Let’s smash a couple galaxies together to make a game.

Let’s smash a couple galaxies together to make a game.

When the concept for this game was being developed, I thought a little bit about the back-story, and what kinds of stories existed in games of the same genre. One thing that troubled me, was that we always assume things start from zero when you start a 4X game. I wondered if there was a way to set context between multiple games where you expand. Could there be a start from zero, multiple times, over several games that are played and still linked together into a bigger over-arching campaign?

Starting from zero occurs under different kinds of circumstances. It could be your very first expansive growth: “The rise of your virgin empire”. This makes sense in some cases, but probably not all and you can only do this once. There isn’t any potential in this back-story for a game-to-game connected storyline.

Phases of galaxy collision and later merge.
Phases of galaxy collision and later merge.

If one thinks about it though, a rise from “zero” can happen under many other circumstances. It could be a rise after a revolution, or a giant disaster which crumbles the existing power structures at hand, or a long progressive degradation of the current super-power(s). Serious turbulent periods can even be caused by new technology appearing in the world, forcing a giant arms race, new war, and a redistribution of power (or self annihilation?). Any “redistribution of power” event makes for a good new start for the next zero-point game.

At first I considered the potential that star systems would be moving in this game, so you would have a fluid map, where individual turns were more like years and the board-state would fluctuate accordingly, thus emphasizing such events. While this is still a possibility that could be explored during our early player-testing, the more important part here was that I wanted more than just an anonymous growth from a repeating zero point, over-and-over every time you play, without explanation.

The idea came about to look at celestial major events, and in particular galaxy collisions. While galaxy collisions are very rare and occur over very long periods of time, the idea struck that such events could be fairly cinematic, lead to interesting board-states, and also explain a certain degree of why some empires might be rebuilding.

You have to imagine in this case, a stable situation with one or more empires dominating a galaxy. Followed by a period of uncertainty as two galaxies intersect. The collapse of a stable state follows, and then arises a new empire built upon the ancient ruins of their formers: racing to dominate the “new” galaxy. Many millennia after empires collapse their long-lost ancestors, divided among the stars: rebuild and expand.

One could also imagine, that the entire universe is filled with alien races. Spread across and separated between multiple galaxies, with common heritage, and the repeating story where each time a disaster, upheaval, or collapse occurs: a new expansion takes place; a new struggle for dominance. This could explain perfectly how you, as a player, might be running several games one after the other, but still connected to each other over time.

Supernova or other destructive forces could also be the catalyst that triggers a new "zero-point" race for dominance.
Supernova or other destructive forces could also be the catalyst that triggers a new “zero-point” race for dominance.

Galaxy collisions didn’t need to explain each and every single situation where re-expansion is necessary. But it helps to extend the possible scenarios behind such situations, and was an easy pivot point to anchor a name; it is also a fairly unique concept, which can’t hurt when you are working initially to develop a unique “world-setting” to build from.

We started with the name: Galaxy Collider and then GalaCollider. Gala was a prefix from a game I’m sure many of you have played called Galaga. And who doesn’t like historical references? “GalaCollider” has a nice ring to it, and may very well stick to be the name of this game to the end.