November dev roundup: 3D ship designer, iterations, and work on Galaxy screen

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November was a very busy month for us, so we’d like to apologise for the lateness of this month’s development roundup. We’ve been working hard on putting your feedback from the first iteration of the Fleet Combat and Planetary Colonisation betas into the game, and now have most of the suggestions implemented. The combat and planet betas have now been successfully merged together into a combined client that will become the first iteration of the galaxy beta. Work has now begun on the Galaxy screen and main UI menus, and we’re working hard on getting that ready to show to all beta backers as soon as possible.

The big news this month is that we’ve been working on a new 3D ship designer for Predestination that’s been made possible thanks to a grant from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. We’ve got some great ideas for expanding the ship designer with extra features, and will launching a Kickstarter campaign exclusively for the 3D ship designer hopefully within the next week. We’re very excited to have locked in a basic version of the 3D ship designer as a feature, and will use the Kickstarter to see how far people would like to expand the feature. Check out the sections below for more detailed breakdowns of everything we got up to in November: Read More

The Predestination Combat Beta is now live!

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The Predestination Combat Beta is now live. If you’re signed up to beta test the game, check your Kickstarter mail or email for a message from us with a link to download the game. If you’re supposed to be in the beta and haven’t received the link by the morning of Friday 20th, please email combatbeta@brainandnerd.com or message us on Kickstarter and we’ll sort it out. We would appreciate it if you would refrain from sharing the combat beta or download link publicly as the game is not ready for the general public and is still using mostly placeholder 3D models and sounds. For those of you who aren’t in the beta, check out the video below of us playing through it and let us know what you think! Read More

The first Predestination beta stage is on its way!

Hey guys!

I know that many of you are looking forward to getting your hands on the first playable versions of Predestination, and I’m just dropping a quick note to say that the first beta is on its way! As we’ve previously discussed, our plan is to release the Predestination beta in stages to get more focused feedback on each area of the game before we combine it all together into the final beta. The plan is to release three individual stages covering the three main areas of the game, and then to combine them into one final beta stage:

  • Stage 1: Tactical Fleet Combat
  • Stage 2: Planetary Colonisation
  • Stage 3: Galaxy Gameplay
  • Stage 4: Final beta with all three combined. This will then undergo regular gameplay iteration and feedback cycles until it’s release quality.

We initially set a target of the end of August or start of September for deploying the fleet combat beta. The bad news is that this has been slightly delayed as we think it needs a bit more work before collecting feedback. The good news is that it should be released later this week and it’ll come with an in-game tutorial and four test scenarios. If you’re one of our beta tester backers, you’ll be sent the link via Kickstarter or email. We’ll also be doing our usual development roundup on Kickstarter at the same time the beta goes out. Read More

April Dev Update: New aquatic race, ship combat update, battlefield generation, and more

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April is over and development on Predestination is going well. This month we completed the internal workings for the ship design and weapon technology systems, finished hooking the tactical combat system into the main game and tidied that system up. We implemented tons of your ideas into the ship combat system, like smart-missiles that deploy mines around the target, weapons that fire clouds of charged plasma, and deployable minefields for planet defense. Thanks so much for all of your great ideas and feedback!

Character artist Connor Murphy has finished our final core race (the yet-to-be-named Aquatic race) and completed a fantastic visual reboot of our first robotic race, The Starforged. You can see the new artwork for both races below! We’ve also been working with Connor on figuring out the best way to approach the backer-sponsored race artwork.

Based on your feedback, Connor has already started to revamp the feline race we showed in last month’s update with more realistic artwork that matches the rest of the game’s visual style, and I think you’ll be pleased with the results when it’s finished. Once that’s finished, we’ll be in touch with all of our race designer backers to get started on getting them into the game. Read More

March Update: Fleet Combat, Backer Reward Update, and Work Experience

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The past month has been jam-packed for the Predestination crew. We made a lot of progress with the fleet combat part of the game, designed our first reptilian race (The Sauros), and hosted work experience weeks for two students aiming for careers in the games industry. We also moved to a new house with more office space to work in and applied for some government funding to help your pledges stretch further.

Update notes for fleet combat:

  • Added projectile weapons such as mass drivers, with their own graphical effects.
  • Added dumb missiles that travel to the target hex and explode, or explode early if they enter a hex with another ship or object in it.
  • Implemented smart missile AI that locks onto a ship and follows it, avoiding obstacles.
  • Added interceptors. They use the smart missile AI and attack the target ship every turn until destroyed.
  • Implemented area-effect weapons (smartbombs, area missiles).
  • Implemented proximity mines and cloaked proximity mines.
  • Created some basic explosion effects with screen shake, and a timing system to synch explosion graphics and screen shake with sound effect volume.
  • Implemented a module system that lets us create interesting non-weapon ship technologies. Modules added so far include: Holographic Projector Matrix (creates decoy holographic ships), Afterburner (double movement for one round, then takes a round to recharge), Shield booster (consumes movement points to boost shield hitpoints), Cloaking device (ship is invisible until its next turn, but then takes a round to recharge).
  • Fleets can now engage each other in the galaxy view, which switches to the fleet battle screen.
  • Ships can now retreat from combat. They will wait for one full round without moving or attacking and then warp out.
  • Combat now detects the winner when one side’s ships are all destroyed or warp out.
  • Ships destroyed in combat are now removed from the galaxy view.

Read More

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

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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 colony system, what do you think?

In last week’s development update, I showed recent work on the planetary colonisation that made the exploration grid visible from orbit. This week I updated it so that you can even direct your exploration efforts from orbit and developed a new resource distribution algorithm, but I ran into a small problem: If you add in enough resources to keep exploration interesting, you’d end up with a ton of colonies to build on each world. To solve this problem, I decided to try out a new system inspired partly by Civilization. Read More

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

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

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