I've just tried, then bought the game and have to say I love it. So after playing it entirely too much I've gathered a lot of ideas for the game which I'll post here. I've tried to structure it a bit so it's manageable. Under each heading, things are arranged so that the smallest/easiest changes are first - the bigger ones that might be controversial and require a lot of work are at the end. Here goes.
(BTW - I haven't tried any of the previous versions of the game.)
- How does auto repair items work? Once every 5 rounds?!? How effective are scanners - is it relative to the ships weight - same for cloaking. Basically, the game needs more documentation - but these are the main bits I couldn't figure out from poking about a bit so they'd be nice to have even if you don't wanna tediously document everything a this point
- I've noticed that CTRL+E for Eject doesn't work for me. Is this a bug?
Suggested Improvements for: User Interface
- Allow mouse-wheel to be used to zoom in/out?
- How about allowing CTRL+arrow keys to adjust the vector of your ship? or perhaps CTRL+mouse - would make it a bit easier than always clicking exactly on the arrow. Small detail, but makes a difference in long battles
- How about options to show the turn & acceleration change possible this round as a coloured area - i.e. all the area you could place the arrow within? Would look cool and help visualize things, and probably easy to do.
- Some kind of visual displays of range would be neat. Maybe just simple circles to show the range of missiles (in fuel), scanners (when not modified by enemy cloaking) etc.
- Pop-up text detailing items on mouseover in display to the right - during combat. Also, when component is damaged, this can show what component it is.
- The option to turn the 'pause after each turn' mode off so you pause manually - would require it to pause when you spot a new enemy/contact etc, but would be nice especially at first. Something similar to what happens if you hold down the mouse over the arrow and hold down the space key.. real-time flight ;P
Suggested Improvements for: Gameplay
- I love this game - but I want more of everything.
- More weapons:
guns/rocket - fires several shots (maybe 3) in a round, but for less damage)
- More components:
- Turrets? (the question is how exactly - maybe just option for backwards-firing missiles?)
- Afterburners? (limited use component that enhances thrust for a round when used - has fuel for maybe 5 uses per combat?)
- Decoys or Chaffs/Flares - seems logical to have some kind of anti-missile components when missiles are so widespread. Would also be fun - but they'd need to be fairly limited in ammo not to be too powerful of course. Perhaps but them just like missiles, except they fire at slower velocity than your ship and they are targeted by missiles say c. 75% of the times?
- Fighters? Behave alike missiles, but re-target and don't explode, but rather do damage when they draw near opponents. Can re-target but return to ship for refuel after 5-10 rounds?
- Different levels of all components. i.e. Mk 1, 2, 3...
- More weapons:
- Scoring -
Seems to only incorporate which ships you kill with your lead ship. I think it'd be better if it also took into account how well you did with your objectives. Or maybe seperate it into two parts objectives and combat rating one earning points towards advancements and the other earning 'money' to buy ships with? On a different note, I'd like it to matter more how the whole wing did, than just how well I did. As it is, it almost seems like you're competing with your own ships on getting those kills
- Editor / Ability to make custom formations in addition to the existing line/wedge/column. Could use a simple interface of placing 7 numbers on a grid with the mouse.
- It would be neat if you could design your own missiles, or if there were even more variants. Just the characteristics they already have give plenty of opportunity and it'd get better if 5 missiles didn't always cost/weight the same. Maybe some that cost/weigh 2 or .5 so you could choose wether to get good shots or lots of them?
- Orders for wingmates - more: defend a ship, attack specific ship, cover me, etc - or how about individual orders?
- Make it part of a strategy game (4x). Perhaps still with combat like this as a training option?
- The parts I like best about the game are designing your ships and buying new ones, that's what makes the combats so fun (apart from the brilliant controls I'd love it if the game could focuse more on theses aspects either by letting you customize your ships as you went along (repairing, rearming, refitting & perhaps designing between missions all for the points - would also mean it should matter wether you loose ships or not, since it would cost you money) - or by letting this combat game be part of a larger strategic game, but that'd require a lot of work of course.