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Offline Asid

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Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« on: July 02, 2019, 02:44:17 PM »
Conquer the galaxy! Astra Exodus has been announced!





Slitherine and Atomic Kaiser are partnering in the development of a new 4X strategy game, Astra Exodus.

Watch the trailer!




Astra Exodus is a single player turn-based Sci-fi 4X strategy game inspired by classics such as Star Control. It features a multiple-choice narrative driven epic campaign, top down real time tactical battles and an extensive semi-randomized research grid.

Take the chance to lead humanity back home, while uncovering the mysteries behind the Exodus, across a choice driven narrative campaign. Or otherwise, challenge yourself in the Sandbox mode, by leading any of the various alien factions to several possible victory conditions.

Throughout the strategic campaign you will find yourself fighting for supremacy against other alien empires. Experience intense deep tactical battles where you will need to outsmart and outmaneuver your opponents!

Starships in Astra Exodus can be completely customized at will. You can create your own ship designs by choosing from over 100 modules.

Moreover, Astra Exodus is built with modding in mind. Tinker, change and customize the game to your heart's content. Adding new or modifying existing starships, factions, troops, technologies, and virtually everything to the game.

Astra Exodus is due to release on PC and Steam later this year! For more information please refer to the product page.

Last but not least, we are looking for Beta Testers willing to give a feedback and help us hunting for bugs. You can join the Beta by applying here.

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Offline Asid

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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 02:44:55 PM »
reserved

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Offline SystemInShock

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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2019, 02:12:44 PM »
I actually signed up for the beta for this game.  It's been a while since I've done any beta testing, but this one looks like it will be worth the effort to help them make it excellent.
When in Danger, When in Doubt; run in circles, scream and shout.

Offline Asid

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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2019, 12:06:32 AM »
I actually signed up for the beta for this game.

Same here  :thumbsup

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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2019, 12:26:14 PM »
Astra Exodus - Dev Diary #1 "Design"
24 Sep 2019





Hey everybody,

I am Fernando, from Atomic Kaiser studio, the Game Designer behind Astra Exodus. This entry will serve as the first of a series of dev diaries. Our goal is to show & tell you about some of the qualities of the game, design decisions taken for it and many more (hopefully) interesting tidbits of information regarding its development.

In the first dev diary we are going to talk about the main design philosophy behind the game and a bit about its story or lore, highlighted on the game’s campaign.

THE DESIGN

The game was first designed as a sort of love letter to the classics of the 4X genre, such as Pax Imperia and Masters of Orion, by trying to take the best elements out of those games and extrapolating them in the same direction a game designed in the 90s maybe would have. That means that if you played any of the classics from the 90s you will find many of the systems of Astra Exodus familiar. But of course Astra Exodus introduces many new features, like a large dynamic campaign, semi-randomized research grids, tactical ground battles, and much more!

A feature I’d like to highlight here, before moving on to the story, is real-time tactical space battles. Astra Exodus is not the first game to have them, but normally in other games they either devolve into intense high APM RTS systems or they sacrifice the tactical part. Astra Exodus aims to avoid these pitfalls, mainly thanks to two systems: A) a highly usable time dilation system and B) directional damage to defenses.

All battles start in slow mode, which is almost like a pause, here you can give your orders and speed up the battle only when ready. You can of course do this to your liking, speeding up or slowing down the game as you wish. With directional damage to defenses, position and angle of attack are paramount, as only by hitting unarmoured and unshielded ship sections can you damage the target’s hull and eventually destroy the enemy ship. In combination, these systems guarantee that you’ll have the time to make tactically important choices while in battle.



THE STORY

The story behind the game starts with a mysterious catastrophe on Earth, which forces humanity to embark on a massive exodus to survive. This is of course the reason behind the game’s title. Millenia after this event, the player takes the role of Commander in the Terran Republic, which is a government formed by the descendants of humanity, with the aim of rediscovering their history and most of all, their original home. You will be under the command of Marissa Garibaldi, a tough by-the-book High Admiral on the TRN, who is also an awakened: an Earth-born who was cryogenically preserved until awakened on Terra, millenia later.



I could write for hours on the story and the campaign, but in order not to spoil anything and since there will be another dev diary focused on the story, I will just close this first entry with the introduction to the game’s main campaign:

"They came out of the darkness, to the light of our progress, unstoppable and relentless; they crashed against our bravery. Then only thanks to the Keepers, the Exodus began and through the Great Eye, we found salvation from the Dark Ones.

However the curse followed us, as strife, conflict and fratricide plagued our ancestors, among the cold void. Then in a blink of an eye, lost to the stars, somewhere between the Great Eye and final salvation; our brothers were.

In the end, as our hope was almost extinguished, final salvation was found; when we set foot in what we know call Terra. Such is the tale of the Exodus, of the burning of our home, the tragedy of our brothers and rebirth of our people."


-
Leopold Garibaldi, First President of the Terran Republic

Extract from Terra's Exodus Legacy Archives



Come back next week, when we’ll be talking about the game’s Artistic Vision.



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Offline Asid

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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2019, 03:24:03 PM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #02 - Artistic Direction
01 Oct 2019




Hello,

Atomic Kaiser is here again for another dev diary, this time speaking of the game’s visual direction.


THE AESTHETICS

Following that sense of 90s reverence behind the gameplay, the game goes for a visual aesthetic inspired by the 90s, with a heavy emphasis on bright colouring, from how characters look to the universe itself. We feel this not only captures the decade well, but also makes the game stand out against other titles.

All of this of course reflects heavily on the user interface, which is designed to have large immersive panels and controls, which hopefully keep selling the theme we are aiming for. We also feel that the presence of advisors on all main panels, which are characters that give you tips on how to manage the many aspects of the game, will help players immersing themselves in a 4X playing style typical of the 90s.



THE CHARACTERS

Regarding characters themselves, the game adheres to a more Star Trek-like paradigm, where the humanoid type is the most common in the universe. So this is the case for most of the species represented in the main factions of the game.

This helps one to imagine all these different species interacting with each other in believable ways, like hanging out in a bar for example, instead of avoiding contact or outright exterminating each other. This is also based on some actual scientific theories.



THE STARSHIPS

There are multiple classes of starships in the game and each faction gets their own unique design style. In general my intention was for all ships to show at a first look (both in terms of shape and colouring) what faction they belong to. From the bulky irregular asymmetrical designs of the Veloran Horde, to the utilitarian almost freighter-like look of the Okli-to Consortium vessels, all designs aim to be iconic.



THE MUSIC

From a personal taste point of view (very partial towards classic science-fiction shows like Star Trek) I always prefer classical music with my space adventures. Thus in Astra Exodus, instead of going with the obvious space techno / electronic feel often offered by other sci-.fi games, you will find orchestral music more often than anything else. The music always tries to convey a sense of epicness and scale, even if only of the emptiness of space. It varies with how the game is proceeding, depending on whether or not you are peacefully exploring, you’re at war or even mid-battle.

Join us next week to find out more about the Skirmish and Campaign modes on the game.

If you're interested, we’re looking for Beta testers to help us refine the game and get feedback on it. If you feel like giving a hand, why not apply here. Thank you!




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Offline Asid

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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2019, 02:33:41 PM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #03 - Game modes
Tue, 8 October 2019



Hey guys,

Fernando aka Atomic Kaiser here again to ramble about this little crazy thing called Astra Exodus. This time we are going to talk about the two gameplay modes: Campaign and Skirmish.

Before we start, I just wanted to say that we are looking for Beta testers. Your feedback is important to us, so if you’d like to have early access to the game, which is already fully playable, and offer your honest opinion about it, we’d be very thankful! You can apply here. https://www.slitherine.com/beta/astra-exodus


CAMPAIGN

It is not that often that you find a full fledged campaign in a 4X game, even less so one that is dynamic, which means that it reacts to player choices. You will affect the story in significant ways, depending on how you play each of the campaign missions. In the story you are a Commander tasked with finding out what happened during the Exodus and you’ll need to discover the location of Earth. That goal will be always present during the whole story arc, but how you get there and why will change depending on your decisions.

Each mission in the game has a set of objectives and some will be exclusive with each other, in the sense that you can only complete one of them. This presents you with choices you need to take and will inevitably impact which mission you get next on the campaign. In other words, you can never play all the missions of the campaign in one playthrough, since many missions can be accessed only by making certain choices.



Additionally, there are secondary and optional objectives to complete which grant rewards to those willing to tackle them. These can include special technologies and even additional debriefings with exclusive art, which expand the story behind the campaign and the game. The availability of these though depends on difficulty, meaning you will only get rewards from the Captain difficulty onwards. There might be an additional surprise as well, to those willing to beat the game on its highest difficulty...



SKIRMISH

So. You have reunited humanity in the campaign (or not) and you are ready for a different challenge? Then why not try playing as the Guardians of the Seed, expanding your roots across the galaxy, until you can achieve an Ascension Victory; evolving your population from vegetable bags to pure energy beings. This is just one of many possibilities in Skirmish.

Skirmish mode in Astra Exodus is all about giving the player options, from the galaxy map, to the game rules (including victory conditions) and factions involved; everything can be tweaked to your liking. You can set the galaxy size, shape, planets and their richness. There are also options to speed up or slow down research, adjust events frequency and even to start with a more primitive/advanced situation. You can also tweak the difficulty, frequency of galactic menaces and enable the Starmarine Mode - which is our name for the infamous Iron Man mode, in which you’re not allowed to save.



You can also set the Victory Conditions, which are probably the most important setting you can pick here. Astra Exodus has four: Galactic Conquest, Diplomatic Alliance, Evolutionary Ascension and Score Supremacy.

Beyond the obvious conquest and score based conditions, an alliance victory requires you to ally with most (all but one) of the factions in the galaxy at the same time. Finally the Ascension victory condition in turn requires you to research and build Ascension Chambers in your colonies, a very costly late game colony installation, which serves to transition your colonists to their next stage of evolution as energy beings.

Besides picking the faction you want to play as as well as those of your opponents, you can also customize whichever you choose; to be exactly to your liking. This includes changing the graphics, lore and traits that embody the faction. This can be done from within the game interface, without any external modding (which the game also supports). In any case you will get to pick how your ships look, the emblem / logo of your faction, name, etc. The most important system to mention here probably are the traits, which can greatly affect how the game is played. They vary from modifying how many resources per labourer you get, to the ability to start the game with the whole map explored or even for your colonists to be immune to pollution.



What do you think about this week’s dev diary? Let us know how you feel, and if you have any questions please feel free to shoot them.


We will be back next week on Tuesday with a new dev diary. This time we will talk about the Galactic map!


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Offline Asid

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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2019, 11:38:50 PM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #04 - The Galactic Map
15 Oct 2019



Welcome back to another Astra Exodus dev diary! My name is Fernando and today we are going to talk about a little about the galactic map and everything on it: from anomalies to menaces and fleets.

But first I wanted to mention that we are now running the Beta for Astra Exodus, so if you're willing to lend a hand and give your honest feedback, please feel free to apply! We'd love to have you on board. You can apply here.


Star Systems

The main feature of the map are the star systems, which host the planets you’ll want to expand to. There are multiple types of stars, depending on which they can host different types of planets. This of course can be tweaked to your liking in the galaxy settings in Skirmish mode.

When a Star system is scouted, an Exploration Event might fire, with different effects for the first player that does so. For example you can come across an orbital terraformer, which when fired will terraform a nearby planet for you. However, we’ll talk more and in depth about these on a following dev diary.



Star systems can have up to 5 colonizable planets, out of which there are many types, each with different characteristics, like how much food or metals they produce. They also have a size and gravity rating, which will affect the Habitability of the Planet and thus the base Morale of any future colonists. We’ll cover planet types in more detail in a future entry.

Last but not least, planets can have a Peculiarity, something that differentiates it from all others of its class. One example would be the presence of Ancient Robots which automatically work for any colony settled there, giving it extra production. Another example is a Natural Wonder, which increases the default morale of any colonists on the planet.



Menaces

As you explore the galaxy you will eventually run into other non player factions in the form of hostile fleets that have taken over entire star systems. These are usually the most attractive systems for the player, as they might be mineral-rich and be abundant in resources, possibly even having a Peculiarity on a planet. This serves as a way to engage the player in space combat without entering a large-scale war against a major faction.

The threat these menaces represent and the form they take varies: it might be pirates, which focus on small strike-craft to harass your capital starships, or maybe highly shielded ancient probes, with powerful beam weaponry. It’s worth mentioning that the AI will face the same menaces as you do, so in that sense all players face the same challenge, when exploring and expanding across the galaxy.
 


Anomalies

We know that space is a vast and strange place in general, but sometimes it is even worse than we thought. In Astra Exodus you can find Anomalies, which show up on the map and alter the game rules in some way. There are several types of Anomalies you can find.

One of these types of anomalies are Wormholes, which connect distant star systems, allowing fleets to travel between them almost instantaneously (in only one turn).

Other more complex types of anomaly are Black Holes and Supernovas.

Black Holes greatly reduce the Hyperspace Rating, meaning the rate at which starships travel between star systems, of your fleets; when they come within a 10 sector range of them. This represents the immense gravity pull of these anomalies, which in the game extends beyond regular space into hyperspace.

Supernovas in turn hide all moving fleets from enemy sensors, making them both an asset and a liability when waging war. All of these adverse effects can be negated by researching the corresponding technology, if available on the Research Grid. We’ll talk more about researching and the grid on a future entry.



We will be back next week with a new Dev Diary on Construction and Resources! Let us know what you think, or if you have any questions, by posting on the forum.



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Offline Asid

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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 05:11:06 PM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #05 - Construction and Resources
10/22/2019





Hey everyone. I am Fernando, aka Atomic Kaiser, here again to ramble about Astra Exodus.

Before we move on to the subject of the dev diary, let me remind you that we are currently looking for Beta testers, so if you’d like to have early access to the game and help us with providing feedback, you’re more than welcome! You can join here.

And now, on to the dev diary!

This time we’ll look into the resources and construction system, and have a passing look at how colonies work.


Resources
The game has 4 main resources related to construction. These are Food, Metals, Organics and Rares.

Food is obviously required to feed your colonists, without it there won’t be any growth and given enough turns it could even lead you losing laborers, severely affecting the Colony and potentially its ability to construct projects.

Metals, Organics and Rares are classified as Materials in the game. They are used in the construction of starships, installations and troops. They can also be employed in terraforming or even converted into credits or research, thanks to special projects available from the start.

The availability of each resource depends on the planet the Colony was settled on and any Peculiarities it might have. The main factor here is the class of the Planet, as well as things like size and gravity rating which might greatly affect its potential for construction. For example, Swamp planets are rich in Organics but lack Rares and Metals, however one with a large enough size and normal gravity can still be used to construct efficiently if materials are mined from other planets.

Mining is the process from which you extract the Materials for construction. For this you need to assign laborers as Miners, which use any installations on the Colony and tech/trait effects you might have to multiply the amount extracted. However, any resources extracted from outside of your home star system has to be freighted across your civilization, so you’re going to need Freighters for this.


Colonies

Through the use of Colonizer class starships you can create Colonies on different worlds. They host your people and thus expand your reach across the galaxy. The population of a Colony is classified in 5 different professions. These are: Farmer, Miner, Worker, Trader and Scientist.

As their name suggests, Farmers produce Food and Miners materials. Workers are used to generate Construction and thus build colony projects. Traders can increase the colony’s credit income by generating commerce on top of the existing tax revenue. Finally Scientists produce Research which is used to discover technologies. As explained previously, all these base values depend on the planet and can be increased by constructing installations on the Colony and researching new technologies.

Finally, Food and Materials are shared between all colonies and they required for their growth and construction of projects; a priority must then be set to decide which of them fulfils its needs. The player must do this through the Colonies screen, where he or she can set the order in which they receive resources from the pool.




Construction

Construction is generated by your Workers and used to advance and complete any current project being built in the colony. As all other resources, it can be improved through colony installations and technologies researched. Any project being built requires materials, which depending on the availability of them on the Colony will determine the Materials Efficiency the project has.

This percentage effectively affects the number of turns a project will take to complete. For instance, if you generate 5 Construction per turn in the Colony and you have a colony project with an industrial cost of 20 and 50% materials efficiency, the project will take 6 turns to be completed. If you had more resources and/or prioritized that Colony, with a 100% materials efficiency that very same project would take instead 4 turns.

Finally there is Pollution to take into consideration. The higher your Construction output is, the more of it you will lose thanks to pollution. You can however build installations and research technologies to mitigate this effect. Materials efficiency is not affected by it, so it can often be a better alternative to get more resources for a project than adding more workers to the project.



We will be back next week for new dev diary with a thorough look at the research system. Stay tuned!


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Offline Asid

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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2019, 06:27:47 PM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #06 - Research Grid
29 OCT

Welcome back to another dev diary of the retro-inspired galactic conquest strategy game, Astra Exodus. This time we'll analyze the research system, including its semi randomization and technology classification.


Also, don’t forget: you can currently sign-up for the Beta. If you’d like to help us with giving your honest feedback on the current version of the game, you can apply here.

Research Grid

The Research Grid can seem quite complex when first encountered, but it is simpler than it looks. You have 9 Research Fields, which are large classifications of technologies with several levels of depth, plus two other categories called Specializations and Special techs.

The 9 basic Research Fields on the game are called:

- Construction
- Defenses
- Engineering
- Government
- Power
- Production
- Resources
- Troops
- Weapons

Without going into specifics: the Construction, Production and Resources fields focus on improving Colonies, while Defenses, Weapons, Engineering and Power allow for the research of new corresponding modules for your starships. Finally, the Troops field, as the name indicates, serves to unlock new troop types and improve the existing ones.

In turn, each Research Field has 7 different progressive levels in which you must research at least one tech from each level before progressing to the next one. Through traditional research, you will only be able to discover one tech per level. However, you can trade for other techs of the same level if the AI is willing and actually researched a different one from that level.

All the levels are randomized, with the exception of the first and last levels, meaning that in a regular game, out of a possible set of five different techs, you will only get three at random to pick only one from. There are faction traits, however, that either increase or decrease this number of available techs. This system is designed to make player choices more meaningful, while also enhancing the game’s replayability.

Finally, almost all of the late-game techs, which belong to level seven of each Research Field, are repeatable, giving an increased, cumulative effect each time they are researched. This guarantees that you will never run out of techs to research.



Specializations

As previously mentioned, one category of techs is called Specializations. This one is focused on improving starship modules by enabling Modifiers for them. These modifiers can greatly enhance the effects of a module, while also increasing its cost and power requirements. For example, in a weapon module, a modifier might increase its fire rate or in the case of an armor core system, another can even reduce its tactical speed penalty.

Specialization techs are not distributed in levels but in groups, these groups correspond to the major module types. They are then:

- Armour
- Beam Weapons
- Engines
- Hull
- Mass Weapons
- Missile Weapons
- Particle Weapons
- Shields
- Support Modules

Each of these groups has 4 techs available to research in a specific progressive order.

The number of specialization techs that can be researched at any time is determined by the Specialization Picks value, which increases by 2 each time you complete a level in the 9 research fields by researching at least one tech of said level. As the name indicates, this system is designed for the specialization of starships and thus completing a group to enable all modifiers of a said module category, is generally the best strategy.



Special Techs

Last but not least, the game has a category called Special Techs. This system works differently depending on whether or not you are playing the Campaign or in Skirmish mode. In the Campaign, it is here where you will find the techs unlocked as rewards for completing Optional and Secondary mission objectives at certain difficulties.



In Skirmish mode, you will find the techs that serve to negate the adverse effects of Galactic Events in the Special Techs category. These events are in general pretty bad for all players, for example, Lithovore Microbes can attack the galaxy and greatly reduce the materials production galaxy-wide. Thus by researching the counter technology available in the Special Techs category you can avoid the effects of this galactic event whenever it happens. Special Techs are enabled only when you first encounter the event they are designed to prevent.

We’ll talk more about Events in general, including Galactic level ones, in a future dev diary.



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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2019, 06:30:55 PM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #07 - Heroes & Espionage
05 Nov 2019



Welcome back to yet another rambling Astra Exodus dev diary! Today we will be talking about Heroes and Espionage. If you’d like to discuss this dev diary with other fellow fans, please join the new Discord channel by clicking here.

Heroes

Heroes are very important characters in the galactic community, whose experience and capabilities make them incredibly powerful allies to have (in return of a hefty contract fee and salary of course). It is also through Heroes that we can have a look at the larger galaxy. From the Academy of Talos to the Wunet Confederacy and the Quantum Nebula, the backstory of each hero helps shape this narrative.

In Campaign mode Heroes are unlocked by completing missions, while on Skirmish mode Heroes will randomly offer their services to you, either spontaneously or once you find them while exploring the galaxy, stranded on forgotten planets. Regardless of how they become available to you, you will have to pay a hiring fee plus their monthly salary. Heroes in the Campaign will wait for you as long as it takes to be hired, however in Skirmish mode many will get tired of waiting and might withdraw their offer. In a regular game you can have up to 4 Heroes at your service at one time. However, there are factions traits that both increase and decrease this number.

Each hero has three possible roles to play: they can be either an Admiral, Governor or an Operative.

Admirals, as the name indicates, are experienced starship leaders. Admirals will grant advantages (for instance, bonus damage against menaces) to any ships in their fleet. Governors on the other hand focus their efforts on more earthly pursuits, providing aid to your star systems (for example, by increasing the system’s morale). Finally, Operatives provide you with a way to wage war through more subtle ways (by sabotaging the enemy colonies for example, deep behind the main battle lines).



Skills

Heroes can achieve results thanks to their Skills. Each hero can have up to 4 Skills and usually most if not all are heavily related to his or her role in the game. The more skills a hero has, the more expensive his or her services will be.

While in service, a Hero will gain experience and eventually levels. With each level gained, out of which there are 10 to gain per hero, you get two Skill Points to spend. These can be used to level up specific skills (up to level ten), significantly improving their effect on the game. This means you will have to decide which skills to level up and which to neglect according to your needs.



Espionage

The Espionage system lets the player fight and protect from damage without using his or her military units. As previously mentioned, Operatives are the only heroes who have the skills required to conduct espionage missions. There are seven types of espionage missions available in the game:, Sabotage, Counterespionage, Hacking, Stealing, Assassination, Rebellion and Demolition.

A Sabotage mission has a chance of destroying an enemy starship at random. Counterespionage in turn is used to defend, as it decreases the chance of enemy operatives being successful in their missions. Through Hacking you can extract a technology from a foreign power, while Stealing is the same concept but it applies to treasure instead. Assassination, as the name implies, revolves around killing an enemy hero. However, thanks to cloning technology, their death does not have to be permanent. Then there is Rebellion, which can turn a Colony against its own government. Last but not least the Demolition mission involves the destruction of an enemy installation at random.



We will be back next week for another dev diary of Astra Exodus!


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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2019, 03:09:02 PM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #08 - Starship Design
11/12/2019



We are back for another dev diary, this time regarding Starship Design.

Before we get to the subject at hand, don’t forget to join the Discord channel and follow our official Astra Exodus Facebook page, so you can be notified of all the latest news as well as talk with other fellow fans.

Classes, Roles and Sizes

In Astra Exodus all factions have their own classes of Starships. A Class is merely the name for a role and the specific graphics a faction has for it. More specifically, there are 5 military starships, 2 civilian starships and 2 strike-craft roles in Astra Exodus.

The military starship roles are: Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, Battleship and Titan. Each of these is 1.5 times bigger in relation to the previous one. Each role has different characteristics that allow it to excel above others. Frigates are cheap, fast and hard to hit giving their size. Destroyers have additional anti strike-craft weapon mount points, so they excel at escorting bigger ships. Cruisers are  jack-of-all-trades yet masters of none, being able to tackle many jobs if designed correctly. Battleships have tons of heavy weapon mount points and armour; however, they lack defenses against smaller ships. Finally, Titans have tremendous firepower and armour, yet they are severely lacking in maneuvering and speed. They are also the only ones who can mount Massive grade weapons, which are devastating against orbital defense installations.

Then we have 2 civilian roles, Constructor and Colonizer, which are approximately as big as a Destroyer and Cruiser approximately. Obviously, as their names indicate, Constructors can build outposts on alien planets and Colonizers can settle them and found new colonies.

Finally, strike-craft are a small portion of the size of a Frigate, come in squadrons of 5, and can either be Fighters or Bombers. Bombers are fitted to engage capital ships, while Fighters are mainly best employed to counter enemy bombers, although they can also pose a threat to bigger ships in large enough numbers.



Weapon, Core and Support Modules

After picking a Class, in order to create a Starship Design you need to fill it with modules (like weapons, armours, engines, generators, and much more). In Astra Exodus you have 3 types of modules: Weapons, Core and Support.

Weapons are quite self-explanatory: they serve to pummel the enemy, but they can also be further categorized in Beam, Particle, Missile and Mass weapons. Each Weapon has its own characteristics, but certain types tend to excel in certain areas. For example, Beam weapons tend to do extra damage against armour and have average range, while Mass weapons have a high rate of fire but poor accuracy. All the weapons are always placed on a mount point within a starship. This is a logical and visual representation of where the weapon is located on the ship’s structure or hull.



Mount points have 5 grades: Micro, Light, Main, Heavy and Massive. The larger the mount point, the more powerful the weapon mounted in that spot will be. However, it will also be less accurate and have a smaller field of fire. Also, Micro mounted weapons are the only ones that can target strike-craft. Not all weapons can fit all mounts, so you’ll have to pick wisely if you want to fit all the mount points on an optimal design.



Core Modules or Systems are essential to any starship. They can be categorized in: Engines, Hull, Armour and Shields. The most critical are the Engines, without one of these modules a Starship Design will never be valid. Hull modules serve to reinforce the structure, adding additional hit points to the ship. Armour instead provide directional defense, meaning it defends the starship from a certain facing (port, starboard, etc), at the expense of additional weight and thus a slower tactical speed. Shields also provide directional defense, but in this case at the expense of power consumption. They also collapse with each section (one per facing) destroyed, requiring a small time window to reset, during which the ship is vulnerable.



Finally we have many types of support modules. Things like Generators, Capacitors, ECM Suites and Bombs fall into this category. Generators are used to power the ship, while Capacitors are required for Beam and Particle weapons to function. This is in contrast with Missile and Mass weapons, which require ordnance storage holds to be installed. ECM Suites enable the starship to avoid enemy fire by reducing the accuracy of their weapons. Bombs serve to bomb planets, although one must be careful with their use, as that can carry a significant diplomatic cost.

There are many other Support module types, but the most important are the ones classified as Special. These alter the game rules in some way, not necessarily combat related. For example, the Trading Holds special module allows your ships to generate income while being idle. Then there is the Subspace Web, which grants the ship the ability to temporarily immobilize a target. All the Support Modules have a value indicating how much space they occupy aboard a ship: the bigger this ship is the more space it will have and thus the more modules it will be able to fit. This is balanced by the fact that the more weapons/shields/engines/etc a ship has, the more support modules will require, so bigger ships will not always benefit the most out of this.



Battle Tactics

Once you have selected a Class and installed all the required modules you will still need to select a name and most importantly a battle tactic. This setting defines the behaviour a ship will have when given an attack order against any target. There are 4 different battle tactics in the game: Engage, Assault, Harass and Disengage.

The default tactic is Engage, in which the starship will automatically maintain optimum firing distance, with a frontal facing to the enemy. This is better served for slow-moving Battleships and Titans. In contrast, with the Assault tactic a starship will maintain movement at all times, going towards and past the target; in strike-craft like runs. This tactic works best for small starships, like Frigates and Destroyers. The Harass tactic has the ship orbiting the target at maximum range, trying to maintain the most distance with it, while nibbling at it with long range weaponry. This long-range tactic is better suited for carriers or missile cruisers. Finally there is the Disengage tactic, which is used mainly for civilian ships. This will trigger an automatic hyperspace retreat, the moment the ship comes into sensor range with the enemy.



Let us know what you think of this dev diary and on Astra Exodus’ starship design system! We will be back next week with a new dev diary.


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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2019, 12:35:57 AM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #09 - Space Combat
19 Nov 2019




Welcome back to another Astra Exodus dev diary! Today we are going to go over the pausable real-time space battles.

Base Concepts

Whenever two hostile fleets engage each other a real-time space battle will take place. It is marked on the star map with a red target over a star system. This can happen while exploring, when you encounter galactic menaces, and more generally when a colony, outpost or fleet is attacked. Then the player can either retreat, auto-resolve or fight it out as a tactical battle.

When a Colony is under attack, depending on whether or not it has orbital defense installations, the defensive force will be bolstered by a static weapons platform. There are several types of these platforms available, from small Orbital forts to gigantic Stellar bastions and supporting Spacedromes with their strike-craft squadrons.

One of the most important factors to consider is that Armour and Shield damage is directional. This means that there is one section per facing (bow, starboard, etc.) for these defenses which you then have to wear down before actually damaging a starship. This obviously means that maneuvering, fire arcs and facing become quite important.

Fleets can have up to 49 ships each, meaning that a single battle can have close to 100 starships in total, not to mention any strike-craft squadrons that might have launched. Each of these fleets can be under the command of an Admiral, who, thanks to his or her skills, will surely impact the outcome of the fight.



Battle Management

The selection and command of units in Astra Exodus follow standard RTS practices. You click and drag to select a group of ships, generate control groups with control plus a number and right click to execute a context command, like move or attack.

Time Dilation controls are an important tool to manage the battle flow and allow tactics to be properly executed. This allows you to slow down the action to a total stop, or speed it up to accelerate time. In practice this means that if the player is overwhelmed at any point, he or she can simply press the Space Bar to totally stop the action and give any orders in the meantime. This system allows for the tactical depth required by the starship design system, without forgoing the spectacularity of real time battles that can hopefully be a blast (no pun intended!) to watch as they are to play.



There are some basic orders available to all starships. These are Halt, Retreat and Hunt Strike-craft. The first two are quite self explanatory, however it is worthy of mention how the Retreat order functions. Your ship will break away from battle, head towards the closest edge of the battlefield and open a Hyperspace jump point. It will be vulnerable in the meantime. The Hunt Strike-craft order will command the ship to target the closest enemy strike-craft squadron target and engage it as soon as possible.

Starship Abilities

Starships can also have special abilities available according to the modules they have installed. These can have a Passive or Active effect on the battle, meaning that in some cases they apply their effects at all times to the ship, while in other cases the player might trigger them, they will work for a given time window and then reset again with time.

Passive abilities include things like preventing enemy starships from retreating or reducing the penalty that armour adds to a starship’s tactical speed. These effects are constant and do not need to be activated. In contrast, Active abilities can be things like engaging a Spatial Compresor to teleport the starship across the battlefield or a Nanite Cloud to repair the ship mid-battle. All passive and most of the active abilities require the presence of a special support module in the starship design.



Among all Active abilities there are those which we can call basic, which only depend on the presence of core systems. These are: Boost Engines, Weapon Overload and Recharge Shields. Boost Engines allows for a starship to increase its speed momentarily at the expense of collapsing any shields available and reducing its weapons damage output. The Weapon Overload ability in contrast drastically reduces speed and shielding while increasing damage output. Finally, the Recharge Shields ability immediately resets a collapsed shield at the expense of speed and damage output. Basically, you are sacrificing all other aspects in order to benefit one, temporarily.



Let us know what you think of these mechanics on either our Facebook or Discord group!
We will be back next Tuesday with a new Dev diary of Astra Exodus, this time titled DataNet and Events.


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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2019, 03:36:51 AM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #10 - DataNet and Events
26 Nov 2019



Once again it is time for another Astra Exodus dev diary!

This time we will focus on the many types of events you can encounter while playing as well as the DataNet, which serves as the game’s notification system. All of this is designed to breathe life into the galaxy, the lore behind it and increase replayability.

The DataNet

Practically speaking, the DataNet holds the notifications the player receives about the issues, aspects and decisions that require his or her attention. These can be as mundane as a colony’s empty build queue or a warning that you’re not researching any technology. They can also be quite complex and engaging, like an incoming diplomatic message from another faction, which requires a response in order to progress with the game. More importantly, it’s mainly through the DataNet that you will find out about the many galactic events that can be triggered while playing the game.

Exploration Events

While exploring the galaxy, your scouts will encounter all manner of strange phenomena. We already talked about things like Supernovas and Wormholes in the void, but Exploration Events represent the discovery of even stranger things on the surface of alien planets or orbiting strange stars.

For example, any of your wandering fleets might encounter a band of friendly smugglers who will decide to join your faction, adding their freighters to your cause. Or possibly they could run into an incredible substance called Xenobiomass, which can greatly increase the materials production in one of your planets. Other more mundane exploration events can also be found, such as Hibernations Pods, that provide extra population to one of your colonies, or the discovery of a Splinter Outpost that will immediately rejoin your empire.

There are many of these events available for you to find, however the AI can also scout these out and if you fall behind in the exploration game you might miss out on many of them.




Random Events

With an even greater impact than Exploration Events, galactic-wide Random Events (also called Galactic Crises), can also happen occasionally. These are so massive that affect all the factions in the galaxy, regardless of where they start.

These often offer some insight on the work of the enigmatic progenitors and include some truly gameplay altering effects, such as the Progenitor Mindprobe. A psychic pulse from an unknown source that sweeps the galaxy, putting all heroes out of commission for a while, regardless if they are active or not. Another dangerous example is the Subspace Anomaly. This event effectually reduces the Hyperspace range of all starships by half, thus possibly cutting off entire regions from the rest of the galaxy.

Regardless of the random event however, the player always has the option to research a corresponding special tech. Once researched, it serves to nullify the event’s effects to the player’s faction, effectively granting an advantage over all others. Finally, it is worth it to mention that you can adjust the frequency of these events on the game rules panel when starting a Skirmish game.




Narrative Events

Narrative Events are only available in Skirmish Mode, since the Campaign already has its own narrative systems. They serve to highlight the many milestones the player goes through in any regular game. From colonizing the first world to a first contact (and interstellar war maybe), to discovering the whole galaxy. Each one of these events has a plaque (pretty image), with a text incorporating the details of the current context of the faction.



We will be back next Tuesday with a new Dev Diary, this time on Ground combat! Don’t miss it.


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Re: Astra Exodus Conquer the galaxy
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2019, 11:27:00 PM »
Astra Exodus Dev Diary #11 - Ground Combat
Tue, 3 December 2019



Welcome back for the eleventh Astra Exodus dev diary!

I am Atomic Kaiser, the designer behind the game. Today I am going to talk about troops, ground battles and planet bombardment.

Troops

There are several Troops types in Astra Exodus, each of them with specific characteristics that might make them more desirable in a specific location or situation. Some are better suited at defense, others excel in certain terrain types and/or to flank the enemy. There are 4 main types: Infantry, Armour, Mechs and Airborne.



Infantry and Armour are pretty self explanatory: the first category consists of armed humanoid beings and the second of heavy combat land vehicles, typically tracked but sometimes with hover capabilities. Mechs in turn are relatively large, bipedal combat crewed robots with great mobility on the battlefield. Last but not least, Airborne troops consist of atmospheric strike-craft capable of striking quick and hard anywhere on a planet.

Even if each troop in the game has a set type, each is different from all others, both visually and mechanically. Speaking of stats, besides the obvious Hit Points, there are Soft, Hard and Air attacks, plus Defense and Initiative. Each troop type is more vulnerable against at least one type of attack: the most obvious example of this are Airborne units, which are most vulnerable to Air Attacks. Defense works as a chance to prevent damage and can be improved through different techs for each troop type. Ground battles are fought with an active time system which works like a fractioned RTS. The Initiative of a troop indicates how often it can move or attack, so the higher the Initiative; the more mobile and deadly the troop can be.

Finally, troops of course need to move across the galaxy, and you will need Transports / Freighters for this (the same which are used for moving resources, as covered in a previous dev diary). Thus logistically it is very important to manage their availability, to ensure both the resource pooling and the unimpeded movement of your armies.

Invasions

Once all orbital defenses of a Colony are destroyed, if the fleet carries troops for the task, a planetary invasion can commence. Invasions are the main part of ground battles, as you will always be either attacking or defending a colony. The maximum number of attacking troops allowed per invasion depends on the garrison size, which in turn depends on the size of the planet involved.

First a Set Up Phase starts, which can last up to 30 seconds (this depends on difficulty), where you need to place your troops across the surface of the planet, which is divided in hexes. This hexagonal territory might be composed of land or some liquid like lava or water. Only Airborne troops can be placed on non land based hexagonal territories. The player can also use an Autodeploy function, that will automatically deploy the available troops.

Once both the player and AI deploy their troops, the proper Battle Phase will commence. On this phase, you order the troops to either move or assault any hexagonal territory. You can only do this once the troop’s Initiative bar has filled up and this, as explained in an earlier section depends on the troop’s stats. The side that is able to eliminate the opposing forces will win the battle.



Bombardment

A Fleet might choose to bomb the planet first or even after an invasion. In order to do this, it must have starships equipped with bombs and have enough ordnance stored to use them. It is important to point out though, that a fleet can only move, attack, bombard, invade, settle or build (depending on its abilities) once per turn.

There are many different bomb modules in the game, however they differ from each other not only in their strength and cost, but also in their efficiency versus troops, installations and populations. Some like the Xenophage Bomb, are ideal to destroy the population of a Colony, while a relatively more primitive Fusion Bomb is in contrast more useful against Installations and Troops. It all depends if you want to take the Colony with at least some infrastructure intact, or if you just want to remove the enemy from the planet.

Regardless of the case, the player must take into account the diplomatic ramifications of any planetary bombardment, as this will generate negative modifiers for all other factions in the galaxy. Only a historic rival of the victim faction will ignore such a clear case of attempted genocide in the galaxy.



We will be back next week on Monday 9th with a new dev diary on Diplomacy & Trade!


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