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

aprildevupdate

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

marchdev

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.

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Predestination Race Reveal: The Sauros

Sauros race reveal

The Sauros are Predestination’s first reptilian race! The race is composed of three distinct sub-species:

  • The purple Monitor Sauros: The shamanistic ruling caste and diplomatic contacts for the empire. They are native to the desert regions of their home world and are worshiped as if they were gods.
  • The white Albino Sauros: A rare breed possessing an immense intellect. They are native to desert regions and are responsible for all scientific discovery in the empire.
  • The green Jungle Sauros: Have been selectively bred to be the perfect labourers and ground combatants. They are native to the jungles of their home world and make up the majority of the Saurosian population.

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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 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

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

A brand new planet colonisation system!

This week we did a major design iteration on the planet colonisation system. In the previous design, the planet was split into a huge square grid and you could send scouts anywhere to find resources. Extractors were built on the resources and they were piped to the planet’s main colony for use, so if you found a mineral deposit you’d build a mining station on it and the colony would then have +1 minerals/turn for use in factories.

After some testing, I found that it felt like I wasn’t really colonising the planet; I was just exploring it because I had to get it out of the way, and that’s not fun. Since I could see the terrain and knew where resources would spawn, I tended to go straight for those areas and there wasn’t much left to find in the entire planet. There were also unanticipated problems with designing a reusable colony blueprint: How do you know how many fossil fuel power plants or factories to build if each planet has a different number of resources? And what happens if the blueprint finishes building all your factories but you haven’t found the minerals to supply them yet? This week’s design iteration solved all of the above problems. Read More