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General Category => Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine => Topic started by: x4000 on August 19, 2014, 04:01:03 PM

Title: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 19, 2014, 04:01:03 PM
Original: http://arcengames.com/spectral-empire-teaser-video/

Spectral Empire is our upcoming 4X title, which is slated for release in April 2015.  This is something that we've been working on in tandem with the current expansions for AI War and The Last Federation, as well as the general ongoing work on those two games, and the linux ports of all our other titles.  Whew, busy times!



If you haven't heard anything about Spectral Empire before, I did do a written teaser about it a month ago, with some details about the races in the game and so forth.

And yeah, this video is an incredible tease, I know.  Sorry about that, I couldn't resist. ;)  Mainly this video is to test out the narrator voice and a few related things.  This guy shows up over your comm screen as you play, and is the key to... a lot of things.

As I noted above, Spectral Empire is a hex-based 4x game.  Think of it kind of like Civilization meets SimCity meets AI War: Fleet Command, mechanics-wise.  Yes, it is kind of simulation-y, as well.

Story-wise, this is set far in the future of both AI War and The Last Federation, and merges their storylines together a bit.  This game -- and this narrator -- also have some big things to reveal about the lore in both TLF and AI War.

It is still too early for us to show screenshots or videos of actual gameplay, but the internal prototypes are coming along nicely.

If you want to read some more about the game, there is a forum for that.  As is typical, in the forum I reveal a bit more than I intend just because I'm excited about the project.

Thanks for watching!

Updated Version Based On Feedback!



This updated version gives a bit of a cleaner, clearer voice and avoids some peaking early on in in particular.  I have an effect chain set up in Adobe Audition, including Nectar 2 as part of that.  I went back and made a revised chain that did noise processing earlier in, and didn't try to normalize until much later in the process.

The result is definitely a lot clearer, and I prefer it, I think.  It has less of the Darth Vader breathing sound, which I'm sad about, but it is a much cleaner and more professional-sounding recording in general.

This was recorded on a Blue Yeti Pro mic (via usb) with a Blue Pop Filter attachment, directly into Audition (so a nice 64bit recording).  Anyway, in the prior processed version, it was kind of burying the quality of the initial recording a bit!
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Draco18s on August 19, 2014, 04:27:31 PM
You tease.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 19, 2014, 04:34:30 PM
That I am.  And do.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: topper on August 19, 2014, 04:44:30 PM
Quite the tease, does not really give us anything new besides a creepy voice   :o
I guess it is better than nothing  ;D

If the voice is the conversation subject, I would say it is fine. But watch out for the high distortion and bass levels that may not sound good on cheap speakers. I also noticed some audio artifacts leading in to each spoken phrase. At least it sounds like a cut-off intake of breath right before each phrase starts. Cleaner breaks would be nice unless that is the effect you are going for.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 19, 2014, 05:08:12 PM
I was going for a Darth Vader wheeze between each spoken bit, yeah.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Hearteater on August 19, 2014, 07:04:45 PM
I agree, the wheeze at the end should go. Otherwise pretty clean voice. If you care about the text, I find it pushed a touch too close to the right edge. But even that's me being really nitpicky :) . The title looks extremely promising. Really, the only downside to this title is how I'll find time for it and AIW (and apparently TLF).
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: mrhanman on August 19, 2014, 07:20:08 PM
The voice in the first part of the video was less than impressive, but it got much better as it went along.  The main problem I had with it is I wouldn't have been able to understand it without the words on the screen.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 19, 2014, 08:31:12 PM

Updated Version Based On Feedback!



This updated version gives a bit of a cleaner, clearer voice and avoids some peaking early on in in particular.  I have an effect chain set up in Adobe Audition, including Nectar 2 as part of that.  I went back and made a revised chain that did noise processing earlier in, and didn't try to normalize until much later in the process.

The result is definitely a lot clearer, and I prefer it, I think.  It has less of the Darth Vader breathing sound, which I'm sad about, but it is a much cleaner and more professional-sounding recording in general.

This was recorded on a Blue Yeti Pro mic (via usb) with a Blue Pop Filter attachment, directly into Audition (so a nice 64bit recording).  Anyway, in the prior processed version, it was kind of burying the quality of the initial recording a bit!
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: topper on August 19, 2014, 09:10:33 PM
I like this version better, kind of Thanos'esque a la GotG movie.

I found this clip from the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SMk2UQhU-M (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SMk2UQhU-M)

Maybe for the real trailer it could use background sound effects or music to build tension, like you have at the beginning and end or like there is in the Thanos clip.

Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Teal_Blue on August 19, 2014, 09:19:34 PM
Hmmm.... I really like the first recording, but that is just personal preference, listening to the second version, they are close, and perhaps yes, the second one is a bit clearer. Anyway an interesting teaser. What comes to mind is the intelligent planet from the E.E. Doc books, not sure if it was the Skylark of Space, or the Lensmen books. But they were quite creative and a wow to read.

-T
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 19, 2014, 09:22:36 PM
I like this version better, kind of Thanos'esque a la GotG movie.

I found this clip from the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SMk2UQhU-M (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SMk2UQhU-M)

Ha!  I had not thought of that comparison.  I love that movie, by the way.  My wife and I went a couple of weeks ago, really having no expectations that it would be good but going on the recommendations of... everybody and all the critics.  Wow, this was just awesome.  It reminded us both of Galaxy Quest in some ways.  Really excellent movie.

Maybe for the real trailer it could use background sound effects or music to build tension, like you have at the beginning and end or like there is in the Thanos clip.

Oh yeah, of course.  This is just an absolutely barebones thing.  The sound effects and so forth were just quickly put together by me.  Pablo hasn't even started on the soundtrack for SE yet, he's still working on the TLF expansion soundtrack (which is coming along amazingly, I might add).

Hmmm.... I really like the first recording, but that is just personal preference, listening to the second version, they are close, and perhaps yes, the second one is a bit clearer

Yeah, the first version is a bit more space-suit-sounding in a lot of ways, but just gets a bit too muddy depending on your speakers, I think.  Depending on the speakers, the first one is VERY much more muddy, or else not much of a difference.  Funny how that works, but Pablo and I run into that with him mixing music, too.  Can be pretty frustrating for the audio editor, to be sure.

Anyway an interesting teaser. What comes to mind is the intelligent planet from the E.E. Doc books, not sure if it was the Skylark of Space, or the Lensmen books. But they were quite creative and a wow to read.

No comment. ;)
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Teal_Blue on August 19, 2014, 09:34:12 PM
Ooops, I take that back.  :)  :(  or something like that.  What is the line from Wizard of Oz, 'Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.'  :) 

On another note, I know you don't want to just re-create another game, but any 'Alpha Centauri' comparisons, or diversions?
Perhaps a bit too early to ask, but I have played AC but keep losing, haha, I really have to find a game I can win one of these days.  :)


-T

Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Hearteater on August 19, 2014, 10:00:26 PM
For some reason after reading about Spectral Empire I feel the urge to recommend Sentenced to Prism by Alan Dean Foster (http://www.amazon.com/Sentenced-Prism-Alan-Dean-Foster/dp/034531980X). Not that I think the two things have all that much in common. Just that I think you might really enjoy the book.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Draco18s on August 19, 2014, 11:16:43 PM
I like the second version better.  It doesn't have any weird pops where the waveform sounds clipped.

(And to be honest, unless you're trying to make a personality like Max Headroom or his villainous, female counterpart, SHODAN, that kind of thing needs to be avoided)
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Teal_Blue on August 20, 2014, 01:17:28 AM
For some reason after reading about Spectral Empire I feel the urge to recommend Sentenced to Prism by Alan Dean Foster (http://www.amazon.com/Sentenced-Prism-Alan-Dean-Foster/dp/034531980X). Not that I think the two things have all that much in common. Just that I think you might really enjoy the book.


Ah.... i have read Midworld, but hadn't gotten to Prism yet. Looks interesting, I think i will have to get that one. Thank you for the link and the interesting book.

-T

Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: mrhanman on August 20, 2014, 08:09:46 AM
I can still hear a little breathing in the second trailer, so I gotta ask - is the speaker one who can breathe?
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: topper on August 20, 2014, 09:08:57 AM
Ha!  I had not thought of that comparison.  I love that movie, by the way.  My wife and I went a couple of weeks ago, really having no expectations that it would be good but going on the recommendations of... everybody and all the critics.  Wow, this was just awesome.  It reminded us both of Galaxy Quest in some ways.  Really excellent movie.

Yeah, it was one of the few movies I really wanted to see in theaters, and it far exceeded my expectations! I am actually kind of sad that it needs to fit in the Marvel universe, because I think the universe created in that story/movie is interesting enough to stand on its own and even gain near (gasp) Star Wars level respect.

I can still hear a little breathing in the second trailer, so I gotta ask - is the speaker one who can breathe?
Well, if it is the Spectre, I have gathered that that is a planetary intelligence like in SMAC. That does not answer if it needs to breathe, or what that should sound like. Maybe it modifies its own voice to sound either pleasing or terrifying to the various races.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 20, 2014, 02:27:32 PM
*sounds of innocent whistling*
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: wwwhhattt on August 20, 2014, 05:05:44 PM
According to my understanding of disembodied intelligences (learnt from an extensive study of Patrick Troughton's time as Dr. Who (best doctor)) this game will involve fighting robot yetis.

On a seriouser note, do people think that video suggest that all the races are the last of their kind, or that they're all told that when they (crash)land?
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: mrhanman on August 21, 2014, 08:28:53 AM
I just thought it meant that the player is the last one of his kind.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 21, 2014, 08:35:57 AM
I just thought it meant that the player is the last one of his kind.

It was my own mistake, I realize, in how I'm phrasing that line.  I'm going to have to redo that line at some point in the future.  The "you" is plural.  The player is in charge of a group of citizens fleeing... something... and they arrive at this planet as supposedly the last of their kind.

Depending on which race(s) you choose to play as (there is multiplayer), those are the ones that fled and are just arriving, while the other races are more established and have been there for a long time already.  So you're the tiny newcomers, against existing empires.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: wwwhhattt on August 21, 2014, 10:16:45 AM
So there's no fixed past or present for the races in the game, it just depends who you start as?
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 21, 2014, 10:20:50 AM
So there's no fixed past or present for the races in the game, it just depends who you start as?

It depends on even more than who you start as.  There's some history with all of the races that are on the planet that is procedurally generated.  Whoever you start as is starting with a blank slate in terms of landing on the planet new, but the rest of the races there have a history with one another, and that will vary from game to game.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Draco18s on August 21, 2014, 11:44:21 AM
X, have I mentioned the anime "Last Exile" yet?

If I didn't, now I have, and you should watch it.  Especially Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Teal_Blue on August 21, 2014, 12:02:04 PM
So there's no fixed past or present for the races in the game, it just depends who you start as?

It depends on even more than who you start as.  There's some history with all of the races that are on the planet that is procedurally generated.  Whoever you start as is starting with a blank slate in terms of landing on the planet new, but the rest of the races there have a history with one another, and that will vary from game to game.

I am rather excited about this, it may be obvious, or perhaps I am seeing something more than is there, but if the race history is randomized with each game, depending on which race the player selects, then thait  could mean that treaties, or wars, or embargo's, or alliances or even the percent of buildup, or strength of a given race will be different. Even perhaps the type of focus of the race will be different for each race for each game... ie, agricultural in one game, military expansion in the second game, or trade focus in the third game, etc, etc... (these for the non-chosen race of course, as the player will decide the direction of the race they choose?

Or maybe I've got it all wrong, I was just thinking what if the races were aligned in a specific way, and they play that way through each game, and it is the player deciding which 'approach' they will try that changes how the game plays out?

anyway, I thought I had it, but maybe I am guessing wrong, anyway, just a thought.
-Teal

Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 21, 2014, 12:18:23 PM
X, have I mentioned the anime "Last Exile" yet?

If I didn't, now I have, and you should watch it.  Especially Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing.

Cool!  Thanks for the recommendation.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Draco18s on August 21, 2014, 12:54:13 PM
X, have I mentioned the anime "Last Exile" yet?

If I didn't, now I have, and you should watch it.  Especially Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing.

Cool!  Thanks for the recommendation.

The two series are related, Fam comes second (by like 20 years).  I don't think you'd "miss" much by watching them out of order.  Two different settings, two different set of characters...there's only one character who shows up in both and he's minor in Fam.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: x4000 on August 21, 2014, 12:58:37 PM
Excellent, thanks for the added context -- that always helps.
Title: Re: Spectral Empire Teaser Video
Post by: Draco18s on August 21, 2014, 02:29:49 PM
The universe isn't explained very well across both series anyway,* so don't worry about it: no matter what I say, it will both be spoilery and insufficient.  Just watch, enjoy, and look it up on Wikipedia afterwards.

*There's a mineral that when mixed with water and heated it generates lift.  It isn't explained how, at all.  Or even that it does, just that the aircraft (vanships) in the series don't have wings, just these radiator vanes.  So expect that level of explanation about basic things like geography.