Star Command looks like a real winner, so we've been following it like the hawks that we are since its initial unveil. The especially cool part about this approach is that we're watching it grow month-by-month, and our users, who are understandably excited, are a something of a cog in its development now. Case in point: the Star Command dudes are asking for feedback on the ship-versus-ship battle system to decide if it should be real time like the rest of the game's action or turn based as initially planned. Talk about big decisions, eh?

Here's the scenario being laid out:

You receive a transmission from the Evil Cortexians. You start a fight with them; your weapons begin to charge and you fire using a brief 10 second mini-game to target them. You then take a few critical hits and your shields drop; now, you have a fire from the last shot occurring on you're bridge so you move some guys from engineering to go fight the fire. Meanwhile, engineering gets hit by an even bigger blast and you have to split this repair crew... and ...

... then two different follow-up scenarios are introduced, both of which are fairly wide-reaching and strategically harrowing. The problem that the developers are running into is that they're afraid to ditch the methodical X-Com-ish strategy in favor of a more seamless, action-focused kind of approach. Your thoughts matter here, however it does seem like turn-based is currently out of favor.

Check out the thread to dive in, see everyone's thoughts, and add your own to the delicious pile. And speaking of thoughts, it looks like free-to-play might be thing in Star Command. Check out this post:

...the game will be fully playable, beatable and fun but with the monetization along the lines of unique characters, or something along those lines.

This way the game isn't forced to go slow or be painful just to entice to raise revenue. Instead, we will have random drops of non-important game items -- and if you want that specific one -- you will have to pay for it or just keep trying to grab it.

At SOME point we need revenue, and freemium might perhaps be the least painful way of doing it. Perhaps not, but it is also (as we are all mature) a good way of raising more revenue which leads to more Star Command.

If that seems up in the air, it's probably because it still is. The larger takeaway from these kinds of community outreach pitches is this: Star Command probably isn't anywhere near finished. You don't ask about stuff like "Hey, how should we do our combat" unless a product is still a ways off. Kind of a bummer, actually, now that we think about it... but, hey, at least you can have a voice in this stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/DotComCTO DotComCTO

    Brad,

    "The larger takeaway from these kinds of community outreach pitches is this: Star Command probably isn't anywhere near finished. You don't ask about stuff like "Hey, how should we do our combat" unless a product is still a ways off."

    That comment feels spot on. That's exactly my take away from reading this article. That said, I think there's tons of potential in this game, but being a small shop is likely going to drag out the development work.

  • Anonymous

    By the time this game is released we'll all be piloting actual space ships which I imagine will kill a lot of the game's hype.

  • http://twitter.com/Disco_box Jahn

    I was one of the many who helped fund/Kickstart Star Command and the idea of it going Freemium does disappoint me. I'd rather pay $10 for a full game then $0 for a gimped pay to play more version.

    RE Not being finished, SC is an unusual case as we have been privy to the games development from the pre-alpha stages so it's going to take a bit longer than we are used to.

  • Keith Burgun

    TURN BASED! TURN BASED! TURN BASED!  Dear god why is this even a question?

    If it's about twitch, timing and precision, and you only control one ship then real time would work, otherwise make it turn based!

    • Damjan Cvetkov-Dimitrov

      God said that it should be turn based, I consulted with the pope, krishna and with a bunch of other religions, they all concur. 

      Can we have a vote or something? I really think that turn based opens up a lot of possibilities and it enables a wider and larger strategic immersion. As in, you could control many more things at the same time, tweak details more, have a larger influence on effects.

      Maybe it could be quasi-turn-based, with a pause function, like Fallout 1 and 2 had, or dwarf fortress.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

    real time imo

  • http://twitter.com/Readmore Readmore

    I agree with Keith, Turn Based is the only way to go if you want to capture the real strategy of cap ship space combat. After we finish Pocket Heroes I really want to take a stab at making an awesome turn-based space combat game.

    • Chris Miller

      Yeah except the Klingons didn't sit around waiting for Kirk to "take his turn". It should be real time because that is the way real battles are fought.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fred-Betzner/14231967 Fred Betzner

        Sure, but we're talking about massive ships here, it would take time for these things to maneuver, lock on their shots, and fire. If it was in actual real time they would take forever, sure turn-based doesn't represent how it would work in the real world, but it's a game...about spaceships. Plus if you're micromanaging the crew and re-assigning them in the heat of battle I would imagine a real time mechanic would be hectic to the point of frustration. I vote turn-based for the ship to ship combat for this reason, plus it's nice to have a different flavor to break up the action.

      • Anonymous

        "Klingons", "Kirk","real battles"?

        Riiight.

  • http://twitter.com/StarCommandGame StarCommandGame

    Hang on. Lets slow down here.

    Couple things:

    1) There were vague vague whispers of freemium. It was more of a "thoughts from the community" type thing. It would be irresponsible of us not to at least consider the proposition given the way the mobile market is. That said, our heart and soul is with traditional gaming - you pay, you get a full game, you get a bunch of free updates, you can get some DLC if you really love it. No freemium. Not gonna happen. Been dead for a while.

    2) We love X-Com and we understand the loyalty to strategy combat - we love it too. The problem is that were losing the core focus of the game - chaos in combat. Split second decisions. Guys dying horrible deaths because you couldn't decide. This was always the goal. A tactical strategy game felt like the best way to do it. And we have it built. Full Line of Site, enemy AI the whole nine yards. Which is why this isn't an easy decision. But, the problem is the game becomes very different when you switch to strategy mode. It slows down. You can assess situations, figure out good strategies, minimize losses. We want mistakes.

    3) Not twitch. It still would be closer to making quick decisions about everything, but your non reaction to a situation wont be chaotic. It will be more your commitment - remove your awesome tactical dude from Plasma Cannons to deal with an on ship invader? Protect the diplomat or protect your central computer? Things like this.

    4) The game isn't that far away. Like we said, on-ship was essentially done - which is how we got to this point. That said, the game will be out when it's awesome, but that will be this year, very likely the first half if not sooner. But we have missed dates and learned our lesson, so we won't commit to anything. The trailer will put all reservations at ease. Promise.

    5) Tactical combat will be in the game, but in an expansion. One of the problems with on-ship is that you are just defending the same territory over and over - the same choke points, the same strategies etc. Yes, you change ships, but it doesn't take long to get bored. Tactical combat is better suited for when you don't know what your going into - like alien ships, new planets, spacestations etc.

    Love chatting about it all. Please, post comments, tell us on twitter or the forums. We are always watching and waiting to jump on you and tell you how dumb you all are.

    We have weak egos. We're cowards really.

    • Anonymous

      Can't we have both real and turn based combat like in X-COM Apocalypse? It was a toggle switch even during gameplay. It was amazing, even then I played it in real time.

      Can't wait.

      • http://twitter.com/LGamer99 V C

        I like the toggle switch idea. Don't know how hard that would be to implement. That way, you could satisfy both turn-based and real-time fans. I'm personally a fan-boy for real time as turn-based bores me to death. It bores me to death because in a game like gun-bound, you always got those annoying 'trolls' who like to exhaust all their time, EVERY round. I got so sick of that. In addition to that, when it's turn based, you might not have intended it, but sometimes, you can easily spend a good 30 minutes on a single turn without realizing it, all in the hopes of getting that perfect move. That is what truly annoys me. With real-time, the action is seamless. If you make a mistake, learn from it and try to avoid it next time.

      • http://twitter.com/StarCommandGame StarCommandGame

        Toggle is gonna be problematic. Besides, as a gamer I prefer a highly polished system to two very polished ones. It would be hard to get balance for both as the focus of each is very different.

    • http://twitter.com/tootiegooch tootiegooch

      So... the title of this entry is incorrect ('star command' ship combat might blah blah). The combat is set and there may be a "tactical" combat expansion? I think you're making the right decision... If you're trying to capture that vaguely 'star trek' vibe of being the ship's captain (which it is, of course, awesome to be). Good luck with that, looking forward to seeing what you cowards come up with (seriously, the game looks fantastic).

    • http://www.jshamblin.com J.Shamblin

      Real time. If this game is anything like the Star Trek episodes I've watched, there is time to access the damage and move people around and bark orders in real time. If the current enemy ship fires 1 shot per 6 seconds, and players know this certain enemy attempts to board after 3 shots, then it lets players know how much time they have to make their decisions and where to send their people.

      Give the player quick drag buttons like maybe drag the engineer button on the touch screen over to the holodeck button to repair damages caused by enemy fire. This quick, vague command splits the personnel in engineering. It sends half of the available engineers (chosen at random by the computer) to repair the hollow deck and keeps the other half on standby for other problems. (If another problem arises, the personnel is split again.)

      Also give the players an option to be more specific, like send Jenkins and Glob Bob from engineering to the holodeck for repairs. Players have to click through the ships map, tap on the engineering room, tap on Jenkins and Glob Bob, give them orders to repair the holodeck. This takes more time, but it might be worth it if Jenkins is the best engineer a player has and the the enemy has already fired 2 shots and they are close to boarding the player's ship through the hole they created in the holodeck.

      This will give players options to make quick commands if needed, but also strategize if time allows. Players might want to be specific with sending Jenkins to fix the holodeck, but use the quick drag buttons to send security to protect him because who protects Jenkins might not matter as much.

      If they player knows the strengths of their own crew and the the strategies of various enemies, then it adds to the depth of play. Just an idea.

      Good luck, the game looks awesome so far!

      • http://twitter.com/StarCommandGame StarCommandGame

        This is very accurate the the model we are shooting for.

      • http://www.jshamblin.com J.Shamblin

        Cool. You could call it something simple like the Quick Command Console. Maybe the turn-based fans who need more time get their wits about them can use the pause button so they can think of their best option. I know it's not the same thing, but it helps slow things down.

        It's been a long while since I watched Star Trek, but here are a few more suggestions:

        - You can't use the shield and weapons at the same time. One or the other. After a player/enemy fires a weapon,  there could be a 1 sec cool down delay before they can power up their shields which allows a chance for a critical hit. Maybe the amount of power used for the weapon dictates how long before the shields can be activated again? New technology later on allows for weak sheilds to be up while firing weapons.

        - Maybe the screen can shake and have the phone vibrate when the player takes a direct hit from the enemy. That would be fun.

        - Allow players a quick out. If they feel they can't win a battle, allow them a chance to escape using warp 5, but at a cost. Maybe they lose a thruster or something expensive breaks or crew members get injured because they didn't have time to brace themselves?

        Whatever you guys decide to do, I'm sure it'll make for a really fun game. I'm looking forward to its release.

  • Anonymous

    First of all guys I do apologize for my English. Secondly, I do not bother really about turn based or real time gameplay. I do care about GOOD gameplay. My heart is closer to turn based but real time action would do fine for me (and maybe for many other players) if it will be a polished diamond. I have a question of different matter. Did you get inspired by Star Trek universum? There is no really good game when it comes to Star Trek brand. It would be great if I'll be able to put myself into Cpt Kirk shoes. Fingers crossed and all the best guys in making a perfect space-combat-explore-discover-sim. 

    PS. One off payment is a best idea + free updates + micro payment for DLC

    • http://twitter.com/The_Unflattered Gee Lampa

      You're wrong there, Lipek.

      "Star Trek - Deep Space Nine: The Fallen" was awesome,
      as was "Star Trek: 25th Anniversary" and "Star Trek: Away Team".

  • http://buzzabit.com/aaron/ Aaron Sullivan

    This is one of those games that has such a positive vibe for me. It's not just marketing. It's feedback, it's the confidence in their own design, it's the fact that the developers are making something they want to play. Can't wait to try this out.

    Also, I love the way they are approaching the combat issues. Basically, it seems to me they are trying to focus on the decisions that matter the most and make it dramatic and fun. Turn-based combat is awesome but there can be tedium in choosing the same types of mini-actions over and over, especially once you decide on some strategies that work.

  • Anonymous

    So long as there's a good deal of strategy involved, I'm in for anything. Honestly though, I always prefer turn-based.

  • Anonymous

    How about this: real-time combat when defending your ship from boarders (to better portray the chaos); and you could introduce missions that take place on enemy ships where you board them with your team using turn-based combat. Would be very diverse.

    • http://twitter.com/StarCommandGame StarCommandGame

      This is the exact plan. Away teams would be strategy - on ship defense would be real time.

      • Anonymous

        Doing that alienates fans of either type IMO. Turn based fans won't enjoy the real time gameplay and vice versa.

      • Anonymous

        There is neither any evidence, nor a clue that would suggest this move would alienate fans of either game type. The idea of being able to switch between real-time and turn-based is nice though. I'm an X-COM fan (especially the UFO: Enemy Unknown game) too so generally I prefer the turn-based approach but I'd welcome the addition of real-time as well, as long as it supports the emulation of a specific atmosphere, namely what the developers are aiming for.

  • Anonymous

    I always prefer strategy.

    Usually, nearly always, if you round up its always turn based. But I have been waiting for great real time strategic things from touch screens though!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Commissar_1 Andre Kornelius

    Only turn base! like x-com

    • Anonymous

      Even X-Com went real time in the 3rd(2nd made by Gollops themselves)...and not too badly either. Of course the game project was problematic:(from wikipedia)
      "During the creation of Apocalypse, Mythos created the game but Microprose wanted to create the graphics. Julian Gollop
      called the relationship "disastrous", and said of the game "It was a
      disaster area. Apocalypse was quite a sophisticated and ambitious game,
      but it was a big mistake from our point of view. In retrospect, we
      should have originally agreed to do a sequel in six months, and spent a
      year doing it, like they did! It would've been a lot better."

      There no other game that I would like to see made again properly more.

  • http://twitter.com/The_Unflattered Gee Lampa

    X-Com X-Com X-Com!!!!!!

    Thanks, and good day!

  • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

    I don't like freemium.  I'd rather just have a game where you know what the price is and you pay it.

    • http://twitter.com/The_Unflattered Gee Lampa

      James Kochalka of "American Elf" fame, or New Rochelle High School fame?

  • https://me.yahoo.com/rekzkarz#a0df5 rekzkarz

    I vote for turn-based, as well as *extensive* negotiation options & 'tricks/strategies' to bypass shooting (happens a lot in TV shows).
    I'm concerned that the stats (from screenshots) looked kinda limited.
    The 'retro look' thing works ok in some games, but I don't see the up-side for a scifi game like this -- unless they have some really funny Star Trek, Space 1999, or old Battlestar Galactica references / bad speial FX, etc.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sokolov22 Derek Chin

    If they just copied another game, they wouldn't have to make such decisions and the game would be out already.  Sheesh!

  • Toyota974

    I don't really mind that much, Non turn based would be more exciting but as mentioned previously, fallout 1 and 2, still in my top 4 favourite games, were turn based. Overall though non turn based is my fav.