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Working on a personal game project, wanted some input... - 12/21/2011 10:48:06 PM   
Texashawk

 

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Hello,

I've always been fascinated with the Honorverse, and I finally decided that there was never going to be a good military computer wargame (yes, I'm familiar with AV:T) that could do justice to the type of hard-science battles that the Honorverse is more or less famous for, so I decided to create my own. Please note that this is NOT a for-profit venture and I have no plans to release it to a wide audience, but I wonder if there's others out there that might be interested in helping me nail down some of the details to balance the play between 'fun' and realistic - for example, the acceleration rates in the game are much faster than in the novels because otherwise it would take hours for a SD to get up to speed... realistic, but fun? Anyway, I've been working on the project for about a month and the missiles, movement, turning, detection systems, and basic damage models are all working, and there is a very rudimentary AI in place mainly for testing, but this is only the beginning. I want to work on this project for a while, and eventually expand to a campaign game where you control the Haven or Manticore war machine - decide builds, research, control some basic economy, and assemble fleets, create operations, and assign 'heroes' (admirals, captains) to each fleet who influence the tactical AI in some way.

The scale is as though you are the fleet/TF/squadron commander in your flagship - you can control your flagship more or less directly, but you must issue orders to your lower subordinates (and account for the time lag) and trust their skills to carry out your orders. You will be able to create pre-determined 'op plans' that will give parameters for subordinate units to act (if desired) or give detailed orders to each ship under your command that your captains will then interpret in their own way. And if your flag is destroyed... you no longer have control over the battle, obviously... :-)

Here's a very early alpha shot of what the main CIC screen looks like... keep in mind this is programmed in Visual Basic 2010... ;-) This shows the destroyer Hawkwing about to take a serious pounding from 3 Haven BC's... will she survive? (Spoiler: Hell, no. Harrington ain't THAT good.)






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< Message edited by Texashawk -- 12/21/2011 11:13:19 PM >


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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/21/2011 11:08:10 PM   
Texashawk

 

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One more picture, showing some of the damage modeling. The RMN Star Knight has taking a pounding, and you can see the states of the various missile bays - cycling (from previous fire), destroyed, active, or damaged (in various amounts). Damage is tracked to individual crew members manning individual systems. You will have a very good idea of the fighting capability of your ship, including core system status, alpha/beta node status. and hull integrity. What you won't have is hit points - one lucky hit can set a fusion bottle off, and if your engineers aren't quick enough, well.... ;)




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< Message edited by Texashawk -- 12/21/2011 11:09:50 PM >


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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/21/2011 11:20:58 PM   
wodin


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Sounds very interesting. Not normally into Sci fi and your mechanics are actual what I've wanted to see in a Sci fi game.

I'd like to see a detailed sim on the combat side without the need for production and other 4x game mechanics. Quite like the idea of research and ship development and maybe even training academies. However I'd like to be given a certain amount of funds from government. Maybe you can try and request more etc. Also depending how the War is going and other issues depends on how much you get. However the actual government would all be done under the hood. So your really the head of War and defence rather than playing the whole government

Love the idea of giving out commands to your ships and they perform as well as their commander. Maybe have promotions\awards etc in game.

Like the look aswell. Seems your on the right track. The game though will be as good as the AI. So as much work put into that the better. As I'm sure you know.

< Message edited by wodin -- 12/21/2011 11:23:46 PM >

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 12:21:42 AM   
Perturabo


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Is it 3D?

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 12:30:36 AM   
wodin


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Doesn't look like it from the screenies. Though I quite like the look of the combat screen. What would be interesting to know is if there is a Z axis.

3D graphics by a one man band wouldn't look good enough to justify the effort I reckon.

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 1:57:14 AM   
nim8or

 

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I like what I see - it would be fun to give something like this a go. Perhaps one day you'll expand the scope into something like Aurora?

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 2:34:41 AM   
Texashawk

 

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Thanks, guys. Appreciate the support/feedback.

Perturabo - no, it's not 3D per se, although there are some 3D considerations for combat resolution- since there's an impeller wedge above and below the ship, the ship can 'roll its wedge' to block incoming fire. That's modeled, but not visibly. As wodin said, I'm a guy in a garage who bought a book and taught himself Visual Basic - 3D is a bit beyond my scope at this time.

nim8or- Yeah, actually Aurora was my last hope for a good Honorverse engine, and perhaps with the Newtonian updates, it might work, but I wanted to create a game that focused first and foremost on raw, tactical, hard combat, where every ship you lose really means something and people you care about in the Honorverse can die forever (or until your next new game!)

wodin - Thanks for the feedback. I plan to spend a tremendous amount of time on the AI. Actually, I'm quite proud of the working design for it. I'll share some of that very soon!

Steve

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 3:33:33 AM   
RedArgo


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That looks great! I'd love to have a good tactical space combat game and I'm a big fan of the Harrington series too. I've wondered why there was never a computer game based on the series. I got the impression that Weber wouldn't allow it, but I could be totally wrong, maybe nobody stepped up to do it.

Next book is due in March. Keep us posted on your work.

Bill

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 5:59:17 AM   
Texashawk

 

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Don't know about not allowing it - after all, he did allow AV:T to be used as the foundation for a board game based (somewhat) on the physics of the Honorverse. I suspect there hasn't been a computer game because a) it's a pretty complex setup and b) it probably would have a very narrow scope of interest.

Steve

quote:

ORIGINAL: RedArgo

That looks great! I'd love to have a good tactical space combat game and I'm a big fan of the Harrington series too. I've wondered why there was never a computer game based on the series. I got the impression that Weber wouldn't allow it, but I could be totally wrong, maybe nobody stepped up to do it.

Next book is due in March. Keep us posted on your work.

Bill



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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 7:43:51 AM   
JudgeDredd


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Hi Steve

I'd be interested in which book(s) you bought - which one helped you get started.

I'm a big VB afn and programmed in it since 1999. I've often thought about creating a game myself and never really had the know-how - being a database/Windows front end developer. I've looked for books in the past but never really understood whether said books would be good enough and always walked away - but as you bought a book and have got this far (impressive), I'd be interested in which book(s)

At first glance I thought it looked a lot like Harpoon...mainly just the fact that some features stuck out - was that your "inspiration" for look or did you come up with this yourself?

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 7:27:53 PM   
Texashawk

 

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JD,

I actually got 2 books - one is Getting Started with Visual Basic 2010 by Willis & Newsome - that was just to learn the language (and I think it does an excellent job of using examples and common language - I use it for reference all the time now) and the other one (don't laugh) is MS VB Game Programming For Teens (second edition). It's not really for teens in my opinion (well, maybe genius teens) but it is a good overview of 'how should a game engine be structured' and 'how should a game program be organized'? It focuses on Direct X (which I'm not using in this alpha) but the general principles of organization, like a game loop, timer, game engine core subs, etc. are valid I think and really helped me organize this game in a forms framework.

As for the inspiration, yes, Harpoon was one inspiration, but primarily in the series they describe the action that you see as taking place on the holo in the CIC tank or the captain's repeater screen, which I envision as being fairly bare-bones so that you can pick out the important things right away. The whole point of my game is to make you feel like you're the force commander, and even today that's more or less what a CIC room looks like on a carrier. So it's similar to Harpoon in the sense that both games are trying to create the same experience, but the mechanics and scale are very, very different.

Good luck! I'd love your further input as I continue, and would be happy to share my experiences programming! It's my first game, too, and I've learned a lot about what to do (and what not, which means a lot of rewriting!)

Steve

quote:

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd

Hi Steve

I'd be interested in which book(s) you bought - which one helped you get started.

I'm a big VB afn and programmed in it since 1999. I've often thought about creating a game myself and never really had the know-how - being a database/Windows front end developer. I've looked for books in the past but never really understood whether said books would be good enough and always walked away - but as you bought a book and have got this far (impressive), I'd be interested in which book(s)

At first glance I thought it looked a lot like Harpoon...mainly just the fact that some features stuck out - was that your "inspiration" for look or did you come up with this yourself?



< Message edited by Texashawk -- 12/22/2011 7:30:15 PM >


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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 7:58:34 PM   
JudgeDredd


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Thanks for the tips.

I found MS VB Game Programming For Teens used for £1.50 on Amazon. I couldn't find the other, but then I am programming in 2008 and have a good knowledge of VB6 and my knowledge of VB.NET 2008 is growing...so I'm happy.

Thanks very much - I've been wondering about a good 2D gaming book for a couple of years now.

Not that I'd ever release a game to a bunch of narcky wargamers....they're just too damn picky and I need a thicker flame suit! You are definitely a brave man!

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 8:21:14 PM   
Jeffrey H.


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Did you ever play Star Fleet Battles ? It's an old school 'board' game. Loads of fun, deatiled, tactical, 2D ship combat. Abstract as can be but very fun.

You could always adapt a physics movement model around the SFB combat model. I suppose anyway.


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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 8:59:15 PM   
wodin


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I also love the fact that the game is using pretty decent combat ranges. Many space games have contact way to close. Especially if in 3D.

I actually really love the look of your game. The more detail in system\crew damage the better. A good selection of orders thereby giving lots of tactical options (at the same time easy to understand and not that many it's overwhelming. I like the idea that giving out an order may not turn out exactly as you wanted due to the crew of the ship being inexperienced or ship damage or moral issues etc) with an extensive damage and to hit system aswell as a large variety in ships and weapon systems would be ideal.

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 9:24:26 PM   
Perturabo


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Have you ever considered making a commercial version that would be without the Honorverse stuff and with generic hard hard sci-fi stuff instead?

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/22/2011 10:03:50 PM   
Mobius


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One thing I noticed is that your missiles are moving far too fast to correct their trajectory within the confines of the battle space. One thing I found when I wrote a program to calculate turning in space it that it takes a lot of fuel to change course. Not fuel so much to burn but mass of some kind ejected to push or turn missiles/ships in space.

Though missile are about the only way to hit manuevering enemy objects at any distance in space.

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 9:25:23 AM   
Texashawk

 

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Up late, working on the game... really coming along!

Jeff - Yes, I played and loved SFB, and if it weren't so fiendishly complex (well, actually with a lot of optional rules) it might be fun to try and computerize. But I loved that game!

Perturabo - It would be easy to do - the components and ship classes are all external text files, and most of the definitions are enumerated variables, so it would be pretty easy to 'mod' as it is.

Mobius - Well, I'm kind of going by canon in the Honorverse, and they don't have a lot to say about turn radii. I have hard-coded each type of object with a turn ratio - missiles can basically turn 40 degrees per second, but that's kind of a WAG as far as how that fits into the Honoroverse. They do maneuver as they get closer to their target, and they can lose lock along the way, or run out of range.

JD - You're welcome! Good luck, and I'm glad you were able to find one of the books!

Wodin - I'd love your thoughts going forward; I see you a lot on the DW forums and you seem pretty knowledgeable about these matters, and I'm glad you like the UI; many a game has been busted because you can't control it!

To all brave Matrix souls out there - I'm actually almost ready to create a playable alpha - it's not a ton of fun but you can move your ships around and fire at stuff, and it gets damaged and might blow up, and there's some AI to work against, but if you want to pound it, I'd love your feedback!

Back to the grind...

Steve

< Message edited by Texashawk -- 12/23/2011 9:28:36 AM >


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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 10:24:36 AM   
wodin


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Steve, would love to take a look.

I also humbly suggest you base it on a Honor type universe but not enough to go against copyright laws, then propose the game to Matrix as a retail release.

If you succeed in your overall plan for the game I'm sure it could easly go retail and this kind of game at this scale is very rare indeed.

Or go the Indy route and try for steam.

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 11:26:42 AM   
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Texashawk, you won't like this, but you will need to remove ANY reference to the 'Honorverse' if you intend circulating the game to anyone at all, for profit or otherwise.  David Weber has made it quite clear that he will not countenance any computer game or mod - freeware or otherwise - that makes any use of his intellectual property without it being officially licensed, and has provided his reasons why in person on a couple of game/fan forums (which I've read and am currently trying to hunt down a link for).

BTW, you only mention AV:T; I assume you are also aware of 'Saganami Island' (the Honor Harrington version of the system)?

EDIT; THIS isn't the post I was thinking of which was from Weber himself, but it gives you the general idea. The same is true of any sort of 'fan fiction' as well.

quote:

Project fried.
David,
I am in receipt of you're e-mail forwarded to be via Ken Burnside.

I have discussed this issue with my partners Mark McDermitt and John McTiernan, as well as our respective attorneys. Though we appreciate your interest in the Honor Harrington universe and the offer to create this new software environment, we can not allow you to proceed. It would invalidate agreements that we already have in place and reduce the viability of the project to the Major Film Studios and other ancillary markets.

We must ask you to discontinue your pursuit of this project. We do appreciate your efforts and thank you for you’re continued interest in the Honor Harrington universe.

Best wishes,

Chris Roensch
C.O.O.,
Echo Valley Entertainment, Inc.

Producer,
The Manticore Company


(Ken Burnside is the head honcho at Ad Astra which has the boardgame license).

Much the same happened with proposed mods for Sins of a Solar Empire and Homeworld 2 that I know of, and the 'cease and desist's were actually flying in one instance. I think the Starshatter Honorverse mod (quite a good one, actually) must have slipped through the blockade but I've no idea where you would find that these days.


< Message edited by Hertston -- 12/23/2011 1:06:32 PM >

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 12:31:49 PM   
wodin


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best go with Herston's advice i think. It's really I'm sure just a name changing exercise.

The name sounds like some 70's sci fi series.

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 2:14:37 PM   
Mobius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hertston
Texashawk, you won't like this, but you will need to remove ANY reference to the 'Honorverse' if you intend circulating the game to anyone at all, for profit or otherwise.  David Weber has made it quite clear that he will not countenance any computer game or mod - freeware or otherwise - that makes any use of his intellectual property without it being officially licensed, and has provided his reasons why in person on a couple of game/fan forums (which I've read and am currently trying to hunt down a link for).
Unless the author has a license to use a registered name like Honorverse you can't use it. So the game science has to stand on its own feet and can‘t refer back to the source.

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 2:29:34 PM   
Perturabo


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http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/

http://www.rocketpunk-manifesto.com/

< Message edited by Perturabo -- 12/23/2011 2:37:47 PM >


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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 2:30:58 PM   
nim8or

 

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How about Valorverse?

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 8:25:18 PM   
Texashawk

 

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It's a pity that thread was from over 6 years ago... It irks me when people lock up their IP like that and don't do anything with it, when people just want to help expand people's awareness of their IP without looking for profit. I get their point, but I think their fear is a little... overblown. Besides, this project was just for me, but the more I work on it and show other people the more I think others might enjoy playing it too, sort of like how Aurora was developed. (Actually, didn't Steve get a C&D from the creator of Starfire?) Maybe I should just try to make it legit, no matter how small, or just create a new universe and keep it easy to mod? Thoughts?

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 8:26:57 PM   
Texashawk

 

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Perturabo - great links! They have really helped me fine-tune some acceleration issues. Much thanks!

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/23/2011 9:47:53 PM   
wodin


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New universe...easy to mod.

Oh for me it's several slaps and a few punches and about the same for you with games that keep my attention..I hold out hopes that yours makes it No4.

< Message edited by wodin -- 12/23/2011 9:51:27 PM >

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/24/2011 2:44:37 AM   
rhondabrwn


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/

http://www.rocketpunk-manifesto.com/


Wow... pretty cool sites! Thanks for sharing

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/24/2011 5:41:18 AM   
Hertston


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Texashawk

It's a pity that thread was from over 6 years ago... It irks me when people lock up their IP like that and don't do anything with it, when people just want to help expand people's awareness of their IP without looking for profit. I get their point, but I think their fear is a little... overblown. Besides, this project was just for me, but the more I work on it and show other people the more I think others might enjoy playing it too, sort of like how Aurora was developed. (Actually, didn't Steve get a C&D from the creator of Starfire?) Maybe I should just try to make it legit, no matter how small, or just create a new universe and keep it easy to mod? Thoughts?


There were more recent ones, including a couple from Weber as I said, but I haven't been able to track them down. As for doing nothing with it, there was an Honorverse MMO in development around 2008, but that seems to have disappeared in development hell.

IMHO the best thing to do is just design your own universe for the game. It doesn't have to be that deep, but it could actually be a lot of fun to do, and for any tesyers to help with - and you could tweak the combat any way you wish to aid 'realism' or gameplay without worrying about loss of fidelity to any source material.

BTW, have you read Jack Campbell's 'Lost Fleet' books? He does 'realistic' space combat too, and might be more agreeable to sanctioning a freeware game/mod than David Weber?


< Message edited by Hertston -- 12/24/2011 5:44:15 AM >

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RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/24/2011 9:30:34 AM   
Texashawk

 

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Damn... that MMO actually looks pretty cool. Wonder what happened?

I really think I'm leaning towards just creating a new universe. I actually had a space combat idea that was pretty far from Honorverse mechanics, with missiles having more individual power as opposed to 'clouds' of missiles and the largest cloud rules the day, but I didn't really have any backstory. What I really like about the Honorverse as far as a strategic aspect was the way Haven and Manticore were set up - Haven is like Russia - large in quantity but somewhat obsolete technology, and their command structure does not encourage creative thinking (especially during the PRH/Saint-Just era) while Manticore is more like Great Britain - a small home area but a large trading empire, and with substantially better technology. Plus, you have morale calculated differently - Haven needs to keep expanding to maintain/expand the BLS - if there's too much stagnation and the BLS is forced to be dropped, the people will overthrow the government. With Manticore, you'd track overall kingdom morale - if it drops too low, a new government will be formed (High Ridge) due to political pressure, and the Queen can do nothing about it. Either way, the war would end. It's a wonderful tension and balance, and I was really looking forward to gaming it out.

Steve

quote:

ORIGINAL: Hertston

quote:

ORIGINAL: Texashawk

It's a pity that thread was from over 6 years ago... It irks me when people lock up their IP like that and don't do anything with it, when people just want to help expand people's awareness of their IP without looking for profit. I get their point, but I think their fear is a little... overblown. Besides, this project was just for me, but the more I work on it and show other people the more I think others might enjoy playing it too, sort of like how Aurora was developed. (Actually, didn't Steve get a C&D from the creator of Starfire?) Maybe I should just try to make it legit, no matter how small, or just create a new universe and keep it easy to mod? Thoughts?


There were more recent ones, including a couple from Weber as I said, but I haven't been able to track them down. As for doing nothing with it, there was an Honorverse MMO in development around 2008, but that seems to have disappeared in development hell.

IMHO the best thing to do is just design your own universe for the game. It doesn't have to be that deep, but it could actually be a lot of fun to do, and for any tesyers to help with - and you could tweak the combat any way you wish to aid 'realism' or gameplay without worrying about loss of fidelity to any source material.

BTW, have you read Jack Campbell's 'Lost Fleet' books? He does 'realistic' space combat too, and might be more agreeable to sanctioning a freeware game/mod than David Weber?




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(in reply to Hertston)
Post #: 29
RE: Working on a personal game project, wanted some inp... - 12/24/2011 12:37:45 PM   
wodin


Posts: 8014
Joined: 4/20/2003
From: England
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New universe mate. There are plenty on here brimming with ideas for a backstory. I'd get as many people giving me their backstory ideas then try and bring the bits I like altogether and it will spark new ideas that you hadn't considered. If even you just get the backbone and overal picture down you can then expand on it from there.

Any more screenies?

< Message edited by wodin -- 12/24/2011 12:40:07 PM >

(in reply to Texashawk)
Post #: 30
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