E: Starswarm Aperture

E: Starswarm Aperture
By me, that guy, Gazza_N

Concept (subject to change once prototyped, natch)

A tactical management game where you construct and manage the power and weapons systems of a starship to fend off waves of increasingly-powerful foes (the titular Starswarm) as it makes its last desperate five-minute suicide plunge towards an enemy-held jumpgate (The titular Aperture) - and safety.

Power must be allocated between weapons, auto-repair bots, and construction systems (or whatever they end up being): there isn't enough juice in the power core, so the player must prioritize accordingly. Repairs must be toggled manually on set turrets. If necessary, turrets can be shut down temporarily to lend more juice to others.

Weapons can be placed on preset mounting points on the hull and take varying amounts of time to construct, and have varying practical strengths and weaknesses (Power drain vs RoF vs Damage vs Accuracy, etc). A powerful weapon may take multiple waves to complete construction, introducing a long-term planning element (insofar as this can exist in a 5-minute game). Weapons can also be scrapped and replaced, at the cost of construction time.

The game ends with success if you survive to the five-minute mark and manage to jump.

Initial design thinkings

- Looking at a Homeworld-style orbital third-person camera, with hardpoints selected by mouse and builds initiated through mouse buttons and/or number key shortcuts.

- Still nutting out how much control the player would have over weapon targeting and micromanagement - would need to prototype to determine how much of the player's attention is taken up by basic power and construction/repair management. An idea is to have the player assign targeting priorities to ships to skew the targeting preferences of specific turret types.

- Also playing with the idea of having buff systems such as localised shields or power capacitors that take up weapon hardpoints but increase survivability or power efficiency of weapons.

- Enemy spawns will need to be carefully controlled to ensure the player isn't totally destroyed, but is still under credible threat.

- Oh gods balance balance balance. Just as well I'm starting early.

Base prototype pending.


  • Love the idea. An analogy is a tower defense game with a scrolling background.

    I would consider having the enemy ships flying in a fixed path (or paths) around the ship like a traditional TD until you get all you bits sorted.
  • edited
    I was going to dooo thaaaat! :P

    Just kidding, I think the 5 minute limit is going to see a lot of survive-till-the-last-wave / build-up-for-the-big-fight type games. It's nice that you've picked something that already has a well defined game environment (ie. you dont have to look for mechanics to put in, you've already got energy management, weapons, repair bots, shields, manpower allocation and all that good stuff to draw from)

    Sounds like it could be very cool!
  • I managed to get a good Homeworld camera running last night, so that's a good start (spoilers: it is not a good start).

    A fantastic suggestion I've been given is to scrap the construction mechanic entirely (while keeping the management aspects) and field a ship with totally randomised weapon assignments, with the challenge being to fight through with the army you've got, as it were. I'll be trying that out first, since it means I can dispense with the extra UI bits for now.
  • Hey all.

    Due to some pressing Real Life™ issues, I'll be withdrawing from this compo. I have a barely-working prototype that I'll likely return to at some point, but my chances of finishing it by deadline are dismal.

    Good luck to all the other entrants! I look forward to playing your stuff when I'm able.
  • No worries Gazza. I always feel shame when I pull out of things like this, but there's no reason to.

    Like they say, the only failure is not trying.
Sign In or Register to comment.