I'm almost done with the equipment selection, but there's something that's gnawing at back of my mind. Since the ships has converted to be data-driven, I'm pondering on whether or not it's worth it having a grid-based movement that the game currently have.
It's nice to be able to park anywhere in the galaxy, but is it really practical? Will you meet a fleet somewhere in space often? If it's a rare event, then grid-based movement is just something that detracts from the player's enjoyment because it's overly complex compared to a simple star to star movement from MoO series.
On the other hand, it's a bit more flexible in that I can create the background nebula and have it impact the fleet's route. It also opens up the possibility of black holes influencing the adjacent cells (random event that sucks in a fleet?). But is it really worth it?
If I was to implement a simpler star to star movement aka MoO 1/2, would it be a big difference? Would you miss out on parking your fleet in middle of nowhere? If the game is converted to be star to star, then I can run the fleet movement through your race's script so you can create an even more unique race (for example, a race will build up energy over several turns, then just zap to the other star in one turn, or one race needs to build stargates to travel, and so forth). The game would supply the fleet's current position, and its destination, and the script will then update the fleet's position between turns.
Another nice benefit of changing to star to star movement is that I can add starlanes aka MoO 3. It will be a game option, so some people can play with it on, and others with it off. It will be a simple check to see if the two stars have a starlane connected to determine if it's a valid movement route. This won't be added until the basics of game are done.
One another problem with grid-based system is the question of establishing contact with other empires. Since the game don't have fuel ranges, how should an race establish contact with another race? A special ship with "Embassy" equipment that is adjacent to one of their system? Or when one system falls under another system's radar range? Or have everyone be in contact from beginning?
With star to star, we face the same problems with lack of fuel range. In MoO 1/2 it was a simple matter of being within fuel range of other empire, and in MoO 3, it was being 2 starlanes away from another empire. How do we determine when two empires are in contact with each other? Should I add back fuel ranges?
I would like to hear your opinions on this, as I'm a bit undecided on changing to star to star, and how empires establish contact. The ships and space combat are starting to wrap up, and I'd like to have this issues resolved before I jump into them.