2018 Spring report

Hello everyone! Time is certainly flying and we’ve got a lot of updates to share with you. We went to GDC and had a booth set up this year. It was a great event where we got to meet with a lot of publishers and people in the industry.

Meanwhile, we’ve also been working on core features of the game like the deck builder, in-game store, first expansion materials and a list of visual / UI enhancements.

Finally, enough time has passed since GDC that we’ve had a chance to review various feedback from different publishers. We’ve gotten varied suggestions from many of them, ranging from suggestions on how to improve our new player experience, story engagement and UI / screen display improvements, all the way up to suggestions from publishers around the game mechanics and ways we might want to consider simplifying things.

Current progress

Our in-game store is basically done and just waiting for final testing. The deck builder was very close, but then after some internal peer review, and unexpected “life” delays with a couple of our team members, we decided to refactor part of the code and delay things a few more weeks. At this point of writing and with current resources, the deck builder is, at best, 3 to 4 weeks away from release-ready.

The store will release with an expansion pack available for purchase. It’s got some great cards in it that we’re excited to share with you, and at the same time this lets us test out the store, the deck builder and provides a means for us to begin generating some early stage revenues (so we can code even faster).

We also have new artwork being created, new visual effects made, enhancements to our single-player scenario builder / logic system, and a ton of work being spent in the strategic layer of things (both internally and with other 3rd party people and publishers) – more on that below.

Spring doors

You could say we are at a new crossroads right now as we’ve been considering multiple pathways forwards – post GDC and early Alpha. These include:

  1. Self publishing the game on Steam (followed by mobile device launch)
  2. Polishing off areas required to get the game ready for publisher consideration
  3. Pushing ahead with a crowdfund campaign

Self publishing the game on Steam is relatively straightforward, we’ve reviewed the SDK and have our estimates in place for the amount of work this would entail.

Currently, we do not think a crowdfund campaign would make the most sense. While an injection of funding would be incredibly beneficial, we have purposefully avoided major press spotlight (Alpha still in early stages) and lack a sufficiently large player base to support such a project. It could be we just release on Steam and mobile and skip any sort of crowdfund? Or a publishing deal we do ends up making the need for one unnecessary? Or it could be something we still revisit and pursue again in the (near) future…

In terms of polish work, a lot of the areas identified by the publishers and players, are areas we will want to polish off ourselves anyways, the list we’ve put together regarding this, is currently as follows :

  1. Fix lingering UI / UX bugs related to mouse scroll, mouse wheel, screen default resolutions, text rendering sizes
  2. Make current tutorial no longer required to play other modes (and maybe eventually entirely replace them?)
  3. Make the single player experience more story driven, more exciting (capture enemy home planet), more contained but also more open
  4. Add in an automatic match maker, to facilitate pairing players together for play-by-mail games
  5. Address a list of other requested items like 2D map mode improvements, faster battle replays, drag to target etc.
  6. Adjust various UI elements to work better on large displays
  7. Add visual queues plus a log list, that shows you what your opponent did on their last turn
  8. Finish off a slew of visual improvements

Disclaimer: This list is not necessarily final, nor complete. And we may decide to be polished off enough with some of these changed, or without some of these items done before we publish or self release.

Design streamlining

At this time of writing, Gala Collider is still in Alpha. This means we are still open to making changes to the core design of the game. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback recently from our players, peers and various experts. Some of the feedback we’ve collected pertains to the complexity of the game, where it could be simpler and more intuitive.

To this end, we are considering doing a number of design changes to the game in a variety of areas. Some of the changes we are considering include:

  1. Reducing resource types from 3 to 2 or even 1, removing exchange window, draw card button and let resources accumulate.
  2. Letting players bomb planets, not just the developments built on them. Bombing planets reduces their star value, you can win by bombing the enemy commander center to 0 (zero).
  3. Making command world capture / defeat much more common place and reducing the frequency (importance) of Star wins and strategies.
  4. Making technology cards easier to obtain and overall more powerful.
  5. Having Invasion troops no longer deplete from a ship when deployed, and limiting them to only being used offensively.
  6. Making ships pay their cost to move the way people expect it to work – which is they pay for each move they make (instead of pay once and then move for free).

Disclaimer: same as above – Not everything from the above list is guaranteed to make it into the game, and some of these items may change or get added to as we code, test and develop them.

Making changes like these is of course not trivial, so if you have any input into these ideas, come join us and let us know on our Discord channel.

Roadmap

We are updating our roadmap, here is how it is currently being broken down. We are not putting dates on this timeline because the pace is dependent on how fast we move through the current stages, funding, how popular the game is etc, yada yada.

Near term – Alpha 6 polish

Items we are working on right now and we want to get into the Alpha ASAP:

  1. Deck builder
  2. In game store
  3. First expansion pack
  4. Automatic matchmaker system (for play-by-mail and head-to-head)
  5. Various polish items (from above, starting with lowest effort items)
  6. Some of the easier design changes we are considering

Mid term – Alpha 7 release

Still in Alpha here, but sufficiently polished so that we can begin to push the game out on various platforms like Steam and/or release via a publisher:

  1. The potential implementation and release of one or more further design changes
  2. Various features (like mulligan system, discard pile access, generating cards mid-game, scenario enhancements)
  3. The completion of sufficient polish items that the Alpha is deemed publish-ready
  4. Steam (and/or other desktop platform) Alpha releases

Long term – Beta ready

These items are things we want to add shortly after the mid-term and things we need to graduate to being a Beta:

  1. Mobile & Tablet release (staggered release on Android, iOS)
  2. Achievements, rank system and prestige
  3. In-game reward systems
  4. Further improved single player campaign / experience (AI player, scenario options etc.)
  5. Earning cards (unlocking content) through play
  6. Various quality-of-life features like: In-game chat, community

Beyond

These items could be pulled up to be sooner, and their order is as of yet unknown. Here are some of the items we want to have done before we leave Beta:

  1. Support for 1 to 8 players in a single game, along with play modes like FFA, coop, teams, raids and team survival missions
  2. Alternative modes like tech/card drafting, sector drafts etc
  3. Many more unique factions, each with their own distinct play styles
  4. Many more cards, card types and mechanics
  5. Esport features: in-game streamer support, spectating mode, tournaments and full game replays

Closing thoughts

We’re really inspired and excited to work on some potential game design changes. We think the game can broaden its appeal, streamline further and still retain the essence of what the game is about and what makes it fun. Getting all our polishing items done will mean the game is finally ready for press push and potential publication.

If you have any thoughts on any of the above, come find us on our Discord channel – we’d love to hear from you and play a game or two together.