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Flagship is a real-time strategy game set on a galactic scale, played from a first person perspective. The game is being built from the ground-up to be played with the Oculus Rift, though it can be played on a normal monitor as well.

Post news Report RSS Flagship progress update & changes

An overview of where we're up to and what's changed over the last year.

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Hello everyone!

It's been quite some time since our last update, apologies for that. Quite a few things have changed with Flagship and we were holding off until we had something concrete to show you. Unfortunately things haven't fallen into place yet, but with it being over a year since our last update we thought we'd better post something anyway.

Game Scope
Firstly, we have decided to further reduce the scope of the game. While we're well into our fourth year of development this has always been a spare-time project - and that spare time has become scarcer with each year while the demands of the project keep growing. Despite putting a tremendous amount of effort into it, the strategy metagame was not coming together in a way we were happy with. Strategy at a galactic scale requires more depth than our '4X lite' approach could provide, and the menu-surfing nature of managing your fleet and economy was at odds with the faster-moving tactical combat, not to mention a bad fit for VR.

Factoring into this decision is the fact that space games are far less niche than they were when we first started work on Flagship; 4X especially has seen many good releases in recent years with many more on the way. Compared to these titles Flagship would likely be regarded as a weaker attempt at a 4X, and this assessment would probably be correct. So where does all that leave us?

Authored Missions
The very core of Flagship, the tactical capital ship combat with RTS-like control of a small fleet is more or less unchanged. But we're switching to a more linear, mission-based approach. This may come as bad news for some, but it comes with quite a few benefits. Firstly, it will allow us to get this thing shipped sooner. It allows us to really drill into the ship-to-ship combat, which up to now had been left underdeveloped while I focused on the strategy metagame and the various systems and interfaces that allowed players to move seamlessly around the galaxy. The more linear format also allows us to tell a story, and while we can't promise anything too epic (we really don't have the budget for it) the hope is to deliver a fairly interesting set of missions, each taking between 10-20 minutes to complete. There will also likely be a skirmish mode, and we're hoping to ship the game with a mission editor that will allow users to author and share their own missions and campaigns.

So where's the strategy?
The strategic component of the game now takes the form of a pre-mission planning table. This allows you to organise your fleet into groups, give each group preliminary orders and plan out the battle before it begins. Once you command your fleet to execute the plan, you can still command each group but if left alone they'll carry out the orders given to them at the planning stage. This is the last piece of the puzzle for us and it's something that's still at the design stage, so we can't really go into great detail just yet.

Input devices
We started development of Flagship at the very beginning of the VR revival and for a long time there wasn't a standard input device, so during the first years of development I was developing Flagship to be played with a keyboard and mouse. We expected motion controllers to become the standard and remapping mouse inputs to motion controllers seemed like the way to go. Those who have kept up with VR will know that while motion controllers pretty much are the standard, the HTC Vive is the only headset that actually ships with them included. This meant that Flagship had to work with 'gaze control', which in turn meant that the standard RTS-style map table needed to be scrapped and replaced with something better.

The Tac-sphere (working title)
The tac-sphere is a podium that when stepped onto gives you an augmented reality overview of the battle. From here you can order your ships by group and track the movements of enemy groups within a planetary system. This is also where you'll be selecting targets for your own ship to fire upon, as well as manually firing weapons, launching countermeasures, performing evasive maneuvers, controlling power distribution and more. It's a bit more intuitive than the original map table and works with either a gamepad or motion controllers. It's even playable with just the Oculus remote.

Flagship is designed as a room-scale VR experience, and though it won't require a large playspace (one square meter should be fine) it is best played standing because threats will come from all sides. We are of course aware that not everyone is able to stand, and not everyone wants to, so we are doing our best to develop the game so that it can be played seated as well. For those planning to play the game without VR, it still works just as well on a normal monitor with keyboard and mouse, so a VR headset is not required to play.

Voice Attack Support
We have often been asked about adding voice commands to the game and voice attack support is a commonly requested feature. This was previously impossible because of how the game originally played, but when developing the new tactical interface I bound each command to a different keyboard shortcut and have created a voice attack profile to go with it. This means that if you have Voice Attack you'll be able to just load up the Flagship profile and control most systems with voice commands. We can't promise everything will be covered (complex actions like group management and other strategic decisions will probably still require standard input) but most commands are supported.

Ahead Full
In summary, despite some hard cuts things are going well. Most of the game mechanics are locked in (with the exception of pre-mission planning), the game is hitting a respectable framerate in all but the most heavy combat situations and everything is starting to come together nicely. There is still a lot to do though, the UI needs a lot of refinement, missions have to be designed, crew dialog written, voices and music recorded, balancing and lots of other background bits.

Since so much has changed over the last 12 months a lot of the information currently out there is now out of date, as such we've rebooted the website and de-listed some of the videos from YouTube. News posts and image dumps probably won't be frequent again until we get closer to a release, but rest assured we've worked incredibly hard on this over the last 4 years and we're still fully intending to see it through to the end. I do post snippets on Twitter every now and then so follow me there if you want to keep an eye on things. For those not on Twitter, I'll post the most important tweets on the website (flagshipgame.com). It's possible we'll run a limited early access campaign though itch.io prior to our full release, if you want to get involved with that sign up to our mailing list here as those are the people we'll be contacting (Kickstarter backers will probably have first refusal).

Until next time, take care and thanks for your continued support.

Comments
InquisitorSandman
InquisitorSandman

Sad to hear of the scale back but I hope we hear more soon!

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Gerfand
Gerfand

Good that we have a new update, even if we lost some of the scale!

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Guest
Guest

I'm sure if you guys set up a patreon the cash would flow.

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rogueknight5
rogueknight5

With a reduced scale, perhaps a smaller Kickstarter would be a possibility? I myself would love to back another Kickstarter and feel many other Flagship fans would too. I'm confident since you will have more to share and since you've been working hard it would be successful.

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UrbanLogicGames Author
UrbanLogicGames

If we did do another Kickstarter, it'd probably be a much smaller one to help pay for voice actors and maybe some 3rd-party modelling work. But to be honest the time investment required in setting one up, plus the ongoing maintenance and backer follow up required after a KS has completed isn't something we'd take on lightly. Thanks for the kind words though! :)

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wargames01
wargames01

Why haven't you used google ad's and other digital marketing stratagies to expose your game to a wider audience? If you are doing a full launch and have invested hundred of hours of your life into this project, spending $25 on some google ads to increase exposure seems like a no brainer.

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UrbanLogicGames Author
UrbanLogicGames

The answer is pretty simple, the game isn't out yet. :P

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wargames01
wargames01

Ok!

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Cheggsie
Cheggsie

will things like exploring the ship still be a possibility, or is the game more focused upon the combat side now?

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UrbanLogicGames Author
UrbanLogicGames

For now our sole focus is on the bridge and what you do there. However, depending on where the story goes there may be other parts of the ship to see, we just can't promise anything at this point.

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Cornflakes_91
Cornflakes_91

Maybe as a middle way between 4x and only prefabbed missions like a mission map with persistent upgrades/losses/acquisitions?

You start with a given fleet and can choose between various investments between missions using a set amount of resources given per finished mission.
(maybe modified by already made aquisitions. build a better shipyard get better/cheaper ships etc)

done missions can be revisited for **** and giggles but only using upgrades the player already had at that point.
Maybe improving their resource score or opening up new story arcs.

With missions themself being something between a single fight or a battle for a whole solar system (we just jumped in system, decide the tactics for the fight for the system)

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UrbanLogicGames Author
UrbanLogicGames

At the moment the plan is to have ship persistence between missions, with surviving ships ranking up and lost ships being replaced with rookie ships straight out of drydock. Each mission would have a pre-determined limit on assets you could deploy, with each ship type having a different deployment cost. This does pose potential balancing issues though as some players would near the end of the game with a fleet of high ranking ships, while less careful players may end up with a load of rookies. We have some ideas about how to solve that though.

If we can't make that work then our other option is to just have each mission specify which ships are available to you, leaving you do just decide how they're deployed. I think this is less interesting, but we might have to fall back on it if we can't make the persistence work to our satisfaction.

We aren't planning to do any kind of mission branching (I'd rather not pour our limited resources into story beats many will miss), though we have the flexibility to have a battle span a solar system if we want. It just comes down to whether that's actually exciting in practice. Missions will probably be replayable once unlocked, but only in skirmish-mode outside the main campaign.

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Cornflakes_91
Cornflakes_91

The problem of "story arcs people arent even going to see" is why i suggested a literal "mission map". The player can revisit and retry any mission they already finished and explore different arcs that way.
it also removes my common problem of "i really enjoyed that mission, but i cant replay it" (in starlancer for example i solved it with handmade save states for each mission, but its a meh solution)

The basic mission map layout doesnt even have to include any branching arcs, but it would make a perfect place for any additions past v1.0.

Or as a place where mods could plug into for custom campaigns.

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TheVidmaster
TheVidmaster

I think the changes are very reasonable.

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Trunks518
Trunks518

Keep up the amazing work, I am highly anticipating the end result, even though it already looks great.

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Guest
Guest

So glad to hear that this is still coming. You make good points about 4X seeing a lot of releases of late. It's probably the right call to go for bespoke missions.

All the best,
Kevin - RetroNeo Games

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Guest
Guest

I really love this idea , this game can be the best stragy game in space with this Total War/Mount and Blade fusion , I'll buy this , please dont stop , U are making history .
I just have 2 questions .
The major strategy games in space dont know what is a fleet , when U say fleet , is a real fleat or just a squad ? To be a fleet must be possible 40 capital ships per side .
And about multiplayer , will be possible ?

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UrbanLogicGames Author
UrbanLogicGames

Thanks for the kind words! I think we probably disagree on the definition of the word 'fleet' though. As far as I'm aware 'fleet' is a somewhat fluid term that refers to a collection ships under the same ownership, or any number of ships sailing as a group. A fleet can be divided into 'squadrons' (or in our parlance, simply 'groups') but even as few as 2 ships could technically be considered a fleet (albeit an unusually small one).

In any case, I think what you're driving at is how many ships will you be seeing in the battles in Flagship?

While we haven't decided on an upper limit yet, I doubt it's going to be 40 per-side simply for performance reasons. We do know a lot of people are in this for the spectacle though, so we'll try give you as much as we can to hit the enemy with. :)

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Guest
Guest

Is this still in development?

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UrbanLogicGames Author
UrbanLogicGames

Yes, we're still working in it. We haven't posted a full update in a while but I occasionally tweet about the game, those get posted up at Flagshipgame.com

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Cheggsie
Cheggsie

is another full update on the way at all, nearly exactly 12 months since the last one :/

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admiralthrawnbar
admiralthrawnbar

Is there gonna be another update sometime soon? It's been over two years.

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