Hello everyone! Steve here with a small blog about one of the subtle, but important UI design choices: the concept of Command modes.

When we revamped the game design, we put a lot of thought into the UI. Imperia is a game with a lot of information, and we wanted a system where a player could get that information easily – but within the context of what they were working on.

If you play strategy games, you tend to think in terms of ‘what do I want to do?’ These tasks can be anything from ‘raise taxes’ to ‘build a fleet’ to ‘put a building in the queue on my capital planet’. But you are almost always doing these things within a larger context; in other words, you’re trying to accomplish a larger strategic goal by doing tactical things. So we thought, What will players do most? We settled on 4 broad areas that we felt most players would assign strategic value in Imperia: economic, military, diplomatic, and  demographic (pops), and created dedicated Command modes that focus player interaction on a particular area of strategy.

What this means in game terms is that if you select, say, Economic mode, then all map submodes, Actions, Projects, and data will be relevant to the economy of that view level, be it province, system, or planet.

So for example, if you are looking at a planet screen in Economic mode, you will see the taxes, production, trade to and from the planet, planet-level economic Projects in the Project bar, etc. If you move out of the planet screen, the system screen will have system trade, system-level economic Projects in the Project bar, and so on. Any submodes will be economic-related as well.

In essence, Command modes act as a smart filter so that you can act within the strategy you are pursuing without having to move ‘sideways’ in the UI. You can switch between command modes at any time, and for traditionalists there will be ‘override’ options that allows for Action- and Project-level filtering independent of the command mode (in other words, you can see all Projects for a planet even if you are in Military command mode) but we think most players will appreciate this setup once they start to play.

More to come soon, including some new screenshots!

-Steve

 

Hey everyone! Well, Oliver and I have been working hard on the refined game design for Imperia, and after an original version that was banged on for a while, several months of work and balancing, and a lot of cussing and sore fingers, we are excited to announce that the game design document for Imperia is just about through its first draft!

While this may or may not sound exciting, you may have noticed that we haven’t put up any new screens for a while, and we haven’t released any new builds to our testers. It’s been almost 4 months, in fact. We made a decision among the 3 of us (Oliver, Pavlos, and myself) that as this was becoming a large and commercial project, it made more sense for us to pause, rework and get the design on paper, lock down the critical game systems and design elements, and flesh out the lore of the universe of Imperia. It’s been a lot of work, and I have to say Oliver in particular has put a lot of work into the AI systems, the lore, and the military systems, among other things.

We challenged each other, took a critical eye at everyone’s thoughts, and looked at every single aspect of Imperia from a new perspective. Some of what we have changed we have discussed in these forums and blogs as developer’s diaries, but there’s more. Much more to this design. Over 60,000 words and over 160 pages so far, in fact. And still growing as we add lore and things like formulas, art, etc.

Is this the right way to design a game? We don’t know. But when you have 3 people working from across the globe, with different time zones and responsibilities with the game, you have to have a concrete Bible that everyone can work from. We have project management and such as well, of course, but as we quickly found out, a game of this complexity and scope simply could not be ‘made up as we go’ as we got deeper into the design from what I started in 2014. So much like starting over with Unity, we took a deep breath and plunged into the task.

And you know what? It was absolutely the right thing to do. These last few weeks, as we have tied down the major systems and bridged the lore with the systems and the UI plan, we realize we’re creating something incredible here; something that has never really been tried before. With a working GDD, we’re going to be able to start developing code and art again in earnest, and frankly, with all we’ve done with Imperia, I can confidently say this:

Imperia is about to lift off, and for those of you who have been following us for a while (y’all are awesome and seriously devoted, BTW!) your patience is about to be rewarded in a big way. We’re going to start sharing portions of the game design in about a week, but for a little something right now, here’s a new ‘back of the box’ description of what Imperia is:

“Happy birthday, Your Excellence. I am your AI regent. As you have now reached your eighteenth birthday, you are now the Last Emperor of the Celestial Empire, and as such are now authorized to receive this briefing, classified Omega-One Level.

“The year is 3050 AD. You are the last Emperor of the last Human Empire on the first planet founded after Mother Earth fell over an eon ago to the wrath of the Xyl.

“Our race, scattered amongst the quadrant, thousands of light-years across, has shattered like cosmic glass after the Second Xyl War. Scattered survivors have formed small civilizations, new cultures have sprung up, and even strange religions have formed to the very edges of the quadrant in a feeble attempt to fight the flickering of humanity’s flame. Recently, our outer colonies have seen disturbing signs of our ancient Xyl enemies once more, and New Terra’s historians are increasingly wary of what they see.

“The Celestial Empire, or as it is known colloquially, the Last Empire, stands as humanity’s final bastion against the winds of the Xyl that would seek to extinguish this flame. These creatures that are less than Gods but more than mortal have planned centuries for this time, and they do not intend to fail in their goal a third time.

“Your House rules dozens of worlds, but the other Great Houses of the Empire seek to usurp the Crystal Throne upon which you sit. Powerful Primes sit on the Celestial Council, gathering power for the time when they might strike for the Empire themselves. Only your House’s vast holdings, your control of your unimpeachable Inquisitors and their attached squads of fanatical Judgements, and your divine right to rule which is still revered by the Empire’s people, has prevented a cataclysmic civil war between your ruling House and the other Houses.

“Your people still support you, but as the last in your line, the Last Empire, along with your House, will fall with you. The great religion of the Empire, Solarianism, threatens to schism your Empire as they pray not to you, but to Father Sun to turn back his demon Xyl, to no avail.

“We can not hope to fight this final war alone, Your Excellence. Our military technology has grown stagnant, and our warships have become relics with our slide away from technology. You must unite these broken shreds of humanity, lost though many of them have become, and bring them – however you must – under the banner of humanity one last time.

“The Xyl are coming, Your Excellence. The quadrant is watching. Your people are praying. Your enemies are plotting.

“Your empire awaits your first command.”

Hey everyone! Not dead, just busy, but the clouds have cleared in my work schedule and we’ve been hard at work on the Game Design Document! I wanted to take a moment and explain how production will work, since it’s somewhat novel and fits in line with the ‘you don’t micro each building on your planets’ theme.

At its core, the production system contains 2 major elements: Build Points (BPs) and Build Plans. Build Points are generated though factories for each raw mineral in the game (Basic, Heavy, Rare) which are then allocated to Build Plans. Build Plans are essentially the plan for how BPs will be divided up among building areas on the planet. There are 10 different allocations that can be built:

  • Farms
  • High-Tech
  • Factories
  • Mines
  • Admin
  • Academies
  • Military Research Labs
  • Ground Military Factories
  • Starship Shipyards
  • Living Infrastructure

Not all areas will always be built at any one time. Generally, Build Plans will be generated depending on a planet’s Focus (formerly Designation in the first game) that you set as Emperor. For example, if you set a planet’s Focus as an Agriculture World, the viceroy will build at least 50% farms from the BPs that are generated, and the rest will be dependent on the viceroy’s House leanings (some Houses prefer more economy, some more military, some more research, some more trade, some are a combination, etc) as well as their personal preferences.

Build Plans can change every 6 months, but can be adjusted if a planet can not provide enough food or power organically. In other words, viceroys will try to make a planet self-sufficient within the bounds of the planet’s Focus limitations, and prioritize food and power production over all else unless the Focus does not allow for it.

As Emperor, you may change the Focus of a planet as a Project, but keep in mind that while a planet is changing Focuses, production drops to almost nothing as factories are retooled, zoning is changed, Pops are retrained, etc. Making this a Project reflects the enormous amount of work to change the development of a world so much.

Viceroys can also Overdrive their Build Plans if they deem it necessary. It is what it sounds like; it tasks your Engineers to make more BPs in order to allow things to be built more quickly. This will use up a lot more resources, as well as piss off and exhaust your Engineers (and Miners, as a secondary effect). Viceroys who are less empathetic will tend to do this more, but they run the risk of revolt from their engineer Pops and possibly even losing them to immigration. You do NOT want to lose your Engineers; they are almost as hard to come by as Science and Academic Pops. If you do not want Overdriven production as Emperor, you can set limits for this as a Policy.

That’s a sneak peek into Production – more to come soon!

-Steve

Hey everyone! For those of you who have been with us for a while, you know all about Edicts – basically the way that you get stuff done on a planetary level in Imperia. When we sat down to redesign the game, we thought about what Edicts really represent. In the first Imperia, there wasn’t a lot of interactivity to them – you basically pointed your finger and said ‘do this’. While your vassals could slow down the project, there wasn’t a lot of rhyme or reason to it – plus, the way to build your Edicts was somewhat confusing, and assigning ADM from planets wasn’t very intuitive. So we knew we would be redesigning the screen from the start.

With that, what are Edicts? Well, you already have a lot of overlap with character Actions – you are asking characters to do things, and with Edicts you were asking more or less the same thing. It felt like a fiat, and there was very little interaction with characters beyond ‘piss them off, Edict slows down. Make them happy, Edict speeds up’. Since the core of the game is the relationship with your people and your leaders, this felt incomplete.

So we decided first to make Edicts only truly planetary-level and above decisions. Next, we thought about how to get characters involved, and to differentiate certain characters, giving the player tough decisions about how to create an Edict, while also keeping the actual physical creation extremely easy and intuitive. After much discussion, we have finalized the new Project system.

Why Project? Well, Projects are much more collaborative and expansive, while the very word Edict doesn’t leave much room for debate. Given the way they are now organized, and the fact that you will also be able to enact Progress Laws (we haven’t finalized the name yet) we didn’t want to confuse the player about what they were doing. Once you click on the Project in the list (similar to the Edict list), a Project Creation screen will popup. Here is a mockup of what the screen will look like:

Project Screen Mock

Each Project now has an ADM cost, shown on the upper-right. They also have a base resource cost, and a money cost. They also have a ethic leaning, which can make it impossible to add certain characters if their morality is strongly against the ethics rating of the Project.

Creating a Project is now very simple: You assign an Administrator, and then assign Contributors by dragging and dropping the character card onto the slots on the staffing ring. To remove a character, simply right-click. When you have full funding, click Execute and that’s it!

The first step is to assign an Administrator of the Project, shown in the center of the staffing ring on the left. Every character in the game has an Admin rating of 0-9, and that affects both the maximum number of characters they can add to a Project as Admin and how much of their holdings’ ADM they can use for a Project if they are a Contributor. Once you have an Administrator, a number of slots equal to their Admin rating will show around the outer circle (position has no bearing on anything).

Your goal as the Emperor is to assign characters to help with the Project by contributing money and ADM. What’s in it for them is now reflected by a Prestige rating for the Project. This represents the amount of power and influence that they gain throughout the empire by being a contributor to a stellar-level Project. Generally, the more prestigious the Project, the more characters will be willing to contribute UNLESS it is a Project that will help a rival House (characters tend to be more loyal to their Houses’ interests than yours) The actual amount of power they receive is proportional to the amount of funding that they end up contributing (Admins get 50% of the value of the Project Prestige rating by dint of them being the Administrator).

Each character card on the right has the character’s name, their max ADM that they can contribute per month, their public Honor rating, and their funding minimum/maximum that they are willing to give to the Project. Their loyalty to you, their personal wealth, their desire for Power, and how much their House will be affected (positively or negatively) will all weigh into what they are willing to contribute. Characters who are not willing to contribute anything or who will not be Contributors due to morality concerns will be greyed out. To easily find characters to add, you will have range filters from the planet, system, province, and the entire Empire, and you will also be able to filter by House, rank, whether they are allies or enemies, and more.

Now with this system, you have a lot of considerations. Sure, you can assign a high-level administrator, but competent ones will be few and far between. What happens if you have a need for a Project down the road that you have to have done quickly? If you pull an Admin, the project freezes until a new Administrator with equal or better Admin rating is put into place. Also, sure it’s great to have a character that will pony up the whole funding for a Project, but they will also get all the prestige that goes with that – is that a character that you want to give a massive power boost to? And if you put characters from the same House all in the Project, they will get a slight ADM efficiency bonus – but other Houses will take note that they have been shut out of Empire Projects, and your standing will suffer accordingly. Also, being an Admin of a successful and provincial-level, say, Project will also accord massive Power to that character. What are the ramifications of that?

With this information, you simply drag and drop characters onto the staffing ring until your funding potential (seen on the upper-left of the staffing ring) reaches 100% or more. You will also be able to gauge how long this Project might take as the Estimated Turns value changes. This is calculated by taking the max ADM allocation from characters that are assigned and dividing by the total ADM required to complete the Project. Once you are happy with everything, you click Execute. The Project is now in Funding status. After a turn passes, if nothing has happened with the characters that are involved in the Project financially or otherwise, they put their money in, the resources are removed from the planet where the Project is based, and the Project begins!

FOR PART II: Cover, corruption, troubleshooting Projects that are behind schedule, and what happens when characters die while involved in a Project…

Talk to y’all soon!

-Steve

 

 

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

*Finally, right?

Hey all, great news – while I can’t be totally sure that I got all the bugs out with the new release, Pavlos and I think you’ll enjoy it. This is a MASSIVE UPDATE that changes virtually everything about the game, and adds expanded intel, a totally revised UI, the army system, the pressure/persuade system, a revised economy model, a rebalancing, and more!! We have put a lot of work into the graphics and UI, and feedback is welcome!!

I’m exhausted, so I’m just going to let you try it out on the usual link at Sourceforge. There is also a new installer; goodbye OneClick!

Please enjoy, please remember it’s a beta, and please don’t kill me if something doesn’t work right. The game is getting large enough that I don’t know that I could catch every bug that might occur. Please send a bug report that is generated to the imperia5x.com forums – it would really help.

Enjoy!!!

-Steve

Hello all!!

Sorry I’ve been quiet for a little while. A combination of the holidays, a lot of work, and frankly a little burnout all contributed. I wanted to take a bit of time and step away to make sure that I still had the fire and passion for this project. Imperia is a complex undertaking, and it is essentially a 2-man project right now: Pavlos provides some wonderful art and graphics, and I do the rest. When I think of how much more I want to add to Imperia, sometimes it seems daunting, but then I remember that Imperia is the game that I’ve wanted to play for almost 20 years, and that purpose brings me back with a vengeance. So hiatus over, let’s get to work!!

There are 3 different things I want to do with Imperia in the next 30 days. The first thing I want to do is to get the full Imperia site in order. I have looked at some drag and drop options, and while those would be easy, I believe that I can program a basic site with CSS, Dreamweaver, and Javascript. If I can’t, I’ll go back to a basic template, and what I might do is create a ‘placeholder’ site while I work on the more advanced one behind the scenes.

The second thing is to actually get .410 as a release version. I want to have the ground unit system, the space units, the autonomy system, and the military edict systems all up and running, as well as complete the interim .410 UI. Pavlos has some excellent ideas about a UI that I think the next version will start heading towards, but for the .410, the current theme will be completed. We will also add the military tab for planets and create the military screen UI (this is how you will create large-scale build, design, and movement/attack/defend plans). It will be basic to start, but it will be a foundation. As part of the UI, I want to also have the event pictures in and the secondary screen in that gives more information. All tooltips will also be in for edicts and major UI areas.

The final thing is to get the word out about Imperia! Pavlos and I are excited about the new website, and unfortunately it doesn’t look like the current WordPress blog can be moved to the new website, so a link may have to be added. I do not want to give up that much history, so I will see what can be done. But in the meantime, I want to be more active on the blog/website, and if you know anyone who might be interested in playing (well, testing at this point) Imperia the feedback would be welcome! Remember, it’s free.

I want to address one other thing. Many people have asked me privately or mentioned in the forums about when/if Imperia will be a paid product. I do have some thoughts about that, and here they are.

  • First of all, I don’t know that I like the early access model that has been all the rage. Some of the companies are properly using this system to add requested features, to hunt bugs, and to promote additional worthwhile features. But for every game that does it right, there are 5 that seem to be money grabs. A few even have dropped support before the game is finished (or calling it a half-assed 1.0 and calling it a day). I don’t want to do that. I believe (perhaps naively) that developers who do this genuinely got ‘in over their head’ as opposed to deliberately misleading customers/gamers, but regardless of the reasons, I don’t want to go down that road. Any early access model that I adopt should Imperia be a paid product at some point would always provide a free alpha option.
  • That being said, I think Imperia has a lot of potential – but that potential is a LONG way off. It was started as a hobby, and became one that I shared with others who also thought a game like Imperia would be fun to play. I welcome any and all feedback. It’s how games get better. My stated goal has always been to make Imperia the best 4X ever made (or 5X, semantically :-) That hasn’t changed. But to do that with a staff of essentially two volunteers is a grand undertaking at best.

So there’s that. I can’t always promise progress will be rapid, but with .5 in the distance, most of the major UI and programming structure would be in place at that point, which makes development easier. The save/load systems, the XML readers, the sprite engines, etc. are all in the code and at that point it would be about creating content and developing the logic, which isn’t as hard as what’s been done so far!! I hope you can see the progress that has been made in the last 8 months, and I hope you see the potential of what will be, one day, but I can’t tell you what day that will be… because I have no idea either.

But stay tuned. Pavlos and I are ready to rock!

-Steve

Hello and happy Sunday! I hope those of you in America had a great Thanksgiving and if you’re into that sort of thing, Black Friday (sorry, England!)

I wanted to talk a little bit more about how the military will work in Imperia, and more specifically, what you as the emperor will be able to do, what your limitations will be, and what you must consider as you direct your ground and space forces. Before I do that, however, I wanted to touch on a mechanic that will be introduced after .410, but will be absolutely critical to the political model of Imperia: fear.

FEAR, simply put, is a number that is tracked concurrent with your Popular Support (PoSup) on each planet. For purposes of maintaining your hold on power, fear only has an effect when it is higher than your PoSup. It then takes the place of your PoSup, but is notated as Fear instead of PoSup and will be in red. Note that you need to have sufficient intel in order to see this specific effect on a planet. As long as your Fear rating is higher than your PoSup, it will act as your PoSup for purposes of unrest, economic effects, and most important, your hold on power. For an example, think of the Empire during Star Wars IV-VI – the populace was loyal, but only because they were cowed into obedience. Creating fear generally requires a large and loyal military, with a substantially loyal military leadership and viceroys/governors who are willing to go along and not incite a rebellion. Once you have made the decision to rule by fear, it is very difficult to rule any other way without significant nationalist policies and significant reforms for your people.

Now, to GUNS, GUNS, GUNS!!!

Every force in the game, whether ground or space, has 2 essential factors that determine what they will do on a given turn, and how they will perform:

STANCE– All forces can have one of 5 stances when at an Empire world, which you as Emperor have nominal ability to manage:

  • PEACEKEEPING – This is a general ‘protecting your people’ stance. People will feel safe and protected if there are combat factors equal to the security rating of the planet. The required security rating will fluctuate depending on the size, population, ADL of the planet, and several other factors. Very Tyrannical commanders may actually not allow this stance, or at the very least be very unhappy about it.
  • GARRISON – The same general stance, but more prepared for action. People are not quite as happy about a garrisoned force, but they are still positive. Slight readiness bonuses are given.
  • STANDBY – This is a ‘neutral’ stance. Your forces are prepared to act either for or against your people. The fact that they are not designated as explicit security forces causes concern among your pops, generated as Fear.
  • SUPPRESSION – At this stance, your forces may act against your pops or your leaders as needed. Fear is generated from this action, as well as significant unrest control. Military forces who are not loyal to you or whose commander is significantly Nationalist (or just, or planner, or benevolent, etc) will not generally support this action and will not be able to be issued this stance. This stance also provides diminished protection against hostile forces.
  • INTIMIDATION – The ‘stormtrooper’ stance; you are actively working to create fear and root out disloyalty on your worlds. This stance provides maximum fear and unrest reduction, but provides very minimum actual protection against hostile forces. Only very loyal commanders will allow this stance to be enacted.

Depending on the size, tech level, and skill of the force and the commander, it may take several months to change the stance of a given force. This represents not only the logistics of the change, but the psychological effects of taking time for your populace to actually see and believe in the change.

Fleets have 2 additional stances: IN TRANSIT, which allows fleets to move between stars, and INACTIVE, which essentially holds the ships in a mothball status and provides no bonuses or maluses, It costs somewhat to keep an inactive fleet in the process, but less than building an entire fleet from scratch. Fleets in INACTIVE status lose ability over time, reflecting lack of practice or action. Commanders in charge of inactive fleets also tend to be annoyed at their loss of station. There will be combat stances when you send a fleet to attack a hostile system/planet, but that will be discussed in a later blog under Battle Plans.

You will be able to see your fleets/ground forces in each system using the War Map view, which will show you the fleets, ground troops, and planetary defense bases (PDBs). You will be able to select fleets for quick action using a right-click to bring up a fleet list, which will then open up the Fleet Command System as a pop-up window, similar to the Edict window and the Character window.

Last, let’s talk more about commanders.

There are actually 2 ‘commanders’ of a force: a direct admiral of a fleet/general of a ground battalion, who is a character and will have all the normal characteristics as well as tactical and strategic ratings that will determine how effectively fleets will fight and conduct their stance orders.

The other commander, the one actually giving the stance and movement orders to the fleets/divisions is normally you, but you have the option to ‘loan’ military forces to system and sector overnors (you can not give fleets to viceroys!) This will have the obvious benefit of placating them and increasing their Loyalty, but once you give a fleet to a governor, taking one away will be very damaging to their prestige, and depending on their personality, they may not choose to give the fleets back at all! At that point, you are forced as Emperor to declare war on that governor for defying the Empire, or allowing the refusal to stand.

If you allow the refusal to stand, you stand a tremendous risk of rebellion from the affected system/sector since they see weakness from the Empire, while they see strength from their governor. This will also have ripple effects throughout the Empire as other characters will be emboldened by your timidity,

Building new forces on a planet requires the necessary facilities – a military base to build divisions, and a starship production facility to build fleets. Creating a division or fleet takes one or more Pops – they are moved into a Military role. This also assumes the families and support staff for these divisions, which is why it takes at least one Pop to create a division or fleet. Military Pops will fight harder for their world of origin and will be less effective for suppression/intimidation roles.

Next: a peek into the Science system!!

-Steve

Hello everyone!!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I promise there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes. Here’s where I get everyone up to speed.

First of all, our team continues to grow! Besides Pavlos, our talented artist whose work you will be about to see, we have added a scienc guy!! Thiosk hails from California and is a research assistant at Stanford, and has offered some amazing thoughts on population ideas and is working on the science system, which I will talk about both in a later post.

The upcoming .410 update will be massive both in terms of content and what’s changed. From a UI standpoint, one word will describe it: everything. Here are some example shots – actual in-game screens, not mocks:

Astrography UI V4.0
New quadrant screen
Uncolonized System View
System view with uncolonized planet box showing. Now you click on a planet to show a info box on that planet.
New Starbases
Updated planet view with contextual starbases.
Updated Intel Screen
Updated Intel screens with clickable/sortable columns.
New System View
New Terra, with their shiny new fleet in orbit
New Character View
The updated character screen (buttons have not all been converted to the new font yet) showing conversation type and possible Nationalist/Tyrannical effect

There are a lot of changes; I will add the post with the changelog tomorrow. But the two biggest by far are the UI and the military system starting to be added. That system is actually very complex and the roots are already in the game.

When a new game is created, your empire is ‘rolled up’ a value n numerous science fields, including missiles, railguns, kinetics, lasers, defense systems, engine tech, warp tech, armor tech, etc. and from those values components are created dynamically. Once your empire has a starting component list, fleet designs are generated based on your military rating and the size of your empire.

For example, home fleet might have 3 capital ships, 5 cruiser ships, and 8-9 picket ships (destroyers, escorts). At the same time, designs for each ship size in the Empire are created based on a type of role (raider, scout, combatant, missile boat, EW ship, etc). Not all roles are created – this is somewhat random, but important roles such as ships of the wall, escort ships, picket ships, etc. are always generated.

Hull designs are created based on role, and from that a ship template is created. The difference between a hull design and a ship template is that hull designs only specify hard points, base defense/HP/crew ratings, and size, while the ship template actually plugs components into those hard points, creating a template that multiple ships can be generated (and built) from.

Finally, ships are generated off the template based on the number and roles needed for the fleets, and they are personalized with names, designations, crew ratings, and commanders, and stationed at your capital planets.

Ground troops will also be in the .410 build. They will be able to be used as garrison troops and peacekeepers, all the way to shock troops and stormtroopers to keep the public in line. They will have a loyalty rating both to you (known) and to your viceroy (known with intel). Be careful that you do not lose the loyalty of your troops! You can send troops that are loyal to you to your planets, but your viceroy can be given the authority to raise troops if they deem it necessary – but beware, troops raised locally are loyal to their viceroy first, then you!

In the next update, I will talk more about the military system and how it ties into both the character system and the science system.

-Steve

Hey all, been a few weeks, but I’ve been busy both in real life (we got a pool! Back to school in the car business!) and on the game, but I’ve been quiet about it because there’s a lot added. Version .4 will be the start of 3 major systems to be added: character autonomy, including hopes and wants, the science system will (finally) be added, and… ships!! Yes, you will be able to protect your systems from smugglers and pirates, and even take down a troublesome planet/system (or take back a breakaway one) with the ship system!

But that’s for the future. Here’s what is coming in .400:

 

Imperia V.400a Change Log/Readme

9.4.14

 

Notes

* Please uninstall any previous version of Imperia before installing a new version. I have not yet added patch ability. The good news is that the install is relatively quick.

* I am updating the WikiDot Imperia wiki periodically and this will be the best document for questions and how to play Imperia. Please refer back to it frequently.

 

Fixes

* Fixed another issue with trade – now all trade hubs should send food and materials both upstream and downstream

* Fixed recurring/duplicate event notifications

* Fixed issue where if 2 Edicts were in a queue and one was deleted, it would cause an out of index error, crashing the game

* Fixed issue where a newly colonized planet would not actually know it was attached to the Empire, causing issues

* Fixed issue where you could create an outpost on a planet that was being colonized

* Fixed Edict calculation issue that did not take distance between the sector capital and the planet into account if sector ADM was being used

* Fixed issue where assigning a new colony a designation would not properly assign the sectors

* Fixed issue where colonization range was double what was shown on the map

* Fixed inconsistency between empire edict time estimate on Edict Creation screen and actual time remaining

* Fixed issue where removing a governor or viceroy would not calculate the correct power for a turn, causing huge issues with unrest that turn (basically a divide by 0 error)

* Fixed issue where characters would have very low PoSups upon generation

 

 

Changes/Additions

* Changed Edict material calculation. Now, if a planet has materials, but no ADM, those materials will still be used – there is no need for the ADM-lending planet to donate additional materials. This solved the issue of wasting materials on a planet that already had plenty, just no ADM to do anything with them. Note that planets with no materials will still be unable to use their ADM to obtain them.

* Added the remainder of the planet event statuses on the system screen

* Updated more graphics, also centered and optimized more text strings

* Recategorized alerts to be more helpful. For example, a riot that causes damage is a critical alert, but a small riot that does no harm is now considered serious (orange). This should help to make alerts more useful.

* Added Luxury mineral effects on the service sector. Now a luxury mineral rating above 50 will increase the profit of this sector, while a rating below 50 will lower it.

* Added Luxury mineral effects to unrest – more effective luxury minerals combined with the size of the service sector will lower unrest

* Added Effective Luxury Mineral rating – this is the second # on the right of the slash. Shows mineral rating that is effective after trades and propagation is taken into account

* Added Unrest modifiers to the Demographics tab. This will show you the major factors in a planet’s average unrest and change.

* Added ability to designate new colonies’ Primary Designations during creation

* Added note that no Edicts may be enacted on a planet that is being colonized

* Completely rewrote how Pops emigrate and choose planets – now instead of moving to the first planet they find that meets their criteria, they now have a ranked list that they can reach with some random thrown in, and then choose from that list with the most desirable planets weighted most heavily. This will create population clusters and allows more realistic movement, where system events will effect entire sectors without a simple ‘pop bouncing’ between 2 nearby planets

* Exploration stations can now be built at any distance. This will encourage more exploration, but the time and resources needed to deploy a faraway station will be higher

* Added ADL to main planet screen. Now always visible along with class, Bio rating, and scan level

* Adjusted numerous UI displays to correspond to these changes

* Added continuum checks to each character – now actions and traits will adjust the character’s continuum rating each month

* Added secondary designation slots on UI in preparation for secondary designations

* Added expanded information about trade network on system screen – now all planets will show their status vis a vis the trade network

* Added check upstream and downstream to see if luxury minerals propagate through a trade network in a sector. This means that planets which are connected to the trade network in a given sector will send a portion of their luxury mineral value if that adjusted value is still superior to planets that are upstream or downstream; the portion will be relative to how far away they are from a hub

* Added arrow showing loss in economic sector due to riots

* Added bio rating to affect manufacturing profit – anything below 50 will seriously affect profitability

* Added retirement subsidy – now retired population will receive a subsidy somewhat lower, but roughly equal to the unemployment subsidy for that planet (depending on the ADL of the planet). You will be able to reduce or eliminate these at the risk of unrest and lowered posup if you are in a financial bind

* Added character continuum rating to affect their posup – however, characters that are powerful and have a high Tyrannical rating will see their posup increase due to fear

* Completely rewrote how retail and service profits are generated. Before, it used a rather complex but not-very-realistic formula. Now, 4 different values are calculated as part of the overall calculation:

* Profit per item – looks at wages, production sector efficiency, and luxury mineral quality

* Service budget – how much money people on the planet have to spend on retail items

* Amount of sales items – determined both by trade and by production capacity. Factors in food and manufactured goods, with a bonus for inherent retail sector capacity (small stores that offer services for money, but not necessarily goods)

* Service Efficiency – are there enough service workers in the sector to effectively sell all the goods for sale?

From those 4 values, it next determines the maximum amount of the theoretical budget that people will use, based on popular support, unrest, and unemployment. Generally, the better people are feeling about the planet’s situation, the more of their maximum budget they will spend in a given month. What this means in practice is that a planet can have the highest quality goods in the world, but if there are not enough people to either buy them or sell them, your retail sector will suffer. Conversely, you can have all the demand in the world for goods but if your planet can not produce them or ship them in, your stores will be empty. However, if you have both quality goods and the people to buy them, you can make huge profits.

* Added new submode to the Economic tab: Government Spending. This will break down all the subsidies and Edicts that a planetary government is spending its money on so that you can (finally) see where all a planet’s money is going. Details on each category will appear on the right-hand side when you mouse over a particular category.

* Added new Intel screen submode – Character Intel. Here you can see a list of all the characters in your empire, and communicate directly with them by clicking on their info. Also added buttons to toggle between Planet Intel and Character Intel.

* Added additional popular support factor – if a planet is using the sector subsidy to stay afloat, your people won’t like that much

* Added governor information on SID to assist with character interactions

* Changed the scale of money – now million is billion, billion is trillion, etc. to match the scale of an interstellar empire. Note that all figures are in thousands, so 1,000,000 is actually a billion (1,000,000,000). This is to keep the memory and space requirement down.

 

 

Balance

* Changed the riot system to have a minimum threshold planet-wide so that a planet cannot have riots if the overall planet unrest level is below 30. This prevents strange mini-riots on an otherwise very peaceful planet

* Lowered PoSup effects, both positive and negative, across the board. This will make for a more flowing game.

* No Starbase will make emigrating from a planet much more difficult, with larger Starbases making planets more of an immigration target.

* Exploration stations have been tweaked upward to compensate for their removal of range limitations

* Adjusted the wage adjustment calculations to take into effect viceroy traits and designations

* Adjusted the emigration change slightly upward to tie in with rewritten emigration routine

* Increased the overall amount of goods that make it to the destination, somewhat nerfed the distance modifier

* Adjusted the retail sector calculation to take into effect luxury minerals much more heavily

* Adjusted the profitability of the manufacturing sector downward

* Increased sector population per level of sector – increasing the base amount of pops who can be employed per level.

* Changed the effect of industrial taxes on whether a given sector expands or contracts – higher taxes will be much more likely to decrease the sector level, reflecting ‘choking off’ profitability and reinvestment

* Increased substantially amount of money that planets can potentially have at game start, making it less likely they start off ‘in the hole’ and giving you time to make changes, since there is now a penalty to your poSup for planets going broke

 

 

 

Unresolved Issues

* When loading a game, sometimes the alerts are in the wrong category. This only happens for the current turn and is more annoying than anything. Investigating.