Dev Update: Upgrade to MonoGame, Score Screen, Diplomacy Voice Recordings, Challenge Maps, Fleet Combat Overhaul, and more!

Recently we released the massive V0.9 update to Predestination, our second last major update before we hit V1.0 and officially enter our final beta phase, at which point we can start delivering all of the remaining content (singleplayer missions, kickstarter backer content etc) and heavily polishing the game up for full release. We’ve been busy working on V1.0 and on a few unannounced things since V0.9 went live, and in this Dev Update we’d like to share details of all of that with you along with an updated estimate on the impending release of V1.0.

The biggest change is that we’ve upgraded the Predestination engine from using parts of the old XNA 3.1 framework to using the newer MonoGame framework. This took considerable work but is now complete and will lead to performance improvements, 64-bit compatibility, memory problems solved, more scope for modders, and possibly even cross-platform support. We’ve also recorded voice lines to spice up the Diplomacy system, added a Score screen after each game to let you know how well you did, and we’re part way through developing the first Challenge Map. Also on the agenda for V1.0 are major improvements to fleet combat (both gameplay and graphics improvements), graphical improvements to weapons, new sound effects, notification improvements, building models, and AI improvements.

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Dev Update: Threats & Coercions, Star Claims, AI Memory, Spontaneous AI Offers, Spying Overhaul, Main Menu overhaul, and more!

We’ve just released the enormous V0.9.9.0 update, the last update before we hit the big V1.0 release and enter the iteration and refinement phase. This update includes a massive overhaul of the Diplomacy gameplay with an all-new favour system, new diplomatic advisors, several new technologies, the Threats and Coercions system, a new Star Claim feature, and significant improvements to the AI diplomacy algorithms. The Spying gameplay has been improved with a simpler deployment system (including Send Spy shortcut buttons), changes to the spy missions themselves, new technologies, and Spying being finally tied into the Diplomacy AI.

This update also completely revamps the main menu screen with new visuals and highly requested features such as a load game panel, finishes off the New Game screen with the ability to pick your race colour and crashed ship types, and completes the dropdown menu interface with the final Fleets menu to let you see all of your ships at a glance. We’ve also improved the galaxy generation algorithm, tweaked the Aquatic race balance, added our second-last set of building and infrastructure models, filled the remaining gaps in the diplomacy text, and more.

Read on for a full progress report on everything in the V0.9.9.0 update. This update is so big that we’ll be releasing information on what’s coming next in the big V1.0 release and beyond in a further update article soon!

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Dev Update: Singleplayer Mission Update is now live, User Interface and Content update in development!

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We’ve just released V0.9.7.0 and activated the first Singleplayer Mission in the Predestination storyline. You can play this mission after updating your game to 0.9.7.0 by pressing the Singleplayer Mission button on the main menu. In this dev update, we’ll be talking about the Singleplayer Mission system and getting an in-depth look at the mission editing and modding toolset that we’ve built as part of our mission framework. We’ll also discuss the significant improvements to the Robotic race gameplay in this patch, small UI improvements, the Morale/Health/Security V2.0 overhaul, and a slew of other gameplay improvements. Finally, we discuss plans for the next update, which will finish off the remaining dropdown menus, completely overhaul the main menu, add more content throughout the game, and make some much-needed UI improvements.

Read on for a full breakdown and progress report on everything in 0.9.7.0 and details of what’s to come in 0.9.8.0.

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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: 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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A quick update: The Galaxy Beta is almost ready

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We’ve been hard at work trying to get the Galaxy Beta into your hands, and you’ll be glad to know that it’s now less than a week away from completion. We had hoped to get the first iteration of this beta into your hands by the end of March, but have had some unexpected delays that have put us behind our initial projections. A computer failure has slowed work on the Galaxy Beta, and additional development time was also eaten up by preparing tax documents, putting together the final financial paperwork for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland grant, and continuing the process for getting listed on Steam.

The good news is that now that all that is complete and the Galaxy Beta is almost ready to deploy, we’re able to focus on releasing updates more regularly leading up to launch!  For this quick art update, we’d love to show you two of the diplomacy screen backgrounds in Predestination (the Kazzir and the Sauros), and two of our new promotional posters.

We’ve also put together a design pack for the race and level design backers from our first Kickstarter, which will wing its way to those backers alongside the Galaxy Beta update within the next week.

UPDATE: The galaxy beta is now ready and is undergoing some final in-house testing on various setups before we release it to backers. Your patience is very much appreciated. 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.

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Predestination Race Reveal: The Sauros

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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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