Dev Update: 3D Ship Designer update released!

devupdateseptI’m pleased to announce that we’ve just hit another major milestone with the first release of our awesome 3D ship designer tool. The tool has now been integrated into the game through the shipyard screen and allows players to design their own ships from the ground up using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Unlike most other ship designers that force the player to attach parts on specific join points or hardpoints, our designer lets you place ship parts literally anywhere on your ship for complete creative freedom. You can rotate parts around the X, Y and Z axis, change their sizes, make them invisible, and flip or mirror them on any axis. You can even copy and paste entire groups of parts if you want to duplicate something multiple times on a ship.

We’re extremely proud of the 3D ship designer and so excited to be able to finally start delivering it to backers. This release contains ship parts for the Renegades faction, which all races currently share. Our art director Steven Pollock is hard at work on the ship parts for the other races and we’ll be deploying those in future updates along with a slew of new researchable ship weapons and modules and other promised features such as player-designed space stations and custom ship decals.

We’ve started a thread on the forum to collect your feedback and suggestions explicitly for the 3D ship designer, and will be watching the crash reports and bug reports carefully this week in case the designer has unexpected bugs with certain graphics cards or systems. Check out the rest of this update for more information on the 3D ship designer and a video of it in action!

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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: Dev tracker thread

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The Predestination Early Access alpha has been released on Steam for about a week now, and we’ve finally caught up with all the requests for keys and fixed a lot of high-incidence bugs. There was a small problem with the key request form during a period of heavy load, so some of you who requested a key may have been missed.

If this has happened to you, I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience. Anyone who pre-ordered the game or pledged on Kickstarter and wants a steam key should email earlyaccessrequest@brainandnerd.com with the email address you used on Kickstarter or Paypal and we’ll aim to send you a key within 24 hours. Read More

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

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

Galaxy Beta V2.0: Planet Overhaul and Fleet Combat Iteration

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Galaxy Beta V 2.0 has now been through internal testing and all beta backers will be mailed shortly with installation instructions and a download link. This beta is a major milestone for Predestination and a big step forward toward release, containing both the latest version of the Fleet Combat gameplay and the final major gameplay iteration on Predestination’s planetary gameplay. We’ll try to put together a video soon showing how the game now plays for those who aren’t in the beta, and of course  the testers are free to make their own videos or streams of it since there’s no NDA on our betas.

In this post, I’ll look at what’s changed in this beta, and the next steps for Predestination. This beta stage consists of three main scenarios: Fleet Combat V 2.0, Planetary Colonisation V 2.0, and the latest version of the Galaxy map (which unlocks after you win the planet scenario). We’d appreciate any feedback you have on the beta scenarios, and we’re particularly interested in hearing how you like the revamped planetary gameplay. If you’re a tester and get a moment to check out the latest beta, please head over to the forum and let us know what you think because it really does help us a ton with development. Read More