By now there is various information scattered around this site and others so it’s probably a good idea to lay down our intent. From your point of view much is assumed about Shallow Space and this article will start to elude to our direction.
At the moment we are focused on creating the title and getting portions of it ready for you guys to play and it’s difficult to commit to any sort of technical speak regarding the ships because the details are still very fluid as we balance the game. In this article we’ll talk about the setting of Shallow Space and what to expect as the game evolves.
You can view the backstory here, but essentially mankind left Earth hundreds of years ago starved of resources, SISS (humankinds artificial entity) found a cracking set of planets about a 100 years journey from Earth so they built big ships, took as many people as they could and each colony ship set a course for a respective planet. 8 colonies were formed into a loose confederacy, the Terran government would like to think of it as a solid empire but they are losing control.
The humans were forced into leaving Earth before they were ready, they fed ship and general designs into SISS who suggested improvements and managed construction, SISS can innovate but it can’t invent. The humans hastily invented Faster Than Light travel which, still in it’s first incarnation, is very slow and most humans don’t bother to travel for longer than a year from Terran, the home system. This limited area of space is getting congested and so the Terran Confederate Navy (TCN) call it Shallow Space.
You play the Captain of a battlegroup of Gamma fleet protecting the interests of the Empire and it’s citizens, in the outer fringes the Pirate Nations grow in numbers and strength venturing into the home systems, the Mercenary faction exists selling services to the higher bidder serving only their own agenda and various powerful corporations gain power and influence with every passing cycle and then there is the great unknown…
Now, I provide a bit of guidance on the story, but the main brains behind this is John Harper who has constructed a vivid timeline, sector maps and will continue to furnish us with short snippets throughout the duration and perhaps even a book or two. John has already written a licensed book for the Elite universe (for Elite 4) which you can find here (do check that out, it’s very interesting indeed.)
Shallow Space is a Real Time Strategy game played in all three dimensions so the enemy will attack you from the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ as well as the sides. A consistent plane and up vector is maintained for all in game entities to prevent confusion but the plane of reference (visible as the battlegrid) will move up and down with the selected ship, with the grid squares themselves remaining in fixed position.
There are various classes of ship which will have direct fire armaments in the form of turrets and fixed weapons. The player will spend much time assessing and tweaking the position of their units to lay down the maximum base of fire as the turrets have prohibitive arcs. Indirect fire weapons will include missiles, bombs and mines and there will be many varieties of each suitable for taking down ships of various classes. All the turret mounting points will be player configurable and well as internal ship modules such as engines, shield utilities and generators.
The player will be able to control as much or as little of the action as they like. If they can afford the time they can paint targets for the selected ships or leave the AI to auto-target and auto-engage the enemy. Power levels on the ships can be maintained favouring engine, shield or weapons and various special types of ship can prove support functionality.
The player will have control of a maximum of 25-30 ships (excluding fighters) so they will develop their battlegroup some favouring direct or in-direct fire, carriers or support, most will enjoy a mixture but there will be no set way to play. There will be friendly AI units in most systems assisting the player, sometimes TCN sector patrols or another faction that you may have befriended so the player will often be fighting alongside friendly AI units.
The visible area of the playing field will be constricted by the ships scan radius, units inside any of the players ships scan radius can be completely visible (provided there are no stealth modules on the opposing ship) and an approximation of class and hostility can be obtained within double of that scan radius.
The player will mine various materials to construct ships and weapons and repair units, the player may also be able to trade these resources for weapon schematics or may be required to hand them over as part of a mission.
All of the sector furniture, ship starting locations, mission waypoints will be procedurally generated meaning no two play-throughs will be the same. There will be a random mission generator and incidental missions having a lasting effect with your standing on the other factions and an overall story arc will tie the game together which will be fully voiceacted (funds permitting) and written by our professional writer.
Hopefully this leaves you a little bit more ‘in-the-know’ but as the project evolves as will the detail so keep your eye on the blog, you can subscribe to receive e-mail updates at the top of the column to the right and here is the latest development video called ‘Battleship’ in case you missed it.