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Dev Diary #7 – The Frigate

by on July 10, 2014

We’re staying at the combat-end of our game for one more post and decided to go big in honor of the occasion.

Sooner or late in Stars of Icarus, the players will be making short work of the Drones, Asteroid Breakers and Fighters the enemy throws at them. When that time comes, it will be time to bring out a chess piece with the potential to completely redefine the battlefield. The frigate is that piece.

DEV_DIARY_FRIG_01

As explained in earlier updates, specific enemy types in Stars of Icarus have specific behaviours and attack patterns. Usually this means that the players need to outmanoeuvre or strike weak points. They need to stay on their toes and split up formations, followed by selective attacks. However, with player evolution comes an increasing amount of enemy resistance. Tired of being played for fools they decide to once and for all bar the players path with some of their biggest guns.

DEV_DIARY_FRIG_02

We wanted the frigate so be slow and bulky but menacing and powerful at the same time. We decided on a core structure surrounded by armor plates to enforce the strength-theme. But additionaly to looking awesome, the whole ship uses the multi-part game mechanic we introduced when we presented the Asteroid Breaker. While armor plates can take massive amounts of damage and effectivly render most attack pointless, the core is not only much more susceptible to enemy fire, but also naturally what holds the whole structure together. In short: No core, no frigate. Not much of it is exposed and unprotected, so aim carefully. However, if you do run out of patience and hammer the hull long enough, sooner or later, the plating will give way and the core will suddenly become a lot easier to target. Long endurance or clean precision, the choice is yours.

 DEV_DIARY_FRIG_03

The frigate is also the first enemy to sport two different gun turrets. While one focuses on hard to avoid, low-damage suppressive fire, the other will blast players in slow intervals with a high-powered cannon that can give even the best shields a run for their money. Though dangerous and lethal, both turrets can be destroyed independently, effectively crippling the frigate’s offence. This adds more of a strategic approach to the battle, where a wild charge may result in a quick and decisive defeat, but careful planning may bring you a clear victory.

DEV_DIARY_FRIG_04

There are few enemies in Stars of Icarus where our mutipart-system is this apparent and so consequently debris from the Frigate can play an important role in combat. Because of its size it may provide important cover, or potential useful gravity gun ammunition.

The frigate was designed to be two things. One: A powerful solo enemy and gatekeeper of sorts. If players come across one of these ships while having a look around, we want them to have a sensation of raised stakes and increased danger, which makes a fight more intense. Two: A fleet commander. The frigate is most powerful, when it has a bunch of quick and versatile allies to keep the player on his or her toes. This balances out it’s slow movement speed and provides the opportunity to make the most of both attacks.

F1

A wild frigate appears…

F5

Take Cover!

F7

It’s wounded! We’ve got it nooOOPE!

F9

The brute force method

There’s more where this came from! Stay tuned for more updates on Facebook and Twitter!

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From → Stars of Icarus

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