BSG Instructions

1-5 - Throttle settings (dictates the maximum attainable speed (1 = 25, 2 = 50, 3 = 100, 4 =200, 5 =1000)
Z and space - Accelerates and decelerates the ship
A and D - Rolls the ship
Q and E - Apply side thrusters
S and X - Apply up/down thrusters
Left Mouse Button + Mouse Move - Turns the ship
Right Mouse Button - Fires primary (bullet) weapons
R - Releases countermeasures
F - Fires secondary weapons
T- Cycles through targets for secondary weapons
V and B - Zooms and unzooms the dradis picture
Z and C - Camera look (backwards over left and right wings)


For further development of the game, see Berton's Blog: http://abanathie.blogspot.co.uk/

PROPOSED TITLE: BATTLESTAR
1. Overview
Battlestar is a flight combat simulator based on the popular Battlestar Galactica series. The games takes place in the Ronald Moore version (2004 TV series) and occurs prior to the setting in the proposed Blood and Chrome series currently in production with SyFy. The game takes place during the first few years of the First Cylon War. As the protagonist, the player takes the role of a "nugget" assigned to an air group initially assigned to a smaller Battlestar (a destroyer classed vessel). By completing missions, the player goes from a rookie to an experienced pilot in the struggle against the Cylons and can obtain newer viper models, promotions and reassignment to a full-fledged Battlestar like the Galactica. While there will be "filler" missions, many missions will be interconnected into a larger storyline allowing the player to make a significant impact on the war effort.  There will be a wide variety of story arcs to ensure each player has a unique history and playing experience.

As a flight simulator, the game will feature a quick tempo 3D first person shooting mechanics utilizing line of sight bullets and semi-autonomous, but unreliable, missiles. Unlike previous space flight simulators, Battlestar will utilize a more realistic movement engine to better emulate the fighting style depicted in the series. Movement will be vector and inertia based to allow for more realistic space combat experience.
2. Game Mechanics
There are two major categories for game mechanics: inter-mission play and mission play.

Inter-mission play describes the time between missions. This section allows for the player to purchase upgrades, obtain promotions and provide a timeline management tool for the game. 

All upgrades and promotions are purchased by spending prestige gained from missions. The player starts with a viper (mark one) with a standard load-out (standard bullets and missiles). When purchasing upgrades, the player can trade up to a mark two viper which has better structure, fuel capacity, agility and speed when it becomes available. In addition, other styles of vipers will become available as the war progresses: mark three viper, prototype stealth viper, experimental FTL capable viper and others. In addition, the viper load-out can be upgraded. Instead of standard bullets, a viper can be loaded with high explosive bullets, armor-piercing bullets or other types. The same thing goes for missiles. 

In addition to equipment, the player can purchase promotions. The rank structure in the Colonial Military is: Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel, Commander and Admiral. The player can purchase the rank up to Colonel. Each rank will unlock new, more dangerous missions and wll unlock new storylines (series of missions) for the player. 

A player can also purchase transfers to other ships.  Initially, a starting player will start on a smaller destroyer with a small viper complement.  As the game progresses, a player can transfer to cruisers, assaultstars (US military equivalent to a amphibious assault carrier) or a newly commissioned, full-fledged Battlestar (like the Galatica or Columbia).  Each new launching platform will have an impact on mission availability.

This section will also control the timeline for the game universe. Certain missions, ships and equipment will only become available at certain times. This section will allow the player to choose from a menu of available of missions. Storyline missions will be clearly marked for the player.

The mission section involves the actual mission gameplay. The player will be able to control many facets of his/her viper:

1-5 - Throttle settings (dictates the maximum attainable speed (1 = 25, 2 = 50, 3 = 100, 4 =200, 5 =1000)
Z and space - Accelerates and decelerates the ship
A and D - Rolls the ship
Q and E - Apply side thrusters
S and X - Apply up/down thrusters
Left Mouse Button + Mouse Move - Turns the ship
Right Mouse Button - Fires primary (bullet) weapons
R - Releases countermeasures
F - Fires secondary weapons
T- Cycles through targets for secondary weapons
V and B - Zooms and unzooms the dradis picture
Z and C - Camera look (backwards over left and right wings)

For combat, throttle should be set to 4, Z, space and mouse navigation are the primary controllers for navigation of the ship. R, T and F should see significant use while the zooming functions shoud only be used sparingly. The other navigational tools become more involved when landing the ship; however, there are some combat applications that the player may feel the desire to utilize (such as sidestepping a missile with Q or E thrusters).
3. Artificial Intelligence
AI for NPC will be broken down into three sections: pre-engagment, engagement and post engagement (only applicable to other Colonial assets most of the time). 

Pre-engagement routines involve simple flight commands (such fly forward) until engagement criteria are met. Engagement criteria can include executing avoidance manuevers or enemy contact within its engagement zone.

Engagment is the most difficult. Every ship will have an avoidance routine with a set avoidance distance for small ships (fighters) and larger ships (capital ships or freighters and such). Once in an avoidance zone, the ship will move to avoid the other ship. Once out of the zone, it will reengage the enemy.
During engagement, Cylons wll prefer to keep targets at a longer range while Colonial ships will attempt to close and engage targets. This will be simulated through the cutting of thrust while at longer range for Cylon fighters. Colonial vipers are more likely to cut engines while close to the target and turn and engage with guns. Each will have a refresh rate to determine the optimal target. In addition, each ship can optionally have a mission target. Depending on distance and angle, a NPC can turn and attempt to engage the mission target instead of other fighters. Damaged ship will attempt to execute an escape routine. Escape routines are preset evasive manuevers designed to make engagement difficult. If the a battle continues long enough, NPC ships can attempt to retreat from battle due to low fuel or low ammo. Cylon ships will jump away (with the flash special effect), and Colonial ships will attempt to find a safe landing platform and land for refuel. After a designated period of time, these ships may relaunch if not damaged prior to landing.

Post engagement involves cleaning up a fight. If the Cylons meet their objectives, they will jump away. If the Colonial viper force defeats all enemies and/or mission objectives are completed, Colonial vipers will seek out the closest landing platform and land their planes.

In additioin, a timeline manager object will control preset wireless transmissions, update mission objectives for the PC and NPC ships, spawn new NPC (such as new Cylons jumping into the mission map) and other functions. The timeline manager will give a sense of a dynamic envirnoment and control the story within the mission. This management tool can also create dynamic targets or situations based on the current conditions present in the worldspace. Triggers (besides time elapse) can include the enemy faction dropping below a set number ships, damage to a capital ship and so on.
4. Game Elements
The primary game element are heatsources (or ships). Any element that has an avoidance or engagement effect have a heatsource (game engine element - not to be confused with real world heat source concept). A heatsource script is attached to every "engageable" game object and is labeled on two tiers. First tier deals with faction setting: Cylon, Colonial or None. The second tier deals with the size of ship: fighter or capital. Certain objects (not ships) will have heatsources with a faction label of “None”. These can include asteriods, planets and debris. Usually these objects are placed to increase difficulty (asteroids and debris) or are present for visual or story effects (planets).

Fighter craft and capital ships have different AI routines, and the way a fighter interacts with a capital ship vastly differs from the interaction with another fighter craft. The heatsource element of a game object has a profound effect on the AI routines for every ship in the game. 

Other game elements are visual effect objects (like the sun flare to simulate a sun, a space box, the flash effect to simulate a ship jumping in or out of the map) and management objects (like a timeline manager, a mission objective manager, spawn points, boundary managers etc...).
5. Story Overview
According to canon, the first Cylon War lasted 12.5 years. Battlestar takes place two years after the start of the war. The Colonial military has built the first two Battlestars, the Galactica and Atlantia, representing the colonies Caprica and Scorpio. Ten other Battlestars are planned with the Pegasus, Prometheus and Solaria near completion. The war up to this point has gone poorly for Colonial forces. The smaller capital ships of the fleet (cruiser and destroyers) have been overmatched by the Cylon basestars in sheer firepower. The new Battlestars and the new viper fighter crafts represent the best hope in turning the tide of war. 

The player represents one of the graduates from the Colonial Military Academy selected to fly one a viper. After completing a tutorial (simulating Viper Flight School), the player is assigned to a smaller destroyer assigned to the defense of small region of space rich in Tylium ore.  The vast majority of this region is held by Cylon forces; however, Colonial forces have managed to hold some marginal deposits in the outlying regions.   The first story arc will lead the player to the discovery and successful destruction of secret Cylon base within Colonial held territory.  

As the player completes this story arc, the timeline in the war will advance, and the player will enter the game world.  New Battlestars, viper craft, missions and other elements will become available as the player completes other missions. The player will be given the opprotunity to fly other story arc missions that can have a profound impact on the war effort in the game. The goal is to give the player an immersive experience that spans a significant portion of the war.
6. Game Progression
While missions obviously represent key "levels" within the game, the actual game progression can better be defined as rank based. As the player obtains higher rank, new and more difficult missions will be made available to the player. With each new rank, the flavor and style of mission will evolve.

Ensign is the initial rank in Battlestar. As an ensign, the player has limited choices in missions. Ensign level missions are usually more run of the mill in the nature and involve flying patrol for Colonial assets. Story arc missions involve the player discovering key information that lead to other related missions. These missions can be heroic; however, they tend to be smaller in scale.

Lieutenant is the second rank in the Colonial military. These missions tend to better planned with defined mission objectives. While Ensign missions tend to be defensive, Lieutenant missions are more likely to incorporate offensive elements. Instead of flying a patrol mission, a Lieutenant can expect to perform scouting missions and engage in limited warfare missions. These missions will be larger in scale and can involve multi-ship scenarios and will be more heroic in quality.

Following Lieutenant is Captain. These missions allow for the player to fly independently of the primary squadron. Missions may involve the rest of the squadron engaging enemy forces while the player attempts to sneak in and destroy key mission objectives. This rank is where the chain of command trusts the player with more sensitive missions. Previous levels involve the player standing out in group action. As a Captain, the player can shine without support from NPC support.

After Captain is Major. As a Major, the player can expect extremely difficult missions. These missions can be categorized as suicide missions to a less experienced pilot; however, for the player, they are challenging but completeable missions. These missions involve slipping past fortified positions to attack key Cylon assets. The player will have the option during the mission briefing to help plan the mission. For example, the player may opt for approaching a Cylon base from an asteroid field or from the far side of the planet. These missions allow the player to affect how his player approaches a mission.

At the rank of Colonel, the player is given more control. Missions will involve the player placing Colonial assets to complete a mission objective. The player becomes a proactive planner and has other pilots as a resource. In addition, some missions will allow the player to fly some heroically suicidal missions...

It is important to note that these levels can overlap. Missions will operate on a one up and one down principle. As an Ensign, Ensign and some Lieutenant level missions are available. As a Captain, Captain level missions and some Lieutenant and a few Major level missions will be available to the player. While a rank will predominately involve same level missions, other ranks (one up and one down) will continue to be available.

Designer: Berton Abanathie
Story Designer: Berton Abanathie
Programmer: Berton Abanathie

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