In my first feature I will explain my interpretation of what tactical space combat means to me so that we are on the same page. Subsequent features will detail other design elements inclusive of explaining the rest of the description of the game. (The exploration and trading).
With the resurgent interest in nostalgic 2d Space games, I've always wanted to put forth my take on it. Also because I feel that a lot of 3d Space Games as well as other 2d Space Games have never completely fit the bill of Tactical Space Combat. (Not all, but a lot never did).
Sure there are great games out there and I've played all of them from Wing-Commander to Freespace to Freelancer to X3 to Universal Combat to Starfleet Command, and also including: Bridge Commander, Starflight, Star Control, Nexus, Darkstar, Independence War..the list goes on. I've played all.
Apart from Starfleet Command, Bridge Commander and Independence War, there are few games of this genre which offer a tactical combat theme. X3 was more fighter based, and even though cap ships were there, you had no control over power management, damage control or other cool capital ship systems. Wing Commander and Freespace are fighter based visceral space combat.
So although Void of Darkness will be 2d, it will involve positioning to protect weakened shields (there's still 4 directions in 2d!), exploiting weak enemy shields. Power management, Damage Control, Sub-System targeting, slower pace and very involved strategy.
To give you some examples of what this relatively simple implementation can entail. Suppose you have engaged an enemy ship, and your shields are weakening, and soon at this rate likely to begin failing, you can 1) Divert all power to engines, enabling a higher top speed, and attempt to out run the enemy, 2) divert all power to shields and attempt to hang in the fight longer while you wear them down, 3) divert power to weapons and shoot your way out.
Let's see another scenario, let us suppose that there is a particularly menacing enemy capital ship, who has a very slow rate of fire but which deals extremely large damage. Although the rate of fire is slow, the amount of damage dealt means that within 2-3 hits your shields have failed.
Consider now that you can divert all available power to your shields and exponentially increase your shield recharge rate, so that although the enemy weapon does a large amount of damage, by the time it fires again, your shields have recharged enough to be able to absorb the damage.
This solution might not have been apparent to you at first, but the enemies you will face in Void of Darkness will be designed in such a way as to require you to carefully manage your ship's abilities in order to defeat more powerful enemies or at least enemies who are more troublesome due to some particular attribute they have, as is the case above with the enemy ship which had the slow firing weapon, but which dealt large amounts of damage.
So 2d will not be a limitation on the strategy options available to you in game, your Starship is a fully working and functioning machine and it has many abilities to adjust to compensate for any scenarios you come across. Once you have upgraded it! (But that is an entirely different feature!)
Thanks for reading!