We've had a lot of theory and space travel lately so let's get back to some combat. This time round we'll be introducing the Fighter. Fire power and toughness make it a force to be reckoned with.
If you want combat to be a challenge for players it follows naturally that you need formidable opponents. We decided early on we wanted an enemy type which could function as a sort of field commander for smaller or more straightforward ships like the Drones or the Asteroid Breaker. It was supposed to be the enemy's answer to the player ship.
The theme for our enemy alien race is a general air of roughness and unconventionality. In most games, spaceships resemble the human knowledge of aerodynamics and functionality on ground, in the air, or at sea. However, when it comes to space, all these principles become moot. Aerodynamics don't matter outside of a planets atmosphere and the idea of functionality differs accordingly. A skyscraper-shaped aeroplane is pointless, whereas a skyscraper-shaped spaceship works perfectly, as long as it doesn't stray to close to the earth or a similar planet.
This means that during the design process we tried to think outside the box, focusing on our vision and the motives behind the spaceship rather than supposed functionality and conventional designs. The result was a rounded, yet tough-looking shape that gives of the impression of someone, who doesn't brake for anyone and frankly, doesn't have to.
The curved form will force asteroids and enemy ships to one side during a collision, which means that the fighter can basically plough through asteroid fields and enemy formations alike. The slight skull shape of the cockpit enforces the theme of danger and brutality, as do the overly large jet engines. Accordingly the fighter's tactic is usually to get right in the player's face. However, this does not mean that it is unintelligent. It will not simply collide with enemies, but rather try to keep optimal distance, in order to fire continuously and stay out of range of the players projectiles.
During the design of the Fighter we decided on green and grey as the alien races main colours. It contrasted nicely with the player's blue-white colour scheme while staying in the slightly unconventional area we had constantly aimed for during production. Traditionally one might expect red, black or other colours associated with "evil" to represent a games enemies. However, since Stars of Icarus has neither any intention of being a simple black & white, good & evil type game, nor is trying to be more of the same, we chose differently. Dark green stands out just enough from the background of space to be spotted without effort but is not overly bright and obvious, which makes it a realistic colour for military ships. At the same time the colour is commonly associated with aliens, so our choice is not completely outlandish.
All that remains now, is give you a field demonstration of what this baby can do. So sit back, light up your cigar and enjoy the show!
Dogfight with obstacles
Narrow Victory, but Victory nonetheless!