CONCEPT

What exactly is this game? Well, I've taken to describing it as a cross between Gravity and Star Trek.

The basics of the game are easy to describe. You're a little space-naut floating around inside of a space-ship. The systems and sub-systems of your ship are controlled by various computer terminals scattered around its corridors and rooms.

You can log onto those computers to do many different things, such as fly the ship, change the allocation of power to its systems, and aim and fire its external weapons. You can pick up jetpacks to float faster, lazer pistols to defend yourself, and photonic welders to repair damage your ship has incurred.

If that sounds like a lot to handle by yourself, don't worry, you're not alone in all this. You are joined by a team of crewmates (ideally 3 others,) working together in concert to operate your ship and its systems.

Not only that, but there is an equally numbered team of opposing space-nauts in another vessel, and they'd like nothing more than to capture your ship to further their own ends. It's up to you and your crewmates to try and work together to gain an advantage over the other team and win victory for your planet (or moon, or dwarf planet.)

That's the gist, at least.


GAMEPLAY

B.O.S.S is a little bit different from your standard FPS game in a few key ways. Typically, your standard FPShooter finds you running around, gunning down everyone/thing you set your sights on. That can certainly be a lot of fun.

There are some FPS games that try to focus on teamwork and cooperation to achieve the same goal. Instead of running around as a lone-wolf, you run around on a team of like-minded players and try to use squad tactics to achieve various objectives.

Still, those games too often devolve into chaotic maelstroms of abject anarchy just like a regular ol' death-match as splinter cells of lone gunmen break off, leaving their teams behind. I wanted to see if there was a way to really stress the importance of teamwork in a strategically fun way.

I also wanted to make a truly crew-based space shooter that gives the player a real sense of perspective. Almost every game that puts you in charge of a spaceship just kind of gives you autonomous control over the entire craft, even if that craft is meant to be a huge, complicated mega-structure on par with a Star Destroyer, or Protoss Carrier.

I wanted to play a game that didn't zoom out - that didn't shrink your ship as if it were a toy in a little kid's hand. I wanted a game that put you right inside the ship's guts, where you could explore the inside of it and see what makes it tick, and then control it!

From there, I figured the more controls and tools, the more interesting the game. I wanted to make sure that the deeper a player delved into the ship and its computers, the richer their experience would be, and the better their odds of succeeding against their opponents.

To that end, there is a lot more to B.O.S.S than just flying your ship and firing your weapons. You've got to allocate power properly, target enemy systems intelligently, repair damage quickly, keep your eyes on security, and use your special technologies to their best advantage.

Only then can you hope to win the greatest victory of capturing your opponent's ship and its crew.


HOW TO HAVE A GAME OF B.O.S.S

Regular players of multiplayer FPShooters will notice that B.O.S.S differs from the norm right on the very first menu. There is no match-making system, there are no dedicated servers hosted by Polakię, there is no built-in method by which you can play a game with strangers. At least, not in this current iteration.

B.O.S.S is intended to be played with friends whom you already know. That means organizing a game will take a little more planning on the parts of the players, but I feel the benefits more than outweigh the inconvenience. I could be wrong, but like I said, I'm making this primarily as a game I myself would love to play.

B.O.S.S runs as a hosted multiplayer game. That means one of the players will act as the game's server, while the other players will join that game as clients. The player who hosts the game will share the unique server ID and port number that the game provides with potential clients before they can connect to the game. Once the correct number of players have joined (as defined by the host) and have all chosen their race and job, the game can begin!

In its current alpha state, the game only has two playable races to choose from: the Earthans and the Mercurians. The jobs that a player can choose from are: Navigation Officer, Tactical Officer, Science Officer and the Engineer. Again, in this alpha build there is no difference among them mechanically. It's still necessary for each player to choose a race and a role before the game can start.

B.O.S.S isn't just a multiplayer game, it can be enjoyed as a single player as well. Currently there is no A.I opponent, so playing a single player game is really just a way to fly around and familiarize yourself with the ships and environment.

Eventually I have plans to introduce computer-controlled opponents, as well as a single-player campaign, but all of that will depend on a lot of things falling into place. In the mean-time, call up your friends and invite them to a game of B.O.S.S!


THE FUTURE OF B.O.S.S

There are a lot of things I want to add to this game. In this current state, it is a demo of a proof-of-concept. I am really pleased with what I've been able to make thus far, and it's certainly been a challenging, fun, educational experience. I can look at this demo and honestly say making it was time well spent.

That said, the original game I conceived years ago is much, much bigger. If the game in its current state has any momentum, this is the work that needs to get done to realize it fully:

  1. Add the 7 other playable races: The importance of this cannot be overstressed. The other races and their unique ships and technologies add incalcuable depth to the game.
  2. Add the other combat arenas: Right now the only arena is the asteroid field. Other arena ideas include...
    1. Abandoned Space Dock - An enormous labyrinthine structure large enough for whole ships to maneuver inside, with many smaller corridors and rooms for nauts to explore. You may even be able to take control of the Dock's own defense and tactical systems.
    2. Comet Orbit - Your ships are caught in the wake of a huge comet passing through the system. Fly around the enormous object, avoiding the dangeous ice-tail. Disembark from your ship to explore the caves within the comet's body for hidden treasures and helpful items.
    3. Nebula Cluster - Maneuver your ships into and around a body of super-heated plasma. Visibility is low and shields do not operate within the nebula, making for a tense battle.
  3. Add the non-playable races: The Kuiper Pirates and The Sol are intended to add different types of gameplay to B.O.S.S.
    1. The Kuiper Pirates - This gameplay variant finds one crew of 4 players using their ship to fight against oncoming waves of pirates. The pirates fly small, highly maneuverable ships which the crew must cooperate to destroy. How many waves of pirates can you defend against?
    2. The Sol - Four ships, each with their own crew of 4 nauts must team up against a common enemy, the great Solar Juggernaut. This ship of truly titanic proportions will require all 4 ships and their crews to work together to defeat.
  4. Solo Campaign: You take on the role of a naut from one of the 9 playable races and embark on their journey from a cadet in training all the way up to the commander of your own ship.
These represent the list of things I would want to do to "finish" the game. As always, I am open to suggestions!


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