Fall update 2018

Hi everyone, I hope everyone had a great summer!

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

Progress with the new rules

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

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

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

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

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

Before it was, in order of most common occurrence:

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

New win conditions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other progress

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

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

Next steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bye for now!

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

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!

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.

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.

The Art Hunt

Hey everyone! Elijah/Licoricefish here to talk about what I’ve been up to the past few weeks: art hunting for GalaCollider. So far I’ve had 13 new artists agree to us using their art!

By virtue of being a digital/expandable card game, GalaCollider naturally calls for large numbers of cards, each with an unique and appropriate piece of artwork. Right now on our online deckbuilder, GalaCollider has 83 core set cards and 60 sector cards. These are the current public cards, that anyone can check out and build decks with. However, this initial batch of cards is just the beginning! A multitude more are being conceptualized, developed, and tested!

A couple months ago, Sebastian (in charge of art direction) asked me if I’d like to work as a quasi-art producer for the game, scouting out great portfolios and corresponding with artists. Yes, I said, yes that sounds awesome. Since then, I’ve had a blast finding art for the game, it’s definitely one of my favourite things to do for GC! I’ll settle in with one of my favourite video game soundtracks and browse through amazing art for a couple hours at a time. I love it!

The art hunt has been an interesting challenge though, largely because we’re still working on securing funding for the game. We basically need to ask permission from the artists to use their work in our current prototype, to reach a licensing agreement once we are funded or leading up to a release.

It can be a difficult thing to give out your art for future payment, so HUGE kudos to all the artists who’ve agreed, thank you!! I know I’ll be filled with joy when I start seeing cards in GalaCollider with art that I helped find. And now, I’d love to show you all some of the beautiful work from the some of these recent additions to our family.

↑ From ‘Architecture Sketches’ by Jan Sarbort. Jan is a digital matte painter, concept artist, texture painter & photographer hailing form BC, Canada. He’s had plenty of experience at interactive media studios such as Bohemia Interactive (Czech Republic), Double Negative (UK), & currently, Method Studios (Canada). Even what he calls his ‘sketches’ are fleshed out and incredibly colourful. His fantastic scifi landscapes & starships caught my eye, and I’m so happy to have him involved in our project!

↑ Close Up Desert Planet by Ekaterinya Vladinakova, from a tutorial on her YouTube channel. Ekaterinya is a freelance illustrator hailing from California, USA. Her fantasy & scifi works are imaginative and filled with vivid colours, veering away from the photorealism of a lot of scifi artwork. I love the somewhat surreal quality of her work. If you get a chance, definitely check out her blog! Tons of great stuff on there.

↑ Floating City by Edouard Noisette. Edouard is a concept artist and matte painter, based in Paris. I really dig his artstyle, his pieces all feel very real. He’s had diverse experience working on short movies, clips, video games, set extension for photography, CD covers. He also has a diverse skillset, having worked in a variety of different softwares. His body of work is vast and diverse, with some focus on science fiction and fantasy. 

↑ Jellyfish City by Lasse Perälä. Lasse is a concept artist hailing from Finland. His work is filled with great perspectives and really absorbing textures. He uses some complex ideas but does an awesome job at making them come to life. A very elegant style! The cover image at the top of this post ↑ is also Lasse’s: Sci-fi City.

Once again, thank you so much to the artists who’ve agreed to having their art in the game! And if you’re reading this and are thinking “Hey, I’d like to have my art in GalaCollider,” then shoot me an email with some examples of your work at elijah@galacollider.com !

Besides the art hunt, I’ve still been hosting our monthly podcast and helping with our Twitter account. I’ve also been gearing up for a few gaming events in Montreal this fall, namely MIGF (Montreal Independent Games Festival) and MIGS (Montreal International Games Summit), which I’m very much looking forward to.

That’s all from me for now. If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, details about our upcoming big open Alpha event will be sent out through there. Now, in the words of the great Razcrux: SPACE OUT.

Visual wave

Greetings friends, much has happened in the last few weeks!

MagFest

GalaCollider was selected to present at MagFest! We’re very excited to have a new opportunity to show the game to the world. We’re working hard to get a nice humble booth all organized and prepared for the event.

UI Progress

We have made tremendous progress towards getting the UI of the game improved. We still have a lot to go but there is already a world of difference in the game.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 5.11.24 PM

We’ve also been working on various kinds of visual feedback for different game effects, like red spirals to show a planet is being raided or flowering purple-blue rain when an ability reveals a sector at range.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 10.41.09 PM

Sectors now have colors that are more clear to show ownership, the core world glows brighter, sectors that are not selected have various visual indicators disabled.

The half way point

Alpha4 isn’t done yet, but we’ve decided to make a mid-way marker in the development. Our goal in the next two weeks is to make a stable build of Alpha4 in anticipation of MagFest. We will also use this stable way-point as a means to get everyone on the team playing the newest build too.

Only a few actions remain that can’t be undone with our new Undo button – which has proven to be such an essential feature.

It’s also very easy to load custom decks into the game now, and we’ve got 16 new ships and another half dozen or so other new cards in the current pool to play with.

Progress on the single player mode is currently hampered by a few last features we need to finish. Namely we need to code the game to permit us to set the player’s deck, and the order of the cards in their hand at start. Once we have these things, and a few bugs resolved, we can then work on refinement and testing on our puzzle missions.

Planetary 3D models

The game uses 3d models for many things. Everything on the map is 3D but still linked to a card. There were a number of planets added in Alpha3 but they had some problems, pinched textures at the poles, odd colors, rotation problems, or they just simply glowed too much and didn’t match our concept designs close enough.

I’ve spent the last 3 or 4 days going back to the source files and rebuilding all the planets in our game to be a better representation of what we want to achieve.

Tonight I wanted to see all the planets together and measure which ones are too similar and what some of them should be called / renamed into. Here is what I threw together to help me get oversight:

planets_overview_01

Alpha 5 designs, first look

Starting in Alpha5, your hand will hard-cap at 7 cards. If you have 7 cards you just can’t draw more (or you get fewer cards). You can still discard at will, so it won’t stop you from getting new cards if you clear some space. There are many benefits to this change, first it will mean that turns are faster because we never have to wait for a discard phase. Secondly it will also mean we can show more of each card to the player, gone will be the days of only seeing card edges until roll-over. Ghosts on empty slots and lights that glow to show you your hand-spots filled will also make it quick to count and see if you have space in your hand remaining.

We had always planned on having enemy information displayed on an “Intelligence” tab (bottom left corner) – the problem is, that tab doesn’t exist yet because intelligence mechanics (controlled by playing Spies) is a whole world of mechanics that remains in the future… rather than the present.

It’s important to see information about your opponent, especially their star count, so you know if they are about to win. I wouldn’t say this design I made is done, but it’s starting to go in a good direction.

The idea is to leverage the traditional “street fighter” split, me on the left, enemies on the right. I also really like the idea of seeing avatars – you want to identify as much as possible with your side and your enemy. I have ideas in mind for multi-player games, but this current UI assumes a 1-on-1 arrangement.

Finally the menu, done and undo button will move to be more central – I think that makes more sense? But playing and you – will let us know if this indeed true. So here it is, my first draft for Alpha 5 design changes:

Gala_Mainscreen_space_UI_us_v_them_03

Phoenix project

Hi everyone, so our Kickstarter has closed, but we are still here! Working as hard as ever on getting the game done.

Yes, it is sad that we didn’t raise the funds. Does this make our life harder? It sure does… but we aren’t giving up hope. We’ve been working on securing some smaller sources of funding to help ensure things can continue. Some changes in the team and our tools have taken place in our natural progression of the game’s evolution.

We’ve been a bit silent the last couple of weeks but this will soon change again as we resume blogging at least once a week with updates again.

Your voice

We got a lot of great results on our survey, but we could do with some more answers. Our sample set is still a bit light. If you have 5 minutes to fill out this survey about our previous Kickstarter it would be really appreciated! We want to know you and what you think.

What has GalaCollider been up to?

Today we are happy to report that the Demo3 build is making huge progress. We have the following features coded and being tested:

  • New lobby system shows you running games and online players
  • Brand new user registration system
  • Tool tips show up if it is your first time playing that guide you how to play
  • You now see a replay of your opponents moves and cards played
  • Several new ship modules required for new cards we will be adding

In addition we are happy to announce that we have:

  • The first version of our online deck builder website done
  • A new map editor that will allow us to make advanced unique maps
  • A new design for the game UI underway

db.gc

Deck Builder

The first release of our deckbuilder is up! For now you can look at all the cards in our demo decks. Later on we will be adding more cards from the core set here, and eventually also the ability to save and load decks. As well as comment on them and so forth.

Big thanks to our DB.GC team for helping to get this up!

New map editor

We stream games and developer sessions on our twitch channel. Which we then publish on our Youtube channel.

New UI work

Now that we know we don’t have the funds to make a 3-level zoom UI we still need to improve the current UI of the game to look good! We plan on improving it in steps, and the first step is getting rid of the developer graphics (no offense Chris) and instead putting in place something that might look a little better. This is by no means finished, but here is the first rough draft of the new design for the planets and their connections – what do you think?

(The gray rectangles near the center lava planet are where the 3d models of ships will go)

Space UI

Patreon

Are you sad our game wasn’t funded? Do you believe in us and want to help us get our game out? It’s not easy working on an indie game, especially one where we have a lot of artwork we need to secure.

Well I launched a Patreon page a few days ago. It is asking if you want to support me as a designer, working on this game (and some other board games). I don’t have a lot of expectations, but I am offering pretty good rewards. Free digital content if you are my patreon, even physical copies of games I work on if you help me at $25/month – but even $1 a month is super appreciated and helpful. Would you be my patreon?

Developer Podcast?

Would you be interested in a podcast I run once or twice a month that goes into game design? It would be a show where either I, or others from the team would jump in and we would talk about important choices and creative moments we had since the last update.

Things like: why were colony ship costs changed in Demo3? What is the Game Arc of GalaCollider and why are certain values set the way they are because of it? What design challenges have we had since the move to simultaneous turns? Why was workshop changed to buff attack instead of hull on Sylith ships? What are our plans for designing arcs and blocks of sets in GC?

Does this sound interesting to you? It does take time to make one… so let us know!

Team

Since the KS we’ve had 3 new people join our Playtest team, we created a new HR team, promoted two team members to coordinate their areas, a new team member to help create an active voice of ours as a whole on Twitter and added a new junior programmer to the Unity3D C# team. It hasn’t been all growth though, in some teams some people have left us or we’ve moved them around to other areas. We are basically refining and remolding ourselves.

Here is our current list of open positions:

Creative positions: Sebastian has been doing all of these things for some time, it would be good to expand the team so Seb can focus on game design and direction!

  • Art Director
  • Designer
  • Animator

In our outreach team we are looking for:

  • Market Analyst
  • Social Media Marketing (Facebook, reddit)
  • Copywriter

The development team is looking for:

  • QA Testers
  • Alpha Playtesters
  • Programmers (Unity3D C# OOP)

Our production team is seeking a new:

  • Art Producer

And finally our website could do with someone dedicated to do:

  • Webmaster (supervise and take care of our website)

Do you fit one of these titles? Let us know!

Kickstarter Post #16- “Preludes and Previews”

Hello everyone,

Welcome to our last update, actually no it’s not our last update! We will have another one for you on Sunday with a small treat in it.

With the Kickstarter coming to a close we are taking this time improve our internal systems and expanding our various teams. In particular our Playtest team is undergoing growth right now, if you would like to join our chat space, talk about the game and meet other nice players…? Now’s a pretty good time to jump in and get involved!

Internally we’ve been expanding the team further, shifting people over to areas they want to work in, put into place an HR department, posting many new hires and testing out alternative systems like HubSpot, Slack and Trello.

Within the game, testing of a first-step tutorial “tooltip system” should begin shortly. Our turn replay engine is nearly done and an improved lobby system is just about to start getting coded too.

The online website deck builder we mentioned before is nearly ready to become public. Our current estimate is about two to three more weeks and we will break some champagne for it.

We also started the process of designing the first expansion of the game this week; beyond it just being something in our heads. It is important to understand where the story will start and what the theme of it will be in order to ensure that the current game slots in properly with where things are going. One of the net results of this process was a redesign of an existing Sylith card, the Workshop:

workshop_beforeafter

The current Workshop as designed made Sylith Frigates be more durable, the new workshop costs a bit more but now makes them more aggressive. It’s a subtle change but combined with the increased card draw they get from their core world:

Elgyin

It reinforces the idea that Sylith ships are fast, aggressive and numerous. If we gave them both hull bonuses AND quantity bonuses we would be essentially saying they are designed to be both high quality [increased hull] and numerous [card draw]; leaving little design space to contrast them.

Long term this also leaves the design space open for other factions to be king of control-type strategies. Ships with higher hull values are harder to destroy, which increases a faction’s ability to win by contesting all sectors (one of the three ways to win a game).

The Sylith are already masters of invasion and I can’t tell you how many times my core world has been captured by now…

The workshop change, as well as many other small balance changes are currently being laboriously tested and developed – by the playtest team you should join!

Featured Artist

Artist: Lorcan O’Shanahan
Location: Canada
Portfolio: http://lorcanoshanahan.com
About: Lorcan is an accomplished UI Designer and Motion Graphics artist whose credits include Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Ender’s Game, and Continuum. His experience on such projects gave him the confidence to go freelance as of last year. Music is vital to his creative process, and he’s always searching Soundcloud for new music to add to his collection.

Lorcan was of our original designers on the game and was instrumental in creating our space UI, the minimal look you see throughout the game’s interface and our intro video of our Kickstarter:

Here are some of his concept images of our initial UI:

initial UI

Which lead to some initial 3D comps of how the game might be experienced, note the ships are rectangles and lock into a square grid that would also function as a way of visually telling you how big a ship was (bigger ships would fill more squares):

View_Orbital_Layout

From here other iterations were done and we decided to move the planet below the battle and to indicate ship size by changing the size of the shape below it. You can also see on this image we were experimenting with putting ship-data on the “table” surface:

Battle_Mockup_01

The battle UI eventually become more table-top miniature in feel, streamlined and simple, but we did still experiment with various ways of displaying the card data:

Gala_Mainscreen_mini_info_panels

As for the “feel” of the UX. Some examples of the multi-stage zoom UI transitions, here is a render of the game switching from galactic to sector view. As you will see in this video we are translating from motion around a disk (galaxy) to rolling the stars along the surface of a “magic eight ball”:

And putting it all together, here is the concept transition between all stages:

Note: Sadly we didn’t hit our funding goal this Kickstarter, so we will have to wait to implement this in the game a bit longer, but we are planning on making some immediate enhancements to the game’s UI to bring it more in line with our desired end goal. We will get there!

Artist: Ali Ries
Location: United States
Portfolio: http://casperium.deviantart.com
About: 
Ali we met at the start of our campaign and paints beautiful Nebulas. She was kind enough to let us use some of her artwork for this Kickstarter. Some of her work might even fool you into thinking it’s from hubble. 😉

eric_s_nebula_by_casperium-d8z9llh

Kickstarter Post #15- “Future Plans”

Hello everyone,

We’re almost to the end of our Kickstarter campaign and would like to thank all of you for being such dedicated fans and backers. Today, we’d like to talk to you about our plans after the Kickstarter ends. 

New Artwork

sylith_opperation_ground_strike(Clone)

Ground Strike got new artwork today by Jan Jasinski as part of our goal to replace art on our cards with appropriate art over time. The new artwork features two Sylith commandos leaving the scene of a successful strike operation. Flavor text (for lore and story building) and art credit are things we will be adding to cards when enlarged or viewed on our upcoming online deck builder.

See more from Jan here: https://www.behance.net/johnjasinski

Future Plans

Development will not end for our project when this Kickstarter does, it’s just a new beginning. As we mentioned in a previous update, the feedback we’ve gotten on the game itself is very positive, so our conviction is only stronger now that it was when we started.

We’re going to review what went well and what could have gone better and focus the next coming months on perfecting the product further. Our main goals with the code at this point is to get a more robust build in place. We want to offer in game help, tutorials, single player mode, a better lobby so you can find players, game saving and loading and some basic UI enhancements,

We are also working on an online deck builder that will let you build custom decks, comment and share them. Ultimately this tool will also let you save decks as text files and then load them directly into the game.

Once we have these features in place, we will then look to see how strong our community of players has become and how interested the press is. Once we get to the point where all of these things are true, and our chance of success seems very certain, we will launch a new Kickstarter.

Naturally if in the meantime we manage to secure some or all of the funding we need, this could change the nature or need for a second crowdfunding campaign. As we write this, we are busy exploring all avenues.

Friday we will have a closure post and then Sunday, the last day of our campaign, we will have a small gift in store for all the backers! So make sure you don’t miss it.

As usual if you want to talk to us you can do so in the comments, or on the r/GalaCollider reddit or twitter pages. We are also on twitch several times a week playing games and chatting, sometimes with backers! So don’t forget to join us there if you are interested in getting a game.

Featured Artist

Artist: Stuart Ballinger
Location: Australia
Portfolio: http://stuballinger-art.deviantart.com
About: Stuart was inspired by the amazing work he saw from other artists online and so he started watching tutorials and practicing to build his skills. He works in abstract mediums because it allows his work’s story and meaning to be interpreted by the viewer. This allows different viewers to have different experiences when they view the artwork. He’s glad to be apart of GalaCollider as the art direction allows many styles. Ballinger_SpiritWalk“True Sight” Sylith Operation Card Art

Artist: Maciej Wojtala
Location: Poland
Portfolio: www.wojtala.com
About: Maciej has worked with game companies such as Flying Wild Hog, Epic Games, CD Projeckt RED, and People Can Fly. He is often inspired not only by beautiful things right in front of him, but also the beauty in discovering new places, art, photography, or even watching a good movie. He says there are many crazy and wonderful things in the world, you just have to find them and let them inspire you.

Wild_Hunt_Naglfar_Wojtala_big“The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” Concept Art

Kickstarters We Like

Huge shout out to Divinity: Original Sin 2! We are incredibly excited for the release of this game, and so are 32 thousand other fans (so far). This is a sequel to the epic original RPG and features turn-based combat and both cooperative and competitive multiplayer. It promises to have a “strong focus on systematic gameplay” and if it’s anything like the original will feature an incredible storyline and top notch visuals.

7d1f142e2d2e31409ede5794696107d0_original

Kickstarter Post #14- “1 Week Left”

Hello everyone,

We had a great recent AMA on MagicTCG, with plenty of interesting questions.

We’ve also got another preview up on Geek Dad:

“I was genuinely impressed by the strategic depth afforded in a game that was completed in just half an hour.“

State of the Kickstarter

Today we’d like to talk about our plans for the Kickstarter and moving forward. With 1 week left, it’s unlikely we will be funded in time. However, this certainly doesn’t mean we’re giving up! We here at NeoCrux would like to see this through and would love to have you with us. 🙂

We’ve had only positive press reviews and nearly everyone we’ve shown the game to has loved it. Our confidence in the product itself couldn’t be higher right now, but we realize certain elements were missing or not communicated well enough on our Kickstarter. We’d love to learn from you what you think we could have done better, so we are preparing a survey for you to complete over the next week.

Funded or not, as a backer you will receive   exclusive, backer-only updates on the game well after the Kickstarter has ended. You’ll get first-dibs on news and exclusive offers as we move forward. Tell your friends to jump in too so they don’t miss out!

On our next update we’ll talk about our future plans. Thank you for your support!

Featured Artists

Artist: Leif Dahl
Location: United States
Portfolio: http://leifdahl.com
About: Leif is inspired by physical 3D puzzles and the art style of video games such as Guild Wars. This led him to pursue a career of 3D modeling. Leif welcomed the challenge to capture the beauty and essence of the ship concept art to create his final 3D models and textures for GalaCollider.

Coalition-Dreadnaught005
“Coalition Dreadnaught” being Created

Artist: Drew Hoffman
Location: United States
Portfolio: http://drew-hoffman.com
About: Drew was our initial art director and helped to design and define our minimal visual style seen through our materials.

Gala_Mainscreen_Jan28
Early UI Concept

Kickstarters We Like

Legacy of the Elder Star is a fast paced, frantic, arcade style shooter that integrates a ton of new mechanics and strategy to the genre. In this sci-fi destruction game you control the game only with the mouse. Motions you make are swift and deadly, destroying enemies you collide with. You have to check out this game in motion, it’s awesome!

2015-09-17 12_57_59-Legacy of the Elder Star by Kickbomb Entertainment — Kickstarter