Author Topic: Sneak Peek At 5 Leaders In Stars Beyond Reach (Plus A Couple Of Screenshots)  (Read 7070 times)

Offline x4000

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Original: http://arcengames.com/sneak-peek-at-5-leaders-in-stars-beyond-reach-plus-a-couple-of-screenshots/

STARS-BEYOND-REACH-cropped

New details for you, and some new art!

A bit more than a week ago, I announced Stars Beyond Reach, which you can read a lot more about at that link.  The very-short explanation is that this is Arcen's first true 4X title: think Civilization meets SimCity meets AI War meets New Stuff.

A much longer while back, I did a preview of the races that are going to be in the game.  There are 14 races overall, 8 of which are playable by you, and 6 of which are always AI-only.  The AI-only ones work completely differently from all other races, using their own unique set of buildings and their own rules for how they grow and expand and so on.  Adds quite a bit of variety.

One of the things that adds even more personality and variety to each game is that there are 3 potential leaders for each race.  Each leader has different bonuses (like leaders and civilizations do in Civilization or most RTS games), and different dispositions (that are still fitting into the larger general framework of their race as a whole).  Each one of those leaders gets their own portrait, so that you can tell them apart well.  Here are previews of a few of them:

preview_Andor1Boarine1One Andor leader and one Boarine leader.


preview_acutian1burlusts1and2One Acutian leader and partial views of two Burlust leaders.


I'm really happy about how those are progressing -- it's so much more fun and unique than just doing lots of human leaders, because with alien races like this, the races themselves start out with such distinct visual personalities.

With the Burlusts, you can see that the top guy is more of the scheming sort, and he has a slighter and more youthful build.  I actually scaled the bottom guy down a bit too much, but he's excessively burly and more your "traditional" Burlust warlord who rules by strength.  Suddenly I'm wishing I hadn't cut off his biceps so much in the preview picture, but oh well.

Distinct personalities to the races and the leaders are a big thing to me, and something that I know was a big complaint for a lot of people with Civilization: Beyond Earth.  I think we're definitely on track in the visual portion of what we're doing here, at least.

Hey, while I'm sharing art, here are a few partial screenshots of other things we've been up to:

partialscreenshotSBRThis Boarine city is just a test one, so it's not really organized in any sensible way.  But you can see some new buildings in it!


Each of the races also has multiple unique types of terrain that are specific to them.  In the past I've shown screenshots of kind of the "vanilla" world terrains that are native to the planet itself.  However, the competing races are terraforming as they go.  As you approach their cities, you first start seeing their very distinctive terrains.  We still have a lot of artwork left to complete in that department, but it's coming along really well, I think, and is another thing that really helps to bring out the personality of each race just when you're looking at the area of their city alone.


thoraxianravinsSBRAbove is the Thoraxian "ravines" terrain type.  Very evil and green-glowing.  Just getting near the Thoraxians is kind of a Mordor sort of feeling for me.


burlusttentaclefieldsSBRThe Burlusts, on the other hand, have a very blood-red sort of terrain that reminds me a bit of War of the Worlds.  This is the "tentacle fields" terrain type that they have.


That's all for now!  Although I imagine that some more questions may pop up in the official forum thread, as usual, heh.  There has actually recently been a really good thread called eXplore, the first of the X's, where a lot of questions have been answered.


UPDATE: I had been having various troubles with the z-buffer and alpha transparency, which is a very common problem in game development.  Previously my solution left a lot of ugly aliasing around the edges of buildings and some terrain.  That is now fixed as of this morning, so here are some new screenshots showing buildings without the aliasing!


city1Click the above for a full-resolution view, or check out the two below halves of it which are embedded at full resolution.


city1b


city1a


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« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 12:41:00 PM by x4000 »
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Offline chemical_art

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Those TLF pictures are certainly...different.
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Offline Coppermantis

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It's strange--I'd have said the exact opposite for the Burlust leaders. The top guy looks more brutish, while the bottom appears cunning. Perhaps it's the partial view, but the guy on top is at an angle where he's looking down on the viewer, making him look larger and more intimidating. He also has broader shoulders and looks all around beefier, especially with what appears to be a rambo-esque ammo belt and larger hairdo.
I can already tell this is going to be a roller coaster ride of disappointment.

Offline wwwhhattt

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I reeeaally like that Andor portrait  :D

I also wouldn't have thought that the top Burlust looked that cunning, but it's hard to imagine them looking anything other than supremely pissed off.
Is that bottom Burlust wearing a tiara?

Offline nas1m

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This is the first time that the Boarines do not look slightly ridiculous to me, which was a pity because I like their fluff a lot. Nice :D!
Any chance to get a similar artwork into TLF some time later?
The Boarine imagery is kind of a negative outlier to me there. They just look too much like an animal there to me, while the above picture definitely transports the notion that you are looking at a sentient lifeform - at least to me...
« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 06:28:04 AM by nas1m »
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Offline Draco18s

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Ah, aliasing problems. :)
I actually wrote a couple of custom shaders to handle similar problems.
(I've made like $10 too! :P)

Offline x4000

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@Draco18s: Nice stuff!  And yeah, I saw you in one of the threads I was reading, actually. :)

@nas1m: Regarding the boarines, the animal-like nature is intended.  Why can't an animal like that be sentient?  I like the disconnect between that sort of alien and what we expect to be more normal, if that makes sense.

@wwwhhattt and Coppermantis: I can see what you mean with the way those are cut about who looks Burly versus cunning.  Well, anyway, it's just a preview. :)



Also, for anyone who might be concerned about how... messy... the cities look in terms of the buildings being all slammed on top of one another, that's something we are actually working on today.  Basically getting the buildings a bit smaller and with some negative space in there, with also some race-specific accents to boot.
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Offline nas1m

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@nas1m: Regarding the boarines, the animal-like nature is intended.  Why can't an animal like that be sentient?  I like the disconnect between that sort of alien and what we expect to be more normal, if that makes sense.
Fair enough. Maybe I can patch something into my local copy once SBR is out ;).
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Offline Zebeast46

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I'm just noticing that the Andor leader's eyes make him sort of look like a crazy person. But I love the Acutian and Boarine portraits.
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Offline Coppermantis

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My biggest gripe with the cities is the big mish-mash of architectural styles. The whole thing doesn't look very consistent. Race-specific accents would go a long way towards fixing this issue, though that depends on how significant you'll make them. I would expect a Zenith city to look a ton different from a Spire city, you know, that sort of thing.
I can already tell this is going to be a roller coaster ride of disappointment.

Offline x4000

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There's really one main style for the 8 playable races, and the Zenith are included in that.  We are making some changes to add more spacing and to have some racial accents, though.  For the other 6 races, which the Spire are included in, they look remarkably different from anything else.  The Spire cities are floating sentient spaceships, for instance!
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Offline wwwhhattt

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I'm just noticing that the Andor leader's eyes make him sort of look like a crazy person.
It's sort of like a cross between a stern grandmother and Mr. Burns. I imagine their peace brokering technique involves getting the two warring leaders into a room and frowning disapprovingly until they hug and make up.

Offline x4000

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I'm just noticing that the Andor leader's eyes make him sort of look like a crazy person.
It's sort of like a cross between a stern grandmother and Mr. Burns. I imagine their peace brokering technique involves getting the two warring leaders into a room and frowning disapprovingly until they hug and make up.

This is brilliant, I love this.  Spindled fingers and cookies for you!
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Offline DrFranknfurter

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The Andor leader caught my eye too. A beautiful and amusing mix between scary and nice.

I'm wondering how important leader choice will be on how a race plays. In TLF Andor could never bomb or capture enemy worlds. Nasarog asked if each leader gets their own AI subroutines. Is one of the three Andor leaders Evil, with a capital E? (for example). Or do all Andor leaders share most traits/personalities (pacifist), but get a different bonus/focus (+1 energy/prefers wealth vs +1 research/prefers science) or is more significant (cannot commit atrocities, can and will... happily).

He also asked if any of the art will be 3d/animated. I said I doubt it considering the number of portraits required. (Though it does add a nice touch to Space Rangers 2/Galciv3, perhaps not enough to justify the cost).

Also, I really want to see the Yali. One quote mentioned they have underwater stuff, are unplayable (aww) and have lots of snake-related features. Concerning underwater someone said the water tiles look a little more like sky, floating islands, or FOW... I'm not sure I agree but I just thought I'd mention it.

Hope all is going well.

Offline x4000

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All is well, thanks. :)

Relating to the main questions:

1. Leader choice will be important, but not overwhelmingly dramatic.  It will affect things like bonuses and foci, for sure.  Will it affect personality?  Yes, to some certain extents, but I'm not exactly sure how far.  You won't see anything deviating TOO far from the norm, because I feel like that breaks down the archetypical nature of the races, if you see what I mean.  If sometimes the Andors are Evil with a capital E, that just doesn't really sit right with me, and gets super confusing.  But sometimes they might be nice our of genuine caring, or more nice in a "do what we say because it's good for you" way, or whatever.  It's possible for the good-hearted to do fairly bad things in the name of making things better, really.

2. We don't do any 3D in any of our games at all.  In terms of racial portraits, they won't be animated, no -- that would be immensely troublesome to do in 2D in general.  Honestly in Civ that always creeped me out anyway, but that's just me. ;)

Cheers!
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