I am the lead designer for The Grand Mission, Billy. When I say “lead designer”, what I really mean is “only designer”. Poor me.
The Grand Mission is my postgraduate project at the National Film and Television School. It is a humourous top-down strategy management game where the player takes control of the crew of a space ship adventuring through a far away galaxy.
We will hopefully be publishing updates on Tuesday (today is the exception). With these updates we hope to accomplish two things: we hope to update you with information on our universe and our different characters, species and civilisations; and also give you some insight into the specific trials and tribulations of developing an indie strategy game.
I thought to start this off I would this week just talk a little bit about the concept and idea behind The Grand Mission, along with some of our design goals.
In its amoebic conceptual phase, The Grand Mission was at one point a naval adventure game and even a naval trading game. The old trope of “space as the sea” has a strong allure, though, and for no particular reason I decided to set it in space. I say no reason… but thinking about it, I was watching The Expanse at the time. That scene where the martians get their ship shot by railguns and end up floating around in a vacuum trying to seal off a room was pretty cool. I’m not saying that the entire concept for the game came from that one scene: there are also space sheep in it, which The Expanse didn’t have.
The idea of having a game combining the deep attachment to your crew, from games like Xcom: Enemy Unknown, with the strategy of ship-based tactical combat greatly appealed to me. The game is planned to have a few different “modules” or sections of gameplay: an exploration/travel module, a resource/crew-management module and a combat module. We aim to have the combat system finished by the end of this year.
The game takes a 2.5D zoomable top-down view, and the player can see into the different ship rooms and assign crew around, managing their priorities and jobs.
To round up this update I will give an example of the sort of experience I want people to have when they play this game:
You’ve been fighting the incoming Rahmer horde for literally… a few minutes and you have just been hit by a swarm of enemy warheads! Sirens whirr discordantly across the ship and a warning light pulses ominously in the engineering department. As your camera pans over the engineering room, you see sparks flying from the shield capacitors. They have overloaded and the shields are down! Bob and Jess, your best mechanics, already in there working on getting the shields up and running, but a menacing red dot in your radar is approaching quickly, accelerating even. It seems to be heading towards your point defence battery. Sam is in there: your best gunnery sergeant and a crew member you have trained up from a wee young lass (okay, this is unlikely). You know that your best chance of shooting the incoming Exacerbator-Class torpedo is to leave poor Sam in there. But you also know it will take you a long time to find someone as talented as Sam again… what do you do?
Do you bail her out and replace her with some clueless lackey?
What will you do when the torpedo breaches your armour and throws everyone in the starboard point defence room into the cold void before blast doors kick in?
The next update will go into more detail about our universe. It will possibly include space sheep that devour entire worlds, tea-instigated thermonuclear war and a civilisation that committed mass suicide because, well… what’s the point?
Until then, have some concept art of a space sheepship.