Thursday, June 12, 2008

Battleships Forever: Fleet Construction Rules

For those of you not in the know, Battleships Forever is an excellent freeware space combat game by Sean Chan that features an impressive amount of quality single-player content and even more importantly (at least in the eyes of everyone I know) allows you to make your own ships. Word is that the developer will be including multiplayer functionality in a future revamp of the game; for now people (including my friends and I) are making do by pitting custom, A.I.-controlled fleets against each other. I had figured we would use the rules followed by participants in the various tournaments that had already occurred, but for me the existing rulesets turned out to be a huge disappointment. So here's my attempt. Read on for an explanation of what this ruleset does differently and why I felt it was necessary.

The single-player aspects of Battleships Forever are highly replayable thanks to the wide variety of ships players can use; the different options are well balanced against one another while still offering markedly different tactical approaches. Unfortunately, the existing rulesets throw all that out the window in favor of a much narrower class of designs. My goal with this ruleset has been to instead set the rules up so that the ships we see in single player are all perfectly viable examples of design- not the work of a moron who shot himself in the foot the second he neglected the obligatory deflectors/cheap weapon buy option.

Basically, I want to have ship design be an actual part of the game, and that's very difficult without a balancing ruleset. Since a game is any experience where you have fun by overcoming challenges, there has to be more of a challenge to design than "aegis deflectors and every weapon in the game one every section". Hopefully this ruleset successfully emulates the balance model Sean Chan followed when he made the ships for this game, consciously or unconsciously.

As always, criticisms and suggestions are welcome, though I might also be persuaded to admit a compliment if it was specific enough.

No comments: