IDEAS FOR ARMADA III
(Note: This page is now somewhat academic as Activision no longer develops for the Star Trek franchise… See news page for more info)
First of all, I don’t know if I actually WANT there to be an A3. If A3 comes along, sure enough it will have the latest state-of-the-art graphics engine, and the build-tree will be more complex, but the end result may be a game that is even less playable than A2, and will mean even more people leaving Armada. Nonetheless, if A3 comes along, here is a list of things I would like to see incorporated.
- Out of sync bug fixed – The number 1 problem with Armada is the OOS bug. From a programming point of view there is no reason for this to happen at all, other that lazy coding. We would all like to see this fixed for ALL Windows versions, not just XP. If the game does go out of sync, it should automatically pause and re-sync the player who has gone out. Even if all in-progress construction had to be re-queued after re-sync, it would still be better than playing an OOS game.
- Remove the Surrender option – Get rid of the surrender button and just have the quit option.
- Ability to join games already underway – If one person quits, the game should open up in the lobby so anyone with that map can take over that slot. Beats having the computer as a team-mate.
- Better handling of poor connections – If one person in the game has a slow connection, the rest should only see that player’s ships moving jerkily and vice versa. Why should the rest of us with high-speed connections see laggy graphics just because someone is on dialup or has downloads in the background?
- Drop-to-desktop and game freeze bugs fixed – There is nothing worse than spending up to 2 hours in a good game and you or one of your team-mates crash to desktop, or the game locks up completely and you don’t get to finish it or see the debrief stats.
- Better routing of ships and use of third dimension – I have yet to see a Star Trek episode where a fleet of ships need to go somewhere and end up grinding against each other or bouncing off starbases and shipyards, or getting completely stuck in a group of other ships. If several ships need to be in the same space or get past other ships and stations, they should all be at different Z elevations (height off the map).
- Limited amount of superweapon stations – Used strategically, superweapons such as Temporal Distortion and Shockwave work great, but it totally spoils the game when one team wins purely because one of them built 20 temps. If these were limited to, say, 3 per player, it would mean they had to be used sparingly and would make a more interesting game.
- Decentralised servers – Completely remove the need for a central server to run the game (like WON). Any player could host a game and other players could connect directly to that player. A central server would only need to handle the list of opened games and lobby chat rooms, so the games would run a lot faster. Direct IP play would also be included, as in A2.
- Chat to players already in games – The Armada lobby lists only players who are in the lobby. The A2 lobby lists all the players who are in games, as well as those actually in the lobby. It would be good to be able to send messages into the games in progress. The person in the game would have to choose to accept or ignore messages from that player.
- Kick-ban option – If a person has to be kicked from the game setup screen, there should be a kick-ban option preventing that IP address entering again for the rest of that gaming session.
- Lower ping filters – If a decentralised server is used, pings are no longer constant, because the ping is the time taken to send signals between you and that player, rather than to the server. This means that pings are much lower, especially between players who are thousands of miles from the central server. Example: With WON, if 2 players in Australia want to play against each other, one player has to send signals to the server in the USA. The server then has to send that signal the same distance back to the other player. Without central servers, the 2 computers talk directly to each other.
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