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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Planet UI and Mechanisms

Hello all!  Work is progressing very well with Dominus Galaxia!  Nearly all code from Beyond Beyaan has been salvaged and converted into the new project!  We also debated and argued about small aspects of MoO 1.  We really want to get DG right.

As I mentioned in my last post, whenever there's a major difference between MoO 1 and DG, I will explain why we did what we did.  For this post, I will focus on economics and planet management.  While MoO 1's approach was simple and easy to use, it had several issues.

First, the slider dilemma.  There are only five sliders.  Each may have one or more item to perform (i.e. build shield and missile base in defense slider).  The problem is that you cannot pick which one you want the planet to focus on.  You see enemy ships incoming to your relatively new colony?  Tough, you gotta build that shield first, even if you could have built a couple of missile bases instead.

Another issue is that all sliders must add up to 100.  This means a lot of fiddling with sliders to get them right.

So here's how we're going to solve those annoying issues:

There will be an individual slider for each main item.  So shield and missile bases are split out into their own sliders.  Cloning/pop growth, terraforming, and soil enrichment are all split into three sliders, etc.  Those sliders are only visible when they're actually available.  So the shield slider won't show up until you actually research a shield technology.  It will disappear after you've built the best planetary shield.  So at a quick glance, you can easily see which items your planet can build, and what it's missing.

Also, instead of having all sliders add up to 100, we will have sliders use weighted distribution.  So you can have all sliders at 100%, it means the planet's production will be divided equally among all the sliders.  Or if you have one slider at 100%, and another at 50%, and all others at 0%, it means the first slider gets 66% of the planet's production, and the second gets 33%.  The advantage to this approach is that you can easily increase or decrease a slider, and all other sliders are impacted proportionally to their slider position.  For example, when a planet finishes terraforming, the terraforming slider is simply removed, and all existing sliders do not change positions, but they get a boost in production in proportion to their slider position.

Second, the waste.  It's annoying having to fiddle with eco slider to spend the minimum on clean-up when you've accidentally nudged it.  So we're going to simply deduct the waste from the planet's production, similar to MoO 2.  No more slider for waste clean-up.  Less useless micro that adds nothing to the game aside from frustration.

Third, the tax/reserve infusion.  There's an exploit in MoO 1 with ultra-rich planet where you can produce more than you take penalty for.  Ultra-rich triples the production on a planet, which means that you put in 150% into reserve instead of the normal 50%, and you can pour it back into the ultra-rich planet to boost it even further to 300%, without any penalties.  There's also the issue with having to remember to pour reserves into planets occasionally.

To avoid this exploit and reduce the annoying UI micromanagement, we've introduced a slider that goes from -100 to 100, with default value of 0.  When doing -100%, the planet pours everything it has available into generating reserves.  When doing 100%, the planet takes in enough reserves to double its production automatically.  This means you can leave it on at 100% on an artifacts planet, and it will always try and double its production when possible, if the empire has enough reserves, for the entire game without you having to remember to put in reserves.  With this approach, instead of having two separate UI controls, one for putting in reserves, and one for taking out reserves, we've merged the two, and eliminated the exploit of ultra-rich feeding itself.

To clarify, even if you do -100% on ultra rich one turn, then next turn change it to 100%, it will double the production for THAT TURN ONLY, and cannot produce any reserves at the same time it's getting reserves.  You cannot pour in more than a planet's total production for multiple turns like MoO 1.  You can only do one turn at a time.  So even ultra rich now suffers from the 50% penalty in taxes.

Below is a preview of the planet screen (note the reserve slider on very bottom).  Yes, it uses the same UI artwork from Beyond Beyaan, but we used DLight to "3Dify" it and make it look pretty:


  1. So far so good. Please keep up the good work :)

  2. Looks good, can you put spaces between numbers and letters. Like you have with Research 57 RP. The reset are 2pop, 6y 25bc/y, etc. - looks messy.

  3. Will the kickstarters from Beyond Beyaan receive Keys for Dominus Galaxia? I know not many fools pledged for that but since I was one of them I feel somewhat ripped off that you did not inform your backers about abandoning Beyond Beyaan or "salvaging" the code into a new project.

    1. Yes, as I stated in my post about plans with Dominus Galaxia (, the first thing I addressed was the fact that anyone who've bought Beyond Beyaan via kickstarter, paypal donations, Desura, or a sci-fi indie promo will receive Dominus Galaxia at no additional charge.

      Beyond Beyaan is still open-source, but in order to have Jeff work with me, I have to make our merged project closed-source as he works on the game full-time, and expects to make some income off of it. When Dominus Galaxia is done, I do plan on finishing Beyond Beyaan as a straight MoO 1 clone, using kickstarter-backed artwork. If Dominus Galaxia sells well, Jeff might help me finish Beyond Beyaan as well.

      The advantages of doing Dominus Galaxia is having sounds/music (I'm deaf), a full-time developer working on it as opposed to a hobbyist working on it in his free time, and cross-platform (there was a huge demand for Linux support, it's the most asked-after question I received when I did the kickstarter). So I felt that it was a win-win situation for everyone involved, the backers and us developers. I'm sorry if you felt ripped off, I hoped that the increase in visual quality and addition of sounds/music would make up for it.

  4. Hy Brent sorry for my harsh words yeasterday. I just happened to fire up Desura again and noticed BB being dead for almost 1,5 years ... checking the Kickstarter page to see that it was dead for almost the same time, and than coming to the blog reading the first line of your post "Nearly all code from Beyond Beyaan has been salvaged and converted into the new project!" made me quite angry.

    So I want to excuse myself for this misunderstanding and I am very reliefed and happy to see that this project IS still beeing worked on.

    Maybe you should keep the Kickstarters informed more regularly ... we are the crowd interested in your work and beliving in your vision. Your first write up on KS was a good start. Keep it coming (please)

    1. No apologies needed, it was my fault for not being clear on all fronts. Due to your post, I realized that not all kickstarter people read the blog. So I posted the post you saw yesterday, and I will keep on posting there from now on as well as this blog.

      I completely understand where you're coming from, and I'm sorry about the misunderstanding. The last thing I want is to alienate my supporters!

  5. Looks beautiful. And great ideas for cleaning up the gameplay!

  6. I'm a bit slow, but thanks for the Kickstarter update - I'd forgotten to check in for way too long. Still love classic MOO, and I'm eager to check out your guys new game. I'd be eager to see if some of the ground combat, trade, and of course, spying, can be slightly improved upon versus MOO without giving up that simply-macro approach that we loved.

    The screens look great, and I can't wait to back you guys. Count a vote for a GoG release as well.