Thorondor, on 6th June 2011, 6:41pm, said:
I'd favour the presence of a single-player element, though not necessarily a conventional "campaign".
Something sandboxy would be nice: a standard skirmish vs. AI for practice, plus maybe some semi-randomly-generated Episodes which are in no set order but in which you can partly influence the next one you're presented with in opposition or toys you get/will find there depending on how well you handled yourself.
However, and putting myself in your shoes, I'd carefully consider if it's worth your investment in both time and money to make a worthwhile single-player part. You need to ask yourself two questions: is it going to be up to snuff? and will you get your money back?
As you know, a game - any game these days - is judged, and often dismissed, extremely quickly. Even before it gets a chance to show it may have its merits. Will yours have what it takes to make people actually _consider_ buying it?
Be it as it may, you surely have the stamina, so I wish you the best of luck for your project.
p.s.: as a parting thought: have you ever considered making it a co-op vs. AI game? Each player controlling a fireteam of 3 soldiers. Could be especially interesting as a forum-based game...
I haven't fully decided how the single player part will pan out yet. At first I imagined having scripted levels and in between levels you would return to your base. When on non-combat levels (e.g. the base) the game would not be turn based and would give you freedom to find and perform side-quests or to pursue the main quest line (a mission hub). Choosing one mission may make another unavailable and will influence the game ending.
I also think adding non-combat parts to the game would be good for story development so let me know if you think this is a bad idea!
I'm not sure how I could implement a sandbox as the main game play aspect. If you let me know how you think this could be done I may be able to implement it or at least borrow ideas from it. As for skirmishes, you can play the AI on any map, even custom created ones. At present I don't plan to have a world view where you can place bases etc. Instead you have one base at a set location and the missions would be presented to you. (There is another project by someone else doing an x-com clone with base management, etc.)
I think a campaign is the easiest way although I'll look into the idea of semi-randomly generated episodes. Your idea would take longer to develop but would be much better in regards to re-playability. I could create a random pool of missions and vary the AI difficulty... I'll give it some thought.
I've already sank a fair bit of money into the project and plenty of time so I figure I'll keep going forward and will pray things shape up. I plan to allow plenty of game testers so hopefully people will be able to tell me what I'm doing well and what I'm not.
Considering it's a turn based game, I think it would be easy for me to include co-operative play. Map sizes aren't limited to any set size so I would just need to think of a way to keep both players engaged. If I take the co-op route I need to make it feel like as if the the second player is needed and not just tagging along.
The base game engine is about 70% complete (maps, movement, combat) although I'm yet to tough the AI.
It will take a while but I'll try to keep updates more frequent.