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!

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!

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.

Creating Sci-fi User Interface Sound Effects: the Creative Process

Hi! My name is Antoine and I take care of sound design and interactive music on GalaCollider. I live in Belgium, birthplace of the big bang theory (no kidding), and I’ve always been fascinated by outer space.

In this post I’ll tell you about the different aspects of my creative process for the user interface (UI) sound design, which has been my main focus so far on the game.

Before working on specific sounds, I thought about the general sonic aesthetics I wanted to achieve. My goal is that GalaCollider’s UI sounds like a slick and advanced high-tech device. It should sound smooth, pristine and satisfying to use. Typically, UI sounds have to support visual aesthetics and give informative feedback to players. In a strategy game like GalaCollider, the UI is really the interface between players and the core gameplay. So what we hear when clicking a button should tie in with what that action means within the game’s wider strategic framework.


For every sound effect, I start by playing the game and paying close attention to visual elements. At that point, there is often a gut feeling of how the effect should sound. I then ask myself the following questions:

  • What do we want players to feel?
  • What is the meaning of the action in relation to gameplay?
  • Is it related to other sound effects in the game? (for example, all sounds related to a specific resource)
  • What information should the sound carry?
  • Is it part of a sequence of actions that means the effect will need to work nicely with other sounds – in sequence and/or simultaneously?
  • Do I need to create one sound or different variations?

Based on this I start creating different layers which I synchronize to video in my digital audio workstation. Here is a picture of the “draw a card” sound effect, which is made of seven layers.


As a starting point for UI sounds I often use a nice little synth called Galactic Assistant by SoundMorph. I also use a bunch of other software synths, a Moog Sub 37, and some sample-based instruments.

Once I have a good basis for a layer I start processing it with different effects. Often the processed sound is very different from what I recorded initially. In most cases, it is possible to know that by recording a certain source and applying specific effects I’ll reach the required result. But sometimes I just experiment with different effects and see how they work together with the game. As in most creative fields you get happy accidents, which is always nice!

Here are some examples of sounds from the game.

Drawing a card (as shown in the above image):

Opening Tech Research:

Confirming Resource transfer:

To implement sound and music in GalaCollider, I use DarkTonic’s MasterAudio plugin (shown in the picture below) in Unity. Once sounds are imported in MasterAudio, they can be triggered in C# in one of the game’s scripts. So I dive into the code and find where to trigger the sound. Implementation can vary from one line at the right place to more sophisticated syntax. Working mostly in C# has been great because it allows me to learn how the game really works under the hood. It helps being more self-sufficient and take some weight off the programmers’ workload.


Then it’s time for the first verdict. I test the sound in the game and see how I respond to it as a player. Does it really work with the visuals? What does it make me feel? Does it sound good in context with music? So I can then go back to my audio session and adjust the sound and repeat the process until I have a first version that works. A few parameters can also be adjusted with MasterAudio. Over time, I also go back to the sound with a fresh set of ears and make revisions based on further impressions and feedback from the team.

If you have any question about creating UI sounds or working with MasterAudio, don’t hesitate to get in touch on twitter (@Antoine_VL) or through my website, where you can also find samples of my work.

Crowdfund Alpha release – this Fall!

If we could harness excitement into electricity, the GalaCollider team would’ve been the equivalent of a lightning storm over the last couple of months! Everyone has been working at full throttle to get the game ready for you guys, and it’s shaping up very nicely. You can expect to play GalaCollider yourself this coming Fall, but in the meantime we have some updates to share with you.

Crowdfund this Fall

GalaCollider is just about ready to release as we approach the end of our Alpha development cycle. It’s been nearly two years since our first crowdfund campaign, and we’re coming back for round two. While we’ve come a long way in the last two years without funding, we’re at the point where we still need a small sum of capital to secure licenses for artwork. We’re still working on an exact date, but we’re aiming to launch this Fall, 2017.

Best of all, our Alpha release will coincide with the crowdfund! This means that it will be possible to play GalaCollider while the crowdfund is ongoing.

Design Updates

If you’ve been following our social media channels, you have likely seen some behind-the-scenes images from our design team. More emphasis is being applied to the art shown on cards by reducing the amount of text and numbers displayed. We are shifting this information to be more contextual and displayed around the cards themselves. The goal is to make the game feel more elegantly-minimal without necessarily reducing any of its intuitive usability.

Card Information display

Here is a sample of our new (in progress) card information overlay:

Animated Cards

Having more space for art also opened us up to consider and create animated cards with special visual-audio effects! Ship cards will have 3D animated scenes, while development and operation cards will have more of a 2D animated design. Each card in our game will come to life before your eyes. You can expect all player-cards to have their own animated versions when we launch our final release.

Game play update

In addition to completed scenarios, tutorials and many UI improvements, we’re going to have Asynchronous Mode ready for the Alpha crowdfund release. In Asynchronous Mode, if you are playing a game without a turn timer, you will be notified as soon as all players have completed their turns, and play will continue. This is ideal for players who want to play various matches at once, or who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a single session.

This will bring the modes of play up to three:

  • Single player scenarios
  • Head-to-head play with a 90 second turn timer
  • Head-to-head play without a turn timer

Future plans still exist to add even more game modes like co-op, survival, raids, team battles, 8 player free-for-alls and more.

Team Updates

Antoine Van Lierde, our new sound sculptor, has been working on bringing extra atmosphere to GalaCollider, focusing on creating a consistent ensemble of sounds that reinforces visual feedback and the meaning of different actions, and building dynamic music for the game. Antoine is unique among sound designers in that he can also write code! We truly hope you will find GalaCollider as audibly satisfying as it will be visually.

 

Nick Hill has joined our team as test manager with 10 years of experience. For five of those years, he worked at Blizzard Entertainment, debugging their flagships games like Starcraft II, Hearthstone and many more. We’re honored to have him with us.

 

 

Podcast

We were thrilled to have Jean-Michel from Abrakam, the team behind FAERIA, on our podcast. FAERIA came out in March and is a free to play “PC card battler perfected for mobile.” If you missed the podcast then be sure to check it out below. You can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or download past episodes from our podcast page.

Newsletter Rewards

Here’s some great news for all of our newsletter subscribers. As an early adopter, we’re going to offer you tier upgrades on our future crowdfund. Whatever you pledge, we will bump your rewards up a notch to the next level. If you have friends who you think would enjoy GalaCollider, let them know that they should sign up to play before we launch the crowdfund in order to secure this perk for themselves.

Closing thoughts

This is a project we strongly believe in and we want to bring you the best game we possibly can, but we need your help if we’re going to make it.

Thanks for your interest and continued support!

Have feedback? Want to talk with us? Look us up on Discord, Twitter, Facebook or shoot us an email.

See you in about a month with our next update and more specific details regarding our Alpha release.

Expandable Cards in Gala Collider

Disclaimer: Some of the following information offers a sneak-peek into our monetary economy plans and is subject to change as Gala Collider continues to be developed. We’d love to know your own thoughts and suggestions!

Hey everyone! It’s Scotty here to give you a brief news update and to talk about expandable cards in Gala Collider.

First off, it’s an exciting time as we approach the completion of our Alpha5 build, which will include all sorts of great new features! In other news, we had a special guest on our podcast this month, Jean-Michel from Abrakam Entertainment, the team behind Faeria which was just released in March. Faeria is a beautiful, fun CCG that takes the land concept from Magic the Gathering to a whole new level wherein players actually create a board map each game that functions somewhat like mana:

It’s a great game, and it’s free-to-play!

We also released a second artist showcase video, with music by Sam Watson!

 

So, a little bit more on the expandable card game model we’ve been envisioning for Gala Collider. With such an increase in popularity of card games in recent years among the gaming community, the NeoCrux team saw an opportunity to try something new. We want to take a different approach to most current digital card games. By combining the foundations of 4X games with the mechanics of card games, we aim to offer players what we believe to be a unique gaming experience.

Many card games have gone down the route of a collectible card game (CCG) model. While this model does create moments of excitement when opening random packs of cards, it can often create an unfair advantage to the player who spends more money on the game. CCGs are not typically available in complete sets, and some cards are usually more scarce than others, meaning that a significant amount of cards packs usually need to be purchased in order to obtain the exact cards you want.

With Gala Collider, we want to level the playing field for our players. This has been achieved by using an expandable card game model (similar to what is used in Android: Netrunner and AEG’s Doomstown: Reloaded for example). Rather than open random pack after random pack, we give players the opportunity to purchase sets of cards where they know exactly what they are paying for. Individual decks can be created from these sets, meaning that players will still be able to enter battles with their own custom strategies.

Each release cycle of cards will explore a different theme and showcase new mechanics, opening up fresh strategies for players to discover and master. The metagame will stay novel as strategies must evolve and adapt to the regular releases of new cards, game modes (various team, co-op, solo modes of play etc.) and maps. Needless to say, Gala Collider remains exciting while being kinder on your wallet than your average collectible card game!

If you like what you’ve read, then feel free to sign up to our newsletter. We’ll update you with new developments and let you know when you can try Gala Collider for yourself! Simply leave your email address here.

Spring Updates 2017

Hey everyone! Lots of exciting things have been happening with GalaCollider, and progress is steady! Here’s a brief update on what’s been going on with the game and with the GC team.

Progress of the Save/Load feature is going well – our dev team has been pulling the impossible with this very complex feature. Combining simultaneous play with asynchronous gameplay and accounting for all scenarios is a very complex scenario to code for. This feature will be hands-down the most complex code component in the game to date; but the pay off should be substantial since it will let anyone play anyone they want and just get notified when their turn is ready by email or notification.

We’ve designed some new card information overlays, these will show up when you tap the info button next to a card to learn more about them. For the moment, text in these overlays is just placeholders:

Our creative writing team is now 3 people and they completed renaming all the cards to match all the background lore they’ve written. They’ve also been working out all the details of the future factions the game doesn’t have yet… but eventually will. We needed to figure this all out so we know where the story’s main arc will go, plus it’s important for gameplay design. The creative writers’ next objective is to lay down the framework for the first expansion cycle. So this includes key characters, their appearance, stories and how we plan to connect this to card releases and future mechanics.

Kamil continues to generate better and better 3d models, we can’t wait for him to finish all the core set. He’s been focusing on developments lately:

↑Coalition Mining Station

 

↑Sylith Enclave

In other news, we’ve been making headway on the in-game deck builder, scheduled for completion with our Beta-1 release. We have some great new redesigns for our website and mobile platform that will be coming soon, and we’re making progress on the online and in-game store(s)!

We have a new HR Manager who has been doing a great job posting, interviewing and recruiting new team members. Our Project Manager has been fantastic in coordinating various tasks across the teams. We’ve also begun putting together some short videos showcasing the many incredibly talented artists who have contributed to the game! Check out the first one:

Furthermore, we’ve been working to proofread and validate all of the card text and in-game text and tutorials. We take card text clarity seriously. Even though this is a digital game, it should be clear from reading a card what it does. Our QA team has been hard at work squashing bugs, and has expanded to roughly a dozen people! However, we can always do with more testers, check out our careers page and/or the QA tester page to find out more.

So things are progressing smoothly here with GalaCollider. We can’t wait to finish up the Alpha 5 build, and get the game into your hands! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear about the Open Alpha launch this summer.

All the best!

-The GalaCollider Team