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.

Progress update, April 22nd 2015

Hello fans, today is another progress report. Friday we will have new content revealed.

Progress update

Podcast / Blog:  interviews / previews

As of this writing we have been approached by one podcast for an interview/preview, more details once we know for sure when and if this comes to fruition! If you know of any other podcasts or blogs that might want to show case our work and project, please let us know.

Concept art

We have a lot of concept art underway by many artists. This Friday we will most likely be showing you artwork of one of our alien races. This game isn’t all about spaceships! We hope you will like what we have come up with thus far.

Alpha team / Design team

Our game balance, design and testing team is growing rapidly. As you may know we want this game to be very well balanced with a wide and healthy competitive meta. We now have not only new testers but also a new team member joining us who has years of professional experience balancing TCGs and reviewing card designs to ensure that the created meta is both varied and interesting. More about our growing design team later!

Programming update

We’ve now begun coding Beta-1, which is a huge milestone for us. Beta-1 is the start of our placeholder artwork being swapped out with the “real” design elements you’ve been seeing on our blog. We are focusing first on the cards themselves because we need the real card art in it in order to video-demo the game on our blog. Once Beta-1 is stable we plan on doing video recordings of actual turns being taken so that you can get a much clearer impression of exactly how the game works.

Promotions update

We tried some reddit promotion but it seems like Facebook gives you a much better bang for your buck than reddit. Maybe our ad wasn’t phrased right? But in any case Facebook promotion for just a few dollars seems to give you a really good rate of exposure and facebook page likes. We got 75-80 likes on facebook in 3 days when we promoted there but only 5 or so likes (and a few newsletter signups) from spending twice as much on reddit!

Website revamp and AMA date

We’ve fallen a bit behind on this one, we want to add more pages, a forum and some other features to this site. We are still hoping for end of April but it could be we prioritize some of the other things going on and push this out to 1st or 2nd week of May. Setting up a forum area is important to us though as we will need this forum up in order to run our first AMA. By next week we should have a more clear idea of when the forum and thus our AMA will happen. Stay tuned!

Expanding the team

This week we posted several positions on our website:

We are also always looking for concept, licensing and comissionable card-art artists. If any of these are of interest to you, please contact us.

Staying Connected

As always if you want to stay informed please like our facebook page and sign up to our newsletter!

See you on Friday with content reveal!

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

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.

 

Meet The Team – Brandon Freeman

Meet The Team Mondays - Community Manager Brandon Freeman

Name: Brandon Freeman

Role: Community Manager

About: I’ll be talking with the development team and the community to get a picture of what each group wants out of the game. The great thing is I’m a passionate gamer and developer so I have experience on both sides and can relate to each one.

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider?: I love the mix of the two genres, card game and 4X. I can spend hours planning my strategy and playing both types of games and it’s going to be pretty amazing when you mix them.

What inspires you?: Well, one big inspiration for just about everyone is their imagination, where would we be without that? Just think about all the fantasy and scifi that wouldn’t exist without it! I also watch and read a lot of the super hero genre, seems to be making a comeback with all the new shows and movies being made and they are all pretty amazing, can’t wait for Age of Ultron. I’d say another big source of inspiration is the music I listen to, not that it inspires me directly but it helps while I’m working, I’m always listening to music when I get the chance.

What is your current gaming obsession?: Recently I’ve picked up smite again, I’ve played on and off since the beta and it’s awesome to see the game still growing. In fact I’m looking for people to play, let me know if you’re playing!

 You can find Brandon here:
https://twitter.com/GalaBrandon

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.

 

 

Meet the Team : Rob Masson

Meet The Team Mondays - Head of Operations Rob Masson
Meet The Team Mondays – Head of Operations Rob Masson

We’d like to introduce you to a member of our team every Monday. This week we’re talking to Head of Operations Rob Masson.

Name:

Rob Masson

 

Role:

Head of Operations – Basically I get to do the paperwork.. 😉

 

About:

I am a Software Architect and co-founder of NeoCrux.  I have been an avid boardgamer, role-playing gamer and computer gamer since I was a kid.  Over the past couple of years I have been working on gaming projects to align my passion with my work focus.

 

What’s your favorite thing about GalaCollider? :

Honestly it is two things.  The first is the thrill of watching a new concept take shape and become a reality.  The second is the team.  There are so many awesome people working on this project and I am thrilled to be involved with them!

 

What inspires you? :

I am really inspired by books and movies.  I am an avid Sci-Fi reader and have been enjoying books about man’s adventures to the stars for years.  I love epic storylines like Dune and Foundation and I think GalaCollider has so many of those large epic elements to it!

 

What is your current gaming obsession?: Sid Meiers Beyond Earth for sure.  Plus I just restarted the StarCraft II Campaign.  For physical board games I am playing a lot of Deus and we just played Eclipse recently and I have to say how much I love that game!

About page now up

It was about time to write about

It’s probably overdue to have an about page up. I’ve written a general high-level summary describing the game we are creating. Details about each aspect of this will be further detailed on this blog as the weeks follows.

As mentioned at the bottom of the About page, we are also working on a website with, among other things, a forum. Once our product webpage is up this blog will become a sub-part of it where we can continue to blog about our development processes, share what we learn and engage you directly into the creative process.

Team building

In other news, we just hired like 4 people and commissioned 2 artists in the last 10 days! We are growing very fast and up to about 16 people right now (granted not everyone is all active at the same time).

That said we are still looking for more people to add to our team, here is a short list of the positions we are still looking to fill:

  1. Producer / Project manager
  2. Graphic designer
  3. Logo designer
  4. Motion graphics
  5. 3D UI animator
  6. 3D modeler (game assets and/or high-rez rendering)
  7. Test manager / Play-test coordinator
  8. PR / Marketer

Interested? Shoot us a mail on the contact page.

Coming up soon should be some more details into our UI and card templates.

Introducing our Directors

Hi everyone, today it is with great enthusiasm that I unveil our Board of Directors. We are very fortunate to have such great people guiding our new company! Not everyone on this list has started yet on the board, but all things remaining equal, by April our board should be fully operational with the following members:

Skaff Elias

Skaff-EliasOwner of Three Donkeys and Computer Game Consultant.

(George) Skaff Elias was one of the original playtesters for Magic: The Gathering and helped edit the early Magic sets. Richard Garfield got him to start working for Wizards of the Coast around 1993. He has held such positions as Magic Brand Manager and Senior Vice President of Magic R&D.

He was one of the designers for various Magic sets, including Antiquities (March 1994), Fallen Empires (November 1994), and Ice Age (June 1995). Skaff also worked on the development team of numerous sets including the first core set of Magic (for which he also designed some cards), and others like Legends (June 1994). Skaff was the primary architect of the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour which distributes millions of dollars in prize and scholarship money.

Skaff has consulted on various computer games and other projects for Microsoft and Electronic Arts. He received a bachelor of arts in physics from Princeton University and was studying for a PhD in mathematics at University of Pennsylvania before leaving to help start Wizards of the Coast. He is an adjunct professor of game design at the University of Washington.

Please note that GalaCollider is in no way associated with Three Donkeys or Wizards of the Coast, nor do the views of Skaff in any way represent Three Donkeys or Wizards of the Coast.

Nick Peck

Senior Manager of Audio Operations at Disney Publishing Worldwide

Nick Peck is an Audio Director/Sound Designer/Composer with a long list of apps, films and video games under his belt. His previous positions include Audio Director of Underground Development, an Activision company, Sound Supervisor at Lucasarts Entertainment Company, and Game Sound Supervisor at Skywalker Sound. He has also ran his own freelance audio production business, Perceptive Sound Design, for many years.

Nick has experience sound crafting on motion pictures and video games, including among many others: Star Wars: Battlefront and Being John Malkovich.

Nick is currently the senior manager of audio operations for Disney Publishing, where he runs an audio department that handles sound design, music composition, and dialog casting/recording/editing. They have released a plethora of award-winning iOS apps, for franchises including Wreck-It Ralph, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Brave, Up, Toy Story, Cars, Cinderella, Tangled, and many more. Nick consistently has had one or more apps in the top ten in the entertainment and education categories simultaneously.

Nick lectures on the audio arts in California, Japan, and Canada, and has taught courses in audio production at Diablo Valley College. He has contributed to audio magazines and websites for the last decade, including Electronic Musician and Gearwire.

Please note that GalaCollider is in no way associated with Disney, nor do the views of Nick in any way represent the Walt Disney Company.

Stephan Brissaud

Stephan-BrissaudChief Operation Officer at IELLO.

Stephan created and opened the US Branch of IELLO, a fast growing publisher, possibly best known for releasing King of Tokyo from Richard Garfield.

Stephan heads the manufacturing and distribution of their games and selects which new games they will distribute in the USA and connected territories.

Prior to opening IELLO’s US branch, Stephan worked a total of 24 years in the game industry. Including sales manager / partner for WorldWise imports, VP of sales and marketing for Asmodee US, and Event manager / senior buyer for Wizards of the Coast.

Please note that GalaCollider is in no way associated with IELLO, nor do the views of Stephan in any way represent the IELLO Company.

Terry Coleman

Terry-ColemanTerry Coleman has nearly two decades of experience in creating and publishing digital games. During that time, he has designed, produced or developed on nearly every platform imaginable, from PC and Mac to handheld, online and next-generation consoles – in fact, Terry’s been around so long that he even has a Dreamcast game to his credit.

Over the years, he has worked at a variety of companies, including giants such as EA Sports, Mattel and Sierra Online, as well as smaller indie publishers like Lolapps, VPG, and Daring Play.

Some of the best-known titles he has worked on include MVP Baseball, FIFA World Cup, and several versions of the best-selling Chessmaster franchise. Terry’s latest project, Traveller Ascension: Imperial Warrant, was successfully funded on Kickstarter, and is scheduled to ship later in 2015.

 

 

Photo credit: Laurence Simon

Seeking community manager

We are looking still for many people to add to our team, but I thought I would highlight the community manager / promotions / public relations position today specifically. We are now about 4 months away from completing our Alpha and about 6 months away from our kickstarter. We’ve learned and know that a successful kickstarter is in part dependent on having enough interested followers to support it.

March marks the beginning of us starting to really share what we are working on. We’ve begun to spoil some of our UI designs and our most recent test-party results post went into changes we will be implementing in our game play. Over the next weeks we will show more and more.

Ultimately we are building this game for you, we want it to be a wonderful world you enjoy exploring and will continue to enjoy for years to come. GalaCollider is going to be a game where we not only listen to the community (balance, development suggestions, card design) but where community and personal results actually influence and shape the unfolding story.

We are looking for someone to help speak on our behalf to the community at large, and get the word out. “Friendly, empathic, engaging and plugged in” would be some keywords that come to mind.

Contact us if you think you might be that person.


 

Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brennanmoore/2446669822
 

Shaping the story

So the last time I posted about the back-story I focused on the conditions that could lead to a 4X scenario: cataclysmic events, empires collapsing, war, titanic galaxies colliding. I tossed this concept towards Amy Ballinger (Creative Writer) and in the process a much more refined and compelling story is taking hold.

Instead of transporting ourselves to unknown corners of the universe, our game is going to take place here; well almost here. See we are going forward ~4 billion years in time. What will this place be like then? Well two important things will have happened:

  1. Earth will no longer be habitable because our sun will have burned it away from expanding in its old age, and
  2. The Andromeda galaxy will be in full-collision with our Milky-Way.

48d8782c-54d8-4d74-986a-1035233659b8_972This creates a really interesting premise for a story. In the future we are painting, humanity has expanded outwards from our solar system to colonize new planets, and on each of them we have evolved and become isolated from each other in the process. “Earth” is forgotten, the remnants of a myth among our various genetic evolutionary offspring.

Galactic collisions span millions of years, with systems changing position ever so slowly but surely in the process. Andromeda brings with it, however, more than just disturbance: Andromeda is more importantly a galaxy inhabited by other alien factions. The Andromeda collision “encounter” is where our story begins.

New Designer

A new designer is going to join our crew and – nearly final – discussions are still in progress with 3D modeling talent as well as dozens of other candidates for various positions (from concept art, to card art to production and more). I will certainly share more here soon!

Test party

taste-testThis weekend we will be holding an in-person test party in LA. It will be a chance for investors, friends and enthusiasts to play our early Alpha and to give us feedback. Chris and I have been working on the coding+testing of the game to ensure it is ready for them; we will have a solid portion of the game itself coded in time for the event; you can be sure I will post back here what people thought and if anything in particular needs improving!

Tempo heating

Wow it’s been quite the last few weeks.

Creative writing

We hired a new creative writer / production assistant, Amy Ballinger, who I’m sure you will read more from in the weeks/months to come, is going to be handling everything that has to do with the lore of our game. Right now she is reviewing the existing giant creative soup and turning into a coherent back-story with far better defined alien factions.

In addition to working out the world and factions, Amy is also going to provide creative guidance for our future illustrators. If all goes well this week with the core lore writing, we should be in a good position to begin the hiring process the following one.

Coding continues

On the programming front, Chris continues to slam out feature revisions at an accelerating pace. Our game will be ready for our first “test party” later this month where we will gather investors and close friends to try our first build and give us some live feedback.

The “minimum” game should be “functionally” done by the end of this month which means that Chris can then switch his focus to coding all the main game menus (the first screens you see before you create and join a game). I put quotes around these things because the “minimum” game is the smallest feature set I can see us going live with and still having a playable game, and I say “functional” because the game is still coded right now without all the beautiful graphics that our designers are making. Integrating the design into the formless code will come later in a second-pass iteration.

Board of Directors

On the company front, 3 people whom we approached to be on our board have accepted. Our board is not yet finalized (we may still add another name or two) but we already have such a great group of people now working with us, it is really a privilege to have their wisdom on our side.

Next steps

Workload for me has been getting quite high already, Rob’s working hard and I’ve hit over 20 hours of work spinning our various plates. Among other solutions we are working to add testing and production assistance as soon as possible to help reduce our increasing loads.

Here is a total list of everyone we are looking to add to our team either immediately, or within the next 3 months. Let us know if you or someone you know might be interested!

  • Producer
  • Assistant producer
  • Test manager
  • Alpha Tester / QA Tester
  • Character Illustrators
  • 3D modeler for ships and planets
  • 3D Animations and UI effects specialist
  • Sound designer / composer
  • Graphic Designer for icons and asset production
  • Unity3D C# Developer (senior or mid-level)

Till next time, space-out.

 

 

 

Out from the Shadows

You know the thing about finding a great partner is that you want to work with someone with similar interests but yet with different skill sets.  It is an interesting mix that can be very hard to accomplish!

GalaCollider and the company we have formed to create and manage the project is a tale of finding that tough mix.  Sebastian and I met at a Game Convention which led to a number of discussions that became a partnership.  Sebastian has already told that tale form his perspective and I will endeavor to do the same in my next post.

This post however is just a quick Hello…  and a promise of more to come.  This adventure is exciting and challenging and cool and well…  I will be telling you all about it but first..   a brief introduction.

I am Rob, a Southern California transplant from Boston, MA who actually transplanted there form Eastern Canada.  I work in the Tech Industry and am an avid gamer.  My role in the project has been largely helping to build out the infrastructure of our company.  It is the unglamorous but important stuff that has to happen so that the organization can actually move ahead and get stuff done.  Beyond that it is also about helping to create a way for us to realize a vision. Sebastian and I share a vision about what kind of company we would like to create.  We share a frustration that so many designers cannot get their visions realized and that we would like to change that.

We think great game designs need a place to take root.  We want to create that place where great ideas and the people that have them can find people to help them nurture and realize those ideas.  We want to be able to help those ideas see the light of day and bring delight to the people that get to share them.

GalaCollider is one of those amazing ideas.  I cannot wait until you see the final product because as I see the elements come together I get goosebumps…