Tuesday, June 15, 2004

SWG: Jump to Lightspeed: Capital Ships

I can see three potential good uses for capital ships in SWG:

1. Missions: It would be fun to board a capital ship to accomplish some task for your side. In the same way that Obi-Wan had to find and disable the tractor beam aboard the Death Star in SW:ANH, and that sufficiently burly players can go into the Corellian Corvette dungeon in SWG, some of the things you could do after sneaking onto a capital ship might be:

  • assassinate an enemy commander (NPC)
  • rescue a captured scientist (NPC)
  • extract battle plans from the ship's computer
  • disable the ship's shield generator
  • obtain passage to a hidden enemy base
  • sabotage the ship's engines
2. Flight Operations: A lot of people seem to like the idea of serving aboard a big starship in some official capacity. Usually this seems to mean active duty in one of the following roles:

  • Bridge: commanding the ship (Captain)
  • Bridge: actually piloting the ship (Helmsman, Navigator)
  • Bridge: fire control (Weapons Officer)
  • Bridge: other stuff (Communications, Sensors, Shields, Internal Security)
  • Engineering: servicing the engines, shields, and weapons (Chief Engineer)
  • Gun turret: shooting at enemy starfighters (Gunner, Gunner's Mate)
This kind of gameplay probably owes more to Star Trek than to Star Wars, but it could still be fun to implement somehow in SWG.

3. Carrier Operations: This is all about being a starfighter pilot aboard some big hulking carrier that takes you from one battle to another. As much fun as duking it out one-on-one is likely to be, who wouldn't want to be part of some Midway-sized major furball, with hundreds of fighters buzzing around multiple capital ships unleashing electric death on each other?

Personally, here's what I'd like to see. Every now and then -- maybe once every couple of weeks or so -- two capital ships appear over two different major planets. The announcement goes out: "If you're a starfighter pilot, we need you! Sign aboard our ship now, and we'll take you to the enemy!"

You'll fly to the ship, where you'll emerge on board in a hangar bay (with your ship in your datapad) where you can hang out with your fellow fighter jocks, upgrade your ship's components, or load consumable weapons like missiles and flares. After about 30 minutes you'll get a warning message followed by a "loading" screen... and *BING* your carrier appears some distance away from the other capital ship that also just emerged from hyperspace.

And then it's "all hands to battle stations!" You click on your fighter deed and launch to space to start pounding on the bad guys. Depending on how you do against the enemy fighters, your carrier will take more or less damage. Once either carrier drops below some magic number, it will send out a message that it's bugging out. At that point you'll have something like two or three minutes to break off combat and dock with the carrier.

If you're able to dock in time, you'll return to your hangar bay and be aboard when your carrier returns to the planet from which it picked you up, at which time you'll be ejected in your fighter. (Meanwhile the other carrier, after about ten minutes of mopping up enemy stragglers, will return to its own home planet and eject its own complement of fighter pilots.)

If you don't dock in time, your ship zooms off into hyperspace without you, which could leave you in extremely unfriendly territory indeed.

So is there anyone planning to fly Imperial or Rebel starfighters who wouldn't enjoy this kind of thing?

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