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Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation

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Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 12/20/2019 9:50:29 AM   


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by Victor Reijkersz

I am going to take you along on a visit to Shadow Empire. Shadow Empire is my upcoming new game. It is a hardcore turn-based 4X game. It mixes 4X elements, role-playing, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic with traditional hex&counter wargames. Honestly there is nothing else like it on the market.

It is a tough cookie of a game to win, but it is immersive, deep and full of promise.

In this first blog we値l start at the beginning. Before you can start playing you値l have to generate a new Planet.

Shadow Empire is a game that has a lot of procedural content. And since you値l be playing on a planet this planet will of course be procedurally generated as well.

That is the topic for this first dev blog.

Rolling a new Planet

Rolling? Yes.. rolling. I use this word because there is a lot of similarity with rolling a character (with dice) in a role-playing game.

The reroll button will be prominently present during planet generation. During almost all phases of generation you値l be able to use it.

Picking a planet class

The first thing to do when generating a planet is picking a planet class.

A true aficionado of random will of course chose the Unclassified class.

Here you can choose if you want a true random planet or one that is sure to have certain features. The Seth Class for example always ensures a desert planet, much like Mars. The Cerberus planet ensures volcanos, magma lakes and rivers. The Siwa Class ensures a biosphere and atmosphere that is (mostly) compatible with humans.

Planetology phase

After a class has been selected the astrophysical planet characteristics will be rolled.

This one looks almost like Earth except that it is 8 degrees hotter and has less gravity.

If you do not like these characteristics just press the reroll button.

This planet is 3.7 billion years old, that is enough time for evolution to take place. Furthermore, I think it will have enough gravity to not have lost all its water.

Geology phase

After the planetology data has been confirmed the map will be generated.

Some oceans and a nice mild climate. What more could I want?

If you do not like the map generated just press the reroll button.

The numbers shown on the map in this phase correspond with the annual rainfall in millimetres.

Biosphere phase

After the geology data has been confirmed evolution (if any) will be simulated.

Plenty of life! And big land-dwelling predators on top of that.

If you do not like the evolution results just press the reroll button.

Note that the atmospheric composition has been impacted by the emergence of life. Almost 15% oxygen in the atmosphere will help humans living here. Though I am afraid the Sulphur Dioxide is going to require the people living here to wear some sort of breathing masks.

Note that this planet has some sizeable deserts as well. And the high mountains seem to be covered in eternal snow.

Colonization phase

After the evolution and biosphere data has been confirmed the Colonization of the Planet will be simulated.
You will be playing about 6000 years in the future. The by that time defunct Galactic Republic has been colonizing innumerable planets. The planet shown in this blog, Zosira C, is one of them.

It must have been a happy place for miners.

If you do not like the colonization results just press the reroll button.

Note that the larger the initial population is before the Dissolution War is simulated, the more chance you値l have to have more numerous survivors.

Apocalypse phase

After the colonization data has been confirmed the Dissolution War will be simulated.
Around the start of the 9th millennium the Galactic Republic was torn in parts and completely obliterated. This phase simulates the impact of this war on our planet.

That is quite a population drop.

Note that a lot of people managed to survive by becoming hunters. Remember those big animals from the Biosphere phase? They must have helped the poor miners of Sozira C to sustain themselves. Do not expect to see the same results on a desert world.

Final Review

After the apocalypse data has been confirmed you値l get a chance to play on this planet or to throw it in the garbage bin and roll another one.

Looks good to me! Let痴 start a game!

Note that since the colonization phase the map has been shrouded. This is because during game setup I chose to generate it with partial shrouding. It is also possible to generate a planet using full shroud so you will have no clue of the planets map once the game starts.

Your history

After you have started a game from the final review screen you値l be able to customize your Regime a bit.

Of course my people wrote a book of law. Raising one of my 9 regime profiles.

Note that there are multiple options to generate a planet. One of them called 租rop me in game will skip all of the above steps and immediately drop you into the start of a game.

Game start

After your regime has been customized and your history has been determined the game will actually start.

I am playing the Driftpeak Empire.

So there my game starts. With a small militia force and a tiny empire. Planetary conquest will be my goal, but it won稚 be easy

More in the next dev blog.

< Message edited by Daniele -- 6/4/2020 9:27:00 AM >
Post #: 1
RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 12/21/2019 4:29:32 PM   

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From: Albuquerque, NM
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Wow, Vic! You've outdone yourself on this title! I see an instant classic in the making!


You and the rest, you forgot the first rule of the fanatic: When you become obsessed with the enemy, you become the enemy.
Jeffrey Sinclair, "Infection", Babylon 5

(in reply to Daniele)
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RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 12/22/2019 11:23:36 AM   

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From: the Netherlands
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Looking good!


AKA Cannonfodder

"It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.
ッ Primo Levi, writer, holocaust survivor

(in reply to Daniele)
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RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 12/22/2019 11:43:49 AM   

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Very interesting


(in reply to KenchiSulla)
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RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 12/22/2019 4:17:50 PM   

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Yea...Very very interesting

(in reply to lecrop)
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RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 12/22/2019 7:43:40 PM   

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Intriguing, to say the least...


Former AJE team member

(in reply to Piteas)
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RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 12/23/2019 12:35:23 PM   


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Good luck with development

(in reply to Franciscus)
Post #: 7
RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 12/23/2019 4:13:38 PM   

Posts: 8138
Joined: 5/17/2004
Status: online
I'll do the next dev diary in HD resolution.

Probably early january.. Lots of christmas activities planned and want to prepare the next build for testing as well.

Thanks for the kind words.

Best wishes,


Visit for the latest news, polls, screenshots and blogs on Shadow Empire, Decisive Campaigns and Advanced Tactics

(in reply to Parallax)
Post #: 8
RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 12/25/2019 6:23:30 PM   

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From: Italy
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Hi Vic,
Very interesting intro in the game mechanics, and i like very much the desktop setup ;)


(in reply to Vic)
Post #: 9
RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 1/19/2020 12:49:42 AM   


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I've read some, but not all, of the Dev Diaries, and I'm not going to be a fanboy here. When I saw RTS, I thought, Vic did not design this? Thank gosh there is a pause feature.

Again, what I have seen is nothing new from dozens of space games. And the graphics - and I don't care about graphics per se - look like 1999. This is not going to impress any but the most ardent fans. And where is the editor or modding? Something, especially text modding, better me there, for me at least.

Take a look at Endless Space_2 on Steam, currently on sale for a pittance. It might as well be free. This is a 2018-ish space game. The audience there is a highly critical bunch. But the game is freakin' beautiful, the tech tree enormous, the writing superb, the depth, well, Endless maybe. And the vibe from the familiar Endless Legends is just extremely cool.

Back in the day, I saw Advanced Tactics as my Top 10 of hundreds of games. The units alone were infinitely moddable. But time moves on.

I want this to be a huge hit. But the competition is not like it was when AT Gold was released. In fact, so far ATG still looks better on paper.

I can't criticize a game I have not played. But after 30+ years, I am no longer a release day buyer here at Matrix. Like I said, times have changed. Best of luck with it, as always.

(in reply to nikdav)
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RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 1/20/2020 8:05:36 AM   

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Joined: 5/17/2004
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High Rosseau,

Just to be clear... Shadow Empire is a turn-based game, just like all my others. No real-time strategy!

I am a small team (not the singular) so I cannot really push the boundaries on every front.

The focus with Shadow Empire has been very much on providing immersion and loads of different systems to play with.

And I made the choice to not do modding/editors for all my games. True. Shadow Empire is going to be in the non-editor line of products. But if you are looking for that Advanced Tactics is still there and the next Decisive Campaigns will have (for the first time) a good editor.

Best wishes,


Visit for the latest news, polls, screenshots and blogs on Shadow Empire, Decisive Campaigns and Advanced Tactics

(in reply to Rosseau)
Post #: 11
RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 1/21/2020 12:41:49 AM   


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Not sure where I got the RTS, Vic. I thought I read a dev diary showing an RTS space battle. Might have been the wrong diary!

Endless Space_2 is probably not a great example. The game has a large amount of initial "shine" and an impressive honeymoon period. I am still on the honeymoon, but others criticize its lack of long-term depth.

That doesn't seem to be a problem here, but I mourn some simple text modding. I hope you will have an "over 60" very easy difficulty.

Thanks for responding, and again, only the best to you. You have provided we players with some great times with ATG and DB Series.

(in reply to Vic)
Post #: 12
RE: Shadow Empire dev blog #1 : Planet generation - 1/25/2020 7:48:28 PM   

Posts: 129
Joined: 1/6/2017
From: Kansas City, USA
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It looks very promising with high replay value. Any plans for hotseat? Also How many factions are planned at the time of release?

(in reply to Rosseau)
Post #: 13
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