Fall update 2018

Hi everyone, I hope everyone had a great summer!

While we don’t have a new patch release date to announce yet, we are gearing up for a lot activity here in the fall/winter season.

Progress with the new rules

Since we last wrote, the following rule changes have been coded, implemented and tested. These are rule changes we are feeling very confident about and will be in the next major release of the game -Alpha 7:

  1. The game now only uses ONE resource type, not three.
  2. The exchange window is no longer needed and was removed.
  3. Any ship can now attack Sectors directly! Attacking a Sector lowers the Sector’s Star value.
  4. Any ship can now attack a planetary development, not just ships with Bombardment.
  5. Commander Sectors doubled in Star value (~20 stars).
  6. If a Commander’s Sector is attacked and reduced to 0 stars you lose the game.
  7. Your Command Sector can no longer be Contested, so you can ALWAYS build there, even if occupied by enemy ships.
  8. Moving a ship always uses up Fuel doing so, not just the first move. (more intuitive, cards re-balanced accordingly).
  9. Far fewer Sectors you discover generate Stars per turn than before, instead Sectors generate more resources, cards, etc.
  10. Your Main deck only needs to be 15 cards now, far less than before (24 cards), making the first reshuffle happen much-much sooner – and, therefore, Technology is far more critical in games.
  11. Developments all got a lot more Hull to account for the fact that now any ship can attack them.
  12. Bombard ability now does extra damage to attacks against Developments or Sectors.
  13. Nuke ability now does extra damage against Dreadnaughts and Sectors making it more useful overall.

We are still considering some minor changes to the Invasion mechanic that are aimed at making the mechanic easier to understand, but we are still toying with alternatives.

These are a lot of changes. Everything above has been coded and is working on our private servers so we are making good progress here.

The biggest impact is the old 3 ways to win will be replaced with 3 new ways to win.

Before it was, in order of most common occurrence:

  1. Win by Stars (very common)
  2. Win by invading enemy commander
  3. Win by contesting (very rare)

New win conditions:

  1. Win by Attacking enemy Sector to 0 Stars
  2. Win by Stars (we are aiming to make this less common)
  3. Win by invading enemy commander
  4. Win by contesting?

Because the enemy Commander can’t be contested anymore, winning by Contesting the enemy’s Command center is going to be harder than ever. We may still keep this win condition, but we may just remove it entirely.

We are still deciding if having a way to end a game early that is dragging on is more important than the added complexity of having to explain a very rare win condition.

We hope to make Star wins less common than they are now. From our statistics we can see that Star wins are about 75 to 80% of the games, this was by design. The remainder of the games are determined by Invasions.

With these rule changes we would like to shift this towards more 40% star wins and 40% commander destroyed and 20% Invasion wins. But, it is hard to say if the game is best when in this ratio or if Star wins or Commander destroyed should be higher/lower than 40/40 respectively. More data gathered via playtesting will be needed here.

Figuring out that ratio is part of the refinement process. We will be looking to player feedback, win/loss statistics and monitoring what determines the right game length, and assessing the right level of tension. We will achieve this balance over time by fine-tune adjusting core star-related parameters of the game (like stars per planet, frequency of star generating worlds, what percentage is needed for a Star Win etc.).

Other progress

Beyond the new rules work above, we have also been working on other aspects of the code: new features, bug fixes, etc. Here are some of the new features we’ve worked on that you can expect in our next release:

  1. Drag and drop targeting.
  2. New effects for things like “creating ships”.
  3. New replay effects for attacking developments with cards.
  4. New match maker – just queue up and we will match you with another player automatically, and email you when the game is up.
  5. Play-by-mail is now 100% bug free (at least as far as we can tell!), take a turn, rejoin later and continue when notified.
  6. Deck builder is done except for GUI aesthetics that we are working on, progress here was delayed due to refactoring, which we finished.
  7. In-game rulebook architecture done, this will let you look-up short-hand rules while playing the game for topics you want to know more about.
  8. Many new card abilities and some entirely new cards – catalyzed by a direct result of the game changes above.
  9. A ton of new sectors added to the game, also catalyzed by the new rules.
  10. Oh and new art! (some of which you can see on this blog post)

Next steps

Below is a list of what we are working on right now into the next 3 months:

  1. Finishing up the deck builder
  2. Finalizing any changes to invasion rules
  3. Building out the new in-game rulebook
  4. Adding a ton more tool-tips to the game, and adding rule-look-up features to them
  5. Scrap all the current tutorial missions
  6. Replace all the current Scenarios with 4~5 new Scenarios that guide you through the game in missions that increase slowly in complexity
  7. Finalize the Steam integration, so we can release on Steam – when ready
  8. (Ongoing) Searching for investors for our game, to help polish and release it
  9. (Ongoing) Balance tweaks to specific cards and overall win conditions, as we get more data on how these changes impacted the game balance
  10. Various UI improvements like scroll mouse bug fixes, 2D map-mode free-panning, add more clear indicator for ship-moves and consider adding also the ship-size to the card information when selected… and a host of other UI improvements

Most of the above should make sense, but the changes to the missions and tutorials might need some further explanation.

We are shifting the game away with the next build from the current “click next and learn” methodology instead to “here is a situation, figure it out by yourself” approach. We will let you basically swim more quickly and try to give you positive-feedback results faster as well. In practice this means you will try to do things, and we will give you more feedback when you can’t do things – with the option to “learn more” about that concept or rule.

We also plan on releasing a lot less Scenarios and Tutorials in the next Alpha because we really want you to play head-to-head for now. The AI just isn’t ready yet to give you a good challenge; the real heart of this game is still in the immense depth it offers players in the one-on-one format. So rather than try to accommodate both single-player minded folks and multi-player people, we want you, our players, to focus more on the strength of the game and get you into the multi-player mode ASAP.

Later we plan on not only making the AI a lot more interesting to play against, with various mission types and a more realistic but also harder AI, but also adding additional play modes like free for all, cooperative, teams, etc. with up to 8 players. This, along with mobile device support, will be followed up by bigger features we plan on adding post-Steam release (following on good revenues?) or as a result of securing funding with an investor/publisher.

Bye for now!

Thanks for sticking with us and reading our updates! We’ve been working on this game now a good while so we are very excited to finally get it done, and in a better place, for a wider-public release.

Summer update

Hello everyone, it’s been a little while now since our last blog post and things have been relatively quiet so it is definitely time for another update.

Areas being worked on

We have many areas of the game currently at 90%+ completion that are very close to done but still not quite finished.

The deck builder is really close and just needs some finalization. Meanwhile, our automatic match maker is nearly done final testing before moving to UI design work.

In parallel we have been working on new tool tips that will appear contextually as you try to do things for the first time, a revamped tutorial system and integrated game rules.

The bigger news though is we have approved some rather major changes to some of the core rules we were experimenting with the next months, you can expect the following changes to appear in the next major release of the game:

  1. Resource types reduced from 3 types (Materials, Research and Energy) to just one type (called “Resources”).
  2. Any ship can now attack a Development on a planet, not just those with the Bombard module.
  3. Ships can now attack planets (sectors) directly, when doing so they reduce the Star value of the sector by their attack power.
  4. Ships must chose if they attack an enemy ship, a development or the planet.
  5. If your commander’s core world is reduced to zero stars, you lose the game.

There are other rule changes we are experimenting with, but these are the main ones we are feeling good about that we will want to present to the Alpha players for feedback and input.

Progress speed

The reality is, progress the last few months has been slower than expected. We are all working on this game as a side-project until it is released and starts to generate revenue we can use to support the team. Summer means holidays for various team members and distractions. We’re also looking at pulling in new sources of funding (investments) to help fuel the final stages of the game to get it from Alpha to Beta.

We are still all very committed to getting the core game polished off and then pushed up to a distribution platform like Steam where we hope to then see momentum take off and funds come in to help generate a positive feedback loop. How fast this will happen though is a bit up in the air still as we navigate through the summer into August / September.

What I will say though is once we have either time or capital available to push through the current game-state, we should not be all that far from a new patch and Steam release.

Next patch?

So speaking of progress speed, we may have an intermediate patch coming. If we decide to go ahead with the patch, it may include such things as the automatic match maker, new game rules, deck builder and in-game store with add-on content.

Next invite round?

Right now we have paused invites and are stock piling instead sign ups for the future. Our sign up list is still growing by the day, which is great but we want to make sure we bring new players in at a moment where there are good features in place that will give you the best new-player experience possible.

If you want to access the current Alpha and experience the game in its half-finished state, please submit your request to us on Discord. Otherwise we are going to bring you in at the best possible moment when we have all these new features in place and possibly in combination with a platform release like Steam.

Have a great summer and more from us soon!

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.

Early 2018 Report

It’s been about two months since the Gala Collider Alpha officially went live, and we’ve since released about four patches and done five invite rounds. At the moment, we seem to be managing invites in rounds averaging about two to three weeks each in length.

Our Discord channel has been growing in activity, especially with the recent tournament we started (see below). So if you want to engage with the devs and our core fan base, head on over. And if you haven’t signed up yet to play this game, make sure to do so! It’s FREE.

How to Play Guide

Over on our YouTube channel, we uploaded a few guides to help you get more familiar with the basics. Be sure to check them out to learn more about the Explore and Battle Phases:

Expansions and Deck Building

The most exciting development we have underway however, is our first expansion series. Our expansion packs will introduce new cards that will change the way you strategize. Along with our first expansion, we will be releasing our deck builder. Right now you can make decks, but only using a website toolso getting the deck builder in as part of the app will be a very welcome addition.

This is a quick design comp I made showing the general layout for the deck builder. The top row are your filters. Below that is a ribbon where you can select cards to add, and in the lower half you have a tab for your Main Deck, Tech Pool, cards from each, and which commander you are building around. Soon we should be at a point where we will be doing final testing, polishing, and then release planning:

 

Coalescence

Our next blog post will focus exclusively on the details of our upcoming expansion (and spoil a card or two!), but for now I can share a little story blurb to set the stage:

After disastrous first contact with the Sylith, the scattered Sapiens officially establish their Coalition. Backed by the force of a new treaty and the marshaled resources of half a dozen worlds, their initial advance against the Sylith is resolute and deadly.

As more and more Sylith encounter hostile Sapiens in deep space, conflict became constant and the imbalance in the Void grows to new heights. Faced with the unyielding force of their enemies, the Sylith First Arbor, embroiled in internal conflict, finds a common resolve to declare a Divine Mission and eradicate the Sapiens.

Card Art

We continue to add more card art to the core set. Since we are in Alpha, so it’s possible any card with art could get replaced laterbut it is certainly nicer to play a card game with more art and less placeholder text. You can expect these and many more to drop with our next update patch. Here are some screenshots of what the new art looks like:

Podcast

If you missed it, our most recent episode of the Gala Cast discusses some of our experiences with the Alpha so far and some of the standout moments that have happened since Gala Collider opened up to the public.

You can also subscribe to us on iTunes.

Visual Effects and 3D Models

We are continuing to make improvements to the various effects. In the last few weeks, we completed effects for fancier reshuffles (teching up), a bunch of new effects generated by Operation card plays, various card glows, and more.

We’re also working on new 3D models for the upcoming expansion and progressively fixing and improving the developments for the core set. You can check out previews of some new effects below. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see more!

Tournament: Beat the Devs

Last but not least, we are currently running a multi-week tournament against the developers!

Sixteen players signed up on February 19 to take on members of the Gala Collider team and hopefully school them at their own game. You can follow progress on the tournament page. Many of the players are streaming their games on our official twitch, but also on their own channels. Sad you are missing out? Want to find and play other players? We’re all hanging out on our Discord server, and we have a second bracket starting very soon. You might have time to join if you want to jump in.

Heading to GDC

Will you be at GDC or just live in San Francisco and want to hang out? At least five members of the team will be there, and we will have a booth tooshowcasing the game and hunting for publishers and investors (cause you never know!). Still a few weeks to go, but we are excited.

More again from us soon!

Alpha Launch!

Today is the day! We’ve begun to let players into our Alpha.

If you did not yet get an email from us, fear not! We will be adding more and more people to the game as the days/weeks progress. We are adding people based on how long they have been signed up on our list, so the longer you’ve been with us, the sooner you will get access.

Here is a new video to get you started!

If you have not yet signed up, please sign up on our homepage with your email address to get on our list!

And for those of you who want the future crowdfund upgrade perk, please make sure your email is registered before the 21st of December 2017.

Our online deck builder has also been updated with all the new card art and card names, feel free to jump there to review the current card pool, share and make decks.

Be sure to follow us on Twitch so you can watch us and other community members play. We plan on streaming a lot more games, more regularly, now that the Alpha has launched.

You can find many of us and other players on our Discord channel. Our FAQ has been updated with newness.

More from us again soon!

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!

October 2017 Update

Time is still ticking towards our Alpha release. We are fairly confident we should still be able to hit our Fall 2017 release timeframe, and it will likely be around December 2017 – assuming no major hitches in our planning.

Code update for Alpha 6

Alpha 6 is the version number we will be on when the Alpha goes public. We plan on inviting players in batches, with oldest subscribers first. Once we make sure everything works well we will then batch in the next group. We will go deeper into the details of this process once we get closer in a month or so.

Right now, we are mainly working on the following code-related tasks:

  • Player profile enhancements
  • Game lobby and room UI
  • Basic matchmaking logic – to ensure new players tend to find other new players when creating/joining games
  • New card overlays for full-art formats
  • New weapon effects, explosions
  • Sound design
  • Final touches on single player scenarios, tutorials
  • Game patcher Mac/PC testing and design

Discard for Research – GONE

We tried out a mechanic for a good few months where you could discard any card from your hand for one research point. While it did a good job of addressing access to higher technology options on smaller maps, it led to two negative consequences that we decided were not worth the trade off. Namely it encouraged heavy hand-deck manipulation as a strategy, which is a very min-max type thought process, while detracting you from the core of the game: which is focusing your choices in your hand & the ships on the map.

You could easily spend the majority of your turn discarding and drawing large numbers of cards to find a particular solution, which is not necessarily something we want as core gameplay but also a very high-level thought process. Our game already has a very high skill ceiling and this ability as a core-feature for all decks just meant that the skill ceiling was even higher than it perhaps needs to be. Players who discard heavily just win against players who don’t. We were not promoting intuitive gameplay by doing this, players are not “used to” throwing away all their cards to draw new ones, especially when they are learning and don’t know why a different card would be any better.

The ability to discard for research may very well return, but if and when it does, it will be in the form of an ability you can deck build around and progress up to as you play, rather than an innate way of playing.

We should give a shout-out to Jean-Michel from Abrakam / Faeria – who also mentioned this concern on a podcast we had earlier this year.

Video Production

Our team is now also busy working on two videos, one of them will be the intro-lead for our game when it launches. It will convey the big-picture story behind the game of the game and where things begin. The other will eventually attach onto the first as continuation where we unveil the video elements of gameplay, but from the perspective of our characters story. We will be utilizing these videos as part of our upcoming crowd-fund campaign next year.

Art Licensing

Recently we have been focusing more on securing specific artworks from our ~35 artists rather than seeking out new artists to work with. We’ve got licensing agreements finalized with 4 or 5 new artists in just the last few weeks, totaling more than 35 secured artworks.

Meanwhile Eko Putek continues to produce commissioned artwork for our commanders and our upcoming lore video. You can see on our last blog post the two pieces he did for our commanders.

If you haven’t noticed it yet, our Twitter and Facebook pages also have new blue-green back art that was a lot of fun to make and incorporates 3d and 2d art from 5 different people all together in a larger space-scene.

Recruiting

The main positions we need to fill currently are:

  1. Community Manager(s) – Timeshares
  2. Social Media Manager / Specialist – PAID
  3. HR / Admin – Timeshares
  4. QA Testers (especially testers with Mac OSX) – Timeshares

Let us know if you or someone you know would like to join our international passionate team!

Alpha and crowdfund split

Open Alpha / Kickstarter Update

In June, we announced plans for our Alpha release, as well as our speculative Kickstarter announcement date. We are happy to say that our Alpha is still on track for a release this fall. We are planning on having an Open Alpha fully playable throughout the winter. However, we recently decided to push the Kickstarter campaign to early 2018.

There were numerous factors that influenced this decision, but it’s important to note that our intentions to have GalaCollider playable in the fall remain intact. The important distinction in this change of timeline means that you will now have the opportunity to play GalaCollider before our crowdfund. This allows us to get feedback from a much larger player base so we can make adjustments leading up to the Kickstarter. Perhaps even more importantly, if we ran the crowdfund when we originally intended (at the end of the year), we wouldn’t have been able to spend the majority of our gathered funds before taxes were due.

With this information in mind, we will continue to update you all on the ongoing progress. We believe that building a community of players will be incredibly helpful for the coming Kickstarter. As always, your feedback and support will ultimately influence GalaCollider, so we hope to hear from you as the Open Alpha draws nearer!

Commander Cards

We decided to replace Core Worlds with Commander cards. Decks are built around a Commander card, which doubles as your starting planet. The Commander functions exactly as the Core World has in the past, possessing a unique ability that can dramatically affect how a deck plays out.  Here are some of the new Commanders!

Uki Mondragon

Captain Uki Mondragon is the embodiment of a weathered, dependable leader. She is tough, smart, determined, and resourceful, with a loyal crew. As the fleet commander of one of Earth’s earliest sleeper convoys, she could never have imagined just how far fate would bring her.

 

Captain Mondragon commands the Astral Wanderer, the flagship of the 187th Galactic Colony Fleet. Launched before the development of jump drive, the 187th Fleet traveled at sublight speeds, drifting along a pre-plotted course with the colonists and crew in suspended animation. Eons passed this way before the fleet reached its destination: the third planet of the Norollan system in the Caelaran sector.

 

Of the twenty-seven vessels that embarked from Earth, only sixteen remained with the fleet—the fates of the others unknown. But there was no time to mourn for souls lost, and no time to celebrate the journey’s end. Before they could reach the orbit of their intended home, the would-be colonists were confronted by a ship of alien beings—the first intelligent life not of Earthly origin that humans had ever seen. And they were not welcomed. Of those sixteen ships that had made it all the way across the galaxy, only seven survived a disastrous first contact with the hostile Sylith they encountered there.

 

In time, Captain Mondragon made contact with other Sapiens, fellow branches of humanity’s descendants that occupied this part of space; discovered that her home galaxy, the Milky Way, was in the midst of a chaotic collision with once-distant Andromeda; and learned that there were others like her, colonists from the earliest days of deep-space flight who now wandered the stars, known as Peregrines. Light-years and eons from everything she once knew, she remains unwavering in her original mission: to keep her people safe and seek out new homes for the children of Earth among the distant stars.

Solta Vrithin

Niu Kor’Ima Solta Vrithin is the Supreme High Priest of the Void, spiritual leader of all Sylith. From their seat at the First Arbor on the Sylith homeworld Elgyin, they interpret Hathsti’s will and ensure that balance is maintained throughout the Divine Void.

 

Of late, that balance has been increasingly precarious. The gradual, balletic merging of galaxies is causing chaos on a cosmic scale, throwing Sylith colonies throughout the Continuum into disarray and uprooting entire populations. And the incursion of hostile Sapiens invaders from the Milky Way into Continuum territory is even greater cause for concern, an existential threat to the Sylith people and way of life.

 

Attuned to the mounting imbalance in the Void, and disturbed by the ominous Perceptions of certain of their more sensitive kor’imri, Niu Kor’Ima Vrithin determined that the time had passed for merely watching events from afar. Assembling a command fleet, they departed the Arbor and took to the Void of space in order to confront the alien threat directly.

Visual Effects Update

We are currently testing new visual effects for each ship and weapon in the game. Every attack in the game will have a distinct effect, from pulse firing to missile barrages. These visual effect changes will transfer over to planetary invasions and ground battery assaults. Below we have a small sample of our work in progress on the pulse fire weapon. We will also showcase these future changes on our Twitter and Facebook accounts, so be sure to follow if you want to see more!

Code Merge Update

Save/Load is now officially working! We recently made a huge code merge in GalaCollider that brought all the work we put into Save/Load into the core game assets. We have worked on this for approximately nine months now, making it our most complex piece of code yet. The Save/Load function is going to allow for asynchronous play in GalaCollider, which will allow players to play at their own pace. Asynchronous play takes us in an entirely new direction from what we had with “peer to peer” gameplay and allows turns to be taken over several days. This will be a huge benefit to those attempting to play GalaCollider across different time zones, or even just different gameplay schedules. As an extra bonus, this allows you to return to games that you may have disconnected from because of a network error.

The Save/Load feature opens up a lot of doors for what we want to do in the future. For example, Save/Load paves the way for the replay system. Because games are now saved on a separate server, players will eventually be able to revisit entire matches to see where they can improve, or cast or spectate competitive events.

Team Updates

Mike “Hawkeye” Chapman

Hawkeye is our outreach strategist. He has been working in the gaming industry for the last 10 years as a writer, a team manager for several large esports organizations, Team Curse and Denial esports, and managed the community team of Hitbox, a livestream company. Hawkeye has always loved the business behind gaming and esports and is very excited to be working on GalaCollider.

Closing Thoughts

GalaCollider is moving forward at an incredible pace, and we could not be happier with how we as a team have grown along with it. We want to make this game the best it can possibly be, but we cannot do that alone. If you have friends that you think would be interested in GalaCollider, be sure to let them know that they can sign up for the Alpha before the Kickstarter begins and that doing so will raise their Kickstarter pledge level one tier.

Also, if you want to give us feedback or just want to chat, look us up on Discord, Twitter, Facebook, or email.

We wanted to take this time to thank you for all the continued support you have been giving us. We would not be at the point that we are without our community, and we hope to see you soon for our next update.

Summer progress update

Sebastian working on GCHi everyone! Sebastian here. Man oh man, what a trip these last months have been. Pretty surprising that I haven’t posted on the blog since our Open Alpha-4 event. But rest assured, things have been progressing steadily.

Since then I moved to North Carolina, set up shop here and went to a local event called ECGC where I met and ended up recruiting onto the project a good half-dozen people (score).

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Game development progress

Here we see new roll over tips and on the right near our deck a plus symbol reminding me how many cards I draw per turn.
Here we see new roll over tips and on the right near our deck a plus symbol reminding me how many cards I draw per turn.

Where are we with the game now? Well you might have seen our tweets and other posts that our ship 3D models have been improved. While not final they are at least substantially better than before.

I’ve been working on our UI on a continual basis, we have a 2D map mode, improved error feedback when you try to do something you can’t (like move a ship too far), we also added an indicator to warn you if you are going to over-draw and we’ve improved the indicators relating to remaining combat attacks.

We’ve accomplished some bigger architectural changes like moving the camera during replay to each invasion and added many quality of life improvements like: keyboard presses for zooming, rotating and escaping back to prior menus. It’s all shaping up nicely.

We now have more than half a dozen programmers on the team. This is both wonderful and consuming – since I’m doing as best a job of coordinating it all as I can. The approach that we’ve taken is splitting things off into micro teams. So each group is working on something slightly different. If you are curious to know the details, here is a bullet-list of what is in parallel development:

  • Save-load game / async. mode
  • Tutorials
  • User account sync from website to game
  • In-game deck-builder
  • In-game store with connection to web-store
  • In-game profile pages

Some of the above items are nearly done, other items are not for Alpha5 but for our later Beta1 release – yes Beta1 is getting closer! We need the in-game deck builder, in-game store, profile pages and monthly achievements [not yet started] to finally move from Alpha to Beta.

Save-load, a-sync mode and finished tutorials are what you can expect in Alpha5. As of a few months ago it is already a thing that you can create your deck online and then load it right into the game to play. An essential feature when Alpha-5 hits to let you design and play your own decks.

Project progress

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The quest to get funding continues, we’ve had a few prospects that ended up being only a hair’s width away from signing, but nothing in the last few months has crystallized. Several investors are waiting for Alpha-5 to hit before they decide on dropping the cash bomb. I know we, meaning the team, are holding our breath to see what the reception will be once Alpha-5 is released to the general public (you!).

Alpha5 will let you play either head to head [meaning both online at the same time] or asynchronously. What we are calling asynchronous play is akin to play-by-mail style, so you take a turn and then get notified when your opponent is done with theirs so you can continue.

That along with the ability to share and load decks, plus fully scripted tutorials should mean we can really start to catalyze a community around the game.

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One discussion we’ve been having is how open Alpha-5 should be. Do we let in 100 people, 250, 500? 1,000? Or something in-between? Since this version of the game still won’t have the last pieces for Beta-1 is it too early to let in a lot of people?

Alpha-5 will be missing an in-game store – so no new content releases – just base cards, no monthly achievements to play for… You will be able to make your own decks, but you will need to make them on our online deck builder and then import them into the game. So the in-game deck builder is still unfinished. It’s not an obvious question.

Press recognition, signups to our newsletter, followers on Twitter, Facebook – these are all ultimately going to be pretty vital to move our game out of the basement project that it is – to a proper market-comparable and compelling game. We need awareness if we are going to break through and get the game back on a crowdfunding platform before we can switch from Alpha to public-release.

You can do a lot on a shoestring, it just takes more time cause it has to happen on the side – but some things have hard costs attached to them, like licensing beautiful artwork and music.

New Artists

Speaking of artists, wow – we’ve had a lot of new artists join our family as contributors!

All of these people have agreed to let us use some [sometimes a lot] of their artwork pro-bono until we release or are funded. Big love goes out to all of them. Our next blog post will show case them, for now though this post has gotten too long as-is so I’ll wrap it up.

Catch you again soon!

Post Alpha Event Round up

Well it sure was an awesome weekend! We had a lot of fun playing everyone. It was great to see so much activity on our stream and new Discord channels as well.

great-treeMy favorite play was rushing a Sylith dreadnaught onto Sid’s core world by turn 5 or so. Something I never did before and it won me the game in record time (sorry Sid!)

😉

Our stats show that around 100 people tried the game out over the weekend. Most of you like to play on Friday and Saturday. We think you make yummy BBQs or go to church on Sundays, since you play less games then.

Streams

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 6.02.17 PMSanosuke Hitori and Power to Mario did a great job streaming games on our channel. Big thank you to them! But also to our entire team for making our weekend smooth and so much fun.

Press

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We got some nice press coverage from several sources, but most notably a front-page article on Touch Arcade. We did also get a lot of great feedback, a nice up surge in sign ups for our newsletter and a large number of interested players in Playtesting.

GDC

Meanwhile 3 of our team members went to GDC, we talked there with potential publishers and sponsors. As you may know we are actively seeking seed funding and/or a publisher at this time to help us get the last few miles from Alpha to a Beta release. Wish us luck!

What we are working on now

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 5.34.06 PMBeyond preparing presentations and materials are hard at work on Alpha5. We coded this week a turn timer clock and some new maps. We’ve also begun preliminary work on the first expansion of the game [shhh]. However I really must get back to coding our single player tutorial mission and finish it. We’re mid-way through making a level where each aspect of the UI enables itself progressively as you learn more about the game.

It’s an interesting challenge because the game is intuitive once you know how to play, but it still requires some educating to understand the nuances of the minimal UI.

We’re working on two future conventions, but really we’re just dead focused on development and potential investors / publishers.

So if you’ve missed it, check out our new Discord channel. I really like Discord, no login, just jump and and start chatting! You can reach us there anytime.

Subscribe to our Twitch and YouTube pages for live games. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Hang in there as we pull the curtains closed again to brew your next galactic evolution.

Colonizing 101

Hello again! It’s Mojumbo here, with another strategy article for our GalaCollider fans.

Today, I’m going to be covering all aspects of colonizing sectors in the game. Colonizing is fundamental to the gameplay, so be sure to absorb all the information to make the best decisions possible to ensure your future victories.

The Colony Ship

Don’t let the 0 attack fool you! Colony ships win games.
Don’t let the 0 attack fool you! Colony ships win games.

The first thing to learn is how to colonize.

Colonizing is done by the Colony Ship. You start a game with 2 Colony Ships and you will always have one in your hand. To offset this, the cost of the Colony Ship slowly increases as you build more and more of them.

As such, a big part of your colonizing strategy needs to be weighing the pros of colonizing more sectors, versus the cons of the ever-increasing cost. For instance, it’s quite normal to have colony ship costs rising to 5 Materials and 5 Research on a bigger map, at which point it will really eat into your resources for the turn if you build one.

Sectors Galore

GalaCollider has a variety of different sectors you will find in the game. Your colonization strategy can be drastically affected by what kind of map you are playing on.

For example, on a map where you are close by your opponent, you may decide to forego heavily colonizing the map in order to build up for a quick attack. On a map with plenty of development slots, you may decide to colonize and build developments everywhere. It’s all in the strategy!

Each sector in the game has a distinct look to it before it is revealed. The important thing to ask yourself, then, is what do the different sectors in the game do?

The following table will list all the different sectors you will find in the game. Use this information to give yourself a better idea of what colonization opportunities await you before you decide to move out any of your ships.

SectorTable

Putting it All Together

Now that you know what colony ships are as well as what each of the different sectors look like, you are ready to think about when and where you should colonize.

Often, I play games against newer players and they colonize the first chance they get. This can be problematic. For example, if the two sectors adjacent to your Core World are an Asteroid or a Nebula, which both lack development slots and provide few resources, it is likely worth avoiding colonizing them early.

Instead, the better choice might to be move your colony ships up another sector to get them closer to the middle of the map. If you colonize sectors that are closer to your opponent you can quickly start to build up defenses on your sector as well as prepare an attack of your own.

Generally, something to look out for when colonizing sectors are choke points. A choke point is a spot on the map that serves as a bottleneck for your opponent. Let’s say the only way to your opponent is through one sector in the middle of the map – colonizing that one sector and building defenses there is very important! If you were to neglect that choke point and colonize closer to your Core World, you risk letting your opponent claim the middle of the map which would give them free reign to attack you from multiple directions whilst you’re forced to one attack point.

The red player only has 1 sector connecting to the opponent’s side of the map. This is a choke point at its finest.
The red player only has 1 sector connecting to the opponent’s side of the map. This is a choke point at its finest.

That will do it for me today!

So, remember, GallaCollider is all about strategy, and altering your game plan according to the map. In game, think about the cost of your colony ship, the type of sector you want to colonize, and the position of that sector on the map relative to your opponent. It’ll help!

Good luck and happy gaming.

MagFest 2016 decompression

IMG_7269Hello everyone, we had a great MagFest. It was the first time I went to an event that was a mix of music and gaming and I really had zero expectations of what this meant. We got to show case our game AND dance to live gameboy music… how cool is that?

IMG_7247The event takes place in the GayLord resort in Maryland. In other words: A fun time in wonderland.

Our booth ended up looking really nice, we had 4 stations with chairs to play full games and two kiosks that stood at the edge to invite players in to give our game a go. Our three roll up banners added some nice ambiance.

Sid was with me and did a spectacular job of drawing in the crowds and pitching the game. We enjoyed many nights of eating pizza and pasta. I learned about phenomena of local area anonymous chatting: Yik Yak, and got a glimpse of a yet more digital life.

IMG_7257I liked being able to walk through free arcades at any time of the day and night, but most of all I enjoyed sharing GalaCollider with those who were interested enough to come by our booth.

We had times where we were over capacity. It isn’t easy sunning a booth with just two people when you have 6 computers. I wished I had more time to check out the other indies but I did get to play a few great games. I was inspired by the massive battles planned in Camelot Unchained.

IMG_7267Quite a few people came back to play again, one person even came back 6 times! [okay… technically he played 5 times, but still!] – Second place was a 3 time returning guest. It was nice to see a good number of people getting really deep into the game. We collected a good number of signups for our Alpha event and/or as new play testers. This week we are preparing a few things to get ready for their arrival and then I can’t wait to see even more activity in our game.

We are very grateful to MagFest for having selected us to be at the event, thank you to all at the MIVS crew for doing such a great job! We hope you will have us again next time.

Now to get the game ready for our Alpha test event! Only a few weeks left till then.

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