We don't need pretty 3D space combat for v.4. V.4 can have ugly space combat. What we need for v.4, in my opinion, is functional space combat.
Even ugly space combat would be a serious load of work (though admittedly much less than full 3D combat)
, work which would need to be mostly thrown out to implement pretty 3D space combat.
No, the majority of the work would not have to be thrown out when we implement 3D space combat. The idea is to implement something that we can build on later. The bulk of the work that needs to be done is to allow ships to move around and interact with other objects on the tactical map. This is expected to be the same regardless of what the ships, map, other objects and UI look like. In contrast, a lot of the work done on making the game playable right now will need to be replaced or heavily revamped when there is a tactical map and we can have objects do things and interact on it.
Laying the foundation for future gameplay was precisely the motivation for a roadmap to begin with. Stuff that gets added later on is expected to be dependent on stuff that gets added earlier.
So basically, I think implementing the tactical map and a quantized combat phase is essential for building most of the rest of the game.
I don't know what the motivation for the roadmap was, but i have to disagree it's order is entirely based on dependancies. Governments, Leaders, Espionage, Diplomacy, Species for instance could be mostly or entirely completed without any additional work on the tactical map or combat.
I strongly disagree. Tactical combat is a large part of what Governments, Leaders, Espionage, Diplomacy and Species are going to be affecting. If we go ahead and try to complete those now, we're going to have to go through them again and practically remake them to affect combat as well, when there is tactical combat. This is true whether or not you agree with my crazy plan to put all system action on the tactical map. There is going to be tactical combat, and it's going to be influenced by the above gameplay aspects significantly, perhaps as much as the strategic level.
But there's also the important fact that following the old roadmap ceased to be useful. We don't need a roadmap to tell us when species (for instance) can be worked on. Bits and pieces of Species have been implemented over the years as parts of their design become clear.
If we want to move a particular item out of order, that's OK. Getting rid of the whole tree because one item worked fine out of order is a little reckless. Now, whenever we complete a new aspect of the game, we need to go back and heavily edit the tech tree to include new stuff, and we need to go back and heavily edit all the species to include new stuff, and any balancing we might have done also goes straight down the toilet. Do you also want to go back and edit/rebalance governments, espionage, diplomacy and leaders when the tactical map is finally finished, or would you rather create them when most of they're supposed to affect already exists?
And there may be very compelling reasons to implement things out of the roadmap order. As i said 50 days ago:
With the addition of space monsters, and minor species, FO has IMHO become a lot more fun to play. ... once a game reaches the point that it is fun --even if incomplete-- attracting interest and assistance is so much easier.
OK, it's gotten more fun to play, but there's only so much we can do with it right now. The focus, IMO, still needs to be on the foundation, and tactical combat is the last piece of that. Once tactical combat is there, everything else can pretty much just be created to do what it's supposed to do and we can balance it.
Basically the choice is between
Do tactical combat (as little as possible while still providing a foundation for other gameplay elements), then do all the other stuff, or
Do the other stuff, then do tactical combat, then practically redo all the other stuff to take tactical combat into account. That's not good, because what we want the other stuff to be able to do is so much more dependent on tactical combat than vice versa.
I think we may be wise to focus for now the issues that most hinder playability and are most easy to fix. Since then, working mostly outside the old roadmap, we've added and tweaked, and brought FreeOrion very much closer to being fun and enjoyable. We've made real progress on the actual game. If we had stuck to the roadmap and/or a stop-gap ugly tactical map, the game likely would be no more fun to play than it was 50 days ago.
The game is more fun to play, yes, but it's not that much closer to being done, because all the content that was added will have to be mostly redesigned once tactical combat is added. I think it would be wiser to create a simple tactical map now, then make content and design decisions that will actually relate to the final version of the game.