Fall update 2018

Hi everyone, I hope everyone had a great summer!

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

Progress with the new rules

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

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

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

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

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

Before it was, in order of most common occurrence:

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

New win conditions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other progress

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

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

Next steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bye for now!

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

Alpha Launch!

Today is the day! We’ve begun to let players into our Alpha.

If you did not yet get an email from us, fear not! We will be adding more and more people to the game as the days/weeks progress. We are adding people based on how long they have been signed up on our list, so the longer you’ve been with us, the sooner you will get access.

Here is a new video to get you started!

If you have not yet signed up, please sign up on our homepage with your email address to get on our list!

And for those of you who want the future crowdfund upgrade perk, please make sure your email is registered before the 21st of December 2017.

Our online deck builder has also been updated with all the new card art and card names, feel free to jump there to review the current card pool, share and make decks.

Be sure to follow us on Twitch so you can watch us and other community members play. We plan on streaming a lot more games, more regularly, now that the Alpha has launched.

You can find many of us and other players on our Discord channel. Our FAQ has been updated with newness.

More from us again soon!

Fall release confirmation

The moment approaches, Gala Collider’s open alpha is set to begin on December 18th!

We are planning to invite the oldest subscribers first, and we will continue inviting players in batches until we have our desired load of at least forty games running concurrently. Once we hit that load, we will pause to evaluate that nothing is breaking; and then continue to add players until we reach our next goal of 250 concurrent games (and then our next goal of….).

So depending on how long you’ve been subscribed, you will get an invitation on the 18th of December or in the weeks that follow. In addition to testing the strain of simultaneous multiplayer sessions, we’re hoping to get feedback on the tutorials and scenarios.

Winter is coming…

(yes it is also cold out in space)

If you’ve been with us over the last two plus years, you will have hopefully read that we were offering our most faithful followers a tier upgrade on our future crowd fund campaign. We are keeping our word but we will soon no longer be offering this to new subscribers. Anyone who signs up on or after December 21st in 2017 will no longer qualify for future tier upgrades.

However, please be clear that signing up on or after the 21st doesn’t limit or reduce your ability to still get early access to our game and play it! From the 18th of December onwards, we will be in a public alpha state and open to new signups throughout the alpha period. Your email will just be batched and given access like any other, in order of signup.

Art / VFX updates

We continue to work on new artwork and add artists, we nearly have 40 artists on our team now. Below are some samples of fresh produced work:

Sylith – Perception: Enemy plans are laid bare and revealed. Art by Eko Puteh

 

In progress sketches by Marc Scott:

In terms of visual effects, we now have integrated visual effects for many different weapons all in the game. Here is a full list of all the weapon types coded and ready for you to employ against your foes in the upcoming Alpha:

  • Variable sized energy weapon fire, larger attacks generate larger beam weapons now
  • Torpedo attacks that apply heavy damage to cruisers and larger ships
  • Pulse fire attacks that specialize in damaging smaller ships
  • Nukes that are slow but do collateral damage to massive targets, like dreadnaughts
  • Bombardment weapons to knock out enemy developments on their sectors
  • Retaliation fire is a beam weapon that returns fire at each enemy ship that engaged you
  • Troops deployed at a planet float down in landing pods, where they hope to conquer or help defend against invasions

Either at release or in a subsequent patch we will also release custom effects for even more aspects of the game. Different operation cards will trigger different visual effects, and cards are getting variable size and color edge glows while you drag them over potential targets.

Sign up and tell your friends

These next weeks we will be very busy doing final quality tests on everything to make sure the game is as bug free as possible.

So please, don’t forget to share our game with your friends and get them to sign up! Sign up before December 21st 2017 and you will also be on our list for a free tier upgrade on any crowd fund campaigns we launch in 2018!

October 2017 Update

Time is still ticking towards our Alpha release. We are fairly confident we should still be able to hit our Fall 2017 release timeframe, and it will likely be around December 2017 – assuming no major hitches in our planning.

Code update for Alpha 6

Alpha 6 is the version number we will be on when the Alpha goes public. We plan on inviting players in batches, with oldest subscribers first. Once we make sure everything works well we will then batch in the next group. We will go deeper into the details of this process once we get closer in a month or so.

Right now, we are mainly working on the following code-related tasks:

  • Player profile enhancements
  • Game lobby and room UI
  • Basic matchmaking logic – to ensure new players tend to find other new players when creating/joining games
  • New card overlays for full-art formats
  • New weapon effects, explosions
  • Sound design
  • Final touches on single player scenarios, tutorials
  • Game patcher Mac/PC testing and design

Discard for Research – GONE

We tried out a mechanic for a good few months where you could discard any card from your hand for one research point. While it did a good job of addressing access to higher technology options on smaller maps, it led to two negative consequences that we decided were not worth the trade off. Namely it encouraged heavy hand-deck manipulation as a strategy, which is a very min-max type thought process, while detracting you from the core of the game: which is focusing your choices in your hand & the ships on the map.

You could easily spend the majority of your turn discarding and drawing large numbers of cards to find a particular solution, which is not necessarily something we want as core gameplay but also a very high-level thought process. Our game already has a very high skill ceiling and this ability as a core-feature for all decks just meant that the skill ceiling was even higher than it perhaps needs to be. Players who discard heavily just win against players who don’t. We were not promoting intuitive gameplay by doing this, players are not “used to” throwing away all their cards to draw new ones, especially when they are learning and don’t know why a different card would be any better.

The ability to discard for research may very well return, but if and when it does, it will be in the form of an ability you can deck build around and progress up to as you play, rather than an innate way of playing.

We should give a shout-out to Jean-Michel from Abrakam / Faeria – who also mentioned this concern on a podcast we had earlier this year.

Video Production

Our team is now also busy working on two videos, one of them will be the intro-lead for our game when it launches. It will convey the big-picture story behind the game of the game and where things begin. The other will eventually attach onto the first as continuation where we unveil the video elements of gameplay, but from the perspective of our characters story. We will be utilizing these videos as part of our upcoming crowd-fund campaign next year.

Art Licensing

Recently we have been focusing more on securing specific artworks from our ~35 artists rather than seeking out new artists to work with. We’ve got licensing agreements finalized with 4 or 5 new artists in just the last few weeks, totaling more than 35 secured artworks.

Meanwhile Eko Putek continues to produce commissioned artwork for our commanders and our upcoming lore video. You can see on our last blog post the two pieces he did for our commanders.

If you haven’t noticed it yet, our Twitter and Facebook pages also have new blue-green back art that was a lot of fun to make and incorporates 3d and 2d art from 5 different people all together in a larger space-scene.

Recruiting

The main positions we need to fill currently are:

  1. Community Manager(s) – Timeshares
  2. Social Media Manager / Specialist – PAID
  3. HR / Admin – Timeshares
  4. QA Testers (especially testers with Mac OSX) – Timeshares

Let us know if you or someone you know would like to join our international passionate team!

Crowdfund Alpha release – this Fall!

If we could harness excitement into electricity, the GalaCollider team would’ve been the equivalent of a lightning storm over the last couple of months! Everyone has been working at full throttle to get the game ready for you guys, and it’s shaping up very nicely. You can expect to play GalaCollider yourself this coming Fall, but in the meantime we have some updates to share with you.

Crowdfund this Fall

GalaCollider is just about ready to release as we approach the end of our Alpha development cycle. It’s been nearly two years since our first crowdfund campaign, and we’re coming back for round two. While we’ve come a long way in the last two years without funding, we’re at the point where we still need a small sum of capital to secure licenses for artwork. We’re still working on an exact date, but we’re aiming to launch this Fall, 2017.

Best of all, our Alpha release will coincide with the crowdfund! This means that it will be possible to play GalaCollider while the crowdfund is ongoing.

Design Updates

If you’ve been following our social media channels, you have likely seen some behind-the-scenes images from our design team. More emphasis is being applied to the art shown on cards by reducing the amount of text and numbers displayed. We are shifting this information to be more contextual and displayed around the cards themselves. The goal is to make the game feel more elegantly-minimal without necessarily reducing any of its intuitive usability.

Card Information display

Here is a sample of our new (in progress) card information overlay:

Animated Cards

Having more space for art also opened us up to consider and create animated cards with special visual-audio effects! Ship cards will have 3D animated scenes, while development and operation cards will have more of a 2D animated design. Each card in our game will come to life before your eyes. You can expect all player-cards to have their own animated versions when we launch our final release.

Game play update

In addition to completed scenarios, tutorials and many UI improvements, we’re going to have Asynchronous Mode ready for the Alpha crowdfund release. In Asynchronous Mode, if you are playing a game without a turn timer, you will be notified as soon as all players have completed their turns, and play will continue. This is ideal for players who want to play various matches at once, or who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a single session.

This will bring the modes of play up to three:

  • Single player scenarios
  • Head-to-head play with a 90 second turn timer
  • Head-to-head play without a turn timer

Future plans still exist to add even more game modes like co-op, survival, raids, team battles, 8 player free-for-alls and more.

Team Updates

Antoine Van Lierde, our new sound sculptor, has been working on bringing extra atmosphere to GalaCollider, focusing on creating a consistent ensemble of sounds that reinforces visual feedback and the meaning of different actions, and building dynamic music for the game. Antoine is unique among sound designers in that he can also write code! We truly hope you will find GalaCollider as audibly satisfying as it will be visually.

 

Nick Hill has joined our team as test manager with 10 years of experience. For five of those years, he worked at Blizzard Entertainment, debugging their flagships games like Starcraft II, Hearthstone and many more. We’re honored to have him with us.

 

 

Podcast

We were thrilled to have Jean-Michel from Abrakam, the team behind FAERIA, on our podcast. FAERIA came out in March and is a free to play “PC card battler perfected for mobile.” If you missed the podcast then be sure to check it out below. You can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or download past episodes from our podcast page.

Newsletter Rewards

Here’s some great news for all of our newsletter subscribers. As an early adopter, we’re going to offer you tier upgrades on our future crowdfund. Whatever you pledge, we will bump your rewards up a notch to the next level. If you have friends who you think would enjoy GalaCollider, let them know that they should sign up to play before we launch the crowdfund in order to secure this perk for themselves.

Closing thoughts

This is a project we strongly believe in and we want to bring you the best game we possibly can, but we need your help if we’re going to make it.

Thanks for your interest and continued support!

Have feedback? Want to talk with us? Look us up on Discord, Twitter, Facebook or shoot us an email.

See you in about a month with our next update and more specific details regarding our Alpha release.

Expandable Cards in Gala Collider

Disclaimer: Some of the following information offers a sneak-peek into our monetary economy plans and is subject to change as Gala Collider continues to be developed. We’d love to know your own thoughts and suggestions!

Hey everyone! It’s Scotty here to give you a brief news update and to talk about expandable cards in Gala Collider.

First off, it’s an exciting time as we approach the completion of our Alpha5 build, which will include all sorts of great new features! In other news, we had a special guest on our podcast this month, Jean-Michel from Abrakam Entertainment, the team behind Faeria which was just released in March. Faeria is a beautiful, fun CCG that takes the land concept from Magic the Gathering to a whole new level wherein players actually create a board map each game that functions somewhat like mana:

It’s a great game, and it’s free-to-play!

We also released a second artist showcase video, with music by Sam Watson!

 

So, a little bit more on the expandable card game model we’ve been envisioning for Gala Collider. With such an increase in popularity of card games in recent years among the gaming community, the NeoCrux team saw an opportunity to try something new. We want to take a different approach to most current digital card games. By combining the foundations of 4X games with the mechanics of card games, we aim to offer players what we believe to be a unique gaming experience.

Many card games have gone down the route of a collectible card game (CCG) model. While this model does create moments of excitement when opening random packs of cards, it can often create an unfair advantage to the player who spends more money on the game. CCGs are not typically available in complete sets, and some cards are usually more scarce than others, meaning that a significant amount of cards packs usually need to be purchased in order to obtain the exact cards you want.

With Gala Collider, we want to level the playing field for our players. This has been achieved by using an expandable card game model (similar to what is used in Android: Netrunner and AEG’s Doomstown: Reloaded for example). Rather than open random pack after random pack, we give players the opportunity to purchase sets of cards where they know exactly what they are paying for. Individual decks can be created from these sets, meaning that players will still be able to enter battles with their own custom strategies.

Each release cycle of cards will explore a different theme and showcase new mechanics, opening up fresh strategies for players to discover and master. The metagame will stay novel as strategies must evolve and adapt to the regular releases of new cards, game modes (various team, co-op, solo modes of play etc.) and maps. Needless to say, Gala Collider remains exciting while being kinder on your wallet than your average collectible card game!

If you like what you’ve read, then feel free to sign up to our newsletter. We’ll update you with new developments and let you know when you can try Gala Collider for yourself! Simply leave your email address here.

Spring Updates 2017

Hey everyone! Lots of exciting things have been happening with GalaCollider, and progress is steady! Here’s a brief update on what’s been going on with the game and with the GC team.

Progress of the Save/Load feature is going well – our dev team has been pulling the impossible with this very complex feature. Combining simultaneous play with asynchronous gameplay and accounting for all scenarios is a very complex scenario to code for. This feature will be hands-down the most complex code component in the game to date; but the pay off should be substantial since it will let anyone play anyone they want and just get notified when their turn is ready by email or notification.

We’ve designed some new card information overlays, these will show up when you tap the info button next to a card to learn more about them. For the moment, text in these overlays is just placeholders:

Our creative writing team is now 3 people and they completed renaming all the cards to match all the background lore they’ve written. They’ve also been working out all the details of the future factions the game doesn’t have yet… but eventually will. We needed to figure this all out so we know where the story’s main arc will go, plus it’s important for gameplay design. The creative writers’ next objective is to lay down the framework for the first expansion cycle. So this includes key characters, their appearance, stories and how we plan to connect this to card releases and future mechanics.

Kamil continues to generate better and better 3d models, we can’t wait for him to finish all the core set. He’s been focusing on developments lately:

↑Coalition Mining Station

 

↑Sylith Enclave

In other news, we’ve been making headway on the in-game deck builder, scheduled for completion with our Beta-1 release. We have some great new redesigns for our website and mobile platform that will be coming soon, and we’re making progress on the online and in-game store(s)!

We have a new HR Manager who has been doing a great job posting, interviewing and recruiting new team members. Our Project Manager has been fantastic in coordinating various tasks across the teams. We’ve also begun putting together some short videos showcasing the many incredibly talented artists who have contributed to the game! Check out the first one:

Furthermore, we’ve been working to proofread and validate all of the card text and in-game text and tutorials. We take card text clarity seriously. Even though this is a digital game, it should be clear from reading a card what it does. Our QA team has been hard at work squashing bugs, and has expanded to roughly a dozen people! However, we can always do with more testers, check out our careers page and/or the QA tester page to find out more.

So things are progressing smoothly here with GalaCollider. We can’t wait to finish up the Alpha 5 build, and get the game into your hands! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear about the Open Alpha launch this summer.

All the best!

-The GalaCollider Team

2016 Year End Update

Much has happened over the course of 2016, and we’re getting ever closer to the Beta version of the game.


Our Alpha 5 build has seen many UI upgrades, improved graphics, a new Street Fighter-like ‘star bar’ meter (to track players’ progress towards star victory), roll-over tips, a 2D/3D toggle mode, and most recently the battle-zoom UI. In battle-zoom you can see your ships up close, plus weapon animations and explosions get the spotlight:

Many other new features have also been completed:

  • The deck-builder is live with the full core set of cards
  • User accounts have been integrated into the game
  • A series of optional tutorials now help guide new players
  • Single player missions against an AI have been added

Furthermore we’ve enhanced the gameplay by giving all cards intrinsic value when discarded, and reduced deck sizes across the board to augment the importance of the tech pool.

We’ve also made significant progress on some key features which will allow us to gear up for the Beta, such as the “play by mail” asynchronous play mode which allows players to take their turn anytime they want.

Other big features that are getting close to being finished are the in-game deck-builder, the in-game store, and the Save/Load system that will allow you to pause games and return to them at a later date.

Next year is the year!

We’re excited to keep building this game and to get it out to all of you. Please stay tuned for updates in 2017 surrounding a buildup to a future crowdfunding campaign in combination with our Open Alpha/Beta release. We’ve been working long and hard on getting this game finished but we need your help and support to make it ultimately successful. You can help us by getting your friends to sign up for our newsletter, follow and reach out to us on social media, and help spread the word!

If you haven’t yet, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and catch live-streams of the game on our Twitch channel! You can follow our monthly podcast, the GalaCast, on our website or on iTunes. If you feel like chatting with us directly, come check out our Discord channel.

Thank you for interest and your support! We’re thrilled to have you with us as we continue to build what we believe can be a great game and community.

Sincerely,

The GalaCollider team


Art credits:
Architecture sketches by Jan Sarbort
The New by Jingchun
Europa by Lasse Perälä
Command Center by Julian Faylona

Gaming in Montreal

Hey everyone, Elijah/Licoricefish here.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending a couple great gaming events this past month, namely MIGF (Montreal Independent Games Festival), and MIGS (Montreal International Games Summit). I was really hoping to get a booth to showcase GalaCollider, but despite not getting one it was still lots of fun getting to check out a myriad of unique games by local and international developers!

One of the first games to really catch my eye was Dread Nautical by Hibernium Games, a spooky roguelike game set on a dreadful, procedurally generated ship at sea! The game’s still in development, but the controls are pretty intuitive and the artstyle is very colourful. Here’s how the levels can end up looking:

Dread Nautical from Hibernium Games

Another very promising title was Flying Carpet Games‘ The Girl and the Robot. It feels very evocative of the Ico/Shadow of the Colossus/The Last Guardian series. Cool puzzles, a mysterious villain, and an endearing relationship between girl and robot. Here’s a shot from the game:

The Girl and the Robot from Flying Carpet Games

Mage Rift from Wrecko Studios also looks very cool. A Diablo-esque, iPad-only game with a really unique and innovative control scheme. In Mage Rift you basically build your own magic load-out, and use spells with a variety of  1-finger, 2-finger, and 3-finger controls. They’ll also be integrating an asynchronous cooperative play mode.

Mage Rift from Wrecko Studios

Cardboard Utopia‘s Children of Zodiarcs is also looking fantastic. Similarly to GalaCollider, it’s a bit of a deckbuilding hybrid. It’s a story-driven RPG that combines traditional tactical gameplay mechanics with collectible cards and craftable dice. Here’s a shot:

Children of Zodiarcs from Cardboard Utopia

It was great getting to meet other indies at MIGS. There was an incredible amount of talent and innovation in the games present. Big shoutout to all those studios in the Indie Zone!

I was thrilled to show off the latest build of GalaCollider on my iPad. It’s running quite smoothly, and people were generally very intrigued by the game! I had tons of fun at this event, I can’t wait to check out other game conventions in the future. I’d love to represent GalaCollider again, hopefully with our own booth!

Here’s me in the Indie Zone at MIGS:

That’s all from me for now, if you haven’t, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to hear about the upcoming Open Alpha event!

Stay tuned for a new episode of the GalaCast very soon!

The Art Hunt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GalaCast episode 5 & Alpha5 reveal

Elijah aka Licoricefish here.

This month I had the pleasure of being on the fifth episode of our GalaCast podcast along with Sebastian and Connor.

We talked about a handful of things that happened since GalaCast episode 4. We had the Open Alpha Event, which was quite a busy weekend but tons of fun. Connor and Sebastian made it to GDC & ECGC, respectively. From VR to free beer and giant jenga, their experiences have convinced me that I must make it to some game conferences myself! We’ve also been pleased to see the team & playtester group continue to grow this past month.

We are very excited to be revealing the Alpha 5 build of GalaCollider on our weekly Twitch streams with PowerToMario! (Every Thursday at 10pm EDT) There have been many improvements to the UI, bug fixes, and many new star maps! 😀 (I love maps.)

I was able to get on the stream with PowerToMario last Thursday May 12th, and it was a blast! I’ll be starting another GalaCollider stream on Mondays at 5PM EDT. Don’t forget to click that heart ♥ button on our Twitch channel! There’s also been talk of doing different kinds of streams such as a live-coding session or even a live-map-building, which I’m especially excited about.

If you haven’t, sign up for the newsletter on our homepage to stay in the loop!

PowerToMario – My Experience at PAX East 2016

Every year, I typically find some way to travel to the city of Boston, Massachusetts; “The Heart of Liberty”, as many call it. One convenient reason is for the Penny Arcade Expo (affectionately known as PAX East).

It is a massive convention where gamers of varying degrees gather to celebrate (and sell) upcoming and soon-to-release game titles to the public. Though many are devoted strictly to playing games, development teams invest a gratuitous amount of their money and lives for their creations to be discovered. It’s both exciting and terrifying for the developer; your hope is that others will believe your game is as fun as you think, and sometimes that isn’t the case.

Most years, I’ve gone as an attendee with a large group of friends. The first year I attended PAX East was in 2012, where I met many of the friends I made online for the very first time. We all created YouTube “Let’s Plays” together for well over 4 years, and meeting in Boston was an incredible milestone in our lives. We attended panels, met other YouTube and TwitchTV personalities, played games together and adventured through the city, dining on local cuisine and enjoying the novelty of exploring a new place!

This year’s expo was much different; I was invited to assist as a part-time exhibitor with indie studio Frogdice! (showcasing a new MMORPG, Stash: No Loot Left Behind↓)

Being an exhibitor affords you many benefits; the Enforcers (PAX staff) will bend over backwards to assist you and the security lines are much shorter, as exhibitors get their own access to the convention center. Being able to walk past thousands of rabid gamers and get in early was a liberating experience; what privilege!

A growing presence of indie developers seems to be the trend with PAX and other events like it. Dozens of independent game studios were represented in the Expo Hall, and a small selection were invited to the “Indie Megabooth”, which is situated dead center of all the traffic in PAX East. Strangely enough, the games that interested me personally were outside of that sphere (though that’s not to say they were bad). The selection of titles was, in my opinion, the best of any PAX East to date!

Experiences that I never anticipated had captured my interest, such as Computer Lunch’s VR game “Swing Star” where you play as a boy wearing a helmet equipped with a sticky hand. I played the game on a Samsung smartphone with the Gear VR peripheral. Tilting your head while tapping the side of the phone allowed you to grab onto objects and swing at differing angles toward your goal, a golden bell you must ring in order to clear the stage. It was surprisingly immersive and I laughed a few times during the demo!

Being a QA Tester for GalaCollider, scoping out other digital card games was a natural inclination! For the most part, the card games being showcased at booths (digital or otherwise) lacked a certain depth. One game stood apart from the rest; Zimad Games was at PAX East showing off their digital collectable card game “Star Crusade”:

They had a slew of tables with tablets set up to maximize participation from the crowd circulating the show floor. It wasn’t a subtle sci-fi Hearthstone ‘clone’ by any means, but its factions, lore, and use of modules and weapons made it stand out in an genre monopolized by larger studios.

Overall, the freedom of exploring the Expo Hall was amazing; to be quite honest, the panels this year did not interest me. The different panel discussions by industry professionals are sort of a staple for PAX conventions. Each year, it feels as though the games get better and the panels become far less enticing.

Perhaps next year, GalaCollider may join in the indie festivities and provide an experience you won’t soon forget.