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Sundays with Steve: A weekly Dev Update

Discussion in 'Developer's Corner' started by Texashawk, May 4, 2015.

  1. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
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    Hey everyone! This is Steve, with the first episode of 'Sundays with Steve'. Since I always have Sundays off, I will try to update at least once a week, and probably more. Here's the first installment of what we have been working on!

    This last month has been mainly me learning Unity and C#. The C# hasn't been bad at all (you learn one .NET language, you learn 'em all more or less) and I have to say that after an initial 'WTF' feeling about how Unity's workflow works, I have gotten not only used to it, but I have to say that I'm in love with it! Prototyping what I have been sending internally to Pavlos and Travis has been much easier, and making changes is really quick and easy. I can't say enough times how I wish I'd started with Unity. It's really a great, powerful, and flexible way to build games, and though I can't say that it was designed expressly for a TBS game, it's quite adaptable. I don't regret my decision one bit at this point, and am so excited!

    Anyway, while I've been thrashing with Unity, Pavlos has been working on a comprehensive reboot of the planet and star systems. We're going to be changing the economic system slightly, and to do that we needed to make planets more 'real', as well as their star systems. This will impact not only the economy, but things like rare materials and even how war is fought in certain systems! But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

    So Pavlos has essentially rebooted the stellar generation system to be much more realistic. Stars are now generated with up to 17 different spectral classes, from OB to WR (Wolf-Rayet). There are now binary and trinary systems that can effect how planets are generated, and what kinds. The size, age, metallicity, and planetary material (p-material) that systems generated when they are 'born' determine what planets are created, and where. Specials also play a part. For example, a Red Giant (RG) is a huge, old star, that has burned long and hot and is about to coalesce into a dwarf star (or worse). Since it is so huge, it is possible that spots 1 and 2 closest to the star will have been swallowed up! Spot 3 might have an irradiated, barren, or lava planet, and the farther away from the star you get the more ice and jovian-type planets are likely. There are probability tables that are actually editable as text documents so that testers can tweak the values as we play with the generation system.

    As cool as that is, the planet system is even more detailed! Planets now have 16 different types (Imperia XNA had 6) and they have the following values:

    Size (0-100) - Determines habitability area. In Imperia Unity, it will be possible to have multiple civilizations of different empires living on the same planet! Each 'point' of size represents an area of the planet that is unoccupied, occupied, or in contention. This not only makes the concept of 'total development level' easier to understand, but it will allow for ground warfare to be visualized and you will be able to see and track what territory you take. Terraforming will increase the probability that any given point that is not available will be habitable and available.

    Bio Rating (0-100) - Similar to Imperia XNA.

    Industrial Modifier % - This is sort of a catch-all modifier that incorporates how easy or difficult it is to sustain industrial operations on a planet. A high modifier will give bonuses to production and mining, while a low modifier will adversely affect it.

    Rings - If a planet has rings, they will be more likely to have valuable materials in them. Also good for tourism. Yes, tourism. :)

    Moons - Affects the bio rating positively if there are moons (no tidal lock) and also is a source of additional materials.

    Alpha Materials (0-100) - A new concept in Imperia Unity, Alpha Materials are the fundamental materials needed to build everything in the game. These are equivalent to the original materials in Imperia XNA.

    Heavy Materials (0-100) - Used for weapons, armor, research projects, and some buildings, Heavy Materials are a different sort of material, and somewhat more rare.

    Rare Materials (0-100) - Used mainly for starships and science buildings, and some special projects. Rare Materials are, well, very rare.

    Energy (0-100) Energy is another new concept in Imperia Unity. Energy represents a synthetic index of all the energy sources that might be present on a planet, incluing photonic, fission, fusion, and clean fusion. It is generated by a base of the kind of planet, but is modified by industry, production, and special buildings. It won't be something you micromanage, but it will be something that you will need to keep an eye on, particularly for planets that you want to dedicate to a war or heavy production footing - it will be possible to transfer energy between planets in a system, but not between systems!

    Planets will also have different specials, in order to further differentiate them. Currently we have 25 different special traits, and are working on more. Terraforming or developing a planet can either generate a new trait or 'wipe out' an existing one.

    Currently, we are on build .0007. While that seems tiny, we already have a working galaxy UI and a system view, and a fully-generated quadrant with all stars, planets, etc. You will see a lot more progress updates soon. Testers, be ready to start getting some builds as we continue to refine the stellar generation engine parameters. Our goal is to have the most realistic stellar universe in any 4X type game ever(except for perhaps Aurora). We hope that you guys will appreciate the time being taken to get the fundamentals right and tight, and we're making some great progress! I hope to have some additional screenshots up soon once we have some clarity on the UI design. That will actually be the topic of our next 'Sundays with Steve'... until then... Ad Astra!

    -Steve
     
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  2. bmorris2

    bmorris2 Alpha Tester
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    I guess my first question is with the new move towards realism, how likely is it we will find planets to settle? Or are you making the randomness a bit skewed so we have an increased chance of finding more habitable planets.

    Also, can we mine moons to nothingness? What about mining asteroids (are they in there)? Just made me think of the Mutineer's Moon book (and series) by David Weber. They are rebuilding their empire and do things like consume moons for the materials they contain and the like and build giant devices to make sure little things like tide's aren't too effected.
     
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  3. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Hello Bmorris,

    Good question :) Unfortunately nobody actually knows how many planets may fit in the habitable zone -today. The science is evolving almost weekly, for we have all those amazing new means of finding exoplanets. We lately found out that our solar system is not really the yardstick it could be about planets types, orbits and such. We have it seems a serious deficiency in massive earths or small Neptunes ('ice giants'). How would the numerous massive earths be habitable ? We don't know yet how their atmosphere fare (will it be too thick and evolve towards greenhouse, would it have high albedo so that it turns into a frozen hell like Titan etc...), what kind of tectonics they would develop (would the crust be thin enough so that tectonics like Earth's would initiate, lubricated by water, or would it be hot-spots like Venus') etc... Even the composition of the upper crust of the planet would influence the type of atmosphere (presence of aluminium, silicates blablabla). It is all terribly complex -fetch me aspirins - YES the whole tube !

    So the thing is that we don't know at the moment what could be habitable or not.

    But of course, Steve and I have a solution. We will take bets.

    We would like the universe to be really nice, hospitable, with a surprising amount of planets we could live on. Mind you, some will be terribly bleak, or hard on their people. But people live in Greenland, Iceland, the Gobi desert, even Ohio and Utah. So there is no real limit to the human endurance :) It will just be... hard. But there are ways to terraform almost everything, if you throw enough money.

    Mining asteroids is definitely there, and the moons give you a 'materials' bonus to the 'mother' planet.

    I like Weber's books, but never heard about this one. Reminds me a bit of "anvil of Stars" of Greg Bear. I don't know yet (Steve probably knows) how mega-technology will be included in the game. I mean, if you can mine a moon to oblivion, you are advanced enough to toy with the fabrics of space and time. Then what happens when you can build suns of dark matter, go back in time, adjust the properties of the nuclear forces ? How far are you from subliming your specie into another dimension ? I was always a bit uncomfortable about late 4X games sporting incredible technologies and still relying on grunts to occupy the planets or blokes to grow crops while a machine creates wormholes by the dozen...

    P.
     
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  4. bmorris2

    bmorris2 Alpha Tester
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    Hi P.:
    That is kind of what I thought. I do tend to get worried when people talk about making it realistic because we have so little information to base it on and the information we have is not very reliable. We are taking both casual and scientific observation and applying what we currently know and trying to figure it out. We would need several hundred more years to make a reliable estimation because in the grand scheme of things, we have a very small sample size to work with.

    With regards to mining a moon to oblivion, we could theoretically do that right now. We have the tools since the moon is essentially a big rock and none of the moon's core materials are nothing we don't already have here on earth. Of course, it would wreck havoc with things like lagrange points and tides, but hey. We could do it. Especially if we were to have industry in space (which I would think would be feasible). I think it's a rather large leap to go from mining the moon to nothing and toying with the fabrics of space and time. I mean, if you look at the history for the game, mankind is already tinkering (without really understanding mind you) the fabric of space and time.

    Best Regards,
    B.
     
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  5. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Hey B.

    'Realism' in my books is more about gathering the variety of real life and translating it into interesting choices than sticking to facts. Sure, I am overjoyed when I have to look up for precise data on the net. I have spent countless hours looking details about weapons or planets -but what matters I think is how it translates into gaming pleasure.

    Sure, I could make spaceships that would look like giant toothpaste tubes or cones, they would be most realistic. But hey, would that be fun ?

    Realism in Imperia's universe creation is about variety and coherence, two of the things I think are essential to any game. Instead of generic planets you soon just identify with asset holders, we intend to make a plausible and rich world that lives -if you have a vast palette of planets you can have many varied planetary events, for instance. A partial list I have in a document counts already 95 such planetary events, and the list is not done with. Events range from "ionizing particle storms" to "ethnic clashes", or "sovereigntists putsches".

    Planets also feature unique description tidbits (i.e 'places worth of interest'), displayed in their detailed astrographic window. There are already 180 of those, and they are dependent on their planet type. When the planet's population is large, a unique cultural 'thing worth of notice' emerges -there are 92 of those in another list. For instance:
    "Few things in the known universe rival the bewildering underworld gates of black obsidian" of planet 'Hope'.
    Once this planet develops a culture, other tags will be added, and 'Hope' could also feature "harsh matriarchal family structures", "decorporate communities and their virtual villages","age-differentiated languages","decommissioned giant thinking machines" or an "inextricable judicial system".

    Those last few things are merely cosmetic, but they are coherent and add to the richness of the living universe.

    In Imperia, it is not boredom that will kill you, but probably a well concealed assassin from a trusted viceroy.

    P.
     
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  6. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
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    B,

    The thing I want to be the cornerstone about Imperia's design is that everything should matter. Planets, systems, provinces, ships, people, everything should matter and decisions should have to be made on that basis. Decisions on what you can and can't do in a month should matter (hence the admin/focus system). Every turn should be about choice, and every planet and person should have an impact on that. That's why the game deliberately has a time frame, and a limited number of planets. I remember a game called Lost Empires, where they bragged about having 10,000 stars in a galaxy. That's great, but are you really going to care about your 500 planets the same way you are going to care about your 9? That's why I think Crusader Kings is so successful: everything in your realm matters and you have to be on top of it. Imperia is never going to be about conquering the known galaxy - that's why there are only 50-100 stars! It's about uniting the human race to stop a mortal threat, building your power base, surviving the process, and expanding your empire.

    Steve
     
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  7. ptrayal

    ptrayal Viceroy-in-Training

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    Ok, this is B (problems with the alpha tester group apparently):
    I agree completely that everything should matter. My greatest fear for any game is feature bloat. I want everything in the game to mean something. That also doesn't mean everything should be in the game though either. I also don't want to manage 500 planets unless you have a heck of an AI so I can pass it off to them.

    And what Steve said about uniting the human race to stop a mortal threat, building your power base, surviving the process, and expanding your empire is important to me. It makes me ask important questions like:
    1. Can I use a propaganda machine to generate more admin/focus? Why or why not?
    2. Can I galvanize people with the mortal threat that is coming to do more? Why or why not?
    3. Can I as Emperor do things like declare martial law?
    4. As Emperor, I imagine I'm the sole "power". Can I declare places like Terra my personal demesne (domain) and essentially make myself the Governor of it?
    5. So there is the Imperial army/fleet/whatever. What if I want to create one that is loyal to me. Obviously I have sneaky people who for whatever reason are in power and might want me out of the way.
    These are some of the things I'd think about if I was a new Emperor with a mortal threat, governors and what not who are probably not entirely loyal to me and I can't get rid of (yet), and not much I can do yet.

    OK, so back on topic. Do the ""Few things in the known universe rival the bewildering underworld gates of black obsidian" of planet 'Hope'." Do the underworld gates do anything? Do they help tourism? Are they mystical things which can improve my budding mental powers? It's great to have them, but they better do something otherwise they are just text taking space. Not that it don't sound neat, but it get's back to the everything should do something principle.
     
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  8. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Hullo again Bmorris,

    Well, something about underworld gates of black obsidian might be mentioned by an artifact sometime, some day. But not necessarily. It can be just a brushstroke in the largest impressionist canvas of the universe of Imperia. Those gates might not be much alright, but some other locations will contribute towards building a picture of your civilization.

    Plus who does not love Lovecraft, eh ? How easily can you imagine a spawn of Cthulhu coming out of there ? What if it did ?

    No I am kidding here. Don't say that you have to battle Cthulhu in the game. Please don't ;)

    P.

    PS: some of those locations giving a bonus in some area is a very good idea. I will talk to Steve about implementing it...
     
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  9. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
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    OK, I know it's a few weeks late, but I've been gone and you have no idea how expensive satellite internet is! (And if you do, you know why I haven't been around!) Anyway, I wanted to talk about Imperia game history and a little bit about the Xyl.

    To me, as I have said before, a good game, especially a 4X/Grand Strategy game, needs a rich background. Especially if it is set in an unfamiliar setting. A game like Civ, or Crusader Kings, or EU don't necessarily need complex backstories because you, the player, are essentially rewriting the familiar. A game that takes place in the future, however, needs that backstory (unless the point of the game is to discover through gameplay). To me, the best way to create lore is to make sure 3 concepts are intertwined and tight:

    1) A rich backstory
    2) Assets and game objects that match that backstory
    3) Lore dropped throughout the game in a non-invasive way (descriptions, quotes from characters, etc)

    These 3 elements, tightly woven together, can immerse a player in the story that the game is trying to tell, as opposed to an open sandbox where you have a planet, a flag, a color, and a scout ship and a colony ship and that's your backstory. Now, there is a place for this kind of gameplay - many players love being able to essentially 'roll their own' story, and that's a game design choice. Imperia will follow a model where you have significant game play options from the start, and you will be able to turn off story elements if desired (ala Distant Worlds). I strongly recommend playing with the story elements in, at least the first few times though, as it is critical to the 'feel' of the game.

    To go with point 2, it is critical to have writing, game assets, and artwork that all support the backstory and timeline. That way, when you happen upon a lost planet, you can go 'Oh yeah! That's what happened to 'x'.' The dynamic nature of galaxy creation means that you may never see 'x' as it won't be in the same place it was, but it will still be there, waiting to be discovered. It helps to have a very talented artist (Pavlos) that has helped me refine the lore with his artwork. I won't reignite the character art debate here, but the more lore there is behind a game, even down to how many buttons are on a nobles' shirt, the more rich the game world can be, and as Pavlos has said, you may never know certain details of Terran history, but I will, and that will help me create their new world.

    Now about the Xyl. To recap, the Xyl were originally created almost 20 (!) years ago in a game design I had created called Perihelion. It was essentially the first part of the Imperia history, but there was an element of humanity being sent to a different galaxy as part of a larger game by the Ancients, and the goal was to find 9 different artifacts throughout the quadrant that when brought together would defeat the Xyl (who were sent by the Ancients to find civilizations that had sufficiently advanced technology to be considered for this 'contest'. The game was against 5 other civilizations, and the winner became the next Ancient race, the losers were lost to the Xyl. Anyway, over time I refined the Xyl and they became the primary enemy in what became the second game of the Imperia Trilogy, called Star Requiem (more information here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/122248/star-requiem-humanitys-last-stand ) It was a single-player board game that I developed a few years ago. (If anyone is interested in playing it, let me know and I'll send you the files. It's free and a print to play game.)

    For Imperia, I originally did not have the Xyl as part of the game design. However, when revising human history and understanding why humanity was in the shape they were in, (and after reading the entire Safehold series by David Weber) I understood that in the end, it couldn't just be man vs himself - it had to be man vs nature, and in effect since human greed unleashed the Xyl on Earth, it brought the theme full circle, and provided a conclusion to the story of humanity.

    The great thing about the Xyl, as Pavlos has alluded to, is that I have provided few details about them. What are their motivations? Who is their leader? Do they have a leader? These are things that can be left vague, and instead of providing a 'Xenopedia' entry after you undertake a project (because now every time you play the game the sense of wonder is lost) you can be given some bits and pieces and each person can write their own story of the Xyl. Pavlos has some excellent concept art in his thread, and I think it is important to know what they look like (in the second game, you engage in ship-to-ship combat with the Xyl) and presumably you would find the alien bodies in the aftermath. Beyond that... we plan to leave it somewhat of a tabula rasa, for you the player to write!

    -Steve
     
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  10. dirkgently

    dirkgently Lord of Statistics
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    I think leaving them mysterious is a risky move - they might end up feeling poorly-fleshed-out. One of the really nice things SMAC did was give you a planet with mysterious, extremely alien aliens - that then reveal themselves to be much more than they first appear over the course of the game. Having said that, the aliens were much more a focus of that game than the Xyl are here - the focus of Imperia is human interaction, with the Xyl as an external challenge in order to give you something to interact about in the late game. It might be more interesting, though, to have the player learn to defeat the Xyl by learning about their nature, society and weaknesses, than to just slug it out and hope you've united enough of Mankind to beat them by attrition. Perhaps they've changed radically in response their catastrophic defeat - instead of being centrally controlled, as they were in the last war, they might be split into many separate 'colonies', which almost function like individuals, and you need to take advantage of the turmoil that has created to turn them against one another. They might have delegated some, but not all, individual functions to individual creatures, creating the overseer and underling roles Pavlos was talking about in the 'In Search of the Xyl' thread. This would mean individual Xyl, when isolated, obsessively fulfill their assigned task, showing little regard for appropriateness or context - so if you capture a Xyl 'librarian', it might quite happily tell you all about Xyl society and technology, if you can understand it. Or perhaps what was left of the Xyl after the last war was a strand that were kept unconnected to the general net as a contingency plan - in case what actually happened, happened. But, being individuals, they had differences of opinion, and now there are Xyl factions that are completely connection-less working alongside factions that are as connected as they ever were. Perhaps some of them even want to incorporate human bio-material and cultural elements into their own design, and by providing them with, ahem, 'material', the player could undermine the 'purist' Xyl.

    What would be ideal would be a version of the Xyl that allows the player to defeat them in several quite different ways. So you might win a straight-up fight, or exploit the differences between Xyl factions to divide and conquer, or attempt integration with a non-all-consuming faction - and, of course, your vassals and people will have a variety of strong opinions about what to do. There would be opportunities to build trust, or betray it to provide an advantage, and the factions you're dealing with may or may not do the same - it would vary from playthrough to playthrough. Additionally, perhaps the way the Xyl develop and produce their castes might inspire you - or your vassals - to do something similar with humans, providing military and other advantages, but endangering the stability of the Empire. The approach you take to alien-inspired human-modification might make an interesting late-game political challenge.

    Crucial to the feel of all this is that it grows out of an initial lack of understanding, where the Xyl are presented very simplistically as Generic Nemesis, perhaps with a sprinkling of Punishment For Humanity's Sins. All the early-game information you receive about them would have to paint them as the classic centrally-controlled, faceless alien menace, so that when they do turn up, their difference from the expected comes as a surprise. Or, if not as a surprise, as an interesting development that the player can imagine the human characters would be surprised at.
     
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  11. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Dirk,

    get out of my head !

    Indeed: the Xyl should NOT be a trojan-horse for the communist thread, like all aliens where in the fifties. Neither should they be a negation of life and its variety, a compulsive and obsessive unified faceless thread. It is just dumb: aliens have a culture, goals, and dissent too.

    All of those things the Xyl will NOT be. Their fight against humanity will also have impacted their culture, changed their customs, even perhaps affected their very way of thinking. These creatures have been chasing us for centuries -that's a long time-span. Why ? I do not myself believe in cultural finalism: that eventually we will all be a mass of drones with the same mindset -actually, fuck that, that's what we are being served in the 'one world, one market' package-, why should the aliens be ?

    Living in eusociety does not automatically mean the whole race is dumb except for the ruling caste. The key are organization and striving for the greater good. Rules and chemical markers may well guarantee the basic functioning of the hive, but individuals can very well think for themselves -and they should too. I believe that inhibiting critical thinking dooms a specie in a very short time-frame anyway. What would an intelligent hive look like ? Perhaps I would like to live in one of those, would you ?

    A race well evolved can obviously shape its culture as well as its body: we do not know how the Xyl where before we met them: perhaps their males where not parasitic a short while ago, perhaps it is a change that was engineered lately ? It's been centuries since we had the opportunity of sampling and analyzing them: how are they today ? Did we change them ? Did they change us ?

    What if the Xyl are not everything we have been told they are in the Imperial history neuro-books ?

    P.
     
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  12. dirkgently

    dirkgently Lord of Statistics
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    Dear Pavlos, I AM YOUR TYLER DURDEN. Ahem.

    I think it's important to keep plenty of the alien weirdness there. These creatures need to be more than just funny-shaped humans with a weird culture - in order to get the most memorable experience out of their complexity, development, etc, they need to be genuinely alien. That's why I think keeping the semi-intelligent underlings works. It's a lot freakier (and hence better :p) for the humans to find themselves working with the communist-trojan-horse aliens of myth than to just find out 'Oh, we're all the same underneath!' It also makes sense for that to appeal to the aristocrats of the Empire - who wouldn't want a perfectly loyal bodyguard, or workers who never complain? But more than that, the advocates of creating human-derived creatures the same way might argue, we need these super-soldiers to protect us from the alien threat - a threat that is genuinely, existentially threatening because it's so inhuman.

    The psychological inhumanity of the Xyl also makes the really shrill, apocalyptic voices sound kind of reasonable, bearing in mind these days we're all primed to jump to the 'we're all the same underneath, we must have peace' position. If you choose to work with some of the Xyl, you want to be thinking, 'Am I making a deal with the devil?' and if you choose to annihilate them, you want to be thinking, 'Am I committing genocide?' It only takes the slightest hint of sympathetic culture to create the latter impression. Basically what I'm saying is that playing up the contrasts makes the complexities and twists more startling, and makes it easier to portray both sides of the debates in the human camp as having a point.

    The same applies to their art - in order to create the journey from seeing them as Lovecraftian space horrors to something more nuanced but still kind of Lovecraftian, they need to look nightmarish. I would cite 'At the Mountains of Madness', but that actually leaves the Old Ones feeling too human - the comparison I'd rather make is between the Xyl and the Shoggoths.
     
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  13. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Shoggoths...

    well, I am right now off to my drawing pad and designing new Xyls with that in mind. Did you like the designs of aliens in 'Edge of Tomorrow' ?

    P.
     
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  14. dirkgently

    dirkgently Lord of Statistics
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    Yeah, those things were excellent! I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    The other thing I forgot to mention was that their name is worth considering. Where does it come from? It's unlikely to be a straight transliteration from their language, especially if they primarily communicate in alien machine code. In SMAC, the planet was called Chiron (unless that was its moon?) but was universally referred to simply as 'Planet', which made it feel more definitive - like 'what other planet would you be talking about?' So having the humans talk about 'the aliens' 'the unhumans' 'the Outsiders' or even something euphemistic like 'the... external threat' could potentially be more immersive than having them call them 'the Xyl'.
     
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  15. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
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    The name comes from the Terran Empire's internal code name: Xeno cYborg Lifeform. :-D

    -Steve
     
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  16. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
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    6.7.15
    Update - Sundays with Steve

    So these should get more regular since I am not going anywhere for the forseeable Sunday future, so expect these at least once a week, if not more.

    So what are we focusing on this week? As you can see by the alphas that have been dropped, we are working on the UI and 'how easy is it to get around/get data?' We got hammered on this, especially early (well, I say we but the UI pre-Pavlos was godawful, he did what he could with what we had) So with a new 3D engine, and a chance to get things right, we decided to not take the easy way and looked at the UI from the ground up. From the beginning, we wanted a seamless UI, where you could zoom in from galaxy to province to system to planet and out again with no 'break' in the zoom, similar I guess to Sins of a Solar Empire. The way we are doing it is somewhat novel; we are essentially creating a 3D world space using 2D objects and setting them on different planes and Z locations to give them depth. It creates a 2.5D effect that has 2 huge advantages, both of which I hope you've already seen:

    1) Not having to light 3D objects (or render them) drastically increases performance, and allows us a consistent 60 frames even when zooming in from a lot of systems.

    2) By not using textures, we can use high-res 2D sprites that are rendered as 3D flat objects, and prelighted, so that they have a lot more detail. Thus, when you zoom into a planet, we can use literally hundreds of different graphics for planets and they will all be unique, but still designed by hand. We think the planets are some of the nicest that have been ever used in a 4X-type game (have you actually seen the GCIII planets in the planet view? Yowsers!) and the fact that it gives us a performance boost helps as well.

    That said, since the planets do exist in world space, while the UI exists as a separate screen canvas, it is difficult to simply match them up when you are lining up UI elements. You have to do a world to screen conversion, which is not as easy as it sounds, which is why some 'off-brand' ratios are still having issues with certain UI elements lining up.

    We are working on an almost entirely new planet view, using much of Pavlos' ideas for the last mock of Imperia XNA but by using Unity's UI tools, we can have elements fade, move, slide, turn, and generally look badass provided they are planned for ahead of time. We realize that the planet view of Imperia XNA was quite intimidating, so the focus - like our focus for the entire UI - is to only have as much information at any one time as you absolutely need for what you are trying to do. It is harder than it looks, but we're playing with having the critical planet info surrounding the planet image, with the bottom panel serving as a button filter for what you want to see at any one time (a mode of information). For example, if you choose Economic, not only will you see Economic info (as in XNA, the panel will change) but the center of the planet image will show the 'tile map' of things that affect production and trade. Consequently, other information will disappear, except for the base info (name, size, bio level, development level, designation, popular support, and type of planet) Everything else, including stats, pops, and unrest, will only show when a mode calls for it. The seven 'core info' above will always be relevant regardless of what mode you are in, and have been deemed 'always on' critical. Of course, feel free to express your own opinions!

    We hope to have a rough build of the planet UI in the next week or two. Pavlos and I have been discussing how to incorporate his 'vibe' for the UI theme into this model, and I think we have made good progress. In the meantime, we will start work on the economic system as laid out previously, and creating the tile data model. Should be a busy few weeks!

    As always, your input is not only appreciated, but taken and sometimes used. Please continue to use your voices so that we can make this the best 4X grand strategy 5X ever made!

    I appreciate this community so much and its voices and ideas. Don't ever forget that. Thank you all.

    -Steve
     
    #16

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