In the end I turned it into a gratuitous battle in space – basically RTS meets 4X. Managed to squeeze it in just in time – the ZIP was up just a minute before the deadline, and the screenshots/description came after.
I might have added too many alien ships…
It might look as though the graphics took up a lot of time, but really those were easy. The tough bit was the ship AI, UI and fine details – things like how the ships bank when they turn. I tend to get hung up on crap like that.
– It controls almost exactly like your standard 3D RTS – mousewheel to zoom, mouse on screen borders to pan, click, drag or double-click to select, right-click to move or attack.
– Spacebar pauses; you can issue orders while paused.
– To colonize planets, you need to build a colony ship, move it to the little circle above the target planet, and then click the colonize button (lower left). The button only appears when you have only the colony ship, and nothing else, selected. It takes awhile to colonize the planet.
– You can build ships from planets, provided you have enough money. The other 3 resources, sadly, do nothing – I forgot to put special-resource costs in the ship data. Sorry, no build queue.
– The aliens should show up before too long, or you can go look for them if you are so inclined.
– Yes, the framerate is awful in big battles. Didn’t have time to optimize it, plus I added too many missiles, explosions and other stuff.
– There is no end. Close the window when you’re done.
– Edit: Lol, I tested it and found a couple of major bugs. One, the alien “attack” results in the aliens doing a happy dance (working as intended!). Two, under certain circumstances you can see the aliens even when they’re very far away. But, for the most part, it works (apart from the framerate issues).