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Endless Space - Emperor Edition + Disharmony

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PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Endless Legend preview: making real-time, turn-based combat work">Endless_Legend_-_Battle_Deployment_2







Endless Legend, the fantasy 4X strategy game from Endless Space developer Amplitude Studios, is a month away from hitting Steam Early Access. Endless Legend will be Amplitude's second game to launch on Early Access Dungeon of the Endless, its roguelike-meets-tower defense experiment, has been playable in an evolving alpha state since late 2013. And the developer has now built its Games2Gether business model around getting player feedback during development.



Last time we saw Endless Legend, Amplitude wasn't ready to show off its combat system, the vital "exterminate" slice of the 4X experience. Now, a few weeks out from Early Access, creative director Romain de Waubert gives me a tour of Legend's strange real-time turn-based battles. Combat in Endless Legend is like knocking over a series of dominoes, if the dominoes were hulking orcs and squads of elven swordsmen and archers placed upon a hex grid that looks an awful lot like Civilization V.



Warfare in Endless Legend plays out in turn-based phases on a macro level. When a battle begins, the game quickly wipes away the details of its vibrant tilt-shifted hex landscape in favor of a cleaned-up battlefield.



"We don't want to go down to micromanagement," de Waubert says. "We want you to stay a general, and while this battle occurs, you can do something else. So we want to make sure you are only at the high levels and giving big directions like I want to keep that high ground, I want to tactically process the terrain and put the right units in front."







Elevation plays a major role on the map if one hex is a few levels higher than surrounding hexes, its sides will be blocked off by impassable cliff faces. A height advantage also gives units like archers an expected combat bonus.



de Waubert says that intelligently using those elevation differences is key in combat, since there's no micromanagement. You give each unit a simple order where to move and then who to attack and then end your turn and watch combat play out. Each unit in the battle takes its turn in a sequence that's displayed at the top of the screen.



"Now the battle is happening in real time, but it's turn after turn based on initiatives," de Waubert explains after giving his units orders and ending his turn. "The faster initiatives play first. The whole trick is to make sure the other guy's units with fast initiatives are being killed first or stopped first. So in a way you can combo and only have your guys play."



By paying attention to that sequence, you can target the enemy units that are moving first and potentially wipe them out before they get to attack. Dominoes.



Long battles can play out over three phases, with multiple turns in each, though the skirmish I watched de Waubert manage ended in only two turns. He lost.







"I should not have lost that battle," he says laughing. "It's all about how you place your troops and which you place first. It's high strategy: more about the big decisions and not the extreme details that, in a way, I think are the same . I think it's more interesting to have to play on the initiatives and have a combo where the others can never play."



While you're making turn-based combat choices, other players in a multiplayer game can wander into range of a skirmish and watch the elves and trolls and other fantasy warriors take their turns in real time. It's a strange hybrid, and I didn't get a chance to see how smoothly everything will mesh together in a real game.









Legends' fantasy world ties into Amplitude's other games, Endless Space and Dungeon of the Endless, and some of its races are even ancestors of the ones that explored the stars in Endless Space. To de Wabuert, that's one of the key things that separates Endless Legend from other fantasy or Civ-like strategy games.



"We definitely are a Civilization type of game," he admits. "There are two main elements we focus on that I think we do a pretty good job at. One, the accessibility. The interface. Everything is very clear, very easy to explain...Also, we make sure everything is needed. We prefer to reduce the choices to the very meaningful ones, rather than many choices that don't mean anything or have any real gameplay behind them."



More importantly, he says, the team focuses heavily on worldbuilding. Endless Space was rich in lore for its factions and hero units and the mysterious backstory of the Endless, though all of that information was presented in simple text boxes and static art. Endless Legend already looks far more lush and detailed, which is what Amplitude is shooting for.



"We pay a lot of attention to the mood, atmosphere, universe, world. We want to be really sucked in by the ambiance and the atmosphere of the game, the visuals and graphics, the lore and the writing. And again, I think that's something that, personally, I don't see enough in 4X games. They're more about game mechanics than the experience the player is going to live. Sometimes game is about what happens in your mind, and you live an epic story, but what you see on the screen is not that epic. So we want to fill that in a bit more."







de Waubert also emphasizes how differently Endless Legend will play based on your faction. The final game will include eight factions, four of which he calls "advanced" factions. The Roving Clans, for example, can't declare war on other factions. "That's a basic part of the game that's kind of broken," he says. "It's not easy to handle. But you have others that are more classic and have a bonus to building or have more armies."



And the Roving Clans simply present a challenge to overcome. Instead of declaring war, Roving Clans players can, for example, manipulate the market to starve opponents of resources. Shrewd players will be able to force their enemies into declaring war on them.



Another advanced faction, the Broken Lords, doesn't use food. Instead, their food resource is Dust, the Endless universe's stand-in for money. Broken Lord players will have to approach resource mining and trade differently.



We barely touched on building or trading or politics or customizing units for combat. And some of those systems are still unbalanced, which de Waubert is happy about. That's what the alpha release on Steam is for, in his opinion getting players into Endless Legend, getting them to explore the technology progression and combat and market and find out what works and what doesn't.



"For me, I wouldn't work another way," he says. "I hope I will never have to work another way. It's funny, sometimes when I talk with developers they say it's a good way to make money before the building of the game. That's wrong! Early Access is to get feedback to tune your game before its release, because there's nothing worse than finishing your game and getting feedback about what you should have fixed."
Community Announcements - Steph'nie


RELEASE NOTES [1.1.42]



Hello,

The new patch for Endless Space should be available by any time now, but here's a little explanation on our changes, in addition to the release notes.


CHANGES ON THE HARMONY & VAULTERS


The Harmony
Changes done in order to resolve their issue of starting systems way slower than the other races and thus making them more competitive we added a new ability.

Harmony now gets a 2 FIS bonus on their system for each orbiting ship up to 2x the CP max. It helps them to compensate the buyout and to profit from the lack on upkeep of their fleet by either cheap ship in early to accelerate the development or later defensive fleet to keep a considerable bonus with the end game CP limit.


The Vaulters
In first place, Vaulters were immune against disapproval but it was not fun enough. So we added a little gameplay twist; now only system with Portals are not counted for the expansion disapproval and the counter part is that the expansion disapproval is 3 times stronger for a Vaulter.

Still too easy huh? Well, to reinforce the defensive aspect of the Vaulter, the Portal can now only be built on a system with 100% ownership.

In addition to that, we modified their unique improvement: now, only one is needed in the Empire and it will produce 1% of Science on Empire per Portal. The counterpart is, the construction of the building reduces by 66% the Science on all systems.


Have fun! We’re looking forward to reading your feedback on those changes.


RELEASE NOTES [1.1.42]


CHANGES AND ADDITIONS [DISHARMONY DLC]

  • Implemented the new Harmony Resonance bonus: + 2 FIS / ORBITING SHIP UP TO 2x CP MAX
  • Added a new property to manage the dynamic cap of Harmony new bonus. This property is shown in the affinity tooltip (2*Max command pop)
  • Added new localisation key for Harmony affinity to explain their new bonus
  • Increased the reduction on civilian modules for all colonization hulls


CHANGES AND ADDITIONS [VAULTERS]

  • Expansion Disapproval multiplied by 3 for Vaulters
  • Systems with Portals aren’t count for Expansion Disapproval
  • The unique Vaulter improvement (the Portal particle screen) now takes 15 turns to be built
  • The unique Vaulter improvement provokes a loss of Science (- 66%) during its construction
  • Only one unique Vaulter improvement is needed to generate Science from all the Portals
  • Added new properties to manage the gain of Science on Empire from Portals


FIXES [DISHARMONY & VANILLA]

  • Fixed an Alliance bug when in some cases making peace with another Alliance was impossible
  • Fixed an issue on the creation of an Alliance in the multiplayer between two human players, when one is already in an Alliance
  • Fixed a bug regarding creation of colony ship when using the "Wasted Space" trait
  • Fixed a bug on the prefab of the Hissho Colony ship


FIXES [VAULTERS]

  • Fixed the Vaulters appearance title and tooltip description from the custom race menu
  • Fixed bug where the teleportation FX of the Vaulters was played even if the fleet didn’t move
Community Announcements - Steph'nie


RELEASE NOTES [1.1.39] - The Vaulters


This new Add-On introduces the Vaulters, a new faction for the owners of Endless Space: Disharmony and the 'Founder Pack' of Dungeon of the Endless.

Dev Blog for more details.

FIXES


  • Fixed two retreat bugs battles (PC and Mac)
  • Fixed bug on the AI attack even if it only has a single ship that has no chance of defeating the player's fleet
  • Fixed bug on the AMAS
  • Fixed bug on the display of Industry to Food for Sowers & Harmony
  • Increased Bushido Duration from 10 to 15
Community Announcements - amplibuild
RELEASE NOTES - [1.1.34]


FIXED


  • Fixed an issue where the game freezes if the player ends the turn right before the AI pirates attack his fleet.
Community Announcements - amplibuild
RELEASE NOTES - [1.1.33]



CHANGES AND ADDITIONS [Both versions]

  • Improvements on contracts management.


FIXED [PC]

  • Fixed an issue where trade routes value was multiply on display
  • Fixed an issue where the user was able to attack the enemy faction multiple times in the same turn using the save/load game option.
  • Fixed an issue which potentially create an infinite loop when loading a game if the improvement “industry to food” was combine with “Adaptive industrial systems”
    PS: For those who have this bug, you’ll have to load your game, remove the improvement “industry to food”, then save and load again.
  • Fixed an issue where saved games that contained razed systems was not properly loaded
  • Fixed an issue where the icon used for the notification of the summary panel of multiple-choice events was not the good one
  • Fixed an issue where clicking the "zoom into location" button the player was taken to another star system instead of the one where the event takes place.
  • Fixed an issue where the effects of the cease fire offer was not applied to the current diplomatic status of the players.
  • Fixed the endless space website URL.
  • Fixed locust points round in saved games. (Created de-synchronization in Multi)
  • Fixed an issue where an assert was received by the player after invading a former allied faction star system using troops.


FIXED [Mac]

  • Resolved freeze after a manual battle that ended with a retreat


FIXED [Mod]

  • Fixed a freeze when importing a custom ship mesh.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Endless Space’s fifth free add-on now available for Disharmony owners">Endless Space







Here's a more sedate representation of space than that offered by some of today's other interstellar stories. Endless Space may not be as infinite as its title suggests, but thanks to Amplitude's commitment to free add-ons, it is constantly expanding. The fifth of these add-ons, called The Search for Auriga, is now available for owners of the game's Disharmony DLC.



The main features of this update include the special planet Auriga itself, new heroes, a new wonder, tweaks, adjusted features and some AI improvements.



Despite all that, one of the most important changes is a tweak to the Disharmony penalty for the Harmony faction. "Disharmony now affects the planet only and not the system any more: thus the player can more easily colonise planets with dust and earn some industry/resources from it. However, the science and food will decrease faster than before but only on the planet." That should go a long way to un-nerfing the DLC's added faction.



You can see the full list of changes via Amplitude's forum. The Search for Auriga should already have squeezed through the update pipes of Endless Space owners.
Community Announcements - Steph'nie


RELEASE NOTES - THE SEARCH FOR AURIGA [1.1.27]


CHANGES AND ADDITIONS [Classic version]
Modified Sheredyn Affinity: buyout bonus lowered from 50% to 33%

CHANGES AND ADDITIONS [Both versions]
Wonder option added: Allows you to able / disable wonders
Capped buyoutbonus to -90% to avoid bugs when going over 100% buyout bonus
Default GameDifficulty and GameSpeed are now saved in Registry.xml

CHANGES AND ADDITIONS [Disharmony version]
Added a unique planet: AURIGA
Added a new Wonder: Husk of knowledge
Added two new Heroes
Added Rally Point (Keep Left CTRL to enter rally point mode: left click to select start system and left click to select destination’s system)
Scrapping a ship gives you Dust
A repair button has been added
A magnify button has been added, in some notification, it allows to focus the concerned system or fleet
New alert panel [in the negotiation screen] when an ally makes a diplomatic decision
Disabled negotiations when an alliance request is waiting for its resolution
Wonders and unique planets are visible for the Amoeba players in the galaxy view
Entering or leaving an alliance refreshes the system influences
Improved the way defence stats are computed at the end of a battle
Added a unique planet option: allows you to able/disable creation of unique planet in the galaxy
Added an option to keep the rally points always visible
Purified systems have a different background colour (grey) in the galaxy view
Improved contracts offering to avoid possible stability issues in MP
Added a reduction on damage for weapon which are not firing during their range speciality: -50% damage
Battle mood or faction mood are now displayed depending on the context
Divided damage done by bombers per 2
Increased long range accuracy and efficiency
Modified MP to reflect the used tonnage

AI MODIFICATIONS
AI war declaration is now followed by an immediate battle
Notification for the AI diplomatic choices
AI invasion fleets must not come back to the assault if fleets get crushed
When the AI scouts are destroyed, the AI now stops creating them again and again
Added variety in the AI attack targeting
The AI selects the best formation & targeting
Lowered weight for Retreat and Offensive Retreat
Updated weight on formation & targeting for the AI to choose
Replaced one of the unique technologies of the Pilgrim which was not aesthetically positioned

HARMONY BALANCING
Rebalanced difficulty progression for Harmony
Added property HasTolerantTrait
Fixed tolerant trait bug and starting technology
Lowered cost of Mineral Memory from 15 to 5
Disharmony now affects the planet only and not the system anymore
Fixed an issue on several effects related to natural wonders
Added a new planetary infrastructure for Harmony which increases the local deposit of a strategic resource by 1
Modified PathPrerequisites for the new Strategic Resource Improvement
Removed penalty related to ownership for Harmony
Reduced cost of StarSystemImprovementUniqueHarmony from 500 to 300
Modified the tool tip of StarSystemImprovementDefense4Harmony
Increased default repair rate
Improved damage and defence fleet depending of their total of command points to compensate the absence of heroes
Added a new planetary improvement for Harmony that gives +1 strategic resource deposit

FIXES
[...]

Link to the complete release notes.
Community Announcements - Steph'nie


Release Notes - Enjoy! :)
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Endless Space: Disharmony to get first free add-on next month">Endless Space







Amplitude Studios have been generous in their post-release support for sci-fi 4X strategy Endless Space. Four free add-on packs followed the game's launch, adding new factions, heroes and technologies, and boasting excellent sci-fi names like Lights of Polaris and Rise of the Automatons. Now they're set to continue that generosity with a free major update to the game's Disharmony expansion. As before, it will bring expanded content and a strong name: The Search for Auriga.



"'The Search for Auriga' will include new heroes, a special wonder, a unique planet, in addition to new features such as Rally Points as well as AI and balancing improvements," announces Amplitude's development blog.



Normally I'd be more excited for the new stuff - particularly the prospect of making a strategic push for special planets and wonders. Having played Disharmony, though, it's the AI and balance improvements that I'm anticipating the most. Hopefully they'll do a lot to fix existing problems with the expansion's new faction, The Harmony, who are an interesting idea let down by some pretty severe penalties that make them a chore to effectively play.



The Search for Auriga is due out next month. In addition to their continued development of Endless Space, Amplitude are also working on two other games set in the same universe, Endless Legend and Dungeon of the Endless.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

What was behind the door? More doors, basically.

The endless endlessness, it never ends! In the beginning, there was Endless Space, and it was endlessly space-y. Recently, we also told you of Endless Legend, which is another 4X strategy set in the same universe, only all fantasy-fied. But let’s not forget about Dungeon of the Endless, which Amplitude teased shortly before getting sucked into the time-distorting, endlessly cacophonous Gamescom hypehole. At that point, all we had to go on was a rather painfully un-endless trailer, which cut off right before we found out what was HASHTAG BEHIND THE DOOR WOOOOOOO. But now… oh, now we know. And I can guarantee that you will be shocked and surprised probably>.

(more…)

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