Due to the recent playtest, I probably should cover the basics for game progression. The game progression can be broken into to three distinct categories: the tutorial, the fighter progression and the rank progression.
The tutorial, at least it appears at this point, will be missions dedicated to the training of new pilots. These missions will be relatively specialized and will probably not be reused later in the game. I dislike the idea of non-reusuable code; however, it's a necessity. The tutorials will be broken down into two categories: Basic Flight School and Combat Flight School.
Basic Flight School will represent the training any pilot will receive to fly a spacecraft. These mission will include: basic physics (turn, thrust and familiarity with the game physics), landing, utilizing the radar, basic weapon control (guns, missiles and countermeasures) and waypoint navigation. These tutorials will be conducted in a Scorpion class fighter (Mark 1). This fighter will have a relatively slow turning rate and less thrust than the Viper fighter craft currently represented in the game.
Combat Flight School will represent training needed for combat pilots in the Colonial Fleet. Like the Basic Flight School, these missions will involve flying a Scorpion Class Fighter (Mark 1). Missions will include: evasive manuevering, special attack manuevers (strafing, zero thrust attacks and burst fire), multiple craft combat, battlestar engagements and advanced landing techniques (landing on a moving platform). In addition, there will be a capstone tutorial mission. This mission will involve a blown tutorial mission; the player will be forced into actual combat with Cylon Raiders.
Upon completion of the tutorial missions, the player will be able to select his or her first real assignment from a list of battlestars (limited to smaller destroyer class vessels), assigned a Scorpion Class Fighter and awarded the rank of Ensign (maybe Lieutenant depending on the performance during the tutorials).
Fighters in the game will serve two purposes. First, they represent a player's progression and achievement in the game. With the acquisition of prestige, the player will be able to select more advanced fighters in the game and gain a sense of accomplishment. Second, the fighter progression gradual increase the player's skills. The Scorpion Class Fighter (Mark 1) is a relatively slow (both in turning power and overall thrust) to the more advanced Viper; consequently, it is an easier fighter to fly. It does not require as much player skill as the more advanced fighters.
Here is the basic fighter progression:
Scorpion mk1 (slowest turn rate and thrust power)
Scorpion mk2 (slightly improved turn rate, thrust power and structure)
Viper mk1 (another improvement representing a significant increase in turning power and thrust)
Viper mk2 (most advanced fighter)
Viper mk3 (a tank version; slower turn and thrust; has a significant advantage in structure)
Each ship progression will push the player's skill to improve. The Scorpions will be relatively easy to control due to their turn and thrust limitations. The Vipers will be more challenging to players. These fighters will be extremely responsive and will require more from the player to fly properly.
Like fighter progression, rank progression has the same two purposes: give a player a sense of achievement and train the player for more difficult tasks. As a player increases in rank, missions will become more difficult. This difficulty will be achieved through a changing dynamic in mission goals and enemies. Early ranks will involve missions with a great deal of support. Player will fly missions involving defense of a mission target and will receive support from non-player fighters (either immediately or over a period of time). Later ranks will involve more offensive mission objectives with diminishing support from non-player fighters.
The current rank structure is:
In addition, there are two (at least) other ranks not available to players. These are: