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  Tactics! 12:10 PM -- Tue December 9, 2008  

I found my document!! Long ago I made my idea for an Advance Wars/Land Of Legends style game, and dug through my entire ideas folder, reading every single file just in case "Space Trader" was somehow the one, searching and searching... but now finally I have found it! It wasn't in the ideas folder, it was in an actual development folder called "wargame" where I was apparently developing it, though I don't think I got terribly far.

So hooray for that! It's not at all the game I thought it was, which makes for an interesting thought. It's more unique and original, but I question how well it would work in a 'play-by-email' type format, because the turns are very very short. Let me tell you about it.

Rather than each player moving all their units each turn, every unit begins the game with 0 Energy. Then they all gain 1 Energy, over and over, until someone has full Energy (different unit types have different max energy). Several units will hit that at the same time, so it's just random which of them goes first. Obviously, a unit with lower maximum Energy is a 'faster' unit because it can act sooner. So, if it's your unit that gets to move, it's your turn. You give it one action: move a space, or use an ability (every unit has an Attack, Defense, and Support ability). Either of those things will cost some amount of Energy. That one teeny action is your whole turn, then the next guy to reach full energy moves (if it's one of yours, you are still playing for the moment!), and so it goes on and on. Obviously, different actions have different Energy costs, so flinging a fireball means your next action will come later than just stepping onto some grass.

It's a pretty cool system, I think, but to play that multiplayer, you'd really have to do it the old-fashioned way: two people at the same time quickly alternating moves, your usual client-server online game.

There's also this whole Hero character concept in there, who can buy any of the abilities of any of his troops, but I would drop that. I really don't like hero characters in strategy games. I think of Warcraft 3, and how (for me anyway) it just came down to surrounding your heroes with a few other units and storming everything, instead of building a well-balanced army. Once you have heroes, the game just becomes about them (Warlords Battlecry series comes to mind too, exact same issue. Fun though!). Instead, whatever format the game plays out in, I want you to have a character you play who is a strategist. He isn't on the battlefield, he just commands the units, and of course you level him up for various bonuses like "All your Archers do +1 damage" as opposed to personal upgrades. And like in Advance Wars, your strategist would have some supermove(s?) he could trigger under certain conditions to help win.

I have to admit, I am not far along in this process! Still just bouncing so many ideas around. Maybe I should make some new costumes while I consider the possibilities.
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