Dev Update: V1.10 released. Simple Ship Designer, Refitting, Star Claims Overhaul, Asteroid Belts, Fleet Combat UI Overhaul, Race Iteration, and tons more!

Predestination V1.10 has now gone live on Steam! This is the first major gameplay iteration since we officially entered beta and it revamps a large number of gameplay systems, so this is going to be a massive dev update article. The 3D ship designer has been improved with the promised Simple Editor Mode, and shield, armour, and engine modules have been rebalanced across all ship classes. We’ve also implemented ship refitting, ship crew bonuses, and the ability to rush ship production by spending BC.

The Star Claims system has been completely revamped into a much more useful version and a new galaxy map option will let you see claimed star systems. Asteroid Belts can now be found in star systems across the game, and the economy gameplay has been completely rebalanced to give players plenty of options for generating wealth to spend on ships. All races have now been rebalanced, each one has been given two unique technologies that tie into its play style, each now has a useful special trait, and new AI Behaviours will modify how each AI plays.

The user interface has been pretty high priority for this update, with the Fleet Combat user interface being completely redesigned and the City Stat and Planet Stat tabs on the Planet Screen being graphically overhauled. New right click Radial menus on the Galaxy and Fleet Combat parts of the game now let you quickly toggle various visual options, and new scrollbar and smooth highlight systems have improved the UI all across the game. The few remaining building models are now in-game, new building base graphics add some visual polish to cities, and several buildings have been rebalanced.

Read on for a full breakdown of everything in this enormous update, screenshots of new or changed gameplay, and details of other changes and major bugs fixed as part of the update.

Simple Ship Designer:

One of the features we promised as part of our 3D ship designer was an advanced editor mode with a set of tools to make it easy to design custom ships, and we implemented these tools some time ago as part of a major overhaul of the 3D ship designer. Some players have said that they aren’t really interested in designing cosmetic ships in that kind of detail, and would prefer something simpler that lets them pick weapons and modules without meddling with cosmetic designs.

That’s where the Simple Editor comes in! When you start a new ship design, you now select either the Simple or Advanced editor. The Advanced editor is the same one you’ve seen before with all of the cosmetic design tools, while the Simple editor presents you with a list of weapons and modules and you can drag them into a simple list to add them to the ship. The fitted modules and weapons will be invisible on the ship.

Ship Module Overhaul

  • Engine Overhaul: The Augmented Engines module has now been separated into variants for each class of ship, each of which provides the same +1 speed bonus but uses a different amount of power grid (20MW for Frigate, 40MW for Cruiser, 120MW for Battleship, and 360MW for Dreadnought). This allowed us to keep the module balanced while making it stackable, so you can make fast versions of any size class of ship.
  • Armour Overhaul: The different Armour Plating modules have been removed and replaced with a new stackable “Heavy Armour” module that increases a ship’s armour by 25% of its base value. There are different versions of each module for each size class of ship that use different amounts of power grid (20MW for Frigate, 40MW for Cruiser, 120MW for Battleship, and 360MW for Dreadnought).
  • Shield Overhaul: Each type of shield (Electron, Magnetic, Graviton Flux, and Temporal) is now separated into variants for each class of ship. These variants combine multiple emitters into a single module for simplicity (1 for Frigate, 2 for Cruiser, 4 for Battleship, 8 for Dreadnought, and 4 for Structure), making it easier to design ships. It also allows us to tweak the numbers in the future if we want to rebalance shields for different ship types.
  • Balance Tweaks: As part of this update, we made a number of balance tweaks that may not have been documented elsewhere. This includes changes to ship speed, hull costs, ship damage, ammo replenishment, etc.

Rushed Ship Production:

You can now click on any ship in the build queue tab at a starbase to outsource its production to the open market in order to rush its production. This is an expensive option at a cost of 1BC for every unit of metal still remaining in the ship’s build cost, but that pays for both the metal and the production time needed. The ship will be completed instantly and can be used the same turn. This update also overhauled the economics of the game to provide a lot of extra money, so this is a great way to spend those gains.

Ship Refitting:

Another promised feature for the 3D ship designer was the ability to refit ships, but this was surprisingly difficult to implement due to the way ships are implemented in our game engine. We had to change how and when ship stats are re-calculated and redesign how ship crews and captains are stored, but we’ve now managed to implement ship refitting. You can access this option from the Shipyard screen, where you’ll now see a “Refit Ships” tab at the top of the screen next to the “Build Queue” tab.

You can pick a ship from a list of all of your ships in that star system and it will show you any designs fitting that ship class. You then pick a design and your ship will be placed into the shipyard’s build queue for refitting into the new design. Refitting a ship will reclaim 50% of the money and metal spent on its construction and apply that to the new ship. All crew on a ship will also stay on board during a refit, and any captain assigned will stay on board during the refit unless you re-assign him to another ship. This means you can hold onto those highly trained crews rather than scrapping obsolete ships and starting again.

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Star Claims Overhaul:

The first iteration of the Star Claims feature required you to contact each race individually and request that they agree to your claim. This was clumsy, so we’ve completely redesigned the system. You can now claim any star system you’ve visited just by clicking a button on the System window, and that claim will be transmitted to all other races automatically without needing to get them to agree to anything (See image below).

Every race has enough claim beacon bandwidth to claim up to 2 stars at a time, and a new Claim Beacon Design technology in the Construction tech tree adds 1 additional claim. The first race to colonise a star system automatically gets a claim to that system that doesn’t count against their claim limit, so you can have 2-3 active claims on uninhabited star systems and free claims on all systems you have colonised.

Territorial AI:

As part of the Star Claims overhaul, we’ve written a new territorial AI that picks star systems for colonisation and pre-claims them. It can also decide to use a claim just to try to stop another race from colonising a star system with strategic value near its borders. In designing this AI, we added several new behavioural options to the race AI files to indicate how seriously they take enemy claims. The Z’loq, for example, are aggressively territorial and will ignore all star claims, and The Starforged may sometimes colonise a claimed star system if one of the planets has resources it needs.

AI specialisations:

With the Race overhauls, we have ensured that every race now has at least one fleet combat related bonus. To complement this, we’ve added several new behavioural options to the race AI files to indicate a preference for weapon types, ship sizes, and strategies. This will affect both their choice of technologies to research and how they decide to design their ships and fleets. Certain races now prefer to bomb planets while others prefer ground combat, and certain races (like the Sauros) prefer larger ships while others (like the Kazzir) prefer larger numbers of small ships. This should add some much-needed variation to ship combat.

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Asteroid Belts:

We previously had no asteroid belts in the game, and the Asteroid Miner module used to just produce 25 metal/turn automatically. We’ve now implemented asteroid fields and adjusted the Asteroid Miner to produce 25 metal/turn for each Asteroid Belt in a system. This means it does nothing in a system with no asteroid belts, but has much higher output if you find a system with multiple belts.

All home star systems now start with 1 Asteroid Belt and any empty orbits after generating planets now have a chance to be filled with asteroids. When a planet is destroyed by the Stellar Convertor or siesmic disaster, it now turns into a debris field that functions like an asteroid field rather than becoming a molten planet. The Revenant home system can now no longer be colonised as all of its planets are shattered into debris fields.

Space Colonisation Era:

When you make a new sandbox game, you can currently start in either the Pre-Warp or Space Exploration tech era. If you pick Space Exploration, the game will select a random path through the tech trees until it gets to the space exploration era, offering limited control over which techs you end up getting. The only way to get techs you missed would be to hope another race got them and will make a trade.

We’ve now added a third Empire Era option to resolve this: the Space Colonisation era. This option is like an optimum Space Exploration start and grants all races ALL of the technologies in the pre-warp era even if they don’t have the Creative racial trait (the one the United Colonies has). This has relatively few balance implications, and I’ve found it makes for a much more even start to the game.

Galaxy Radial Menu:

We had several options in the game that were accessible only from the Options dropdown menu or couldn’t be toggled at all, and decided to solve this using the Radial Menu tool that we use extensively on the planet screen. Right clicking on the galaxy map will now bring up a variety of options to change the map view:

  • Show Star Claims: (Toggle) Shows icons on the galaxy map over any star that has been claimed indicating which race claims it. This is very useful for quickly seeing which systems are off-limits for colonisation (without causing a diplomatic incident) or which direction a species is expanding in.
  • Show Friendly Sensor Area: (Toggle) Shows your race’s sensor area and any sensor areas you can access due to Sensor treaties. This is useful for seeing the areas of space that you can send ships into.
  • Show Enemy Sensor Area: (Toggle) Shows the sensor areas for all of the other races in their colours. This is useful for quickly seeing which enemy races can reach a certain star system and so which systems may need to be more heavily defended.
  • Show Friendly Trade Routes: (Toggle) Shows all of your trade routes between star systems as lines on the map, with the colour indicating the state of the trade route. This is useful for quickly seeing whether there are any problems with your current trade route setups or any weak points that could be blockaded if you don’t keep military ships there.
  • Show Enemy Trade Routes: (Toggle) Shows all trade routes between enemy star systems, marked out with their race’s colour. This can help you find weak points that could be blockaded to disrupt their empire. AI trade routes have been disabled while we work out some bugs with them, so this button won’t show anything until we fix those bugs.
  • Show All Star System Names: (Toggle) Shows the names of every star system you’ve visited. Toggling this off will show only colonised star systems, so if you want to hide the sea of names of systems you don’t care about, this option will be useful.

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Complete UI Overhaul:

Previous updates improved the Fleet Combat gameplay and resolved most of its bugs with the introduction of the Fleet Combat State system, but the UI was still badly in need of an overhaul. We took the extra time in this update to tackle this task, and I think you’ll be pleased with the results. The new UI consists of new side-windows styled the same as the rest of the game, and some new buttons on the UI:

  • Weapon / Module Window: The old Weapon / Module window was terrible, so we’ve replaced it with a completely new one styled after the Ship Info window. It has a section with buttons to activate each individual weapon on your ship, and a section showing all active modules the ship has that can be activated and their active/cooldown status. We’ve also added a separate section for Special Abilities, which now contains things such as the retreat option and the new self-destruct option.
  • Initiative Window: The initiative window on the left hand side of the screen has been replaced with a new one that looks a lot cleaner and has more functionality. The buggy dropdown menus are gone, each ship now has its own section and shows its shield and armour indicators at all times. Each ship also indicates its owner, and we’ve a button to centre the map onto a particular ship so you can quickly find a particular enemy or friendly ship on the battlefield.
  • Feature: Scan Ship: One final addition to the Initiative window is a button on each ship’s panel that lets you scan the ship. This will open a Ship Info window just as you’ve seen in the rest of the game (if you right click a ship in the System window on the galaxy screen, for example), showing you the ship’s weapons, active and passive modules, ship captain, and full crew complement. This will help you find priority targets in fleet combat.
  • Forward / Rotate Controls: We’ve added three new buttons to the middle panel in the Fleet Combat screen, allowing you to move forward one hex or rotate clockwise or anticlockwise by 30 degrees. Previously you could only rotate your ship as part of a movement, and now you’ll have fine control over it.
  • Minor Feature: Self-Destruct: We have added a new option to the weapon window that allows you to self-destruct a ship as a last resort. This will instantly blow the ship up, dealing an area-effect damage in a certain radius that scales with ship size.

Ship Crew Bonuses:

Up until now, ship crews could accumulate experience and gain levels but those levels didn’t actually affect combat at all. With the Fleet Combat UI overhauled, we’ve now got a spot on the Weapon / Module window to display a ship’s crew bonus and have now implemented this feature. Ships now get a +1% offensive bonus to all damage output for each combined level among its crew. A Frigate with two level 5 crew members, for example, will get a +10% bonus.

Elite Ship Crew count double toward this bonus, giving +2% per level. Elite crew also have a 60% chance to be specialised Engineers or Scientists who instead give a defensive bonus that reduces all incoming damage before it hits the shields or armour. As the combined level of all crew is used, larger ships with larger crew complements can accrue much higher total bonuses. These bonuses will encourage players to keep their ships in one piece and build Training Facilities to max out their crew levels quickly.

Fleet Combat Radial Menu:

We had a few stray buttons on the top right of the screen during fleet combat and really didn’t have a good place to put them, so we decided to re-use our right click Radial Menu tool to add these options to a nice clean menu. Right clicking will now being up a radial menu with the six options below:

  • Show Friendly Weapon Arcs: (Toggle) Shows your race’s weapon arcs as coloured areas on the map, which will help you figure out how far you have to move to get in range of something.
  • Show Enemy Weapon Arcs: (Toggle) Shows the enemy race’s weapon arcs, which will help you stay out of the firing line.
  • Show Friendly Reactive Strike: (Toggle) Shows the weapon arcs from all of your race’s weapons that have the Reactive Strike property and haven’t fired yet. Weapons like Beams and projectiles will automatically get a free shot against an enemy moving into its reactive strike area if that weapon wasn’t fired last round. This option lets you quickly see your reactive strike areas, which the enemy will naturally try to avoid entering.
  • Show Enemy Reactive Strike: (Toggle) Shows the enemy race’s reactive strike areas on the map, which is extremely useful if you want to move closer to the enemy but avoid giving them a free shot against you.
  • Auto Centre Map: (Toggle) This option automatically centres the map on a ship when it begins its turn, which helps people not get lost when the AI is taking its turn.
  • Show Grid: (Toggle) Shows or hides the hex grid representing the playable fleet combat area. If it’s turned off, hexes will only be shown if they’re lit up by being in your ship’s movement area or if a weapon arc is drawn to the map.

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Market Overhaul:

Of all the ways to generate income in Predestination, the one we’ve heard the most feedback on is the three Market buildings. People really seemed to like the idea of designing a planet just to produce produce for sale (Agricultural Market for food, Industrial Market for metal, and Energy Market for energy), but they were really difficult to balance.

Markets weren’t worth building on most planets, but on the extreme scale you could build things like huge geothermal energy farms on molten worlds for crazy income. The Markets also only kicked in when a planet’s food/metal/energy stores were full, so your income from them could be unpredictable, and we didn’t like that they were large buildings limited to one per planet as it doesn’t fit with the rest of the game.

  • Building Redesign: Our solution was to completely redesign the market buildings to be small one-per-city service buildings that affect only the city they’re built in. They now sell 100% of the city’s Food/Metal/Energy output all of the time, so you can build a farming city with an Agricultural Market or a big Geothermal Energy farm if you like.
  • Economic Rebalance: To balance the new markets, we calculated the maximum amount of food/turn, metal/turn, and energy/turn that it’s reasonable for one city to produce and then ensured that this would produce around 25BC/turn per city. The new rates are 1BC for every 750 food (Agricultural Market), 1BC for every 8 metal sold (Industrial Market), and 1BC for every 35MW sold (Energy Market).
  • Black Market Trait: To make this a much more viable strategy for your main source of income, we’ve added a new Black Market racial trait to the Renegades that increases all income from Market buildings by 100%. We may tone this down to a 50% increase in a later update if this is too powerful, but wanted to see how it played out first.
  • Tech Tree Changes: With the new markets being so important, it no longer feels right to ask the player to select just one of the three in the pre-warp tech era. We’ve swapped the three market technologies to the end of the Pre-Warp Sociology tree and made it so that branching techs at the end of an era no longer lock other branches. Any race can now research all three market buildings.

Tax Rebalance:

The Citizen Tax rates have been adjusted upward, and we’ve modified the formula used to calculate a planet’s GDP. GDP is now 10 BC per 1,000 population in each city, with a 25% bonus if the city has a starbase (so attach your starbase to a residential city for a nice boost!). The GDP is also reduced by your security percentage if it’s below 100%. Industrial Tax rates have also been adjusted upward to 1BC per 10 metal sold, keeping it useful but less efficient than using a dedicated Industrial Market building.

Biosphere Iteration:

Our old economic model had cities and infrastructure cost extra money per turn in maintenance if they required a biosphere, but this could lead to unsustainable planets that are negative in net tax. We’ve changed biospheres instead to increase the power requirements of infrastructure by 15MW and the number of staff required to run it by 100. This makes it still more advantageous to build infrastructure in your race’s preferred environment when possible, a bottleneck that drops later in the game as you acquire technologies that reduce staff requirements. We think this strikes a pretty good balance while still ensuring that you don’t need to go back to planets later once they’re fully set up.

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We made a major iteration and balance pass on all races in this update to meet a specific set of design goals. We made sure that each race has a preferred economic option and is designed for a specific play style, and that each race has a significant enough bonus to both the galaxy-level gameplay and the fleet combat gameplay. Each race now has at least one special trait that influences its play style and two unique technologies that integrate well with its play style, and we’ve added several new AI behaviour mutators to make each race AI behave a little differently.

Our goal with the Kazzir was to make them the best race for a peaceful and diplomatic gameplay style, and give them more utility in Fleet Combat. The morale bonus makes them great at generating money through citizen tax using residential mega-cities, and they have the option of adding a camera module to each ship for bonus income. Most of the Kazzir changes (including their unique tech) actually came in with their singleplayer mission, and so this became the template for overhauling the other races.

  • +20% Diplomacy Rating
  • +20% Morale on all planets
  • +2 Combat Speed on all ships
  • Trait – Lucky: The Kazzir are naturally lucky, suffering fewer planetary disasters and more positive events than other races. Lucky races are also more likely to have positive Temporal Rifts spawn in their territory and tend to be overlooked by the Revenants and Space Monsters.
  • Unique Technology: Broadcast Tower: (replaces Entertainment Centre) The Broadcast Tower is piece of planetary infrastructure unique to the Kazzir that replaces the Entertainment Centre. It broadcasts the Kazzir television network across the planet, increasing planetary morale by 20% and increasing taxable wealth in the city it’s connected to by 25%.
  • Unique Technology: Camera Module: (replaces Airponics Bay) The Camera Module is a ship module unique to the Kazzir that replaces the Airponics Bay. It transmits images back to your homeworld for exclusive viewing on entertainment networks, generating 2 BC/turn in revenue. Only one camera can be fitted to a ship at a time.
  • AI Behaviours: The Kazzir prefer smaller ships over larger ones, prefer shields over armour, and prefer speed over brute force. They also have the capability of building and launching warp-capable missiles when the technology is available.

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Our goal with the Renegade overhaul is to make them great at exploiting nice planets with high resource levels. Their new Black Market trait combines with the Market building overhaul to make them incredibly good at turning planets into cash-farming worlds.

  • +25% Food Production on all planets
  • +25% Metal Production on all planets
  • +10% Projectile Weapon Damage
  • Trait – Black Market: The Renegades have a highly developed instinct for trade and barter. The money generated each turn by the Industrial Market, Energy Market, and Agricultural Market are doubled, and the cost of rushing ship production by purchasing it on the open market is reduced by 25%.
  • Unique Technology: Ground Turret: (replaces Ground Cannon) A ground-based projectile weapon for planetary defense unique to the Renegades. It is equipped with one unit of your best projectile weapon, can fire at any range, and each shot fired consumes energy from the planet’s reserves at a rate of 1 energy per MW your best projectile weapon takes up.
  • Unique Technology: Scrapyard: (replaces Recycling Centre) A specialised recycling centre unique to the Renegades that reclaims waste metal from the city’s population with startling efficiency, producing 4 metal per 1000 population in the city. Limit of one per city.
  • AI Behaviours: The Renegades prefer projectile weapons over all other types, and prefer to capture planets with ground troops rather than bombing them into oblivion. They will use armour or shield, and sometimes both on the same ship depending on the technology available.

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Our goal with the Sauros overhaul is to make them a force to be reckoned with in Fleet Combat, with the Ancient Power Core making its cruisers and above extremely powerful. If you manage to trade for or steal the module, you can even use it and an Auxiliary Power Core on the same ship for +450MW but at a considerable build cost increase. They will be limited by money and metal production, and will take some time to become established on larger planets.

  • +20% Diplomacy Rating
  • Huge Homeworld
  • +10% Armour HP on all ships
  • +10% Beam Weapon Damage
  • -25% Population growth rate
  • Trait – Ancient: The Sauros are ancient, with a long recorded history going back thousands of years. They have a firmer grasp of Ancient Ruins and gain a +25% boost to the research bonus from all Artifact Excavations.
  • Unique Technology Slave Labour: (replaces Crimewatch Network) Security forces can used to force criminals and members of the slave caste to work in ore refineries. Each city with a Security Station will automatically gain a 10% bonus to metal production.
  • Unique Technology Ancient Power Core: (replaces Auxiliary Power Core) The Ancient Power Core is a variant of the Auxiliary Power Core unique to the Sauros race and adapted from ancient technology found on their homeworld. It adds an extra 300MW to the ship’s power grid capacity while increasing build cost by 1,000 metal and 750 BC, but can only be fit on Cruiser sized hulls and above.
  • AI Behaviours: The Sauros prefer larger ships such as cruisers and battleships over smaller frigates, and will tend to build a smaller number of more powerful ships. They prefer capturing planets with ground troops rather than solely bombing, and prefer Beam weapons over all other types. They make heavy use of armour but may use shields depending on the technology available.

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We kept the Starforged as the best race for players who like to micromanage all resources precisely and use trade routes to supply and establish new planets. Their population is constructed manually via the planet services window, and their gameplay is geared toward finding planets with the resources you need and setting up efficient colonies. They are mainly limited by availability of fossil fuels, metal production, and the need to use Ice planets or polar regions for Bytecoin Miners in order to generate enough income.

  • Bonus Coal on Homeworld
  • +25 Ground Combat Bonus
  • +20% Drone Weapon Damage
  • -5% Research on all planets
  • Trait – Internal Combustion: The Starforged burn fossil fuel pellets in an internal combustion engine instead of running on energy cells. Several specialised robotic technologies in the technology trees are replaced with different technologies that offer alternative power sources.
  • Unique Technology – The Starforge: (replaces Shipyard Efficiency) The Starforge is a specialised ship construction technology unique to the Starforged that allows Robotic workers to directly control machinery, increasing the build rate of all shipyards by 200 tons/turn. This technology only works with Robotic races.
  • Unique Technology – EMP Missile: (replaces Nuclear Missile) The EMP Missile is a specialised 25MW missile unique to the Starforged. It uses a nuclear reaction to trigger an electromagnetic pulse with a range of 1 hex that deals 20 damage on impact and can disable an enemy ship’s engines.
  • AI Behaviours: The Starforged will ignore some territorial claims if a star system has resources they really need, and they use a methodical colonisation process of pre-scanning planets to 100% before choosing to settle there. They prefer to use missiles and drones on their ships if available, and prefer to capture planets with ground troops rather than destroying them through orbital bombardment.

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We kept the United Colonies roughly the same as they were already pretty powerful thanks to their Creative trait, and we gave them two new unique technologies to encourage use of shields and exploration of temporal rifts. The United Colonies are the perfect race for the completionist player who wants to research all of the technologies, and lends itself well to achieving the technological victory.

  • +10% Research on all planets
  • +10% Shield Hitpoints on all ships
  • -20% Diplomacy Rating
  • Trait – Creative: The United Colonies are natural scientists with a keen creative streak, allowing them to consider multiple applications of the same research field. At any point where the tech trees split off, Creative races can research any option without locking off the others, allowing them to come back and research all alternative technologies.
  • Unique Technology – Shield Unifier: (replaces Shield Capacitor) The Shield Unifier is a ship module unique to the United Colonies. It creates permanent transfer conduits between all six shield faces, turning them into a single unified shield matrix with double the hitpoints of any individual face.
  • Unique Technology – Rift Scanner: (replaces Airponics Bay) The Rift Scanner is a 50MW non-combat ship module unique to the United Colonies. Ships equipped with a Rift Scanner that explore a Temporal Rift will generate a data disk full of sensor data providing a total of 25-50 additional research points per scanner in the fleet.
  • AI Behaviours: The United Colonies will respect some territorial claims but will often ignore them if the system has a lot of ancient ruins or is high in resources. They prefer to use shields rather than armour to take advantage of their unique Shield Unifier technology, and they have the capability of building and launching warp-capable missiles when the technology is available.

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We’ve given the Z’loq a bonus to population growth rate to support their storyline of having an overpopulated homeworld and to help them get established on new ocean planets, and given them a bonus to metal production to keep Coral Reefs competitive for them. We want the Zloq to be the best race for an aggressive conquering style of gameplay, with the Warlord trait leading to very large fleets and Transdimensional giving them an edge in hitting colonies before reinforcements can get there to defend. The Invasion Command building will lead to larger Z’loq ships having huge bonuses from crew, and the Aquadynamic Missile’s ability to drown enemy crew is just eeeeeeeevil. It had to be done!

  • +25% Population Growth Rate on all planets
  • +25% Metal Production on all planets
  • -20% Diplomacy Rating
  • Trait – Warlord: The Z’loq are natural strategists and at their best during war. Warlord races are produce more Elite ship crew members, train new ground troops at double speed, and get a +15 ground combat bonus when defending against enemy troops. They also gain +1 command point for each star system colonised, but suffer from a -5% morale penalty for each city without a Military Barracks.
  • Trait – Transdimensional: The Z’loq have an awareness that extends beyond our dimension, allowing them to see shortcuts through space other races would miss. Transdimensional races gain +2ly/turn to the FTL speed of all ships and warp missiles, and all wormholes are visible to them at the start of the game.
  • Unique Technology – Aquadynamic Missile: (replaces Nuclear Missile) The Aquadynamic Missile is a ship-to-ship weapon unique to the Z’loq. It uses a kinetic impact system to pierce the hull of an enemy ship and releases a flood of water into the ship, short circuiting equipment and drowning ship crew. Each missile deals 20 damage and has a 50% chance to kill one crew member.
  • Unique Technology – Invasion Command: (replaces Training Facility) An advanced training simulator unique to the Z’loq that prepares ship crews for the conquest of alien worlds. Crew on all ships stationed in the system automatically gain 3 XP/turn, providing bonuses in fleet combat.
  • AI Behaviours: The Z’loq are aggressively territorial and will ignore all territorial claims. They prefer to capture planets with ground troops rather than bombing, and will use whatever weapons technology they have that is most powerful.

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Planet Stats:

The stats tabs on the Planet Screen used to display a boring-looking list of gray bars with some pretty dry stats on them. We improved this window by adding more colourful new graphics (see below) and dividing it up into sections with more useful stats. It now has an Economic Stats header showing a breakdown of all financial stats, and a General Stats tab showing things such as research points, ground combat, and planetary bonuses to morale, security and health.

City Stats:

When zoomed into a city, the information on the City Stats tab also now uses the same new graphics (see below). It now shows the city’s core percentage bonuses to food production from food processors, metal production from factories, and research from Artifact Excavations. These figures also take racial bonuses into account so you get a more accurate picture. The City Stats section shows the city’s research output, population, ground combat troops, city shield stats, etc.

Planet Services Overhaul:

We’ve improved all three of the services that you can use to improve resources on a planet (soil enrichment, oil drilling, and seismic excavation). Each one now costs 2000BC from your stores to activate and instantly has effects planet-wide. Soil enrichment increases the planet’s organic rating by 1 and grows all food resource patches by several hexes, and oil drilling expands fossil fuel deposits on the planet if there are fewer than 6 present (very useful for the Starforged). Seismic Excavation is limited to Barren planets and increases the planet’s mineral rating by 1, expanding all ore patches by several hexes but with a 5% chance of blowing up the planet.

Minor Feature: Scrollbar System: One of the most common bugs we get reported is that parts of the UI sometimes don’t allow you to scroll down far enough to access something, or that they sometimes let you scroll down way past the actual content in the window. We have also had some inconsistent behaviour from scroll bars across the game, some allowing click and drag and others not. We took the time to overhaul the scrollbars across most of the game by creating a Scrollbar system that can be applied to any in-game window. The new scrollbar automatically resizes to fit the content drawn in the window, and should eliminate those pesky scroll bar bugs across the game for good. Please continue to report any bugs of this nature if they do happen again, as they will be much easier to fix now with a single centralised system.

Minor Feature: Smooth Highlight System: Various buttons and UI elements across the game display a highlight when moused over to let the player know that it’s clickable, but this was inconsistent across the game and the highlight was quite jarring in some cases and made the UI seem unpolished. Some highlights were also hidden by some UI elements, while others weren’t. We’ve overhauled this to create a dedicated Highlight system that provides consistency across the game. The main things you’ll notice are that mouseovers and highlights are brighter and more obvious, and that they now smoothly fade in and out as you move the mouse over an item. We think this adds some much-needed polish to many parts of the user interface.

Minor Feature: Music System Improvement: We noticed that the Ship Designer and Fleet Combat music were broken by a previous update and weren’t playing, and also that some bugs could cause the game to play two pieces of music at the same time under some circumstances. We took some time to improve the Music system to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and now the correct music plays when in the Shipyard and Fleet Combat screens.

Minor Feature: Training Facility: The Training Facility used to be a large building that was limited to one per planet, which was out of line with the rest of the game. Now that the Market buildings have become standard one-per-city Service buildings, we’ve done the same to the Training Facility. We’ve removed its bonus to ground combat and reduced its ship XP per turn bonus from 2% to 1% in order to compensate for the fact that you can now put one in every city. This means you could build a ship training star system with multiple training facilities across several planets, and the bonuses will all stack.

Minor Feature: New Building Bases: The old city buildings were placed on top of these odd hex shaped flat planes that didn’t look very good. We’ve replaced them with a new more solid base that looks better and has groove cut into its edges with a road for transporting civilians around inside the city. This was a minor feature that didn’t take a significant amount of extra time, and it adds to the polish of the game.

Minor Feature: Final Building Models: We’ve added the final textured models for a few remaining buildings that were missing from the game. These include the Tier 3 Factory, Fossil Fuel Plant, Research Lab (Tier 2), Research Lab (Tier 3), and The Forge.

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Misc Changes:

  • The Research Panel has been squished vertically by about 10-15% so that you can see the start of the Space Exploration era at the top of the window when fully scrolled down. This change should make it more obvious that you can scroll up to reach new technologies, something that a number of players have reported not realising.
  • We tried various limits for Trade Routes to balance them for casual use, but ultimately decided to leave them as they are at 1BC/turn for each trade route. Efficient use of trade routes is still of some benefit, but we found in testing that trade routes in a real empire were often quite messy (e.g. several small trade routes between the same set of planets) and we don’t want to punish players for that.
  • Scrapping ships now returns 50% of the money value of the ship, increased from 25%.
  • Switched Renegades diplomat and soldier to be in line with recorded audio for races (still to come)
  • Ships in Fleet Combat with no crew remaining now become immobilised and cannot take any action. They will be skipped in the play order and regenerate shields and armour at 50% the normal rate.
  • When branching technologies are at the end of an era, picking one won’t lock the others. This affects a small number of technologies.
  • Factory (Tier 3) technology has been swapped to the end of the First Contact era in the Construction tree. This allows you to get Battlestations, Battleship Hull, or Dragonium armour earlier and preserves the strategic tech choice there in spite of the branching change.
  • Implemented a system for Technology descriptions that can pull the descriptions directly from Buildings and Infrastructure. Previously we had manually copied and pasted descriptions, and there were sometimes mistakes when we changed one and not the other. Now all tech descriptions and building/infrastructure tooltips should agree.
  • We have new graphics for destroying planets, with explosions radiating outward over the entire planet before it explodes into asteroids.
  • The building models on the Research panel now rotate just like the ship modules and weapons
  • Race-specific technologies such as the new unique technologies can now be traded to other races
  • When the Galactic Council is formed, all races now automatically join
  • Added several new AI behavioural methods, which now check if a race is far behind or ahead of the other races on number of planets, technology, population etc.
  • The Orbital Minefield no longer spawns actual mines on the battlefield, as this was buggy. It now starts all enemy ships at 50% armour and shield at the start of the battle.
  • Frigate Hulls now have 120MW power core (down from 150MW) to account for the reduced power requiremetns of several Frigate modules and to make Cruisers more desirable.
  • The Police Station is now named Security Station
  • The Hospital is now named Health Centre
  • Added support for weapons that automatically trigger on clicking on the button in Fleet Combat rather than being targetted. This is used for the new self-destruct button, and can be used for other weapons and mods.
  • Added support for silent weapons with no audio and weapons with no graphics, allowing you to make weapons that are technically beams and have an effect, but don’t shoot out of the ship.
  • Fighter Garrisons and Fighter Bays no longer generate new fighters during fleet combat. They now have a limited number for the entire fight.
  • Missile Bases no longer generate new missiles during fleet combat. They now have a limited number for the entire fight.
  • The Ancient Missile Silo has been buffed. It can launch all four missiles at the start of fleet combat and now re-generates 1 new missile per round (up from 1 per 4 rounds).
  • The Graviton Field Emitter has been buffed. It now has a 2-turn cooldown (down from 3 turns).
  • The Scout Transceiver technology no longer provides a building you can put in every city that gives +1 scout. It now give a flat increase of +2 planetary scouts, which is a better benefit at the start of the game and removes the issue of having a useless building in your city once your planet is explored.
  • Part of the kazzir mission now requires you to explore 15% of the planet (down from 20%) to make the mission timing work better.
  • Cloaked ships can now bypass the Orbital Minefield
  • The Auxiliary Power Core was reduced in cost from 5,000 metal and 500 BC to 1,000 metal and 750 BC. This makes it more viable on Frigates, but very expensive, and gives another avenue for improving your ships if you have the spare BC.
  • Cruiser base cost reduced from 5,000 metal and 500 BC to 3,000 metal and 300 BC
  • Battleship base cost reduced from 15,000 metal and 1,500 BC to 9,000 metal and 900 BC
  • Dreadnought base cost reduced from 45,000 metal and 4,500 BC to 25,000 metal and 2,500 BC
  • Added sound effects to many actions throughout the game, such as opening and closing menus or clicking certain buttons.
  • Added several new tooltips to items across the game, including the Galaxy Era option on the New Game screen.
  • Implemented Warp Dissipator technology. When in fleet combat with a planet and the planet’s owner has the technology, the retreat option is disabled.
  • Missiles and drones now move considerably faster in Fleet Combat so that you spend less time watching them move if you have a lot of them on the map.
  • Added star claim icons to the Planet Explore dropdown menu.
  • Undiscovered cloaked ships will no longer fire reactive strikes against enemy ships, so they won’t give away their positions until you choose to attack.

Bug-fixes:

  • A large number of bugs were fixed during the iterations on the various parts of the game, such as fleet combat UI bugs fixed by completely replacing the UI. These have not all been documented.
  • Fixed a bug with buildings sometimes not loading their normal maps
  • Fixed a bug causing some buildings to be rotated incorrectly in the city view.
  • Fixed a bug causing building descriptions on tooltips to sometimes not update
  • Fixed the flickering mouse pointer bug when mousing over something with a tooltip
  • Fixed a crash that occured when you completed the tutorial and then immediately started a sandbox game
  • Fixed a bug when you completed the tutorial and then immediately launched a singleplayer mission, which caused you to automatically win the mission
  • Fixed a bug where the game could run out of temporal rifts if you quit the game with rifts open and started a new one repeatedly
  • Fixed a crash that could happen when disasters hit a planet that has been destroyed by fleet combat that turn.
  • Fixed bug where planet could be attacked multiple times in a row.
  • It’s no longer possible to speed through turns by holding down Shift and T. This was a debug tool that was accidentally left in the live game, and caused a number of rare timing-based crashes.
  • Resolved several issues of Singleplayer Missions not fullly resetting when you quit and restart them half way through.
  • Fixed a few problems with music never playing if the game started with music volume at 0 and then you increased it
  • Fixed several rendering problems with incorrect depth and culling in various parts of the game
  • Fixed a serious bug causing ships to regenerate insane amounts of shield or armour in one turn due to accidentally regenerating each time their stats were looked up.
  • The planet UI now automatically updates as part opf the End Turn code if it’s open, so new technologies etc should be available instantly rather than next turn.
  • The System window now updates as soon as a ship is scrapped, refitted, built, or sent to scan a planet so that the screen is always accurate.
  • You can no longer accidentally make contact with an alien race in the pre-warp era if they happen to spawn close enough. Now you’ll make contact as soon as you break the warp barrier.
  • Fixed a bug where the tutorial would sometimes not reset fully if you exited and re-entered it, causing it to break.
  • Fixed a bug with the tutorial where the hex highlight around a star you’re supposed to click on don’t accurately represent the clickable area to activate the star. You could click on the image but not actually open the star.
  • Fixed a number of mistakes in building and infrastructure descriptions.
  • Fixed an issue where mousing over stars would cause certain nebula particles to light up.
  • Fixed mistake in Temporal Satellite description.
  • Deleted accidental duplicate Missile and Probe hulls for Kazzir and Renegades.
  • Fixed several bugs with blueprints where they would accidentally bypass build times or re-build certain buildings that are already complete.
  • Fixed a bug where pressing 9 on the Planet Screen would cause the lighting direction to change. This was a debug tool that wasn’t supposed to be in the non-debug version.
  • Fixed several small tutorial bugs
  • Fixed several mouseover and highlight bugs
  • Fixed some bugs with ships going through wormholes.
  • Fixed bugs relating to updated Colony blueprints not rolling out across your empire.
  • The Tax window should now automatically close when you open any other window or exit the screen or game. This prevents a number of obscure bugs.
  • Fixed a bug where enemy races wouldn’t declare war if you dropped troops on an unprotected planet.
  • Fixed a bug with marines on troop transports not filling up correctly when visiting a friendly planet with a starbase.
  • Ships under the effect of a Stasis Field will no longer regenerate or fire reactive strikes.
  • Cloaked ships will no longer be given away by their firing arcs on the map.
  • Race music on the conversation screens in missions now correctly loops.
  • Fixed a bug where music could play during a jingle (such as the Research Complete jingle).

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This update has been a long time coming, so I hope everyone is happy with how it has turned out. V1.10 has cleaned up a lot of old issues that had been lying in the codebase and tackled a number of recurring pieces of feedback from fans, and we think it puts us in a good position leading up to final release. Our next step will be to finish all of the remaining content such as singleplayer missions and get the ball rolling on the remaining creative rewards from backers, and once that’s implemented we can get ready for full release and start planning for free post-release updates.

We welcome any feedback on this update and the game in general, and if you have any specific suggestions then we would ask that you get them to us as soon as possible. The game is now officially in feature-freeze while we work on the remaining content, so we will have very limited time to iterate on existing features or add new ones. Get your suggestions and feedback to us as quickly as possible (this week if possible) to maximise the chance that we’ll be able to act on it before release. You can leave your feedback or suggestions on all the usual places or contact us directly at brendan@brainandnerd.com with them. Thanks again to everyone who has supported us this far!

Note for Kickstarter backers: We’ll be sending out another round of Steam keys and DRM-free updates this week to anyone who has requested one recently. If you haven’t requested your key yet, please send us an email to earlyaccessrequest@brainandnerd.com with the email address you used on Kickstarter and we’ll send over a Steam key or DRM-free download of the latest version, whichever you prefer.

Cheers,

— Brendan, Lead Developer

About Brendan Drain

Director @ Brain and Nerd
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