Dev Update: Spying, War AI, Advanced Weapons, Planet Tweaks and more deployed. Singleplayer missions & UI update next!

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For the past few months we’ve been working on some big features and AI upgrades for Predestination, which have now been deployed as Update V0.9.6.0. This update includes the Spying gameplay and its associated technologies, advanced new weapons designed by some of our Kickstarter backers, planetary resource distribution improvements, and a brand new War AI system that intelligently selects targets and wages war against enemy nations. Also included in this update is a revised version of the morale, security and health systems, robotic race improvements, Galaxy AI improvements, and a huge number of bug-fixes and other changes.

This update paves the way for us to start work on the final major features for the game before we are feature-complete: The first episodic storyline mission, mission-modding capabilities, and the unfinished Fleets and Planets dropdown menus. We’re working hard on getting these features complete as quickly as possible and will be deploying them as V0.9.7.0, and after that all we should have left before we’re at the main version 1.0 release is content such as additional races of ship models, more random events and disasters, some new technologies, Kickstarter backer content, and UI improvements. At the same time, we can focus on polishing and iterating based on your feedback and get ready for the main launch and to get started on free post-release updates.

In this dev update, I’ll go into detail on everything in version 0.9.6.0 and talk a little about what’s coming in 0.9.7.0.

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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: Galactic Council, Revenant Homeworld, Victory Conditions, Optimisations, and more

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In the previous dev update, we delved into the details of a massive technology tree revamp that was in the works for Predestination, including dozens of new ship modules and weapons and the Improvements/Synergies tech tree. We fully tested and deployed the tech tree update last month, and we released five follow-up patches thoughout the month of May to correct new bugs and crashes caused by the update. I’d like to give a huge thanks to everyone sending in bug reports on the Steam Early Access forum and those of you submitting crash reports, it really helped us get on top of this.

This month we’ve been working hard on some really exciting features! We’ve developed the key storyline event that causes the Revenant Homeworld to decloak at a certain point during the game, tempting players to plunder it for technology at the risk of waking up the Revenants. If the Revenants awake, they periodically launch fleets out to annihilate populated worlds. We’ve completed the Galactic Domination, Scientific Victory and Destroy Revenants victory conditions, and have made several big improvements to be released in V0.9.3.0.

Those who like to play a diplomatic game will be excited to hear that we’re going to add a UN-style Galactic Council that meets to vote on important issues and that this will tie into a deep Diplomatic victory condition. And everyone will be happy to know that V0.9.3.0 will add some major optimisations on the game. We’ve managed to reduce RAM usage by over 35%, cut map generation and planet generation times by up to 50%, eliminate over 60% of the startup initialisation time, and reduced End Turn delays by up to 90%!

Read on for a full detailed breakdown of everything that we’re currently working on and everything that’s coming in V0.9.3.0 (estimated release in about 1 week).

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Dev Update: Diplomacy released, new release schedule, and General Feature Patch #1

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It’s been an exciting month for Predestination, with Gamescom behind us and a lot of progress made on the game. Diplomacy Patches #1 (Patch Notes) and #2 (Patch Notes) have now been released, adding the core diplomacy features and a new Strategic Resource system to the game. We’re now going to take a break from Diplomacy to work on some more essential features like wormholes, planet specials, random events, race stats, and the 2D map option. These will all come asd part of this week’s General Feature Patch #1, which we hope to deploy on Friday September 4th. In this update, I’ll summarise the diplomacy updates we’ve added to the game this month, detail everything in General Feature Patch  #1, and talk about our new weekly development and release schedule!

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Dev Update: The full plan for Diplomacy in Predestination

diplotitleimageSince our last dev update, we’ve released the Trade Routes and System UI overhaul we discussed in our last update and have fixed a truckload of crashes and bugs in other areas of the game. Anyone who’s been getting an OutOfMemoryException crash on saving the game will be happy to know that we’ve managed to solve this problem and tested it with a fully explored galaxy. The next patch will also add the highly requested sound and music volume sliders in the options panel, and we’ve added new graphical effects and race music to the New Game screen to add some much needed immersion.

The main focus of the next patch is on Diplomacy, so I wanted to take some time out to talk about our plans. Diplomacy is a huge part of any 4X game, and one that is often overlooked in favour of combat and economic mechanics, but we want it to be an important part of Predestination. Ideally, a clever player should be able to play a fully diplomatic game without ever being forced into war and combat if they don’t want to. We recently reached out to you for your feedback and ideas on Diplomacy, and in this article I’ll delve into our final design, which has been broken down into four smaller patches. Note that we may take a break between patch 2 and 3 or between patch 3 and 4 to work on other major gameplay systems.

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Development Update: May 2014 – Augmented planet gameplay, Beta feedback, and Diplomacy

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The first iteration of the Galaxy beta has now been in backers’ hands for just over a month, and we’ve been working hard on fixing bugs and addressing the gameplay issues it raised. Your bug reports have helped us track down and fix several major crashes and game-breaking bugs, and your feedback is helping to direct Predestination’s development. Feedback from the Galaxy beta indicates that the planetary gameplay needs more work, performance needs to be improved on low-end systems, and areas like the research system could use a little more work, so that’s exactly what we’re doing.

As we’re now well into June, there have been a few requests for an updated release schedule. We’re quickly learning that game development isn’t an exact science, that not everything goes to plan and that most games go through delays and feature cutbacks as they approach completion. Our number one commitment has always been to make Predestination the best 4X game we possibly can with the limited resources available to us, and to iterate on the core gameplay until it feels right. That means we’re never able to fully guarantee a release date or a schedule for future stages of testing, but the tradeoff is that we definitely won’t push the game out the door in an unfinished or unplayable state.

What we can promise is that we’ll continue releasing our monthly development updates to keep you up to date on how the game is progressing, and that we’ll listen to your feedback and ideas at every step of the way. In this month’s development update, I’ll run down all of the major changes being made in response to your feedback on the Galaxy Beta. These changes will be released later this month as part of Galaxy Beta V2.0, and we’re keen to hear your thoughts on the changes now. We’ve started a poll and discussion thread over on the Predestination forums and would love to hear your thoughts on the information below: Read More