Planet exploration update and terraforming idea

The Predestination team gained three new members this week: a new concept artist, a 3d modeller and a composer have officially joined the crew. The artists have been working on  new animated buildings for the colony screen this week, and our composer has been producing some awesome sci-fi music for the game. I’ll properly introduce the new and current members of the team in my next update and can hopefully show you some of their handiwork soon.

This week we’ve been working on fleshing out the designs for the races we plan to have at launch, and I’ve been implementing a hex-based planet exploration system to go with the hexagonal colony system described in the previous update. Players now have to explore outward from the starting colony as you can only explore hexes on the border with unexplored areas. Exploring a tile reveals what’s on that tile (if anything) and pushes your borders back, letting you see what all the surrounding squares look like. Below is a screenshot of the new system in action:

This is the way it looks in-game right now and this is how you’ll explore your planet at the start of the game before you develop scanning technologies and satellites.

 

Terraforming:

If you saw our QCon trailer, you probably noticed that terraforming is listed as a major feature in Predestination. Our planet engine can morph a planet’s surface and environment in realtime, which we can use for things like bomb craters, raising and lowering sea levels, changes to how rocky a planet is, and gradually changing terrain types. We’re currently discussing how to use these capabilities for terraforming, and I want to publish some of our current ideas so people can provide feedback:

  • Each race type is happy on one particular type of planet: Aquatics on ocean planets, Robots on ice worlds, Reptiles on Desert etc.
  • On your race’s preferred planet type, there are multiple suitable locations for cities and all resources are visible and can be colonised. On the wrong type of planet, a race will have penalties, and will only be able to find a small number of city locations and resources.
  • You’ll be able to research technologies to convert some planet types into others, such as a massive reactor or greenhouse gas generator that can slowly transform an ice world into an ocean planet. Each use of the device will require a massive burst of stored energy, so the player will activate it every now and then when the colony has built up enough energy and see the change instantly.
  • As a planet gets closer to your race’s favoured environment, new resources and city locations will be revealed.
  • Terran planets contain ice, ocean, desert and temperate climate areas, and all races are happy on these worlds. Every race can colonise all the resource and city locations, but will still have the ‘wrong planet’ penalties in cities in unfavourable environments.
  • Terran planets will be delicately balanced environments, so heavy fossil fuel use could cause the planet to heat up and the ice caps could slowly melt, raising the sea levels and destroying valuable coastal towns. Nuclear bombs could also trigger a nuclear winter and turn it into an ice world, and heavy industry could pollute the oceans and destroy resource towns under the water.

If you have any feedback or ideas of your own, please feel free to leave a comment!

About Brendan Drain

Director @ Brain and Nerd

Bookmark the permalink.
4 comments
MrCoffeee
MrCoffeee

Is there a possibility to get a "cityplanet" over a long time? I like the concept of a hugh city that is completly dependent from his enviroment, but has bonus on trade, diplomacy or cultur for example.

Pav
Pav

Great news about getting new team members. Please have your graphic artist work on making game visually appealing. I know it's all about gameplay, but visuals are important as well.

Arghy
Arghy

This looks amazing, the idea of an entire world to explore is brilliant. I wonder about turn management with exploring though, how much do you want to explore per turn? If you have an orbiting ship it would make sense to see the general land features like mountains, oceans, etc. maybe have them revealed in the fog but not actually explored? Even though satellites can technically scan and prospect things from orbit they shouldent completely replace ground exploring. Late game should just make it easier by revealing the terrain but it should still require ground exploration and exploitation.

Nyphur
Nyphur

Great idea, so when you have a satellite or ship in orbit of a planet you would get to see the land features in the fog and would know where to start exploring toward. For example, mountains contain ore, coast lines contain food resources, and polar regions contain more research artifacts to colonise. Late game we'll have technology that lets you scan large areas instantly, like a satellite that uses up energy to scan a large area. We might make an optional late game tech that automatically scans the entire planet, I'll leave that decision until we have this out in beta and can see how people play with it. I'm not sure how much I'd want people to explore per turn. Right now players can manually queue up scouts to search squares and new technology lets them scan larger areas. The scouts travel from the nearest city or town, so you can speed up exploration of far-away areas by colonising anything you find. I think it's a good system, but we'll get to test it when this part of the game goes into beta.