Arcen Games

Games => Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine => Topic started by: x4000 on April 07, 2015, 09:57:23 AM

Title: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 07, 2015, 09:57:23 AM
Original: http://arcengames.com/stars-beyond-reach-first-video-and-tales-of-woe-part-1-of-3/

STARS-BEYOND-REACH-cropped

Two exciting things for you today! First of all, here's the first video of the game:



I know it's very short and skips through things pretty fast, but I wanted to keep this under a minute and give you an overview of a number of things without getting bogged down in details. It's a sort of high-level view to pique the interest of people who might not have heard of the game. For detailed explanations of play mechanics and going through Let's Play style videos I'm going to need a lot more than a minute! I'll be doing those sorts of videos during late April or into May for sure. For now, if you want a heap of play-by-play analysis of the video, that's down below.

Next up, a bit of a surprise perhaps:



"Tales of Woe" is a three-part series of humorous video shorts set in the Stars Beyond Reach universe. The first video focuses on the approach to the planet, and reveals the general backstory. The second video is a look at a supremely unlucky set of new arrivals on the planet. And the third video is a look at that civilization as it has become ascendant... but at what price?

Animated by Julian GD, and voiced by Toby Ricketts.

 

Anything Extra You Can Tell Us About That First Video?

Sure! That thing really is a tease, isn't it? So here are some facts, in chronological order from the video:

1. The music playing at the start of the video is a small bit from the "Stars Suite," which is one of the many tracks being worked on by the very talented Pablo Vega. Rather than doing as many short tracks, he's focusing on doing longer "suites" that grow and evolve around a central theme. It's really cool, and the number of musical changes that happen throughout make it really seem like something... well, something more out of classical music than a video game. It's awesome. (And for the record, I am about the biggest video game music nerd you'll meet, I expect).

2. The very first clip there is showing your view super early in the game, when you're placing your lander. If the minimap makes the world shown here seem small, that's because it is -- this is a Tiny map, which is I believe four sizes smaller than Standard, above which there are another three or four sizes. Anyway, even on the tiny maps there's plenty of room -- though you'll have to eat a neighbor, most likely, by the end.

acutians

3. The second clip shows your lander after it has just unpacked, and with a few things rolled out. You may notice that I'm on turn 63, and that's no mistake. I'm hardly into the game at all there, and I'm that far along in turn count. I'm not sure what average ending turn counts will be, but I would imagine somewhere in the 2000 to 5000 range. It's also worth noting that those 63 turns took me... I'm not sure. 15 minutes at the most. Some turns take quite a while and some don't. The time between turns is about a second at worst at the moment.

4. Also in that second clip, you'll notice that there are some bars showing around the base of four of the buildings, looking almost like health bars but not quite? Those are building efficiency bars, and they are usually based around how staffed that building is. When it's fully staffed, the bar goes away. A healthy town won't be having those all over the place. I just got attacked by helicopters from the west, though. In the case of the housing, it's based around how full that housing is (so lower is not more unhealthy, it's just a capacity meter). The vertical bars next to my lander and next to that one factory are health bars, showing damage from the helicopter attacks that completely wrecked the building in the far left of the frame.

andors

5. The third clip is showing first the Evucks, then the Peltians. This is what it looks like when the AI plays as these races -- it's a completely different tileset from when you play as these races (in which case their tileset is the same one you saw in clips 1 and 2, where I happened to be playing as the Krolin). The AI players all use completely different mechanics from you, and pretty different mechanics from each other. In some cases completely different from one another.

6. Also of note in the third clip are a couple of buildings that were not visually finished at the time, but they now are. I took this footage last week. You can also see scaffolding on a few buildings, which is there when buildings are under construction. And you can see a whole bunch of specialty resources that are being mined by the Evucks, too. Each one has a double popup around the building, making it so that it fills the negative space between the building rather than sitting on top of the building itself. We do that a lot. The on-map graphics and indicators are very very close to final, and I'm really happy with them. The HUD around the outside of the screen has a long way to go still, but will be in much better shape in a month's time. For now it's functional, and some parts are beautiful.

burlusts

7. Clip four shows first the edge of a Thoraxian settlement, and then it shows both the Burlusts and the Skylaxians practically merged into one town. It's kind of lucky those guys are friends -- you can tell because there are no health bars up all over the place, or wrecked buildings. The same can't be said of the Thoraxians and the Zenith, further south from here (visible only on the minimap in this video). Those guys are exchanging rocket fire, ground troops, and helicopters like mad. The few health bars that you do see in the Skylaxian section have numbers above them like "T -1" and "T -2," which along with the scaffolding show that those buildings are under construction, and how many more turns before they are complete. Again the proximity here is based on this being a Tiny map, and you can see it leads to some pretty interesting situations.

8. Clip 5 loses all the music, because gosh darn it I spent a lot of time on these sound effects and I didn't want them to be fighting with the music. ;) What you can see here, though, is actually several turns' worth of AI attacks me at once. How does that work, you ask? Well, the results are calculated immediately, and then the animations play without blocking you from doing anything. So you can do, say, 5 attacks from your barracks against the AI all at once, and either watch your guys do the shooting or not watch -- doesn't matter. It's not slowing you down either way, since it blocks nothing. The same is true if you hit end turn a bunch and the AI is attacking you -- you can have two or three or even more turns' worth of attacks from them coming towards you all in one crazy barrage. As soon as an attack starts, the health meter of the target adjusts to show the result, so you can base your next action on that instantly without having to wait around to see what the animation shows. The animation will show the leadup to that health change. I'm really proud of this system and how absolutely fluid it makes things.

fenyn

9. That same clip is showing attacks from both the Thoraxians and the Zenith, ganging up on me at once. Lots of temp graphics for the Zenith in the south, although those are all complete now. The Zenith are just sending some ships at me from their seaport and then firing rockets off their ships into my city. They actually target my power generators first, which then causes major problems for me the next turn. The Acutians send ground troops from two barracks, a ship from their seaport, and two helicopters. They target a whole bunch of stuff, including some medical facilities and some of my own barracks. Oh, it looks like the Evucks actually sent a ship over to me in that clip, too -- I hadn't noticed that. I did notice that the Evucks coast guard was helping protect both the Acutians and the Zenith when I was playing that savegame, but they must have finished their full seaport to launch an attack before this clip. Huh.

10. Clip 6 is basically the next turn, and shows me building some small solar collectors on the far back side of that town, where none of the enemy forces can reach. It's towards the Burlusts and the Skylaxians, but they don't seem to hate me. It's hard to tell for sure, unlike in TLF. You have to use diplomats or spies to figure out the attitude of races toward you, and you never know the attitude of all races toward all other races. You are a lot less all-knowing, which I like. Anyway, this was a test game so the number of crowns that I have to spend (up there at the top) is almost 100 million, which is of course ludicrous.

neinzul

11. Incidentally, in that same clip it shows the placement animations and sounds. I really feel like having a satisfying animation and sound set for things like that helps give a sense of "bubble wrap popping fun," as we say. Obviously the larger game is the big thing that has to be fun, but having the little things just feel fun and fluid has a big impact on the overall feeling of fun. I really like placing buildings. ;)

12. Clip 7 shows me launching a counterattack against the Acutians a few turns later. You'll notice on the far left that my power at this city is now north of 71k, so my solar panels finished building and the destruction of my town hasn't completely crippled me. I am not running at full efficiency (98 unfilled jobs) and I'm positively drowning in smog (I seriously need some hazmat folks, plus the placement of my toxic buildings was stupid to start with), but overall I can push back against the Acutians pretty decently. Each attack I make costs energy from my working pool of power that is left over after powering buildings and whatnot. That's the balance that you see over there on the left.

peltians

13. In that same clip, you'll notice that I select barracks as the type of attack I want to launch. It then highlights all the buildings I can hit with any of my barracks, and it highlights all of my barracks that have not already been used this turn. I then can click the targets I want, and the best barracks for the job is automatically chosen. That costs energy, exhausts that barracks for the turn, and -- depending -- may cause some of my citizens to die or become wounded. The exact results of the combat are shown in advance, no percentages or guesses or whatnot. You click the button and that exact thing will happen. There is randomization of course, but it basically shows you the result of each die roll before you have to commit to that attack. It makes it more fluid, and it also prevented me from thinking "hey, that's not the result I was expecting -- was that a bug?" when I clicked enemy buildings.

14. Same clip, you'll notice that I actually rapid-click on one of the buildings of the Acutians and send a lot of ground soldiers at once. That isn't me click-spamming. The health bars of each target show the current health and the projected health right to the side of them. As soon as one click happens, they both update. If I like the new update, I can immediately click again, and repeat. So within about 3 seconds I can launch 6ish attacks, doing exactly what I want, getting exactly the results I expect (though I don't pay attention to my soldier deaths or woundings until after the fact, usually -- I view that as a supply problem, the way I play), and it takes very little time. And the battle looks pretty epic at the same time, which is a nice bonus.

skylaxiansandspire

15. Clip 8 starts in with one of the later verses of the main Stars Beyond Reach theme, which is just such a cool piece. That's sung by Pablo himself, some of his friends, and the Vox Virorum choir from our local area. They just knocked it out of the park.

16. Same clip, it's at first showing some early bits of the tech tree. A lot of the tree is invisible at the start, gated behind your social progress level. That way things aren't too overwhelming at the very start, but you can still see a good ways ahead and make plans. Originally there were about 100 techs in this tree, but through testing I found that to be too many to be fun, and I condensed them down into I believe 74. There are then another 125ish "techs" of sorts in the social progress screens (not shown in this video), and then of course the "procedural techs" so to speak that are market items like broadcasts, inventions, writings, and so forth that you can make. The main tech tree is almost exclusively focused on unlocking buildings. This is a near-final screen, with the scrollbar at the bottom being pretty much the only temp piece.

17. Clip 9 shows a pretty unpolished screen that is the linguistics research tab. First thing TLF players might notice is the much-improved icons for the various races. And then of course the new races and the AI War races also have icons. Each race has 7 levels of language skill that you can learn with them. At the start of the game, you get 2 levels with one random race, and 1 level with another random race. You have to have at least one level with a race to speak to them at all, and even then it's pretty incomprehensible. Negotiate in that fashion at your own risk! At the highest level of language skill, everything is in perfectly plain English -- everything in between is gradations. On the right hand side you can see a proverb from each race. Each race has 12 proverbs, and they switch out every 10ish turns or so. They let you look at some text to see how your translation skills fare against a short sentence, and they give some insight into that race -- the sort of proverbs a race has do say something about them, after all. I can see the word "dead" in the Neinzul row! I wonder what they're saying is dead. ;)

thoraxians

18. Clip 10 shows me in a different game, playing as the Skylaxians very early on in. This is the diplomacy screen, and visually it's semi-polished. I am on the right, playing as the leader Lapnu. On the left is just the icon for the entire race of Thoraxians. I have no idea which queen I'm talking to. It will take some spies or diplomats to figure that you. Discovering that can be pretty important, because learning her goals and personality will be important to how I deal with her. Right now I can kind of speak to her sort of, but I have no idea what her true motives are, and half the time I don't know what she's saying. If I want to do long term business with her, it's best if I learn her language better and figure out who she really is. Once I know her identity, then her real portrait and name will appear on the left instead of just her race icon. Fortunately with the "first time ever meeting and greeting" I managed to pick a statement that elicited a mildly positive response, so there's that.

19. Clip 11 shows the Boarines up by the north pole, and then the Andors near them. And that's that!

OceanicMiningPlatform

 

Beta Reminder

The game is already at a point where it is feature complete, and has been for a bit. The last few weeks I've been going through and wrecking stuff and figuring out balance and so on, but the game is huge and there's a lot of that sort of thing to do. We're going to be doing a closed beta, which is basically saying that it's invite-only. That said, we don't have a specific cap on the number of people that we'll let in, so if you want to be added to the list of future beta players, please feel free to post on the forums here.

We've got essentially three groups of beta players:

1. Redshirts. These folks are being thrown into the game right at the start, when documentation is the most-poor and so is the balance. If helping to polish the roughest stage excites you, please apply. If it would be frustrating, please don't. ;) We'll be sending the Redshirts their invites via PM on the forum probably on Monday the 13th or very close to there. If you're worried you won't get the PM, send us your email address instead.

2. Blueshirts. These folks will come in probably about a week after the redshirts. The worst things will have been taken care of, and the blueshirts can clamber over the dead bodies of the redshirts to have a better first experience. But it's still a lot of live fire going on down there, if you know what I mean.

3. Everybody else. I'll be bringing in people in in batches every week or half week or so. I want to space this out some, because we only get your first impression once, and as we polish the balance and documentation that is something I'd like to see the results of (is that clearer or not? etc.).

LagerHouses

 

Help Us With Procedural Market Item Names! (If You Want)

If you want to help us with the components for procedural market item names, that would be awesome. It's a big task, but if a lot of us do just a bit on there, we'll have two big nice things. Firstly, nobody goes brain-dead from trying to fill out the whole thing. And secondly, we get a wider variety of creativity from a larger group.

 

Target Release Date: June 5th

It's been a long haul on this project, and we're really excited to be able to share increasingly more with you over the coming months. I'm super proud of this one.

Until next time!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Captain Jack on April 07, 2015, 11:35:57 AM
Fantastic, Chris! Video looks great, and I love the hyperfast turns! And was it just me or does the Stars Suite sample from Lay Down Your Arms?

Tale of Woe was extremely amusing, managed to get across what the game's about easily.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Pumpkin on April 07, 2015, 11:44:42 AM
AAAAH! Where are the part 2 and 3?!?
... Sorry. Sincerely.
I love "Tales of Woe", and I didn't manage to find a calm way to say it. Sorry again.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 07, 2015, 11:52:50 AM
Thanks guys!  A few answers:

1. I'm not sure on the sampling from Lay Down Your Arms.  I don't think it does, but there may be some unintentional overlap there -- both are by the same composer, after all. :)

2. Yeah, I'm a big fan of hyperfast turns also.  During the beta I'm sure some folks will find some cases where it is slower than it should be (so far in testing I sometimes would find it took an agonizing 6 seconds between turns during some edge cases), but then we come in and optimize and everything is hyperfast again.  The AI will use up to 15 cores if you have them.

3. Glad you're enjoying Tales of Woe so well!  The audio for that was all recorded back in January, actually.  I guess the writing was mostly done in November.  Then the sound work was done over time since late January.  The animation is the slowest part, because... well, you can imagine.  Part 1 was completed quite a while back, a month or more ago.  But I didn't want to release that without gameplay footage to go along with.  The animation for part 2 should be done this week, though we won't release that just yet.  Some good spacing between them leading up to launch is good, I think.  I've actually been working on the audio for video 3 last night and this morning, and video work for that will probably be done in May sometime.  Part 2 is by far my favorite, but I really love all of them. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Mal on April 07, 2015, 12:15:53 PM
Videos were both amazing! Keep that up for sure!

I think this finally pushed me over into wanting to help test out the game. So if you need more redshirts or blueshirts, please add me in. I love coming up with documentation or trying to make sure things are clear, so I feel I could contribute well to this effort.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 07, 2015, 12:32:59 PM
Awesome, thanks!  I've added you to the blueshirts roster. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: tbrass on April 07, 2015, 12:34:34 PM
Absolutely loved tales of woe. Looks great.

And the language in the diplomatic screen intrigued me. Can't wait for more!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: UsF on April 07, 2015, 01:25:48 PM
The video was too short and fast paced for me, thank you for the added explanations in your post. Maybe you can do a longer commented showcase, not sure if this is something you'd do for S:BR already. :) I am looking forward to it, though since I imagine it might happen at some point.

The too fast paced-ness probably came from me trying to read stuff on the screen rather than enjoying what I saw. Looking at it a second time now, i can see the appeal. :D Damn there was so much information crammed into that.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 07, 2015, 01:37:36 PM
Haha, yeah, that was meant to be a very early teaser.  I'll be doing narrated full things later on, but one step at a time.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: topper on April 07, 2015, 01:50:51 PM
Videos were awesome.

The map is gorgeous, but might look a little busy for actually trying to parse it for information. Having a hotkey to outline the city boundaries or to colorwash out the rest of the map besides a chosen type of building would be great.
Tales of woe were very reminiscent of the beginning of Portal 2(especially the voice and the "you just woke up and probably have brain damage" part), which was not a bad thing. :-)

I think I should already be on your list for people interested in the beta, I just wanted to add that I am interested in the blueshirt option, or right after. Looking forward to it!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Captain Jack on April 07, 2015, 02:00:48 PM
Looking at the linguistics screen screenshot, it looks like the Neinzul are saying "daad", not dead. I suppose you'd be the expert on that though.

Are there plans to do anything with the improved icons in TLF?
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 07, 2015, 02:05:16 PM
Videos were awesome.

The map is gorgeous, but might look a little busy for actually trying to parse it for information. Having a hotkey to outline the city boundaries or to colorwash out the rest of the map besides a chosen type of building would be great.
Tales of woe were very reminiscent of the beginning of Portal 2(especially the voice and the "you just woke up and probably have brain damage" part), which was not a bad thing. :-)

I think I should already be on your list for people interested in the beta, I just wanted to add that I am interested in the blueshirt option, or right after. Looking forward to it!

Glad you like it!

For the map, the AI at that time was building in a very tight fashion, and that was one of the things that I actually adjusted yesterday -- I felt like their buildings needed to be spread out more.  There will be overlays as well (already are many, will be more), and you can hold the N key to see the names of all buildings very easily.  It's definitely something that we want to pay attention to.

For your own cities, we were having even more trouble because there are so many buildings and you WANT to build in proximity.  So we came up with a color-based scheme for separating out certain thematic things (dirty industry, commercial, residential, health, military, etc), and we've redone the border roads so that those are more clear.  It also (for aesthetic purposes only) encourages districting a bit more.  The player towns are definitely way more clear to parse from a high level visually speaking now.

I've got you down as a blueshirt now, you were already on the list yes. :)

Looking at the linguistics screen screenshot, it looks like the Neinzul are saying "daad", not dead. I suppose you'd be the expert on that though.

Are there plans to do anything with the improved icons in TLF?

I think you might be right on that, not sure, with the neinzul.  I'd have to look at it again.

For the icons in TLF, I'm not sure if I'd want to switch those just for the sake of clarity there -- people are used to them.  But maybe!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Zebeast46 on April 07, 2015, 03:36:40 PM
Wow! The fighting looked AMAZING and the video was great and cleared up a couple of my misconceptions. By the way, were you playing as the Krolin?
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 07, 2015, 03:50:28 PM
Thank you!  And yes, through most of that I was playing as the Krolin.  During the negotiation scenes I was playing as Skylaxians.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Draco18s on April 07, 2015, 04:19:11 PM
That was awesome.  I really like Tales of Woe.

Ship's Computer reminded me of Wheatley (Portal 2), but it works so well.  Wheatley buggered up running Aperature Science, so re-utilizing him to run a colony ship would have exactly that kind of result.  "Yep, memory wiped.  Gonna be tough.  Good new though, we still know how to feed you!"
I don't know if it was intentional or not, but as they say, nothing new under the sun. ;)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 07, 2015, 04:53:39 PM
Glad you like it!  The comparison to Wheatley was honestly not something that had occurred to me, but I did really love him.  I admit I did have GLaDOS in the back of my mind a tiny bit, but Wheatley didn't even occur to me.  In this particular case, as you'll learn more in the second and third shorts, the computer here is actually pretty competent... but he's just pathetically powerless.  It's the aliens he's trying to shepherd who are the complete morons.  :D
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Draco18s on April 07, 2015, 05:23:33 PM
Glad you like it!  The comparison to Wheatley was honestly not something that had occurred to me, but I did really love him.  I admit I did have GLaDOS in the back of my mind a tiny bit, but Wheatley didn't even occur to me.  In this particular case, as you'll learn more in the second and third shorts, the computer here is actually pretty competent... but he's just pathetically powerless.  It's the aliens he's trying to shepherd who are the complete morons.  :D

Everone Loves GLaDOS.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Captain Jack on April 07, 2015, 05:30:14 PM
It's the aliens he's trying to shepherd who are the complete morons.  :D
And since we're the ones controlling the aliens...

(http://i2.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/007/195/im_watching_you_-_copia.jpg)

 ;D
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 07, 2015, 07:44:17 PM
It's the aliens he's trying to shepherd who are the complete morons.  :D
And since we're the ones controlling the aliens...

(http://i2.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/007/195/im_watching_you_-_copia.jpg)

 ;D

Well, yeah, the "benevolent dictator" is a humorous representation of the player, aka myself when I play.  It's not meant to be insulting in the slightest, but rather a tongue in cheek thing.  Also, story-wise the brain damage and all that does explain a lot of things about your character and why they have to rebuild anew.  The Tales of Woe story takes it to another level and makes your aliens outright stupid for comedic effect, but in reality in the story they are damaged goods and doing a very good job of working around that.  Using a mixture of human tech and their own tech, as it were.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Captain Jack on April 07, 2015, 08:14:04 PM
Well, yeah, the "benevolent dictator" is a humorous representation of the player, aka myself when I play.  It's not meant to be insulting in the slightest, but rather a tongue in cheek thing.  Also, story-wise the brain damage and all that does explain a lot of things about your character and why they have to rebuild anew.  The Tales of Woe story takes it to another level and makes your aliens outright stupid for comedic effect, but in reality in the story they are damaged goods and doing a very good job of working around that.  Using a mixture of human tech and their own tech, as it were.
Hahaha, I got that. I actually thought the comparison was hilariously funny with how the redshirts are liable to muck things up in the beta. Except there's not likely to be much benevolence in our games. Lots of big red buttons though.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: mrhanman on April 07, 2015, 08:29:43 PM
Awesome intro and video!  I can't wait to see the rest.

Did the Co-optional Podcast animator to it?
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Cyborg on April 07, 2015, 08:47:42 PM
Looking good. A question about the barracks part of video. Is selecting your barracks each turn tedious for situations that are already optimal? Kind of like how civilization 4 can't seem to carry out the attack strategy without ordering the units every single time, every single turn. Maybe okay for one or two armies, out of control for larger maps. Just curious. I suppose we'll find out shortly anyways.


Also, I thought the animated short was very good. Excellent humor.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Mánagarmr on April 08, 2015, 08:47:10 AM
Did the Co-optional Podcast animator to it?
You are correct, sir.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 08, 2015, 09:25:57 AM
Well, yeah, the "benevolent dictator" is a humorous representation of the player, aka myself when I play.  It's not meant to be insulting in the slightest, but rather a tongue in cheek thing.  Also, story-wise the brain damage and all that does explain a lot of things about your character and why they have to rebuild anew.  The Tales of Woe story takes it to another level and makes your aliens outright stupid for comedic effect, but in reality in the story they are damaged goods and doing a very good job of working around that.  Using a mixture of human tech and their own tech, as it were.
Hahaha, I got that. I actually thought the comparison was hilariously funny with how the redshirts are liable to muck things up in the beta. Except there's not likely to be much benevolence in our games. Lots of big red buttons though.

 ;D

Awesome intro and video!  I can't wait to see the rest.

Did the Co-optional Podcast animator to it?

Thanks very much!  And yep, Julian GD is his name and I was really lucky to nab him for these.  He does commissions for various things as well as doing the Co-optional Podcast videos.  We've been working in secret since January, haha.

Looking good. A question about the barracks part of video. Is selecting your barracks each turn tedious for situations that are already optimal? Kind of like how civilization 4 can't seem to carry out the attack strategy without ordering the units every single time, every single turn. Maybe okay for one or two armies, out of control for larger maps. Just curious. I suppose we'll find out shortly anyways.

I haven't found it to be that way, personally.  One of the things is that you don't have to reselect your barracks each time -- it keeps them selected if you already had them selected.  Though if you're switching between barracks, helipad, missile silo, etc -- and usually you should be -- then that might get annoying depending on how you placed your buildings.  I'll have to add hotkeys for switching between those, but that's not a big deal.

The chief difference here from other 4X games, though, is that there is no "optimal strategy" that remains in place.  In other words, kind of like how you don't just put Chess on autopilot for 5 turns, you would never want to do that here either.  I can't think of a situation I've ever been in in the game where I thought "these guys can just take it from here."

The key thing is that there is a system of "interceptors" on the enemy side, and so your order of operations matters a fair bit.  The AI is capable of calculating all that, yes, and does -- against you.  But when you're playing, I think that's honestly part of the game (so if the AI did it, it would be "the AI playing the game for you" in a literal sense) and there are multiple ways to go about it.  Which interceptors you target first, or which you "cook off" first, can matter a lot.  Then which other buildings you target can matter a lot, and can change from turn to turn.  The AI is constantly building new buildings, repairing existing ones, etc, same as you.  And your power availability is an important thing that fluctuates some if you are constructing new generators or new buildings during turns, too.

So there is a fair bit of mental wrangling that can go on there if you want to play truly optimally.  I'd never let the AI do it for me, honestly.  Though with Civ I never did have that feeling, if that's any indication -- there I absolutely did have the feeling of "you guy just keep attacking that until it's dead."  With AI War, too, I have that feeling -- hence FRD and attack-move and so forth.  Don't bother me with details!  But here there is a kind of midlevel intimacy to the fights, where they are small enough in scope that you want to manage them, but large enough to feel impressive, without being tedious to do so thanks to the (if I do say so) really novel and improved control scheme compared to other games of its sort.  The lack of any units and instead focus on buildings makes all the difference there.

Anyway, your mileage may vary, but that's the feeling I have when I play.  Plus I like the fighting.  I like pushing the button and seeing the bars go down instantly, and then hearing the booms.  It feels really kinetic.  AI War has that sort of kinetic feeling in a different way, but it's similar in many fashions.  TLF is a lot more removed from the action, and with Civ I don't personally feel any connection to the action at all.  There I feel connection to my empire, instead.  Just my opinion, and we'll see what other folks think soon.

Also, I thought the animated short was very good. Excellent humor.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Mick on April 08, 2015, 09:31:47 AM
When I saw the thread title I thought you were going to tell us something depressing.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 08, 2015, 10:40:35 AM
When I saw the thread title I thought you were going to tell us something depressing.

Oh man!  Yeah, I could very much see that.  No, the "Tales of Woe" is intended to be funny, and it is kind of my answer to "Boatmurdered" in a certain way.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Captain Jack on April 08, 2015, 12:19:57 PM
When I saw the thread title I thought you were going to tell us something depressing.

Oh man!  Yeah, I could very much see that.  No, the "Tales of Woe" is intended to be funny, and it is kind of my answer to "Boatmurdered" in a certain way.
I think that you'll get your Boatmurdered with SBR. A player or succession collective aims for one victory type only for everything to go wrong as individual opportunism ruins allied relations, players take the city in different directions than it was planned for, and tiny mistakes come back to bite everyone. But at the same time, they're growing and teching up, completing milestones to become a real power in the setting. It's rising and falling at the same time, until the center can no longer hold. And then they blow up the planet out of spite.

That's Boatmurdered. If that's how ToW goes, then my hat's off to you!  8)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 08, 2015, 12:27:38 PM
I am hoping to have some players craft things like Boatmurdered in succession games, yes. :)

ToW doesn't go quite in that same story arc, but it has a lot of similarities in some ways.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Billick on April 08, 2015, 12:31:57 PM
I really enjoyed the Tales of Woe video.  Definitely has a Portal vibe going on there.  Are there any plans to include the voice actor in the game proper?  That could be really cool as long as you don't overdo it. 

Also, feel free to put me into whatever testing group you want.  I'm happy to help however I can. 
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 08, 2015, 12:55:08 PM
Cool stuff!  Toby may be in the main game proper, at least some.  Not at the start of beta, but most likely by 1.0.  I have to figure out costs on that, and the right amounts to do to not annoy the player, and write the lines, and so forth.  I don't want people to feel like things are half-voiced, but at the same time I want to not have to voice remotely everything, haha.  So I have to find a balance there.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Captain Jack on April 08, 2015, 02:26:38 PM
Cool stuff!  Toby may be in the main game proper, at least some.  Not at the start of beta, but most likely by 1.0.  I have to figure out costs on that, and the right amounts to do to not annoy the player, and write the lines, and so forth.  I don't want people to feel like things are half-voiced, but at the same time I want to not have to voice remotely everything, haha.  So I have to find a balance there.
Are you planning a gated tutorial like TLF? If I recall some of that was voiced, and I don't see the planetmind being particularly helpful in that regard.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 08, 2015, 03:08:29 PM
Cool stuff!  Toby may be in the main game proper, at least some.  Not at the start of beta, but most likely by 1.0.  I have to figure out costs on that, and the right amounts to do to not annoy the player, and write the lines, and so forth.  I don't want people to feel like things are half-voiced, but at the same time I want to not have to voice remotely everything, haha.  So I have to find a balance there.
Are you planning a gated tutorial like TLF? If I recall some of that was voiced, and I don't see the planetmind being particularly helpful in that regard.

I don't think so -- I want to avoid that, at any rate.  I feel like the structure of a 4X naturally lends itself to implicit gating, which is nice.  Having tutorial bits come up at various trigger points would be a thing, though.  In TLF those were not voiced, and I probably could not make them that here, either -- tutorials have a way of needing to change with time.  In TLF all the voice acting was centered around either story or around "this just happened" events with the computer remarking on things.  The computer was speaking to you in the tutorials, yes, but it wasn't voiced -- easy to remember the wrong way around. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: tbrass on April 08, 2015, 04:43:50 PM
Can we have an information blackout until the beta starts? ( :-X )Because I am really struggling with patience right now. Not having these posts & videos dangling in front of me would really help on the "getting work done" front.* 

(I would love to have Toby narrate portions of SBR. Perhaps it would be possible to have an option setting to turn narration off, just like TLF has the 'no tutorial' option? That way experienced players don't get excessive notifications, but can revel in the humor from time to time.)

The computer also reminds me of Alpha Complex's computer from the Paranoia RPG.

*it wouldn't solve the work problem, but Chris, you could always send the red shirts down now and then you could concentrate on coding rather than replying to the ravaging hordes who want more information. . .  :o
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 08, 2015, 04:47:35 PM
Cheers. :)

Cost of getting the voice acting done, and risk of not being able to get it redone if things change, is also one of my factors.  I always try to make sure that the voice acting won't ever become out of date in terms of game mechanics.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Endymion on April 08, 2015, 05:04:26 PM
I think I'd like to be in one of the earlier waves so that I might have something to do by the time I get tired of playing Pillars of Eternity. So a blueshirt would do I guess.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 08, 2015, 07:05:55 PM
I think I'd like to be in one of the earlier waves so that I might have something to do by the time I get tired of playing Pillars of Eternity. So a blueshirt would do I guess.

Blue it is!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Cyborg on April 08, 2015, 09:28:22 PM
I don't mind either shirt color. You can decide. I think you know what I do, so wherever that fits your plan is fine by me.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 08, 2015, 09:29:49 PM
I don't mind either shirt color. You can decide. I think you know what I do, so wherever that fits your plan is fine by me.

Awesome.  I'm putting you in blue, just because I already have a lot of reds and because what you do is most useful after the first iffy bits are taken care of.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Pizzatiger on April 08, 2015, 09:52:26 PM
*Salute*

Captain sir, Do you still have space for one more spaceman? I got to say , i look rather fabilous in red or blue shirts, I even take purple sir when you start randomly throwing out shirts you accidently colored in the laundry when cleaning the two dirty shitys,  it just that i look HORRIBLE  in purple


. If not i can try throwing some money at the screen when the steam engines start taking those little tourist peoples to the planet
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 08, 2015, 10:15:06 PM
*Salute*

Captain sir, Do you still have space for one more spaceman? I got to say , i look rather fabilous in red or blue shirts, I even take purple sir when you start randomly throwing out shirts you accidently colored in the laundry when cleaning the two dirty shitys,  it just that i look HORRIBLE  in purple


. If not i can try throwing some money at the screen when the steam engines start taking those little tourist peoples to the planet

Welcome aboard, crewman!  I've added one to the upcoming order of blue shirts.  I'll ping your comm unit when the supply ship arrives. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Aklyon on April 09, 2015, 04:12:30 PM
I don't mind either shirt color. You can decide.
Same here.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 09, 2015, 04:13:22 PM
I don't mind either shirt color. You can decide.
Same here.

Another blue bomber!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Captain Jack on April 09, 2015, 04:22:22 PM
I don't mind either shirt color. You can decide.
Same here.

Another blue bomber!
...Super fighting robot? Or Canadian sports team?
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 09, 2015, 04:23:22 PM
Rockman!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Captain Jack on April 09, 2015, 04:33:05 PM
Rockman!
Now see I don't keep up with any kind of foreign business, the only blue bomber in my book is MEGAman (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ufVQIUEiYc).

(Note: I am joking. Look at my name and avatar. Also Megaman 4 is the best Megaman)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 09, 2015, 04:37:48 PM
 ;D
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: nas1m on April 10, 2015, 07:43:25 AM
I will go for the Blueshirts this time, if you please :).
Awesome video, the Tales of Woe one!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 10, 2015, 08:47:18 AM
I will go for the Blueshirts this time, if you please :).
Awesome video, the Tales of Woe one!

Blue it is!  And glad you like the video. :D

The second one should be done any day now, and I'm even more excited about that one.  I was honestly feeling pretty iffy on part 3 based on... I don't know, over-familiarity.  I felt like it just wasn't as funny when I was going in and editing the audio.  The voices were great, and there were funny parts, but I knew all the jokes and it wasn't making me really laugh anymore.  But with some strategic editing, and then a really good (if I do say so) usage of sound effects, I made something I'm really proud of there, too.  And then of course Julian always kicks it up to 1000% after that.  So I'm really pleased, I think all three are at least as strong as this first one now, or at least should be. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Kizor on April 10, 2015, 08:03:02 PM
Hey there. I've Mantised some things and I'm up for some more. I'd prefer "the game explodes when I try to load an iron man save" to "horticulture is OP", but since you have plenty of redshirts, I could be blue.

Also, my monitor is older than some of the people reading this topic.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 10, 2015, 08:21:57 PM
Hey there. I've Mantised some things and I'm up for some more. I'd prefer "the game explodes when I try to load an iron man save" to "horticulture is OP", but since you have plenty of redshirts, I could be blue.

Also, my monitor is older than some of the people reading this topic.

Awesome, I have you down as blue!  For reference, what size is your monitor, how is it on brightness and such (I assume older CRT), what aspect ratio, and what resolution do you play at?  I'm wondering if you have problems seeing things with the slight fuzz that CRTs give or if they seem clear, given your setup.  Should be a good test of our font and button sizes, heh.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Kizor on April 10, 2015, 08:35:21 PM
It's not CRT, "alas", but 15", 4:3, and 1024 x 768. The Last Federation works smoothly on this setup, thanks for that.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 10, 2015, 08:37:16 PM
Excellent, good to know. :)  Thanks!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Captain Jack on April 10, 2015, 08:47:57 PM
How serious are you about wanting the game tested on a CRT? Pretty sure I still have one around.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 10, 2015, 09:07:11 PM
Not too serious, honestly.  If someone has it, then great.  Otherwise, I don't much care.  I'm not sure how many people still use those, to be honest.  2005 still seems like yesterday to me, but in reality it was a long time ago. :)  That was kind of the end of the era of CRTs for me, computer-wise at least.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Stilgar on April 11, 2015, 02:27:22 PM
I must say I did not like the last federation or skyward collapse, but this looks a lot more like my style of game. It looks awesome on so many level. Graphic are beautiful, asymmetric play is very interesting and I really like the unit less approach and non blocking attack stuff (I loath using planes in civ due to the animation delay....). and the SciFy setting look interesting. Hopefully I will be more successful at it than at AI war :).

Anyway, If you can add me to the blue shirts, I would be happy to help test (not having fun I promise ;)).
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Histidine on April 12, 2015, 10:31:30 AM
Gotta love the subtext of Tales of Woe. "Yeah, you've got no worthwhile skills to speak of right now, and you can't learn anything new at a worthwhile rate... I guess we'll make you the leader."

:P

I don't have any particular preference for testing schedule, so put me in any wave that needs more bodies thrown into the breach. ;)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: steelwing on April 14, 2015, 09:24:05 PM
I've had some time open up.  Any chance I can still join the blueshirts? :D
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: NichG on April 16, 2015, 07:47:36 AM
I'm interested in joining the beta.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Mushboom on April 22, 2015, 11:55:10 PM
Still looking for some beta testers? I feel like helping out with this game is the least I could do for getting some of your other games at a ludicrously good price in a bundle  :P

In all seriousness, I respect Arcen Games' design philosophy and would like to contribute a bit.

Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: rallythelegions on April 24, 2015, 02:17:29 PM
Let me at 'em! Let me at 'em! I would love to beta test this (at whatever level).
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on April 30, 2015, 10:51:15 AM
Sorry for my super slow responses!  I've been so sucked in with the first wave of testers that I've not had time to do much else.  With the release date pushed back to allow for more refinement, I'm also taking the waves of testers a bit slower, at least particularly at first, so that the biggest issues of each "wave" get resolved prior to the next wave coming in.  With this first wave of redshirts, of course that list of issues is... well, pretty massive, given the scale of the game.  But that list is getting smaller by the day, and we're hitting a point where new testers will be useful within the next week.

The really gratifying thing for me has been seeing that despite all of the expected carnage of confusion and bugs for the redshirts, that they were still really enjoying it / hypnotized by it.  So that's a really exciting thing for me personally, because it speaks to what the game will hopefully be for people once it's actually properly fully polished!

I must say I did not like the last federation or skyward collapse, but this looks a lot more like my style of game. It looks awesome on so many level. Graphic are beautiful, asymmetric play is very interesting and I really like the unit less approach and non blocking attack stuff (I loath using planes in civ due to the animation delay....). and the SciFy setting look interesting. Hopefully I will be more successful at it than at AI war :).

Anyway, If you can add me to the blue shirts, I would be happy to help test (not having fun I promise ;)).

Added you to the list as a blueshirt!  And actually it's great (from a testing standpoint) that you didn't care for TLF or SC.  Having that sort of perspective on this game is super useful.

Gotta love the subtext of Tales of Woe. "Yeah, you've got no worthwhile skills to speak of right now, and you can't learn anything new at a worthwhile rate... I guess we'll make you the leader."

I had a lot of fun with that, haha.

I don't have any particular preference for testing schedule, so put me in any wave that needs more bodies thrown into the breach. ;)

Got it!  I've left you in the main group of post-blueshirts for now.

I've had some time open up.  Any chance I can still join the blueshirts? :D

Added you from a different thread to that. :)

I'm interested in joining the beta.

Added you to the list!

Still looking for some beta testers? I feel like helping out with this game is the least I could do for getting some of your other games at a ludicrously good price in a bundle  :P

In all seriousness, I respect Arcen Games' design philosophy and would like to contribute a bit.

Thank you!  And yes, definitely still looking for testers.  In my view we can't really have too many.  I think for TLF we had about 150, but then person 10,000 after the game comes out finds something critical that all of the rest of us missed, heh.  I'm trying to take this in waves so that too many people don't get too hung up on one specific set of issues (and instead the later groups see whatever new issues are there with fresh eyes), so hence the slower waves.  But I still am looking for tons of folks.

Anyway, you're added to the list!

Let me at 'em! Let me at 'em! I would love to beta test this (at whatever level).

Added you to the list!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Claive on May 12, 2015, 01:58:16 PM
I would love to join the beta. :-D
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: x4000 on May 12, 2015, 02:01:56 PM
I would love to join the beta. :-D

Added you to the list for future waves!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach: First Video and Tales of Woe Part 1 of 3
Post by: Claive on May 13, 2015, 01:15:39 PM
I would love to join the beta. :-D

Added you to the list for future waves!

*Does a little dance*!