June was a jam-packed month for us; We showed off Predestination at Comic Con Belfast and Q Con XXI, performed an iteration on the Fleet Combat gameplay, worked on a lot of new building and ship models, and completely redesigned the city system. We’ve also switched to a new newsletter system to make sure that everyone is definitely receiving important development updates, and are now working hard on the next beta release: Galaxy Beta V2.0. This update is due for release within the next two weeks and will contain all of the planet and city changes discussed in the May and June dev updates, in addition to a newly overhauled version of the Fleet Combat gameplay.
Update (2nd August): The next beta stage will be out within the next few days along with a full breakdown of the new gameplay.
We’ve been receiving emails recently saying that some people aren’t receiving their monthly updates or links to new beta stages. To solve this, we’ve started up a new mailing list system for dev updates and beta links, so those of you who have unsubscribed from Kickstarter emails or pledged on Paypal can still receive our monthly updates.
We’ll be sending this update out through email and if you want to opt out of that mailing list, just follow the instructions in the email. If you want to sign up for the development update newsletter or switch the email address you’re receiving them to, head over to the newsletter page and subscribe with your preferred email address. Also, if you feel like you should be on the beta list and haven’t received the Galaxy Beta, please send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know and we’ll investigate.
Back in March, we gave you a sneak peek at the default Renegade Battleship design. That ship has now been decomposed into individual parts and we’ve made a lot of new cosmetic and functional ship parts since then. The Renegade ship part set is now fully complete and we’re in the process of texturing each block and integrating them into the ship designer.
When that’s finished and has passed a quality inspection, we’ll be able to release the first beta of the 3D ship designer to all beta backers. I can’t put a date on that yet, but further ship model packs will be much quicker to develop and deploy after the beta goes live as we’ll then have the entire production process hammered down step by step. Below are the finished blockouts of the default Renegade Frigate, Cruiser, Battleship, and Space Station!
If you’ve been following the Predestination blog, you may have seen our Game Design Sneak Peek on the upcoming city revamp. For those who haven’t seen it, a summary of the most important parts is below. Following last month’s overhaul of the planetary gameplay to use our new road system, your feedback indicated that the cities and blueprints would also need to be revamped to be more engaging with the new setup. We agreed, so we went back to the drawing board and came up with some big changes.
In Master of Orion II, players were able to specialise their cities for industry, farming or research by moving population between the three jobs. We want that kind of tactical option to be part of Predestination, so we’re going to let players specialise their cities for Research, Food, Metal, Military or Tax by introducing a series of new buildings designed to synergise with infrastructure connected to the city. Once this revamp is implemented, this should complete the final major iteration of the Planetary Colonisation gameplay.
Cities specialising in Research, Food, or Production can use new industrial buildings that give a small boost on their own but also multiply the bonuses of connected infrastructure. You can use a building in a city without the matching infrastructure and still get some benefit, but it won’t be as efficient:
- Factory: Produces 5 metal/turn, +10% metal/turn produced by infrastructure. Also increases metal storage by 1000.
- Food Processor: Produces 250 food/turn, +10% food/turn produced by infrastructure. Also increases food storage by 500.
- University: Produces 2 research/turn, +5% research/turn produced by infrastructure.
Each of these buildings has two upgrades which can be researched and built, adding new components to the building and increasing its bonuses. Below is the work-in-progress version of the factory building showing the components that appear with each upgrade tier. The central hex will be filled with metal storage and transports.
Other City types:
Military: To specialise a city for military or defense, the player will have to sacrifice the above industrial advantage and use his building space for Ground Cannons, City Shields and other military buildings. Details of all the planned military buildings are in our recent Design Sneak Peek post on the city revamp.
Residential (Trade and Tax): Tax will be a lot more important in the updated version of the game, as money is now used to build infrastructure and roads on a planet, and each building costs at least 1BC/turn maintenance. To specialise a city for residential purposes to generate tax income, you’ll need to sacrifice building space for housing and extra services to keep the planet’s population secure and keep morale high. More details of residential cities and trade-related buildings can be found in our recent Design Sneak peek post.
Each city currently has space for up to 6 large buildings and 12 small, which turned out to be far too much space for meaningful strategic tradeoffs. Players in the beta noted that they could build whatever they needed without running into any space problems. The numbers on paper also get out of hand with 5 or 6 factory buildings in the new system, so the solution to both problems was to reduce the city size.
Each city can now hold a maximum of 4 large buildings and 8 small ones, or 3 large buildings and 15 small. Fitting in four industrial buildings (like the Factory) means you’ll be unable to add any large buildings like the Space Port or City Shield at all, which is a strategic tradeoff that you’ll have to make when designing your cities
One of the primary goals of the city revamp is to make it so players can make good use of our Blueprint system. With multiple cities to manage on a large number of planets, players should rarely have to revisit a planet once it’s set up, instead just managing everything with blueprints. The only reason you should need go back to a planet would be to respond to a random event or attack, to change a city from one specialisation to another, or to build something special manually like a space station.
The city revamp described above should satisfy those requirements. Players can now design cities for particular specialisations or even hybrids like a heavily defended factory city or a tax-heavy research city, and can switch between specialisations easily by switching blueprints, providing a similar strategic function to moving population between jobs in MOO2.
Build Times: The final change that ties all of these building changes together is that we’re adding build times to buildings. This will hopefully discourage people from frequently switching cities from one blueprint to another as it’ll take several turns before all the construction is complete. We can then also add a technology or race pick that lets you spend money to complete buildings instantly, a big financial tradeoff that you might need to make if enemies are heading toward a planet with no defenses built.
I’d like to give a big thanks to everyone who’s supported us so far in making Predestination; the backers who have funded us through Kickstarter and Paypal, those who voted for us on Steam Greenlight, the people we’ve met at conventions who offered words of encouragement, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland who support the emerging local games industry, the indie gaming websites that give tiny indie studios like us exposure, and everyone who has contributed suggestions and feedback to help make the game better.
It’s been a long journey and we wouldn’t have made it this far without your help, so we appreciate your patience as we’ve iterated on our unique planetary gameplay to be sure we get it right. Our plan for the immediate future is to finish implementing the city revamp above and then get all of the new planet gameplay into beta backers’ hands within the next week or two. This should be our final iteration on the planets, and we can then move on to finishing the core galaxy level gameplay and NPC AI, hopefully then leading on to an Early Access release.
As always, we welcome all feedback on this month’s dev update on Kickstarter or our forums. To close this month’s dev update, here’s a photo of me at Q Con apparently trying to destroy two Predestination fans with my viking eye lasers.
— Brendan Drain, Lead Developer