#+TITLE XOR: A mashup of 8-bit space exploration and combat games
In the game of XOR, a single player controls an interstellar combat ship from a 2-D overhead perspective. The world map is a “galactic grid” with each square having one of a number of procedurally generated level types (empty space, planet surface, clouds, enemy convoy, enemy star cruiser, starbase/trading post). A randomly generated mission (between 10-30 minutes depending on difficulty) will have you visiting one or more areas, defeating enemies, or retrieving specific objects in order to win.
The arrow keys (or WSAD) move the ship, and the mouse is used to aim and fire the weapon (as in Paradroid). Left clicking fires at the point under the mouse cursor; right-clicking (or shift-clicking) instead activates any object under the cursor. Objects can be picked up by flying over them.
There are two resources that must be managed. ENERGY is used when you fire weapons or travel between sectors, and is also needed to activate certain objects in the game world. The game will end if your SHIELD rating drops to zero. In addition, a limited number of special items may be carried.
There are three difficulty levels: BASIC, ADVANCED, and EXPERT. For BASIC, a mission should be about 10 minutes long; EXPERT games may be as long as 30 minutes. (Your character is not saved—the point is to experience different stories with disposable characters, with each story having a few discrete goals and an objectively scored outcome.)
The sound will consist of subtle engine hisses and hums and quiet drones with contextual musical clues. I’m planning to use FM synthesis (Hexter) and also Milkytracker. Alarm sounds, flashing, status, deep bass engines.
Collecting items, energy, and minerals will be a significant play activity, along with dogfights against 1-3 enemies at a time.