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Sunday, May 17, 2015

First Milestone Passed!

It took us a little longer than expected to finish the first milestone.  There were some personal reasons that cropped up.  Also there were a lot of little details and bugs that we worked out.  We also implemented wormholes, pathfinding, and a bunch of under-the-hood code.  We also added some features that enhances the gameplay experiences, such as ensuring that homeworld is near at least one habitable planet, and at least two planets within 6 parsecs.  (6 parsecs is our new base range, with the "extended fuel range" doubling the fuel range, instead of adding 3 parsecs, due to larger galaxy size).

What we're doing now is cleaning up legacy code from Beyond Beyaan and Jeff's previous project that we don't need anymore, and refactoring stuff to make development easier and less susceptible to bugs in the future.  Ivan has done some work on data-driven development, so we hope to integrate that soon.  We're almost to the point where we can have Arpad start working on AI.

I will post some more screenshots below, after I detail our future plans and some of what we hope to accomplish with Dominus Galaxia.  First, the general overall direction of Dominus Galaxia:

We're working on a new website for the game, since it doesn't really make sense to post Dominus Galaxia stuff under Beyond Beyaan blog.  Jeff is working on that part, and we hope to get it up and running soon.  So it's very likely that the next post I make on this is a simple redirect to the new website.

We're also currently in process of finding and hiring artists.  We're not doing pixel artwork anymore like Beyond Beyaan.  Our first experiments with the ships in 3D space combat scene failed, it didn't look as good as we'd hoped.  So for races, we hope to be able to have similar artwork as Stardrive's race portraits, and for space combat, we're still figuring out what to do.

Speaking of races, we're revamping the list of races, to have a more gritter/serious list of races.  The racial perks will be similar, but the artwork/concepts will be different (though we may retain some races from BB that we really like).

Some of you may have caught the mention of "data-driven development".  What I mean by that is the ability to mod some aspects of the game.  We don't know to what extent we'll be able to support, but I hope it to be very flexible.  If it don't go well, we may just hard-code everything, then look at it again later when the game's done.  So right now we're trying to get what Ivan has put together working.

The downside with developing data-driven code is that there's not really much exciting news to post, and it'd look like we're not really doing much when in reality we're doing a lot behind the scenes to get it working.  So while Jeff works with UI and graphic aspects of the game in Unity, Ivan and I will work together to get data-driven working.

With that said, our second milestone is as follows:
- A working research screen with prompts on discoveries, and UI for managing technology fields' research allocation
- Fleet list screen that allows you to view list of all fleets, to scrap ships via various options (scrap design, scrap fleet, scrap ships in a fleet, etc), plus ability to center to that fleet in galaxy screen.
- Planet list screen where you can view empire's financial details, as well as view/manage list of planets.
- Ship design screen - Design new ships with new technologies.
- Data driven code - Have basics of it implemented (hopefully starting with technologies being data driven)
- Save/Load games
- Start of artificial intelligence players
- New Game screen re-worked to be more aesthetically pleasing.

We hope to accomplish those within the next couple of months!  Now for new screenshots!

Above shows wormholes (the animated squiggly lines) and proof of colonization functionality.  In a real game, the number of wormholes will be reduced.  Note that there's no "Factory" or "Cloning" sliders.  Those have been fully developed, and are no longer needed, reducing UI clutter and making the colony UI an instant resource to see what a colony lacks.  So this streamlines MoO 1's already streamlined UI even further.

This one shows a snapshot of the animated travel path (it looks a lot better in action).  One difference between DG's wormholes and MoO 2's wormholes is that fuel range propagates through wormholes.  So if you have fuel range of 10, and a planet is 4 parsecs away with a wormhole, you can explore planets up to 6 parsecs away on the other end of the wormhole.  Pathfinding takes into account wormholes and dense nebulas in determining the fastest path to destination star, and finds a valid path if blocked by antimatter nebulas.