Production screen is almost done, just need to finish up some UI components. Next post will have screenshots of it.
Warning, wall of text ahead!
What I want to discuss today is some more details on production and space combat, as well as some other modding changes. First, let's start with production. For balance reasons (and to be kinda realistic), I've decided that all the production sizes of a system will be added up (if a planet can do 5, another planet does 3, you have 8 total in that system), then for each project in that system, it will be reduced. So using a system with 10 size production capacity, you can have one project building a size 10 ship, or two projects of size 5 each, or any other way that you want to divide up the 10 points. This will prevent a player from establishing a system then having an insane amount of projects there. However, he can specify one project then commit the whole production capacity of his empire there (such as terraforming or building a huge ship).
To terraform planets, you will need a large amount of capacity, determined by the planet data file.
When a ship is done building, it will be added to that system, and a new ship will be started, unless you cancel it. It's possible to build more than one ship for a project in one turn. Projects are infinite, similar to MoO 1's production, unless it's terraforming, in which when a planet is fully terraformed or capacity is no longer sufficient, it is removed from the list of projects. It will notify the player when it does so.
The amount of production capacity of a planet is determined by the amount of population on it. Ships can generate production capacity via special equipment as well. However, they are required to orbit planets before they can contribute to a system's production capacity.
Now for the space combat, I really want to have planets included in space combat, but how to do it in cases where there are 30 or 40 planets in a star system? I thought about the "orbit planet" feature, and realized that the solution was there all along. So I've decided on a combat system where I think will help even the playing field between the attackers and defenders. This is how you attack a planet:
You must have a fleet adjacent to a system. Once they're adjacent, you specify which ships to attack a planet by selecting them the same way as you'd select ships for sending out on a trip, then click on the "Orbit Planet" and clicking on a planet that you want to attack. Next turn will bring up the space combat for that planet and your ships. Defenders having ships adjacent to the system will be presented with options to include some or all of their ships.
Colonization and Ground Invasion will require you to have ships orbiting the target planet as well. It will prompt you for confirmation before they commit to their actions.
Before I proceed with modding design items, I want to clarify that the full release will be a complete game with all of my desired gameplay mechanics implemented. There are some elements that I don't like in some 4X games that others love, so I decided that if I want to really support modding, I will need to support those that I don't really like. They are: Leaders, buildings on planets, methods of travel (starlanes and others), and some others that I can't remember now. The additional features will be added as an expansion after the release.
First, with planets being able to be included in space combat, I'm thinking of the capacity of planets having buildings. They will be similar to how ships are done, but the build progress will be incremental. This means that you design a planet with different buildings (not queued like MoO 2 but it will be a complete "design"). Then you start a project to develop a planet so that all buildings in that "design" will be built (some may be finished before others). This won't be in the base game data, but will be there for modding purposes.
In space combat, those buildings can take damage similar to how ship's components can take damage. And the planet may return fire if it have weapon platforms. But again, those will not be in the base game data, but will be available for modders.
Another thing that I will add is support for leaders (this also won't be in base game, but will be there for modders). There will be six different types of leaders:
Empire-, System-, and Planet-wide leaders for boosting (or penalizing) areas of operations, and Empire-, Fleet-, and Ship-wide leaders for boosting (or penalizing) areas of efficiency. Leaders can be specified in data file, and they can be restricted to a certain range of races, turns, and which kind of leader they are.
I'm also thinking of allowing the users specify how galaxy travel are done, this may be a bit more tricky than anything else that I've done so far. By this, I mean if you want a travel system that's similar to MoO 1/2 (direct line to a system), you can specify it to be that way. Or if you want the current grid system, you can specify it as well. I may explore other systems such as starlanes. The base game data will use the grid-based travel system.
Also, I would like to add network multiplayer, but due to my inexperience in that field, that will be after the full release. I promise to at least give it a try.
Now with all of that discussed, I want to give you some good news. My friend showed me his draft for the new website, and it's looking good! We also discussed about how to do the pre-orders/purchasing system, and decided on a simple one. When a person decides to buy the game, he creates an account and purchases the game. That account is now an "paid" account meaning that the person now have access to list of major builds for download. At full release, the list of major builds will be removed, and the full release will be the only download there. This will be a better system than the one I have currently. I hope that the new website will be up soon!