General Category > Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine

What does the big picture look like?

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Ah, okay, that -- yeah, that's just a temporary holiday promotion, so far as I know.  You can snag some of our existing titles through there, but nothing with SBR.

Very interesting economic discussion at Bay 12, thanks for the link.  I tend to stay away from auctions, too -- I use eBay, but mainly for buy it now stuff that is priced reasonably.  Mainly I get some computer hardware from there, and then I augment my growing transformers collection from it, heh.

--- Quote from: DrFranknfurter on December 14, 2014, 05:04:31 pm ---I'm excited by the victory conditions ...blow up a planet. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but I am. I suppose I should ask, a victory condition for whom? Are you trying to blow up the planet, or are the AI players doing the research into planetary pyrotechnics?
--- End quote ---

It's a victory condition for you, if you choose to go essentially that... story route, let's call it.  Depending on which route you take, you can find out more about your situation in different ways.  It's not a story-heavy game at all, but it does drop nuggets here and there for you to piece together, and you have to play out different sorts of endings to get all the nuggets.  There are reasons that you might want to go out in a blaze of glory, and they have nothing to do with an Evuck-like "well we're going, so let's take everyone else with us" mentality. ;)  If you're in that situation, you're already too late to contemplate this victory condition.

As with AI War, there isn't really a set of victory conditions for your opponents.  Mainly it's a matter of "you win or you don't win."  Not "who wins first."

--- Quote from: DrFranknfurter on December 14, 2014, 05:04:31 pm ---I'm also very curious about the starting conditions. Obviously AI War has lobby options, how many? All of them. TLF on the other hand has a much more streamlined lobby.

For SBR I'd love the following:
Tech pacing (because I enjoy marathon/epic/slow games),
World size, (It's nice to have a world big enough to feel epic)
Race choice with a bit of customisation (leader choice, starting bonus etc. Some way of putting my mark on my chosen race right from the start)
Enemy difficulty (I like the 0-10 system in AI War, or at least the option for a ridiculous challenge for the masochist and a newbie game for casual fun)

For the less obvious options:
Achievement/challenge runs at game start. For example:
1 city challenge, (No new city founding, can't keep captured enemy cities)
always war (for pain. Like how being Repulsive in Master of Orion 2 locked most of the diplomacy and trade from you)
always peace (for subtle and gentle game)
raging barbarians (for a different sort of game. Call it 'moody planet' or 'schizo planet mood')
Basically the favourites of civ fanatics and AI War minor options, with appropriate wording and a unique slant.

Perhaps it's just me, but I like to see the achievements before a game starts and during the game so I know what I'm aiming for in this run. Gemcraft has challenges for each map. I'm sad that the planned system wasn't implemented but I understand achievements can sometimes feel like a chore. Here's how it was planned to look ( and here's the list (
... I like the idea of the achievement goal subtly shaping my game and goals. It seems better than being surprised when I get a dozen achievements without trying. If you implement a victory-progress screen during gameplay (I don't see why not) I'd love to be able to select an achievement from the available achievements to show up on that screen (e.g. win in 100 turns) with progress towards gaining or losing the achievement shown... but that feels like a very polish, optional extra sort of feature. Something that is less a question and more a feature suggestion I'd put on mantis if SBR has its own public section...

Anyway, Long question cut short: Are there any noteworthy or unusual starting options planned?
--- End quote ---

There's a variety of stuff, although the goal is to be somewhere in the middle of AI War and TLF.  A lot of the things that were expressed in the UI in AI War were in the gameplay in TLF, and that will remain true here, too.  But a lot of things just can't work that way, of course.  We'll be having an advanced start as well as a quick start option, unlike AI War, so that new players aren't sandblasted by a ton of options.  This is a bit more like Civ, in some ways.

There is also a scenario editor; have I mentioned that before?  So you can create custom scenarios to pit players against, like in the older Age of Empires or Warcraft games.  I always did enjoy playing those, and creating some of those, back in the day.  To specific questions:

- Tech pacing: not at the moment, but feel free to ask about that during beta.
- World size: yes, of course.  Even the tiny ones feel surprisingly epic, though I imagine that would not last through a whole session in them.  The largest maps here are I believe about 4x larger than the largest Civ maps, if I recall Keith's commentary correctly. ;)
- Yes of course with race choice, and leader choice.  For you, not the enemy.
- Yep with enemy difficulty, although I have not worked out the specifics on that yet.  A lot of the challenge comes from the environment rather than just a specific race, and overall it's about the total sum of what is going on.  So most likely there will not be per-AI difficulties or options.  It's not much like Civ in that regard, it just wouldn't feel right.  It's more like TLF in that the game comes from having the interplay of all the stuff, not from just picking a few.  Anyway, I like the 0-10 sort of system as well, but I'm not sure we need that granularity here.  For now I think it's 6-7 difficulties, I can't recall exactly.  Differentiating them has not been a big focus yet.

-1 city challenge, always war, always peace, are things that might be options, it's more of a polish thing for later in the beta if you remind us.
-Achievements will most likely be the same as with TLF, where you can view them during games or from the main menu.  Same in AI War and most of our games, really.  That's how it is now, but we haven't started designing any achievement yet (though we do have some preemptively named, heh).

-Frankly, which race you choose is a much bigger deal in this game than... any other comparable game I can think of.  Some fundamental game rules change depending on which race you are.  Some races are rated as harder to play as, and others as easier.  Leaders offer further differentiation within those playstyles.

--- Quote from: DrFranknfurter on December 14, 2014, 05:04:31 pm ---Also, Zebeast46's question... I'm not sure if I'm confused as well. But I'm picturing a post-victory game screen. One that has a bit more information then "You Win!" I know requests for more detailed victory screens were requested for TLF:
I seem to recall a response somewhere to the effect of : ' unloads the game data, so it's not easy.' But I can't find it...

It'd be nice if SBR had the victory screen not unload any data but keep it there to show you. Preferably with a log of events and a way of quickly running through them visually e.g. showing the minimap on a turn-by-turn basis, re-playing the changing minimap of a 20h 600 turn game over a minute or two for your amusement. Key events in the history of the world would be nice too, as well as saying exactly how you won. Victory text basically, but perhaps a little more numbery, so text plus a breakdown of your score (x10 for enemy difficulty, x0.1 for friendly planet setting, x1.3 for earning an achievement etc.). Lastly, and perhaps most importantly. If it doesn't unload things you have the option of a "One more Turn" Button. Always nice to have... as long as there is actually a planet left to play with. (no planet cracker victory).
--- End quote ---

The abrupt endings with most of our games (perhaps Shattered Haven and Tidalis aside, and I guess also Valley 2 aside) has long been a point of contention.  That's something that I do plan to address this go-round, and Zebeast46 game me some pretty interesting ideas last night.  I still have to talk to Keith about feasibility, and it would probably be a during-beta feature, but we'll see.  What I have in mind would not only be satisfying for the end of the game, it would also be a really good marketing tool for videos, so there's benefit to doing it sooner than later.

--- Quote from: DrFranknfurter on December 14, 2014, 05:04:31 pm ---Also... I'm still sad there are no zombies planned. *sniffs... then coughs painfully* Hope all is going well with the game. I'll be happy to volunteer to test it when you're ready for some alpha/beta testers. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute to a proper eXplorminate review for SBR upon release too. I know they are eager to do a podcast with you at some point. (like these here :

I'm more of a typer then a talker... still, they're a friendly bunch, even mentioning SBR very briefly during the last weekly eXchange. Not sure if you've communicated with Devildog, Nasarog and the others but they've been keeping an eye on the preview page and asking for updates about the development in chats on steam. So you have an audience there. Oh and an eXplorminate response to your posts on victory conditions/blowing up the planet:

athelasloraiel 21 minutes ago

(athelasloraiel posted quite a lot of little bug reports for Sorceror King, I'm sure he'd be a welcome addition to the community here if I can win him over. He also keeps things short and to the point, a trait I could do with learning.)

--- End quote ---

Cheers, thanks!  I look forward to getting to know those guys better.  I sent them a note a while back, and did not hear back.  It wasn't really the time yet for podcasts about this game anyway, so it was no particular skin off my teeth, heh.

And things are going well, thanks for asking.  We've wound up having to basically split this into three prototype phases, rather than one.  The first one is very near to completion, but I'm not sure it's going to be quite where I want it prior to the holidays.  Which bugs me, but I don't have the sense that we're behind schedule in an overall sense.

I've been actually playtesting rather than just designing and unit testing, and so far I've been playing As Stupidly And Carelessly As Possible, just not really putting any effort into strategy or trying to do well at all.  I haven't been intentionally making bad choices or anything, it's been more like "what happens if I press this red button?" sort of things.  So that's actually put a lot of things into perspective with me not actually trying to do math in my head or figure anything out very hard.  I know how the game is supposed to be played, but when there are places where I shoot myself in the foot because I didn't pay attention to things carefully enough, then I know there's a problem with the UI or the game rules, etc.

In a lot of cases that meant rebalancing early tech costs and early income/outflow costs so that it was a lot harder to shoot yourself in the foot out of the gate.  I was accidentally trapping myself into super slow construction at the start by building too many buildings too fast, not really paying attention to my crowns level or my available construction skill.  That was something that could burn like 25+ turns at a go, too, and I found that really annoying.  So simply adding in (very sensible) game rules about limiting simultaneous constructions based on available construction skill made that problem entirely go away.  Suddenly that was super clear and intuitive and I wasn't shooting myself at all, which was really nice.

There were other things with the interface, too, where I wasn't getting quite enough information here or there to really make decisions, or things were too buried to make quick decisions, etc.  Really smoothing all that out so that my own play experience is really fluid and fun is one of my first goals, even before continuing to add more game mechanics, though we are doing that also.  I haven't paid that close of attention to that sort of thing this early in the process except with AI War and Tidalis and Bionic Dues.  And I've not done this much "full playtesting" (as opposed to unit testing) on any game since AI War.  It's already definitely showing, in a very positive way.  I think people will be really surprised in a good way even at the start of the alpha.

Anyway, so things are going well, though in terms of the first milestone we're a bit behind.  I don't think that means we're behind on the overall project, I just think it's a matter of some later priorities shifting forward some.  It helps me to look at mechanics and kill those things that really are overly complex and hinder the fun or make the interface impenetrable.  That in turn really makes it so that I don't find out those things belatedly leading to either a major refactor or an "oops, well that's just how it is" situation.  This again was exactly how AI War was developed, so I'm really feeling very good about that.

We'll just see how things progress!  But right now feeling very good. :)

I know this might be  kind of early to ask about this but, how will the terraforming wars and economic wars go? And by the way, I love how you get bonus social progress for doing specific building placement, it will make the races twice as fleshed out, but also how will you implement that with the ai?

Also right now I am in a bidding war on steam for Skyward Collapse and A Valley Without Wind and I honestly kind of feel bad for trying to take your games for free. {insert smiley face here} I guess I will have to buy Tidalis and Shattered Haven now.


--- Quote from: Zebeast46 on December 15, 2014, 07:47:19 pm ---I know this might be  kind of early to ask about this but, how will the terraforming wars and economic wars go? And by the way, I love how you get bonus social progress for doing specific building placement, it will make the races twice as fleshed out, but also how will you implement that with the ai?

Also right now I am in a bidding war on steam for Skyward Collapse and A Valley Without Wind and I honestly kind of feel bad for trying to take your games for free. {insert smiley face here} I guess I will have to buy Tidalis and Shattered Haven now.

--- End quote ---

In the beginning, one gem was equal to one cent, or thereabouts. Some games were going for 50,000 gems. The valuation is completely off. But good for you if they are near free for you or something.

The terraforming wars are mainly about atmospheric composition.  There are the following atmospheric components:


Different races need different ones.  The underwater and robots don't care.  A couple of components (Ice Dust, for one) are used by only one race (that's hard).  Most are used by 2-3 races, but never more than 3.

Each race (except flying and underwater and Andor) has 3 different types of terrain for themselves.  Each of those puts off 1-3 different atmospheric compounds, usually 1.  The Acutians do have terrain, I should note, even though they don't care about atmospheric composition.  They're just spreading junkyards and polluting, basically.

You want at least 20.95% atmospheric composition of each of your race's 3 atmospheric compounds in order to be 100% compatible with the air.  That's unlikely to happen, and is impossible to happen for all races, so the amount of terrain that is built by each race helps determine that.  2-3 races usually share the need of a given compound, so there are natural alliances (at least atmospherically) there.

Right now the AIs just try flat out to race to their best composition, and you're left to do what you like to try to get your own ideal composition.  There aren't any diplomacy options yet to do with convincing AIs to emphasize this or stop that with regard to terraforming, but there will be later.


Note that the citybuilder aspects that are super complicated in the sense of requiring a human-level intelligence are limited to the human side.  All that stuff with social progress in general is just for you.  The AIs don't even use that.  They also are not interested in the technologies or buildings you have, because they are already more advanced and/or different.  May as well post this:

Thematic Explanation Of Human Technologies, And Race Tech Tree In General
The aliens that were on board this capsule were all in cryo-freeze, and in fact are “new beings” that have recently been born and then rapidly accelerated to adulthood.  They have some knowledge that has been downloaded into their brains, but no real life experience since they are new.

The only one that is not new is you, the racial leader.  You were also in cryo sleep, but you were alive and have memories prior to landing.

Unfortunately the ship took much longer to get to its destination than planned, and it actually took you to the wrong planet for mysterious reasons.  Some sort of electronic signal also wiped out large portions of both your electronically-augmented brain, as well as the memories from your computer.

One interesting thing that your computer did pick up en-route, however, is a lot of chatter from an ancient dead planet called “Earth.”  The planet has long-since been consumed by its own star, but the transmissions persisted.  A lot of the available technology that your scientists are able to come up with are based on studying the old earth transmissions, as well as the other alien races that already exist on this new planet.

By contrast, the "non-human-associated" races are separated out to an extreme degree.  None of this human-inspired stuff at all, and they have not forgotten their racial pasts in the same way.  Just super, super alien buildings.  Blue already has been doing such a wonderful job of that with the Thoraxians and the Spire, but that's something that we'd keep up with all the other races, too.  I don't care if the players can't tell what those racial buildings are: I don't WANT them to feel comfortable or at home with those buildings at all.  There aren't many per race anyway, and so learning their functions is not a gargantuan task.  And making them feel utterly alien is a very very good thing.

By contrast, the stuff that the player is building is kind of futuristic-human-inspired, with some compromises and takeaways from various alien cultures.  And of course the alien terrain that will help make the local alien populace happier.  This works thematically really well, and it provides some extra direction for the art (which is consistent with everything we've already done so far, but helps extend that thinking beyond the player-controlled stuff and the really odd Thoraxians and the Spire).


There are presently 73 entries in the tech tree, and they are what I consider the "basic set" for the player.  There's a lot more to come on that, but it gets much further into the middle and late game, basically.  Those first 73 are not all required to play the game by any means, but they comprise the kind of basic set of city buildings for your side.

The AIs all have their own unique logic, different from you and each other, that governs how they grow, what they build, when they build, etc.  Some of their buildings are visible on the surface to you, others are underground and have to be scanned via sonar.  And then you either need to send in ground troops through ruined city wreckage above, use tunnels to infiltrate from the side underground, or use direct missiles (kind of like bunker busters) to hit those underground buildings.  So there's a pretty interesting mix there.

Basically nothing exists for the AIs (from a gameplay standpoint) "just because it's like the human side."  The only reason something on the AI sides exists is because it creates interesting challenges and/or opportunities for you, the player.  So you can strike at food or energy production, or you have trouble hitting reinforced barracks underground, or whatever the case might be.  It's all designed around providing interesting premises for you to play against, militarily or otherwise.

In terms of your own empire, with all the citybuilding elements that are much more complex, a lot of the rationale is that your civilization is having to reinvent itself.  It's simultaneously very advanced technologically and also having to reinvent a lot of wheels.  Figuring out agriculture on this alien world is actually one early tech, for instance.

All in all it's very... large. :)

Sorry but I have another question. :) Will there be asymmetry in this game and how will it wok? Will it be done the way shogun 2 did it, as in while you conquered everything around you, another empire did the same thing on the other side of the map so when you got to late game it was an epic battle between the empires, or are you going to do it ai war style?


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