Author Topic: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.  (Read 15320 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2014, 03:52:28 PM »
Thank you! :)
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Offline Huw

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2014, 05:18:01 PM »
Day one purchase, obviously!  Will you support Linux from day one?
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Offline DrFranknfurter

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2014, 06:18:37 PM »
Just want to wish you all the best. I'm very happy to see all those questions ended up being useful. (You do move quickly) Good luck and happy Halloween. I'm looking forward to any more teasers and insights as your designs become reality. (especially on planet mood, unique mechanics and anything else you're wrangling over). Thanks again for answering so many questions.

Offline Breach

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2014, 08:21:03 PM »
This looks fantastic, I love the bit about planet mood which looks really interesting from a macro point of view. And of course another unique gameplay style from Arcen, can't wait to hear more about it. Great work so far, best of luck for the future, I'll be keeping an eye on it as always.

Offline Histidine

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2014, 12:11:46 AM »
There are 6 races that are not-ever-human-playable out of those 14. Those are the Acutians, the Andors, the Thoraxians, the Spire, the Neinzul, and the Yali.
NNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

...ahem.

Right, definitely looking forward to this. Love the title image, by the way  :D

Offline Aklyon

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2014, 09:19:58 PM »
There are 6 races that are not-ever-human-playable out of those 14. Those are the Acutians, the Andors, the Thoraxians, the Spire, the Neinzul, and the Yali.
NNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

...ahem.

Right, definitely looking forward to this. Love the title image, by the way  :D
Sadness about the Spire seems to be becoming a theme here, hen its not people asking questions.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2014, 10:26:58 AM »
There are 6 races that are not-ever-human-playable out of those 14. Those are the Acutians, the Andors, the Thoraxians, the Spire, the Neinzul, and the Yali.
NNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

...ahem.

Right, definitely looking forward to this. Love the title image, by the way  :D
Sadness about the Spire seems to be becoming a theme here, hen its not people asking questions.

Expansion idea!  :D

Offline ElOhTeeBee

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2014, 10:33:52 AM »
Question from a friend - can you clarify which races will and will not be playable? Specifically, can you play as the Thoraxians?

There are 6 races that are not-ever-human-playable out of those 14. Those are the Acutians, the Andors, the Thoraxians, the Spire, the Neinzul, and the Yali. All of these races work entirely differently from all the human-playable races. Each of these races has something like 5-6 unique buildings for themselves, and they use their entirely own economic mechanics, AI, and everything. They aren't playing the same game as you at all.

The Thoraxians were a race that I wanted to have a really cool and unique way of interacting with the world, and giving that to the players would mean essentially (at least) two separate games to balance.  You never know in an expansion or something, if this is popular.  But for now they are probably Enemy Number One most of the time.

So, by extension, the Burlusts, the Peltians, the Skylaxians, the Boarines, the Evucks, the Zenith, the Fenyn, and the Krolin are the playable races. My friend is now sad, but I am not because playing as the Zenith sounds totally sweet. Looking forward to beta! (Or possibly just release, if the financial issues caused by my impending move aren't resolved quickly...)

Offline mrhanman

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2014, 05:58:27 PM »
I love hexes.  These are especially pretty hexes.  :o

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2014, 10:12:41 PM »
Arcen 4x, clearly day 1.


There is so much imagination in this game, plenty of room for your players to fantasize in. And, this being an Arcen title, I'm sure we are going to get challenge and your best attempt at eliminating what makes 4x so difficult to enjoy sometimes. I don't know how you plan on balancing this, but creating "infinite possibility" in a world that people don't want the ability to exploit a win is challenging. Diplomacy is probably the easiest to fail at, but what Keith said makes sense.


When you get a little more code to page, and some early gameplay videos out, make sure to let us know so we can spread the word.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2014, 11:01:20 PM »
God, I don't give a shit what the rest of the game is like if you can pull off the diplomacy aspect.

Space Empires 3? had some really awesome options, but the AI never went for two thirds of them ("And why would I agree to a subjugation treaty?")

Offline x4000

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2014, 10:18:42 AM »
Day one purchase, obviously!  Will you support Linux from day one?

Thank you!  And of course, day one linux support is a given on our stuff now. :)

Just want to wish you all the best. I'm very happy to see all those questions ended up being useful. (You do move quickly) Good luck and happy Halloween. I'm looking forward to any more teasers and insights as your designs become reality. (especially on planet mood, unique mechanics and anything else you're wrangling over). Thanks again for answering so many questions.

My pleasure, and thank you so much for asking all the questions, too.  It really gave me a good kick in the butt that has been something that was needed from a marketing perspective.  I've been in this kind of "not ready to talk, not ready to talk..." mode, but talking about this and doing the larger post has gotten some positive attention from the press and around the internet that was a quite good thing.

Perhaps the most notable so far: http://www.pcgamesn.com/stars-beyond-reach/arcen-announce-stars-beyond-reach-a-bonkers-sounding-sci-fi-4x

Anyway, it's scary as heck for me to start the talking-publicly process when it's aimed at the wide web, but you helped me just talk in a more private setting first, and then decide to push that more wide once I realized the time was ripe.  So thanks!

This looks fantastic, I love the bit about planet mood which looks really interesting from a macro point of view. And of course another unique gameplay style from Arcen, can't wait to hear more about it. Great work so far, best of luck for the future, I'll be keeping an eye on it as always.

Thank you!  I'm excited about the planet mood stuff and the things that are related to that, too.  A lot of the story bits that you find out that tie into secrets about AI War and TLF are related to that mechanic, too.

Right, definitely looking forward to this. Love the title image, by the way  :D

Thanks!  It came out of this process: https://99designs.com/logo-design/contests/logo-design-stars-beyond-reach-upcoming-steam-strategy-429511

Sadness about the Spire seems to be becoming a theme here, hen its not people asking questions.

Definitely so.  Though come on, these guys are basically incredibly OP if you were to actually have them as a race.  And if they were just a "normal" race, then that would really be butchering the spire as a cool concept in the first place.  I have a feeling that if this game does well and gets an expansion, then probably one of the main features for the first expansion would have to be something related to playing as the spire.  That would probably be as different as playing invasion mode in TLF, though -- which is a good thing, in my book, but definitely expansion material if it's going to be done right.

In the meantime, for the base game I will definitely bear these feelings in mind and try to do the spire justice and give the players lots of ways to interact with them. :)

Expansion idea!  :D

Ah, whoops, you beat me to it!  Responding as I read, heh.  ;D

So, by extension, the Burlusts, the Peltians, the Skylaxians, the Boarines, the Evucks, the Zenith, the Fenyn, and the Krolin are the playable races. My friend is now sad, but I am not because playing as the Zenith sounds totally sweet.

Yep, those are the ones!  I'm particularly excited about the Krolin out of the new races, myself.  Though it's also really nice to return to the Zenith, who were my first really fleshed-out alien race I ever designed.

I love hexes.  These are especially pretty hexes.  :o

Thanks!  I'll pass that on to the artists. :)

Arcen 4x, clearly day 1.


There is so much imagination in this game, plenty of room for your players to fantasize in. And, this being an Arcen title, I'm sure we are going to get challenge and your best attempt at eliminating what makes 4x so difficult to enjoy sometimes.

Thank you!

I don't know how you plan on balancing this, but creating "infinite possibility" in a world that people don't want the ability to exploit a win is challenging. Diplomacy is probably the easiest to fail at, but what Keith said makes sense.

A lot of the solutions to this particular problem are inspired by AI War, SimCity, and what I've learned from TLF.  A big part of freedom is saying "okay, you are free, but your actions have consequences."  In America, sure you can open carry a weapon in most places, but if you do then that will affect how people around you interact with you, for instance.  There are lots of countries in which you can spout all manner of hate speech without getting thrown in jail, but there are social consequences that can also turn into financial consequences and so forth.  Any country in the world is technically free to pursue nuclear weapons, but those like Iran and North Korea find themselves under heavy economic sanctions and very isolated.  Countries are also free to rely on more powerful neighbors for most of their protection, or to stay stolidly neutral in most conflicts, but in doing so they become a bit more at the mercy of said neighbors.  And so on.

During the beta I expect there to be loads of "oh my, the player was so clever to think of that; now we need to code a proper response from the AI to when people pull that sort of move."  That's more or less when what the process was in AI War and TLF.  Every time players do something unexpected and report it to us, then we think about what a reasonable response would be, and code that sort of thing in.  It takes some time, but having a beta that is 3-4 months is something we feel that is important for that reason in particular.

When you get a little more code to page, and some early gameplay videos out, make sure to let us know so we can spread the word.

Oh you bet!

God, I don't give a shit what the rest of the game is like if you can pull off the diplomacy aspect.

Space Empires 3? had some really awesome options, but the AI never went for two thirds of them ("And why would I agree to a subjugation treaty?")

You know, I never played Space Empires 3.  If you care to share any of the things that you really loved (and/or hated) from there, that sort of thing is always welcome.  I'm not going to carbon copy anybody, but more information on how others have solved or attempted to solve problems, and how their results turned out, are always welcome.

One thing that bothers me about a lot of diplomacy in games is how single-issue it is, personally.  Real diplomacy is about all sorts of various complex issues. 

"Hey Belgium, you need to stop letting people come over from the UK and buying the same cars for a lower price there, it's hurting our dealers locally." 

"Hey China, we love that you provide us with cheap goods, but the level of toxicity in some of your materials is becoming a problem for some of us, and the intellectual property violations are becoming a big thing." 

"Hey US, it's not that we exactly liked the guys you went and attacked, but you feeling like you have the right to tackle things like that unilaterally makes us super nervous, if you know what we mean?"

I feel like the more discrete the options can be made, the more interesting diplomacy can become.  Coding the logic for something as broad as when to accept a subjugation treaty is incredibly complicated, because you never want them to agree in a circumstance where players would not.  And it's extraordinarily hard to calculate that sort of thing, because there are so many factors involved and you don't know which factors the players would be weighing the most in any given situation.  So you wind up putting yourself in a corner where no single algorithm is ever going to be good enough; it's always going to look stupid in some way.

But if you're negotiating on single issues more, then that becomes something where the number of variables are more bounded, and thus something that can be reasonably calculated.  And you can wind up creating an implicit subjugation empire simply by negotiating enough components that would constitute one.  Heck, the implicit one could even be made a formal one once enough of those criteria are met and one last negotiation is made, for that matter.  At that point, all those other complex deals have already been made, and the subjugation AI just has to say "have I made enough deals of category X?  Okay, then I'll agree under Y conditions."  The AI there can be extremely satisfactory, because it's not one behemoth piece of an algorithm, but rather a ton of smaller algorithms (all still individually quite complex) working together.

Well, shoot.  I think I just solved a lot of the diplomacy design questions I've been having.  I hadn't thought of any of this until just now, but in writing it out it suddenly became pretty clear.  And it fits really well with the overall empire management designs I already have going on.  In fact, frankly this diplomatic model would not work if the empire management side of things wasn't robust enough.  Neat!  :D
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2014, 11:35:10 AM »
Right, definitely looking forward to this. Love the title image, by the way  :D

Thanks!  It came out of this process: https://99designs.com/logo-design/contests/logo-design-stars-beyond-reach-upcoming-steam-strategy-429511

That is really cool.  The fact that that service exists makes me happy.
Some of the other designs are really well done, even if they aren't as good (for this game).

Offline x4000

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2014, 11:39:02 AM »
Oh yeah, I love that service.  We've used them before:

Exodus of the Machine: http://99designs.com/logo-design/contests/pro-indie-game-logo-exodus-machine-206605

Valley 2: http://99designs.com/logo-design/contests/prize-guaranteed-create-logo-valley-video-game-171656/entries

Skyward Collapse: http://99designs.com/logo-design/contests/logo-skyward-collapse-pc-game-207944/entries

The other logos for all our games were all done in-house by either myself, Phil Chabot, or Blue.
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Offline Huw

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Re: Announcing "Stars Beyond Reach," a new 4x coming in April/May 2015.
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2014, 01:56:50 PM »
And of course, day one linux support is a given on our stuff now. :)

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