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Progress report from the developer!

Hey everyone!

With the holidays in full swing, and with a new baby routine set up, life is getting less hectic and that means more work is being done on the game! We just finished adding constellations to the game system, and we are finishing up the culture/idea system. Our plan is to have the base UI completed very soon, including the province view/mode, and then we’ll start adding the AI for the characters.

We just sent version .4.3.0 out to the testers yesterday, and we’ve got plans to send about one new build a week. We also plan to create a new video in the next few days showing our progress. I have been concentrating on rewriting some base features so that the framerate and response time of the UI is increased greatly. We were having an issue with lag, so I rewrote the galaxy UI and main camera script to be much more efficient (it was one of the first things I wrote when I was still learning Unity, and it was one of those things where it could be much more efficient but I didn’t know it at the time). The UI and camera are much more responsive now. I also changed out the camera FOV and zoom system to work more like Stellaris as opposed to changing the FOV to zoom into the galaxy view. This makes the distortion at very high zoom-out levels almost nonexistent!

We’re also starting to implement the sound effects. It’s amazing how much a little sound can affect the UI experience. Makes it much more tactile. Unity makes it super easy to add sound effects to UI, as well as music. We’re still working on the music, but we have a few options already for a professional-sounding experience, especially for an indie game!

Oliver is continuing to write more of the game story and interludes, and Ogi just got back from holiday, so we’ll be seeing more art soon!

The next few builds will start to contain some of the command modes fleshed out more from a UI perspective, and we will start to add more Actions for characters, continue to add more art and remove placeholders, and start to generate the AI actions. We’ll start by testing 2 distinct ‘ultimate strategies’ that a character can be pursuing long-range (eventually, this will be around a dozen) and starting work on the ‘AI map’ to test it in the game. This is a very exciting time for the game and I’m excited to see what these characters will start to do!

Also on the radar: completion of the conversion of all stellar art assets to 3d, and adding volumetric nebulas/fog. That’s more of an ongoing task, however.

From a business perspective, we have finally finished our logo, and have begun design work on our new web sites. No ETA for those yet, hopefully before the end of the year. Our existing websites/forum are still and will continue to be up, however. We did have a spam attack on our forums (guess we’re getting bigger!) so for now if you want to register on the forums we will be handling those by hand.

We have started a news letter that contains some of this information, but it will add more in-depth info (an ‘insider’ piece, if you will) and will be sent on demand through signing up on our FB page or our web site.

That’s about all for now. Watch this space for more media soon!

Thanks!

-Steve

 

 

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The dreams of an Emperor

Hi all – we have something rather special for you today. I’ve put four (non-spoileriffic) samples of our dream sequences into Twine and uploaded them here on philome.la. They should give you a little bit of a taste of the interludes in Alliance of the Sacred Suns.

In the game itself, there will be over 100 of these scenes, each tying in to your progress as Emperor and the way you choose to rule. The approach we’ve taken to these is to try and make sure the scenes are either a response to something you’ve done, or convey important quests and other information. (Critical information will, of course, be available for you to look back on after you’ve had the dream sequence announcing it.) Of the four I’ve uploaded, ‘Introductory Scene’ and ‘Žemyna Appears’ are scene-setting, ‘Psychic Overload’ is a warning we give you if you’ve been over-using your psychic powers, and ‘Life of St. Ramu Nyquist’ is a reward for completing a particular quest later in the game.

I hope you enjoy them – please leave any feedback in the comments!

Oliver

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Constellations!

Hi everybody,

Today we have some very exciting stuff to show you. Finally, we have the proper constellations in! (With placeholder names, as you might have guessed – Ed.) The game is really starting to look like the concept images we showed you last year. Check it out:

astrography_main-interface
Here’s Pavlos’ mockup from February last year…
constellations-zoomed-map
… And here’s what we’ve got in the game right now

Constellations are geographically (or astrographically) vital to the game – not only do they set the placement of the stars, they act as the boundaries of Imperial provinces – the highest-level administrative units in the Empire. If you’ve got a character you want to promote to the highest levels of government, and you can’t or daren’t replace any of your existing province governors, you’ll have to secure some territory in a fresh constellation.

Bear in mind, too, that as cool as this looks, it’s only the start. As you can see, the system can still get a little unruly:

Constellations whole map.png
That dragon drank five litres of concentrated squash before it was recaptured.

We need to do more passes on the look of the grid (it’s a bit busy in the middle at the moment, and could do with some subtle decorations), the way constellation names are displayed, and implement internal divisions within the constellations so we can colour them by parts according to who controls which systems. We’re also still working on the algorithms for generating the right distributions and alignments of constellations – we need to ensure that every star is accessible and that all the constellations are roughly oriented towards the centre of the map, to reinforce the impression that Neo-Sirius, New Terra and you the Emperor are at the centre of Human Space. And we have longer-range plans to replace the 2D nebulae with 3D volumetric ones. Not to mention the effect the onslaught of the Xyl will have on the map…

Until next time, Ave Imperator!

Oliver

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Development Update 04/11/2016

Hi all, Oliver here! It’s another short update today, to keep you posted on what we’ve been doing.

Steve’s been hard at work, implementing the constellation system, finishing the main menu, and laying the foundations for the province-level UI. Next week we’ll be able to show you the fruits of that – the constellations not only look fantastic and make Human Space much easier to navigate, they determine the borders of your provinces (the largest administrative unit in the Empire).

Ogi has done some cracking work producing our official company logo, and is now off on a well-deserved holiday. He’s left us a pile of assets to incorporate into the game over the next two weeks while he’s off.

I, meanwhile, have been designing the details of the more esoteric fringes of the AI ‘strategy tree’ and writing more dream scenes – I’m going through them in more or less the order in which you’ll experience them, in order to let the characters to develop naturally. Obviously, being hooked to events in-game and subject to different conditions, it’s not possible to tell exactly what order the scenes’ll be read in, but the story structure is divided into separate chains that always come in the same order, which helps in that regard. On Wednesday I wrote a couple of scenes that I’d had in mind a long time – maybe not the most crucial scenes in the game, but potentially the most revealing. But you’ll have to wait and play the game to find out what they are!

Until next time, Ave Imperator!

Oliver