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Steam groups and previews

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I'm excited by the idea of this game. Hope it's moving along well. I posted a preview in the steam group eXplorminate (for 4x fans):

Also, if anyone's interested DevildogFF is hosting a Civ:Beyond earth prize give-away (does that need a hyphen?) to try to expand the group. He seems nice enough... argued with me about a bad review I gave then invited me to join the group afterwards just last week, a gesture that made me smile.

Anyway, I've got Civ so I'm not trying to recruit people for the prize... just wanted to say I've posted a preview of this game up there. I said I'd post any questions from the group about the game here... also I can edit the preview if I've got anything wrong. No questions yet but it's a tiny group.

A snippet from the preview, made from collecting the posts I could easily find about the game, some of which may be out of date now (I don't know)
Spectral Empire for april 2015
Game announcement:
The short:
4x, hexes, 14 races planned, no units(!?), risk style map, futuristic, co-op multiplayer
"basically think Risk meets Civilization meets AI War"

Also, any news on the game would be welcomed... as well as knowing when I can sign up for any beta/alpha fun/pain.

Heya!  Thanks for posting this.

Things are still a bit premature for us to be talking about this overly much.  Right now we're still in the extended-prototyping phase.  For instance, I wouldn't say that there's any resemblance to Risk in any fashion remaining in the game.  There are some sensibilities from it that I still maintain, but those are along the same lines of the way that I liken AI War to Chess in some ways. It's extremely non-literal and not something I'd point out in marketing materials (as that would just be baffling to anyone looking at it).

The best way to really describe this game is something along the lines of Civilization meets SimCity meets AI War... somewhat meets Rebuild... meets New Stuff.  Risk isn't really in there anymore.  The SimCity inspirations and Rebuild inspirations were always part of the design, but have come to the forefront more as early prototypes showed that those were way more fun (and clear GUI-wise) than the initial Risk-based stuff I'd been thinking of.

If you're confused on how there could possibly be no units, think about how there are no units in SimCity, and that will give you some idea.  The populace is represented of course, but they are so small that they are not visible on the scale map that you are seeing.  Instead it's all about the buildings and infrastructure for them.  And of course this game has missiles that can be fired and explode, etc.  And we have a variety of just-eye-candy seacraft and aircraft that fly around to give a sense of life and motion, as well as serving as indicators of things that are happening.  But their realtime movements from location X to location Y have no bearing on gameplay, which is turn-based.

Timeline at present:

1. Internally we are aiming to have a fully functioning first prototype of everything done by December 1.
-- Right now we are 556 internal svn-checkins in, with many parts of the game implemented, but not the entire horizontal feature set.

2. We don't want to start any sort of public testing right before the holidays, so our current goal for that is mid-January.
-- Between the first full internal prototype and that date, we'd be working on more vertical features/content, as well as refining those areas that are weak, and doing lots of playtesting and broad balance to get things to a sensible place where we can reasonably show it to folks.

3. Final release may slip from April to May, we'll see.
-- The reason for that has nothing to do with this game itself, but rather is related to the AI War and TLF expansions, and all those Linux ports.  When we originally set our target date of April, we expected to have a certain amount of time to devote to this game.  Compared to our original projections, we're at least two man-months short between Keith and myself; those hours went to other games rather than this one, so between us that's a month each.
-- This game itself is developing beautifully so far, but it's still earlier-in than I had anticipated being at this point simply because we've been distracted by other projects.
-- Having only a single "game" to build here, rather than "two games in one" like TLF is a big help schedule-wise, so we'll see what we reap from that.  The combat mode in TLF was the source of all the delays with the 1.0 release of that game. 
-- The strategic game here is more robust and in many ways more complex, but one of the things we've been doing during these prototyping periods so far is building out all the really challenging technical components first to make sure that they work and how fast they work.  Doing lots of threading for the between-turns AI, for instance, among other things.  So far it's going great!

Thank you for such a detailed response. I admit I'm jumping the gun to be posting about it so soon. Just a little excited at new games in the works.

From eXplorminate, they send their encouragements:

Nasarog  [Officer] [posted Just now]
"good luck guys. We're excited by the prospects of another 4x game that tries to be different. In this second golden age of 4x, the thing that will stand out are the developers that try to shake things up without breaking the classic 4x conventions."

Personally I'm quite curious as to how rebuild has become a key part of the design. (I do like rebuild... and simcity... all good sources of inspiration.) Also, for other inspiring games I'd love it if Creeper World mechanics ended up being part of an Arcen game. (I love watching and manipulating the fluid flow of creeper, I can see how it'd fit in anything from TLF, AI War or the new 4x)

No worries at all, and I'm happy to share!  Thanks a ton for your enthusiasm. :D

And nice to eXplorminate.  Tell them thanks!

Your message has been relayed. (I quite like being the messenger when I'm passing on nice things. It's like delivering valentines day cards.)


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