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Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 3:47:47 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Ok, time to pull back the curtain a bit on the character system. In previous releases of Distant Worlds, we only had one character type, the Intelligence Agent, and that type was fairly limited in terms of the way it was defined. One of the goals in Distant Worlds: Legends was to bring more richness to the galaxy, to scratch below the surface in terms of the detail of the various factions and their leaders. We've discussed previously that a great deal of additional work was done on the factions, including new faction-specific victory conditions that can completely change how a faction plays, to faction-specific special events, resource bonuses, etc. We also decided to put a lot of work into characters and there are some new connections between characters, factions and governments.

The character you always start with is your Leader. Here's an example:






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< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 10/22/2011 3:49:30 AM >


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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 3:57:24 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Let's take a look at Rek Ixito, the Leader of our new Zenox Technocracy. You'll note that he is ruling from our Capitol. That's where you want to keep your Leader if you want him/her/it to be effective. Leaders have effects that influence your entire faction, every planet, base, construction project, etc. so they are very important in that respect. In some cases (for example, dictatorship or hive mind factions) you may have the same leader for a long period of time. In other cases (for example democracies or republics) your leader may chance on a regular basis as the result of elections. Characters can also be lost due to more violent events (for example, a new despot deposes the old despot, or the Dhayut turn your capitol planet into a radioactive wasteland), accidents or eventual retirement.

Each character has some skill areas. In this case, Rek Ixito increases our Colony Happiness by 8% and our Tourism Income by 17%. He seems to be a generally benevolent sort of leader. Next to each of these skills is a progress bar, that measures progress towards the next advancement in that skill. You can increase skills through experience in areas related to those skills. You can also acquire new skills the same way.

You may also note that Rek has a "trait", in this case he is Famous. Your characters may start with one or more traits and may acquire more based on their experiences. In this case, Famous increases Colony Happiness and Tourism Income, so it meshes well with Rek Ixito's existing skills. There is a tool tip not visible in this screenshot that explains how much each trait contributes to the listed skill levels.

Let's take a look at the other character that we started with in this test game, Randul Shokia, a Scientist.






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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:06:18 AM   
HectorOfTroy


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So if my empire is a democracy and I have a great leader, i can switch to monarchy and install him as a king. That way I can keep him around a lot longer. Is that possible?

< Message edited by HectorOfTroy -- 10/22/2011 4:07:56 AM >

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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:08:02 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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You can see that Randul Starts with some very nice skill bonuses. He is remarkably well-rounded as a Scientist and a veritable genius when it comes to Energy Research. Each Scientist is assigned to a research location and he adds his bonuses to any other location-specific bonuses. For example, if we assigned Randul to an Energy Research base at a local Supernova with a +20% to Energy Research, his +34% would add on top of that to give us a combined +54% to Energy Research at that location!

Add to that the fact that Randul has the Methodical trait, which means that while we are less likely to have critical research successes (these are a new feature in Distant Worlds: Legends, which can effectively give you a spontaneous "crash program" or a boost in a research area), we are also less likely to suffer critical research failures, which could set us back significantly. He gives us more reliability in our research and some very useful bonuses.

Some factions are more likely to get certain types of characters than others. You can see at the top of the screenshots that it is possible to have Ambassadors, Colony Governors, Fleet Admirals, Troop Generals, Scientists and Intelligence Agents (as well as your Leader).

As you can see from this screenshot of a Gizurean Hive Queen from a more advanced game, it's possible for Leaders to have penalties as well as bonuses. Queen Reztok is very important to her faction in many ways, but her Obnoxious and Xenophobic nature mean that Diplomacy is not her strong suit.






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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:12:53 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Characters other than leaders also remain somewhat of a mystery until you actually use them and find out more about their capabilities. For example, this unproven Dhayut Troop General. We know something about his Traits and Skills, but we don't know what the actual values are until we actually give him a command so that we can judge his performance. The same applies to all character types, in different ways, except for leaders.






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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:21:14 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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I should note at this point that the character system was also designed to be open to modders, as are the new faction-specific parts of the design.

Here's an example of a new Colony Governor. Colony Governors are, as you'd probably expect, assigned to a particular colony and their bonuses apply only to that colony. Similarly, Fleet Admirals are assigned to a particular Fleet or Base, Troop Generals to a particular Fleet or Colony, and so on.

You can assign more than one character to a particular location and there can be synergies, though they are not purely additive and there is a point of diminishing returns. However if for example you have a Fleet Admiral who is great at ship to ship combat and another Fleet Admiral who excels at Fighter Operations, assigning both to a fleet that has Capital Ships as well as Carriers can lead to better results than just having one or the other. However, since you generally will have fewer exceptional Fleet Admirals than fleets, you have to weigh the benefits of having one exceptional fleet against the flexibility of having two fleets that are each pretty good.








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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:26:06 AM   
J HG T


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Yeah! Looking nice! Reminds me a lot of Total War series (Rome being first for me), which ain't bad thing at all.
Also, I spy new design on Zenox ships! (pic 2)


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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:26:21 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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For each character, we also track an Event History, so that you can see what events have affected or been influenced by that character.

This may also be a good opportunity to mention that we've implemented a better method of managing memory in Distant Worlds: Legends. This allowed us to both improve performance and decrease memory usage, while removing the compression we were using on many of the ship and planet graphics. The result is that Distant Worlds looks better than ever and we have 22 new high resolution ship sets in the game (added to the existing ones from Distant Worlds and Distant Worlds: Return of the Shakturi), including the one for the hidden faction, all commissioned from one of our favorite Distant Worlds players, artist Martin Wood.

Here's an example of some of the new Teekan ships.






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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:32:28 AM   
J HG T


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Knew that Woodman was on it! Legends is looking better and better with every news.


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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:40:49 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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The new Ship Vectors, when turned on, allow you to see the destination of all of your ships in transit. I find this increases your awareness of what's going on in your empire significantly and I now play with this overlay on all the time. Other new overlays include Fleet Postures, Potential Colonies, Scenic Locations, Research Locations, Long Range Scanners and Sphere of Influence. You can have all, some or none of these turned on. With these new overlays, we are making it possible to do more on the main game map without extra clicks or the need to drill down into some of the more detailed screens and options.








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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:43:12 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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If you have any questions about characters, please feel free to ask. I'll answer what I can over the weekend.

I hope this helped satisfy your curiosity and pique your interest. Here's one more screenshot for the evening and I'll check back tomorrow.






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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 4:47:26 AM   
Hawawaa


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Thanks for these updates and the expansion, it looks great! Can't wait to get my hands on it! 

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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 5:18:11 AM   
HectorOfTroy


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So the last pick shows conflict between two different spheres of influence in the bottom right corner.

P.S. Igard, I guess Cpt or Admiral Picard might soon command our fleets :).

< Message edited by HectorOfTroy -- 10/22/2011 5:20:52 AM >

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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 5:24:46 AM   
Simulation01


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The character system looks great.  Are the leader/character portrait's the same as the race portraits and if so is it possible to have different race and character portraits?

What is the limit on the number of characters? 

How do you acquire characters?


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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 5:26:52 AM   
Stormy Fairweather

 

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This is easily the largest improvement I have ever seen to a game from an expansion, and since this was already the best space game I ever played...

You, sir, are a god amongst game designers.

Although in sooth, it is the performance increase I look forward to the most, the jerkiness makes the game nigh unplayable on my system, despite how much I love the game.

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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 6:46:54 AM   
tjhkkr


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Hmmm. How can I say this?

Wow!

Congratulations to Woodman on having his work recognized. Well deserved.
I look forward to seeing more. Thank you, Erik!

2 Questions if you please:
- Can characters be assassinated? I did take a second look through the forum, and did not see anything about that...
- Can you transfer governers... if his talents are better suited at one planet than another, can you transfer him?

< Message edited by tjhkkr -- 10/22/2011 7:02:14 AM >


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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 8:50:27 AM   
Bingeling

 

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All looks really nice. Except that I have to stop using Woodman's mod with all these shiny new ships.

Waiting for more info on the spheres of influence, at least they can be used to quickly see where the main systems are.


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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 8:59:59 AM   
Sarkus

 

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Love the character system! In particular, the part about their skills not being automatically known. Too many strategy games that have characters have abilities known from the start, so its great that we will have to learn who is good and who isn't as we play.

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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 9:18:56 AM   
Webbco


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I agree with Stormy - it's rare to see this much added in an expansion pack, very exciting.

Would be really great to see different artwork for different characters, but I understand this could take a lot of time to do (remembering the problems during the initial release!).

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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 9:52:44 AM   
ASHBERY76


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The leader system is better than I expected

Will empires with mixed racial populations get alien characters? maybe it would be based on goverment.

Will the leader elections and characters involved be seen by the players?


I would like to see leaders age and home birth planet on the UI and maybe getting some influence in the system.

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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 11:28:14 AM   
Data


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This is sooooo much more than I've expected, can't wait to get my hands on it, that's one serious expansion.
Elliot, you're a great man...and yes, Woodman, you're made of awesome as well

< Message edited by Data -- 10/22/2011 11:31:07 AM >


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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 12:30:07 PM   
ASHBERY76


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Webbco
Would be really great to see different artwork for different characters, but I understand this could take a lot of time to do (remembering the problems during the initial release!).



A good start would be adding relevent backgrounds to the leader type.Like the Leader being in a throne room,admiral being in a starship,ect.

< Message edited by ASHBERY76 -- 10/22/2011 12:31:47 PM >


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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 12:56:52 PM   
Noble713


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1. Can I configure a collection of leaders with specific traits as well as individual portraits for each empire to have at the start of the game?
2. Can I introduce new pre-configured characters through scripted events?


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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 1:24:32 PM   
WiZz

 

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I have one question. If my empire is multiracial can I hire characters from other races?

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RE: Distant Worlds: Legends Characters - 10/22/2011 2:06:48 PM   
Bingeling

 

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I got a gut feeling that apart from spies, leaders are not hired, they happen. I may be totally wrong, though.

I hope planetary governors occur at random interval. Admirals spawn at random times, but more often in combat. And the more big action combat, the more likely for an admiral.
Critical successes and critical failures in research? A critical success seems like a nice spot for a random researcher to occur, but maybe not with the "less criticals" trait. So something pure random, but with increased chance at special moments.

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Great stuff - 10/22/2011 2:38:21 PM   
MasterChief


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Wow! I am looking forward to this more than I did for MOO3! I do love a good space opera and this is shaping up to be one of the best!

< Message edited by MasterChief -- 10/22/2011 2:39:54 PM >

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RE: Great stuff - 10/22/2011 3:07:58 PM   
ehsumrell1


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(Sound of Snidely Whiplash's laughter in background)

You guys better spend the next week or two with your loved ones, or whomever
you hold dear to you......

.....you just wait and see!!!!

< Message edited by ehsumrell1 -- 10/22/2011 3:09:27 PM >


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RE: Great stuff - 10/22/2011 3:52:28 PM   
Bingeling

 

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Evil you, and your NDA.

Native Woodman is good news, no mod merging. A confirmation about new, modifiable feature makes me optimistic that it will be easier to make suitably hard games. Influence circles are there, but with unknown effect.

I was not so hot on leaders, but it seems nicely implemented, which makes me hopeful that other features are well thought out too.

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RE: Great stuff - 10/22/2011 3:57:41 PM   
2guncohen


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Can you have different customised looks for Every person ?





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RE: Great stuff - 10/22/2011 4:09:33 PM   
Fishers of Men


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Totally awesome, Elliot and Erik!! Since I like to micromanage, I see I will need to pause the action a lot to position my characters where they will be the most useful. This is a whole subgame by itself. There definitely needs to be a major streamlining of the game's processing ability. With all these new objects to manage, the game would have bogged down more with the existing code.

I love Woodman's ship design mod. I am guessing that he was asked to incorporate it into the Legends expansion. Am I correct on this? If so, I will not need to add an additional mod. In fact, I will not install any mods until I have a chance to view Legends in its original state. Later I can make changes to my own tastes.

I will need to be left alone in my cave for many weeks after Legends release. DO NOT DISTURB, PLEASE!

FoM

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