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Offline Asid

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Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« on: December 24, 2020, 04:59:14 AM »


A millennia in the future, humanity is scattered and broken, forced to flee from a diabolical alien species that obliterated Earth and hunts humanity to this day. In this revolutionary 4X/Grand Strategy game, you are the last Emperor of the Celestial Empire.

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Alliance of the Sacred Suns Trailer (Aug 2019)

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About

AotSS is a grand strategy game that takes place in the year 3050. Over 1,000 years ago, an alien race known as the Xyl came to Earth through a stargate that humanity had unwittingly built from wreckage that had been found 40 years prior. The Xyl used the stargate to attack Earth, and in the process nearly destroyed humanity. Earth was decimated, and only a small group of colonists escaped through the hastily reprogrammed stargate, to a part of the galaxy tens of thousands of light-years away. As the last remnants of humanity, they colonized a terran-like planet, New Terra, and seeked to rebuild civilization. For almost 500 years, humanity was allowed to grow and flourish, and the Terran Alliance was born, in an attempt to protect humanity from another such attack. Slowly, new races and sub-races evolved as humanity spread further and further from the warm core of Neo-Sirius and New Terra. But all were part of the Alliance, and peace and prosperity were the order of the day. Weapon research gave way to terraforming, economic enlightenment, and prosperity for any and all of the Alliance.

Until the Xyl, who had hunted the last humans for half an eon, finally found them and struck again.

Not equipped to wage full-scale war like their ancestors, the Terran Alliance was mauled, across planets to stars to provinces. One by one, whole provinces went dark, consumed by the Xyl. Finally, with the Xyl prepared to attack and defeat New Terra herself, a virus was developed that stopped the Xyl and ensured humanity’s survival – for the moment.

Enraged at the Terran Alliance’s inability to protect huge swaths of humanity, many of the far rim colonies and systems decided to break away and form their own civilizations, with their own cultures. At home, to prevent anarchy, the Great Houses rose to protect what was left of the Alliance and, to mollify an increasingly restless population, reformed the Alliance as the Celestial Empire, with the first Emperor, Magnus I, ordained to begin the reformation of humanity.

It is now almost 500 years since the Second Xyl war. With increasingly weak emperors and empresses, rising Houses who would claim their own part of the Empire, a stagnant scientific community that has lost technology from a thousand years ago, you are born. You are different from all other heirs… you have unexplained psychic abilities that allow you limited control over men and their motivations, but you also know one other thing:

The Xyl are coming, and unless you can rebuild the shattered Empire, develop technology to wage war, and lead your greatest people towards this goal, they will finish the extinction of humanity.

Welcome to your Empire, Your Majesty.


Main Features:

•   Top – level management – you have Action Points that are finite and vary from turn to turn. You can do anything, but you can’t do everything

•   You are the Emperor – you are a character in a game that has hundreds that you will interact with. If you die, or are deposed, the game is over

•   Multiple layers of strategy – from a traditional 4X-type (exploring and scanning new systems, colonizing planets, establishing outposts, building militaries and trade) upwards to developing your Great House and managing the other Houses that all have specialities that you can only take advantage of if you are on friendly terms with them, to discovering and reaching out to other breakaway human civilizations, to your ultimate goal of uniting the Celestial Empire against a final attack by humanities’ oldest enemy, the Xyl

•   Maintain your Power - Everything you do in the game is dependent on your Power. You can quickly gain Power with a firm military hand and suppressing your people - but beware the repercussions should your hold on Power falter! But let your Power drop too low, and you will become a Figurehead, powerless to save humanity...

•   Deep Intelligence System - Train and recruit powerful Inquisitor Squads to do professional intel gathering on characters, or recruit Informers to spy for you. Set up Special Ops to take out characters, planets.. even whole systems! Change the political landscape with one well-placed blackmail operation or even assassination!

•   Dynamic character relationship model – you can affect your relationships with Actions that you can take against characters, from giving a speech to challenging them to having them executed. Of course, they have relationships with others in the game too, so consider the knock-on effects of anything you do…

•   Great and Minor Houses – Houses limit what you can do as Emperor. Houses own territory, armies, etc. and if you piss them off, they may even try to usurp the Empire. Build alliances to allow characters with special talents and traditions to develop the Empire the way you want. For example, if you want a strong economy, you need good miners to ensure your factories run at full capacity, so you’ll want House Ilioaia (who has a strong mining tradition) on your side so you can appoint their members as viceroys of high-mineral planets… and so on

•   Don’t micromanage, create a Project! Unlike traditional 4X games, you don’t make build queues, you create Projects to get things done, from colonizing a planet to throwing a celebration to upgrading a logistical region. You must assign an Administrator who gains power and influence from this post, and determines how smoothly your project will go! Assigning characters to Projects is a great way for them to earn power and influence… but take care that they do not gain too much, especially if they are of a House that hates you…






















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Re: Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2020, 04:59:53 AM »
WOULD I LIKE IT?


If you like deep, grand-strategy 4X games, you probably would. HOWEVER, since you’re only one Emperor, even a divine one, you can only do so much every turn. So if you like to micromanage and min-max every little thing, you may not like AotSS as much. The game focuses on managing from a true top-down perspective, as a real Emperor might, as opposed to you personally requesting that planet X should build 4 mines in a specific region. That’s your viceroy’s job – let them do it! In summary, if you like some or most of the following games, you might like AotSS:

•   Crusader Kings
•   MOO3 (the concept, anyway)
•   Dominions
•   Europa Universalis
•   Emperor of the Fading Suns


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Re: Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2020, 05:02:56 AM »
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Re: Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2020, 05:04:11 AM »




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Re: Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2021, 11:31:30 PM »
UPDATE: We have some incredible news to share about Alliance's future!!
Fri, 1 January 2021



Alliance of the Sacred Suns can be wishlisted on Steam and will release in 2021.

We am excited to announce that Alliance of the Sacred Suns will be published by Hooded Horse Inc. with guaranteed funding of $300,000, 10x our Kickstarter goal. Hooded Horse is also the publisher of Terra Invicta, another upcoming space strategy game, and we are over the moon about having the funding and resources to make Alliance reflect the vision we had for the project so long ago.

As we will need additional time to develop the project at our new expanded scale, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Kickstarter campaign. With over 350 backers, many of you wanted to see Alliance succeed, and we don’t want to forget about those who were willing to help in our time of need.

So all of our backers, regardless of pledge amount, will receive free access to the Beta when it launches towards the end of 2021 as a thank you for your pledge and your support! If you pledged, you will get additional information about how to get your key in an update email sent a short while ago.

We are very excited and grateful for this opportunity to bring the full vision of Alliance to the gaming community. We will make you proud of your support, and you will be pleased with the world we can bring to you.

Sincerely,
The KHS Team

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Re: Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2021, 02:34:36 AM »
Development Blog - 1.19.21: Scouting System and what's new for 2021!
Tue, 19 January 2021



Hello everyone! Hope everyone had a good holiday season, a happy New Year, and that 2021 is off to a better foot than 2020 for you! We have certainly kicked off the new year running, and that’s what we want to talk about today!

We wanted to touch on our timelines for the year, and our plans for the next few open alphas, as what we’re working on now. I want to have a new development diary go out about every 2 weeks, as those are the lengths of the development sprints we are working on in the studio.

First off, with the funding provided by HH, we’ll be able to add another programmer to the staff to work on things like UI scripting and data conversion, which will free me up to do a lot more with the AI, optimization, and game mechanics. We hope to announce their addition in early Feburary. Also, AotSS will now have a custom music score, done by Cody Still, who has composed for Hollywood trailers and movies for years and has already composed some amazing music for the game, including the main theme. If you’re on our Discord (and if you’re not, why not?!) I have posted a preview of the main theme there.

Now for our timelines. We’d like to do our next Closed Alpha II sometime in April, and our Closed Beta in late July. We haven’t finalized an EA release yet, but it would be at the earliest in August or September. Of course we’ll let you know when that happens!

Next, I wanted to talk about a concept of the game that is getting a polish - Scouting. Specifically, scouting systems and planets. Currently, you can either send a probe to the system that you want more information on as a Project, or a scout Force, and a scout probe will increase the intel level of the system by 25%, while a Force will increase the intel level by the Scouting value of the Force every turn. While it’s not a bad system, it had room for improvement. So this is how it’s going to work going forward:

First of all, and most important, planet intel is decoupled from system intel. In other words, you’ll have to individually scout planets if you want any information beyond ‘there is a planet here’.



There are now 5 levels of planet intel:

•   None means just that; you don’t even know if there’s a planet in that slot or not!
•   Low means that you know there is a planet, but nothing beyond that.
•   Medium now reveals the type and size; e.g. Large Desert planet.
•   High now reveals the habitability level of the planet - from None to Optimal.
•   Max reveals the resource levels of the planet, as well as any planet traits.

You can obtain Low and Medium intel levels from just using probes, but to get anything higher, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way, by sending down survey crews. That means you’ll need to have a survey Force in the system.



Scouting options can now be accessed directly from the Planet Box, and sending a Probe will no longer be considered a Project, but an Action that costs 1 AP, 100 Energy, 100 Heavy, and 5 Rare. Its ETA will depend on the distance to the system. If you have a Scout Force in the system, you will have the option active to send a survey crew that will automatically reveal Medium Intel (you need Low Intel to even know the planet exists!) and will scout the planet at a rate dependant on the Force’s Scouting rating.

What this means is that even systems that are near inhabited systems will not necessarily have planets that are revealed - you will need to scout the system (you can still send a survey probe to do a system scan) and when the system is at High or Max Intel all planets will be discovered. Medium or low might still contain hidden planets, so Scouting will be much more important when you’re trying to figure out where to build Outposts and Colonies! The cost to build Colonies will be adjusted significantly upward in conjunction with the revised Outpost system (coming next update, but Outposts now have 3 levels and can be ‘upgraded’ to a Colony at level 3) so having a solid scouting strategy will be very important!

Houses will also now be sending their own scout Forces and probes (previously you had to do all the scouting) but if you at a relationship level below ‘Neutral’ they will not share their scan data with you, so the Empire will not be aware of that information. However, as the Empire’s leading House, you will share your scan info with any House that is an active member of the Empire, regardless of relationship.

Note that while probes can be sent anywhere, Forces will still need to remain within the Logistical Network, so if you want to scan a planet in more detail, you’ll have to have a LGN connection to it. Fortunately, Scout Forces will now have 200% range from the normal LGN to assist with this requirement. In conjunction with this, Houses will now be able to make a request for a specific system to be connected to the LGN.

Note that you can still Colonize and build an Outpost even on planets that have not been scouted beyond ‘Low’ - but you will be taking a significant gamble that the planet will be appropriate for that use! We certainly hope that scan strategy will now be an important part of the game and will hopefully appeal to the eXploration part of the 4X formula!

Thanks for your time!
-Steve


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Re: Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2021, 12:55:47 AM »
Dev Diary: Warplans, or Conducting War from 30 million kilometers
Mon, 1 March 2021



Hello everyone! Steve here with another exciting dev diary. This week, we’re going to talk about the military system’s macro level that you as the Emperor most interact with, called Warplans. Houses will also use them to prosecute Challenges, and they will be used in the Xyl end game.

Essentially, Players can create Warplans in order to execute war Actions such as conquer a planet, invade a system, destroy infrastructure, terrorize a system, etc. These Warplans are created with the help and advice of your War Prime on a special Warplan screen, accessed from the Military Tactical Mode.

Warplans can be as simple as sending a single Force to a planet to harass the planet/system defenses, or as complex as orchestrating the conquest of an entire Province. The beauty of the system is that it is all planned from a high level - remember, AotSS is not a war game, and as the emperor, you would not be responsible for calculating supply logistics or determining the best type of missile to use for a planetary conquest - that’s why you have Primes and Generals!

Warplans consist of 6 main elements: Scope, Stellar Target, Political Target, Lead Admiral, Priority, and Mission. You as the Emperor select these things, and based on your choices the War Prime will advise as to the best Force mix. Forces are grouped into a primary Task Force under the command of a senior Admiral, with smaller Forces that make up the mission requirements. Once you make your selections, the War Prime will let you know how well your current units and active Forces can implement this Warplan, and you will have a chance to modify the scale, target, etc. or simply cancel altogether.

The player can have as many active Warplans as the War Prime’s Administration Level - 1, with a minimum of 1 always.

There are 3 different proposed Scopes: Region, Planet, and System. The Scope determines the eligible Targets - Targets may only fit into the Scope of the Warplan or below if needed. For example, conquering a Planet may require that certain Regions are Targets if they contain sufficient Control Points to obtain military control of the Planet, but the System would not be targeted. Similarly, if a System is a Target, Planets of the House who is the Political Target would need to be sub targets to execute the Warplan properly. Note that a Region can not be directly targeted by a Warplan; it would only be a sub-target of a Planet Target.

Stellar Targets can be Regions, Planets (Outposts and Colonies), and Systems. The Scope determines what the eligible Stellar Targets can be in order to fulfill the Warplan Mission.

Political Targets can be Great Houses, Xyl holdings, or external Empires. Note that in most cases the player will need an active Challenge to set a House as a Political Target. Each Warplan can only have one Political Target - if the player wishes to target another House or Empire, they will need a separate Warplan for that.

The Lead Admiral is responsible for organizing the Task Force(s) that will be required to implement the Warplan. A Lead Admiral will be proposed by the War Prime once a Scope and Target are designated (higher-level Scopes will require Admirals with a higher ADM rating to effectively lead) but this can be overruled by the player at a 5-10% hit to the War Prime’s relationship score, as well as the passed-over Admiral)

Once a Warplan is started, Intel can be gathered on it by Inquisitors. You will be able to assign an Inquisitor to any known Warplan implement by another House or external Empires. This will allow you to know the Target, Sub-targets, which political entity is behind the Warplan (Houses or Empires), the state of readiness, and the expected Organization rating. This will allow you to send reinforcements to targeted Planets or Systems, or even make a preemptive strike on Shipyards or Planets during the Organization phase!

Missions can be the following:
*Conquer
This mission seeks to military occupy a Stellar Target with the goal of keeping it long-term.
Eligible Scopes: Planet, System

*Attrit Defenses
This mission seeks to reduce or destroy the defenses of the Stellar Target for possible future Missions.
Eligible Scopes: Planet, System (Provinces do not have defenses as such)

*Terror
This mission seeks to cause Devastation on a Planet that specifically targets Pops in order to reduce Happiness and cause Unrest on the Planet.
Eligible Scopes: Planet, System

*Scout
This mission seeks to increase the Intel Progress of the Stellar Target for either exploration or military intel purposes. Also used to allow Surface Expeditions of Planets.
Eligible Scopes: Planet, System

*Degrade Planetary Infrastructure
This mission seeks to reduce or destroy economic and industrial Sectors on a Planet in order to significantly degrade a Planet’s Economy and Industrial Output.
Eligible Scopes: Planet

*Degrade Orbital Infrastructure
This mission seeks to reduce or destroy orbital Shipyards, Starbases, and Trade Ports in order to significantly degrade a Planet’s military and trade capabilities.
Eligible Scopes: Planet

*Destroy
This is a special Mission that looks to destroy a specific Stellar Target.
Currently, the only eligible targets are a Region and the Xyl Recension Engine, but may be expanded to Planets if we decide a Planet busting weapon is necessary in the design

Warplans will be assigned a Operation Name that will be randomly generated, or the player can name it at no cost (this is just for immersion and serves no game play purpose other than to allow a reference to a specific Warplan) Warplans can be cancelled UNTIL the Task Force is set into motion (Execute Phase)

Warplans have 4 phases: Planning, Organization, Preparation, and Execution, and a special Status, Paused.

Planning Phase is used when the Warplan is first organized and Targets, Mission, and Scope are set. This Phase is completed when the Warplan is authorized and the AP cost is paid (1 AP for each Scope level of the Warplan)

Organization Phase is used to determine what Forces and what organization will be required, and to build/create these Forces as needed. For example, if the Warplan calls for a Heavy Space Combat Force, and none exists, the War Prime will attempt to create one with a minimum Effectiveness level of 50%. If the Combat Force cannot be created, the War Prime will attempt to substitute the next-smaller size template Combat Force until one can be created. If none can be created, the War Prime will inform the player in a Organization Report generated the following turn of what is missing/less than the optimal plan. At that point, the player can approve the modifications or put the Warplan on pause while they build the recommended elements (usually by re-configuring Shipyards to build the missing size ships). This can also be automated and left to the War Prime. Once the recommended Forces are raised, the War Prime will send a notification to the player that the Warplan may proceed and can be unpaused.

Once all Forces are ready, the Preparation Phase starts. This is where depending on the mission, 1-4 Turns are used to run war drills, practice the mission, gain experience for crews, etc. The number of turns is 0 + Scope (where Region is 1, Planet is 1, System is 2, and Province is 3) + Total Forces / 3, rounded down (so that less than 3 Forces don’t add a Turn) - Lead Admiral Administration Rating / 2. There is always a minimum of 1 turn required, and a maximum of 4 turns (1 year) At this point, an Organization modifier is attached to each Force depending on how well the Preparation Phase was executed. This is a random % from -25% to +25% which is determined by Lead Admiral’s Military Skill * Lead Admiral’s Administration Rating / 40 for the upper bound and 25% is subtracted from the upper bound for the lower bound. This can significantly affect the performance of each Force and may be a reason to cancel the Warplan after this Phase.

Finally, once Preparation ends, the Warplan is Executed. At this point, the Warplan cannot be cancelled, but the War Prime will request your confirmation once the Task Force makes contact with the Target (in case the defenses are too strong, an unexpected issue arises, etc). The Task Force will take damage from the System Defenses, but will proceed no further until your confirmation is given.

After the Warplan Execution Phase starts, your War Prime will send a Mission Report each turn to inform you of the status of the Warplan’s mission and how close the mission is to success or failure. The War Prime will also give their current percentage chance of ultimate success of the mission, along with an anticipated ETA. You can cancel the Warplan from the Mission Report if desired and have the remaining Forces stay in their mission area, return to New Terra (or the nearest system with a shipyard) for repairs, or disband. You may also have the option to allow reinforcements to be used to support the Warplan on advice of your War Prime.

Longer post today, but feel like there’s some good information about how high-level war will be conducted in Alliance of the Sacred Suns!

Steve


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Re: Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2021, 11:50:04 PM »
New Military System and Events
Fri, 27 August 2021



Reveals on the way


Now broadcasting
https://steamcommunity.com/broadcast/watch/76561197985505574


We have some exciting news to share! Steve, lead developer of Alliance, will be attending PAX West in Seattle next week at the Hooded Horse booth, and will be available to meet with players. We'll also have the latest build of the game to demo and allow players to try out at the booth.

Further, Alliance of the Sacred Suns will soon reveal details of the revamped and expanded military system with a video overview. Until then, as Gamescom continues we'll be broadcasting Nookrium's playthrough on the Steam page.

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Re: Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2022, 01:16:24 AM »
Alliance releasing in Q2
Wed, 16 March 2022

Slight delay to release, but a chance to playtest the game

Hey everyone!

We’ve got a slight delay to announce for the early access release–from Q1 to Q2 of this year. The game is almost ready, but we’ve made the decision to take a couple extra months to really ensure Alliance lives up to your expectations.

However, if you are eager to start playing right away, we also have some good news–we will be holding a final playtest in April, to iron out any final feedback before release.

There’s no need to sign up in advance for this one–we want as much feedback as possible, so we’ll be posting it for all to download as a demo on Steam.

This final playtest includes:

All the reported issues fixed from the last playtest
Several updated Nexus windows
The entire Emperor System complete for Early Access (392 skills, 42 Emperor Personality Effects, 77 Oratory Moves, 81 Emperor Actions, new Guilt System)
Many more Events
A whole new main UI and Galaxy/Province/System view with seamless zooming and panning
Streamlined updates to the Trade and Outpost systems
Significant performance improvements
House AI improvements
New culture-specific music
More House and Ruler art
And more!

Here are some updated in-game pics, showcasing our new UI!








We look forward to your comments, and we are excited to take this final step together before release!

-Steve Hawkins, Lead Developer, Alliance of the Sacred Suns

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Re: Alliance of the Sacred Suns : 4X/Grand Strategy
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2022, 01:18:20 AM »
Alliance of the Sacred Suns July Dev Update
Thu, August 4, 2022



Hello everyone! Man, July was a long month, but we got a tremendous amount of work done, and we got a lot of great feedback about Alliance that we are putting to good use! In this blog, I wanted to talk about some of our feedback and what we’re doing, talk about the final few game play loops that we’ve installed, and showcase our in-game help system. This is a long blog, but we had a tremendously productive July, so here we go!

First and foremost, the feedback from our third beta test showed that we needed to rethink our tutorial. We had a guided tutorial that ran alongside a generated galaxy, but there were 2 main issues with this setup: a) it was buggy - it depended on reading the dynamic generation galaxy and changing some static parameters after the game was generated to ensure that we had workable tutorial conditions. While it worked, it wasn’t perfect, and once in a while it could lead to issues, and b) people didn’t really like all of the reading they had to do. There were about 100 ‘nodes’ that the player had to read - and we’d only installed about half of the tutorial!

It was clear that we needed to go a different direction, and when we asked for feedback, we found that people *really* wanted good tooltips, a good encyclopedia to look up stuff on their terms and needs, and a helper UI that gave them some information about a screen or concept the first time, and then it could either repeat again or the player could turn that information popup off (the information would still be available in the Encyclopedia). So that’s exactly what we’re doing! We’ve created dozens of unique tooltips - in fact, every single element in the main UI has a unique tooltip now! If there’s a number in the game, there should be a tooltip explaining it. We have also totally revamped the look and function of the in-game encyclopedia - basically, we’re converting the manual to be accessible in-game, with lots of pictures and links to related topics, so it’s easy to navigate.

Finally, we decided to scrap the guided tutorial entirely, and replace it with a ‘quick start’ sequence where your grand vizier walks you through the most basic concepts (AP, Turns, Houses, Main UI) while also giving you several ‘tutorial’ tasks (now called initiatives, previously called milestones) that you can undertake at your leisure, but that will show you some of the most basic systems of the game (science, Projects, the economy, Actions with Characters) and then add some intermediate and advanced concepts (exploration, expansion, Challenges between other Houses, the military system, etc). In this genre, people don’t like their hand held, but they do want to have all the tools available to learn at their own pace, so we’re going to listen to the people!



Now, let’s talk about the new exploration and exploitation loops. We have completely rewritten them since June. Basically, you now send exploration expeditions to a System that’s in range of your LGN network (in a constellation that’s fully or partially connected). You assign an Admiral with a high Academic Skill (the higher, the faster the survey occurs) and planets are now explored one at a time to a high intel level. You can recall an exploration fleet at any time now, you just have to wait until it gets to the System (if a fleet is traveling for any reason in-game, you can’t issue it new orders until it gets to where it’s going). Exploration expeditions cost OP (operation points) and allow Systems to be exploited, using the new outpost and auction system!



Once a System is fully explored, all planets are then revealed in the System. The next step, if you as the ruler feel that the System would be a productive part of the Empire, is to connect it to the Empire’s LGN network. So you’ll need to build either a hub or a port (usually a port) to connect the system to the rest of the Empire and allow people and trade to travel to the system. You do this by initiating a Construction expedition to build a LGN hub or node, and it works very similarly to creating an Exploration expedition.



Once a System has been connected, you (the Empire) has de jure control of the system, meaning that while it’s under your eminent domain, you can’t exploit it just yet. When you’re ready, you can present the system (and its planets) to the other Houses for auction - this is how you or other Houses can gain additional Holdings! Basically, there is a three-round auction where each House's Power + Influence in that System equals the total number of ‘votes’ they can spend on each planet and system. The top 3 bids for the system/planets in it move to the second round; top 2 move to the last round, and the winner gets what they bid! Note that each House has to pay for each Holding, even if they don’t ever develop it (the money goes in part to the Empire Budget Cycle upcoming, so exploration is actually a valid way of bringing in money for the Empire if you don’t mind other Houses expanding!).

The most important thing about claiming Systems and Planets is that other Houses will look very negatively on you if you have the most Power of all the Houses and you claim especially the System, but even if you claim one or more Planets you will take a relationship hit with all the Houses. Conversely, if you don’t claim anything, you will get a nice relationship boost from the other Houses (especially the ones that won claims) so often it pays to expand magnanimously, allowing others to take planets and systems - just don’t let them get too big and powerful!



Once a System has been Claimed, it is Exploitable, and an Outpost can be built on a Planet that you hold. You do this by creating an Outpost Construction Expedition (other Houses do this too, but it’s assumed to be using private sector assets and happens in the background). You will select an Outpost type (if you have max intel on the planet, which you can get by doing a surface expedition, you will get excellent feedback on how well this outpost should do for the planet), select an Administrator (a new rank below Viceroy that has no power requirement) to run the Outpost, and a fleet, and within a few turns, your empire will grow a little larger! From that point you can use special Expansion Projects to expand outposts to level II, III, and when they hit a certain pop level, a new colony!

We made these changes for several reasons. First, we wanted expansion to be slower - a colony is a huge deal, or it should be, and for those who have played the game you know that most Houses don’t have that many colonies. Also, we wanted to limit the economic impact of putting a colony in a bad place, meaning one that was hard to reach or a planet that Pops didn’t want to move to. By putting pop thresholds to level up outposts and convert them to colonies, this protects the player somewhat - now if they put an outpost in a bad spot, they have spent a lot fewer resources to discover that fact, and it will cost them much less against their House budget than if they had a full colony with all the built infrastructure sucking down a much larger part of the budget.



We’ve also *takes breath* updated and streamlined our project system. We’ve revamped our entire list of Projects, and significantly expanded system and province Projects - we now have almost 100 Projects, and we’ve tried to strike a nice balance between all types of game play. For example, we added a lot of Intel Projects, and added a few more Military Projects, to try to balance the type of game play a player might want to try.

We’ve also made Planetary Projects cost just 1 AP, and they do not require Contributors - now, regardless of skills, any Project can be done with any Viceroy, it may just take a lot longer and use ADM for longer than with a better Viceroy. Projects have been re-balanced in general to cost less resources but more ADM, so you will have to really pay attention to expanding your ADM pool to do several system or province projects at a time!





System Projects and Province Projects still do need contributors, however, and Province Projects will now take 3 AP to initiate. We want these Projects to really feel larger and more weighty.

Another change we’ve made to Projects is that most of them now impact your Public Reputation - you have 3 values for Honor, Humanity, and Piety that affect how your people see you, and Projects are now a major lever to change that perception. You get different bonuses and maluses empire-wide depending on where you stand on this fulcrum - most Projects that help Pops will increase your Humanity (and maybe Honor) values, while Projects that hurt or surveil Pops will decrease them. We have tried to give both play styles significant choices here, and there is certainly a path to a high-Fear, low Humanity and Honor ruler to win the game!



But wait! There’s more! We’ve expanded and fixed all of the UI/internal issues with the Intel System, and added more missions, including the ability to create informer networks on a planet (basically allowing additional passive intel to be gathered on a planet). Now Inquisitors’ Loyalty rating starts at 100, and if the Intel division is not fully funded, instead of dropping like a rock (as in the previous version) it will drop slowly every turn depending on the amount of funding lack, but what this means is that if you only missed funding fully by a little bit, Inquisitors are much less likely to bolt immediately, but their Loyalty will also only rise if they are fully-funded, so be careful!



Galaxy Generation gets a pass as well. We have eliminated the concept of no-planet systems, so if you see a star on the map, it will contain at least one planet or belt. We have also rewritten the generation so that not all constellations have 8-9 stars - your home constellation, Alpha will always have 8, but others may have as few as 3! This brings more of a 'tasty island' expansion system to the game, and differentiates constellations and their contents more strategically.

More you say? Sure! We are in the process of expanding and redesigning the Milestone system. Formerly, Milestones were passive items that you could attain and that unlocked once certain parameters in the game were met - for example, if you were low on Power, you could get a Milestone to increase your Power, and so on. There were a few major issues with this system, though: First, there was no time limit - no sense of urgency to get them done. And second, there were no stakes. You got no rewards for doing them, and since there was no time limit, there were no penalties for failing them. So we are doing a hard rewrite of this system. Rather than simply being handed Milestones, in future builds you will be able to choose Initiatives, which will come in 2 types: Public and Private. You will be able to select up to 3 total. Public Initiatives are basically goals that you announce to the Empire, usually things like expanding, building a specific Project, finding a specific Tech, meeting a Pool goal, etc. If you succeed, you usually get more Power and Popular Support, and sometimes some PDP, where if you fail, you lose more of the same. Private Initiatives focus more on self-growth, and failing them does not generally involve losing Power or Support, but Spirit and PDP. Private Initiatives are not ‘known’ to the Empire, they’re more like ‘self help’ goals you set for yourself, and the stakes are generally lower than Public Initiatives.

Finally, we have addressed performance and stability in a big way. We have completely rewritten the UI engine and we no longer instantiate large windows in memory prior to the game starting. This has cut down memory usage in some cases by 60%. We have also greatly increased performance across the UI - now everywhere in the galaxy map runs at 60 FPS, zooms are buttery-smooth, and virtually all windows open up in less than a second (we have an interim panel showing while that’s happening, so you know something is being loaded as the player). In addition, the save and load system is now fully functional, including the ability to delete old saves and overwrite existing ones with newer data. Last, but certainly not least, as of the beginning of August, we have eliminated virtually all crash bugs from the game! (fingers crossed!)

So what does August bring? Well, with all game play loops now in (we’ll be doing another pass on the military system and adding a few more screens), and our performance issues mostly solved, we can focus on polish, stability, localization, and adding the help system (tooltips, encyclopedia, in-screen help). We’ll also be adding many more Events to the game this month, and we are also starting to add updated sound effects to the game/UI, hooking up all the remaining tech effects, budget overspend effects, etc. Once we have the help elements in, we will be doing another beta test, so watch this space for more details!! We truly are on the final turn of what has been a very long race, and we can’t wait to share more!

Thanks,
Steve
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