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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

GSSB race done!

The artist just finished another race, bringing up the total races to 12.  The 13th and last race is currently being worked on.  Here's a look at the new race, called "GSSB".  It parodies the fact that if aliens are female, they must be attractive, thereby humanoid with distinct human features, with one or two minor differences such as color of skin or some other such cosmetic feature.  Note, this is not intended to be derogatory toward women, but rather, how female aliens are portrayed in older sci-fi games and shows.

I nearly called them Orions in a nod to both Star Trek's Orions and the name of Master of Orion, but realized that there's already another race called Morions, and it would be only a difference of one letter.  So I'm going with GSSB which stands for Green Skinned Space Babes.  However, I'm open to suggestions for other names.

This race is equivalent to Master of Orion 2's Elerians.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pudelhunds, Linux, and C++, oh my!

Good news, everyone!

Laszlo (the Linux programmer) and I investigated different approaches to C# and C++ that would be cross-platform.  C# was a major pain in the butt porting over to Linux (I couldn't even set up the Windows version of the test program that Laszlo threw together for Linux).  So we felt that even if we manage to get it working, it'd detract many potential contributers away with over-complicated setup requirements.  So we decided to look at C++ alternatives.  Laszlo found a very good alternative, SFML, that is almost identical to the Gorgon engine that I was using in terms of framework and way it handles things.  The only thing missing is word-wrap functionality.  We're currently looking at a third-party GUI library, but if it don't work out, we'll add the functionality ourselves.

I've created a test SFML branch to test various features that will be required for Beyond Beyaan to work (shaders, image manipulations, text drawing, etc).  Both Laszlo and I was able to run the same code on both Linux and Windows.  So once we've finished investigating the GUI library, we'll start converting Beyond Beyaan into C++, and also test on Mac.

Ivan Kravarscan has also offered to join in the development efforts, so please welcome him!  Also, I'm giving Arpad access to post posts on the blog, so expect to hear from him from time to time.

Last bit of news, the artist finished the Pudelhunds race artwork (They're the Gnolams equivalent).  Here's a preview!  They're mafia-esque, with ships inspired by old popular mafia cars used in Chicago.  Yes, the pudelhund in portrait is holding a tommy gun :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fleet Overview Screen done

The UI layout for Fleet Overview screen is done.  I just need to hook up mouse events and add a dialog for confirming of scrapping ships to both Fleet Overview and Fleet Specification screens, then I'm moving on to Diplomacy and Ground Combat.  After which there'll be only Space Combat and Random Events left, along with general bug fixing, UI tweaks, and minor feature implementations.

The discussion on cross-platform and what to do is still ongoing.  We've discovered that OpenTK works pretty well (Remember the ReMoO project that I started a few years ago?  Laszlo was able to run it after simply updating references in MonoDevelop).  So we might stick with C# but convert to OpenTK.  We're determining which of the two choices (C++ and 2D engine, or C# and OpenTK) we should pursue at this point.

Finally, here's a screenshot of the Fleet Overview:

The idea is that you can click any fleet, and it'll take you to that fleet in the galaxy view.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Fleet Specs and Git

We've got several exciting news!

Arpad invited his friend, Laszlo Gerecs, to help with the programming aspect of Beyond Beyaan.  Laszlo is a Linux developer, and we're currently discussing what direction we should take with Beyond Beyaan.  I believe that we will convert it over to C++ for easier crossplatform development (Linux, Windows, and Mac), but the discussions are still ongoing.

We've also decided to move the source over to git, so from now on, you can find the source code and assets from here:  We will clean up the source files and assets so they match open source format (Assets will be in their own repository, with source code separate in another repository).  You may notice that we have "Mono".  This was an attempt to see if Mono is feasible for our crossplatform goal, but turned out to be difficult to set up.  Hence our discussion if we should go the C++ route.

The code will still be on SVN at google code, but it's depreciated and won't be used anymore.  It's there for reference (I still have the UI XML and other nifty features that I ripped out in there).

I also worked on Beyond Beyaan a bit, and finished up the Fleet Specs window, the one where it displays if you're trying to add a new design but you have six designs already.  Here's a screenshot (For reference, the old one is seen here):

Friday, May 23, 2014

Plan for Beyond Beyaan

It've been a while, but it has been a productive month in terms of design tweaks.  Arpad and I has been discussing Master of Orion 1 and its good and bad aspects.  Arpad helped illustrate the flaws in AI, and after he explained them, I tried a new game on Impossible difficulty.  If you recall, my last attempt failed disastrously.  This time, I'm effortlessly crushing the AI.  I now feel dirty knowing AI's exploits, Impossible is no longer "Impossible".  Our plan for AI is to have AI be actually smart, and reduce AI cheating as much as possible.

So our goal is to not exactly replicate MoO 1, but take the best and improve on the bad.  With mostly input from Arpad, the following are list of changes that Beyond Beyaan will have:

Space Combat - The map will be a hexagonal grid.  This is to improve logistics for missiles/torpedoes, minimize distance discrepancies, and generally balance things out.  This is mostly to help the AI.  It will still be vertical columns of tiles, so it shouldn't differ too greatly from original.

Diplomacy - All races start with neutral relation toward each other.  This will help boost the weaker races (Mrrshans, Alkari, and Darloks especially) while not weakening other races (Humans will have different bonuses as explained below)

Personality - AI won't have "Leader Personality" like in MoO 1, they hurt more than help the AI.  So each AI will factor in their race's strengths and act on them, instead of trying to do something counter-intuitive.

New Races - Since Kickstarter has resulted in success for the three extra races, Arpad and I discussed back and forth on how those will fit in a MoO 1 universe.  We have tentatively set forth their attributes as explained below.

Leaders - Likewise, I promised leaders in Kickstarter, but how to retain the simplicity from MoO 1?  Arpad suggested that they be a random event, with a randomized duration.  I liked this idea, and we fleshed it out.  There will be 22 different leaders, revolving around 11 different attributes that can help or hinder your empire.  For example, there are two financial leaders, one good, one bad.  Good will add a certain amount of income, while bad will reduce amount of income.  You cannot hire or dismiss them.  Each leader only have one attribute that they improve/degrade.  It's possible to have multiple leaders at the same time, based on random event roll.

Both New Races and Leaders will be checkbox options that you can disable when starting a new game, if you do not like those features.

We discussed extensively on how to balance the races in MoO 1.  Psilons, Meklars, and Klackons were the strongest, while Mrrshans, Darloks, and Alkari were the weakest.  We wanted to balance them, but still have each be unique from other races.  We've settled on the below (Left is the original bonuses/attributes, if it don't list a technology field, it is "Average", on right are the Beyond Beyaan's version of the race).  This is subject to balancing and testing, but we feel that this will even things out and still retain an interesting gameplay.  Also the new races were problematic, but hopefully they are unique enough with the listed attributes.

If you have concerns or suggestions for any of the discussed features, please let us know in the comments!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

More work on Planet List

The planets' economy system is nearly done.  Planet List screen is almost done as well.  The only remaining features is to implement infusing a planet with reserves to boost its production, and the dialog for it.

After those are done, I will re-do the Fleet Design List window and implement Fleet List screen.  As well as bugfixes and minor tweaks.  At that point, I will upload a new version to Desura.

Here's a screenshot of my progress, note the new taskbar at bottom.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Zygobies race artwork done!

Last fall/winter, I had to put hold on purchasing artwork due to financial constraints.  But things are better now, and I've commissioned my artist to do the 10th race, the Zygobies.  The results are fantastic!  The original description from kickstarter are as follow:

"Spores that has taken over various hosts, often without hosts noticing it, as their personalities and thinking are gradually altered. They are excellent spies for this very reason, and are heavily mistrusted, because you never know if some of zygos has rubbed off on you. Their society is a pure meritocracy, with ranking based directly on the host's brain mass as their intelligence is limited by the size of the host's brain. Despite their name connotations, they are very cunning and clever, not to be trusted."

The concept is that they conceal their host's bodies, so that others won't know which species have fallen under Zygobies' control.  They are master spies and don't care what methods they use to extract information.  They also use stealth styled ships that are designed for speed.  With those in mind, here's a preview of the Zygobies!

We now have 10 races' artwork done!  I'm having the artist do space combat graphics now.  For those who don't know which race imitates which race in MoO 1, here's a quick recap:

Humans - Humans
Nurds - Psilons
Zygobies - Darloks
Salix Cybornia - Klackons
Zero People - Meklars
Araneas - Sakkras
Velociraptors - Bulrathis
Pyrrhans - Alkari
Morions - Silicoids
Space Hamsters - Mrrshans

Later, after all other artwork are done for making a complete MoO 1 clone, I will then commission work on additional 3 races and leaders for MoO 2's version as per kickstarter's stated goal.