Post feature RSS Design Series #7- Ground Combat

The latest entry of our game design series covers how ground combat works in Lord of Rigel.

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This week's design series installment is going to discuss ground combat. As many of you are aware by now we here on the Lord of Rigel Development team are long time fans of the Master of Orion and Civilization series. Additionally, you know that with Lord of Rigel while we want to shake things up a bit we also don't want to stray too far from known concepts that work. Remember Lord of Rigel is a foundation for a series not the end! With that in mind we initially approached ground combat similarly to Master of Orion 2. Why not move towards the more intricate combat system of some other 4x games? The answer is, as always - pacing the game and rewarding the player. Combat can get tedious and break up the core gameplay after a while. While we all like to blow stuff up, after a while the player gets fatigued. How many times can a person get excited from invading the 20th or 30th system? Maybe you are invading 5 systems in a turn. So if ground combat were to be intricate and similar to ship tactical combat a player invading a star system with 5 colonized world could be looking at 10 battles. This is just too much, especially considering the capability for 1024 star galaxies, where there would be the potential for a thousand plus battles.

We thought we were set on using a similar system to Master of Orion series, when a friend of a team member asked about ground combat and brought up that there had to be some sort of middle ground between simple ground combat animations in the Master of Orion series and some overblown turn based combat system for ground combat. After really soaking in what he had to say the design team began to think about what was missing in a simplified combat system. As we have discussed before, all games are meant to be rewarding so the question became how could we reward the player in a meaningful way, but not add another layer of unneeded combat? The answer was as simple as modifiers.

The ground combat system in Lord of Rigel will reward players who seek big victories in ground combat. Players who have significant forces left after conquering a planet can look forward to two big rewards. The first is a planet with conquered citizens who are far less likely to rebel. High troop counts would logically lead population feeling unable to rebel or more easily supressed. Secondly a new feature would be introduced that allowed for players to be rewarded with a higher probability of stealing technology from the species they invaded. Think of it as a blitzkrieg of sorts. You were able to invade their world so quickly and so well that you were able to capture enemy intelligence before it could be destroyed.

So to give players a quick synopsis: expect ground combat to be similar to the Master of Orion series, i.e. grab some popcorn and enjoy the show as you watch both sides engage in automated fights. However players who choose a massive invasion will overwhelm their enemy militarily, crush the will of the people to rebel, and raid the databases of enemy research centers and steal valuable technology!

Join us next week as we discuss Lord of Rigel's technology tree!

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