I have typed up some of the game design to give insight as to what this is.
Space Colonies is an experiment currently. It will be widely AI-based, and best played with a small group of friends, instead of a large server with dozens of people you don't know. The game will use a pseudo turn-based system where time passes by in variable increments every x amount of seconds/minutes, or whenever the GM triggers an increment.
Players will start off with an empire composed only of humans, in a randomly-generated star system with a variety of different planets. The lore behind Space Colonies is a somewhat gray area, but to give a general overview; the humans of Earth as we know it have long since left the Milky Way galaxy. Space Colonies takes place in a galaxy far away from the Milky Way, in a region of space where habitable planets are unusually abundant. Players will control humans descended from the original Earth humans, known as the Precursors. Each player's empire starts off in a carbon copy of Earth, in a star that is almost identical to Earth's sun.
The player starts off with the technology to build the most basic ship components. More advanced technologies require special elemental resources, which in the purest form are found in a planet's core. There are several different special elements, each serving its own purpose in the development and production of new technologies. The star system will have only so many of these resources, however, and when the player has advanced in technology far enough to develop hyperspace technology they may begin exploring other stars.
One cannot simply mount a hyperspace-window generator onto a ship and jump to another star, however. The scientists of the player's empire must determine the location of interdimensional bubbles which may be used to build hyperspace gates. These interdimensional bubbles are apart of a network of other bubbles in other stars, which can be accessed from one bubble. A conventional hyperspace gate is used like a telephone. An array of timespace coordinates must be input through an interdimensional transporter, which will connect the hyperspace generator to the desired location. The hyperspace generator can only link to other interdimensional bubbles "hooked" onto the current bubble. Once a connection from bubble A to bubble B has been established, a hyperspace window will be opened on both sides which will allow matter to jump in and out freely. There may be several bubbles in one system at a time, each apart of its own network of other bubbles. These networks can intersect eachother, creating an elaborate system of "jump points" which need to be mapped out if one is to travel through the galaxy.
Combat will be largely strategic, with the victors of every battle relying on wits, resources, and superior technology. Space ships will be completely player-designed (with the exception of AI players, of course) and customizable. Players will manually design different ship models, from the life support systems to their point-defense arrays. Ships will either serve an AI-driven civilian corporation within your empire or your empire's military.
Ships in Space Colonies will serve a variety of functions which include but are most certainly not limited to: planetary defense, planetary analysis, hyperspace gate construction, long-range missile bombardment, energy weapon offense, etc. Don't worry if none of the previous terms mean anything to you, it will all be well-documented.
Player-and-AI interaction will be the main feature in Space Colonies. Of course there will be player-and-player interaction with your occasional PvP, but the AIs will be both the antagonists and protagonists in the game. AI empires are completely randomly-generated, which will keep players guessing each time they encounter a new race in deep space. AI empires can be very similar to the player-controlled human empires, but they can also be absolutely bizarre and intangible in every way. Players will designate diplomats to communicate with alien empires, which can lead to mutual alliances or all-out war depending on the situation and the aliens. Each alien empire will have differing tactics and priorities in combat, and may outsmart players if they are not careful! Some AI empires will be purposely dumb, technologically unsophisticated, and generally inferior in every way. It will be completely up to the players to either assist those in need, or nuke their planets just for kicks.
All players in Space Colonies will have to keep in mind that each action they take directly affects millions if not billions of their own population. Players are most definitely NOT in direct control of their empires by default (but interestingly enough, will be able to seize totalitarian control over their populations), so civilian morale and political issues will always be present. Players control their empire's collective military, as well as their space program. If the population's political collective does not agree with the actions of the player, the player will be mandated to change their course. These situations will not be common enough to become annoying and/or unbearable, but they will remind the player that he is not in control of his own empire. The players will be tempted to "end" these constant political naggings by seizing power and transforming the empire's chain of command.
This is where the general civilian populace's morale comes into play. The players' populations may and will attempt to revolt against the empire if they are being severely mistreated or threatened. These uprisings may escalate to the point where some of the player's populace forms a full-fledged counter-empire bent on the overthrow of the player's empire. It should be noted that these events will be the most common in player-controlled empires, and not so much AI empires.
The morale mechanic will open up strategic options where a player may infiltrate an enemy's population and catalyze a revolution, which would severely weaken the enemy as a whole.
Aug 24 2010, 9:00 pm