Tactical Combat ideas: Crazy weapons, The Junker and more!

tactical

Throughout February we’ve been working on Predestination’s planetary exploration and colonisation gameplay, designing the first Reptile race, and sorting through the ideas from our Kickstarter backers. With the core planet gameplay complete and the reptile race reveal  in the works, we’re shifting development focus to a part of the game we didn’t really get the chance to properly show during the Kickstarter campaign: Tactical fleet combat.

Every space 4X game has some kind of ship combat system, but most games have chosen to discard the MOO2-style tactical combat in favour of realtime 3D gameplay or even automated fights that you have very little control over. With Predestination, we plan to not only revive turn-based tactical combat but revolutionise it!

Read on for a breakdown of the Tactical Combat system, details of some fun new weapons we worked on with our work experience student Niall, and to submit your own ideas for awesome ship weapons and special abilities!

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New screenshots: Galaxy map, planets, system window and planet exploration

There are some big announcements coming in the next week or so for Predestination, but until then we have some new screenshots of the game in action. These screenshots show the three main parts of the game: Galaxy Management, Planetary Exploration, and Tactical Fleet Combat. All three areas are still work in progress, but they’re really starting to come together. Read More

Robot concept art: Character artist Connor Murphy in action

Most game developers work behind closed doors and don’t let players see early work in progress designs. With Predestination we aim to give fans a front row seat to the game’s development and let you help develop the game with your feedback and suggestions. We have a community website launching soon where you can suggest ideas and discuss the game, and we should be finally launching our Kickstarter campaign within the next few weeks, but today we want to give you an inside look at how we’ve been designing our first race:

Concept sketches:

We wanted the robots to look like they were originally designed as humanoid robots to serve another race but have had to adapt to survive when left to fend for themselves on their starting planet. When their power sources began to run out, they had to adapt to using fossil fuels and became all steampunky. They began building new robots and reprogramming them to do new tasks like mining for coal and designing new technology. Now they’re pretty much a fully-fledged race with workers, scientists, and military robots. Our new character artist Connor Murphy turned those ideas into the five concept sketches below: Read More

Concept art: Robotic races

Not all the races in Predestination will be organic; The race below assembled itself from a crashed transport full of worker droids, service bots and military hardware. To survive, they had to adapt themselves  to their new home and fossil fuel energy sources. We haven’t named the race yet, but the population and ships will have a steampunk visual style. Different tasks like industry or research will be completed by specialised robots, so the military robots may look very different to the researchers or workers. Below is concept art for the race’s industrial worker droids, produced by our new character artist Connor Murphy: Read More

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: Read More

Nebulae and asteroids in ship combat

I haven’t posted an update in a while, but rest assured I’ve been making a lot of progress on ship combat system. Ships now have armour, regenerating shields, structure hitpoints and weapons; they can shoot at each other and destroy each other. I’ve also implemented the reactive strike system that lets ships fire when an enemy flies through their firing arcs and players can hit a button to highlight all the squares the enemy’s reactive strikes cover so you can make tactical decisions quickly. There are firing animations for beam weapons and projectile weapons, which I’ll put a video up of once I’ve built the hotbar user interface to show it off properly. Below is what I’ve been working on this week: Read More

Combat system update and prototype video

Made good progress on the combat system this week. It now has:

  • Movement mechanics: Left click moves ship to the selected square, right click turns toward the selected square, end turn button cycles to next ship in initiative order
  • A glowing line indicates the path ship will take to the square you have the mouse over
  • A ghost ship shows where your ship will end up and what diredction it will be facing
  • Ships smoothly animate along the selected movement path
  • Ships now have weapons
  • Weapon firing arcs are working and show on the grid when you activate the weapon

To see the system in action, check out the prototype video below. Please post any comments you have on it and I’ll use them to help refine the next iteration. Read More

Fleet combat hex system first prototype

This week I’ve been working on the fleet combat system for Predestination. When all of the core mechanics are implemented, we’ll be releasing this as our first beta test to get some feedback and improve it. Fleet combat is an important part of a 4X game, and it will have to be iterated on extensively to make it as awesome as possible. Our goal is to create tactical turn-based combat system that’s more like a game of chess than an RTS. We’ve already tested the movement and combat mechanics with a pen-and-paper prototype, and this week I started putting it all in code.

It doesn’t look very pretty yet, but I want to show you what I’ve got so far. I’ve finished the hex grid system and ships can be placed on the grid and rotated to face any of the adjacent hexagons. All ships involved in the combat roll initiative and then take their turns in order. For moving ships, I developed an efficient recursive algorithm that determines the shortest route to a hexagon based on the three simple rules below:

  • Moving into any of the three forward squares costs 1 move point
  • Turning by 60 degrees costs 1 move point.
  • Two ships cannot occupy the same square

The result produced the exact pattern that my prototype design predicted: Read More

Predestination shown at QCon XIX, beta signups open

Thanks to the guys at Digital Circle, we had the opportunity to show off Predestination last weekend at QCon XIX, Ireland’s biggest anime and gaming convention. The game isn’t in a playable state yet, but we put together a special trailer showing some of the game’s main features and had an open signup sheet to get into the beta when it arrives.

I expected to get a few people interested, but was absolutely blown away by the level of support and enthusiasm people had for Predestination. I really can’t thank everyone at QCon enough, over a hundred people signed up for the beta in just two and a half days after seeing the trailer below: Read More

Dev update: New planet exploration features

I got to work on the planet exploration a bit more this week, and added in a lot of the planet exploration features I described last week. You can now queue up as many scout missions as you want and they will be executed in sequence. When a mission starts, it takes an energy cost from the planet’s reserves, and if that energy isn’t available the mission will wait until you have enough energy before starting. You can now delete scout missions, and they are now sent from the nearest settlement you own for reduced travel time. Below is a video showing some of the new mechanics: Read More