Armada'3 should hold true to the original concept of Armada'1, including some of the features of A2', but with superior networking, general programming, and a far higher quality of graphics.
The pro's and the con's of Armada
Superior aspects of A1'
-each ship had 'value', the loss of any ship would always be noticed by a player- unlike A2
-perfect levels for shields, energy, weapons, and related aspects.
-default game speed was superb, ships/bases were made at a good pace
Problems with A1'
-inherently unstable, esp. with Win XP, for which no patch was ever issued
-out of sync issue, which could often ruin more than 25% of all multiplayer games
-max. of 8 players in games, when miniwars could probably manage 10-12.
Good aspects of A2'
-more ship/base types
-6 races instead of 4, although species' were very annoying to use.
-extra resource type 'latinum', although 'metal' is perhaps not a good idea.
-improved user interface for both in-game, lobby, game-rooms
Problems with A2'
-3D gameplay: a good idea in concept, but in practice not necessary and not playable.
-default 'viewing' distance from map too far, zoom out should be removed.
-warp: a good concept, but ruins strategy which was possible on A1'
-ship textures arguably worse than A1
-micro-management, i.e converting metal/dil/latinum to another resource via trading station
-automatic 'special weapons' (such as for science ships), which detracts from good players who understand their value.
Armada'3 - if it is to be made (in whatever form), should retain many aspects of the original, adopt a number of features from A2, and focus on superior graphics, networking, and user interface. However, one particular problem with A2 was that the game became too complicated in nature.
Consider the game of Chess, arguably one of the most elegant games ever designed. The game is inherently very simple to play, although there are near-infinate possiblities for how to play it. Armada'1 was the equivalent of online Chess, it was beautifully playable, with endless types of strategy - although A1 did fail in a number of ways as already noted.
Officers: No Cap! Retain the original concept of officers quarters - i.e 20 per 'standard' starbase, with additional officers for 500 credits.
Habitable Planets: Remove. The idea is interesting, but for A1' the game revolves around bases and ships, not planetary takeover.
1. Increase the limit for ordinary games to 10 players - possibly even 12 - assuming they all have Cable 500k connections
2. For yardwars....
For yard/miniwar, I see no reason why there should not be at least 12 players for a short game - perhaps even as high as 14-16 players? For Broadband players this would be a massive step forwards, and would create far more interesting short games. Many other online games can have far higher than the current Armada maximum of 8 players, (assuming A3' is made with broadband in mind), there is no reason why it should be held to just eight.
3 resources - dilithium, latinum, and metal
Moons could be infinate/limited - as usual, the same could be done for latinum nebulas' and metal 'planets'
Unlike A2 however, I suggest a 'credits' system, whereby any collected resource will automatically be converted to a credit.
Conversion rates for resources
Dilithium 150 collected units = 150 credits
Metal : 150 cu = 100
Latinum : 150 cu = 75
The process would indeed be entirely automatic, players would not need to waste time - via a trading facility, endlessly clicking (which is quite crazy) to convert one resource into another.
There would be excellent potential for some particularly interesting maps.
Example: 3 finite moons &1 metal planet on either side of a divide, with infinate latinum nebs in the middle.
Built in Map Editor:
Neither edition of Armada included a user friendly (and stable) built in map creation program. This was a real drawback for many players, since installing the map editor was a real problem to many who wanted to create their own maps. Were A3 to include a relatively straight forward map editor - that is accessible via the main entry page of the game, it would likely prove a most valuable tool for players - one that would certainly appeal to many potential buyers of the game.
The basic four races of Borg, Federation, Klingons, and Romulins would of course remain. The tough decision is who else to include and whom to exclude. The issue of time involved in producing yet another few sets of ship/base styles is one that the A3 games production team would have to carefully assess.
Federation, Klingons, and Romulins + Vulcans, Cardassians. Perhaps the Dominion
& Ferengi, to give players a superb choice of 8 diverse races, each with their
own strengths and weaknesses.
Other possible races: Andorians, Kazon, Xindi, Breen
What ship types should be included in A3? It is not a simple decision, since
Ship types: (as for Armada'2)
assault :(troop ship)
escort class : (defiant, shrikes, bops, interceptor)
Destroyer : akira, griffin, sphere
heavy cruiser : steamrunner, raptor, legate, harbinger
fast cruiser : intrepid class, qeh-ral
science vessel : nebula, diamond, shadow, fek'lhr
capital ship 1 : Galaxy
capital ship 2 : Sovereign, (Borg Cube/Tactical Cube), Warbird, Negvar
capital ship 3/4/5 (Borg only) Tactical/Fusion cube
death ship (klings, roms, cardies)
For A3, I believe race differences should be the case - as in A1.
How good could graphics be for Armada 3 ? Click on a thumbnail for full size version....
Even though the above
pictures are fake, you can get some idea of just how amazing Armada'3 would be,
if graphics were radically improved
Graphics cards have certainly progressed exponentially since Armada was conceived in 1999 - in the days of Voodoo, Matrox, and the first ever ATI card. Lets take the example of the Federation Akira vessel. Please note that for the screen captures of A1 and A2, the screen res' was 1024x 16bit colour, with Armada graphics details on maximum.
Screenshot - 'Star Trek 8: First Contact'
Today, the typical PC gamer is using a graphics card with at least 32mb of onboard memory. Many are already using 128mb and 256mb cards, and at present there are no games that utilise that level of RAM. With graphics technology likely to further increase to around 512mb ram - as standard by 2006, Armada'3 could be 'remarkable' in terms of CGI quality - if a games maker decides to take such a forward thinking attitude.
*In terms of potential games sales and 'minimum system requirements', the only problem is for PC users who are relying on 'onboard graphics' via the motherboard. Such onboard chips are simply not going to be up to the task for running even a 'reasonably' advanced Armada'3. However, such computer users are generally not the type to expect to run high end games anyway. So, the key aspect is that any games maker should really lead the charge to be one of the first to utilise the full power of today's standards graphics technology.
Page Last updated : 12/01/05