The Galactic Council update (Version 0.9.4.0) has now gone live on Steam Early Access, and it’s a big one. The core feature of the patch was the addition of the Galactic Council discussed in the previous dev update and an overhaul of the Sociology and diplomacy technologies. Using feedback from people testing the game recently at Q-Con, we decided to dedicate some time to completely overhaul the 3D ship designer’s mechanics and user interface in preparation for adding the ship parts and designs for the remaining races. This patch also laid a little bit of the ground work for Spying, made improvements to Trade Routes and Commanders, and fixed various reported bugs and crashes.
The Galactic Council and Spying are two features that we had originally intended to hold back for a possible free update or expansion after the main V1.0 release, but after careful consideration we decided to spend the extra development time to make them part of the main game. Competition in the 4X genre has become more intense with the release of several new games with triple-A funding, so it’s even more important for small indie games like ours to focus on making the gameplay as good and complete as it possibly can be.
In this dev update, I’ll discuss the 3D Ship Designer overhaul, the implementation of the Galactic Council, and changes to the Sociology technologies in the recently released V0.9.4.0 patch. I’ll then delve into the details of our plans for the upcoming Art Patch (V0.9.5.0) and tentative plans for the spying gameplay.
In the previous dev update, we delved into the details of a massive technology tree revamp that was in the works for Predestination, including dozens of new ship modules and weapons and the Improvements/Synergies tech tree. We fully tested and deployed the tech tree update last month, and we released five follow-up patches thoughout the month of May to correct new bugs and crashes caused by the update. I’d like to give a huge thanks to everyone sending in bug reports on the Steam Early Access forum and those of you submitting crash reports, it really helped us get on top of this.
This month we’ve been working hard on some really exciting features! We’ve developed the key storyline event that causes the Revenant Homeworld to decloak at a certain point during the game, tempting players to plunder it for technology at the risk of waking up the Revenants. If the Revenants awake, they periodically launch fleets out to annihilate populated worlds. We’ve completed the Galactic Domination, Scientific Victory and Destroy Revenants victory conditions, and have made several big improvements to be released in V0.9.3.0.
Those who like to play a diplomatic game will be excited to hear that we’re going to add a UN-style Galactic Council that meets to vote on important issues and that this will tie into a deep Diplomatic victory condition. And everyone will be happy to know that V0.9.3.0 will add some major optimisations on the game. We’ve managed to reduce RAM usage by over 35%, cut map generation and planet generation times by up to 50%, eliminate over 60% of the startup initialisation time, and reduced End Turn delays by up to 90%!
Read on for a full detailed breakdown of everything that we’re currently working on and everything that’s coming in V0.9.3.0 (estimated release in about 1 week).
In last month’s dev update, I discussed the new ship crew XP and salvage system, Temporal Rift investigations, diplomacy AI improvements, and details of a complete overhaul of the galaxy generation code and planet distributions. A lot has happened since that patch went live, and overall it’s definitely been a productive month. We had some disappointment when Predestination was unfortunately rejected by GOG.com, but we made great progress on the tech trees, iterated on several features based on feedback, and laid the ground work for victory conditions. We also had some internal discussions about the increased competition in the 4X genre and spent some time writing a report on Predestination for NI Screen (a company who gave us a small business loan last year). And there was some really happy news too as our Project Manager Tina Lauro and our Art Director Steven Pollock got married (to each other!).
Read on for a preview of the tech trees as they will be in the next major update and details of new weapons technologies in addition to changes to terraforming, shield facing, weapon mods, and more. We’ll also take a brief look at work on the start sequence and victory screen that will let us tell the story of Predestination.
Ever since our original Kickstarter campaign, many of you have told us that you would prefer to get Predestination on a 100% DRM-free platform and that your platform of choice would be GOG.com. When GOG recently launched its new In Development section (similar to Steam’s Early Access), we received a number of emails and messages with renewed interest asking if we had heard of this development and whether we would be releasing on it. Troy from 4X community site eXplorminate even wrote an article last year titled “Devs, Want More Money?” in which he expressed bafflement that indies aren’t queueing up to get on GOG:
“What I’m talking about is the tendency of small developers to fixate on Steam while ignoring other perfectly viable downloading services like GOG (formerly known as GoodOldGames.com). I cannot, for the life of me, understand why so many devs ignore this outlet for their games.” — eXplorminate
In our previous dev update, we added the Revenant faction and talked about Temporal Rifts that can open throughout the game and spit out Revenant ships to attack. This month we activated that feature and expanded on it with a whole series of new Temporal Rift events and and an entirely new Rift Investigation mechanic that spawns the rift inside fleet combat. As part of this system, we’ve re-activated the salvage gameplay on the Fleet Combat Victory Screen and added ship crew XP to this screen. We’ve also made a number of improvements and optimisations to the Galaxy generation code and galaxy graphics, and fixed a ton of bugs and crashes.
As expected, we lost some dev time recently due to boring but necessary parts of running a business such as putting together our corporation tax return and documentation for the British Film Institute to get the game accredited as a British video game. We also took a weekend out to attend the 2016 global game jam, which was a ton of fun! Now that we’re through all that, we’re ramping things up and moving on to develop victory conditions, the Revenant Planet event, the Synergies tech tree, and start on tech era 4. This will take us considerably closer to the big version 1.0 release, so we hope you like it and continue to follow our development this month.
Read on for a full breakdown of what we’ve added since the last dev update, and a preview of the victory conditions and other features we’re currently working on: