Dr. Frankenstein EDIT - Rather than tag a reply on the end of thread to bring it back to life… I thought it better to put it here at the top. Been gone for a while… back. Ideas for HW3 abound and would like mine to stay in the mix.
WARNING - This is the Everest of text-walls.
This did not fit in the Remastered forum, and it is not technical enough for the modding section, and there is no HW3 section. It certainly is fiction and a fan creation, since it has only existed on legal pads and in my head for the last decade or so.
TL;DR - An old fan’s opinion on a logical progression into HW3 or a mod, retaining elements of the old games while providing new ways of playing. Takes full advantage of current hardware and software capabilities. A new engine requirement that could spawn more related RTS games(under a world-spanning futuristic ocean, anyone?). A non-technical wish-list wall of text. Welcome to my world.
Well, it seems that the franchise is alive. The classics are playable by the masses again. The remaster looks to be amazing with a few tweaks. Multiplayer is on its way and has the potential to be something special in its own right. Mods have their own button in the start screen.
So, while we wade into the labor of love that is ahead of us… getting all the little squirmy bugs squashed… let’s take some time to share our ideas and concepts that have sat in hard drives and on notepads 'lo these many years.
Since HW2 came out I have had definite ideas, as I am sure many of you do as well, about what I would like to see in HW3. Since Gearbox has the keys to that particular kingdom now, and another game is well within the realm of probability, then we should get our ideas seen now.
With that being stated; here is part of over a decade’s worth of ideas, along with some fairly recent ones, abridged into just a minor wall of text. Many small influences from other games, HW mods, and sci-fi universes/novels/concepts. I have much more detail on every aspect, but since this has been my own little world I have no idea if anyone has any interest in any of this at all… much less individual ship stats. Maybe some things could be applied to a future mod. All ideas are open for input and discussion, and I would like to help implement them into any mod.
There is no order or preference for any section. They all work together, and there is no telling what will catch one person’s interest or completely turn away another. There are sections on story arcs, campaign type, ships, mechanics, etc. There are spot definitions inserted so one doesn’t have to look for them. No hyperlinks.
All ship ideas are for the “Friendly” side of the campaign/MP. The “Enemy” is described elsewhere.
Homeworld, “Research”, and Immersion.
Futuristic, advanced races that have to re-invent the wheel(or ion cannon) every time a new adventure comes their way puts a hurtin’ on the old suspension of disbelief. The word, and concept of, “research” should be replaced with something else. Reverse engineering, data retrieval and re-tooling could all take a share of the simplified old-time “research”. There must be a word or phrase or acronym out there that fits the bill so much better. Design and Application is too clunky.
All needed information should already be in data banks. It must retrieved, applied to the need, and then tooling must be made(3D printing, micro-assemblers, nano, etc.).
If a new technology is encountered in the form of a ship/structure, then it is salvaged and reverse engineered. All data acquired would be stored for immediate or future application.
Other races/factions encountered could transfer data banks, for application at a later time.
The Strategic and Tactical Analysis team on board during the campaign would designate which techs have priority for application as required.
By using this paradigm, a player is applying already acquired knowledge to a given situation. The time and RU constraints have a more believeable explanation. Research should have no time or money limits for total success, so let’s do away with that world-view.
Some campaign missions could be searching for data banks in wreckage, or trading with bentusi/someone else. No need to fight every single time you load a mission.
Instead of research modules and advanced research modules, players could build engineering, advanced engineering and reverse engineering modules. The teams on the modules use data and requirements to produce designs for the tooling process. It is a data ‘search’, not ‘research’.
There is not a research tree but a logical development progression.
Once a tech has been developed, it is available in all its iterations across all applicable ship classes and types. Example - Sprint Missile/Box Launcher tech allows Corvette, Frigate, Destroyer and Battlecruiser launchers.
Mechanical engineers build weapons. Civil engineers build targets. Once again our heroes are forced to forge their plowshares into swords with knowledge they already have on hand. The homage to Kith Somtaww.
Ships, Upgrades, Manufacture and Modular Design
HW2 almost got it right. Upgrades. But, they missed a step or two for obvious coding difficulty reasons. I do not like the magic upgrades everywhere.
By keeping each ship static, there is added granularity.
By allowing many variations to be built according to cost/time/perceived(!)value(not just the best every time), then even more granularity is added.
By adding experience(XP), a player can grow attached to each large ship(don’t worry, they’re numbered) and crew as they survive and gain better targeting/speed/etc. Temporal, no-cost, minor upgrades… possible for Frigate and larger only.
Ship caps -
The terms Command Bandwidth™ and Control Bandwidth™ are my way of addressing ship caps in a player-controlled manner.
The Command Ship has a set amount of Command Bandwidth. It also exerts a certain amount of Control Bandwidth on its own. Command Bandwidth is used to set number/types of Carriers, Shipyards and Battlecruisers. Each takes a certain value of Command and provides a certain value of Control.
Carrier, Shipyards and Battlecruisers provide more Control Bandwidth, which allows control of numbers/types of ships. This concept is a novel unto itself, but hopefully you get the idea with this minor explanation. Similar to “power” in Homeworld Complex mod, and other games have similar functions.
If Control Bandwidth falls below levels needed for effective fleet-wide C3, then effects begin to cascade. First, drones, mimics, etc. will either fail or dock. Players then have the option to pre-select ship bandwidth priority in case of failure. Red, yellow, green or 1/2/3. Reds go down next, then yellows, and lastly greens. Out of Control ships can be given move or retire orders only, and will only fire in self-defense(point-defense/anti-missile). Use active ships to escort non-actives to rally point(campaign mission).
If Command Ship is lost, the total aggregate of current on-field Command points in use is transferred to the largest remaining Command-capable ship. This value becomes the Command limit for the remainder of the battle or until Command Ship is replaced.
Ships and techs - Techs and capabilities are drawn from data banks throughout the Homeworld history and factions. Kushan, Taidan, Somtaaw, Higarran, Vaygr, Kadesh, and others will contribute technical knowledge that has been tucked away on hard drives; and must now be applied to face the current situation. No need to attempt to re-invent the wheel, when by re-combining known techs the menace may be faced in time.
Once a technology is developed, it is available in all its iterations across the ship-class spectrum. Examples - Mimic/cloak reaches all the way to capital ship cloak upgrade. Sprint Missiles activates Sprints/Box Launchers from corvette to battlecruiser. The real pain comes when a player pays for the time and cost to put the goodies on hulls.
This section on upgrades will deal with Frigates and larger ships. It makes sense to explain this now, trust me.
For all Frigate and larger ships…
All ships come out with decent armor. They are warships after all. They also have sufficient engine/power for their designed configuration.
All basic upgrades apply to all ships in a specific type(Frigate, Capital). No need to “research” how to apply armor for every Frigate class or every custom Destroyer. Just design the armoring process for each class. It costs enough time and RU to add it to each hull.
Instead of just two basic upgrades of armor and speed, I split them into something else. Defense and Engineering. Level 1 requires engineering module and level 2 requires advanced engineering module.
Level 1 is an optional armor upgrade. Visually different look to each class. Bulkier, with an reactive armor look to them. This reduces speed due to increased mass.
Level 2 allows shields. An outer, visually shimmering coating that absorbs a high(but varying by weapon type, always some bleed-through) percentage of incoming fire, until its “health bar” is depleted. Then, all further incoming dps is transferred to the ship’s hull. Will replenish once incoming fire falls below its recharge rate. Reduces speed due to power requirements.
Level 1 is an engine upgrade. Visual addition of exhaust ports/nozzles. Brings armored or shielded ships back up to battery.
Level 2 is a reactor upgrade. This takes up more of the shield power requirements for better speed and slight shield boost. Changes visual appearance of both shield and engine plume(higher frequency/blue-shift).
Upgrades and Manufacture -
It would be possible to build ships with shield but no armor upgrade, and reactor upgrades but no engine upgrades. Or reactor and engine but no armor or shields(speed). Or armor and shields alone for faster production defense.
Each Frigate production cue would have three build choices… Min, Max(current) and Custom. Every upgrade/module added to each base ship hull affects RU cost and build time in small but cumulative increments. Such a simple statement… that changes so much.
Example - You are low on RU and time, and someone is about to be in your face… Pump out some Minimum Assaults to hold the line while team-mates hurry over. Quantity can have a quality all its own. Sometimes one could be forced to play like the Soviets in '41, then 15-20 minutes later have the time and RU to splurge on the best like Reagan in the '80s.
Custom designs can be saved and taken along through the campaign and into MP.
Custom ship designs can be named for easy recognition. Example - “Avalanche” class all-kinetic, half-upgrades Battlecruiser.
All Frigates and larger can be either retired or refit. Refitting saves XP, time and RU(DOES take small amounts of both time and ru), but requires travel and docking. Refits only work “up” or “across”(weapons). Ships cannot be downgraded once built to a certain specification.
All ships of each type launch with a hull number corresponding to its LAUNCH order. Examples - All Destroyers would be numbered 01, 02, 03, etc. as they come out regardless of customizations or building facility or build que order. All Ion Frigates would have their own numerical sequence. If class numbers go over 99 due to losses, then it takes open slots in order(in case good old 01 is still kickin’). If every ship is tracked for XP, then it may be a good idea to have a way to know them on sight.
Experience(XP) - Frigates and larger(??). Provides slight, incremental upgrades in type/class specific areas(some areas not available in development or build).
Ships gain XP for dps delivered(not fired). XP boosts targeting(chance to hit), speed, shield stats, and/or self-repair rate… depending on ship class/type and possibly target type(huge wall o text).
Diminishing rate of return as XP grows. This helps reduce “farming” a crippled BC with Frigates for XP. Thought I didn’t see that coming didn’t you? XP LOSS for “friendly fire” force-fire. Saw that one too.
Small graphical/color-coded icon shows approximate XP level. All else is “under the hood” and can only be inferred from battle experience. “Gawd, did you see that volley!?! LMAO!! Good boys!”
Using ships, and keeping them alive = good… is all one needs to know. Fleet “morale” becomes an invisible but real part of the game. You keep your ships alive, and they will reward you with improved performance that you don’t have to pay for, and in some cases cannot buy at any price.
The Ships - Larger ships may seem stronger than they are, until one realises that all Frigates are the baseline and they have been nerfed in the dps dept, but have some nice HP upgrades. Epic battles should have lots of weapons fire. That means targets need to stay on the field longer. My designs are wrestlers, not boxers.
Microships make a comeback. Those Somtaww miners were on to something. Control Bandwidth is quite large for the size, but they are cheap and quick to replace.
Repair Bots - These would be module(6)-, frigate(6)- and corvette(4)-launched. No more latching issues. Control sphere less than attack drones.
Attack Drones - Module(6)- and frigate(6)-launched. Control sphere less than gravwell. Anti-strike and anti-vette. Not effective against missiles. High Control Bandwidth price for Module version.
Leeches - Most hilarious HW tech deserves a comeback. Plus, the campaign will need them.
Sentinels. - Guardians Of The Galaxy stole our ships. Sue Marvel for the price of a new engine. We’re taking them back. Shield tech is a part of this concept, so they are a logical progression.
Strikes and Corvettes - These classes are too small for much customization, and the current models and types work well, with a few additions. Docking provides upgrade option if desired.
Strike Craft - Build/Launch in groups of four. Scout launches in pairs.
Scout - Same but prettier. Overdrive upgrade(HW1 speed boost)
Fighter - Same product in a new box. Six-unit build/launch upgrade(more time/ru/bandwidth).
Bomber - Slower, beefier, with a rear firing arc kinetic popgun. Think of a Stuka in space. Slower rate of fire but larger warhead. Anti-Subsystems upgrade.
Corvettes/Gunships - Build/Launch in squads of three. Armor and Engine upgrades available.
Gunship - Why mess with success? Flak-burst upgrade.
Pulsar Gunship - Same as above. Power upgrade that increases range and weapon strength for reduced tracking and ROF. Anti-frig upgrade.
Missile Corvette - Each ship fires a pair of mini-Sprint Missiles. Squad volley-fires at single Frigate or larger target, otherwise single-unit targeting.
Mimic - Only single build/launch corvette. No more suicidal, thorazine-laden pilots. Semi-autonomous bomb-laden drones with mimic tech. Can either perma-mimic, or cloak for a short while(loses propulsion). No cancel cloak. No special function for 10 seconds after cloak expires. Best against collectors, refineries, frigates with numbers.
Frigates - Frigate base tech is tooled into a construction bay. This allows construction of the base chassis, power plant, command section and engine. This hull has a base RU cost and build time.
Each type would “fill in” the frame with its special design, for differing RU costs and build times depending on type and upgrade(s).
Frigate engines can be targeted by pressing E and clicking on ship.
Frigate Types -
Assault - Bomb upgrade for limited anti-subsystem use. Otherwise similar to current models.
Ion - Because Homeworld.
Torpedo - Torps have to represent at the frigate level. Twin Standard Torpedoes. Medium range, medium speed, anti-vette and anti-frigate torps. Worst against shield, but effective otherwise.
Drone - Attack drones or repair bots as needed. Limited control range(tactical sphere less than gravwell), but not stationary. Goodbye Support Frigate, and helps to replace paper-thin workers/collectors in battle conditions. Replaces Flak and complements Torp.
Ramming - Many options in both campaign and MP for this brute.
Marine - If it cannot be salvaged or traded for, then it must be taken by force. We need that data!
Point Defense/Multibeam - Missiles/Torps inside engagement range take precedence over all other target orders. They despise missiles.
Box Launcher/Sprint Missile Frigate - The Box Launcher is a pillar turret with twin boxes, one on either side. The number of tubes in each box is dependent on carrying ship class. Frigate class has two turrets, ventral and dorsal. Two boxes with a single tube each, for each turret. Volley-fires four Sprint Missiles directly at target. Fast, medium range, single medium/small warhead, shield stripper, anti-frig, best missile vs point-defense, worst against armor. Boxes rotate to vertical and then retract partially into hull for reload.
Capital Ships - Greater customization comes into play once Capital Ships are constructed.
Modules - The blank space of an empty module “slot” represents plating that covers an empty space INSIDE the vessel. Modules are represented by a SLIGHTLY raised area with appropriate fixtures/animations. They are not a rash to be scratched off with ease. They are part of the ship. They simply require access to the outer hull area, or that is the only available space for center-of-mass specs. Modules may be placed at time of construction for a per-module savings(time/ru) but increase in total build time, or may be built/replaced at player’s choice after launch. Shields protect modules too, until they go down.
All Capitals have varying numbers of point defense. The base version is a kinetic gatling-type thats sprays a large cone of pellets into the target area. Best point defense against Torps, but worst against manned craft, due to predictive area targeting and range limitations.
ALL capitals can self-hyperjump. No module needed.
Carriers, Battlecruisers, Shipyards and the Command Ship may all build hyper modules that allow “wake-jumping” of non-hyper-capable ships.
Destroyers are only class that can self-jump, but not construct a jump module.
Capital refit takes place externally at refit gantries on upgraded Carriers, Shipyards or Command Ships. This process takes a small but finite amount of both time/ru that is scaled according to number/value of things altered.
Capital-specific upgrades - only available at construction or refit.
Laser point defense. Moderately good against missiles, better than base kinetic against strikes.
Plasma point defense. Least effective against missiles(lower ROF), but increased effectiveness against strikes/vettes.
Cloak. This is an internal upgrade that allows single-ship cloak for a limited time before recharge(longer cloak/shorter recharge than current). Reduces speed during activation, and no shields while cloaked(power consumption). No weapons can be targeted or fired while cloaked, or for 3 seconds after cloak ends. May be canceled at any time.
Carriers - Two classes. Carrier upgrades can be applied to either class. All facilities, modules and upgrade(s) included at order affect build cost and time. Carriers represent a specific amount of Control Bandwidth™, which dictates the number/type of ships that can be effectively controlled.
Carrier-specific upgrades - only available at construction or refit.
Strike craft production facility. Can be damaged but not destroyed by improved bombs from bombers, heavy 'vettes or assault frigates. Damage results in slower/paused production rate.
Corvette production facility. same as above.
Frigate production facility. Not available for escort carrier. Otherwise same as above.
Refit. Places a framework with articulating gantries/arms on dorsal side to refit frigates(fleet carrier refits internally)/capital ships. Fleet carrier refit duration is less than Escort. Ship to be refit docks with gantry and locks on for the duration of refit process. No cloak is possible during refit.
Escort or Light Carrier - Inspired by Vaygr design, but smaller and faster. Frigate speed or better. Single production facility for either Strike craft or Corvettes, built in at ship construction(can be damaged for reduced/paused productivity, but NOT destroyed, by imp. bombs). No frigate construction option. Must refit to change production facility. Single module slot(CAN be destroyed). Port and starboad kinetic point-defense.
Fleet Carrier - Inspired by Higarran design, but larger. Any two of three production facilites(Strike, Vette, Frig), set at time of construction(can be damaged but not destroyed). Must refit to change production facilities. Three module slots. Port/Starboard/Dorsal/Ventral point defense clusters.
Destroyer - Base Destroyer hull has a set RU cost and build time. Player chooses weapon load and upgrades from currently available techs, or chooses Min/Max. Each weapon chosen, engineering upgrade and defense upgrade affects both RU cost and build time to each hull constructed to those specifications.
Destroyer-class Weapons -
Standard Torpedo - The one we all know from the Torp Frig. Anti-corvette split, or anti-frigate single warhead.
Heavy Torpedo - Vaygr-inspired Anti-frigate or anti-capship weapon. Single heavy warhead with longest weapon range(beyond most standard ship sensor ranges), medium speed.
Box Launcher/Sprint Missiles - Turret with twin two-round launchers. Fast, medium range, single warhead, anti-frigate/shield. Best missile against point defenses. Boxes rotate to vertical and turret retracts into hull to reload, then re-acquires target and volley fires.
Kinetic Turret - Twin guns comparable to current DD weapons.
Ion Turret - Single beam turret comparable to/< Ion Frigate.
Plasma Turret - Fast-tracking twin energy lance turret for anti-corvette. Limited use against both frigates and strike craft. Vaporizes strikes if it can get a hit, and will quickly damage frigates that get too close. Will fire on Torpedoes, but not Sprint Missiles.
Destroyer hardpoints - Can be damaged by improved bombs. Most weapons(other than forward launcher) are =/< than a single frigate’s worth of dps.
Forward Launcher - choose one - Four standard or two heavy torpedo.
Ventral Hardpoint - choose one - Ion, plasma or kinetic turret, dual regular torp(vertical launch), single heavy torp, box launcher.
Dorsal Pair - Must be a matching set of any of the available weapons.
Target weapons by pressing W and clicking on ship, or zooming in for specific targeting. Target engines by pressing E and clicking on ship.
All Destroyers have single port and starboard point-defense clusters for limited missile defense. A single Torp Frigate is wasting its time, two won’t dent the self-repair, but trying to stop a full Box Launcher volley from a custom Destroyer is another kettle of fish.
Extreme - All-Heavy Torp DD pair launches 5 each. Full-on Box Launcher DD is on same vector but closer to target. Volley 12 Sprints and 4 standard torps as the heavies pass by. Overwhelm point defense and strip any shields as the heavies arrive.
Balanced - Four standard torps forward, plasma turret ventral, two ion or kinetic turrets dorsal.
With armor, shield, engine and reactor upgrades… maybe throw in the cloak and a point defense upgrade… each Destroyer has the capability to cost a mint and take just under a week(seemingly) to construct.
A pair of praetorian drone frigates set to repair would follow something like a Max DD around forever. But, properly supported, a pair would be a force of nature.
Battlecruiser - Higarran-based, but improved. There is no “rushing” to this behemoth, and it cannot be just thrown around. It represents a specific amount of Control Bandwidth™ that boosts the number/type of ships a player can effectively control. It is a task force keystone that better be the last unit to go down, not part of a trio of lumbering yolo attackers. The time and investment required to construct the better versions encourages a balanced fleet mix.
The base hull has three primary weapon hardpoints, two secondary weapon hardpoints, two module slots, a small hanger bay(5 vette groups or 5 strike), and five point defense clusters(two ventral). Can build all types of available probes, and scouts. All weapons, modules and point defense may be changed with a refit(keep an upgraded carrier handy), for a modest time/ru cost. Engineering and defense upgrades may never be removed, only added or left alone. Modules may be retired and rebuilt at any time.
Module slots are on the ventral side.
Primary Weapons -
Forward hardpoint choices… choose one.
Trinity kinetic cannon. Horizontally-aligned version of the Vaygr weapon.
Four heavy torpedoes.
Modified Phased Array. Progenitor tech, downsized and combined with current Ion tech(hence the ion unlock) to be compatible with current reactors. Second only to heavy torpedo in range. From moment of firing sequence start(animation) until 3 seconds after firing ceases, no shields or non-missile weapons fire(power consumption). 10-15 second weapon recharge time. The mother of all snipers, or the logical conclusion of the Ion Frigate.
Dorsal/Ventral hardpoint choices. Mix or match. These hardpoints are slightly farther back on the hull than current, to balance the port and starboard secondaries that are in a more forward position.
Ion turret. Single, not dual as current.
Unity kinetic turret. Single Trinity-class round fired from a tracking turret.
Twin heavy torpedo vertical launcher.
Box launcher. Twin four-round boxes per turret. Eight-round Sprint volley per turret. Suitable against anything except numbers of Multibeam frigates. Makes heavy shield users and upgraded point defense users cry.
Secondary Weapons - They are the same weapons that each Destroyer may choose from. Modular means just that.
Hardpoints - Port and starboard, near edges. Forward of center. Dorsal side. This makes non-torp versions strong to the front, weak to the rear and ventral, half to the sides. Two ventral point defense to defend the critical solo hardpoint and module slots.
No Standard Torps, but all others allowed. Matched set.
Max Box Launcher version(Thera-class) fires 24 Sprints to the front quadrant, along with whatever is in the forward slot. Even with the comparably smaller warhead, that may leave a mark. Would strip a DD’s shields in a flash of light and then begin to gnaw on its bones.
Max Kinetic would fire five Trinity-class rounds and twin DD turrets to the front. Then reload and crack at it again.
Max Ion would have to stutter-fire due to phased array power requirements. A one-two punch of energy fire.
Four heavy torps forward, ions/kinetics for primary, plasma turrets on secondaries. Almost what we have now.
Other Capitals -
Shipyard - Constructed by Command Ship. Almost as large as CS. Can self-refit and change configurations as required. Can build all ship production facilities. Strikes build/launch forward. Corvettes and Frigates build/launch from seperate port access points. Capitals emerge from starboard. Refit gantry runs along entire ventral side. Five module slots. Six point defense clusters.
Command/Base Ship - Taidani horizontal Toaster inspired, with a strong influence of Somtaww modularity and Higarran smoothness of line. Form follows function. It is a barely mobile C3 node. Can be replaced by a Shipyard at incredible costs in both time/ru. Externally constructed at refit gantry. Six Module slots. Eight point defense. Can self-refit. Can build all ship production facilities, and refit gantry.
Siege Cannon - Smaller, optimized version of the Somtaww acquisition, in a free-flying hull(framework with bridge and engines). 40% original power, same range and falloff. Four point defense. One module slot. One of few single-use tech developments. Very high Control Bandwidth costs.
Non-combat Ships -
Worker. Collects resources, and salvages inert debris/ships/etc. Shares frigate engineering/defense upgrades.
Refinery. Two collection points, Two point defense. Shares Capital engineering/defense upgrades.
Probes. The usual suspects.
Hyperspace. Allows wake-jumping of any ship within control range.
Cloak. Allows group cloak of any ship(s) within effect range.
Fire Control. Increases weapon effectiveness inside control range.
Drone Bay. Launches six repair bots or attack drones to any ship in control range. High Control Bandwidth needs and only one per Capital.
Engineering. Allows stage 1 development of techs.
Advanced Engineering. Allows stage 2 development of techs.
Reverse Engineering. Allows foreign techs to be intergrated into designs.
Gravity Well Generator. Same as current.
The Campaign, and the Foe.
So, let’s recap. We have kicked the Taidani off our Homeworld. One little mining Kith made the Beast their Bitch. The Vaygr got slapped into next week. What could possibly go wrong now that would cause such a ruckus?
In my humble sci-fi fan opinion, the only way to re-capture an epic scope is to put it ALL at risk. The Beast was a tiny particle that got lucky for a few weeks. This has been around for millenia, and is coming for everyone now.
An intelligent, space-faring collective appetite. There is no talking to it. Everything it encounters is Enemy, until it is made Food… or Dead. The enemy of my enemy is my friend takes precedence over some territorial fueds. When your children are being eaten, priorities change.
And the contestants are…
Fred Saberhagen’s Berserkers/von Neumann machines. ALL life must be ended, and all planets make more berserkers. That would bring the factions together.
Uber Beast/Borg. Could be done without too Beasty/Borgy an approach. Or could go whole-hog Cataclysm homage… “WEeeee liiivvvvve”. Beast 2.0.
Arachnids. Steve White’s(The Shiva Option) Bugs work much better than Starship Troopers’, or the ones from Ender’s Game. Telepathic, so no communication possible at all.
All could easily mimic the Bandwidth coding, so therefore by killing a control node, one reduces the effectiveness of vast swaths of the enemy. And there will be vast amounts.
I am toying with the idea of two enemy, and being able to occasionaly take the pressure off by luring them into fighting each other for a mission every now and then.
Whichever enemy is present, they all have the same trait in common. They ADAPT. Quickly. Reduced refit time/costs, increased build time/costs. The reason for upgrades, refits and variable ships is that the enemy did it to you first. They build strikes and vettes, refit frigs and larger whenever possible.
Start to win a battle, and they seem to be retreating. They are just going to adapt and come back with the counter to what you showed them. Quickly. In large numbers, or a few super-ships… whatever opening you give them.
Instead of checkers it becomes chess. Instead of rock, paper, scissors… it becomes rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock.
Cloak, sensor distortion and dust clouds could be used to hide a counter to the counter, and then gain the upper hand.
The enemy cannot refit ships that are now debris.
The enemy uses no new applications of physical laws, or esoteric weaponry. Some data can be acquired from their ships/debris, but reverse-engineering is straightforward.
Leeches, Mimics, and the Siege Cannon are needed to help stem the tide. Cannon shot detonates, killing a swath. Yay! Then sensor manager turns red with the next oncoming wave. Jaw drops.
Class-for-class, enemy ships are slower. Sometimes the only saving grace is being able to possibly outrun them, and get into cloak or a dust cloud.
The Campaign -
Semi-linear, branching. 30+ missions, of which a player may see 25+/-.
Branches may be determined by player outcome or player choice, or combination of the two… depending on mission and place in campaign.
Example - You need tech from the Kadeshi.
You choose an early encounter. They do not believe you, and run you off with heavy losses. Campaign continues, but you have nothing to show for that mission but some scarred ships. Not every mission is a win/loss. Some days are just a bitch.
You get a middle encounter. They are about to run you off, when the enemy appears and does not so much desecrate the Garden, as consume it. You have an ally of convenience now. Their spinal beam tech completes the phased array development, and the newest swarmer techs help microships and strikes go faster. Gravwells are better now as well.
You get a late encounter, with or without the early one. The Garden is ravaged. A damaged lone Kadeshi MS is all that remains. They cry and give you the data you require in exchange for tech and resources.
Almost all factions become more interested in assisting The Alliance once they have experienced The Foe first-hand. Help, run, hide, fight. They will pick one. It is up to the player to make them choose wisely. Talk, trade, or beat some sense into them.
A mission may have minimum requirements, as well as optional objectives/rewards. Do you dare to sneak out of the dust to retrieve that derelict? Or just call it a day and move on?
The Bentusi are the deus ex machina in HW. They will trade for any techs that you must have, but didn’t manage to acquire yet, before things becomes untenable. They will make you squirm and squeal a bit, but they will eventually show.
This is not a slow build-up to ever-larger fleet sizes. Some missions require the player to leave the combat zone and explore, while other factions hold the line. Some epic battles in the middle will rival the end battles. Capabilities would change though.
Three end-game battles for three enemy home systems. Order is chosen by player. The longer a battle waits, the stronger the enemy is when you reach them. Different factions, under AI control, assist in each battle.
Vaygr/Taidan, Bentusi/Kadeshi, Higarran. Escort the last Kadeshi MS as it kamis into the final enemy control node, firing its spinal beam all the way in. “For the Garden!” Watch a Vaygr BC save the galaxy.
I have more on every topic and then some.
Player control over the game, and replayability, were my watchwords. Player even chooses the final battle area, and could choose who fires the last shot.
An engine that encompasses all this could jump-start many new games in the 3D RTS genre.
Oceans. World-spanning ocean on an alien planet with islands as blocking terrain.
Gas Torus around a neutron star/red giant pair. Microgravity but atmosphere and truly huge volume.
Other space games.
Multiplayer - Homeworld Compleat. Everything but The Foe. Kushan, Taidan, Somtaww, Beast, Higarran, Vaygr, Alliance. Chop 5-10% off Alliance HP and good to go. Give everyone infection vaccine. Alliance reverse-engineers other techs to Alliance standards.
If you climbed that wall of text, then I salute you!
Thank you for your attention, and chime in if you wish. I wouldn’t put it out if I didn’t want company.