Star Warriors Idea: maneuver-based combat

Level 14
Aug 30, 2004
There is a tabletop Star Wars game called Star Warriors that uses a tabletop hex-based strategy game in which star fighters can fight against each other, capital ships, make bombing runs, etc.

I've been thinking if it would be possible to take some of the elements of the game and make a good WC3 mod. I'm not looking to make a flight simulator, but something a little different. There would be multi-player dueling maps with different goals (the y-wings would bomb installations, the x and a-wings would duel the other ships), but there would also be a campaign with short specific mission maps kind of like the old Xwing flight simulator game. Here are some of the main features:

1. You control one ship which moves forward continuously and with a very slow turn rate. So when you turn you travel in a wide arc. You can't just turn toward your target and fire, you have to plan the approach somewhat.
2. Your mana bar is your pilot skill points. it regenerates fast, but it limits what "abilities" you can cast.
3. Your abilities will primarily be flying manuevers such as:

- half loop, which lets you do a fairly quick U-shaped 3d loop and go back the way you came. While half looping you are easier to hit.
- slide. Allows you to slide left or right while maintaining forward orientation.
- overturn. This temporarily increases your turn speed, so you can make more rapid turns.
- roll. Rotate on your z-axis so you spin in circles while moving forward. Makes missiles and laser fire harder to hit you
- jink. You jerk left and right, up and down, for a few seconds evading enemy fire.

There will also be combat abilities such as:
- fire. You fire your lasers forward. Laser fire will be units that move in your direction quickly and will hit anyone they collide with.
- concussion missiles. Fires heat-seeking concussion missles. These will also have slower turn rates, and thus can be dodged by moving your craft or by rolling.
- proton torpedos. same as above but more damage less speed.
- concussion bombs. These are dropped on ground targets.
- targeting computer. Using this ability makes you easier to hit but begins tracking the selected target. After a few seconds if its still in your forward firing arc your missiles, torpedos and such will track the target. The longer it's held, the better the missile will be at turning and following the target.
- countermeasures. Releases a cloud behind you. Any missile that passes through it detonates immediately
- self-destruct. For suicide missions.


Damage should be dynamic and fun. Rather than just have HPs ticked off, specific systems can be damaged when hit. This will be more or less random, and can be repaired over time. Such systems would include:

- one of more of your weapons will cease to work
- you can lose control of the craft and fly off in a random direction for a bit
- your stabilizers can be damaged, making turns wider and causing jinks to make you spiral out of control for a few seconds.
- you can lose your stabilizers entirely and fly straight for several seconds
- you can be sent into a roll, making you harder to hit but also harder to turn
- you can lose shields making future attacks do more damage
- you can have an injured pilot meaning your mana regenerates slower
- you can have a damaged engines lowering max speed
- and so on...

If this all works correctly it will feel like you are flying a ship around fighting, but rather than worrying about numbers or HP and such, you are entirely concerned with your position to your enemies. Are those bombers reaching your base yet? Is that tie fighter to the left going to bank hard and come in behind you? Can you quickly slip to the left to avoid that turret fire? If you bank hard can you turn fast enough to fire at that shuttle?

In campaign mode you would start with crappy fighters with fewer options and slowly upgrade your ship, your pilot abilities (learn how to do a 1/2 loop while slipping so you can slide and spin behind a person who is passing you on the left), and traits.


Luckily skilled modelers have released about all of the models I would need for a project like this. This is good because I'm not a modeler. I would have no trouble finding missiles and lasers on this website either.

The big problems I see ahead:

1. The AI is going to be brutal. Getting ships to pursue and fire at a ship shouldn't be that hard. But getting them to maneuver like expert pilots will be damn hard.

2. If the ship just flys and turns this will absolutely not feel right. I need ships to spin around in circles, to fly straight up in the air while doing a half loop, etc. And frankly, it doesn't look like you can rotate a unit on a verticle axis. Does anyone know how that is done?

This idea is still in the planning stage. If someone wants to run with it you're welcome to. If not, I may get around to it when I finish my campaign. I'd also like advice on whether it wouldn't be smarter to just wait until SC2 comes out as space combat will probably be much easier in that editor.
Level 14
Aug 30, 2004

Well I didn't get any feedback on this idea, but I couldn't get it out of my head. I've been working on it ever since. The initial flight system was hard to get right, but now it works nicely. Here's what I have:

Four pilot heroes on each side. Heroes have different skills:

Piloting Skill:
- determines how fast you regenerate energy (i.e. mana that allows flight maneuvers)
- determines how much better your ship turns when you perform the overturn maneuver
Gunnery Skill:
- determines how close your lasers have to be to an enemy for them to hit
- determines how fast your targeting computer "locks on" an enemy
Mechanic Skill:
- determines how fast your shields (i.e. armor) regenerates
- determines the cooldown on your auxiliary power (i.e. a mana pot ability)

Rebel Heroes:

Jedi Apprentice: average on all skills
abilities he uses on the ground:
- Force Blind: reduces target damage and move, prevents them from casting spells
- Force Sprint: runs fast temporarily
- Defensive Stance: freezes the unit in place and plays his attack animation when shot at; reflects lasers back at targets.

Rebel Sniper: high on gunnery skill
abilities he uses on the ground:
- Stun Setting: puts his blaster on stun (autofire) which does no damage but slows attack and move of the target. Higher levels enable much further ranged attack.
- Shuttle Flare: fires a flare that summons a shuttle from your base to pick you up and return you to the hanger. Useful when you're shot out of the sky.
- Sniper scopes: massively increases attack range

Gran Mechanic: high on mechanic skill, uses an AOE grenade as his attack
abilities he uses on the ground:
- Freezing Grenade: essentially a stun
- Bury Land Mine
- Athletic Training: Passive ability that increases run speed and increases throwing range of his grenades and freezing grenade ability.

Ithorian pilot: high on piloting skill, melee attacker
- Energy weapons: gives him a glowing dagger and shield, allowing blocks and critical hits
- Dirt Kick: stomps the ground and kicks dirt in the enemy's eyes, AOE lowering attack and move speed of enemies
- Plainstriding: a temporary speed burst; lowers attack rate though.

Empire Heroes:

Sith Apprentice: average on all skills
abilities he uses on the ground:
- Force Pull: yanks an enemy toward his extended lightsaber
- Force Sprint: as above
- Defensive Stance: as above

Bounty Hunter: high on piloting
abilities he uses on the ground:
- Flame Thrower: burns a target preventing them from attacking (custom lightning effect)
- Blank: having figured out a move ability yet
- Personal Shield: mana shield essentially

Gamorrean Sniper: high on gunnery
abilities he uses on the ground:
- Aimed shot: aim for several seconds, then fire at great range
- Shuttle Flare: as above
- Summon Sniper Disk: creates a floating disk that can scout and cast two abilities:
- paint target: puts a custom lightning effect on a target, lowering their armor and increasing the range of aimed shot against that unit only
- bullet storm: aoe attack

Assassin Droid: high on
abilities he uses on the ground:
- Flame Thrower: burns a target preventing them from attacking (custom lightning effect)
- Blank: having figured out a move ability yet
- Personal Shield: mana shield essentially

_________Flight System___________

Ground fighting works like normal WC3 combat, but aerial fights use a custom flight system. All aerial units have 0 turn and 0 speed; they move only through triggers.

The flight system is a perpetual slide mechanic. Triggers track the ships speed and turn number (which differ between ships; some like the Awing are high speed and maneuverable, others like the Imperial Shuttle are slow). When you right click the screen, your ship will slowly turn in that direction while maintaining forward movement, moving in an arc until it faces that point and then moves straight forward. This allows for the feel of real flight, as well as “losing” control when maneuvering quick turns at high speeds which is surprisingly hard.

Ships come with different stats many displayed on a multiboard called Dashboard
- Engines- maximum speed
- Stabilizers- speed of turns
- Laser strength- amount of damage done by lasers
- Shield rating- how many lasers you can absorb before you take damage
- MissileType: what kinds of missiles you shoot (see below), and how many
- CountermeasureType: what kind of countermeasures you have, and how many
- Special abilities: see below

_________Laser System_______

Lasers fire out of the cannons of your ship, alternating left and right. Some ships can toggle on “link fire” which makes all cannons of the ship fire (looks cool with Xwings and Tie interceptors firing blasts of four lasers). This increases the cooldown of laser fire which is ordinarily almost zero, allowing very rapid fire if you have the mana.

Lasers fire forward (red for rebels, green for empire) and detonate on any enemy (ground, air, missile, ship or structure) that they encounter. If the target has shields, no damage is done but their shield rating (armor) is lowered. Lasers have a chance to cause minor “hazards” as well (see below).

Some ships have ion cannons which disable targets. These ion cannons cause no damage but lower shields and cause “hazards” to the target. Hazards disable lasers, missile systems, engines or stabilizers. These cause the target to move slower, turn slower, be unable to attack, etc. If hit with enough ion blasts a ship will be disabled, ejecting any hero in it. A tug will then leave the attacker’s base, dock with the disabled ship for a few seconds, then capture it and return it to the base. This rewards the attacker’s team. The tug can be killed by enemies and should be protected.

_________Missile Tracking System_________

To fire missiles you must first select your target. When you do that, the computer detects whether you are behind it and it is in front of you. If those conditions are met, your tracking meter goes up, if not it goes down. The rate of increase depends on your hero’s gunnery skill. The longer you track (up to a maximum of 12) the better your missile will home in on your target when you fire.

Missile Types

There are 4 types of missiles; each ship has only one type:
1). Concussion missiles (single and double fire): maneuverable and fast but don’t do much damage.
2). Proton Torpedoes (double fire): midlevel missiles good at dogfighting and doing good damage to capital ships
3). Concussion bombs (single fire): Slow but devastating in damage.


There are 4 types of countermeasures that you can use to avoid missile fire and lasers. Each ship has only one type with 12 launches.

1. Fragmentation Cloud. Creates a cloud behind you of electrically charged fragments that shreds any missile that goes through it (best kind for missiles).
2. IFGs. A floating orb that scrambles the mechanics of nearby missiles, making them turn slower. Drop this and slide to the side to avoid a missile.
3. Defusion Gas. Makes a cloud of blue gas that reduces the damage lasers do when they go through it. Can be used as defense for ground units.

_________Standard Abilities___________

In addition to their weapons systems, all ships have the following standard abilities.

1. Accelerate and Deaccelerate. Increases speed by 1/5th of maximum.

2. Slip Left/Right. Moves laterally to the left or right in a slide. Useful for lining up a shot or evading a missile. Because you still have forward movement you end up sliding in a diagonal while keeping forward orientation.

3. Overturn. Temporarily increases your turn rate. Useful for getting behind an enemy that is tailing you or avoiding an obstacle in your path if your flying too fast.

4. Auxiliary Power. A mana potion ability. The cooldown is set by the hero’s mechanic skill. Useful for extended combat.

5. Land. Only available at zero speed. Lowers the ship to the ground and ejects the hero so he can go in buildings and fight.

_________Special Abilities____________

Each ship, except the standard Z95 and TIE Fighter, have special abilities. They include:

Ywing: Hop in turret. You hop in your turret and can fire in any direction though you cannot steer. It’s good for shooting down missiles aimed at you and getting those pesky maneuverable TIE fighters that get behind you and won’t leave you alone.

Imperial Shuttle: also has a turret but can only fire behind it (180 degrees).

Xwing and Bwing: adjust X-foils. By opening your X-foils you increase your laser strength (doubling damage), increase turn speed, but decrease move speed.

Awing: and TIE interceptor: Barrel roll. Spins the ship on its axis making it evade lasers. This makes your turn number lower though, making it hard to turn while spinning.

TIE Bomber: Aerial Mine. Places a floating mine behind the bomber. A second cast detonates the mine damaging all units near it.


The ground game works on its own with rebel and imperial troops and vehicles leaving the base and attacking each other, ala DOTA. Meanwhile, the ship hangers spawn pairs of bombers (Ywings and TIE bombers) which attack the enemy bases. They are escorted by TIEs and Z95s that will lock on to nearby enemies, circle and fire at them.

In addition to the constant fighting there are side special missions: escorts, intercepts, “defend/blow up the hidden radar stations” and others. There is a repair station that you have to recover on foot (it teleports you to a zoomed in part of the map where you fight droids). I’m also putting in abandoned Techno Union ships that you enter on foot to recover special parts which unlock advanced ships.

It’s meant to be a multiplayer game below 8MB so it can be played on BattleNet.

My biggest problem is that I don’t have good terrain. I also picked the Barrens to make the map which was a mistake because both cliff types are jagged, meaning the inside of techno union ships and the repair station look rather stupid.

If you have ideas or comments please let me know. Also, if there are any terrainers out there that would like to team up with me that would be great as well. I was thinking of using Tatooine because of the good Tusken Raider model, but Endor would work as well as there’s an Ewok model; or Genosis as there’s a good model there too. Frankly we could make up an alien species… so if anyone wants to map a giant Star Wars planet let me know! There are some restrictions as the lasers look kind of dumb if they go over steep cliffs, so relatively flat land is need for most of the dog fighting areas.