The game, with the working title ”Ephemeris”, is a 4X sci-fi game with emphasis on space combat.
It features physics-based space combat with ships driven realistically by linear and angular acceleration and other forces. Ship sizes range from fighter class to battleship and carrier classes. The ship’s armaments and components will be chosen by the player, so the ship’s size is not necessarily tied to any role. Due to realistic space physics, the combat will not only look cool but will allow for unique tactics usually only found in realistic non-RTS space simulations.
Weapons come in four different sizes and with different types of mounts. The smallest weapons are typically only available for fighter-class ships and suitable for fighting other fighters or other smaller targets. Bigger weapons are typically needed to efficiently damage bigger ships, but a huge number of smaller weapons may also do the trick. Weapon mounts can be fixed, slightly pivoting (gimbal) or turret-type. Fixed mounts are the cheapest in terms of money and also as regards power and size required, but they largely rely on the agility of the ship to get the target in sight. All in all, a huge fixed weapon on a slow ship might be next to useless against a small agile ship. For a big ship to fend off a threatening swarm of smaller ships on its own, it will need small weapons mounted on turrets, since those turrets will be fast enough to target agile fighters. These turrets can also act as a point defence system against incoming missiles and torpedoes.
Because of all the variations in the ship design system, there is no single best design for all situations. Instead, you have to adapt and assess what is needed in the current situation and in the future. The research system will be randomized. It makes sense thematically that you can’t know in advance what you are going to invent and it also adds to the replay value of the game. Yes, it adds to the so-called and sometimes criticized RNG factor, but randomness by itself is not necessarily bad. Randomness has to be fair and there have to be ways to work around it and to do risk management. In this case, it prevents the possibility of always going for the optimal tech combinations and reducing the game to Excel sheets. Tech options will be randomized, but researching higher tech is guaranteed to give bonuses to most applications of lower tech levels. Thus, for example, if advancing weapons tech does not give you exactly the weapon you wished for, it will make all existing weapons better.
The world map consists of a randomly generated set of star systems. Each star system has up to one planet which can be colonized. It would be more realistic to allow many planets per star, but in terms of gameplay, I find it more convenient to have only one planet per a star node on the map. There are different planet types and the type affects the colonization, fertility and productions of the planet among other things. There will be a food exporting and trade netwok systems which allows for the specialization of planets and makes the economy interesting due to interaction between planets. These mechanics are quite sophisticated under the hood but are designed to be easy to play to minimize unnecessary micromanagement when the size of the empire is large.
Not much is set in stone at this point and this description will evolve over time once some milestones are achieved. A better overview of the current state and direction of the game may be found by looking at the latest posts on the devlog.