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Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the 5X 4X strategy game!

 
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Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the 5X 4... - 4/24/2014 6:45:21 PM   
Texashawk

 

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Hey everybody,

I'm back and I've been working on an even more ambitious project: Imperia!! Here's the lowdown:

PREMISE:
Basically, it's a 4X game where you have just reached your majority as an 18-year old new emperor trying to rebuild humanity's old empire after a cataclysmic war forced humanity to move to a new quadrant of the galaxy. It is over 1000 years later and you are thrust into a position where after a string of weak emperors, planetary viceroys, system and sector governors, and scheming Primes (basically cabinet heads) are all looking forward to taking advantage of your inexperienced and timid rule.

But you have no such intentions.

You were born with a strange ability: to read the minds and thoughts of others. It is not always perfect, but when it works, it is always accurate. As a leader, this ability is very valuable to determine who you can trust. Your goal, if not in action, is simple: to restore the Empire, to reclaim your standing as Emperor of the known quadrant, and to revive the previously proscribed Lazarus Project, the rumored path to immortal rule.

That is, if you're not killed by your people first... in Imperia, the 5th X is... eXist.

CONCEPTS:
In Imperia, you do not have unlimited power. Unlike virtually every other 4X game out there, you can not do anything at anytime. You have a small pool of Admin (ADM) points that you spend to do basically anything, from issuing edicts to communicating with characters in the game to meeting with your cabinets to undertaking personal actions. As you age, your pool will gradually increase, reflecting your increased familiarity with how to 'make things work' as an Emperor.

Edicts are another major difference from other 4X games. In Imperia, you might simply change a planet's name by clicking the button, typing in the name, and that's that. In reality, changing an entire planet's name would have serious repercussions! So what you might have used to simply 'do' in other games now require Edicts. Edicts are laws that you pass to do things like reorganize sectors, change a system or sector capital, build or upgrade starbases, change what a planet produces, etc. Each planet has a certain amount of ADM to use to actually enact the Edict - this will make large projects on small colonies impossible to do unless there is support from its system and sector capital, and perhaps even the Imperial capital! Admin represents all the planning, infrastructure, transport, ships, manpower, etc. to do planet-shaping things, and abstracts nicely the concept while eliminating micromanagement. Also, ADM is tied up until an Edict actually goes into effect/is completed - thus, an Edict that is dragging along and taking much longer than you thought will tie up your government unless you cancel it or speed it along - and both decisions have consequences!

While your word as Emperor is law, there is no way to force how long an Edict actually takes to plan, execute, and complete. And this is where the other major system of Imperia comes in - the character system.

Characters populate Imperia (much like Crusader Kings games) - they have their own stats, age, wealth, traits, and ambitions, like you or me. They can be manipulated to do what you want - perhaps, and you will often find yourself bribing or sweet talking a system governor who is holding up an important economic stimulus in their system, or perhaps calming down a sector governor who you just took away an entire system from to give to a closer sector, or promoting a loyal viceroy all the way to a sector governor who will be absolutely loyal to you - the character system in Imperia is a powerful and immersive aspect of managing your empire. Character stats are hidden from you until you reach a certain intel level (increased from interacting with them, or placing informers to gather information), and even then the number is a wide range until your intel increases sufficiently. This is a problem when a character's loyalty is reported as 88 (out of 100) but it it actually a 41! The rule of thumb: Watch what characters actually do, not what they say. They also gain traits that affect their decisions and relationships with you as they age. They can die and retire, or be 'retired' by you - either by forcing them out of office or by more 'direct' measures. Don't get caught!

You yourself have a starring role as well through Influence. As you make choices through your rule, you will start to gain different types of Influence. Nationalist Influence is the 'good' Influence, which calls to action for your Empire and the pride of humanity. Tyrannical Influence is the 'evil' Influence, which is used to threaten and intimidate characters into doing your will - but using it will have other repercussions. In addition, craven characters will gravitate to emperors who stray into Tyrannical decisions, and vice versa - you may have to make some tough choices about removing (or trying to!) governors who can't stand your alignment!

The game is about less micro and more about making the large-scale decisions that shape an Empire. You will not be building 10 Science Labs to accelerate research; instead you will designate a planet as a Science Conclave and try to install a viceroy that is aligned to the need for research, allowing that planet to grow organically - with a few nudges along the way. You will not be building transports and endlessly clicking materials to go from planet to planet - instead, you will set up trade hubs that serve as collection centers and build starbases of appropriate sizes to move materials and food along from your Imperial capital to sector capitals to system capitals to normal colonies.

From an 'explore' standpoint, no longer do you have to build and design scout ships, set a destination, and micromanage exploration and colonization fleet. Would a real emperor do that? Edicts cover just about everything you would want to do as an Emperor on a exploration level, from surveying new planets and unexplored systems to creating outposts to creating colonies. You just create an Edict on an unexplored planet or system and your people will do the rest (eventually).

As mentioned earlier, planets are not micromanaged. They are very complex entities whose actions are governed in part by their population, the stats of the planet itself, its viceroy, and most importantly its primary designation. All planets have at least one primary designation - examples would be a farming world, a manufacturing center, a heavy military world, a scientific conclave, a prison planet, etc. Designations basically shape how a planet will evolve. Depending on the size of the planet, up to 2 additional 'secondary' designations can also be assigned to more round out a planet's development.

The population of your Empire will ultimately decide whether you live long and prosper (ha) or die at the business end of a pulser. Populations have their own unrest, age, type, job class, popular support, and needs. Each 5000 people are considered one 'pop' (similar to the Victoria system, but much more granular) and they can change jobs, age, die, have kids, migrate to other planets, or even leave your Empire altogether! They can also starve, grow angry, and revolt. In addition, if they are happy with the Empire (and are paid enough) they can be hired as informers on your planet to watch your viceroy and governors stationed on a planet to get to better know their stats... and potentially provide blackmail material!

All of what I have talked about is already in the game. As of now, I have spent about 5 months on it here and there and the game is functional, generally free of errors or bugs (the nasty kind, not always the logic kind) and I am about to release it as a free hobby project on Sourceforge. Right now the game is at version .252 so you can see there is a long way to go. Soon, science, diplomacy, warships, garrisons, events, and plots will be added, as well as eventually other empires - and a alien threat!

Here are some screenshots! If you are interested in playing Imperia, please send me a message - I am not going to post the download link out of respect to Matrix (yes, it's free and yes, it's a hobby-level project but still). Thanks for your interest!








Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Texashawk -- 4/25/2014 7:46:38 AM >


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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/24/2014 6:46:48 PM   
Texashawk

 

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Some additional screen shots:








Attachment (2)

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/24/2014 6:47:59 PM   
Texashawk

 

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Aaaand a few more:









Attachment (2)

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/24/2014 6:53:33 PM   
Texashawk

 

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Last 2 for now, showing unexplored/unsurveyed planets/systems.







Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Texashawk -- 4/24/2014 7:54:34 PM >


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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/24/2014 6:56:47 PM   
Terminus


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Has Slitherine given you the go-ahead to advertise your game on their site?

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/24/2014 7:07:47 PM   
Texashawk

 

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Well, I've posted other projects of mine before on this subforum, and as stated I'm not posting a download link. That said, I seriously doubt Matrix/Slitherine are trembling in their offices worrying about my hobby projects. But if they are, they are certainly free to remove.

< Message edited by Texashawk -- 4/24/2014 8:08:22 PM >


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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 2:54:02 AM   
balto

 

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I have never seen anything like this at all, so I do not have any comment. But there clearly is a ton of information you have to process. I am wondering if you have an idea how large the manual would have to be? I am guessing like 150 pages or something?


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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 2:57:55 AM   
Missouri_Rebel


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This is a hobby project? Honestly it looks very good. Best of luck to you.

< Message edited by Missouri_Rebel -- 4/25/2014 3:58:29 AM >


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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 6:02:11 AM   
flanyboy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel

This is a hobby project? Honestly it looks very good. Best of luck to you.

quote:


store products community support corporate press
Are these in game screenshots or mockups?

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 6:15:17 AM   
zakblood


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why dont use see if they want to publish it for you so a bigger group see it?

< Message edited by zakblood -- 4/25/2014 7:15:37 AM >

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 6:35:43 AM   
Texashawk

 

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Nope, those are the real shots. I am not an artist and I did use some planet images from other artists (with permission), but those are straight off Fraps. I will take that as a compliment!

quote:

ORIGINAL: flanyboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel

This is a hobby project? Honestly it looks very good. Best of luck to you.

quote:


store products community support corporate press
Are these in game screenshots or mockups?



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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 6:38:38 AM   
Texashawk

 

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Yes, Imperia will be rather complex, not so much to play as to understand the game 'world' model. As far as learning to play, if there is enough interest I will add things like in-game tooltips and such. Your viceroy is already supposed to give advice, so that would be easy to implement into the lore. I don't know that I will have a full manual but I will have at least a help document so that people understand how to play and how to use the UI. As the game evolves I will add to a 'living document' of help, but yes, there will be documentation.

quote:

ORIGINAL: balto

I have never seen anything like this at all, so I do not have any comment. But there clearly is a ton of information you have to process. I am wondering if you have an idea how large the manual would have to be? I am guessing like 150 pages or something?





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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 6:41:24 AM   
Texashawk

 

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Thank you Mo Reb!! You are one of the 'old-timers' on this forum whose opinion I greatly admire and respect. I truly appreciate your kind thoughts. As far as your question, I mean, I've been programming since I was in junior high, and was actually nationally ranked in programming competitions, I just never really sat down and followed my passion until the last few years. So yes, it is a hobby project but I am a fairly experienced programmer. I am just not an artist. Hence the... interesting UI. I wish I was an artist, believe me!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel

This is a hobby project? Honestly it looks very good. Best of luck to you.



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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 6:49:24 AM   
Texashawk

 

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By the way, updates to Imperia can be found on this website: http://imperiagame.wordpress.com. I will post more screenshots and updates there, since it is more appropriate. Come join the conversation!

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 6:55:45 AM   
Texashawk

 

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Hey Zakblood,

Great question. I guess basically because although I am an experienced programmer, I am not a professional programmer. And I'm very self-critical about my work. I'm kind of a perfectionist and I can't stand buggy software and the 'release it nownownow' trend of the gaming industry. To Matrix's credit, they don't really seem to be that kind of publisher, but still.

-Steve

quote:

ORIGINAL: zakblood

why dont use see if they want to publish it for you so a bigger group see it?



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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 8:47:18 AM   
fvianello


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I loved "Crusader Kings" and having its concepts applied to a space opera game looks like a great idea! Also, the screenshots are really good.

Does the game ends with the death of the Emperor, or do you plan to allow his/her successor to become the player's new avatar ?

< Message edited by HanBarca -- 4/25/2014 9:51:22 AM >


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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 9:58:07 AM   
zakblood


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the only fault i see is the elite type ones, when one loves something so much it takes a life time to be released, so a hobby comes a passion and thats a ever lasting one, sometimes to better to be released then minor fixes applied than to release only when everything is done only to find that a new pair of eyes finds something that you would never find no matter how long you develop it yourself



good luck and if you need beta testers / playtesters etc all you need to do is ask

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 10:57:01 AM   
Anguille


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interesting....sounds very much like what moo3 wanted to be before the departure of Alan Emrich. Good luck.

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 2:53:03 PM   
Texashawk

 

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Thank you! I always thought a Crusaders-in-space would be a neat concept. That idea has a lot behind Imperia's design.

And yes, the game ends with your death. No dynasties here. :-) Remember, the 5th 'X'... is eXist.

-Steve


quote:

ORIGINAL: HanBarca

I loved "Crusader Kings" and having its concepts applied to a space opera game looks like a great idea! Also, the screenshots are really good.

Does the game ends with the death of the Emperor, or do you plan to allow his/her successor to become the player's new avatar ?



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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 2:54:22 PM   
Texashawk

 

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Zakblood,

If you're interested in playing just send me a PM; that way I can simply send a batch message once the link is ready. Thanks for your interest!

-Steve

quote:

ORIGINAL: zakblood

the only fault i see is the elite type ones, when one loves something so much it takes a life time to be released, so a hobby comes a passion and thats a ever lasting one, sometimes to better to be released then minor fixes applied than to release only when everything is done only to find that a new pair of eyes finds something that you would never find no matter how long you develop it yourself



good luck and if you need beta testers / playtesters etc all you need to do is ask



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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 2:57:46 PM   
Texashawk

 

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YES!!! Someone who actually knows the backstory of what MOO3 was supposed to be!!! IFPs, designations... yes, you've caught me out. Somewhat. I really respected what Emrich wanted to do... the problem was a game like that should never have been released under the MOO banner. If it hadn't and been released as he wanted it to be, it would have been a revolution. Instead, the publisher got cold feet and make him change his design into the half-baked mess that got released. Damn shame. But yes! Imperia I think will play a lot like MOO3 was originally designed, as far as the management aspect, and I hope people enjoy that design choice. Thanks!

-Steve

quote:

ORIGINAL: Anguille

interesting....sounds very much like what moo3 wanted to be before the departure of Alan Emrich. Good luck.



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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 6:40:33 PM   
RedArgo


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Looks interesting, hope it turns out well.

Weren't you working on an Honor Harrington inspired game a while ago? If so, how did that turn out?

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/25/2014 7:11:43 PM   
mllange

 

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Color me interested - good luck!

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/26/2014 8:02:50 AM   
Texashawk

 

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RedArgo,

Thanks! I hope so too. I was indeed working on it but I was not as consistent about externally backing up my builds and art assets, something that was learned painfully when my hard drive crashed. I now have multiple external backups of my projects, including Imperia. I hope to come back to the HH project one day, perhaps even as a tactical addition to Imperia (but not at all a priority)

-Steve


quote:

ORIGINAL: RedArgo

Looks interesting, hope it turns out well.

Weren't you working on an Honor Harrington inspired game a while ago? If so, how did that turn out?



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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/26/2014 8:03:29 AM   
Texashawk

 

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nim8or,

Thanks!

-Steve

quote:

ORIGINAL: nim8or

Color me interested - good luck!



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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/26/2014 8:05:24 AM   
aaatoysandmore

 

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I must say it looks very busy and I hope I don't have to work for NASA to play it. Remember to K.I.S.S. if you want a lot of players to play it as I won't play monster games or those that require 2 hours of thinking to make the first move (WitP anyone?).

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/26/2014 8:21:27 AM   
Texashawk

 

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aaatoysandmore,

Yes, I am not a UI specialist! However, the game is actually very easy to play - most of the data is there if you need it to get a better understanding of why your planets/systems/sectors are acting the way they are - things like cash flow, immigration/emmigration, wages for each sector. etc. are there but not 'necessary' to monitor from turn to turn - only when you have a problem on a planet and are figuring out what to do. The first turn will take longer since I usually look at the intel screen to see where I will have resource shortfalls and plan my trade network, build up some ADM in some smaller sector capitals by increasing the subsidy, look at which viceroys may be a problem down the road, and figure out which planets will need to be brought into the green by manipulating the economy. Once you understand the UI and the concepts of Imperia, the first turn will only take a few minutes. Nothing like WITP, believe me. Or WITE. Macro scale, not micro!!!

Thanks for your thoughts!

-Steve


quote:

ORIGINAL: aaatoysandmore

I must say it looks very busy and I hope I don't have to work for NASA to play it. Remember to K.I.S.S. if you want a lot of players to play it as I won't play monster games or those that require 2 hours of thinking to make the first move (WitP anyone?).



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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/26/2014 6:55:28 PM   
Texashawk

 

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FYI I have updated the blog to add an entry on how the economic system works.

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/26/2014 8:56:14 PM   
Anguille


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Texashawk

YES!!! Someone who actually knows the backstory of what MOO3 was supposed to be!!! IFPs, designations... yes, you've caught me out. Somewhat. I really respected what Emrich wanted to do... the problem was a game like that should never have been released under the MOO banner. If it hadn't and been released as he wanted it to be, it would have been a revolution. Instead, the publisher got cold feet and make him change his design into the half-baked mess that got released. Damn shame. But yes! Imperia I think will play a lot like MOO3 was originally designed, as far as the management aspect, and I hope people enjoy that design choice. Thanks!

-Steve


Nice. I am long time MOO player (since 1993). Indeed, the game should have been called differentely. Looking forward to your game. Cheers.

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RE: Announcing Imperia - my latest hobby project - the ... - 4/27/2014 5:21:13 AM   
Kuokkanen

 

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Texashawk, do you know about game Starshatter? That game puts together space combat simulation (fighters AND starships alike), strategy, and dynamic campaigns into one delicious package. It started as hobby project, but after many many years of development, Matrix published it under name Starshatter: Ultimate Space Combat. I've got it on DVD. Some time later, improved version of the game was released under name Starshatter: The Gathering Storm, and owners of the earlier release could order it for discount (not in effect anymore). Game was heavily modifiable, and there were tons of mods before first disc went to sale. I think one other game, Titans of Steel, has similar history...

You could have opportunity here to do the same. Matrix could (maybe) even get you in contact with graphic designer. Or if you want stay independent and keep game cost-free, you can ask around the Web. I wonder if some Starshatter modders could give you a hand... One of them is Pheagey. But since his latest post in these forums was made in 2008, he is unlikely to reply to any PMs, unless he has e-mail notification turned on.

< Message edited by Matti Kuokkanen -- 4/27/2014 6:21:39 AM >


_____________________________

You know what they say, don't you? About how us MechWarriors are the modern knights, how warfare has become civilized now that we have to abide by conventions and rules of war. Don't believe it.

MekWars

(in reply to Texashawk)
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