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This post explains how single-player mode will work in Aero Empire, outlining both the Free Play and Campaign (story) modes.

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If you're like me, then you spend a considerable amount of your video game time playing by yourself, and so, for all my shut-in kin, Aero Empire will have two different ways to play solo, both available in the initial release. Firstly, there is Free Play mode, which is exactly what it sounds like: the player creates a character in one of the world's five nations, starting at any stage and rank. The Free Play world is completely dynamic, with little pre-scripting of events, controlled entirely by the actions of the NPC AIs and the player. In Free Play mode, you can make and break alliances, start and finish battles, build ships, influence the economy, and can affect all facets of the game world. As players climb up the ranks of the military, they can choose to obey or disobey the orders given to them by their superiors; as they climb higher, they will begin issuing commands to NPCs below them, who, in turn, can obey or disobey them. The player can also perform a rebellion and break away from their country, or choose to aid a rival nation, make friends and enemies and marry a special someone. In all, Free Play mode is designed to let players live in a self-running version of AE's world, able to do whatever in game actions they want.

The other single-player mode is the Campaign, which features a large, organic world like the Free Play mode, but with the addition of a large story that adds pre-scripted events to the world that would be random or controlled by AI in Free Play mode. In the Campaign Mode, players select a pre-defined character from one of the world's five empires, each of whom have their own histories and motivations; depending on those backstories, the characters start at different ranks in the military. While these characters all have their own backstories in place, as soon as the game begins the player has complete control of their actions, and directs them through combat, dialogue, promotions, rebellions, and everything else available in Free Play mode, and as they progress, influencing the path of the story more and more. While all options may be available, however, the pre-scripted events cannot possibly cover all possible options, so paths that deviate from the story might isolate the player from the story, or even break down some story elements based on player actions.

Our goal with the single-player version of the game is to give as many people as possible something to enjoy: if you like a big, randomized sandbox world to play around in, you have that. You can also play around in that world while a large story plays itself out around you, which you can affect as little or as much as you want. If you want to stay a pilot the entire campaign, you can do that: the story will continue around you, and you will start to become a more and more prestigious pilot, eventually serving aboard the admiral's flagship or another vied-for position. While you will not be able to influence the world as much as you would have in a higher position, you will still play a part in it, with many of the decisions you would have otherwise made chosen by the AI instead. The goal is to have a story that does not punish the player in some arbitrary way; however you want to play is the right way to play.

Andashan Female Character Concept

Featured in the initial single-player campaign mode.

While there are campaigns planned from the perspective of each of the five empires, for the sake of actually getting the game out the door the initial release will contain just one full campaign; if AE catches on, expansions containing other sides to the story, as well as additional content (multiplayer) are planned for the future.

Andashan Male Character Concept

Featured in the initial single-player campaign mode.

In the next story post, we'll start giving out proper details of the Campaign in the initial release. Until then, check out the some of our awesome art (by RedOwl) for the first character we plan to reveal soon, and stay tuned!

Kage.Ookami - - 2,938 comments


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DuckSauce - - 969 comments

This sounds awesome, I especially like the part of choosing NOT to promote, that's really something interesting, most games just think of progress only in the form of becoming more and more powerfull towards new jobs, rather then become extremely experienced at the same job.

Keep it up guys!

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Mularac - - 2,910 comments

this is... Just plain awesome. I don't need to add anything else, it's like a dream. A true RPG.

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Piuneer - - 1,170 comments

This will probably be near the top of my list of favorite games. I can't wait til 2011 D:

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Klight - - 90 comments

Very interesting post. I'm curious about how much of the features are complete.

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terra0nova - - 178 comments

Right now, all of the features have been sketched out, some with abstract implementations, but right now the only gameplay features (not including the rendering engine and procedural generation engine) are the basic ones (the stage logic, command hierarchies and unit control). Additionally, there is no user interface yet to allow the player to interact with these features (that's next on the list). There's still a lot to do, but there's a lot of time before early 2011 :) .

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Jokerme - - 1,170 comments

Free Play mode sounds like my kind of mode. Like Mount & Blade. I find it interesting that this kind of modes are not done yet properly by any game I know of.

I usually prefer extreme modes. Like totally free gameplay or totally scripted gameplay. For example I like GTA series, they give you lots of freedom but not total freedom, you are still have to do missions to move on. If you don't do missions you'll just aimlessly hang around (there is nothing else to do - maybe we can partly exclude San Andreas here). That's not what I like. If I'll get restricted by mission based gameplay, I want them to be very impressively told like Silent Hill or Half Life 2. And if I'll have freedom, I want to be totally free like M&B or maybe partly Oblivion (there were lots of side quests). I'll do whatever I want to do, but not just that, I also want to see effects of my choices in game. If I kill without thinking, I want to be known as a murderer, or if I steal like there is no tomorrow, I should be known as a filthy thief.

This type of games are difficult to create.

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terra0nova - - 178 comments

Just to be clear, you can't do ANYTHING in free play mode (as it is still an open problem having a game handle all possible actions that a player could imagine - and a player could imagine a lot, like throwing a vicious animal found in the vicinity at the enemy). For example, there is no stealing in game, and no hand to hand combat (although these could be added in expansions). However, the free play mode will have no scripting restrictions, the only scripts will be general purpose (talk with NPC, etc). Any action that you can feasibly take among the in game actions, you can take in free play mode. You can disobey orders, start a coup and take over your captain's ship (or your nation), you can reject promotions up rank and accept promotions for flying a gyro on the flagship, and so on.

So there will always be restrictions, but among the actions offered in game, there will be no restrictions in free play mode, and your actions will affect the world around you, and the actions of the NPCs, as there is no scripted story in free play mode, just the actions of the player and AI.

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