Colonizing 101

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

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

The Colony Ship

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

The first thing to learn is how to colonize.

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

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

Sectors Galore

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

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

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

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

SectorTable

Putting it All Together

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

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

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

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

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

That will do it for me today!

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

Good luck and happy gaming.

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

Full game replay 01

Hi folks, today we bring you a full game. Played by yours truly. This is a fairly long game because I spell-out all of my thought processes and decisions related to various options I have on each turn, with no clock timer. If you like commentaries with a lot of strategy talk, this video is for you.

My opponent Trevor decides to push slowly and methodically for my core-world while I make a split decision mid-game to forgo defense in order to push for prestigious victory by collecting 50 stars. With only 8 stars to go to reach 50, can I hold my territory while Trevor threatens to capture and claim my territory as his own?

Modules and Battles

Today we are going to combine a blog post and a video together. We’ve hinted at ship modules but haven’t really gone too deeply into them yet.

Modules

Syl_Ship_Stinger_miniEach ship can have up to 3 modules, though most will only start with 2 or less already installed. Over the course of a game you will be able to modify the modules on your ships, or to increase their values.

If you add or change a ship’s module set, then all copies of that ship on the board, but also still in your deck and hand adapt and reflect the Mods you apply to them, they are not lost when the ship is destroyed.

We have a zillion modules planned for the game, but you have to start somewhere, below is our current list of modules that are being playtested:

Module list

module-cheat-sheet

There is a wide variety of module types from invasion, colonization and bombardment to mess up planets. To weaponry armaments that give you bonus damage vs. certain sized enemy ships, multi-shots, the ability to pin-down enemy ships to prevent them from escaping, planetary economic harassment, efficient energy consumption and counter-attack batteries.

Free build is a module that will let you build the ship on any friendly sector, even when there isn’t a shipyard. These could be small scout-type vessels, meant to bluff as threats or to explore the deeper territories of the map, or they could be fully capable battleships, whose price tag is inflated by their flexible nature to be built anywhere.

Each faction will have a propensity for some modules more than others, and some modules may even be unique to one faction all together.

Battle in action

Here is a sample battle turn, the Sylith move in two raiders to try and disrupt the opponent’s resource production and slip their faster moving ship past enemy lines.

The Coalition player sits pretty in a well defended position and blasts the raiding ships with their dreadnaught and ground-based laser cannons:

The end result is a lot of dead Sylith but one of the Sylith raiding ships survives and will block all resource production on the enemy planet next turn.

That’s all we have time for this week, stay tuned next week to yet more sneak peak information!

Building Star Ships

This week in our regular video-replay reveal we go into building Space Ships. You’ll need to decide strategically where to best place them on the map. Take out or contest enemy star docks in order to block your opponent’s ability to build their own ships.

Visit our channel to subscribe. Join us next week as we dive deeper into tactical ship-to-ship battles!

First video recording of early-Beta

Hello Gala fans. Today we unveil our new YouTube channel and our first gameplay video.

We plan on doing a lot of these, but first the basics.

In this video you will learn that this is a 4X game driven by an expandable card game. You will also learn that there are 3 main ways to win and what our resource icons represent.

Hero cards

Legends and heroes of GalaCollider. A world set billions of years in the future…

Ashta Rax

At only 236 years post-transfer, Ashta Rax received the Gordie M. Prent Fellowship, making her the youngest Celanese recipient of the award in recent history. Rax is most well-known for her work in the field of deep space energy synthesization, in which she has made great strides in the application of compact neutrino collectors.

Commodore Pellin Yurr

Trained in the arts of warfare from the age of five, Commodore Pellin Yurr has made it his life’s work to master everything from armada conflict strategy to hand-to-hand combat. Commodore Yurr currently awaits his first military engagement as Commodore of the Ba’aul 6th squadron.

Hero mechanics

Heroes represent legendary personalities that can sway a battle, improve a sector’s economic situation or support a particular player strategy.

There are some key differences between Heroes and other card types. A Hero is unique and can (logically) only be in one place at a time. The distance they can move is also limited and controlled by playing a new copy of the same card rather than moving it around like a ship.

Heroes can be killed, captured and removed from play like other cards, but unlike other cards the extra copies of the hero card provide it extra “lives”.

Join us as you learn more about these and other Heroes in our future universe.

Disclaimer: As always, please note that game play mechanics, as well as the values and abilities presented in this article are not final and could still undergo balance and/or design changes before final publication; pending final testing, and community/player feedback.

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Update, May 20th 2015

General update

Massive progress across the board with many new contributing musicians, sound designers, new designer on our team, new PR marketing and testers added to the crew, new 3d modeling progress, new commissioned & licensed artwork and much, much more. We are probably up now to 40+ people with everyone counted.

Platforms?

asortedWe’ve had some questions about this, GalaCollider will be released initially on iPad and Desktops (Mac, Windows). We may also push for Steam at launch, or thereafter. If there is demand for a web-based player, we may consider that option too.

Long term, and also based on your interest, we are planning on supporting iPhones as well as Android phones and tablets.

FAQ

We decided this week to build an FAQ page on our site. This will be a growing body of questions and answers, so that things like “which platform will this game be on?” or “how do new players catch up with content if they join later?” can be answered there. We will see if this is up next week, and if not for sure the week after and it will grow from there.

Beta progress

Beta1 progress is going really smooth again after a slight bump in the road last Sunday. We are now switched over to Unity5 and nearly all the cards have been converted to match the art-style we’ve shown you here on our blog. I would fathom that we are 1 to 2 weeks away from me being able to finally start recording turns of the game so that you can actually see the game in action. This is going to be a big milestone for us and we will also re-post our videos on you-tube and other places! Stay tuned.

Kickstarter planning begins

ksWe’re starting to really focus on our kickstarter (KS) planning now. Part of this process involved attending a webinar on KS success, what to do and what pitfalls to look out for.

I learned that only two things make a KS successful or not: volume of visits and how many of those visitors back the project (AKA Traffic and Conversion). I also learned that the most important means to get people engaged and interested on your KS on Day 1 of the campaign is a mailing list, not social media. Which makes sense since social media may or may not reach the people you want it to reach when you send out messages.

This made us take a deeper look at how we’ve been doing so far. Last week we talked about slowing down our FB and twitter posts a bit. We’ve had good traffic from places, especially from reddit but our signup rate on our newsletter is still too slow.

In order to spice up the mailing list, and as a way to thank you for joining it, we’ve decided to tie a bonus to the mailing list sign up (offer will end Day 1 of the KS).

This next week we will work out if this is going to be in-game credit or if this will be a bonus or alternate art version of a card.

If you have a preference for in-game credit, bonus content or alternate art, this is the week to let us know before we finalize it!

And if you haven’t signed up yet, please sign up! Signing up let’s us know you want to see this game make it, it shows us your support and in exchange we will give you cool stuff for it. 😉

Your email address will remain private.

Hiring

As of right now our biggest hiring needs are:

  • PR / Marketing coordinator with direct experience getting indie games funded via crowd-sourcing
  • Test Manager
  • Unity C# programmer

As usual contact us if you are qualified and interested.

Next reveal?

We really would want to show game next, but alas we need to wait for the Beta to be ready. So instead this Friday we will reveal one of the other card types in the game. One of the following three will be revealed to you, feel free to comment and let us know which one interests you more!

Hero cards: Legendary personalities who can sway worlds and win over battles

Spy cards: Spy vs. Spy mini-game and experts at obtaining intelligence or even technology…

Ship Mods: Modify your ship’s blueprints in-game with modular improvements