All about deck building

GalaCollider mixes aspects of Deck Building and Deck Construction with a novel “tech pool” concept. Today we will explore in greater detail how you build a deck:

Core worlds explained

coreworld-explanation

In our last post about Sectors and Core Worlds we went into depth describing Sector cards. The image above is a quick recap. Core Worlds are special sector cards, they are where you will begin your game, your home among the stars…

The Makings of a Deck

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 3.41.41 PMAll your decks will first begin by selecting a Core world. On the left edge of your core-world card you will see 3 parameters, as shown in the image (left). These are, from bottom to top: Your minimum deck size, your tech slots and your flex-tech points.

Deck minimum tells you how many cards you can include in your core deck, provided your core deck is, in this case, at least 40 cards big.

You do have a four-copy limit enforced of any one card, furthermore your main deck has one additional important restriction: all the cards in it can not be any higher than tech level 1.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 3.42.37 PMWhen the game begins you will draw an initial hand from your main deck of 5 cards.

Tech levels of cards is something you see on the bottom-left edge. The image on the right here shows a tech-level one card.

Once you are happy with your main deck, its time to build your tech pool.

Tech Pool

GalaCollider’s tech pool is perhaps best thought of as a shop of options you pre-seed before the game begins. Over the course of the game you will then select which cards from your tech pool you actually want to purchase, and add to your main deck. These could be cards that help support your strategy or they could be cards to counter enemy technological decisions.

For example you could pack in your sideboard a card that provides high levels of armor protection to your ships, making them impervious to the unprepared. However if your opponent can ascertain the threat fast enough (did she “spy” on you to see what you bought?), she could buy weapon piercing technology to bypass your armor plating, foiling your plans. Other interesting technological innovations you could make might include such things as: improved engines to out maneuver your opponent, cloaking technology to move hidden on the board, upgrades to your ships that modify and augment their capabilities (for example retrofitting your craft with planetary bombs), close range rapid-tracking pulse weapons to combat smaller swarms of ships, multi-fire gatling guns, torpedoes for anti capital ship combat, reinforced hull, long range missles, energy shields, flux destabilizers, neutrino weapons; to name a few…

The cost to buy a card in your tech-pool increases the higher the level of the card.

Unlike your main deck, the techpool can contain any tech level card. The current rule we are working with is that all tech levels in your pool are immediately available to buy. However the research-price of the card increases the higher the tech level it is. Making is very difficult to afford tech-level 3 cards until you’ve established a strong economy.

Effectively your tech-pool is a giant “what if” Swiss army knife. Do you build your pool with defenses and counters while completing epic wonders and cultural projects? Or do you forgo higher tech cards to support a more rush-style play? Or do you have several branches that lead to different synergies, depending on the type of opponent you encounter? Do I need specific counter-tech to cover my weaknesses? Or do you focus on a dominating end-game and a defensive early game? These are options you will need to consider when building your tech pool.

Tech pool “slots”

Above you will notice that we often talk about slots and buying slots, rather than buying “cards”. This is because your tech-pool is actually defined as a fixed number of slots, and each slot can have in it up to 4 copies of the same card. When you buy a slot you actually buy all copies of that card together! The price you pay is per slot, not per card. So if you have 15 technology slots, it means that you have 15 slots: which each can contain 1 to 4 copies of a card. Buy them all and your deck will become rather big!

Which slots you have available to buy will change slowly from turn to turn, on this “in progress” image of our UI you can see on the left-edge we have 3 slots visible that you can purchase from:

Hypothetical techpool with prices.
Hypothetical tech-pool with prices.

Each turn the lowest tech-slot option disappears and then a new research project is offered to you. So in effect you have three turns before it is disappears back into the pool.

With all these new cards coming into your deck, you might think to yourself: “shoot I can’t buy too many of them or my deck will become too big”, ruining its consistency. While this is true to a degree, your deck will also be shrinking in size just by playing your cards. Every time you build a ship or a development the card “transforms” into a 3D model and stays on the map, leaving your deck until destroyed.

Flex-Tech points

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 10.49.20 PMThe last value on your core-world is its flex points. This number represents how many tech-levels you can import into your deck from other factions. The import-cost of a card is equal to its tech level. So higher tech cards will eat up your flex points faster and you will be able to bring in less foreign cards of higher tech than lower tech.

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Disclaimer: These are our current deck building rules that are being play-tested. I should mention that these rules could still undergo major changes before we finalize the game and make our Beta available. We will be listening to everyone, including you, to get feedback on the mechanics behind crafting your decks to ensure that what we come up with is interesting, varied and as dynamic as possible. It should also go without saying that the card-values you will see above are also tentative and may not end up being “typical” card values in the long haul.

update, May 13th 2015

Website has a forum up

The forum is up, but notably still. We realize our forum will probably will take off once there are demo videos and a product before things take off. But if you have suggestions or ideas for how we could already get conversation going, let us know! Don’t be shy.

Design updates

thumbnails
Various quick thumbnail sketches of Sylith corsairs. By Leonardo Peñaranda.

We’ve started work on our logo, we now have 3 people working in the 3d team and we’ve added several new people to the project over the last week, including new concept and licensing artists. We’ve now also shifted some budget around to focus on getting some nice motion graphics for our kickstarter video, which we will also double-purpose to be the intro credits for our game.

The game’s UI itself has also been progressing. For the last months I’ve been filling in as the designer on the project because our previous Art Director left us (we are looking for a new art director to join us BTW). It’s not ideal because I’m already working in many other areas, but so far it’s been working out (we hope you will agree!).

Here are some of the various screen variations I’ve been working on towards getting our entire UI designed and ready for final cohesion check and eventual implementation: (note that these are still not final and considered draft versions, major things could still change from what you see below)

Gala_Mainscreen_about_to_play_pick_target Gala_Mainscreen_mini_info_panels_v6 Gala_Mainscreen_mid_zoom Gala_Mainscreen_start

Outreach

Facebook growth continuing towards our 1,000 likes soft-target with around 300 likes currently, which is great and we hope it keeps growing like this. Our Website is now getting peaks of 2,000 hits a day, which is nearly double from two weeks ago. We also have another podcast interview coming up later this month…

That said we still need more help getting the word out. More podcast interviews but also some bloggers would be wonderful. Someone out there in the vast space known as earth must have a blog and want to write about us…? Maybe it is you?

We also had a meeting in this last week about the rate at which we are posting to our facebook and twitter and we decided to slow things down until the kickstarter is closer and the date more final, we don’t want to overload our facebook and twitter pages with posts when each post itself is not getting a lot of likes and comments on it yet.

Once that starts to happen, or the kickstarter is on fire, we will ramp back up again to previous levels. This little change will let us refocus some energy on other things that need doing. We will still aim to blog at the same pace though, since people are clearly reading it!

Recent AMA results

We had our recent AMA on reddit. We really enjoyed having one and seeing how it worked, and the responses we got. The turn out was good, but not as high as we would have liked and so we will probably wait not to do another AMA right before or around our kickstarter.

Hiring

We are currently looking for the following people:

  • QA Testers, preferably with Unity3D experience and/or previous bug testing experience
  • PR, networking. Do you have a strong grasp of various related online communities to our game? Examples: digital; 4X games, digital or physical collectible card games, FFG LCG™ games or RTS games like StarCraft™?
  • Unity 3D programmer
  • Art Director
  • Audio Production / Audio Producer

Any of these speak to you and think you are qualified? Send us a resume or weblink.

Next reveal?

Join us Friday May 15th for a new reveal, this time we will most likely go into the deck construction and deck building facets of the game.

Core-worlds and Sector cards

Today we go back to our cards and continue where we left off. Last time we showed you Ships, Developments and Operation cards.

Today we will focus on 2 more card types: Core-worlds and Sector cards.

Each sector you explore on the map will be connected to a card. Clicking the world brings up its card with associated stats and any special abilities. On this image the worlds on the map are a dull gray generic color, but the actual map in the game will have more color and variety. For example a sector could be a collection of ice crystals, an electrical storm nebula, a pulsar, a barren world, a jungle planet or an Eden-type Gaia world.

Gala_Mainscreen_v04_no_sel_with_HUD

The format for the Sector cards and Core-world cards is similar and shown below:

Coa_CoreWorld_Kesteron
Core world: Kesteron, a Gomeish core-world megacity known for the quality and precision of their war-engineers. Artwork by Maciej Drabik.

Core Worlds

Core-worlds are distinguishable from Sector cards by the fact that they have gold borders, deck building information and a faction-symbol on the top right hand corner.

Every time you start a game, you begin on your core-world. When you are building your deck, you will be able to select different core worlds to emphasize different strategies. The above Core-World Kesteron focuses on giving your Dreadnaughts (the circle symbol) a bonus to their attack.

Above the name of the card, on the right we see our three resource types, from left to right: materials, time and energy. In the case of Kesteron this core-world generates 4 of each of them for you every turn from the very start of the game.

The left edge has deck-building properties. Since we haven’t talked yet about building your decks this will be better served as a topic for a future blog post; but to summarize it briefly: the 3 numbers represent, from bottom to top: The minimum size of your starting deck, how many technology-slots you can fill and how many tech levels you are allowed to import from outside of your faction.

The bottom row looks very similar to a development card on purpose since these are values that are commonly shared between developments and sectors. If you forget what developments are, they are cards that allow you to build structures on planets that add abilities or boost its values.

From left to right we read on this core-world that it has a victory value of 5, that it has an intrinsic military value of 1 and that you can build up to 3 developments on it.

Sector cards

Sector_Mi-Zoth
Sector world: Mi-Zoth is a Methane world built in Silica that is inhabited by the lesser known civilization of the Yuturi. Art by Sebastien Hue.

Silver-border Sector cards are the cards that are connected to each of the regions of space you will explore, harass, capture and colonize over the course of the game.

They look very similar to core-world cards but simpler.

This particular world has an indigenous population of Yuturi on it. When you colonize it (cough cough “acquire it”) the Yuturi are all but willing to offer you their collective knowledge and thus benefit your empire with a one-time research injection of 3 bonus time-resources.

Mi-zoth is a methane, silica world. Which for now doesn’t mean much, but like all card subtypes it opens up future potential for us to trigger off of various sub types and create “tribal” card-set combinations.

Most Sectors generate much lower resources than your core-world, this world produces just 2 resources for example, split between some additional (research)-time and energy production.

If you want to produce more than this, you will need to pack your deck with developments you can build that increase your production rate, or grab more worlds.

Meanwhile this world does provide you with 4 victory points, and it can host up to 3 developments on it. A nice world to add to your empire for sure.

How are Sector cards placed?

So glad I asked myself that question. The plan is for the map to be generated in different ways. We plan on having reflected maps for serious battles (think competitive play) but also random maps and other possible shapes. The pool of Sector cards will either be known, or come from a pool that is associated with that map or the current local-conditions of the game. So for example the month of May could be a time when we move into a map area that is known for its harsh Gravity well conditions and games that take place in May will feature Sector cards of this type.

We also have plans to allow players to “seed” the map. Meaning a certain number of Sector cards on the map can be player-chosen and would represent “lost” colonies of that empire. Either from recent events (if we are fighting in an area that just suffered a disaster) or from long eons ago in another era.

Future plans also include neutral forces, space alien monsters, pirates… you name it. Everything is possible.

Strong players of GalaCollider will take the maps and local conditions into consideration when building their perfect decks. In GalaCollider you have to not only consider the evolving card pool when playing, but the environment too. Can you adapt to the universe as it changes over time? What new worlds will there be to discover?

Flash news

Tomorrow we have an AMA on May 9th at 11:30 PDT on https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/. If you can make the time available and want to talk to us, we should be two or three of us online at that time to answer any questions you may have.

Happy mother’s day!

Meet the Coalition

We’re the ones left over, Wanderers like me. Nobody wanted us way back when Earth was crumbling to bits, and frankly, none of ‘em wants much to do with us nowadays either. As far as I’m concerned, that’s full-on copacetic. I don’t trust ‘em any more than a whistle on a ship. That’s how you end up dead.

Me? Eh, I’m just a guy. A fleck in the starry seas, same as you and everyone else. But I settled down with a lady a few years back, Jessa’s her name; so that’s been a nice change of pace. We even got assigned to a bigger cabin here on C3, seeing as Jessa’s in the family way. We get by.

Been a mercenary most of my life. All kinds of mercenary though, so it’s not like I’m always staring the inky blackness in the face, if you catch what I mean. Sometimes I’m escorting an unlucky leashup or an important somebody or other; I just go where the credits are flowing. Of course, protecting some richwad’s trade goods is always a lucrative stint, ‘cause its got to be done. Those bastards in the rest of the Coalition will steal our merch faster than a beamer, if you don’t already have one trained on ‘em, that is.

This whole Coalition nonsense seems like some lonely imbie’s plan to buy himself a group of friends. Captain Osmium says it’ll be good for us, but so far I’ve only seen us Wanderer’s doing all the heavy lifting, and for what? We’ve been roaming the stars forever, so we can go wherever we want. It’s those other colonies that have planets ‘at need protection. That lot of pretentious twits up in government formed the Coalition and signed that pact, not me.

The Captain told us that she threw our lot in with the Coalition forces “as a defensive measure against an imminent alien incursion.” Dogpiss. Way I see it, those Alnitaki folks are about as alien as can be, so why are they on our side? They say there are documents and DNA and whatnot to prove that they came from Earth too, but I’ve never seen the proof, have you? But hey, a man with certain talents like myself stands to profit during a war, so if I can build up a little nest egg off of this mess, I’ll hold my tongue.

 

Harlin Pewter, mercenary aboard the Wanderer civilian vessel C3-Xoraxis

 

Background

Scattered throughout the stars of the Milky Way Galaxy, the disparate human settlements gradually forgot one another as they turned inwards to the challenges of establishing their civilizations. The Third Supereon saw each group adapt to their new environs, both physically and culturally, widening the ever-growing chasm between the colonies as the stars themselves spread farther apart. The impending collision of Andromeda ushered in an era of reunification and resulted in the formation of the Sapien Coalition of the Milky Way. Working together, they began preparations to colonize new sectors amidst the shifting galaxies. The Coalition launched a volley of exploratory missions to find suitable systems to call their home, but they discovered a far more immediate threat: an entirely alien species.

Coalition Strategies

The Coalition Final
In the far-far future, there are many types of sapiens. Pictured from left to right we see a Gomeish warrior, an Alnitaki professor and a Celanese engineer. Concept art by Eko Puteh

 

The Coalition is a loose alliance of long-separated, distantly related sapiens that have each taken different paths, both culturally and evolutionarily.

Strategically, the Coalition is a methodical faction. They can be highly adaptive, manipulative and colonial; winning over neighboring sectors through political intrigue or through subversion via military efforts or even media-driven coups.

Or perhaps you will choose the path of militarization, and lead vast invading armies and call down planetary bombardments from gargantuan mega-cruisers.

Or maybe you will take an interest in exploring their artistic, poetic side. Focusing instead on culture, knowledge and the arts. Your skin might even turn blue from it.

Or when you tire of that, let go of your physical body, free your consciousness to live eternally, and then download it into a new skin of your choosing. Somewhere in that massive cloud of data, is something thrilling, waiting to be discovered and researched.

Whichever path you choose, the Coalition will have something for everyone.

Concept art progress

Eko Puteh and Zhangx have been paired up and working, respectively, on Coalition characters and their space ship designs. Above, you can see a finished trio showcasing examples of sapiens from three of the five most successful sapien species. The remaining two dominant branches: the Praecians and Wanderers, will be revealed in more detail at a later time.

Below, is a nice detail of the atypical teeth found on the Gomeish:

WARRIOR-update

And some of the iterations it took to arrive at our current Alnitaki, the first was too human and the second iteration was too alien:

ALNITAKIALNITAKI-update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In parallel with Eko, another artist by the name of Zhangx powered out our space ship concepts for the Coalition. Here, you can see an example of their Frigates:

Coalation Frigate
Coalition Frigate, Harpoon class. Typical crews of 6 to 12 sapiens. Boasts adaptable payload configurations.

And their large Dreadnaughts:

Coalition Dreadnaught
Coalition Dreadnaught – The Tyrant – Space power controller with typical crew populations of 4 to 5 thousand.

Next steps?

We’re really happy to have been able to show you this artwork today. Our core game will offer Coalition and Sylith decks to play. We have more alien factions designed but those will be revealed somewhere in the future. Each faction has its own distinct play style and will provide you with a different set of strategies to implement

Join us next Friday as we reveal even more about our game on the journey towards our big summer 2015 Kickstarter.

GalaCollider tm. is an expandable scifi turn based card game by NeoCrux Ltd. If you want to keep informed please like our facebook page and sign up for our infrequent newsletter and tell your friends about us! You can also follow us on twitter.

Featured image courtesy of Zak Foreman, all rights reserved 2015. You can find out more about him on his Facebook and Art Station pages. All other images copyright 2015 NeoCrux Ltd. all rights reserved.

Progress update, April 29th

Hello again!

IndieHaven interview May 4th

It’s official, we have been booked for an interview this Sunday the 3rd of May with IndieHaven. They told us that the podcast episode will follow one day later on Monday on their website: indiehaven. We’re pretty excited to start talking with people about our game, join us Monday!

New website features

Our new features on this site are now very close to complete, we might be done before the end of the month after all! The design will improve a little, we will have a forum, some more general information pages and a team page. Fingers crossed it should be up before this time again next week!

AMA Saturday May 9th at 11:30 AM Pacific Time (PDT)

Okay, we finally have a date and time planned! We will run an AMA on this website’s new forum, which by then should be shiny. We may also do a parallel AMA on a reddit page, we’re figuring this part out. If you have any suggestions on which Reddit would be a good place for us to do our AMA, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact us to suggest it.

Art progress

Concept art is getting very close for the human-faction, which in the future is better known as the Coalition. Since last post we have also licensed a lot more artwork from yet more artists. If the stars align this Friday we will be showing off the Coalition and if they do not, we have a lot of other things we can share with you instead.

Rapidly expanding Alpha team

Last week we were pretty excited to add Trevor Worrall to the team. Trevor, better known by many as Mojumbo, was one of the designers behind Shadow Era DCG for many years. Omari Straker accepted our offer to become Test Manager, 3 more alpha testers joined us to play-test our builds and many new tools were put into place to coordinate, collect and socialize within this growing love nest. So far we’ve gotten really great remarks from our new taste-testers!

Play-test input and the evolving game

Ship-no-retaliate

Based on play-testing over the last week, we’ve made several improvements to the game. The first and biggest change is that we are de-emphasizing the importance of “Retaliation” in the game. Ship artwork used to have 3 core numbers on it: Attack, Retaliation and Hull. Now it just has Attack and Retaliation.

Retaliation made a lot more sense when the game turns were not simultaneous. But now that everyone takes their turn at the same time, retaliation just became an annoyance that made it difficult to predict how battles would conclude.

Rest assured though that retaliation is not being removed entirely, it can still appear on a ship as one of its special abilities (the icons at the bottom of the card). Now it will be more rare and represent the ships ability to counter-attack multiple enemies at once when engaged (turret guns, anti-space craft barrages etc.).

Since we are looking at this new ship card anyways I might as well just point out that we also added the command value of the ship, which is the number next to the orange double arrow-diamond. The command value was always there but implied by the ship’s size. We got feedback though from our play-testers that it would be better if this was explicit, so here it is.

There are also some new white circles over the art. These are status indicator placeholders. A status indicator is something like: “this ship is immobilized until the end of next turn” or “prepping: this ship was just built and can’t move or attack on the same turn it was just created”. Little icons on the artwork will give players feedback and opens up a lot of future possibilities for all kinds of effects.

Beta-1 progress

We’ve now stopped all new development on our Alpha-5 build. 100% of our effort is now being focused on getting Beta-1 ready for testing. Beta-1 progress is rolling along ahead of schedule. Our goal is to be able to present it to you in screen casts, on this blog in May.

Hiring update

In addition to the rapid growth of our test+playtest team, we’ve been adding artists to our list.

We’re also 99% sure we’ve found someone to fill in our Art Producer role, more about that next week.

By the way, a ton of people applied for one or more of our open positions but a good number of them didn’t send any information in their application other than asking us to write back to them to get an application… is that really how people apply for jobs these days? I don’t know if that works with other companies, but it would be really appreciated if we didn’t need to reply to an application to ask for an application! So if you didn’t send us your resume, and you want to work with us, please just send us your resume, Linked-in page or other info — and don’t wait for us to ask you to send it to us. I’m afraid we just don’t have the time to reply to those people who don’t put their best foot forward. We won’t bite it.

Link up

Don’t forget to like our facebook page and join our news letter if you haven’t already! See you Friday for our weekly reveal!

Image courtesy of Zak Foreman, all rights reserved 2015. You can find out more about him on his Facebook and Art Station pages.

Meet the Sylith

Countless ages ago, the planet Elgyin – who nurtured the Sylith into being – was nearly swallowed by her Star Husband, Elos. It was then that Hathṣtī, the Great Mother of the Void, blessed our people and bestowed the Sight upon us.

Those gifted with the Sight can see truly wonderful visions: the very nature and motion of the omnipresent Void. It is with our benevolent Mother’s gift that the Seers were able to join their powers together and free Elgyin from Elos’ fiery grasp. Even then, much of the destruction was irreversible.

To escape the burning fury of Elos, the Sylith had long taken shelter within Elgyin’s bosom. Beneath the surface, my people built a new home, replicating and preserving as much of our natal environment as was possible at the time. The Elders sought to collect all creations graced by Hathṣtī’s touch, to protect them from the negative forces stirring within the Void. This undertaking continues to this day; only now, our efforts reach far beyond Elgyin.

You see, the Great Mother Hathṣtī nurtures all within Her womb. Ever changing, Hathṣtī’s womb expands to gently cradle Her growing child, until such a time that She is ready to give birth. We do not know what we Sylith will become, only that we have a part to play in the formation of the Almighty Void.

Just as a single cell in my body might attack another, this current courtship between the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies is but a miniscule change within Hathṣtī’s developing babe. It is my duty, as a priestess of Hathṣtī, to help ensure that the Sylith continue to prosper and proliferate throughout the Void, such that Hathṣtī’s child will become the best version of itself, in Hathṣtī’s own image.

An account by the High Elder Gī’an Hathṣtī, Priestess of the Void.

Sylith Strategies

Sylith Warrior Concept Final nBG 1.1
Sylith Warrior Concept Art, By Cloud Quinot

Welcome to another Friday-spoiler. This week we introduce one of our alien races: the Sylith.

While we have many alien races planned, the Sylith are one of the two starting factions in the base-game. Each faction in GalaCollider will have their own strengths and weaknesses that help define them.

Sylith are a fast moving, striking faction. A Sylith force could attempt to rush their opponents with light, quick to build craft, capturing and raiding a sector before their opponent can respond. Or they could focus instead on stealth, espionage and cloaking technologies. Alternatively, some Sylith commanders are known to focus instead on the pure glory of battle, by asserting dominating control of star-space as they rapidly expand their empire.

Contrastingly, Sylith Elders have a more mystical connection to the universe. They have a connection to the Void and the natural world around them. It is not uncommon to see Sylith Elders floating inside of giant moving planetoids outfitted for battle with thousands of crew protecting preciously revered and ancient sacred trees. Elders are known to possess otherworldly senses of sight, foresight and inter-dimensional abilities. These abilities aid in maneuvering Sylith spacecraft, not only with more efficient propulsion, but by folding and shifting the space around them.

As a Sylith commander you will choose your path to victory, deciding which strategies to employ against your enemies.

Concept art progress

Over the last weeks Cloud Quinot has been iterating concept art for their warriors and elder. We see here both the final render of the warrior (above) as well as some of the sketches made to reach the final concept:

Sylith concept 2.1

From these we selected the purple one then got it’s head rendered before modifying it further into what you see above.

Sylith head concept 2 revised v4

Currently we are now working on the concept sketch for a Sylith Elder while in parallel another artist: Leonardo Peñaranda is busy sketching out Sylith space ships for all of their various types of craft.

Leo has great penmanship and is working on Sylith Spacecraft concept designs.
Leo has great penmanship and is working on Sylith Spacecraft concept designs.
An example of Leo's skills 3D modeling skills.
An example of Leo’s 3D modeling skills.

Production Process

Once we have the complete set of Warrior, Elder and their various spacecraft concept art pieces completed we will then transition into commissioning specific needed card art (to be done by many different artists) and we can also start creating the 3D models for their various ships, based upon the concept art designed.

GalaCollider tm. is an expandable scifi turn based card game by NeoCrux Ltd. currently in development and building towards a summer kickstarter campaign. If you want to keep informed please like our facebook page and sign up for our infrequent newsletter and tell your friends about us! You can also follow us on twitter.

Featured image courtesy of Zak Foreman, all rights reserved 2015. You can find out more about him on his Facebook and Art Station pages.

 

Card templates, ships, operations and icons

Phew! We have a big update for you this week. Not only do we have an update on the icons (see previous blog post where we asked for help) but we also have adapted our card templates based on all the great feedback we got (see previous post about card templates). Most of your valuable comments came to us on other websites, forums and reddit pages, so please keep your feedback coming! (on this website or wherever it is you happen to be). We hope you will like what we have done with this latest revision.

New cards and templates

Cardtype-trio

From left to right we have: Developments, Ship designs and Operations. Developments and Ship designs are similarly colored and styled because they represent “things that go on the map” when played. In other words, when you play a ship, the card will leave your deck and instead transform into a 3D model on the map. The same thing happens when you play a development, so the act of building things thins your deck indirectly. When a ship or development is destroyed or discarded from the board, it reverts back to a card and goes into your discard pile.

Operations, the right most card are a little different in that they are played, do something and then get discarded.

Let’s go a little deeper into each card type:

Developments

Dev-explanation

Most cards cost resources to play, which is in the top-left corner. The special indicators on the left-middle will show you important things like: this card is Unique (only 1 on the board allowed) or that it is an HQ (only 1 HQ per Sector).

Tech-level is a universal meter that lights up to tell you if the card is zero, one, two, or tech level three. Higher tech level cards can only be obtained in-game by researching them and are more expensive to include when building decks from other factions outside of your own.

The lower area holds important icons with values, victory points for this item, some possible troop bonuses, political influence points etc. All the values on this lower part of the card are values that will be accumulated together when totaling up a Sector’s value.

Rotating around to the bottom middle we have our special text, which could be literally anything we are willing to code and debug, and above that is a number that indicates the Structural points of the development (basically it’s life points). Naturally the card has a name, but also subtypes for triggering off of other combos; and last but not least, a faction banner (which has yet to be designed so it is just a solid color).

Ship designs

Ship-explanation

Below the resource costs on the left, Ships have a size indicator that is a symbol and beneath it a reminder of the movement cost of this particular sized hull. We see in this example a circle icon; which tells us this is a large (dreadnaught sized) vessel. Dreadnaughts cost a lot of energy to move, which is why the movement-activation cost of this card is 3 (indicated right below the green circle).

At the bottom we see a curious row of modules. Ships will almost always have several modules equipped, each module is a special ability of some kind, many of these abilities are attached to a numeric value of some kind, which is listed below. Unlike the other two card types you will notice that ships are purely symbolic, meaning there is no free-text field, just modules. Modules can be added, improved, changed and there will be an ever growing pool of new modules to adapt to your ship models. We will eventually do a whole post on just the modules themselves.

Above this we see two red and blue symbols. The large red number is this ship’s base Attack power and the smaller red number is its Retaliation: how much damage this ship does when fired at, in return. The blue number is its Hull, or life points. How much damage it can take before being destroyed and put back into your discard pile.

Operations

Ops-explanation

Many operations are played, do something and then get discarded. However some operations have a little red X on the left (like this one), which instead indicates that you play it once, and then it gets moved to the Void instead of your discard pile. For current intents and purposes moving it to the Void is like removing it from your deck for good.

Otherwise the card is fairly simple. The art is presented in portrait instead of landscape and with a full gradient bleed. A lot of text space leaves the future open if we felt like writing long complicated unending card text with missing punctuation (what do you mean that’s a bad idea?)

Other card types?

We just showed you 3 card types, but in actuality there are 3 more card types still to come:

Cardtype-mysteries

Each deck will be built around a home world, with a special ability. This is your starting sector and drives your deck building. Every sector you explore is connected to a Sector card and a final card type are Mods. Which we won’t tell you much about right now, because we are only just getting to know one another, and you need to keep coming back for more, right?

Hey icons!

Oh yeah, our icons look different, as I am sure you noticed. Someone was also kind enough to point out that we spent an entire blog post talking about them but never mentioned what they actually meant! Ahem, yes so without further ado, here are the new icons along with what they actually are conceptually:

There are 3 base resources in the game: materials, research and energy. Or if you are a geek for science: matter, time and energy.

Generally, you will need materials to build everything, what do you make first? Research will require you to make difficult decisions between playing cards that cost Research, drawing new cards or buying higher-tech cards. Finally, Energy is used to not only create things but also to move elements around the map, or to activate certain abilities, forcing you to prioritize what is important.

Feedback? Next reveal?

So, are these new card templates nice? Did we finally make some good icons? What would you like us to talk about next? Here are some aspects of the game we could reveal:

  • Concept art for our alien race(s)
  • Concept art for our ships in progress
  • How higher technology cards are acquired in-game
  • How you construct your deck to play
  • Reveal information about Sector and Homeworld cards
  • Detail out how battles work
  • More about modules
  • A video demoing the Alpha in action with a real turn taking place?

Okay, I’m going to stop there because that’s already a lot!

Have a great weekend!

Oh and if you like what we are doing, please like our facebook page and/or join our newsletter to hear when something big happens (like the game is available to play)!

Space out

 

 

Jump updates

As of this week we will now be posting 3 times a week to our blog instead of 2. Like before we will continue to post “meet the team” on Mondays. Our usual sneak-peek post, where we reveal a part of our game is moving to Fridays. On Wednesday’s we will now have an extra slot where we can give you general updates on our project, share the news as it were. So let me jump into that.

“May” we Ask Me Anything

In May we will be planning an “Ask me Anything” event. This will likely be on our new forum, which will be appearing on this website hopefully around the end of the month or the start of the next. We will set a more firm date soon. As the name of the event suggests,  we will answer any questions you may have about our game.

Available for interviews (blogs / podcasts / video)

In May we would also love to get some space on a podcast or a blog so we can talk more about our game. Things are moving fast and we are working on what we hope will be a real major player in the domain of 4X and online card games. We need your help getting the word out there! Do you know of any blogs, youtube streamers or podcasts where we could get some airtime? Let us know please.

What would you like to know?

We’ve been posting updates of our UI, cards and artwork but maybe you have specific topics you would like us to talk about next? What are your questions about the game, what would you like to see us talk about? More cards? More about the game play? Our plans for the future of the game? We would love to know!

Progress updates

Over the last weeks we have continued to expand further. We just added two additional Alpha testers to the team and 5+ new artists for card and concept artwork, bringing the total team to over 20 people now, and we are still growing.

We have lots of progress in many areas! New icons, new card templates, new concept art completed, new artwork licensed and new features in our Alpha build coded… and much more.

We are on track to release an updated design and new features to our website at the end of the month / early May. Our new website will have a forum on it so that we can start a broader conversation.

In terms of recruiting, we are still actively looking for people in the following areas:

  • Senior Designers
  • Senior C# Unity3D programmers
  • Project or Program manager
  • Low-poly 3D modeler
  • Unity3D animations and special effects expert
  • Marketing Strategy (senior or assistant)

Image by http://lacza.deviantart.com/art/Fall-449149308 and copyright NeoCrux Ltd. 2015 all rights reserved.

 

More about our card game’s interface

Today I would like to go a little deeper into our UI and the development process behind it.

If you’ve been following us you will have noticed that we have thus far shared two zoom levels of our UI: really far away (Galactic level) and very close (Battle level). Today we will go a little deeper into the various zoom levels and also share some of our transition-concept videos that should give a sense of how the UI looks and feels:

Galactic Level

Gala_Mainscreen_Blog_exposed
At this zoom level there will only be some basic information shown: Where your systems are and your opponents’ and the connections between various areas (the lines). This is just a concept image of the galaxy and will eventually need to be rebuilt in Unity3D. I should point out that we will be tweaking this in the game to have the lines between the sectors be more clearly visible. This may mean pushing back a bit on the galaxy-image.

Sector level


As we zoom in one “pinch” or “roll” we get a view of some of the sectors and their connections. The yellow and green diamonds represent quantities of ships, the circles beneath the sector represent how many developments that have been built on it. Beneath each is a number, which tells you how much available Command* remain.

* Command: How many ships you can have in a sector, bigger ships take up more command.

On the edge of the big circle are two small green and red circles, these rotate around the circumference like compass points and point towards (known) friendly and enemy home worlds.

For now this image shows the same gray planetoids all over the place, but the actual game will have various celestial bodies shown ranging from nebula clouds, to asteroids and various planet types.

The idea with the flow is that you will be able to pan the camera position by dragging your finger across the iPad screen (or scrolling if with your mouse). As sectors move to the edge they fade away and fade into view.

If you click on an actual sector it will move to be in the center of your view and then expand to show you more information, and look something a bit like this:

sector-view-circle_v2_with_HUD

This is very similar to the above image but now the central planet is enlarged into view. The 3D models of your ships hover on the left, and any enemy ships hover around the planet on the right.

You can move ships from this planet to neighboring sectors by dragging the ship over its neighbor. A single tap on your ship will also show you its information and related card; the same can be done with enemy ships. Planets (aka Sector-cards) and developments are also all tied to cards and by tapping on them, you will see their details too.

The 3 white circles in this image beneath the sector planet are place-holders for what our actual Development-symbols will be. Most likely they will become hexagonal in shape and be projected around the planet in a hexagon wire-cage. You may recall from my previous blog post with our first card spoilers that Developments are planetary structures of some kind.

Battle zoom

battle_with_HUD

This is the same image as before for the battle, just with the HUD around it. In battles you will select your targets, as will your opponent and then when all shots have been selected, both (or all players if more than 2) see each shot firing from all the ships involved.

Beneath the ships we will likely have more than 1 number. At the very minimum each ship will show beneath it 3 numbers: Attack, Hull and Retaliation. If you are familiar with other card games, these numbers may already make sense to you. Attack is how much damage the ship will deal, retaliation is how much it returns if fired at and Hull is how much remaining life points the ship has before being destroyed.

We will be experimenting with the use of icons to display special abilities of ships but for now the UI is clean and devoid of such information.

Not shown here is the fact that a tap on any ship will bring up further information and its related card. Like on the Sector zoom you can tap on your or enemy ships to see their full details.

The size of a ship can be important in our game, which currently is reflected in the size of the circle beneath the ship.

Ships have variable heights from the board but this is for visual aesthetics so that it feels like we are playing a miniatures game.

Finally all these 3D models are (probably) temporary, for purposes of concept illustration. The real game will also have a lot more color and not just be in gray tones.

Transition videos

These videos show, very roughly, how the transitions between the zoom levels might feel. This first video shows from the galactic to the sector zoom. This video has WAY too many sectors on it, but the feeling of it is great. So imagine it with half or less:

GalaCollider – 2-stage transition from GalaCollider on Vimeo.

Note that the movement depicted here for the sector level is a bit off because it shows some rotation when in fact all movement will only be pans (if this sentence doesn’t make sense to you, it probably doesn’t mater!)

Finally this video shows the 3 zoom levels. Like the first video though it isn’t entirely accurate in how it moves around, but the transition between the sector and the battle is nice and probably similar to how we will render it in our game. Before someone asks the red and blue lines are just tracing lines to make sure everything is matching up!

GalaCollider – 3-stage transition from GalaCollider on Vimeo.

Meet The Team : Sebastian Chedal

pondering_s

Name: Sebastian Chedal

Role: Creative Director, Game Designer

About: I started designing games pretty young, it seemed like I was going to have a career in either art or game design from the very beginning. As life turned out though I first took a journey through a wide array of different careers and

projects before coming back to where I started. This variety in has given me some good foundations from which to start my own agency.

In the last few years I’ve been designing games including the CCG Shadow Era by Wulven http://shadowera.com where I was the lead game designer, along with various online and board-card games.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider? : It’s hard to pick a single thing without just combining it all up into a sum total experience, so I guess I’ll answer your question thus: It’s epic, could break new ground, it’s an opportunity to work hard at something you truly believe in, it’s a wave you initiate but turns into something bigger than you. It’s a chance to make a game you think is everything a great game should be. It’s incredibly challenging. A chance to be passionate and committed from the heart. I can’t wait to see where this all leads me. I want to make a game that in the end is for others to enjoy. A gift.

What inspires you? : Another difficult question even though it sounds so simple. I am inspired by: opportunities to learn, discovering new things, seeing others thriving at what they do. What I am inspired by “at this very moment” is always changing, at the risk of sounding a little vague: currently I would say that I’m inspired by my imagination; what things “could be”, which I guess is like saying I am inspired by a “vision” you form in your head; which you then work towards manifesting.

GalaCollider itself is inspired by many sources, some of which I described here: https://galacollider.com/2015/01/sources-of-inspiration/ but in actuality this list is even longer because there are lots of small and little ideas being constantly pulled and filtered in for possible parallel application in the game as we move along.

The art-style inspiration for the game is to build something refined, pleasant and futuristic, with a mood that we tried to set on our mood board: https://www.pinterest.com/drwhof/galacollider-inspiration. You’ll see here some echoes of robo-tech, Tron, Oblivion, Ender’s game, vehicles and modern architecture.

My current “inspirational hobby” is play testing tons of other games to keep drawing in ideas, which looks like your next question:

What is your current gaming obsession?: I’ve been trying a lot of 4X games and card games lately. One game I started really playing a few days ago is AI War by Arcen: http://arcengames.com/ai-war/ and so far I am hooked. I love games that fuse and break genres; probably because that is what we are trying to do here too with our 4XCG. It plays like an advanced chess game and the RTS aspect of it doesn’t demand insane “clicks-per-second” to be even half decent, which is much more my kind of game. Love it and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a deep strategy game.

 

 

A first look at our Game UI

Hello GalaWorld. Last week we shared the icons we were working on and got some great feedback on our blog and other forums / reddit pages.

Today we share with you our Game UI that is a “work in progress”. Like our cards that we shared with you a few weeks ago, these are still not final.

Let me run through the layout with you. The center area you may recognize from a few weeks ago when we put up images of our 3D space UI. The center of the screen is where you will be able to navigate around the galaxy, zoom into sectors, see your ships and determine your best strategies.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.11.38 PM

Around this center piece we have our HUD with various important pieces of information. The top-left will have the menu button, information about the current phase and a button to press when you are done with your turn. To the right of this, in the middle is our information area. This section of the UI will change contextually depending on what is currently selected or important. Farther on the right we have our rack of icons.

CBIpNl0UMAIz_rl.jpg_large

These Icons are currently undergoing revisions and we shared the Icons with you last week for feedback — they still are not done hence why this block is currently “empty”.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.17.05 PM

At the very bottom-left we have some mysterious blue buttons. These will eventually also get proper Icon treatment and then be connected to sub-pages of the game. Right now most of them look the same but this is just “temporary”. When they have proper icons there will be: a tab for information, another for viewing blueprints of built ships, a third for intelligence information on other players and a fourth to review your research options.

On the far right and lower-right corner of the screen we have your deck, discard pile and your hand of cards. New cards can be drawn from the top of your deck and will move (in a hopefully very cool way) into your hand on the bottom-right of the screen. Currently we have the cards placed so that you can see the top-half of each card. We plan on making the full card visible on hover/tap or finger-press hold on the iPad. Cards in your hand can be played by dragging them onto the screen or by taping them and then pressing the “activate” button.

Thoughts?

We hope you like our HUD. As always please feel free to share any thoughts you have, we certainly read everything we hear!

Icons: a work in progress

GalaCollider features icons which appear on the HUD and on the cards. They represent resources available to the player and are an important element of the game.

When designing icons there’s a lot to consider. They need to be clear. They need to represent an idea in a way that can be interpreted by a diverse range of users. They need to stand out from other elements of the game, yet still fit with the over all style. They need to work on a variety of devices. But above all, they must enhance your experience of the game.

Sometimes things are quick to create, other times you just can’t quite seem to get it right. Our icons have gone through several revisions and we are still not there yet with something that looks good, fits our design and meets all the necessary requirements.

Here are the different versions we have made over time:

 

Version 1:

This is the clean, zero shading version. Exact shapes would need refinement but this was the original concept:

icons_v2

 

 

Version 2:

Version 1 pushed in a more “primary shape” direction, with some faded edges:

icons_v1

The conclusion from this was that the icons were too symbolic and would get confused with other colors and shapes in the game.

 

 

Version 3:

This version goes in an iconic direction. These are just placeholders and would need to be re-drawn:

icons_v3

These were now potentially too complex and so we then went to:

 

 

Version 4:

Back to more symbolic but now a symbol that hints at an icon. Somewhere between flat and rendered. Note that the lighting is a little different on the left than the right as part of our experimentation.
icons_v6

However version 4 was lacking “punch” and the icons were too dull and lost, especially at smaller sizes.

 

 

Version 5:

So then version 5: This is the same as the previous version except now with lighting effects from the center of the icons. the first 3 on the left were also cleaned up with thicker lines so that they would retain their shapes on smaller devices (phone screens, tablets etc.)

icons_v5

This looks decent but the colors in particular were not entirely fitting with the artwork and the rest of the style. However this was the “most final” of the icons we had produced as part of this process.

 

 

Version 6:

In a flash of inspiration, or folly… A completely different direction was the latest “let’s think this over again” approach. This is incredibly rough, and these images are just quick “place holders”, but the idea would be to have some sort of drawn icon with the numbers on top of them:

icons_v4

Similar to what Duel of Champions does for their three resources:

Meaning that we would draw icons and then render them in such a way that the number can be on-top of it in white. So you have to “imagine” the rock and the gear drawn to actually look like proper icons (similar to how well the above Duel of Champion icons look).

Considerations:

Simple Icons with a glow.

What makes this complicated is that the icons need to look good not only on the screen as part of the GUI but also when viewed on the top-left edge of one of our cards. We also need to show enough of the artwork on the left-edge of the card that you can see which card it is, by its artwork, without having to always click the card to see it.

As you ca see here, version 5 has nice symbols but the values of each of the resources need to go next to the icon instead of over the top of it, and that means it eats up more horizontal space. It also means that we end up with a lot of color on our cards and this break the coherency and mood of the artwork. (which is part of the reason I threw together version 6 quickly with the rendered icon look).

 

 

Next steps?

Oh icons, how you scorn us. At this point we could go back to version 1 and just refine that simple, iconic flat look, similar to what you see in other games like:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 3.11.15 PM
Starships by Sid Meier

Or we could tweak our version 5 further to make it work on the cards without eating up so much room.

Simple Icons with a glow.

Or we could develop icons like Duel of Champions did.

Or some fourth or fifth option we haven’t thought of yet?

Feedback

So we’d like your feedback, not just on our designs (as shown above) but also about games you play where you like (or even dislike) the icons. What appeals to you? What’s important to you? Did we make any versions here that you like more than others?

Thank you!

 

 

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/generated/323388124