Author Topic: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races  (Read 3406 times)

Offline x4000

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Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« on: December 05, 2013, 09:46:18 AM »
Original: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2013/12/black-and-white-portraits-of-four-alien.html

The Last Federation is a really unique game in that it is a strategy/tactics game set inside a simulation game.  Check out our first sneak preview about it, or our preview discussing simulations in the game.  Also our recent podcast with Space Game Junkie with lots of other details, the guide to aliens in the game, and the description of your role as an independent agent in the solar system.  Oh, and the forums for the game are filled with lots of other detailed tidbits, too.
Hey all, I've been wanting to write a blog post explaining some of the ways in which the "butterfly effect" shows up in the game, but I just haven't had the time yet.  I'll try to do that before too long, but I've just been too wrapped up in working on the game right now.

Work is also still proceeding really well on the visuals of the combat screen, but we're not quite to the point of being able to show you a final version of the full GUI.  Getting there, and I'm super excited about how excited about how it is turning out, so that will be something to show soon.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy seeing some more of the alien portraits that are now finished-aside-from-color.  As previously noted, there are 8 alien races, and each one is really unique both in feel and in how you deal with them politically (and how they deal with each other, etc).

When you go to visit a planet controlled by an alien race, you see a politics screen that lets you interact with them in a variety of ways.  Rather than just being a boring menu, we have this set up to show with a background showing a scene of the aliens you are negotiating with at the time.  It really helps to extend the sense of mood and place as you are interacting with them, which I'm really excited about.

Here's the four that are done so far:

Talking with one of the Acutian (industrial robotic race) business executives from a planet.

Talking with the parliament of the Andors (utopian robotic race) of a planet.

Talking with the Boarine (menacing loner ice-beast race) regent of a planet.

Talking with one of the Burlust warlords on a planet.  These guys are super warlike and scary.

About The Private Alpha
Folks on our forums have been really anxious for the private alpha, and I do have some news on that.  We won't be starting that in December as originally planned, but instead will start that right at the start of January, with a mid-February 1.0 release date.

Why the delay?  Well, we're still trying to get as much as possible both implemented and polished so that the first alpha experience isn't a wasted one in terms of telling us things we already know.  But also, with the holidays coming up, we don't want to start an alpha and then immediately go on a weeklong break and lose momentum with the alpha players.  Or worse, feel the pressure to be constantly trying to talk and work on the alpha over the break, ick.  Our wives/husbands/SOs would kill us!

This is unquestionably our biggest game ever in terms of depth and design of the game world.  Holy guacamole is it detailed in a way that really excites me.  It's still way easier to get into than AI War, though I'm not sure it's going to be any easier to actually win.  That's hard for us to gauge well since we are so familiar with the game, so it will be interesting to find out during the alpha.

Anyway, things are proceeding really well, and we're still super excited to share more info with you.  More will be coming soon, I promise!
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 10:03:23 AM »
These are looking *really* cool  :-\.
Well, back to my patience card then ;)...
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Offline Mick

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2013, 10:18:08 AM »
Looking forward to it!

Offline Rekka

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 10:34:34 AM »
Good portraits! :D Alpha in January is fine. Launching it just before Christmas is indeed not the best time to do so. :P

Offline windgen

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 12:10:54 PM »
I'm super excited about how excited about how it is turning out

If x4000 is so excited he's repeating himself, this game must be really good!

Offline x4000

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 12:16:44 PM »
Yeah, on a re-read I realized how many times I freaking used the word "excited."  Garr.

Ah well, this project just really has turned into something way larger in scope than I expected, not really in terms of implementation size but in terms of the size of what is going on, and I'm really pleased about that.  I've always wanted to make a simulation game, and here we've got a really neat one that is paired with a sort of strategy game that also interests me.  What's not to like? ;)
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Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 01:18:37 PM »
Whoa!!  The art looks way nice!! Glad to hear things are on track and that it is coming together so nicely.  :)
I'm really looking forward to seeing the release.
Take care and happy Christmas and Holidays!  I'll be around a bit, but rather busy this time of year, haha. Obvious huh?  Anyway, see everyone when we can.

-Teal


Offline madcow

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 01:27:31 PM »
I've decided I will help the Boarine rise to surpremcy based pretty much solely on their portrait.

Offline x4000

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 01:33:37 PM »
I've decided I will help the Boarine rise to surpremcy based pretty much solely on their portrait.

That's one way to do it (albeit difficult). Get them and some other race to form a federation, then engineer the other race's downfall so only the boarines remain in the federation, then kill everyone else. Super hard but could be done!
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Offline Apathetic

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2013, 06:03:45 PM »
That artwork looks nice, looking forward to playing the game.

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2013, 06:20:43 PM »
So far I like the Acutians the best, going to bring them to victory.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2013, 08:59:58 PM »
So far I like the Acutians the best, going to bring them to victory.

Given your chosen username, I am somehow not surprised. :)

They are actually one of my favorite races, too.  Though I think that the Thoraxians are actually my favorite overall, just because they are both so terrifying and so difficult to bring around to your side.  It's easy for them to wind up taking over too much of the solar system (too easy right now, but our next internal update is working on addressing race responses to that), but getting those bugs to ally with you and join the federation directly is a pretty steep challenge.  Almost any deals you do with them make them offended, so it's hard to build up much political influence with them.  Whereas someone like the Skylaxians are more balanced at least.

The Acutians I am still working on the political model for, but the general idea is that they are really very businesslike and self-interested in what will help their businesses the most.  That makes them interesting to deal with because depending on who you are bargaining with, their attitudes are very black-and-white circumstantial.  But you can knock one off and see if a new corporate leader that rises to replace him has interests more in line with you. ;)  Though that kind of pisses off the other corporate leaders you already know, so that has to be done with care.  It's an interesting semi-gambling mechanic that can be used in a variety of ways.  And of course if they wind up with multiple planets, then there are different corporate leaders on each planet, and more of them that you can thus go to in order to enact deals that are in your favor. 

So rather than knocking them off, you might just help them to knock off a few other planets and then deal with them then.  Saves you negotiating with whatever races they take over, anyway!  But letting them get out of hand is pretty risky because if they develop a Fear Empire or similar, then you're really in trouble and going to have trouble dealing with them at all.

It's cool because there's circumstantial risk all over the place, and the solution isn't really going to be a cut and dry thing.  Honestly I think that the best strategy will tend to be to assess the situation and help whoever is going to best help you further your goals.  Particularly if you are trying to get as many races as possible into the federation with their planets still under their control.  Figuring out the order in which to assimilate them in that particular game, and how to make sure you don't annoy anyone else irreparably as you do, is a central thing to advanced play.
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Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2013, 01:24:03 AM »
It is so interesting to hear you talk about how things can play out, or are influenced by the tactics, or approach, and all the different parts interacting in different ways.
i am really looking forward to seeing the game and giving it a try. It sounds very, very cool!  :)

-Teal
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 02:07:56 PM by Teal_Blue »

Offline Misery

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2013, 09:33:44 AM »
Wow, these are coming along nicely. 

That second one is very detailed and well done overall.  And that fourth one sounds like a recipe for possible hilarity in-game.  All them bones support this theory.


So, I gotta ask, what's your current schedule with this one looking like?

Offline x4000

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Re: Black And White Portraits Of Four Alien Races
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2013, 10:23:49 AM »
Right now:

1. I'm hoping to have all of the simulation design stuff wrapped up by mid-next week, and thus Keith having them coded by basically the end of next week.

2. Then there needs to be a TON of GUI work.  The battle GUI is coming along really well and is nearly done, but the rest of the game is a real mess.  Which is expected, because right now we've been focused on the simulation, and my design ideas for the GUI have been set aside (I have lots of notes) so that we could just say "get the GUI done as quick as possible so that we can see the sim."  The GUI is absolutely horrid at the moment, one of the worst I've ever seen. ;) 

But I have a lot of great plans for how the final GUI will be, and have been designing game mechanics with this GUI in mind, and making notes of future GUI plans as I go.  I feel confident in saying that this will be one of the better GUIs we've done by the time we're done with it, particularly based on the complexity of what is going on here.  A big focus of mine is to make it so that it feels more interactive and visual rather than just feeling like you're playing a bunch of boxy menus.  Blue is really doing an amazing job with the visual design of this sort of thing, too.

3. That, plus further playtesting, is really the big barrier to going to alpha (holidays aside).  It's hard for me to say exactly how long that stuff will take, particularly at this point.  My hope is that it will be in a good enough state for alpha testing to start right at the start of January, but if alpha needs to be pushed back to mid-January (at the VERY latest, not kidding), then that would also be acceptable.

4. We really do need to wrap up the 1.0 version of the game by mid-February, or we make it very hard to break even on the project (setting the bar too high, etc).  This looks imminently reasonable right now, because all of the key parts of the game are coming along so well, and because we've "set the stage" so to speak for the GUI to be able to be done really well.  It's just a matter of how long it takes us to do it.  Part of doing the prototypes of a game is to do the riskiest/hardest stuff first, and for this game that was mostly the battles and the simulation.  Those are coming along really well and are sufficiently complex while still being representable in a fashion that is digestible, so that's the lion's share of the stress off for me. :)

Perhaps the above is TMI, but I figure that people like hearing the behind-the-scenes stuff to some extent.
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