Author Topic: Expansion suggestion: TLF Nomad Planets  (Read 1375 times)

Offline Captain Jack

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Expansion suggestion: TLF Nomad Planets
« on: February 27, 2015, 08:48:42 PM »
GalCiv2 is my favorite 4X. There's a lot of reasons for this--PC Gamer's legendary LPs of the expansions among them--but a big part of its appeal are the game changing events. Whenever things get slow or boring the game starts shaking things up. Maybe one race finds an artifact that throws their production into the stratosphere, or a fifth of everyone's domain rebels and forms a new faction, or the Dread Lords show up to bring joy (read: despair) and fun (read: resetting) to the galaxy. They don't happen in every game, but when they do it drastically changes your plans, maybe for the rest of the game.

In the interest of bringing that to TLF, I'd like to suggest something very similar to the Nomad Planets from AI War. A mobile, artificial planetoid appears at random in the solar system, providing an opportunity for the player and the *ahem* AI. There's a race of sorts: the first faction (Hydral, still living species, pirates) to overcome the automated defenses surrounding the planet sends an away team to the surface for X amount of time, and receives a random technology from the ones they have open to research (pirates get a free base instead, representing their looting instead of studying). After that the Nomad Planet leaves the system for a slightly longer period of time than it does in its usual wanderings.

It's first come first serve and winner takes all, so everyone interested fights to hold the orbit. Allies from the Federation and anti-Federations politely avoid assaulting each other (unless the Hydral convinces them to make the attempt  >D) but everyone else will fight each other to grab it. Races that normally get along might find relations strained after their expeditionary armadas blast each other into space dust the fifth time, and if you decide to kick someone off so you can take that sweet, sweet science yourself your opinion rating takes a progressively harsher hit than usual.

Now here's the fun part: Every time someone gets something from the Nomad Planet a(n invisible) counter increases, a few points for the relatively gentle technological archaeology, slightly more for senseless looting. Once a randomized threshold is passed the planet wakes up. It heads to the asteroid belt and starts pumping out armadas that attack everyone, with a special focus on whoever woke it up. A planet taken by it gets glassed, destroying its improvements, population and environment. Then the Nomad Planet's attentions shift to pirate bases of that race to prevent a clever player from bringing that race back in, though a clever and quick player can do it. Good luck keeping a race with all those penalties alive though.

Turning off the Nomad Planet requires a trench run, and a bit of prep work. You need to reconnoiter the planet, analyze the enemy IFF (meaning destroying a flagship and performing research), create a new Hydral special ability capable of destroying the structure's weakpoint, and then launch your attack. The drop point is heavily fortified but you can call in help from the races.  For example, while it's immune to planet busting, you might pay the Acutians to launch a buster that will destroy some of its defenses ahead of your arrival. The same could be done by the Peltians with enough voting proxies. The Evucks or Skylaxians might release a virus to debuff the enemy turrets, the Burlurst/Thoraxians send a fleet, and the Boarines or Andor might launch a feint to draw off some number of enemy fleets before your arrival. Federation members would always contribute if certain requirements are met, anti-Federation signatories will never help you, and anyone else might need extra convincing (quest?). As a reward for destroying it, you get to not have an angry robot planet at war with everyone, and a teachable moment on why the Federation is a good idea.

I'm hoping this could add an extra layer of concerns to the game. Hitting up the planet every chance you get guarantees you a tech advantage but will cost you influence, and being the planet's number 1 target is a considerable danger to an non-planetary agent. Choosing not to get involved means that the races will fight over the planet maybe to the point of going to war, and could lead to someone getting a technological edge, or a pirate empire forming, or the planet waking up in the first ten years. But eve that isn't necessarily a bad thing, what with the opportunities for mischief. Maybe the Nomad Planet will deal with an overly aggressively race for you, or provide a distraction while you build your personal power. Perhaps you could even direct it somewhat by planting a beacon, Invasion style.

I also think that the kind of sci-fi team effort you can put together to bring it down is ridiculously cool. So sue me, I know what I like.

I was about to write a paragraph with plot justifications for this, before realizing that it needs exactly as much of an explanation as the Ark or the Mire. Might be cool, but it's not the point (and this is the wrong part of the universe for the Spire or the Zenith).

Mantis link here. Please let me and Arcen (more Arcen) know if this sounds like fun, or suggest improvements to the idea.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 08:54:59 PM by Watashiwa »

Offline bobtheaverage

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Re: Expansion suggestion: TLF Nomad Planets
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2015, 04:51:08 PM »
Very interesting idea. It would kind of shift the focus of the game. Instead of build a Federation the goal might be, get all of the non-Federation races to kill themselves on this planet before organizing a proper defense.