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, Yuri. Yuri recently did an overhaul of all the weapon effects. However, in order to see how the weapons would look in game Yuri 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.

Yuri 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 Yuri 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 GalaCollider

Disclaimer: Some of the following information offers a sneak-peek into our monetary economy plans and is subject to change as GalaCollider 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 GalaCollider.

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 GalaCollider. 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 GalaCollider, 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, GalaCollider 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 GalaCollider 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

2016 Year End Update

Much has happened over the course of 2016, and we’re getting ever closer to the Beta version of the game.


Our Alpha 5 build has seen many UI upgrades, improved graphics, a new Street Fighter-like ‘star bar’ meter (to track players’ progress towards star victory), roll-over tips, a 2D/3D toggle mode, and most recently the battle-zoom UI. In battle-zoom you can see your ships up close, plus weapon animations and explosions get the spotlight:

Many other new features have also been completed:

  • The deck-builder is live with the full core set of cards
  • User accounts have been integrated into the game
  • A series of optional tutorials now help guide new players
  • Single player missions against an AI have been added

Furthermore we’ve enhanced the gameplay by giving all cards intrinsic value when discarded, and reduced deck sizes across the board to augment the importance of the tech pool.

We’ve also made significant progress on some key features which will allow us to gear up for the Beta, such as the “play by mail” asynchronous play mode which allows players to take their turn anytime they want.

Other big features that are getting close to being finished are the in-game deck-builder, the in-game store, and the Save/Load system that will allow you to pause games and return to them at a later date.

Next year is the year!

We’re excited to keep building this game and to get it out to all of you. Please stay tuned for updates in 2017 surrounding a buildup to a future crowdfunding campaign in combination with our Open Alpha/Beta release. We’ve been working long and hard on getting this game finished but we need your help and support to make it ultimately successful. You can help us by getting your friends to sign up for our newsletter, follow and reach out to us on social media, and help spread the word!

If you haven’t yet, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and catch live-streams of the game on our Twitch channel! You can follow our monthly podcast, the GalaCast, on our website or on iTunes. If you feel like chatting with us directly, come check out our Discord channel.

Thank you for interest and your support! We’re thrilled to have you with us as we continue to build what we believe can be a great game and community.

Sincerely,

The GalaCollider team


Art credits:
Architecture sketches by Jan Sarbort
The New by Jingchun
Europa by Lasse Perälä
Command Center by Julian Faylona

Gaming in Montreal

Hey everyone, Elijah/Licoricefish here.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending a couple great gaming events this past month, namely MIGF (Montreal Independent Games Festival), and MIGS (Montreal International Games Summit). I was really hoping to get a booth to showcase GalaCollider, but despite not getting one it was still lots of fun getting to check out a myriad of unique games by local and international developers!

One of the first games to really catch my eye was Dread Nautical by Hibernium Games, a spooky roguelike game set on a dreadful, procedurally generated ship at sea! The game’s still in development, but the controls are pretty intuitive and the artstyle is very colourful. Here’s how the levels can end up looking:

Dread Nautical from Hibernium Games

Another very promising title was Flying Carpet Games‘ The Girl and the Robot. It feels very evocative of the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus/The Last Guardian series. Cool puzzles, a mysterious villain, and an endearing relationship between girl and robot. Here’s a shot from the game:

The Girl and the Robot from Flying Carpet Games

Mage Rift from Wrecko Studios also looks very cool. A Diablo-esque, iPad-only game with a really unique and innovative control scheme. In Mage Rift you basically build your own magic load-out, and use spells with a variety of  1-finger, 2-finger, and 3-finger controls. They’ll also be integrating an asynchronous cooperative play mode.

Mage Rift from Wrecko Studios

Cardboard Utopia‘s Children of Zodiarcs is also looking fantastic. Similarly to GalaCollider, it’s a bit of a deckbuilding hybrid. It’s a story-driven RPG that combines traditional tactical gameplay mechanics with collectible cards and craftable dice. Here’s a shot:

Children of Zodiarcs from Cardboard Utopia

It was great getting to meet other indies at MIGS. There was an incredible amount of talent and innovation in the games present. Big shoutout to all those studios in the Indie Zone!

I was thrilled to show off the latest build of GalaCollider on my iPad. It’s running quite smoothly, and people were generally very intrigued by the game! I had tons of fun at this event, I can’t wait to check out other game conventions in the future. I’d love to represent GalaCollider again, hopefully with our own booth!

Here’s me in the Indie Zone at MIGS:

That’s all from me for now, if you haven’t, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to hear about the upcoming Open Alpha event!

Stay tuned for a new episode of the GalaCast very soon!

3D Modeling – Bringing Cards to Life

Greetings, my name is Kamil Micek. I’m the 3D Modeler for GalaCollider. Im responsible for all the 3D assets you see in the game. Modeling, texturing, UV work; if it’s 3D, I do it.

Little about myself.

Im originally from Poland, but I’ve been living in New York City most of my life. I’m in my final months of completing my B.S. in Computer Animation at Fullsail University. I specialize in hard surface modeling.  GalaCollider fit like a glove for me.

This is my first project of its kind in the industry, but I have worked on some other projects like Supreme Mech Commander Mod, as part of a 2 man team, and Project 1 with Elite Eight.

I found GalaCollider through a network of associates. The team was looking for someone to work on 3D models for space ships, being a avid fan of Sci-Fi, ranging from Star Wars to EVE online, I jumped on the opportunity. Since I’ve started, some of my tasks have included optimizing models, reviewing textures, and creating new assets. Here are some WIP models:

Coalition cruiser ↑
The Kor’Sto Sylith dreadnaught ↑
The Sylith Great Tree dreadnaught ↑ Still working to refine the glossy shine on this one.
The Ima Miri Sylith dreadnaught ↑

My ultimate goal is to make this one of the best looking Sci-Fi 3D card games out there. Stay tuned for future updates.

Follow Kamil on his ArtStation page.

Worldbuilding 2.0 — Meet Justin Hung

Hello GC fans!  My name’s Justin Hung, and I’m really excited to be a part of the GalaCollider team as one of the creative writers on board.  Just wanna to introduce myself, and talk about my experiences with the project so far. Here’s me↓

I’m currently a narrative designer and writer working out of the Greater Atlanta Area, but my first experience with GalaCollider came when I saw the game’s booth at the East Coast Gaming Conference up in North Carolina.  There, I found out that the team was looking for more writers, and, after exchanging contact information there, Sebastian got in contact with me.  A few emails back and forth and a quick onboarding process later, I found myself officially welcomed into the GalaCollider project.

Aside from the fun mechanics that drive the game, I think what attracted me the most to GalaCollider was the vast expanse of GalaCollider’s setting.  Between the dimensions of two galaxies, the Milky Way and the Andromeda, and the time and space covered by the game, a multitude of stories can be written in a way that’s usually only found in sci-fi epics.  Unlike the other works however, GalaCollider’s factions, due to the limits of physics and technology, find themselves isolated from one another, and this creates a diversity in every single faction that’s not quite like any other I’ve seen before.

I’ve really enjoyed working with Jess and Sebastian since I came aboard the team.  Though I’ve had other works in the pipeline, both as a freelancer and an owner of a startup called Sphere 9→

I do my best to make time for GC. Lately, I worked on the heroes for the Coalition faction: specifically, on Sokura Ri-Changdor and Abagail Beransi Junior, heroes of the Gomeish and the Celanese respectively.  Each treads her own unique path, though their lives ultimately intersect in the moment of First Contact between the Coalition and the Sylith.  One rose above the others in a through resilience and a relentless attitude, and the other made herself a pariah after going too far in her attempts to improve her local civilization. Hopefully we can showcase both of them real soon!

Since writing for GalaCollider has been my first experience working with a card game medium, a few new challenges have come my way. One was in the limits of writing the actual story versus how much would be communicated to the players. With little room on each card, rationing words carefully becomes essential, and that leads to deciding which content should be showcased to the public and which should remain as internal references for the team.

Fortunately, I could rely on the experience that Sebastian has. Even though some stories stay internal, just being able to help fill GalaCollider’s world and connecting the pieces of its history to form a truly unique story has been a really rewarding experience for me.

I’m hoping to stick around the GC team for the future.  I really enjoy the game itself and the setting is rich for creating some truly fascinating stories.  I would very much like to see where this all goes, especially once the players’ inputs are accounted for through the game’s interactive elements.

Aside from that, I hope to get a full time position in the gaming industry, as well as continue to put out projects from Sphere 9such as A Casual Chat, which we released earlier this year.

Well, that’s enough about me. Until next time, stay tuned here for all your Galaxy Crashing news!

Follow Justin at @JustinHungWJ, or check out his site at https://justinhung.me/.

 

Banner image: Exoplanet by Edouard Noisette.

Worldbuilding GalaCollider

Hi! Jess Haskins here, creative writer for GalaCollider. I wanted to introduce myself and share bit about what I’ve been working on as I build out the setting, backstory, and narrative arc of GalaCollider’s “Milkomeda” galaxy and the characters who inhabit it. Here’s me:

I’m a game designer and writer based in Brooklyn, and I first got attached to the project when I met Sebastian during the brief period he was living in New York. He attended a monthly drink night I host for local indie game developers, and as we chatted, I learned that he was making this multiplayer digital card and strategy game about exploring and settling star systems in the new galaxy formed by the merger of the Milky Way and Andromeda some four billion years in the future. Cool. Even cooler, he was looking for a writer and worldbuilder who could help develop the alien races and factions and a compelling story arc for this vast universe. Why, I do all those things. I signed on immediately.

Prior to joining the GalaCollider team, I worked on a game called Guns of Icarus Online, a multiplayer steampunk airship shooter by developer Muse Games, where I was a game designer, writer, and, almost accidentally, community lead. (As the first person to raise my hand and say, “hey, what are we doing to make sure players aren’t ****s to each other?” everything related to community and moderation thereafter became my job—including hand-crafting the game’s extensive profanity filter, but that’s another story.) It was a small studio and I had a closetful of hats, but my favorite role was developing the game’s setting: an alternate-history post-apocalypse where World War I never ended and polyglot factions of raiders, traders, scavengers, and air pirates battled over ravaged earth in steampunk-styled airships with lashings of dieselpunk.

From stitching satellite images into a map to creating the styles and cultures of the game’s six factions to naming every town and outpost, ship class, weapon, and tool—I particularly enjoy naming things—I handled every aspect of story and worldbuilding. It was work I loved, and I was eager for the chance to do it again with GalaCollider.

I have, let’s say, a thorough approach to worldbuilding. After taking stock of the existing notes and GalaCollider lore left by previous writers, my first task was to develop a comprehensive story bible. I created a “World” doc and gave it lofty headings like “Space” and “Time,” establishing facts like terms for units of time at the relevant scales (a megannus is one million years, and an eon is one billion years; the universe is presently 13.8 eons old, and into its 18th eon in the time of GalaCollider); the width of the combined Andromeda–Milky Way galaxy (roughly 300,000 light-years); the average distance between star systems (we settled on four light-years; our own nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri, is about 4.37 light-years from Earth); and the time it would take to cross the galaxy at our (fictional) maximum speed using hyperlight “jumps” of about two light-years every 90 days (3,300 years—in the real world where light speed is a physical limit, it would of course take 300,000 years for information to make the trip, and considerably more if you wanted to take any mass along).

All of this is not just proof that I’m a massive nerd, although that’s true, but an attempt to determine the ground rules and boundaries of our universe, which shape the terrain from which everything else unfolds. A spacefaring civilization will develop very differently depending on whether the nearest habitable world is ten years’ travel away or 10,000, after all.

To bring things back to a more human scale, apart from figuring out details of gameplay like the distance between nodes on a game map and how long a match takes in “world time,” the eventual goal of all this table-setting is to create rich, compelling histories and engaging identities for the factions that the players will variously inhabit and battle against. I’m particularly excited about our first two factions: the Coalition, a diverse mix of disparate Sapiens species descended from humanity ↓

and the Sylith, an ancient alien civilization originating from the Andromeda galaxy →

More about them in the next post!

You can follow Jess on Twitter at @jess_haskins, or visit her site at jesshaskins.com.