DrDread

all messages by user

8/12/2015
Topic:
Game Tutorial is in the works

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
We recently sent out a one shot email invite to everyone who has played on previous website projects of our like WorlfOfTorr.com or Clanwars.com and we've also just started working with http://seriouslyweb.com/ to do some growth marketing for us. With that out of the way, we finally got back into working on the game.
We've realized that the sooner we can get even a part of the game playable the sooner we can invite testers or journalists to try the game out, even if it's not feature complete. About half the game is working already. We can make a corporation, build structures, sell products with ships being ordered to sell to other cities but there is no guidance at all. So we've started to make the tutorial page that should help guide a completely new player into setting up.

It essentially guides you through creating your corporation, placing your Corporate Headquarters producing some resources and then selling them locally and to another nearby city using a transport you construct.It is pretty simple but this is all it takes to get started as it covers all the basics of the game and makes you navigate through the major screens.

We're considering adding another lesson for combat or maybe a detailed run through the interface but we feel that is better left to a Guide that is available after the tutorial. The guide would work more like a searchable encyclopedia or wiki. The tutorial itself is just there to get you starting to play at a bare minimum. We hope to have the tutorial done by this weekend and then we might move on to Contracts which allows players to trade with each other on a regular basis with agreed upon prices



edited by DrDread on 9/11/2015
8/18/2015
Topic:
Early Design Suggestions

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
On the viewscreen when you're on the Overview sub-tab you will see a colored icon in the corner of every location that you have a Structure (blue), Military Unit (Gold), Product (Green) or Item (Violet). They take up the 4 corners of the "Square" that those assets are in. We're probably going to add another one that shows the location of your Corporate headquarters also, probably a white diamond. This is true even when you zoom out, you will see those icons in the corners of a planet or star system is appropriate. There is also a bookmark system at the top of the viewscreen navigation that allows you to make your own named bookmarks with different colors. It places dotted line squares around the location you bookmarked and they can be planets or star systems also. There was a screenshot of earth showing the cities and these icons but it got removed. I should put it back up


We also want to implement a "Real Time" chat system into the game. We were looking for something that fits our need out of the box but nothing caught our attention yet. We imagine there would be chat rooms linked to every planet or even city in the game as well as the ability to make your own rooms. Sending notes would also be there.


As for the expansion mechanic we're thinking it might place an entire quadrant at a time when needed but only populate those quadrants down to the system level. You would be able to see the stars but you wouldn't be able to see anything inside the system (The star itself or the planets/resources). They would have question marks on them or some other indicator that they are not in game yet. As the city populations increase or maybe just after a number of cities in a system is reached, the game will populate those nearby systems with planets and resources.
9/27/2015
Topic:
September Update - Contract and Tech Upgrades

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
It's been a busy month for us, both working on the game and renovations at home. Our tutorial section was touched up and looks almost perfect now. We moved on to implementing tech upgrades for your corporation.


We have played around with how tech works and so far we're going with a system where you earn a point to spend every time you level up your Corp HQ and you can level up your Corp HQ 10 times. These points can be put into any product type in the game for a large bonus or it can put into a category of products for a smaller bonus. This bonus reduces the cost of the structures that are manufacturing those products. As you put more points into the same product or category, the bonus increase gets lower. This diminishing return makes it a little impractical, but not worthless, to put all your points into the same place. However in doing so you can bring the cost of making a particular product to almost nothing. This system has been implemented almost entirely already.


The other large feature we have been working on are Contracts. Anytime you trade with another corporation it has to be done through a contract. A contract spells out what you're trading and to who and for how much. With a contract in place the other player can transfer goods THROUGH a contract and get paid accordingly without the other player being online. Contracts can be one shot affairs but typically they are used for repeat trades, like a trade route, so you can have a steady supply of a particular component you need (i.e. 1000 Electronics every 10 turns at 200 each). You can set the price to be based of the current price of a particular city instead of it being static. Implementing Contracts is a big feature that needs to be built into the heart of the system. We have some of it already working and hopefully can get most of it in there by next weekend.


A third thing we worked on this month has been revamping the planet graphics. The planet textures and effects were created over a period of time but we've never been terribly good at it. Recently we ran into a good planet artist who is happy to help us out for free. We're implementing their techniques and advice and the planets are looking a lot better now. We like the way everything is going. We hope we can push out some more screenshots onto the website by next week!
10/7/2015
Topic:
Re-thinking our free to play model

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
We've come to realize that our free account vs subscription account is a little convoluted and we are probably going to make it a lot simpler and more open for the free accounts. There are some important considerations that have often come to mind when thinking about this model.

We would like our game to be essentially free to play but there is an inherit problem with allowing players to make and use a dozen free accounts and gain an advantage. Other games like Astro Empires and OGame strictly enforce a single account per player however all that ends up happening is that the casual players with multi accounts get banned but the hardcore players run several accounts and put in a lot of effort to remain hidden. Having paid accounts and allowing you to make as many as you want mitigates the problem, or at least makes it a little more fair. Ideally we want to make having multiple accounts no advantage, but currently it isn't much.

If everyone is free to play then it leaves micro-transactions to make ANY money which, if are anything but cosmetic, essentially become a pay to win mechanic which we don't want to have. We also need to implement something so when you drop your subscription, you can still play without having to do anything complicated to your empire.

What we're thinking of doing then Is, for one, making combat allowed in Sol System but having Federation ships patrolling around (like guards) to prevent other players from freely stomping on new players there.

The other major thing is that free account can build and travel anywhere but their Corp HQ must remain in Sol Sector. This would be the only real limitation of a free account. The Corp HQ is where you can make other structures from either locally or as an item that can be transported and deployed in another location. Keeping your Corp HQ tied to Sol System just means when you want to make new structures it will take a little time to fly it out to another system. You also would lose the small bonus the Corp HQ gives to all production nearby if you start producing elsewhere. Another important part is that, while there is voting on events in Sol System, there are no elections for government positions in Sol System and you Corp HQ must be in the city you are trying to be elected in. So as long as your Corp HQ is in Sol system you will never be elected to a government position. Otherwise you're on the same level as the paid accounts.

Paid accounts would also enjoy the cosmetic features in the game. up loadable Avatar and Corp Log,. Custom ship colors, and possibly the title system we were going to have in place (i.e. "Sugar baron of Manila") as that is essentially a vanity/leaderboard feature.

We still plan to have an "Accelerated Start" option when going to a paid account which will be the only official way of getting a chunk of in game money and level ups for real cash. It would only be available when your account first goes into paid mode. Its similar to Word of Warcraft allowing you to pay to "Start" with a level 65 character.

We'll try to update the websites Subscription page accordingly this weekend.

If anyone has any opinions on this feel free to chime in!
edited by DrDread on 10/7/2015
10/15/2015
Topic:
Where did you hear about Barons of the Galaxy?

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Nice to see MMO RPG players actually finding the site this early! Welcome sir! =)
10/22/2015
Topic:
Where did you hear about Barons of the Galaxy?

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Rigoreborn wrote:
Was googling something like ogame or galactica - without their disgusting pay-to-win option - and found this smile

Looks very promising. Can't wait for more... smile


Awesome, I guess Google is working correctly. It's pretty hard to get anywhere near the first few pages of Google with keywords like SciFi MMO.
What kind of games have you already played besides Ogame and Galactica? And doesn't OGame have a pay to win option with the dark crystals? That wasn't always there was it?
11/3/2015
Topic:
Contracts implemented and more planets graphics

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
This has been a busy month for me, not so much for the game development but real life! I didn't get as much time to spend developing as I would of liked but I did push through a complicated milestone that needed a lot of focused quality time.
Contracts have been implemented and seem to be working well. When you trade products with another player in game, it must be done through a contract., Since this game is played mostly "off-line" there needs to be a system In place to enforce trades when either player is online.

They can be simple one shot affairs where you agree to buy a certain amount of product at a certain price. Most likely however, trade between two players will be a repeated affair such as trading 1000 units of a components every 10 turns at a price keyed to the current value at a specific city. This is the typical way a player can manufacture the higher tier products which require several different components to be brought together at his factory most of which he can't produce efficiently or in bulk. The contract tracks what you're selling or buying and to whom for how much and how often and to what location.

Contracts can be put out to the public and accepted by anyone, there are plans to make them re-negotiated or modified as an offer. Once accepted, the players can give a transport orders to pick up goods and transfer the a appropriate location USING the contract which will change ownership of the goods, move the money and enforce any other restrictions present in the contract automatically.

Screenshots don't do Contracts much justice since the complicated parts are how they are handled in the back end but this is what a search grid and a contract are looking like now.




Another thing we worked on this month was the planet textures. We recently got together with an artist who provided some working examples of his very pretty planets. We took what he showed us and re-worked our planets to make them more eye-catching. There are several different version of each planet type as well as rings and atmosphere "glows" that are randomly put together for all the planets in the game but here is look at one version of what all our planet types look like:



We updated the website with more screenshots also

With Contracts mostly working now we're going to move onto implementing Combat, something that my wife has been waiting for =) After that it should be Titles system and then the big one which is the Event system. Those are the only major components remaining before a fully playable game!
11/14/2015
Topic:
Combat order UI and database implementation

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
This months we've moved on doing Combat. First step was to get the Orders page to handle an Attack Order. We're allowing attacks targeted at a single corporation, an entire guild or the entire location. We're also implementing a "raid" option which allows you to attack a another player or area to raid the products that are there and not necessarily destroy everything. We're also adding an option for your units to retreat (skip to next order in the queue) when they hit a certain damage threshold. The last thing is an option to only attack for a certain number of turns before retreating. Otherwise the unit will continue attacking until it has no target left before moving on.

Raiding attacks will probably have your units do half the damage but allow them to steal products from the location or any other ships which are carrying something. This is something other games sorely need to prevent having the only attacking option is to destroy everything to get anything.

We hope to code the actual combat into the database this week

This is what the Order page for attacks is looking like so far.


11/19/2015
Topic:
Implementing character dynasties

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Someone on Reddit saw our posts and game and mentioned that it was similar to an old dying game called "Imperium Nova". That game was more like a space opera. Your "Player" was actually a house or dynasty of descendants that all had varying stats, could get married, find religion etc. You can send them to different These descendants would be placed around your empire and assigned to different task such as Factories, politics or combat duties kind of like commanders of other games. They all grow old and die and there is a system of hierarchy and ascension.

This is also similar to a board game I have called "Blood Royale" which was a simple war-game with resources in Europe. But you played that countries "Dynasty" which was King/queen which had children and simple stats which played out in a similar way.

I am considering implementing something like this in Barons of the Galaxy. Currently the idea is that you, the player, has an "Avatar" that represents you. Instead we can make it so you start off with a "Character" which you can of course still name and upload an image for but your character has a few simple stats or bonuses that affect your entire game. Perhaps its combat bonuses, political advantages or bonuses to certain kinds of industry or situations. Greater combat bonus when DEFENDING, does better with industry when less competition is nearby etc.

I'm thinking we key the number of descendants you have to your corporation level 1-10. That means when you level up your corporation you will get another descendant showing up very soon after. I don't think its a good idea to implement a "marriage" system as that involves the other players and such and can lead to exhausting your dynasty and other problem. Instead though I think that these descendants are chosen randomly and are related in some way to one of your current characters in the dynasty. "Marriages" would be abstract and spouses are not necessarily characters in the dynasty, perhaps they are bastard children or newly discovered relatives.

For example your first descendant at level two could be a brother, sister, wife, son, daughter maybe even cousin of your first character. Then at level 3 the system will randomly make another brother sister spouse, daughter, son etc. for either character with more chances of currently married descendants having children as opposed to another sibling showing up. A system like that makes for unique looking family trees that are ever changing and cannot be exhausted since there is no strict and necessary "Marriages". The system would replenish descendants when they die due to old age or assassination and would insure that if you are, say, level 6 then there 6 characters in your dynasty. There is always one leader of the dynasty and that characters stats affect your entire game in addition to the location he is at. Ascension would be done like a medieval hierarchy.

When creating your corporation Perhaps you can set a few option which dictate the general type of characters you want to see in your dynasty (Combat oriented, political etc.) doesn't mean you will get descendants exactly like that but the system can enforce a pretty narrow randomizer which can guarantee that, say, at least two thirds of your dynasty would be those kinds of characters. You would also be able to "Level Up" your characters like any other unit in the game for bigger bonuses, make them a bigger military unit or cybernize them to extend their lives etc.

Your dynasty characters would probably be represented by military units like everything else. a medium sized ship that can be given order to move around and maybe apply themselves to an area or structure, maybe even dock with another ship the way fighter and bombe units attach to carriers. which means he or she is on that ship and his bonuses apply to whatever combat that ship gets into. It would also mean that ship can be destroyed and that character killed.

This sounds like a fun and workable mechanic and we're seriously considering implementing something along these lines, just not now as we want to remain on schedule. Perhaps as an expansion to the game if it goes well.
11/28/2015
Topic:
Battle Reports

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
We've gotten most of combat implemented this week and we also have a Battle Reports screen that shows how the battles progressed.

Combat in Barons of the Galaxy happens between turns but they are not resolved instantly. That is, it usually takes several turns for a group of units to destroy another set of units. This gives all sides time to bring in more units, retreat or have other players join the fight on either side. You can for example attack another corporation in Paris and the units will do damage to each over the next several turns at which time another player flies a force to Paris and attacks the same corporation. His forces join yours in the attacks. Likewise the defender can have an ally show up and set there units to defend him and they will join the defense.

The Battle Report shows the two sides of a battle, which can include more than one corporation on either side. The green health bar is how many Hit Points the units have left, the red is how much they took last turn. You can select a set of battle from a particular location and timeframe and then flip through them with a next / prev button to see how the battle unfolded

Another feature we implemented was the ability to select a couple of colors that represent your corporation. Those colors make the colored borders around your units to distinguish them.

We want to do some more beautification of the battle report screen and put in some small graphs and stats as well but so far its functional and looking pretty good


12/1/2015
Topic:
Battle Reports

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Thanks for your support! Can I ask what part of the game are you excited about, or what feature you are most interested in? =)
12/4/2015
Topic:
This needs to be scrapped

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
BLOODxSAINT wrote:
Other Paid Options When activating a paid account, you may pay and additional $20, $50, or perhaps $100 and start with a higher level Corporate Headquarters and more starting credits or free starting structures. This is called an accelerated start and it can only be done early on with a new account. This option becomes unavailable as your free account builds up to the same point you would of gained if you would have taken an accelerated start.


I was totally excited about this game and sent out a bunch of links to people on skype and then seen this. People are going to think your just trying to milk them for $$$.

accelerated start, I would seriously think more about this approach.

maybe wait like 6 months into the game and then implement this but not form day one. It Should just be a monthly fee and everyone has a equal start on game launch.

Don't panic =)

The idea of waiting a while before implementing this is already on the table for the same concerns your hinting at. A player could "Accelerate" himself 6 months past everyone at the start of the game and it wouldn't be fair.

On the flip side. There's no harm in letting players catch up some to players who have been playing a while. There is a problem with new players getting into a game that has nothing but 2 year veterans in it also. This should help alleviate that. But that's years from now!

We'll mostly likely not offer any accelerated start at the very beginning like you suggested and then open up the smaller ones over some time.

Also, love your signature =)
edited by DrDread on 12/4/2015
12/7/2015
Topic:
Guild system and Company Search

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Last couple of weeks we got combat working but you couldn't make attacks against an entire guild because, well, guilds weren't in the game yet. So this last week we've put in the guild system in place and we also made the company search screen work as that is part of putting guilds together.

Guild in Barons of the Galaxy are like Guilds in other games where their purpose is usually just to organize a group of players. Share a communication channel and coordinate large scale attacks or trade movements. In this game your guild also serves an important function which is to specify who you "allies" are when it comes to combat. In other games you are usually only attacking a single target at a time but in this game you can launch an attack against an entire area which can have several corporations in it alongside your allies. The Guild system keeps your targets straight, The system can filter out your guild members from an attack against "everyone" in an area. It also allows you to go to a crowded location or city and declare an attack against a single guild as opposed to everyone there, another important function.

It should also be noted that your forces can be set to attack "anyone" who enters a location, as a defensive order. You can essentially kick everyone off a city or planet this way and declare it yours. Again, the system would need to know who your allies are so they can do the same thing with you and not attack each other. Guilds allow for this.

Only have a couple of screens to show. The company display and a simple shot of the guild search.


12/9/2015
Topic:
Guild system and Company Search

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
We weren't considering doing that. There no list of allies and enemies as that gets complicated quickly with the way we declare attacks. .Attacks are made explicitly against a Corporation or Guild or entire area. You can queue attacks against several targets at a location if you like. If you're doing that then you're probably attacking the entire location anyway. If another corporation shows up and attacks the same corp or guild, essentially issuing the same attack order, they will actually join with your force and you will attack together.

"Battles" don't even have an "Attacker", they are Attacks against a Corporation or Guild at a location. Whoever is attacking that target is on the attacking side and the targets are on the defending. However you can also join the fight and set yourself to DEFEND a corp guild or entire area and you become part of the defending force. The battle can turn into a 12 v 7 that spans 50 turns while 6 other battles are happening in the same area!. If everyone had a list of allies and enemies, that would get complicated.



If you set units to control an area and attack anyone who enters, the only players that won't get attacked are the ones in your guild. This is a pretty aggressive action.
edited by DrDread on 12/9/2015
12/19/2015
Topic:
Titles system has been put in place this week

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
We worked on the Titles system this last couple of weeks. We also started working on military groups and fleet armadas as well as cleaning up some of the code mechanics to vastly increase performance in the database. We're getting close to our development goal of having all game features in place and having the entire game at least "mostly" working by the end of the month so we can work on a Kickstarter campaign video for early January. The only major feature remaining is the Events system.
There is no "Leaderboard" in Barons of the Galaxy. Instead there is a titles system which indicates your standing in relation to other players when it comes to different aspects of the game and at different scopes (System level, Planet wide or particular City). There is a set of titles for product categories (how much you are producing), one for Military (how much total force you have) and another for Government.

The top 3 players of a certain product category, say Mining, in a particular city will get titles such as "Mining Tycoon of Earth", "Mining Mogul of Earth" "Mining Merchant of Earth". The top 3 players of the same industry for the entire planet will get another set of planet wide titles "Lord, Duke and Earl of..." and the top 3 players in the entire solar system you are in will get another set of titles "King, Prince, Baron of...". The location is based on where the products are actually being produced and not necessarily where your Corporate headquarters is located.

The same system applies to Military force with the difference that it is not broken down by any category of military, just a sum of total "Power" of each unit you have. The City, Planet, System that the military titles are applied against are based on what city your Corporate Headquarters is in.

Government Titles are special as they are automatically given to whichever player is currently holding a government position in a city, planet or system. Players are elected to govern these position by the other players and re-elected probably every week. The government titles stand out and are much snazzier then the other titles.

Players can have several titles but the ones that are displayed on their company information's screen are the top 3 most impressive ones.

This is what all the titles look like
12/19/2015
Topic:
Titles system has been put in place this week

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
The only thing we were considering as a bonus for a title would be a bonus to your voting power. After all if you're the Electronics King of Centauri III you should pull a little more weight if there is an event focusing on electronics. You don't just vote for elections, a lot of the events will have a voting element to steer the scenario one way or another. We can even make the voting in events be focused on a particular industry or be military in nature making your specific title, even if it's not that high compared to the big players, count for a huge portion of the vote.

If an event has something to do with Electronics, then whoever the electronics gurus in the area are going to be pulling the entire vote, even if they aren't big players. When it comes to military events, such as monster invasions and such, the monsters will be based around an existing unit type like tanks, infantry or bombers. If you have a large force of the particular counter to that unit type. you are going to be far more important then a Star Lord who has nothing but capital ships that don't do much damage to certain types of units.
12/20/2015
Topic:
Set up a subreddit for anyone intrested.

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Awww thanks Gnarvin. I'm posting on reddit a lot but didn't think a subreddit would be worth it but since you went ahead and made one I'll have to get on it =)
Can you share control of a subreddit? I've never looked into having your own subreddit and how it works.
12/21/2015
Topic:
Set up a subreddit for anyone intrested.

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
The forum is setup as a seperate website you need to login to the barons website and click over to the forums. I didn't remove the login on the forums entirely yet. I don't have a simple way to allow you to automatically log into the forum when you go straight to it yet. Something I have to look into
12/27/2015
Topic:
Implementing "Groups" and Carrier units this week

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Happy holidays everyone ! We managed to develop while still attending a couple of holiday dinners and gift opening with the family.

We worked on implementing "Groups" and "Fleets" of units this week. Although it sounds kind of simple it took a little work to implement and we're still working on some details. You can create a group of ground units or a fleet of ships. The only difference is that groups can only have ground units and fleets can only have ships that can fly through space. A group has its own name and icons and appears like any other unit in the game but it's attributes are a combination of all the units within it. If a group has two tank units in it, it has the combat stats, hit points, attack etc. of those two tank units combined. movement would be the of the slowest speed. It also combines things like cargo space and hangar capacity. All the units in the group are sort of in limbo and are represented by this group unit instead, however they still take damage individually in combat and can be clicked on and displayed normally. The units inside a group don't have a location, they use the groups location and the units cannot be given orders only the group unit is given orders. You can move units into and out of a group at any time as long as they are in the same location. Things like cargo and hangar units are moved to the group when those units are added to it as well. When removing units from a group the interface will ask you which cargo or hangar units that units is taking with it if appropriate. For example You can make a group of 10 freighters and a couple of warships which are carrying a couple of fighter units also and then pick up and sell products in a trade route using the combined cargo space if you like. This is the best way to combine escorts with your transports.

Making a grouping feature not only helps manage your assets but it has also been put in to ease stress on the engine. Instead of moving around 20 individual ships it can instead move around one group that has those 20 units attached on the side.
In developing how groups work we also had to develop how carrier type units handle "carrying" other units which wasn't fleshed out yet. There are a few carrier type units, namely Carriers which have a lot of hangar space, but also to a small extent Cruisers, battleships, and monolith ships have hangar bays also. attaching units to a carrier works a little different than a group. The carrier unit has an order type of Load / Unload units. It has to issue an order to pick up and "carry" units at its current location. It can choose to pick up as much as it can carry of a single type of unit at once or select specific units to try to pick up or drop off. It will pick up as many as it can in one turn. You can order a carrier to go to one location where you have bases producing units, pickup all the fighters it can, then go to another location on another planet where fighting is happening and drop off everything in a loop if you like.

Normally however units are carried on ships so they can fight with them. This is the only way to get a lot of fighters or bombers into a fight in space. but in working out how combat works we got presenting with a design challenge concerning carried units. For one, Can carriers carry any unit like transports which already have stuff in their cargo bay? Do all units types in your hangar fight, even tanks? Even in space? What we decided to go with was that when it comes to carrier units, there are only certain types of units they can carry namely combat units that can realistically fight in space: Fighters, Bombers, Variteks but also infantry, Commandos and Battelsuits via assault ships. All these units will actually fight when a fight happens in the middle of space and makes for some fun strategy. You can place commandos on your battle ships to increase its damage vs other ships, or maybe use infantry to DEFEND against commandos from other ships. you can also go with battle suits which will do well against infantry but not so well vs Commandos and also wont' hurt the ship as much as commandos can.

We're considering making it possible to move other units, like transports with carriers but maybe through the cargo bay as perhaps a packaged item. It wouldn't be involved in combat or anything but would offer a way to move those units, alternately we might just allow them through the hangar but not involve them in fighting and not allow them to have any cargo. The latter is probably the way it will be implemented.

This is a screenshot of what group and carried units are looking like on the asset screen.

1/3/2016
Topic:
Where did you hear about Barons of the Galaxy?

Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Arcanum wrote:
Found this via your devlog on Tigsource. Looks very promising and very polished.


Glad you like it so far. I'm curious if you've played other games like this? Like Astro Empires or OGame?
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