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Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Production screen is almost done, just need to finish up some UI components. Next post will have screenshots of it.

Warning, wall of text ahead!

What I want to discuss today is some more details on production and space combat, as well as some other modding changes. First, let's start with production. For balance reasons (and to be kinda realistic), I've decided that all the production sizes of a system will be added up (if a planet can do 5, another planet does 3, you have 8 total in that system), then for each project in that system, it will be reduced. So using a system with 10 size production capacity, you can have one project building a size 10 ship, or two projects of size 5 each, or any other way that you want to divide up the 10 points. This will prevent a player from establishing a system then having an insane amount of projects there. However, he can specify one project then commit the whole production capacity of his empire there (such as terraforming or building a huge ship).

To terraform planets, you will need a large amount of capacity, determined by the planet data file.

When a ship is done building, it will be added to that system, and a new ship will be started, unless you cancel it. It's possible to build more than one ship for a project in one turn. Projects are infinite, similar to MoO 1's production, unless it's terraforming, in which when a planet is fully terraformed or capacity is no longer sufficient, it is removed from the list of projects. It will notify the player when it does so.

The amount of production capacity of a planet is determined by the amount of population on it. Ships can generate production capacity via special equipment as well. However, they are required to orbit planets before they can contribute to a system's production capacity.

Now for the space combat, I really want to have planets included in space combat, but how to do it in cases where there are 30 or 40 planets in a star system? I thought about the "orbit planet" feature, and realized that the solution was there all along. So I've decided on a combat system where I think will help even the playing field between the attackers and defenders. This is how you attack a planet:

You must have a fleet adjacent to a system. Once they're adjacent, you specify which ships to attack a planet by selecting them the same way as you'd select ships for sending out on a trip, then click on the "Orbit Planet" and clicking on a planet that you want to attack. Next turn will bring up the space combat for that planet and your ships. Defenders having ships adjacent to the system will be presented with options to include some or all of their ships.

Colonization and Ground Invasion will require you to have ships orbiting the target planet as well. It will prompt you for confirmation before they commit to their actions.

Before I proceed with modding design items, I want to clarify that the full release will be a complete game with all of my desired gameplay mechanics implemented. There are some elements that I don't like in some 4X games that others love, so I decided that if I want to really support modding, I will need to support those that I don't really like. They are: Leaders, buildings on planets, methods of travel (starlanes and others), and some others that I can't remember now. The additional features will be added as an expansion after the release.

First, with planets being able to be included in space combat, I'm thinking of the capacity of planets having buildings. They will be similar to how ships are done, but the build progress will be incremental. This means that you design a planet with different buildings (not queued like MoO 2 but it will be a complete "design"). Then you start a project to develop a planet so that all buildings in that "design" will be built (some may be finished before others). This won't be in the base game data, but will be there for modding purposes.

In space combat, those buildings can take damage similar to how ship's components can take damage. And the planet may return fire if it have weapon platforms. But again, those will not be in the base game data, but will be available for modders.

Another thing that I will add is support for leaders (this also won't be in base game, but will be there for modders). There will be six different types of leaders:
Empire-, System-, and Planet-wide leaders for boosting (or penalizing) areas of operations, and Empire-, Fleet-, and Ship-wide leaders for boosting (or penalizing) areas of efficiency. Leaders can be specified in data file, and they can be restricted to a certain range of races, turns, and which kind of leader they are.

I'm also thinking of allowing the users specify how galaxy travel are done, this may be a bit more tricky than anything else that I've done so far. By this, I mean if you want a travel system that's similar to MoO 1/2 (direct line to a system), you can specify it to be that way. Or if you want the current grid system, you can specify it as well. I may explore other systems such as starlanes. The base game data will use the grid-based travel system.

Also, I would like to add network multiplayer, but due to my inexperience in that field, that will be after the full release. I promise to at least give it a try.

Now with all of that discussed, I want to give you some good news. My friend showed me his draft for the new website, and it's looking good! We also discussed about how to do the pre-orders/purchasing system, and decided on a simple one. When a person decides to buy the game, he creates an account and purchases the game. That account is now an "paid" account meaning that the person now have access to list of major builds for download. At full release, the list of major builds will be removed, and the full release will be the only download there. This will be a better system than the one I have currently. I hope that the new website will be up soon!


  1. Suggestion on the space combat: If you have a system with 15 colonies to conquer, does that mean you must take 15 turns to conquer the entire system? For my own game, I'm planning on having up to ~20 places to attack in a given system, so I figured out that allowing multiple combats in one system in one turn would work best. Each fleet would have a certain amount of initiative points that it could spend to choose targets. You can select as many targets as your points allow and you then attack them in that order. The option to auto-resolve at any particular battle is present as well, so you can fight the big fights yourself but let the combat AI take care of the (likely) many little ones that will happen too. This would bring the time needed to conquer a large system down to maybe just a few turns at most.

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  3. 30 to 40 planets per star, I thought I was overdoing it with 15 :)

    You are spending quite a lot of time to support every imaginable modding. I'm somewhat concerned about that and the fact that you've changed quite a lot game mechanics recently.

    "Initiative points" are almost the same idea I have for my 4X game. During the combat phase, for each star system there is a number of combat turns player can spend. Those turns can be spent on space combat, ground combat and/or bombardment. So if you attack unprotected star system with 10 undeveloped colonies, you can conquer it in a single turn (1 game turn, 10 combat turns).

  4. I'm going to keep an eye on your project, looks great from the screenshots, I'm developing a game too, if you want to check it out:

  5. Bolo - The idea is that you can split up your fleet to attack multiple planets in the same turn. But thinking about it, it might get tedious. What if I just handle planets similar to ships, and they're size 16 (256x256)? Then all planets can be in the same combat at once. I'll give that a try as well.

    Ivan - I said that the items that I plan on adding in this post will be after the full release. That means no leaders, no planet buildings, no network multiplayer, and no travel options at full release. I'm focusing on making the game playable. That means finishing up the production screen, diplomacy screen, adding space combat and any other necessary prompts (colonization, invasion, etc) then work on AI. Then after that is all done, I will release the game. After that, I will work on adding new features to the game.

    Also, what do you mean by changing a lot of game mechanics? They are originally what I wanted from the beginning, but were unable to do so until just now. Are they something that you don't like, or are you concerned that I'm spending too much time changing how the game is played?

    Tiago - Looks interesting! I'll be sure to check it once in a while!

    All - Thanks for your feedback, I hope that I was able to address your concerns!

  6. "But thinking about it, it might get tedious. What if I just handle planets similar to ships, and they're size 16 (256x256)? Then all planets can be in the same combat at once. I'll give that a try as well."

    The one thing to be careful about here is that the planet's weapons are not too long-range. If they can fire very far then having a large number of colonies in one system would provide a huge amount of concentrated defensive firepower.

  7. Aka Home Field advantage ;) But you do have a good point.

    The base game data will not have planetary buildings or weapons. As mentioned, I plan on adding planetary buildings in a future update. The reason for including planets in space combat is to allow bombing or planetary destruction during space combat, as opposed to "after combat" actions.

    However, the combat will be done differently from MoO 1/2, so I don't think we have to really worry about the range. At least, I hope so!

    I'm trying to get the production screen and other important prompts done then I can finally start on space combat! I'm going to leave diplomacy for last since I'm tired of doing all the boring UI stuff ;)