Dev Update: HD planets, New Ship Models, and Victory Sequences deployed. Spying, War AI and Singleplayer Storyline in progress

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In our previous dev update, we showed off the complete overhaul of our 3D ship designer, the Galactic Council that meets to vote on matters of galactic importance, and improvements to the sociology tech tree. We also discussed plans for our ambitious Art Patch (V0.9.5.0), which was to introduce HD planet textures, ship models for several races, a start sequence animation, and victory sequences for the various victory conditions in the game.

The Art Patch took a few weeks longer than expected as we decided to add narration voiceover to all of the victory and start sequences, and adding new races of ship models to the 3D ship designer turned out to be a bigger technical challenge than we thought, but this update is now live on Steam! Since then we’ve implemented all of the core mechanics for spying and have begun writing the storyline for the singleplayer campaign. The next milestone for the Predestination Alpha (patch V0.9.6.0) will include the UI for Spying, add all of the spy technologies proposed in the previous dev update, and a War AI system that will analyse enemy empires for weakness, declare war, and send ships to attack.

Read on for a full breakdown and progress report on of all of this and more.

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Dev Update: 3D Ship Designer Overhaul & Galactic Council now live, Spying and Art patch to come

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The Galactic Council update (Version 0.9.4.0) has now gone live on Steam Early Access, and it’s a big one. The core feature of the patch was the addition of the Galactic Council discussed in the previous dev update and an overhaul of the Sociology and diplomacy technologies. Using feedback from people testing the game recently at Q-Con, we decided to dedicate some time to completely overhaul the 3D ship designer’s mechanics and user interface in preparation for adding the ship parts and designs for the remaining races. This patch also laid a little bit of the ground work for Spying, made improvements to Trade Routes and Commanders, and fixed various reported bugs and crashes.

The Galactic Council and Spying are two features that we had originally intended to hold back for a possible free update or expansion after the main V1.0 release, but after careful consideration we decided to spend the extra development time to make them part of the main game. Competition in the 4X genre has become more intense with the release of several new games with triple-A funding, so it’s even more important for small indie games like ours to focus on making the gameplay as good and complete as it possibly can be.

In this dev update, I’ll discuss the 3D Ship Designer overhaul, the implementation of the Galactic Council, and changes to the Sociology technologies in the recently released V0.9.4.0 patch. I’ll then delve into the details of our plans for the upcoming Art Patch (V0.9.5.0) and tentative plans for the spying gameplay.

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Dev Update: Fleet XP, Rift Investigation, Galaxy Improvements, plans for Victory conditions

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In our previous dev update, we added the Revenant faction and talked about Temporal Rifts that can open throughout the game and spit out Revenant ships to attack. This month we activated that feature and expanded on it with a whole series of new Temporal Rift events and and an entirely new Rift Investigation mechanic that spawns the rift inside fleet combat. As part of this system, we’ve re-activated the salvage gameplay on the Fleet Combat Victory Screen and added ship crew XP to this screen. We’ve also made a number of improvements and optimisations to the Galaxy generation code and galaxy graphics, and fixed a ton of bugs and crashes.

As expected, we lost some dev time recently due to boring but necessary parts of running a business such as putting together our corporation tax return and documentation for the British Film Institute to get the game accredited as a British video game. We also took a weekend out to attend the 2016 global game jam, which was a ton of fun! Now that we’re through all that, we’re ramping things up and moving on to develop victory conditions, the Revenant Planet event, the Synergies tech tree, and start on tech era 4. This will take us considerably closer to the big version 1.0 release, so we hope you like it and continue to follow our development this month.

Read on for a full breakdown of what we’ve added since the last dev update, and a preview of the victory conditions and other features we’re currently working on:

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Dev Update: Race Stats, Ship Crew, Commanders, Tax Update & Bugfixes

devupdatenovbThis is going to be a colossal dev update, as we’ve been pushing out patches at a much faster pace since the release of the 3D ship designer. In this dev update, I’ll round up all the work that’s been deployed in the last month and a bit, from the deployment of Race Archetypes and Race Stats to the release of Ship Captains and Planet Leaders, and the most recent Tax system update. Then I’ll look briefly at the next steps for Predestination and what you can expect from future patches.

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Critical Update: Early Access is ready to be rolled out this week!

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As I mentioned recently in a quick progress update on the blog, the Early Access Alpha version of Predestination is now complete. We were stumped for some time by some unexpected bugs, such as the Galaxy AI not colonising planets, some AI races not leaving their home planets or building defenses, and a bug that let you ignore ships and starbases in orbit of a planet and bomb it anyway.

We’ve even had the planet suddenly taking off and chasing ships around the map in fleet combat and user interface elements flying off the screen! Suffice to say, squashing bugs has been priority number one in the studio: we know you are patiently waiting to get your hands on the game.

We’re happy to report that Predestination’s alpha build is now all fixed and ready to go! Read More

Quick update about the Early Access

progressupdateHey guys, I hope everyone had a great holiday and a happy new year! We’ve had a short break over the holiday period and are now back and hard at work getting the Early Access ready for the general public.

I just wanted to drop you all a quick message to apologise for the delay in getting the Early Access ready and to answer a few questions that people have asked us. This delay is my fault as I initially planned to push the Early Access out to beta backers before Christmas and work through the holiday period to get it ready for Steam, but in the end I wasn’t able to fix all the critical bugs before Christmas and ended up taking some days off for the holidays. As I’m the only programmer working on Predestination, the development schedule is very sensitive to any time I take off or any stubborn bugs that take longer than usual to fix.

Before we can release, we have to investigate a fix a few game-breaking bugs that will stop the game from being played properly. The Galaxy AI has mysteriously stopped colonising new planets, for example, and it’s not building combat ships to defend planets. There’s also a bug that lets you bomb an enemy planet while there are ships and starbases in orbit that should be able to defend, and some of the new UIs aren’t exactly working as intended. I’m now working my way through all of these problems and expect to have them resolved within the next few days. Then we have a little extra work to actually get the game into the Steam back-end and ready to test, and we’ll be ready to rock! Read More

Predestination Early Access / Alpha is almost here

alphatitleHey everyone! I’m happy to report that the bulk of work on the Predestination Alpha release is now finished and it’s nearly ready for release! All that’s left to do is to finish up a few pieces of the user interface, add some new research items and tutorial popups, do some internal testing to catch obvious bugs and crashes, and then roll it out to our beta backers for a while to catch any bugs that slip through the net. Since Steam is busy with its Christmas sales all December, we’re going to aim to get all that completed and get the alpha polished and ready for public release for the end of the month.

I want you all to know that we aren’t wasting any time here. We’ve already started moving forward with Steam to deploy the game as an Early Access release, and we’re now applying to Desura’s Alpha Funding programme for a hopefully simultaneous release. We’re also putting together some PR and advertising for the alpha’s release and we have a writer working on race histories and short stories in the Predestination universe to update our website with. In addition, we’re putting together a full development roadmap with version numbers and feature milestones to help manage expectations and keep everyone in the loop for the rest of development. Read More

Development Update: October 2014 – Research overhaul, bombing, survey ships and more

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Last month I estimated there to be around 180 hours of programming tasks remaining for the Early Access release. Although that estimation proved to be a bit optimistic and other unforseen tasks popped up throughout October, we’ve made a lot of progress toward the Early Access version and are confident that it will be ready for deployment by the end of November.

In October, we completed and began testing on the Planet and Galaxy AIs, implemented a system for bombing planets, added a new survey ship mechanic for pre-scanning planets before colonisation, a Command Points system, and transport freighters. We’ve also added right-click radial menus to cities, infrastructure and buildings, revamped the shipyard screen, added the graphics for each race to the Race Select screen, filled out some of the dropdown menus that were missing in previous test versions, and overhauled the boring old research pane with shiny new graphics that we think you’ll love! Read More