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!
First contact now opens the diplomacy screen to show you the race you’ve met, and you can trade money and technologies with other races. If they picked a different path through the tech tree than you then you can get some of the techs you missed. You can form research treaties, trade pacts, military alliances and formal peace treaties with the other empires, which become more valuable over time so that your allies will stick with you as the game progresses.
We’ve added land animals and fish to Terran and Ocean planets (more like this to come!) and also added a whole new strategic resource system. A few deposits of the rare materials Helium-3, Neodymium-150 and Osmium-186 have been scattered throughout each galaxy to give global bonuses to ship speed, beam weapon damage and ship armour respectively. You may also stumble upon the fabled Coffee plant on a few worlds, increasing research across your empire by 5% per deposit harvested. Each nebula is guaranteed to have at least one strategic resource inside (with a few more hidden elsewhere in the galaxy), and you can either horde them for yourself or share them with the other races as part of a diplomatic deal.
The AI now understands diplomacy pretty well and will consider your offers and make counter-offers if they don’t like your deal, and we’ve built in a favour system so that races you’ve been generous to in the past will have a higher chance of accepting your offers. You can also now research the Diplomatic Advisor technology to unlock a panel of experts who will give you the odds of a deal being accepted before you push the button. Finally, we’ve implemented 15 different government types and given each race its own randomly selected leader character with a distinct personality and priorities, so you may find that dealing with a particular race is a little different from game to game.
These two patches were released in very quick succession following our trip to Gamescom 2015, and you can expect that trend to continue. We’ve planned out the rest of the game’s development right up to the full version 1.0 release, and have broken it down into weekly sprints. What that means for you is that we’ll be releasing a new patch with some new gameplay or feature almost every single week from now on. The next patch is due this Friday and is named General Feature Patch #1 (more details below), and it will be followed up on September 18th by the integrated 3D Ship Designer patch with completed parts for the Renegades faction!
Our new development schedule has us working on new features from Monday to Friday, pushing the new patch live on Friday, and hunting bugs reported in the previous build on Saturday. Your crash reports are delivered directly to my phone in realtime and I read every single one of them, and critical bugs are typically fixed as a matter of urgency in hotfixes over the weekend. As long as people keep testing the patches, we’ll have a large enough set of testers to find any new bugs and crashes each week. We may also release smaller patches throughout the week if there’s something that we want to deploy early for testing or if there’s some content to add such as the upcoming finished text messages for diplomacy.
This Friday’s update is General Feature Patch #1, a collection of smaller features that we have wanted to implement for some time.
- Wormholes: We’re going to add wormholes between certain systems on the game map at random. These will allow ships to instantly travel between the two connected systems even if the other side of the wormhole is outside sensor range. This feature will add a bit of randomness to the exploration process, but also serves an important function of connecting the space near distant empires together. Without wormholes, you may not meet distant empires for quite some time in a large map.
- Sensor Range Tweaks: Some time ago, we implemented the Observatory building with 50ly scan range and the Graviton Sensors with 75ly sensor range. This was intended to stop map deadlock, where the player gets stuck and unable to expand his empire. We’ve since modified the galaxy generation algorithm so that a 50ly scan range is more than sufficient to prevent deadlock and 75ly is overkill, but there were a few rare cases where the player was still blocked in. Since Wormholes fix this problem, we’re going to go back and look at those technologies and tweak them to keep sensor range as an important limiting factor in colonisation.
- Damaged Ship: As a few players have pointed out, your crashed ship is repaired when you hit the space age but it’s never actually removed from the home city. We’re going to change things up by making the damaged ship an infrastructure connected to the city by road instead of a building in the city. When it’s repaired, the infrastructure will be deleted.
- Planet/System Specials: We added the first real Planet Specials with the strategic resource system, but there’s a lot more interesting stuff out there to find! We’re going to add a number of special planets to the game map, from the crumbling ruins of an ancient civilization or a planet with several crashed ships to systems with salvageable debris in orbit or planets with Gold deposits.
- Random Events: Right now each playthrough is quite similar, with the main differences being what planets you find and your strategy in colonising them. We’re going to liven things up a bit with some random events like crop blight, criminal activity, disease outbreaks, and nuclear meltdowns. Some of these events will only happen if you meet certain conditions, such as the nuclear meltdown obviously requiring a nuclear power plant. Each event will have three options for how to deal with it, such as spending money to clean up a disaster, sacrificing population, or just ignoring the problem. We plan to add some more positive random events in the future, but for the first iteration we’re adding mostly disasters.
- 2D Maps: When creating the game, you will be able to select to play on our normal 3D map or a classic 2D map. This is a highly requested feature that we’ve held off on implementing until wormholes were added, as wormholes fix a number of rare deadlock cases that came up in testing.
- Race Stats: At the moment, all the races are actually identical and humanoid, starting out on Terran planets and with no bonuses to anything in particular. With the first iteration of Race Stats, we’ll add some stats to each race and implement differentiation based on Race Archetype. Aquatic races will start on Ocean planets with fish in them, Reptillians will start on Desert planets, Robotic races will start on Ice worlds, and Humanoids will remain as they are now. We’ll also add some information on the race’s stats to the Race selection screen.
There’s a huge amount of work going into Predestination this week in General Feature Patch #1, so we’re going to get back to work! Thanks once again to everyone for your patience as we develop Predestination and for your ongoing support. As usual, if anyone reading this has pre-ordered the game or backed us at a pre-order tier or higher on Kickstarter and would like to get a Steam key for the Early Access alpha, please mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send one over. For any other questions, please mail email@example.com and we’ll help in any way we can.
— Brendan, Lead Developer