Podcast the GalaCast

Hi Folks,

GalaCast

The big news this week is that we started a podcast that will go behind the scenes of GalaCollider. We start off with Trevor and Sebastian the game developer and game designer behind GalaCollider, but you can expect in future episodes more from other members of our team, like lore and programming:

Once we have a few more episodes we will get things up on itunes as a real “podcast”.

Balance changes for November 1st

Our cards have also just undergone another bigger balance change round and we’re moving some of the current cards in the demo/starter deck out from the demo deck and to the core set while putting some cards planned for the core set into the starter deck. Some cards are even switching sides! (a topic for another time)

Deck building and game length

We’ve also been having fun with deck building lately, just with plain text files that we load up into the game. This did uncover some issues with game length where stalemates can happen between high level players on maps with abnormally low star counts. To address this we are experimenting with stars being generated rather than claimed and also a smarter map system where the star values of each map are now calculated based on the map generated rather than a fixed number based on the number of sectors.

We want most games to last around 30 to 60 minutes, unless you opt for a really large map (and therefore know what you are getting yourself into!) – these changes should be a step in the right direction to ensure that game length does indeed remain within these constraints.

You can watch a recent game where I ran a custom deck with lots of frigates and the map had too few stars on it to trigger a star victory. The result was a really fun game, but it lasted too long for what we want the game to do.

Granted this is with zero turn timer in place, which will really help to speed up the game, but even so a game like this needs to reach conclusion in fewer turns:

Other news

Over the last week we worked out the last of the critical bugs on 3.x and now we are just knocking off all the final major and minor bugs before we begin work in earnest on 4.x.

Work on the deck building part of db.galacollider.com has begun.

Sebastian has been busy getting the graphics ready for the giant design overhaul in 4.x.

Finally we also submitted our game to IndieCade, Magfest and IGF recently. Wish us luck!

Looking for

We are currently looking for:

  • More Alpha Playtesters
  • QA Testers
  • Marketing analysts / social media / strategists
  • Unity3D VFX animators

Thanks for tuning in!

Phoenix project

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

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

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

Your voice

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

What has GalaCollider been up to?

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

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

In addition we are happy to announce that we have:

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

db.gc

Deck Builder

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

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

New map editor

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

New UI work

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

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

Space UI

Patreon

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

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

Developer Podcast?

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

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

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

Team

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

Here is our current list of open positions:

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

  • Art Director
  • Designer
  • Animator

In our outreach team we are looking for:

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

The development team is looking for:

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

Our production team is seeking a new:

  • Art Producer

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

  • Webmaster (supervise and take care of our website)

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

Update July 1st, 2015

Beta2 progress

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 9.14.12 AMWe’ve begun working on beta2 in earnest now. Some of the accomplishments from this week include setting ourselves up on a free Amazon account and increasing our connection-capacity from 20 to 100 users. This will allow us to run demos and competitions pre-Kickstarter on Beta2 in the weeks before our campaign begins.

Beta2 modules and new cards have progressed smoothly, as well as UI improvements to both the hand, targeting system and GUI for increased legibility.

3D modeling progress

shipmodular3 modularpieces2The Coalition Frigate is very close to complete, we are now working on various modular components for the 3D model. These modular parts will let us create new 3D models rapidly and will also let the 3D models’ appearance directly reflect the upgrades and modules added to the ship over the course of a game.

Coalition_Dreadnaught_ScreenCap_004The Coalition Dreadnaught (above in green-blue) is also nearing completion, including the in-game texturing. The Dreadnaught will also get modular treatment, similar to the Frigate.

Finally we also worked on our nebulae, with various colors and lightning storm effects, depending on the type of nebula you occupy. This video just shows some quick config changes. We are using different quality levels, which you see in the LOD0 and LOd1 and LOd2 groupings. Each LOD is for a different zoom level. So LOD0 is the largest the 3D element can be, and will be shown when you are inside of the anomaly (performing tactical battles). Nebulae generally obscure your ships and interrupt ship systems, but some are combustible, deadly places to fight, while others have sources of harvestable energy.

Because each sector on the map is driven by a card and we can continuously create new maps and new cards, the features of each nebula can be as varied as the stars in the sky.

Oh and this 3D model is based on this artwork, which you can see featured on this example sector-card template, artwork by Stuart Ballinger:

Sector_ShardCloud
Artwork by Stuart Ballinger

Video / Logo intro

Our motion graphics for the logo and Kickstarter intro is getting very close to final. the first few seconds of it are looking really sweet. Here are some still-frames from the animation thus far:

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 9.56.27 AM

New home page

We plan on making iterative improvements to our website over the next weeks. The next big step is going to be a new homepage that should be a lot more engaging than our current home page. If all goes well, by this time next week it should already be up!

Concept Art

Concept artwork slowed down lately, but we do have one new piece of concept art to show you that was recently finished:

SylithElderThis is a Sylith Elder. We started with some ideas about feathers or increased tentacles on the head and then decided that the warriors should have feathers instead of hair and that the elders should instead have no feathers but a ton more sensory tentacles. Below is a sketch of the head variations that Amanda made:

SylithVariations

Hiring needs

Our team is now about 25 people strong! But we still are looking for a few more people to add to the family, we are looking for:

  • QA testers with 10+ hours a week to dedicate to testing and finding bugs in our early-Beta
  • A Graphic design intern who has a style that matches ours (elegant, minimal, refined)
  • Two more people to add to our PR / Marketing team to help with research, writing and PR

Contact us if you think you can help!

Update May 27th 2015

Synaide Technologies (ST) is the leading producer of prosthetic and robotic components for the Coalition, and continues to push the boundaries of science and technology. At their inception, ST specialized in artificial sapien neural networks. Following their successful line of brain enclosures, ST began extensive research and development with the goal of perfecting Celanese bodies and reducing both the risks and discomforts of the cyborgization process. Synaide Technologies went on to pioneer many features implemented in all modern Celanese models, cementing them in the megacorporation status they hold today.

Newsletter promotion

Last week we mentioned that we were finalizing our newsletter bonus content for GalaCollider. We decided to offer you a free bonus card and also $5 in-game credit if you join. This offer will be around until our Kickstarter (KS) campaign launches on day 1, so if you want to find out when the KS begins and get a cool free card and some bonus currency, sign up!

We won’t share your email and are not planning on sending out more than the occasional email letting you know about important happenings.

Sign up for our newsletter and get Synaide Technologies for Free plus $5 in-game credit!

Your email address will remain private.

Beta progress

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 5.33.12 PMOur Beta build is now really close to being ready for debugging and playtesting. If all goes well in the next two days we should start recording gameplay post it up Friday! If all does not go well, we’re pretty confident we will be able to do so next week.

The main thing we need to resolve is card sizes. Our Beta simulates retina iPad resolution even though it is on a desktop computer. So once that part is fixed we will all finally be able to enjoy the real game.

3D modeling

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 1.37.44 PMAs of right now Rafael is wrapping up on all of our asteroids, nebulae and various core planet types. Here you see one of his renders.

Next week, Rafael and two other 3D modelers will switch to working on space ships.

We will be making our 3D model space ships with modular components so that it is easy to create quick variations based on different needs or player modifications.

Promotion

Our team is growing but we always need more help. If you are engaged in online communities related to card games, RTS games, 4X games or board games, let us know and we would love to add you to the team!

This week we put together the start of our Kickstarter plan. We started mapping out our stretch goals and pledge levels, next week we will continue the work on this front.

We are also still actively looking for someone to help coordinate our PR arm of the project. So if you have experience managing teams, and a background in Kickstarter campaigns, reach out!

FAQ page up

We now have an FAQ page, have a question that isn’t on here? Let us know!

Video production / Motion Graphics

This last week we got the ball rolling with our video production and a basic story board. Set, scheduling and recordings will happen through June so we can edit the video in July.

Lorcan, who has worked on several TV series and motion pictures, is working now on a cool intro animation for our KS video, here is a quick concept:

Gala_Sytleframe

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

Progress update, May 6th 2015

Interview up!

Hi folks, our interview with Indiehaven is up and available from their website. Come take a listen and hopefully you will learn more about our game!

AMA date: May 9th

You listened to our podcast and have now many questions, or maybe you didn’t and that’s why you have questions… either way it doesn’t mater because we will have our AMA on this website and on https://www.reddit.com/r/AMA/ on May 9th 2015 at 11:30AM PDT.

Please come and join us!

New website features?

Oh man, we are soooo close to the new features being turned on on this website, but alas still not there. It has to be up before the 9th! So it’s a mater of days now. Sparkly new forum area will appear with some other improvements.

Factions revealed

If you missed it we now have both of our core factions revealed on this blog with some concept art. The two relevant posts were Sylith revealed and Coalition revealed.

3D modeling in full swing

We’ve been busy creating a multitude of different 3D planets, asteroids and other celestial phenomena for the game map. The lighting isn’t final, the planets here are a transparent when they won’t be in the game, and their sizes might be a little too large, but I swear they still should give you a good impression of where we are going!

Team update

Introducing David Logan, experienced Producer, Game Designer and CEO / Co-Founder of Night light interactive. David released the multi-award winning game Whispering Willows and we are thrilled to have him join our team as Art Producer.

We’ve also added Rafael Morais as a 3D modeler / VFX to our team. He is working on various planets, asteroids and nebula. Some of his planets he’s made for us, you can see here in this news update (above).

Hiring update

Our biggest need right now is for bug testing. Do you have experience creating rigorous test plans and executing them? If you have Unity3D skills that is a big bonus. We are also looking for someone who has Cinema4D experience as a Design-assistant and someone who can do composites in Unity3D with asset collections to check resolution and performance. Any of these things sound like you? Let us know.

Progress

Otherwise another great week of progress in all areas, see you Friday with our next reveal!

Join our facebook family, sign up for our newsletter and keep in touch.

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.

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.

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