Star Control games have always had a mode that lets players select a ship and take it into one-on-one battle with an opponent. In the original Star Control, the game was essentially nothing but that, with only a cursory background story that explained the existence of two factions of warring alien races (the Ur-Quan conflict).
Star Control II changed this with the addition of a rich and exciting Adventure mode, whose combat gameplay was based on the existing one-on-one combat model. This same model was also playable outside the adventure as "Super Melee," where players could choose from an array of ships from both Star Control and Star Control II and battle against a friend or computer opponent. Star Control 3 used a similar melee mode.
Star Control: Origins has a feature called "Fleet Battles" which follows roughly the same pattern. A new feature is that players will now not only be able to choose from pre-made ships, but have the option of making their own. A closed beta featuring this mode is available as of late 2017 to anyone who pre-orders the game.
Fleet Battles Stand-Alone
Fleet Battles can be played through the campaign or separately as its own stand-alone game, either single player vs AI, online, or local play with two controllers. In the Fleet Battle stand-alone, players are given a finite amount of Fleet Points which they can use to assemble a fleet. Every ship has a Fleet Point cost depending on its potency, such as a Scryve Scout costing 7 Fleet Points while a Scryve Dreadnought costs 28, so players can choose to have a small fleet with powerful ships or a vast fleet with weaker ships. Players can also create ships from scratch using the Ship Editor or download them from Steam Workshop and deploy them in Fleet Battles, even in multiplayer.
Every ship has two abilities which are mostly weapons but sometimes offer other utility, using abilities drains battery that needs to recharge once its depleted. The weapons vary greatly from heat seeking missiles to canister mines and boarding teams, The diversity of weapon types combined with the different characters of the ships means that controlling ship and playing in each matchup is challenging and unique. Some ships are more effective against others, such as the mobility of the Trandals Frigate being strong against the Scryve Dreadnought while the close range Trandal weaponry means it's vulnerable to the defensive circular attack of The Measured ships. Part of the depth in Fleet Battles comes from assembling a versatile roster of ships and knowing when to deploy each one.
The Command Ship can also be deployed in Fleet Battle combat and can be equipped with a number of weapon systems and upgrades. Deploying the Command Ship is risky as any damage taken will directly reduce the crew count and will result in a loss if the Command Ship is destroyed. The captain can choose to invest in making their Command Ship optimal for direct combat, or invest in assembly a vast and varied fleet to field.
The Fleet Battles arenas contain another of objects that the players can interact with (or try not to).
Players can approach planets to use it as a gravity slingshot to rapidly bounce off and change direction. This has the risk of damaging some crew.
Asteroids are most common on the edges of the Arena, they block projectiles, impede and damage passing ships on impact.
Wormholes allow for rapid transit throughout the arena, they come in pairs and are a direct gate between the two.
- Ion Storms
Ion Storms drain ship battery for as long as a ship passes through them
Radiation encroaches from the edges of the arena if an encounter has gone for too long. This limits the size of the arena as ships in the radiation field will rapidly take damage.
Star Control Origins: Fleet Battles contains several different game modes for players. These range from single to multiplayer experiences both offline and online.
This mode sets players against a pre-selected fleet of ships controlled by a computer opponent of varying difficulty levels. The player can select any ships for themselves and their opponent within the point limit and can go on to choose from a variety of difficulty levels.
Designed for local two-player games. This mode allows two players to fight using two different control schemes (keyboard or controller) with pre-selected fleets of ships.
Custom Match allows players to configure the map size, map type, Fleet Points and amount of objects that spawn in the arena.
The first standard online multiplayer mode. Once a player has selected their fleet they are placed into a queue until another player can be found.
The second standard online multiplayer mode. This mode works just like the unranked match mode, however, a win or a loss will count towards a player's score on the metaverse leaderboard.