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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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: Tech tree revamp, Synergies & Improvements, Weapon Tier Balance

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In last month’s dev update, I discussed the new ship crew XP and salvage system, Temporal Rift investigations, diplomacy AI improvements, and details of a complete overhaul of the galaxy generation code and planet distributions. A lot has happened since that patch went live, and overall it’s definitely been a productive month. We had some disappointment when Predestination was unfortunately rejected by GOG.com, but we made great progress on the tech trees, iterated on several features based on feedback, and laid the ground work for victory conditions. We also had some internal discussions about the increased competition in the 4X genre and spent some time writing a report on Predestination for NI Screen (a company who gave us a small business loan last year). And there was some really happy news too as our Project Manager Tina Lauro and our Art Director Steven Pollock got married (to each other!).

Read on for a preview of the tech trees as they will be in the next major update and details of new weapons technologies in addition to changes to terraforming, shield facing, weapon mods, and more. We’ll also take a brief look at work on the start sequence and victory screen that will let us tell the story of Predestination.

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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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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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Dev Update: Trade Routes and the new System UI

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In the previous dev update, I showed the tax system, ground combat, and the fleet combat overhaul that we’ve added to the Predestination Alpha since its release on Steam Early Access. This month we’ve built the Trade Route feature that will really make your space empire come together on a galactic scale, improved the UI, fixed an enormous number of bugs and crashes, and we have been texturing our building models for inclusion in a later update. Check out the video below to see the Trade Route feature in operation, and read on for the full details of recent development progress on Predestination: Read More