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Monday, January 16, 2012

Transports and Plans

I thought doing transports would be simple, but I realized that it will require four different screens/prompts. One for moving people onto ships, one for when you split up a fleet (dividing up transport ships), one for moving people onto your or other's planet, and one for ground combat. Fortunately I already have most of ground combat done, just need to rework it a bit.

The first window (moving onto ships) is almost done. My plan is when I'm done with the four screens I will post screenshots, and a new video showing the completed features in the game. I will also release a new version for the pre-orderers.

Then after that, I will start work on space combat. I'm excited about that, finally I can do the fun part of the game :)

Anyway, I've been thinking about the release date of May 31st, and how to achieve that. I think some features will have to wait until after the release. My goal is to have a playable game on release, which means the bare essentials (diplomacy, combat, and empire management, as well as AI) will need to be done first. This means that I may have to hold off on extra features such as random events, stacked ships, and others that are not critical for making the game playable. If things go well with the core game mechanics, then I may look into adding extra features before release. However, polishing and balancing will be a priority at that time.

The reason why I'm saying this is that I don't want the players to be disappointed by lack of random events and other extras. I plan on maintaining this game for a long time, fixing bugs and adding new features and content. Part of the reason for the release without all extra features is that I need funding to obtain artwork. So far, about 20% of the artwork were paid by the amount I got from pre-orderers, and 80% from my personal funds.

I'm thinking of following the Killing Floor's example of content updates. All updates that affects gameplay will be free (such as adding stacked ships and random events). They usually will be code updates, which are unmodifable by users, but may include new technologies and scripts which take advantage of the new features.

Updates that require artwork, excluding UI artwork, will be provided as a paid DLC. This would generally mean new races, but may include other content depending on how much artwork are required for the new content. The reason is that code updates are performed by me, so I'm able to do it without paying anyone, unlike artwork which I need to pay the artist for.

I planned on having 8 races for the game, (5 planet-based, 2 space-based, and a hybrid race that combines both planet and space entities), so if I release with less than 8 races, the remaining races will be added in the future for free. Then after that, it will follow the update process as outlined above. Race artwork is expensive, and the game may be released with only four races (3 existing races, and a new space-based race).

I hope this update plan is satisfactory for you guys. Let me know what you think!


  1. Have you thought about using kickstarter to raise the funds needed for the art (or whatever else) before release?

    I think it is likely your project would be popular, and kickstarter could help publicize BB.

  2. "One for moving people onto ships, ... one for moving people onto your or other's planet, ..."

    Could you combine these two screens into one? Just have a slider that allocates between transports and planet, with transports on the left and planet on the right. When the transports are empty they start out at zero and have some max capacity, while the planet has its full population. You can move a slider left (toward the transports) to fill the transports up to max capacity, which subtracts from the planet population.

    When you want to move people off the transports, the same window would come up but there would already be people on the transports. You move the slider the other direction (right) to put them on the planet. Or, if you're loading even more people onto the transport and there's still spare capacity, you could move the slider left and take people off the planet here as well.

    I'd guess the slider's distance left-right should represent the fraction of transport capacity open/used, with full loading reached when it hits the transport icon on the left and zero-loading with the slider bar at the far right near the planet.

    Hopefully that all made sense... :)

  3. j. w. bjerk - I never really planned on profiting much from the game. I have sufficient funds to purchase required artwork for other aspects in the game before release. This game is more for those who always wanted a "real sequel" to MoO 1/2 and other 4X TBS games, and me providing a service by making one. I have a good day job, and I plan on keep working there. This project is a project of passion, not a project for making money :)

    bolo - Actually there is a reason for the separate screens. You can only move people onto ships during your turn, and you can't move them back after you've moved them. Only time when you can move them to planets are during turn processing, after colonization phase. The reason for this is balance. It don't make sense to be able to uproot and move millions of people in the same turn without having an impact on production.

    There's also multi-racial population to consider. So one slider won't cut it, there are one slider for each race. So you can control how much and which race to move. More will be shown when I finish those screens :)

  4. I have to agree with JW. It's admirable that you're doing this game out of passion, but why limit yourself? Even if you're not directly aiming for profit, there's still potential to get funding for more art.

  5. That's true. I'm already in process of contacting Desura about their alphafunding feature. They said that I need to provide screenshots and videos, which is why I'm making another gameplay video after population transporting is supported.

    I guess my point is, if there's no alpha funding, the game will still proceed as planned, and will be released. But if it works out with Desura or some other sources, then it'd help a lot.