To be perfectly honest, I don't want to do it. At all. And even if I did do it, it would be because it would take me back to my roots and give me the chance to do some things differently, while also harnessing the power of modern day technology and dev tools to do the game and its world justice.
As you all know, while the games in the series (Battlecruiser, Universal Combat) weren't perfect, they are the definitive capital ship simulations that, thus far, nobody has even bothered to match, let alone produce. There is a very good reason for that.
Due to the massive size of my game universe, as well as the diverse characters, races and castes in the IP, these games can't be done any other way. These are complex games, through and through - and with zero compromise in this regard. If you are new to my games, please don't take my word for it, instead, take a look at the Universal Combat CE v2.0 game manual, tutorial and game commands.
While the later games that came after the original Battlecruiser 3000AD expanded on the game's feature set, by the time Universal Combat series rolled around, I had gone completely overboard with the feature set. That series in particular, gave access to a heck of a lot more assets and features than previous games in the franchise. So if I did remake this Battlecruiser game, it would be with a view to keeping it as close as possible to the original in terms of core features.
To that end, this is what I am thinking in terms of feature set.
Focus on a single player controlled carrier with its complement of four fighters, four shuttles and four ground vehicles. However, unlike the original game, these support crafts will all have different types e.g. instead of the four Interceptor MK1 fighters like the original, each of the four fighters will be from super, heavy, medium, light class.
Build the entire carrier, complete with fully articulated interiors. If you've seen the shots of inside the GCV-Starguard (not player controlled) in Line Of Defense, then you know what to expect. In order to save time, I may base the game on that already created Engstrom class carrier, instead of spending six (!) months again building another carrier from the ground up.
As in LOD, you will exist in full 3D inside the entire game. You will be able to sit in your commander's chair, pilot (or command your ship AI or AI controlled Navigations Officer, grab a weapon and combat intruders (the bane of every capital ship commander in my games), run down to the docking bay, enter a fighter and combat in space or on planets, take a shuttle on trading runs, take a ground vehicle and a team of marines on a planetary raid etc - all in first person perspective mode. Imagine running from the bridge (or somewhere on the ship) to the armory to grab weapons, grenades etc due to an intruder incursion somewhere on deck 2.
You will have full access to and control over your entire ship crew; still powered by high-end AI. Now you get to either shoot Resnig (if you know who that is, then you're as old as you think you are) in the head for incompetence (sadly, he may be even more nuts when he's cloned and comes back) or kick him out of an airlock (btw, these are fully functional in LOD as you will see in a new movie being released on Monday through our YouTube channel. As with the previous games, you will still be able to monitor personnel activities via PerScan computer. e.g. if the Nav Officer gets up to head for food in the galley, you will either see her get up and leave her seat on the bridge or run into her in the corridor as she makes her way to the galley.
You will still have access to all high-end subsystems including TacOps, Navitron, Logistix, Tactical, PerScan, Commlink.
All of the carrier's powerful systems, including fully automated weapon systems (which handle PTA and FATAL sub-systems), cloaking, hyperspace jump, tractor beam, advanced shield systems, probe launch and monitoring etc will be intact.
You still be able to dock and trade with space stations and planetary bases.
You will still be able to mine for minerals using mining drones on planets. There may be support for asteroid mining.
You still be able to do combat in your capital ship, fighters, ground vehicles or in first person mode alongside your team of marines deployed either by shuttles or transporter. There won't be any first person combat in space - so no space walk. This feature introduced in latter games but served no purpose other than doing it just because I could.
You will still have to battle intruders, take on guests, take prisoners etc
You will still be able to capture stations and planetary starbases, bringing them under GALCOM control
As you progress, you will still be given fleet command and control over other GALCOM ships
The game will be a full-blown sandbox. No missions to follow. All you have to do is follow your GALCOM directives as you have done in previous games. For example, intercepting transports carrying contraband, intercepting pirates, raiders and insurgents, escorting diplomats through hostile territory etc. In fact, if you read the UCCE manual (see link above), aside from the multi-career (you can only play as a Commander in this game), you will be able to do the same things in that game, since those features were derived from the original 1996 Battlecruiser and improved and enhanced over the years.
The entire game world will be featured; not some section of it as was done in games like Line Of Defense, All Aspect Warfare, Angle Of Attack, Echo Squad.
All the assets (ships, weapons, vehicles, stations etc) featured in LOD will be used as-is. And since that game does not feature all of these assets, the rest will be done at the same quality level.
There won't be any multiplayer as that would be too complex to do properly. Those of you who were with us from when we first put in multiplayer in the Battlecruiser and Universal Combat games, already know how much hassle that was - and it still didn't work quite right. I will, however, consider co-op multiplayer in which other players can fill in the slots of AI crew e.g. you could have your friend be the Navigations Officer, one of the marines or fighter pilots on board the ship etc. And if you wanted guest who just mingle on your ship and not have any meaningful function, then they can fill in the guest slots. In short, if I do this, then any personnel slot on the carrier can be filled by human players.
In previous games, technology prevented us from doing the planetary bases justice. If you have seen the bases in LOD, then you should know what to expect. Though only four - on a single planet - are featured in that game, this new game will feature a base of the same size and complexity on all planets that have them. This means all forty-six planetary starbases will be built. The same goes for all the station types, all of which will be built to the same quality levels as those (which will be used as-is) seen in LOD. So no more sparce and boring planetary bases.
The graphics and tech will of course be top notch. However, as with LOD, I will not be building engines from the ground up for this game. Instead, I will have to choose between Unreal4 (I already have a full unused license), CryEngine or Unity5 for this game and make a custom engine out of whichever one I go with. My one concern would be that I am not certain if those engines can in fact work correctly as a node-based world system, given the size of my game world. For LOD, we used a custom engine based on Havok's Vision Engine (was Trinigy). We're never doing that again. Big mistake.
If I do this game, it will be exclusive to the PC. It will come with a "Do not buy this unless you're slightly mad and/or off-center" warning label. At least then the person who is going to buy this, then come bitch at me for its complexity, is going to get all they deserve. A numb brain.
In other words, anyone expecting a 1:1 remake of Universal Combat, but with modern tech and graphics, is going to be disappointed. I'm not remaking that sort of game this time around.
And no, as I stated earlier, I'm not going to fund it because I will most likely lose my money because I don't believe that a market for this type of high-end niche game exists anymore.
Plus, I'm tired of making "games for assholes". Sadly there are now more unrepentant assholes than there are true gamers. So I would much rather leave my money in equity and stock investments - where it belongs. I can get by just fine by never making another game ever again, once the planned ones are out.
So, if I do decide to make this game, I will crowd fund it. This way I know that whoever wants it, can express that by pitching in. If it doesn't get funded, it doesn't get made. Simple I think.
Given what my other games cost to make and given the sheer amount of stuff that needs to be created, even with the mitigated expense of using a third party engine, I figure that this game will cost upwards of $4m and two years to make. And as I did with LOD Tactics, I would have to put together a separate team to work with me on it since my other teams are busy with other projects (e.g. LOD, LODTactics etc)
Are you kidding me? You're one of the 'originals', you need to stamp your 'brand' on the massive resurgence of the indie space sim happening!
With Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen, Limit Theory etc reawakening the genre it only makes sense for the guy who paved the way for these newer games to come in and push the boundaries further once again.
All the new space sims coming out over this next couple of years have copied ideas from BC/UC.
Freeroaming a massive universe with unexplored territories and alien races, colonies with their own AI personas, trade, combat, diplomacy, mining, one game even has an option of setting up a colony on unexplored planets and starting farms etc. But you can tell where they got the idea from with the mining drones etc.
A Derek Smart remake and stamping your brand on the resurgence would be awesome. Would be interesting to see your old ideas combine with the new ideas with new technology. Bet you'd blow us all away!
I'd support on Kickstarter. I'd like a space sim with more diplomacy involved, a little more contact with alien races. No other space sim really provides that, Limit Theory heads slightly towards that direction.
But think of games like Civilization, where you can talk, form friendships/alliances, trade.. backstab, threaten, steal. Etc.