat will have an affect on your relations with the other pilots and crew. Maybe you said a bad word about the Chief and you get one less missile in your payload and your ship is a little more sluggish than usual, while your pilots are unlikely to back you up as your are known as a bit of a hot dog.
    • Performance and rank increase with allow you to pick and choose the missions you fly.
  • Let me conquer the sector my way. While structured gameplay if fun, provide a sandbox where I can free roam to conquer the enemy, upgrade my equipment, ala Starfleet Command.
  • CO-OP in all missions!
  • A mission simulator:
    • Provide a wide range of interesting scenarios.
    • Scenario's which specifically allow you to learn and improve in flight, practising tactics.
    • Allow players to create their own and upload to share with everyone else!
    • Online leader boards. Provide lots of categories, not just Kills/Deaths/Accuracy.
That's all ... for now.
Integration of Planetside and Space - instead of having a pre-rendered scene of us entering the atmoshphere or going back into space, shouldn't we now be able to actually fly into the atmosphere and back into space in-game?
Seamlessly integrating it would require that the planets be to scale, have terrain models for the entire planetary surface, and have navigation aids so that you can find the two or three spots on the entire 10,000 km diameter planet.
Seamlessly integrating it would require that the planets be to scale, have terrain models for the entire planetary surface, and have navigation aids so that you can find the two or three spots on the entire 10,000 km diameter planet.

Lol. I guess I was being a little optimistic then. Okay, maybe we'll wait until the 2020s to try something like that in a game.

In terms of branching missions, I would like to see them be more realistic. Like Silverain said, base it more on consequences that outright success failure. I think success should still be possible, but lesser degrees of success perhaps should be allowed for that result in more difficult subsequent missions (if not different missions altogether). As an example, I take an Arrow out on a patrol and wipe out all the fighters I encounter, but cannot take out the destroyer. The next mission is a strike op against the Destroyer that I failed to take down, only now it has been reinforced with a couple of corvettes and some medium fighters. IF you took out the destroyer, you would skip that mission altogether.

But I don't want any Losing Path stuff. You play a game to win and not to lose. I think it would be a waste of development time and money to do that. Sure, it's kind of neat I guess but wouldn't you have preferred Hobbes explanation for his betrayal to be included in WC3 rather than a branch of missions you probably only did once?
I think it would be rare in this day and age to have dev time spent on sections of a game that you wouldn't play unless you suck ;) That being said, there's nothing wrong with engineering parts of a game that you miss on the first playthrough - what they like to call re-play value! I'm thinking wc4 mission branching by choice, not results.

I think what I really don't like about some arcade-ey games is the whole you VS. 100 enemies thing... and you win. Even wc3/4 got a bit like this - player VS 4 Sorthak. No way in hell the player should win. I remember spotting 6 Dralthi in formation in WC1 and thinking to myself "hmmm... do I wade in here, or turn tail and get the hell out?" But that kind of thinking stopped with the later games, where you almost blindly hit the burners and fired directly in front of you as soon as the autopilot dropped you out, full in the knowledge that one or two enemy would choose to charge you down immediately. And die. WW2 arcade (how dare they call them 'simulators!') flight games are guilty of the overwhelming odds thing too - when you consider an 'ace' was 5 confirmed kills, when you rack up your 50th in one mission it kind of kills the immersion.

I guess thats what improved AI would mean - actual challenging enemies, not just sheer numbers. The flight sim Crimson Skies did this kind of well. I dunno. Maybe I just don't crank the difficulty up enough.

FMV vs. CGI - I guess CGI. Kind of the equivalent of talking heads these days huh. Though I liked the characterization that FMV allowed, this can be achieved with good voice-over work. And famous people.

QTE's and other action game aspects; well, urm... Is it a space combat sim you want? Or a 'mass effect in the Wing Commander universe' game? I think the draw of these games are that they are totally dependent on the skill of the player, not a statistics generator. How would you integrate RPG elements/skills in combat? The only way I can think of is 'ranking'. Higher ranks giving you access to different weapons/craft/reinforcements.

I guess the main point I'm trying to get across is 'identity'. What is the game? Games that try and be super-everything tend to end up super-nothing. Cough Spore Cough. But a really well focused and polished game is a wonderful thing.
That all being said, I would be totally into an action/rpg or shooter game based in the WC universe. New game protagonist = Dekker! Think Gears of War but more in Space and less underground... Did somebody say Shadow Force?
Well here's my top 3, from a technical stand point:

1: PhysX support for better destruction sequences when you shoot up another fighter and maybe a larger danger, akin to WC4's crashing into the dead hulk, only now there's the risk of being peppered by a sort of shotgun blast of shrapnel. It could also work to model proximity fused missiles, so a direct hit is no longer required, and could cut both ways. The debris\shrapnel model could also be good for a Privateer or Freelancer style game wherein, after you've destroyed a fighter, you could pick and choose the types of scrap metal you want to haul in, instead of just a generic scrap metal commodity. So if a fighter has gold components built into its avionics suite, not something that would be modeled 100% of the time only on destruction, then you could pull just those bits in, the same for durasteel or aluminum whatever.
2:Space and atmospheric combat with differing flight characteristics. I don't really mind the transition movie model, but I would really like to see more ground strikes because they do give a wider sense of the war. Not to mention it would create an added challenge if your plane didn't fly quite as nimble or fast in atmosphere. And there would need to be bombs in addition to missiles and guns for the ground attack missions.
3: Some sort of RPG + multiple storylines so that, at the start of the game, you pick what you want to specialize in (interceptor, strike fighter, or bomber) and then you spend experience points on improving that specialization. So if you choose to fly a bomber you can beef up your defensive weapons such as turrets and countermeasures or build up your ship armor. Kind of the difference between a turtle and a porcupine.:)

Honestly, there are thousands of things I would want to see in a new WC game, and most of them are technically possible, but these are the top gotta have.
No live action and a mini-RPG element to the in-between sequences (think a limited version of Mass Effect). It would be like WC3, just more of what they did using 3D models instead of Live Action footage.

A thousand times this. I'd love some kind of adventure game elements while you're on the carrier or wherever, taking the player choices seen in III and IV a step further and giving them a real impact on the game. This way we can still have branching missions/story without forcing the player to fail missions because as was mentioned above, I doubt that's a mechanic that would go over well in this day and age. I don't know about RPG elements and QTE stuff, I feel that's all unnecessary and the flying should be all about skill and arcade action as always but some adventure stuff in-between missions to advance and alter the story would be more than welcome.

It would also be great if you were able to create the appearance/gender/even species of your character. I think that would really help the immersion and bring back the feeling you get in Wing Commander 1 where you're the one in the cockpit.

The core Wing Commander games have always been as much about the story and the universe to me as they have been about the flying and I think a good focus on that will help get the general public interested again.
So the walking around on the Normandy part of Mass Effect, then space combat. Awesome.

I always had a bit of an issue with tractoring in weapons & components from destroyed ships in freelancer. You would think if a ship explodes there would be very little left of the wreckage. Just look at aircraft wrecks! It makes sense to have cargo pods to salvage, and scrap metal I suppose... but anything else would surely be toast!

I guess the question is this - is the new wing commander game 'Wing Commander' or 'Privateer'? For the former style of game, I would rather more immersive story, some strategy elements, and action. For the latter, I would rather less emphasis on story and more focus on exploration and the salvage mechanics. The features of each genre would be tailored to the style of game. I'm not so interested in salvaging parts from wrecks if I'm enlisted in the Confed Navy and am trying to stop the Kilrathi taking over a system, and similarly I'm not so interested in the story of the character around me if I'm out to make money to upgrade my ship.
Better gun loadouts for my fighters!

To: BuShips

cc: BuWeaps


Message Follows: Stop putting ion cannons on fighters! Give my love to the family.
Ideally in a new privateer game you would be able to join at least 3 different factions and the faction you join would affect what craft/weapons/missions/upgrades are available. Maybe a reputation system could be implemented like in Freelancer.
A Mass Effect style game in the WC universe would be great. Or better yet, a game where you manage your own Bengal/Confed class carrier, rushing from hotspot to hotspot to stop the Kilrathi advance. Do all the mission planning, set nav points, assign wing commanders and wingmen, extract resources from systems to keep the ship afloat... and of course extensive micro managing... putting people like Maniac in the brig once in a while or lower booze prices in the ship canteen to raise crew morale :D