A choice was made and a fight breaks out. The game goes into combat mode. Here is a simulation of it, giving an overview of how combat works in Star.
The screen shows a 3d-rendered area. In this case, it is a reception hall to an interplanetary mining corporation. The floor has a square grid (or a hex grid), and every character is standing on one. Some squares contain objects, such as benches, ornamental statues or a fountain.
The HUD shows a red Paused-symbol, a minimap that shows the locations of enemies and party members. There is an area showing the active character’s portrait and some general information, like the amount of clips left, the odds of hitting and a round symbol showing whether or not the character has its actions planned.
For the moment, everything is frozen because it is Planning time. The player now selects actions for his characters, which they enact in the next 5-second round. A character can move and do something that requires focus. The distance a character can move depends on his general stats and the action he takes. The Focus action can be reloading, shooting, changing weapons, opening doors, hacking computers and so on. The player clicks a character with the cursor to select it and right-clicks to bring out the action menu. It has all the actions a player can select in the current position with the character.
The player’s party is standing in the front of the reception desk. They are in a quite vulnerable location, so the player’s first priority is to get some cover. The possible cover nearby are the two benches next to the desk and the desk itself. Everyone can’t fit in the same place, so the player decides to send Def, the weapon specialist and Con, the guy with the machine gun behind the benches, since they are closest to them. Lead, the main character and Ref, the sneaky fast guy he wants to send behind the reception desk. It is occupied by a receptionist and a security guard. The player selects Ref, who already has a weapon ready, and attacks the guard. Since they are both standing and in close proximity, the odds to hit are high, nearly 100%. He also draws a direct line from Ref to behind the desk. A silhouette of a jumping person appears on the desk, indicating that the character jumps over the obstacle and takes cover. Satisfied, the player selects Lead, clicks Draw Pistol and moves him over the obstacle as well. The Paused-icon changes from red to green, indicating that every character has a new set of orders selected. The player clicks on it and a new round is played out.
The camera pans behind Ref, who points the pistol at the security guard and fires a couple of shots. They connect, knocking the guard back. The camera then pans to Lead, who jumps over the counter and ducks behind it, drawing a pistol in the process. Finally, the camera goes over the main doors, showing the whole situation: Con and Def who take cover behind the benches, Ref who had jumped over the counter, the receptionist who is running at the employee exit and two guards who take cover behind two statues and draw their weapons.
A new round begins. Every character has a new icon over their portraits when chosen; Replay last round with the camera centering on the character. Now, the player selects Lead and checks the actions. There is a new entry: “Hack computer”. Knowing that he must get the elevator doors open and know where the director of the facility is, the player selects it. Then he selects Ref and right-clicks on the nearest guard. There are two choices: Snipe and Cover Fire. Snipe has a 30% chance to hit and impairs a +20% chance to hit Ref, since he must peek out to fire an accurate shot. Cover Fire has a negligible 2% chance to hit, but gives 30% suppression to the target, meaning that the target will likely remain behind cover. Since he must protect Lead, Ref shoots with Cover Fire.
Con and Def have also drawn their weapons. The player selects Con, who has his submachine gun up and makes him shoot cover fire at the other security guard. He makes Def snipe at the guard with his heavy Plasma pistol. The player clicks new round.
Ref shoots over the cover with his pistol, firing several shots at the guard. The guard, attempting to fire at the desk, jerks back when the bullets fly by. The other guard fires at Con and Def. Con pulls behind the bench, suppressed by the enemy. Def, who has guts of steel, comes slightly out from the cover and shoots a single, careful bolt at the guard. It hits and the guard collapses on the floor, screeching in pain.
New round. The player, inspired by the surprising fall of the guard, switches tactics. He selects Ref and selects Stealth, meaning that as long as Ref is not directly observed, no-one knows his new location. Lead is still hacking, so the player sends Def beside the elevator door and redirects Con to suppress the remaining guard. He clicks the Pause-icon.
Ref takes cover and stiffens. Lead continues to hack. Def takes off and dashes beside the main elevator and presses against the wall. Con sends off angry-sounding bursts of bullets at the guard, who jerks backwards. But then, the main doors open and three fully armed security guards in protective armor come through.
New round. The player selects Ref and sends him behind a fountain to the east, hoping to flank the security guards. He sends Con behind a more sturdy statue and Def beside Lead at the reception desk. Since the distances are so short, he makes both of them shoot cover fire at the newcomers. Satisfied, he clicks Paused.
Con and Def dash to their new positions, sending bullets and plasma flying towards the new guards, who take cover. One of them is hit in the thigh and is knocked over. Ref darts behind the fountain, still hidden. The old security guard takes a snapshot at Con, missing him. The player feels quite relieved, since dragging wounded characters is a long process to which he does not have enough time now. The camera focuses on Lead, who presses last few buttons and ducks back to cover. The elevator doors open.
New round. The player selects Lead and clicks at the old guard. He selects Cover Fire, hoping to catch him in crossfire with Ref. Then he selects Ref and snipes at the same guard. Con and Def will try the same on the other one of the new guards. Action.
Lead fires a few shots at the guard, who jerks once again back to cover. Ref takes aim and fires, killing the man outright. Con manages to suppress the security guard, but Def fails to get a shot through, since the other new guard plus the one who lies on the floor start to shoot at him, forcing him to take cover.
New round. Con needs to reload, but the player decides that killing the guards won’t achieve anything. He decides to make the reception desk a circle a lynchpin of defence and suppresses the remaining guards with Def and Lead. The others he sends straight to the elevator. Action.
Con and Ref both dash towards the open elevator. The ground-based guard rises up and limps towards the nearest cover, while the guards and the reception desk exchange inaccurate suppression fire.
New round. Since nothing meaningful has changed, the player presses the Paused-button. It is yellow, meaning that some or all of the characters are continuing the previous actions.
Con and Ref arrive at the elevator and take cover. The firefight is at status quo.
Last round. The player selects Ref and suppresses the other guard, while having Con reload his weapon. He sends Lead and Def to the elevator, hoping that there are no last-minute surprises.
Lead and Ref dash to the elevator. Ref manages to suppress the other guard, while the other reloads his weapon. As all the characters enter the elevator, the screen goes dark and the adventure part of the game continues.