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Update on AotSS – Release Date Announced, New Video Released!

Hey everyone!

Well, I have some exciting news – AotSS version .6, aka Archimedes, will be released Tuesday, January 9, 2018!!

The cost will be $7.99 for the initial entry. This means that you will get Archimedes and every other build going forward, including patches and content additions after 1.0. Why so long, Steve? Good question!

As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of projects that promise much and deliver much less. If anything, this version of AotSS will include more than the original plan called for, including some basic House AI and more Actions and Projects (and corresponding UI) then called for originally. I want to make sure that I deliver a product that I’m proud of, and given my irregular work schedule, this is what it will take to not only deliver the build, but update the web site, add secure ecommerce, and do some basic cleanup of my sites and consolidate everything under the wordpress site under the www.allianceofthesacredsuns.com domain, since there are several sites floating around.

I have also released a new video that you should see if you want to get an idea of development – its here: https://youtu.be/0DLUH1JX6cI There is a slight echo but it is workable. I will release a new video every week until first alpha release with additional feature spotlights.

Later today, I’ll be writing another blog talking about a very good point that a commenter had in the video – who are you competing against, anyway? It’s a multi-layered questions and one that I feel deserves a larger answer, so I’ll talk about that later today!

Until soon… Excelsior!!

-Steve

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Update – ‘Archimedes’ is still on schedule for early October initial alpha release!

Hey all!

Well, despite a hurricane, a super busy time at work (when you sell cars and you’ve just had a massive flood, you tend to be very busy), and a very tricky stack overflow bug that took days to hunt down, AotSS Archimedes release .6 is still on track for an early October release. It will still be $7.99, and purchase of Archimedes will allow you updates throughout the lifecycle of the game. I’m not a huge DLC fan, so rest assured there will be plenty of updates (more Projects, more Actions, more dialog, more planet types, more Houses, etc) that can come for free! Details on how to purchase will come next month; we’re still working on revamping our website.

Also, we are restarting the alpha tester program. We’re far enough along now that there is a lot going on with the program and it is now impossible for me to track every little permutation. While there should now no longer be any show stopper/crash bugs, logic bugs, UI errors, data inconsistencies, etc. are something that need to be looked at. Balance is another huge aspect at this point. Other than adding a few data views, Archimedes is essentially feature-locked at this point, so testing can begin. If you’re interested, please email me at steve@imperia5x.com with your contact info, a brief background of your game interests, and any relevant experience. If you were a prior tester, I will be reaching out to you to see if you’re still interested, so no need to write. (If you were a tester for the previous (non-Unity) verion of Imperia, you will need to contact me as I no longer have that contact list.).

I will be releasing a new LP tomorrow as well. This will be a true LP, walking through some of the strategic choices and what you can do so far in this version of AotSS. As always, remember that this is a pre-alpha – there is a lot left to add!

Thanks for reading!

-Steve

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Updated development video now out! Check it out here!

Hey everyone!

As promised, the new video is out, and while it’s a bit longer than usual (almost 50 minutes!) it’s chock full of content and showing some of the new graphics, UI, and systems we’ve been working on. We are targeting more frequent updates – every two weeks or so, just to keep ourselves honest if nothing else. There should also be 2 blog posts a week ideally, but at least one no matter what. We’re working on cleaning up the forums – we had an attack of spammers a month or so ago, and we’re just about done cleaning up all that nonsense. We hope to have a tentative early access release date pretty soon, where you’ll be able to buy in on the ground floor and be eligible for all future updates. We’re getting closer, as you can hopefully see from this video. I’m personally excited to be working on the game actively again and I think you’ll be impressed with the strides we’ll be taking over the next several weeks!

Anyway, the link is here:https://youtu.be/0u1D2FvLHig

Don’t forget that we have our own channel that you can subscribe to for updates in real-time. Hundreds have signed up, why don’t YOU?? 🙂

Until soon,

Steve

 
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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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.4 (Constantine) Releasing to Testers This Week!

Hey everyone!

First of all, it’s very exciting to see so many new people on the blog! Thanks to RPS for their very positive article!

We wanted to announce that we are releasing .4 this week (codename: Constantine) and we are moving right into .5 (codename: Theodosius). This means that most of the UI is now complete, the Projects and Action systems are in, the new game creation system is in, and the 3D graphics have been updated with most of the planets being replaced and all of the stars. We are very excited about working on .5, which will include the following:

  • Council System
  • Budget System
  • Emperor Screen/Diary
  • Unrest/Tension system
  • Constellations
  • Start of AI System Implemented
  • More Projects/Actions
  • Sound/Music

We are working hard on getting the AI implemented and the gameplay balanced as our testers will be working on this. Look for more screenshots and an updated video shortly on our YouTube channel!

Also, with the release of .4, we will be increasing the tempo of blog and forum updates, as well as working on our web site design. We will move to www.allianceofthesacredsuns.com shortly once our new web site is live. This blog will be moved there as part of that redesign.

Most exciting, we are planning to release our Phase One of our early access build before the end of the year! We will add more information about pricing and dates shortly.

Stay tuned for more info!

-Steve

 

 

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Introducing… Alliance of the Sacred Suns!

Hey everyone!

Been a few weeks since we’ve posted but we’ve been very busy. We’re closing in on the massive .4 milestone with the completely revamped UI system. We’ve also refined the trade system, the migration system, and added the full Action and Project systems, which are critical for how you as Emperor interact with the game. We’ve also refined our art assets and have started working on the conversation and help system (tooltips, tutorial process, etc) and removed a lot of bugs. So any videos that you’ve seen in the last 2 months, you can pretty much throw out because the game looks very different at this point.

On top of that, though, there’s one big change we’re announcing today. I have used the name ‘Imperia’ since I started working on the game when it was a hobby, and at that point it didn’t make much difference what the game name was since I never intended to sell it (or even release it publicly, at first). Once we became serious about the game, however, we started looking at potential issues with the name. There is a game called Imperia Online that has been around for almost 11 years, and although the games are wildly different in type and scope, we decided to go a different direction so as to avoid confusion with that game. Plus, having a truly unique name will help with search results and not ‘cover us up’ as we are a much smaller game.

But the biggest reason for the name change, simply, is because the new name better reflects more accurately your goal as Emperor. Your ultimate ambition is to reform the shattered Celestial Empire in order to prepare it for mankind’s final test: the Xyl. Because of this, and since much of the background story is rooted in religion and mysticism, we felt that Alliance of the Sacred Suns was more appropriate as to tell the story of the game and your role as the Emperor.

So we’ll be rebranding in stages. We will be creating a new web site that brings together all the parts of the game universe (the blog, the forum, and the wiki) and create a one-stop shop site under www.allianceofthesacredsuns.com shortly. We will announce when the site is live. We will leave redirects from the old Imperia-titled links for a while to ease the transition, but it is our hope that by the end of the year most people are using the unified web site.

We’ll be releasing a new video shortly (probably this weekend) to showcase the new UI and game play. In addition. we’ll be featured on Space Game Junkie on August 23rd at 5:30 PM PST to show .4 and the early work on .5! More on this soon.

Thanks for your support while we’ve transitioned and worked hard on the game: we’re a small studio (essentially 2 people plus contract talent) so we don’t always have time to update the blog and forums as much as we should, but rest assured we’re working hard to bring AotSS to you as soon as possible!

As always, Long Live the Celestial Empire,

Steve

 

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New .3 Overview Video Up!

Hey everyone!

Planned to get this up a little later in the week, but I was feeling frisky (and my recording software was cooperating) so here’s a short overview video of some of the main .3 features. Please keep in mind that most of .3 is under the hood, so while the ‘game world’ is more or less alive beyond character strategies and civilization AIs, the meat of the .4 update is showing this information to the player.

Shown in this video: The new trade system, the revamped main UI, the Command Mode system, and the foundations of the Project Bar and system.

Link: https://youtu.be/IaLunW37ibU

Enjoy!!

-Steve

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.3 has been released! Overview and plan for .4

UPDATE: The video showing the highlights of .3 visually is now up here: https://youtu.be/IaLunW37ibU

Hey all!

With a new month comes a new update, and after several months of development, .3 is ready for internal testing! Since it’s a foundational update, much of the work was done behind the scenes, but here’s a partial list of the main additions:

  • Command Modes. Now you can work within a main command mode (Political, Military, Economic, Demographic) and all of your data, Project choices, and Actions will be filtered towards furthering that particular part of your strategy.
  • Project System added. Project Bar and Screen added, as well as filter for Command Mode
  • Trade System added, along with fleets, trade hubs, trade zones, and the concept of Importance with resources
  • Province generation revised to be more balanced
  • Manufacturing system balanced vastly downward in relation to the Trade system
  • Houses more fully implemented
  • House Banners functionality added
  • Holding concept implemented (the idea that Houses own planets, systems, etc. and gain tax from them)
  • Redesigned Main UI
  • Relationship States added and finalized
  • Emperor created (you!) as unique object in game
  • Cultures added and initialized among the galaxy within 3 ‘zones’ (Imperial Cultures/Inner Ring, Border Space Cultures/Second Ring, Outer Rim Cultures/Third Ring
  • GPP generation revised
  • Game rethreaded to allow turns to generate while the player is still interacting with the map (i.e. no ‘loading new turn pause screen’)
  • Trade Fleets added – they move on the map, show lines to their destination, etc
  • UI revised significantly for new Command Mode system, more to come
  • Political and Economic Galaxy Map filters added
  • Additional core Actions added

So that’s .3 – and I’m happy to say that it is pretty damn stable so far! So what’s coming for .4? Glad you asked! By June, Imperia should have the following:

  • Constellations
  • Updated System and Planet UIs
  • Military and Demographic Galaxy Filter Modes
  • Main Game Screen redesign
  • House Setup Screen/New Game Setup screen
  • Emperor Setup Screen
  • Power mechanic implemented
  • Complete work on Project creation and add Core Projects
  • Add core Actions for Characters
  • Add Religions
  • Add Options screen (save, load, etc)

There’s some other design work behind the scenes as well to prepare for future releases, but this is the stuff that you will see when you play. Very excited to release a new video in the next few days showing what we’ve done. As always, remember that we’re showing work that’s done way before a normal studio would – as we’ve always done, we’re showing people every step in the journey, and keep in mind that a ‘normal’ studio probably wouldn’t start showing work until about another 3-4 months in the process. Hopefully you like what we’re doing and we’ll keep doing it!

-Steve

 

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Where have you been, Steve? Well, big news!!

So you probably have noticed that I’ve been gone for a while from the blog. There is a very good reason for that: After much thought, I have decided to take on the large-scale challenge that Imperia has thrown in front of me. I’ll explain.

I have been working on Imperia for almost a year now (10 months) and it started out as a single project that I was using to learn how to program. I reached a point in my development where I realized that I actually had (or could learn) the skills needed to create the 5X game I’ve always wanted to play, which became Imperia. As I continued to work on it, I wanted feedback, so I posted the game to a few forums. Interest grew, and as the game went through version .2, then .3, and .4, more and more people jumped on, to the point where there are thousands of hits a week when I post new info.

With the addition of Pavlos and the creation of the awesome community, I had to at least consider what, if anything, I wanted to do with Imperia. Does it stay a hobby, or do I try to make it fly, follow my dream, and create the game I’ve always wanted – but with more resources?

After much thought, prayer, conversation, and trepidation, I’ve decided to jump into the icy pool: I will rebuild Imperia from the ground up and sell it.

What does this mean to you? First, I will release .414 shortly. It has a lot of bug fixes and is very playable at this point, if obviously incomplete. Future VB version releases of Imperia will always be free. I will continue to ‘noodle’ on the VB version of Imperia for ideas and to quickly test out certain parameters as I work though getting up to speed with my new development system.

Which is what, Steve? Well… glad you asked. I’m going all the way with Unity 5 and C# scripting. This change will allow many benefits:

  • Universal compatibility – there will be builds for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Resolution issues will be markedly reduced
  • The engine is more stable and much more supported at this point
  • Install dependencies are now much more integrated – one click install, with the flexibility of a full install program
  • Better memory management
  • Fonts won’t suck 😀
  • Vastly more potential to upgrade the UI – we are designing a ‘holistic’ UI where you never leave the galaxy map – you will ‘zoom’ into provinces (formerly sectors), systems, and planets – all on the same screen, but with different information. I’ve already mocked a prototype and it’s way more beautiful and flexible!

Those are the high points, and I am very excited about having the chance to correct and improve some things about the original Imperia, especially with the interface and some of the complexity of the planet economic system.

So for now, there is no MSRP, no Kickstarter, and no immediate early access plan. As I have said before, I have a lucrative full-time job and do not need to do this for the money. If we do move to some sort of crowdfunding, it will be small and used to pay for assets (music, Pavlos’ art, animation, etc). There is also the possibility of publishing though another company, though there is very little I can say about that at this time. Let’s just say for now there will be no call for your wallet. :)

If you are interested in being an actual alpha tester for KatHawk games (the DBA of my company), please let me know. A playable build is frankly 2-3 months off while I wrangle with the Unity system. I wish I had started with it from the beginning, but c’est la vie. There are some of you who have been with us since the beginning and I will personally reach out to you.

If you have any other questions, thoughts, etc. I would love your input, either here on the blog or at our forum. One thing we will be doing soon will be to update and unify the blog, the wiki, and the forum, and create a one-stop page with the usual things: news feed, media corner, development updates, etc.

I am very nervous about this decision, and I did not come to it lightly. I have no idea if Imperia will be as good as I want it to be at the end of the development cycle but I will say this. I’ve worked on this thing for almost a year, and I’ll work on it until it’s the best space strategy game I can possibly make, and if you want to join the ride, there’s plenty of room on the wagon – the journey’s just starting (again): hop aboard!

-Steve

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.412 is LIVE!! Check out the changes here…

Hey all!!

Back from a little vacation to get recharged, and hot off the press is .412! Lot of changes, and some neat UI stuff. Highly recommend to get. Also, the beginnings of the finance screen are in, and some fixes for lower resolutions should have something for everyone!

EDIT: .412a had a fatal error having to do with dependencies requested that didn’t exist in the build. I have removed all those dependencies and have uploaded as .412b. Please try that version if your install didn’t work. Thanks!

V.412 Changelog

2.24.15

BUG FIXES

* Fixed several graphical issues, especially with lower resolutions

* Fixed issue where taxes were not being calculated properly

* Fixed bug where calculating trades could cause a crash

* Fixed most remaining instances of numbers/money amounts being out of sync

* Fixed issue where projected cash flow was not accurately taking into account sector growth for next month

* Fixed issue where you could go negative on the ADM used when creating an Edict

MAJOR CHANGES:

* Added empire treasury screen. This will greatly expand in future releases but for now you can see your sector-level profitability. As the game evolves you will have to manage your sectors first as well as your sector governors and this will be the first stage in that reporting.

* Added trade summary on planet screen. This shows what trades were coming and going, the status of the station, what kind of trades the planet can do, and eventually it will show the corruption (new concept!) and efficiency of the planet’s trade

* Added planet summary panels on the system screen. These panels show just about everything you would want to know about a planet in easy icon form. Will add tooltips for future versions.

* Added starbase effective range concept. In previous versions, a level I starbase was just as effective as a level V starbase as far as covering a part of space and supporting stellar missions/Edicts. This didn’t make sense from a gameplay perspective, so changed to be an exponential range increase based on starbase level. The downside to this is that starting in .413, the empire will have to pay 50% maintenance for all starbases.

* Added kickback information to emperor screen, so you can see how much money is coming in each turn from your less savory sources.

* Added additional comments/results for the ‘Have Conversation’ action. Now, depending on your charisma, you can learn additional things about the character, and they may even join your alliance if you are persuasive enough! Added charisma as the primary weight mechanism, with modifiers for intelligence, age difference, traits, and loyalty (was not considered before). This should produce more realistic interactions, where people who hate you all of a sudden love you and support you on the basis of one conversation

* Tweaked balance further now that the sector economy level is starting to be developed

* Added functionality to Edict creation screen. Now shows real-time what adding ADM to an Edict will do for a system/sector/planet cash flow. Also added ability to use a planet’s materials if they are out of ADM, so a system/sector can now use the remaining materials on the planet before dipping into their reserve.

* Added the ability for Logistical stations to send goods to their immediate trade hub only. May not send upstream to other planets for emergency supply.

* Added more Pressure/Persuade effects, should all be done except for personal actions (blue)

* Changed economic profits. Before, a sector could be losing billions of dollars and it would be subsidized by magic, apparently, since the money was never accounted for. Starting in .412, sectors that are not profitable will subtract from the total tax base of the planet before imperial and sector taxes are considered. This will make it more important to pay attention to ‘black hole sectors’ of your economy. On the plus side, made manufacturing and agriculture more profitable to somewhat compensate.

Enjoy!

-Steve