This past week I've been working on the design and ship placement for the combat screen. I've finally finalized all the details for it, just need to implement them.
Here's the details. If you've played X-Com Ufo Defense, you will be familiar with this approach. On your turn, you can select any ship, in any order, then you can select a weapon to fire (it would default to first weapon). Once that weapon is fired, that weapon's "turn" is over. You can fire other weapons on that ship, or change to another ship and fire with its weapons.
There will be four buttons for selecting ships (you can also left-click on one of your ships to select it). They will be "Next Ship", "Prev Ship", "Done, Next Ship", and "Done, Prev Ship". "Done" means that this ship is done for this turn, so when you click on next ship, that ship won't be selected. You can select it by left-clicking the ship on screen, if you hit the done by accident.
There are also two other buttons: Retreat and Auto-Resolve. Retreat will tell your current ship to flee, and auto-resolve will let AI take over the battle if you don't want to handle it.
Finally, when you're done with your turn, you press "End Turn", then the next empire in list will have their turn, and so forth until it's your turn again.
I realized that if I include all the planets in a star system in one combat, it's not fair for the defenders (which it is IRL, if you've read Ender's Shadow, you'll understand why), as well as complicate the ship placement code. So I've modified my design idea to allow the attackers to pick a planet to attack, then the defenders will defend that planet. If two fleets encounter each other in empty space, then there won't be any planets. However, there's some random chance for asteroids to be present in the battle field.
There are five weapon types in Beyond Beyaan. They are: Beam, Projectile, Missile, Torpedo, and Bomb.
Beam have infinite ammo, can fire every turn, and is generally more accurate than Particle weapons. They will have similar weapon effect as MoO 1, as shown in my test code that I've posted previously:
Projectiles have finite ammo, but is generally more powerful than beam weapons. They're good for up and close combat. They can fire every turn.
Missiles have finite ammo, have "smart" pathfinding that will avoid obstacles in its path to its target, and are the most powerful weapon genre for ship to ship combat. They can be destroyed by other weapons.
Torpedoes have infinite ammo, can fire every other turn, and is generally weaker than missiles. They also have "dumb" pathfinding that moves directly to their targets, regardless if obstacles are in its way. It can hit other obstacles, such as asteroids or other ships (even your own ships if you're not careful!)
Now, before I talk about bombs, one thing that bothered me in MoO 1 and 2 is how fast the bombs get obsolete compared to other weapons. You can use torpedoes or missiles to destroy bases and population, without using bombs. While this may be theoretically realistic, it removes bombs as a weapon to be desired on your ships. So in order to effectively bomb planets, you need bombs, not other weapons. All weapons that are not bombs will have its damage divided by 100. For each 100 damage on planet, you kill a population unit. So in order to kill 1 population unit with a non-bomb weapon, it'd have to do 10,000 damage (10,000 / 100 = 100 damage that reaches the planet, and 100 = 1 population unit). If you do less than 100 damage, you still inflict damage (if you do 50 damage, you kill off 0.5 population unit).
Now, when you use a bomb, its damage isn't divided when it's used against planets. So bombs can kill a lot of people (if you have 10 bomb mounts with 20 damage each, you kill 2 population per volley per ship) for example. But when bombs hit other ships, its damage is reduced. So it's not good for ship to ship combat.
Now the description of bombs: They have limited ammo, can fire every turn, and can be fired from anywhere to anywhere (you can try and bomb other ships as a last resort). However, they travel slow compared to torpedoes and missiles, and if they miss their target, they will keep on going. They don't have any propulsion to steer them. They can be destroyed by weapons, or blocked by sacrifical ships. On the other hand, they're more armored than missiles, so it's harder to destroy them.
There are two parts to a bomb, the "Population" damage, and the "Ecology" damage. For example, a biological bomb targeted toward their population will be high in "Population" damage, but low in "Ecology" damage. On the other hand, a nuclear bomb deals half to population, and half to ecology. There are some bombs that's focused on destroying the ecology. You can turn a planet into a toxic or radiated during the course of space combat.
The combat ends when the only fleets (including the planet) left are those that's either allied or non-aggression towards everyone else. For example, four fleets meet for combat. One is allied with two others. The last empire have non-aggression pacts with two empires. The other two are non-aggression toward each other. This is a tough situation because only two empires can directly fire on each other, the other two will have to either pick sides, or retreat. When one of the two empires are defeated, the battle ends. If the two bystanders decides to pick sides, it will damage the relation with the empire they attacked, and improves the relation of the empire they supported.
If you're attacking a planet, its population must reach 0 before the battle is done, or if you retreat. However, if you've destroyed all the defending ships, it will ask you if you want to completely bomb the planet, or retreat. So you don't have to do the tedious task of bombing it each turn. If you think you can't fight off the defending fleet, you can send bombers on a suicidal mission to destroy as much as possible before they die.
TL;DR - Space combat will be awesome!
I've finished the ship placement algorithm for now. It looks to be working correctly, so I'll start work on other areas. I've added a display for which empire's turn it is (it also lists all empires involved). I'm now working on selecting ships as described earlier. When that's done, as well as the end turn, I will then start work on actually firing weapons, and damage handling/display. If all goes well, I might have the combat working within a month!
Also, I've got new artwork for the title screen, here's a preview: