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RE: Info please.

 
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RE: Info please. - 10/20/2012 9:50:09 PM   
SephiRok


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Sure! I'm probably about the last person to talk about SMAC, but I'll mention what I know and the things we do have.

Unit customization is in. Every unit is composed of a unit base type (class), weapon and armor. Examples of unit types are trooper, watercraft and mech. Weapons define against which unit types you are more and less effective. Examples of weapon types are automatic, missile and laser. Armors on the other hand can be applied to all unit types and are just a way to make them stronger overall.

There are 6 different factions you can play, each with their own modifiers and special attributes, much like in every 4X game. For example, the ecologic faction has lower alien aggression and pollution, but also lower production gain. The industrious faction, on the other hand, has increased growth rate and production, but also increased pollution.

We don't currently have government/civics mechanics, but as in other games the different factions give you the basic government/civic-type of specialization. You'll however also find the research tree more open-ended and flexible, with over 100 technologies.

What we do have, and have focused more explicitly on, is operation mechanics. This is an expansion of the concept we've done in our previous game Conquest: Divide and Conquer. You gain operations either through buildings over time (e.g. satellite scans) or you produce them (e.g. nano robots) and can then use them on a revealed territory. Operations in this way can provide you means to temporarily boost or hinder an economy, heal units or blow a bunch of them up.

We didn't explicitly take SMAC and did that again. What we set out to do is an awesome sci-fi 4X ground strategy game. With atmosphere, style and fun mechanics. I hope you'll tell us if we've gotten anywhere close to that and how we can get closer to it, in the upcoming beta.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask. I'm skipping the question about the name on purpose. :-)

< Message edited by SephiRok -- 10/20/2012 9:52:27 PM >

(in reply to Admiral Moe Lester)
Post #: 31
RE: Info please. - 10/21/2012 6:01:05 PM   
Admiral Moe Lester

 

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It is good to see an emphasis on atmosphere and style! It went a long way for SMAC and IMHO is one of the best ways to make a good game great. Also it is nice to see that you are comfortable doing your own thing to make this stand out on its own.

However I do have another important question. How are you handling the movement of large numbers of units? I remember that is one of the things that bogged down the older civ titles and from what I've read was an outstanding problem with Conquest. Such a simple thing can do a lot to turn a game into a grind and is definitely a lasting 4x problem that could really use some new innovations.

(in reply to SephiRok)
Post #: 32
RE: Info please. - 10/21/2012 6:21:07 PM   
SephiRok


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We're still working on that issue, but essentially the goal is to be able to select as many units from the same tile as you want by holding Ctrl and then issuing an order as normal.

(in reply to Admiral Moe Lester)
Post #: 33
RE: Info please. - 10/21/2012 6:33:11 PM   
Admiral Moe Lester

 

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Alright. Just thought of some more questions\suggestions.

Will unit counters be straight rock paper scissors, or will it be or have elements of situational counters? For example in SMAC (sorry about the constant referencing. It did do a lot of things right though) infantry had a city fighting bonus, armor had open terrain bonuses, and any unit equipped with anti aircraft weaponry had a bonus against aircraft. I liked this approach a lot as it is pretty intuitive and a lot more "real world." If a tank is trudging through heavy forest or narrow city streets, infantry will be able to ambush it regardless of how powerful it is and those infantry won't be able to fight aircraft very well without actual AA weapons. I think this makes all types of units useful and necessary without having to rely on arbitrary game rules or any complicated systems.

Also, diplomacy! Obviously this is a war oriented game but it would be really nice to have very logical diplomatic relationships. Once again SMAC did it pretty good as the factions were all well developed and would interact in logical ways towards one another. It really felt that the factions acted in game as they would act in fictional reality.

It would also be nice for there to be more diplomatic interactions beyond declare war or propose peace. It would be great to coordinate battle plans and create more intricate treaties with your allies. Very few 4x's that I have come across have made diplomacy feel "real" which really adds to the atmosphere of the game and adds context to the happenings in the game. I realize good diplomacy is hard to program but SMAC managed to get around that with the distinct factions that could believably act in reasonably predictable ways. It seems like you might have this option as well which would be pretty cool. A good diplomatic element could make this game really stand out and it seems like you certainly have a good theme to work from!

(in reply to SephiRok)
Post #: 34
RE: Info please. - 10/21/2012 8:35:24 PM   
SephiRok


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Unit counters are on two dimensions, very much like you described. Each unit type is currently either light or heavy and biological or mechanical. Light and heavy is situational -- light gets a bonus in mountains and forests while heavy gets a bonus on plains. The other dimension is biological/mechanical -- automatic weapons are light counters to biological and flame weapons are heavy counters to biological, missile weapons are light counters to mechanical and cannon weapons are heavy counters to mechanical. There are some additional things like flak being strong versus air and units gaining bonuses in cities. Also, not all units can have all weapons equipped, which is an additional thing to consider.

Regarding diplomacy we currently have options to establish trading, research, open borders, non-aggression and alliance pacts. Hopefully we'll also add trading of resources.

I'm not sure how much time we'll have to expand on diplomacy more than that. We should be able to make the different AIs feel distinct and believable to at least some degree. Our budget is more limited than SMAC's though. :-)

(in reply to Admiral Moe Lester)
Post #: 35
RE: Info please. - 10/21/2012 9:41:46 PM   
Admiral Moe Lester

 

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Well that sounds pretty excellent. Consider me excited to try this game out.

(in reply to SephiRok)
Post #: 36
RE: Info please. - 11/8/2012 7:40:45 AM   
Velihopea


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"Obviously this is a war oriented game"
For a first contact game I would prefer more focus on colony building with economic problems involved (eXpand, eXploit). But the main interest should be on eXploration stuff (IMO).

So my questions would be:
1) How deep is the story-line in the game?
2) How is the storyline implemented? Does it progress through discovery of artifacts/life-forms/exploration of terrain/research etc...?
3) How is the colony economics modelled? From screenshots there is the basic food-minerals-money setting with pop harvesting it from the land around the city? Any surprises here?
4) How is trade implemented. Is there interstellar trade?
5) Is there any interstellar connections with institutions involved with colonization effort back Earth?

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Post #: 37
RE: Info please. - 11/18/2012 4:05:37 AM   
SephiRok


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We are doing our best in adding as much exploration as time allows us.

There is some story. But mainly you discover the world through lore and reports such as discovering ruins, life forms, technologies, terrain features and other events.

The economy model has a couple of surprises, depending on what surprises you, I suppose. For one, humanity is advanced enough to fully exploit globalization. This means that all cities have global and shared resource pools. I really love that, instead of balancing food and other prospects in each city, you can specialize them based on terrain and positioning. For example, you can focus one city on the outskirts on procuring minerals while another exploits them for heavy production. I can provide a more thorough overview of the resources and how they interact if desired.

Trade is currently not yet implemented, so I'll bite my tongue on that one for now.

There is no interstellar trade since this is Humanity's first hopeful planet after Earth, which is too far away to communicate with or travel to in any reasonable time with the current available technologies. It was a long journey to Pandora and for all you know Earth could have become a wasteland by now.

< Message edited by SephiRok -- 11/18/2012 4:07:21 AM >

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Post #: 38
RE: Info please. - 11/20/2012 9:17:12 AM   
Velihopea


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Thanks for the information SephiRok!

quote:

ORIGINAL: SephiRok
We are doing our best in adding as much exploration as time allows us. There is some story. But mainly you discover the world through lore and reports such as discovering ruins, life forms, technologies, terrain features and other events.

Good to hear. I find that discovering the planet in multiple ways is a very good design.

How is exploration paced in the game? Which also leads to greater question of the pace of the game in general. How fast/how many turns does one in general take to finish the game?

quote:

The economy model has a couple of surprises, depending on what surprises you, I suppose. For one, humanity is advanced enough to fully exploit globalization. This means that all cities have global and shared resource pools. I really love that, instead of balancing food and other prospects in each city, you can specialize them based on terrain and positioning. For example, you can focus one city on the outskirts on procuring minerals while another exploits them for heavy production. I can provide a more thorough overview of the resources and how they interact if desired.

This sounds like a big improvement over other civ type games. Civ5 had global food production (but only as a growth limiting factor), the resources were quite local otherwise. Like population growth was still dependent on local food production and industry on local mineral production. If I understand Pandora design correctly it allows for much more specialized cities. How is city specialization encouraged? What are the development lines involved? Clearly agricultural and mining, but are the "industrial" cities divided further somehow (research/military production/civilian production etc)?

More thorough overview of the resources would be welcome :)

quote:


Trade is currently not yet implemented, so I'll bite my tongue on that one for now.

There is no interstellar trade since this is Humanity's first hopeful planet after Earth, which is too far away to communicate with or travel to in any reasonable time with the current available technologies. It was a long journey to Pandora and for all you know Earth could have become a wasteland by now.

This sounds very plausible. I had hoped for "colonization" style interaction with Earth, but there is a limit to how much one game can satisfy all the expectations of a single player :)

Just played Conquest demo and the engine feels really good. Although the game is much too military focused and generalized to my liking it did raise my hopes for this game a lot.


< Message edited by Velihopea -- 11/20/2012 10:32:18 AM >

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Post #: 39
RE: Info please. - 11/20/2012 3:05:23 PM   
SephiRok


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Exploration is probably a bit slower than in Civilization 5 since infantry have a speed of 1 and you have to be careful about planet life pillaging your city instead of just letting city defenses do the job. I rather not comment too much on the pace, it would just end up being deceiving. For me turns probably go faster than for the typical player since I've been working on it, and how many turns a typical game lasts is still changing a lot; the AI improving and so on. The tech tree is long enough to not disappoint in that regard.

City specialization is mainly encouraged by territory resources, buildings and position. There are currently 7 stats you are going to care about on a city scale and 4 of those resources on a global scale. Food, minerals, research and credits are all global and available or lacking to all cities. Food is required for growth, but excess food does not speed up growth. Minerals are required for production, research for new technologies and credits for purchasing and paying upkeeps. In the city you'll be gathering food and minerals from tiles while also assigning colonists to production and research. Production directly consumes minerals so those are tightly linked together. Credits you gain are mainly based on the city's population. The other two stats are morale and pollution. Morale decreases with negative effects such as pollution and overpopulation, and provides an overall boost in everything your colonists do, as well as increasing the growth rate. Pollution is a negative stat and increases depending on how much food, minerals, production and research a city is producing. Once enough pollution accumulates it pollutes a tile and it becomes unharvestable until cleared.

The economics are certainly not as focused as in a game like Colonization, which has a bunch of different goods while just 4 types of military units, so don't go expecting that. I really like Colonization's mechanics, I loved the original, and we've actually been playing Civilization 4: Colonization a lot the last days (too much actually), but Pandora isn't that. It's more tactics and operations and warfare, and less economics. On the other hand, Colonization's buildings are limited in usefulness to each city and production itself is not as focused so you don't get very excited about buildings, while in Pandora I just end up wanting to construct a bunch of buildings in each city. The economics of Colonization and the warfare of Pandora together could be very interesting. Food for thought for another game.

Conquest was a very different beast, we wanted to do competitive multiplayer with that, while Pandora is focused on the single player experience. I'm really happy you liked the engine.

(in reply to Velihopea)
Post #: 40
RE: Info please. - 1/21/2013 12:21:29 PM   
Velihopea


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There is a new screenshot available HERE.

On Slitherine forums there was info that gameplay video is coming up soon. Any news on that?

Map graphics look great IMO, but there is still a feeling that it is A random Earth map. Any plans on further "alienization" of the graphics?

< Message edited by Velihopea -- 1/21/2013 12:27:13 PM >

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Post #: 41
RE: Info please. - 1/23/2013 6:49:07 PM   
SephiRok


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We've finished the video, it's in Slitherine's hands now.

We'll see what we can still tweak and add to make it feel more alien, but it is supposed to be a terrestrial planet so it's a bit hard. Suggestions welcome!

(in reply to Velihopea)
Post #: 42
RE: Info please. - 1/31/2013 3:46:02 PM   
Tiavals

 

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It seems it's beta time soon. Are you going to take pretty much everyone in(since it's an open beta?) or do you have other plans, like limiting the number somewhow?

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Post #: 43
RE: Info please. - 1/31/2013 3:59:22 PM   
SephiRok


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I think we want to take people in waves so that we can make sure things work and aren't overwhelmed.

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Post #: 44
RE: Info please. - 1/31/2013 6:02:11 PM   
wodin


Posts: 7853
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What would be cool is specialised Infantry elements like...
1. Counter terrorism unit that can reclaim taken over buildings. (small unit quickly inserted to retake one of your own buildings)
2. Breach experts who can break into and clear out enemy buildings (keep building intact for your use..like assault engineers)
3. Gas\chemical warfare specialists who can be used after a gas attack or nuclear attack. (Motorized\Air Insertion..must have Nuclear protected transports)
4. Recon units.
5. Engineer Inf units who can plant or disarm mines and set up fortifications. These units maybe able to mine underground and plant large explosives under buildings etc. Or Create tunnels under Rivers etc for transport across erm I mean underneath;). Again this would be a great surprise tactic..not knowing where the enemy is or if he is mining tunnels towards your cities..unless you say research special scanners etc. If you new geoscanner picks up tunnels you send in an airstrike of tunnel buster bombs..to collapse them..or the enemy may have a ne wjammer that jams your scanner..or gives you a false reading telling you the tunnels are somewhere else..lots of possibilities there.
6. Are ships involved?.If so you could have a specialised boarding Inf unit (again you get to keep the ship rather than having to blow it up think SBS or Navy Seal)
7. General Inf (Foot or Moterised)
8. Elite Inf (Moterised)
9. Airborne (Air insertion)
10. Militia (foot)

Anyway just some thoughts..if it's more warfare based the more types and choices the btter aslong as they have an impact on the game ..
A good selection of Inf types some specialized Inf units that you can add to your general Inf to give them boosts or be used on their own for certain situations.

< Message edited by wodin -- 1/31/2013 6:04:37 PM >


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Post #: 45
RE: Info please. - 3/13/2013 7:50:10 PM   
Dadekster

 

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Looks a lot like SMAC imo which would be a very good thing. Nice to see someone boot that back up as its a classic so hopefully this can bring that back and maybe introduce some new wrinkles into the gameplay.

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Post #: 46
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