Artist Spotlight: Elias Stern

My name is Jason Ayers and one of my roles on the Gala Collider team is Art Producer. Since Gala Collider is a sci-fi based mash up of turn-based strategy and card game, we have a great deal of original art needs for our cards, sectors, etc. In one aspect of this role, I engage with artists that I’ve discovered or artists that reach out to us for the purpose of using their art in the game.  If you’re an artist and would like to see your work in our game, send an email to production@neocrux.com.  

I’m writing today to introduce you to a new series of posts where show off some of the awesome art in Gala Collider by one of our very talented artists. It will give the artist the chance to introduce themselves, share their work and inspirations, and talk about what they do outside of Gala Collider. First up is Elias Stern, and you’ll find below a short bio written by him.  The first 3 pieces you see in this article are works of his in Gala Collider.

Elias Stern

I am a self-taught illustrator and 3d artist living in Vienna, Austria and I currently work as freelance illustrator creating artworks for novels, video- and board games. I’m also an employee for an advertising and media firm and am attending a university to become a teacher of history and arts. 

Ever since kindergarten, I have had an interest in painting, drawing and writing and when I first got a copy of Photoshop at age 11, I delved into digital art. My interests and inspirations in science fiction include Star Wars, Star Trek, the works of Asimov, Lem and Clarke, and the fantastic worlds of Tolkien. The most important aspect of my art world will, however, always be nature in all its beauty.

Besides my professional work, I also am working on illustrations for children’s books:

I’m also doing a series of science fiction novels. If I’m not busy creating art, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, reading, listening to music like classical/symphonic, rock, and metal and simply walking under the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall release confirmation

The moment approaches, Gala Collider’s open alpha is set to begin on December 18th!

We are planning to invite the oldest subscribers first, and we will continue inviting players in batches until we have our desired load of at least forty games running concurrently. Once we hit that load, we will pause to evaluate that nothing is breaking; and then continue to add players until we reach our next goal of 250 concurrent games (and then our next goal of….).

So depending on how long you’ve been subscribed, you will get an invitation on the 18th of December or in the weeks that follow. In addition to testing the strain of simultaneous multiplayer sessions, we’re hoping to get feedback on the tutorials and scenarios.

Winter is coming…

(yes it is also cold out in space)

If you’ve been with us over the last two plus years, you will have hopefully read that we were offering our most faithful followers a tier upgrade on our future crowd fund campaign. We are keeping our word but we will soon no longer be offering this to new subscribers. Anyone who signs up on or after December 21st in 2017 will no longer qualify for future tier upgrades.

However, please be clear that signing up on or after the 21st doesn’t limit or reduce your ability to still get early access to our game and play it! From the 18th of December onwards, we will be in a public alpha state and open to new signups throughout the alpha period. Your email will just be batched and given access like any other, in order of signup.

Art / VFX updates

We continue to work on new artwork and add artists, we nearly have 40 artists on our team now. Below are some samples of fresh produced work:

Sylith – Perception: Enemy plans are laid bare and revealed. Art by Eko Puteh

 

In progress sketches by Marc Scott:

In terms of visual effects, we now have integrated visual effects for many different weapons all in the game. Here is a full list of all the weapon types coded and ready for you to employ against your foes in the upcoming Alpha:

  • Variable sized energy weapon fire, larger attacks generate larger beam weapons now
  • Torpedo attacks that apply heavy damage to cruisers and larger ships
  • Pulse fire attacks that specialize in damaging smaller ships
  • Nukes that are slow but do collateral damage to massive targets, like dreadnaughts
  • Bombardment weapons to knock out enemy developments on their sectors
  • Retaliation fire is a beam weapon that returns fire at each enemy ship that engaged you
  • Troops deployed at a planet float down in landing pods, where they hope to conquer or help defend against invasions

Either at release or in a subsequent patch we will also release custom effects for even more aspects of the game. Different operation cards will trigger different visual effects, and cards are getting variable size and color edge glows while you drag them over potential targets.

Sign up and tell your friends

These next weeks we will be very busy doing final quality tests on everything to make sure the game is as bug free as possible.

So please, don’t forget to share our game with your friends and get them to sign up! Sign up before December 21st 2017 and you will also be on our list for a free tier upgrade on any crowd fund campaigns we launch in 2018!

Designing Scenarios

Hey everyone! My name’s Michael and I predominantly do work on the development team for Gala Collider. Specifically, most of what I do affects the single player experience in the game. I’m a current Game Design student at NYU, and love pretty much any game I can get my hands on. I have a special place in my heart for 4X games though.

This is my first time working on a project the size of Gala Collider, so I’ve tried to get involved with anything I can get my hands on since I started working with the team. For this post, I’ll go over what I’ve been doing for the tutorials and single player scenarios.

My first experience with doing level design for Gala Collider began with making a test level for our VFX designer, Yuriy. Yuriy recently did an overhaul of all the weapon effects. However, in order to see how the weapons would look in game, Yuriy would need to use a scenario designed specifically for him. All other previously made scenarios didn’t include every weapon type that we needed, and even so a standard scenario would be too convoluted for the kind of testing necessary. The scenario itself had to be solely based around immediate combat, that way it could be repeated and analyzed multiple times.

Yuriy sent me the above graphic describing how he wanted the scenario to look. To further expedite the process, I made six scenarios each built around the six weapon mechanics we wished to test. Because combat occurs in a specific order, doing this was much more efficient for Yuriy to see how his weapons looked. Additionally, this gave me great exposure to how the map editor worked. I would later take the skills developed from making this test level to the scenario I ended up making.

The other scenario I was tasked with making was to be the first mission players interacted with after playing through the tutorial. In fact, the tutorial was probably the part of Gala Collider I studied most to see what exactly I should be teaching players through gameplay. After all, the scenario should reinforce what was just taught in a way that feels intuitive and, above all, exciting. The writing team provided me with a framework for what the level should be about, and from there I got to work.

My initial intentions with regards to level design were to separate the player and AI spaces by a single point in the center. This would allow for players to build up their fleet and strategize, while still being unfamiliar with what lies just beyond the stars. As the player explores more and more territory closer to the enemy core, they would come in contact with more threatening enemies. These enemies would introduce new players to what they would later see as they played more of the game, but in a concentrated dose. Eventually, when they reach the core, they’ll be presented with their greatest challenge yet before their triumphant victory.

After making the initial skeleton of the map, the team  reviewed it to see what can be changed to give the map more direction. In my case, the level was much too difficult at the offset for players to engage with any of the AI ships. However, it was equally possible to play a defensive game and wait for a star victory to end the match early. Ironically enough, the design I had in mind had the inverse effect on players than I had hoped. 

The combination of constant enemy aggression mixed with the ease of victory that came with a defensive strategy created an immediate player strategy. Eventually however we came up with a rather ingenious methodology to get around this problem. Because star victories were dependent on the total ratio of sectors present, spawning inaccessible sectors raised the total star count necessary to win. Without changing much about the core functionality of the level, an entirely different player behavior could be developed by incentivizing a certain strategy over another.

Once this scenario is completed, I’ll be well on my way to adjusting the other maps of the scenarios. Previously, all maps had to be mirrored on either side in the map editor. Now, however, the placement of sectors can be totally organic. This gives me a lot of room to play with the rest of the scenarios! Designing scenarios for Gala Collider has been an undeniably interesting experience for me, so I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback in our open Alpha!