Community Announcements - Nyphur
A full dev update blog with screenshots and in-depth details on everything in this update will be released hopefully tomorrow, along with plans for the final steps to get Predestination feature-complete and finish off the UI as quickly as possible.

Singleplayer Missions:
The vast majority of development time on this update has been spent on implementing the Singleplayer Mission system, a robust and highly moddable framework for creating story content within Predestination that we'll be using to deliver episodic story missions and interesting challenge maps in regular free updates after release.

The first mission (which is now live) tells the story of the Kazzir space race and functions partly as a hands-off tutorial by guiding the player through the Pre-Warp era of the game. For more detailed information on the mission framework and the Kazzir mission, or to give your feedback on either, please head over to The Official Singleplayer Mission Feedback Thread.

  • Implemented Singleplayer Missions. Each mission contains a set of mission Stages, each of which contains a list of objectives to complete to trigger the stage's completion.
  • Implemented Objectives code. This uses reflection to look up a variable within the game and checks it against the supplied value. Objectives can be optional or mandatory, and a failed mandatory objective will trigger the stage's failure condition.
  • Implemented Stage Triggers. On failure or success of a stage, it can then trigger either another mission stage, a victory or loss sequence, or a Conversation. This allows you to have brnaching storyline missions where failure of a stage can lead you to different dialogue and missions rather than just failing the whole mission.
  • Implemented Conversations. These are animated sequences featuring characters from any race in the mission (can be your own) or even just images loaded from the mission folder. The characters talk about something, and the player can at certain points be offered a choice between multiple alternative responses. The selected response can branch the conversation off into a different direction, cause a stat boost or penalty, grant a free technology from a special mission technologies file, or trigger a particular mission stage.
  • Implemented special mission technologies. This is a separate list of special mission-exclusive technologies that don't appear in the tech list, but can be granted to you by mission Conversations. These can be used as rewards for picking a certain dialogue option or mission objective. For example, a mission could ask you to pick your governmental policy for the next ten years and give you three options that give different stat boosts.
  • Implemented mission tech tree overrides. Each mission is loaded from its own specific folder. Singleplayer missions can detect technology files in their mission directory and load them instead of the standard technologies. This allows full customisation of the tech trees for each mission.
  • Implemented mission sequences. Each mission begins with a slideshow-type sequence just like the intro or victory sequences, with optional music and voice narration. This then gives way to the mission, which can start either with the first Stage active or by jumping into a Conversation. This is a pretty versatile system, for example the Kazzir mission's start sequence is simply a black screen saying "Loading Mission..." and it jumps straight into the first conversation to get the story started.
  • Implemented GalaxySetupData.txt. This allows you to specify the exact galaxy setup you want this mission to use. You can specify all of the galaxy parameters, whether to use a static or random seed, timers for temporal rifts / revenant attacks / legendary leaders (more info below), whether to make the map 2D or 3D, whether to start in the Pre-Warp or Space Exploration stage, whether to add the Revenant planet, whether to disable wormholes or not, and how many AI are in the game with you (including 0 if you want none).
  • Implemented new race setup system. GalaxySetupData.txt allows you to specify which races are in the mission, but also allows you to make changes to those races and their homeworlds through a new race setup system. You can specify the government type, leader name, which damaged ship to start with (or none if you want to remove it), how many cargo containers and crash survivors are scattered around your planet to be found, how many of a specific resource are on the planet, and how many of a specific resource are within 6 hexes of your starting city. For example, the Kazzir mission has no damaged ship, no crashed ships, and no survivors on the planet as it's a pre-temporal-disaster story.
  • Implemented MissionData.txt. This is where all of the mission stages and objectives are defined,
  • Implemented hidden objectives. Objectives can be marked as hidden to hide them from the player, which has multiple uses. You can have multiple stages active at a time and only trigger the win condition when all are complete by having a hidden control variable that checks if the other missions are complete too. You could have a hidden bonus with additional points awarded for completing a secret objective. Or you could make the story suddenly take a twist by having a conversation pop up in response to something you did, for example building a nuclear power plant after being threatened by another race not to build one.
  • Implemented timed objectives. Some objectives can have turn limits, after which if you haven't completed the objective then the stage's failure mechanism is triggered. They can also be set up as Survival objectives where you have to last for the specified number of turns without fulfilling the condition, for example surviving for 100 turns without losing more than 10 ships.
  • Implemented mission UI. This dropdown style UI displays information on all active mission stages and objectives. Each stage and objective can be expanded for further info and to track your progress, and there are tick boxes to show successful objectives or failed optional objectives. A failed mandatory objective will cause the stage's failure condition to trigger and deactivate the mission stage.
  • Implemented mission saving/loading. Singleplayer mission status and progress is now saved to the save game file and picks up where you left off upon loading.
  • Implemented GameStatistics class. This records a variety of stats and gives access to various useful objects such as the player's homeworld, and is intended to be used with the Singleplayer Mission Objective code, which uses reflection to look up variables to see if you've met the objective.
  • Temporal Rifts, Legendary Commanders, and Revenant Attacks can each be switched off in the singleplayer mission parameters file by deleting the relevant commands or commenting them out.

  • Added the ability for a singleplayer mission to disable the default ship designs so you have to build from the designs it gives you or create your own.
  • Implemented the ability to load custom ship designs for a singleplayer mission straight from the mission directory.
  • Implemented the ability to load custom tech trees for missions, including custom starting techs, ancient techs, synergies, and race-specific tech overrides.
  • Implemented the ability to load custom buildings, infrastructure, ship modules, and ship weapons for missions.
  • Implemented a new system for defining race-specific technologies that replace certain techs in the tech tree. This is used to replace the Kazzir's Entertainment Centre with a new Broadcast Tower infrastructure.
  • Implemented the Memory Events system that can remember key choices you make throughout your singleplayer campaign so they can be used in future missions. This is used at the end of the Kazzir mission.
  • Implemented a special mission-only technology list that can be given out to the player depending on which options they select in the mission conversation dialogues. This allows us to attach special rewards and bonuses to your choices and unlock specific ship techs and designs with certain choices.
  • Mission completion status is now saved in a file in the user's save directory. Right now we just display a tick next to the Singleplayer Mission button to indicate that the mission has been completed, but this will be used in the Main menu overhaul to provide more info on each mission that has been completed or unlocked.
  • Implemented the ability to load custom shaders for singleplayer missions for the conversation system. This is used in the Kazzir mission to show the distorted United Colonies signal.
  • Improved the Conversation system to be able to trigger a victory screen or end the mission at any time. This allows us to do branching storylines with different endings rather than having all story threads meet up at the same ending.
  • Added the ability to add some extra text to the Conversation screen when displaying your dialogue choices. We use this in the Kazzir mission to let the user know when his choices will be remembered in a future mission.
  • Added the dialogue text from our writer to The Kazzir Story mission and trimmed it to fit within the screen.
  • Added the ability to have gold deposits on the homeworld as a racial trait, and used it in the Kazzir mission.



    Morale/Health/Security V2.0
    Feedback from the recent Health/Security/Morale system update has been mixed, and players pointed out that it felt quite random and often difficult to manage. We went back and took a long hard look at this system and decided that the previous implementation was better, so we've gone back to the pre-0.9.6.0 version and then iterated on that with some changes and improvements. The short version is that Health and Security now show what percentage of your population is covered by those services and Morale is now a flat percentage, and planets can now acquire permanent bonuses to Health, Security and Morale through random events. A series of escalating disasters will hit you if you let Health or Security drop below 75% or morale drop below 50%, and some spy missions etc disrupt those stats.

  • Morale has been changed back to the way it was before 0.9.6.0. It's now a flat planet-wide value between 0% and 100%, decreasing based on your tax rate and increasing from Entertainment Centres and various technologies.
  • Health rating has been changed back to the way it was before 0.9.6.0, but with some tweaks. The rating is now a percentage between 0% and 100% indicating how much of the planet's population has medical cover. Each Hospital increases medical cover by 2,000 population, and various technologies increase it further.
  • Security rating has been changed back to the way it was before 0.9.6.0, but with similar tweaks to the health system. The rating is now a percentage between 0% and 100% indicating how much of the planet's population has security cover. Each Police Station increases security cover by 2,000 population, and various technologies increase it further.
  • The Loyalty stat has been completely removed from the game. Its role is now played by Morale, if you let it hit 0.
  • The Entertainment Centre is now a piece of planetary infrastructure rather than a building inside the city, and has been buffed from +10% morale to +20%. This makes more sense as morale is a planet-wide stat and different sizes of planet have different numbers of cities.
  • Morale below 100% now reduces the combat rating of the cities on the planet in response to enemy ground troops by (100-morale). E.g. morale of 75% will give -25 combat rating. This is a significant enough penalty that players should want to avoid more than -10 to -30% when at war, and will want to use Propaganda Transmitters.
  • Health coverage below 100% now reduces the population growth rate of the planet by (100-health)%. E.g. A 75% health rating will reduce population growth by 25% (40/turn would become 30/turn). This isn't a huge problem, but health disasters of escalating severity begin to be triggered below 75%, 50%, and 25%.
  • Security coverage below 100% now reduces the planet's economy by (100-security)%. E.g. A 75% security rating will reduce a GDP of 100BC/turn by 25% to 75BC/turn. As with health, disasters of escalating severity begin below 75%, 50%, and 25% security.
  • Added a new system of permanent planetary bonuses or penalties to Morale, Security, and Health. The homeworld starts off with +10 to each and all planets start off with +2000 health and Security coverage so your first city is safe, and further bonuses or penalties can be accrued through random events.
  • Redesigned all of the Disasters that trigger on low morale/health/security to provide options that may permanently raise or lower the planet's stat by 10 points.
  • Captured planets now suffer from a flat -40% morale penalty that you have to deal with, either by building entertainment centres or dropping your global tax rate.
  • Added the Mind Control technology, which eliminates the -40% morale penalty for conquered planets and allows the Psionic Flux Phaser to be used in planetary bombardment. When used to bomb a city, the Psionic Flux Phaser immediately mind controls the population with no resistance regardless of any ground troops. This is a very powerful endgame technology in the Galactic Domination stage of the Sociology tree.
  • Added a new Morale disaster for when morale hits 0 in which the planet attempts to leave your empire. Options include allowing them to leave, pacify by force, and granting a civilian government. This new civilian government option cuts the planet's tax and productivity and puts an AI in control of it, but allows it to remain in your empire.
  • Added new disasters for conquered planets with morale below 50%, where Rebels can plant bombs to obliterate farms, ore refineries, or a whole city.
  • Added a new disaster for captured planets in which a freedom fighter re-captures one of the cities.
  • The Tax Office has been re-branded as the Housing Office. It still increases taxable economic wealth by 25% in the city, but now reduces the combat rating of that city by -20 rather than changing planetary morale. This seems more sensible as morale is a planet-wide stat.
  • Warlords such as the Z'loq now get -5 Morale for each city on the planet without a military barracks.
  • Nuclear power plants now reduce the planet's health coverage by 2,000 population.
  • Crimewatch tech now provides +5 morale for each city with a police station
  • The Sabotage Computers spy mission now reduces Security coverage by 8,000 citizens while active, and periodically attempts to shut down farms, refineries, or research labs for 10 turns. The security hit makes this mission's success rate higher than usual if the planets' security is low enough that it drops below 100% security coverage.
  • The Incite Civil Unrest mission now reduces Morale on the planet by 40%. The mission will be augmented in a future update to periodically cause a riot disaster, which can cost the enemy money to handle or even permanently reduce planetary morale. At the moment, this is only achieved if the planet's morale drops below 50%.
  • Adjusted the warning section of the planetary resource graphs etc to give more information. It now also explains the penalties for low health, security, and morale.
  • Propaganda transmitters no longer affect races you have an Alliance with. They still affect those you have a Peace treaty with as it's considered a covert action and the enemy race cannot discern where it's coming from.
  • The Tax window now gives an orange warning if any planets will have below 100% morale with the selected tax rate, and red warning if any will be below 50% morale.
  • Adjusted all technologies and Galactic Council resolutions involving Morale, Security, and Health to provide +10, +20, and +30 bonuses rather than +1/2/3 per turn.




    Robotic Race Overhaul:
    The Robotic race archetype still had several organic-based technologies in its tech trees and some options such as the Forge Services turned out to be extremely micromanagement-heavy. We've solved this by adding new Robotic-only technologies that unlock Forge Services, and overhauling how the forge services work. There are now three construction options (Construct Citizens, Deconstruct Citizens, and Construct Seed Ship), and four toggleable Forge Patches (Virus Scanner, Spy Scanner, Distributed Computing, and Bytecoin Mining) which consume energy per turn to run. We've also added some new endgame technologies for the Robotic races, such as a powerful new power plant and food source that requires Toxic planets.

  • Added a new Forge Construction: Seed Ship technology that adds the ability to construct a seed ship to the forge build options. This turns 2,000 population and 5,000 metal into a special colony ship with no warp drive.
  • Removed the Forge Patch options that were activated manually and replaced them with four new options, only one of which can be toggled on at a time and all of which are unlocked by technologies:
  • Forge Patch - Virus Scan: +50 security when toggled on. Costs 50 energy/turn to run this program.
  • Forge Patch - Spy Scan: +50 spy defense when toggled on. Costs 50 energy/turn to run this program.
  • Forge Patch - Mine ByteCoin: +1 BC per 2,000 population when toggled on. Costs 100 energy/turn to run this program.
  • Forge Patch - Distributed Computing: +1 RP per 2,000 population when toggled on. Costs 100 energy/turn to run this program.
  • Robotic races are now affected by morale bonuses and penalties (e.g. Propaganda transmitters), but cannot be taxed or research the Entertainment Centre. They instead get -10% morale for each city with no Support Center to encourage you to expand slowly on new planets.
  • Robotic AI will now correctly build the Support Center in every city once they have it. This is optional for players as Robotic races can function fine with negative morale down to -50, but morale penalties now decrease combat rating and propaganda can cause it to dip below 50%.
  • When on the planet screen as a Robotic race, the economy stats displayed no longer include Citizen tax and now include Bytecoin Mining.
  • Renamed all Design Enhancement technologies to Upgrade instead, as it's shorter and makes more sense.
  • Replaced Bio-Engineered Crops technology for Robotic races with Radiogenic Power Plant, a new power plant that consists of a modified Gas Harvester which draws in radiogenic particles from the atmosphere of Toxic planets and generates 200MW of power
  • Replaced Cybernetics technology for robotic races with Radiogenic Fuel Pellets. Unlocks the Radiogenic Fuel Pellet Factory infrastructure, which produces 4000 fuel pellets per turn and can only be built on toxic worlds inhabited by a robotic race.
  • Replaced Android Citizens technology for Robotic races with The Cloud, which allows your citizens to exist within a virtual data cloud and control multiple robotic bodies as needed. This doubles the number of citizens that can be built on all planets across your empire.




    Misc Features and Changes:
  • Temporal Rifts, Legendary Commanders, and Revenant Attacks now all happen on timer systems so that they happen regularly throughout the game rather than just being random. Revenant Attacks can also be switched off for sandbox games using the galaxy creation menu as below.
  • Added a new "Revenant Attack" slider to the New Game galaxy creation screen that varies the strength and frequency of revenant attacks. Options are: Small, Average, Large, Insane, and Off. (Small produces a 50% strength revenant attack every 90-110 turns, Average produces a 100% strength attack every 115-135 turns, Large produces a 200% strength attack every 140-160 turns, and Insane produces a 200% strength attack every 40-60 turns.)
  • The planet interface now remembers which tab was selected when you zoom in and out of the planet, and remembers where each of the tabs' scroll bars were.
  • Improved the tooltips for all the race stats on the Race Select screen
  • Improved the graphics on the Race Select screen by using the race logos instead of text and changing the bar image
  • Added capability to have ships with no FTL drives. These have red text saying "No FTL" on the system window and are left behind if you try to move them from one system to another.
  • Replaced the combat type damaged ship with a new more powerful ship with shields, armour plating, lasers, and mass drivers but no FTL drive. This should help it stay useful later into the game.
  • Increased the Fleet Combat field size when a large fleet is involved, and placed them further apart.
  • Temporal Rifts can now spawn on maps with no AI races. This could not happen in a standard game but could in singleplayer missions with no AI.
  • Updated the Planet AI to take into account the need to build Entertainment Center infrastructures to keep the tax rate comfortably at ~40%.
  • Homeworlds can now generate with additional deposits of resources specifically near the first city or elsewhere on the planet. This can be from either a racial trait or a singleplayer map generation parameter.
  • Planets now generate fewer ore deposits, but the deposits that are generated are larger and less random (2-4 times mineral roll, plus 1 times mineral roll in deep core deposits).
  • Toxic planets now generate more gas deposits and fewer ore deposits.
  • Coal now generates in small groups deposits on any planet that has it, rather than isolated single deposits. Planets with lots of coal may have it split over more than one deposit.
  • Cleanup: Removed old code for disease outbreaks, rioting and radiation on planets. We've re-built these things as Disaster events with immediate consequences.
  • Cities now get +1 ground troop per 1000 population, or +1 per 500 population for Warlords. This is worked out using an even distribution of population proportionally across all cities.
  • Added new Ship Module passive effects to increase Security, Tax income, and max population to a planet.
  • Galaxies now generate 1 nebula per size category, regardless of galaxy age (1 for Tiny, 2 for Small, 3 in Medium, 4 in Large, and 5 in Huge). The size of the galaxies on larger maps have been slightly reduced to compensate, and Nebulae can now contain homeworlds. A fix was previously put in to prevent homeworlds in nebulae from being re-generated and accidentally annihilating a race at the start of the game.
  • Shipyards will now pause if there is no metal available due to colonies upgrading blueprints. Colonies are now always prioritised over the shipyard.
  • Shipyards will now pause if there aren't enough command points remaining to build the ship.
  • Replaced the ugly stat list on the System window's Stats tab with shiny icons
  • The City Stats window when zoomed into a city now draws starbases or other pieces of infrastructure with orbital ships attached by drawing the ship rather than the building. No more giant orbital tether sprawling across the screen!
  • Improved the diplomatic advisor reports to be more specific about how much a deal is in your favour or the enemy's, and separately to judge whether they'll accept it. For example, if a deal is clearly weighted toward you but you have positive favour with the race, they may accept it anyway.
  • The Homing Beacon Initiative now provides only a 33% increase in legendary leader spawn rate, down from 50%. This now stacks with the Charismatic trait (not currently used by any race yet).
  • When exiting the Shipyard Screen, if you were previously on the Planet Screen then the game will open the planet again rather than the Galaxy screen.
  • Cleaned up all of the Level creation code and split it into generation and cleanup methods that can be invoked separately. This allows me to create levels via other means (e.g. singleplayer missions) and then perform all of the Level creation cleanup manually.
  • AI races are now slightly more inclined to annoy each other and declare war on each other if they think they have the advantage. This will need to be looked at a little more closely as I implement the Diplomatic Demand AI.
  • Added new ini options tooltipAnimationFramesClose and tooltipAnimationFramesOpen so now they open faster than the tutorial windows.
  • All Disaster events now provide a short immunity to further disasters happening in your empire and a longer immunity to that specific type of disaster happening again. This should make them less frequent and annoying while maintaining them as punishments for running a poor empire.
  • The Habitation Module is now a non-combat starbase module that provides living space for 2,000 population, +4 BC/turn and +20 planetary morale. If it ever gets destroyed, the planet it was stationed on will suffer a permanent -20% morale penalty. Unlocks the Starbase (City) design.
  • Technologies can now contain a variety of Stat bonuses rather than just enabling pre-defined boolean flag that causes the stat increase. E.G. The +10 ground combat increase from Combat Boosters could now be done directly by specifying "Stat = GroundCombat, 10". This is used primarily for special singleplayer mission techs.

  • Added a copy of the Renegades ship parts under the Kazzir race files. This will slightly increase the loading times, but solves a wide variety of bugs and needs to be done before we can add the final Kazzir ship parts anyway.
  • Added the Ship Module ability to generate a flat amount of money per turn. Previously this multiplied for every planet in the system, which was wrong.
  • Reduced the impact of diplomacy actions on a race's favour, both for positive and negative reactions. Positive reactions reduced from 25% of net score to 10%, and negative reduced from 6% when extremely offended and 2% when offended to 5% and 1% respectively.
  • Damaged Colony Ship now gives +10 Health and Security so that it can handle the extra 2,000 population it stores without causing difficulty.
  • When exiting the Shipyard Screen, the game now remembers if you were at a planet or on the galaxy screen and re-opens the last screen you were on.




    Bug-fixes:
  • Fixed a bug causing tooltips to get stuck in a loop of rapidly opening and closing sometimes.
  • Fixed a bug preventing the Upgrade button from appearing on tiered buildings when zoomed into the city.
  • Fixed a bug with tutorial popups sometimes getting stuck on the diplomacy screen
  • Fixed a bug causing planet mineral deposits to be re-rolled differently depending on when you first open the planet. It was accidentally using the global random number generator rather than the planet seed.
  • Fixed a related bug causing extra Fertile Soil and Fish deposits to be generated on a planet using the global number generator rather than the planet seed.
  • Fixed a bug causing Gas Harvesters to get research points from gas other than Xenon.
  • Fixed a bug with the food bonuses from technologies not always applying if you have a racial bonus (e.g. Renegades)
  • Fixed a bug causing the planet's stats to not update immediately when you demolished a building.
  • Modified the nebular graphics to prevent a strange washed out effect that could sometimes be seen in the middle of some of them.
  • Fixed a bug causing ship weapons with ammo to magically refill on entering fleet combat or performing any action that refreshed its stats such as saving and loading. Ammo status is now maintained across weapon refreshes.
  • Fixed a bug where certain galaxy parameters were being set on a temporary galaxy during map creation rather than the actual galaxy being generated. This didn't cause any noticeable effects on gameplay, but was spotted when it caused problems for singleplayer missions using non-default options for some galaxy parameters.
  • Stars that visibly appear to be inside a nebula should now correctly recognise that they are in a nebula. This mostly affected Primordial age maps with their giant nebulae.
  • Fixed a number of instances of text misalignment in dialog boxes.
  • Fixed a rare bug that could happen after the Victory sequence played that caused the screen to just go black rather than quitting back to the main menu.
  • Fixed a small bug with the height of the Trade Route window, which would make it so you couldn't scroll down the whole list in the System Window for a star system with a large number of trade routes.
  • Fixed a crash if you attempted to sve a new ship design with the Save button instead of Save As. The Save button should be grayed out, but sometimes was not.
  • The AI will no longer attack your planets if the attack fleet was in transit when a peace agreement was reached.
  • Fixed a small bug causing the Revenant ships to sometimes get stuck in a star system because something happened to the planet they were on their way to attack.
  • Fixed a bug causing the Food starbase to use the Energy starbase design.
  • Fixed robotic AI accidentally setting a tax rate
  • Race-specific technologies are no longer considered equivalent to a technology which is functionally identical but belongs to another race. E.G. All races have a tech that gives +10 Spy Bonus but for Robotic races it's called Predictive Algorithms and for organic races it's called Psionics. Previously the game thought these were the same tech and allowed you to trade Predictive Algorithms to a humanoid race, grant them Psionics. This is no longer possible.
  • Fixed bug preventing the plural demonym of races from being loaded. Functionally, this made no difference as it wasn't used anywhere until now.
  • Fixed a bug causing some technologies to be incorrectly classified as race-locked techs just because they had been moved around in the race's tech override files.
  • Fixed a number of small mistakes in the tutorials, and updated a few of the tutorial text files with new information.
  • Fixed a bug in the Robotic tech trees where Bytanium Battle Armour didn't link to one of the techs it was supposed to.
  • Fixed one of the premade frigate ship designs having Asteroid Miners attached instead of fake cosmetic ones.
  • Fixed a bug where tooltips would display for elements that are currently invisible. Sprites drawn with an alpha of over 0 were being drawn even if the supplied colour had an alpha of 0, which caused the game to think they were still visible and pop up tooltips on mouseover.
  • Fixed a crash that could happen if a singleplayer mission limited the tech eras to pre-warp only.
  • Fixed a bug where clicks could go through the Diplomacy screen and into the Galaxy screen behind it in rare circumstances, allowing you to hit the End Turn button accidentally.
  • Fixed a strange bug that could allow the diplomacy event queue to persist through load game calls and even new level creation, leading to some strange effects and even crashes. This was extremely rare, and I'd be surprised if anyone encountered this bug in the wild.
  • Fixed bug where the AI wouldn't evaluate all races until the 2nd turn after creating or loading the game.
  • Fixed bug causing the game to only attempt to save or load the game once. Now it retries a few times if something goes wrong rather than just crashing immediately.

    **Truncated bug list due to length. Full patch notes are available in the official Development Tracker thread**

    Cheers,
    -- Brendan, Lead Developer
Community Announcements - Nyphur



For the past few months we’ve been working on some big features and AI upgrades for Predestination, which have now been deployed as Update V0.9.6.0. This update includes the Spying gameplay and its associated technologies, advanced new weapons designed by some of our Kickstarter backers, planetary resource distribution improvements, and a brand new War AI system that intelligently selects targets and wages war against enemy nations. Also included in this update is a revised version of the morale, security and health systems, robotic race improvements, Galaxy AI improvements, and a huge number of bug-fixes and other changes.

This update paves the way for us to start work on the final major features for the game before we are feature-complete: The first episodic storyline mission, mission-modding capabilities, and the unfinished Fleets and Planets dropdown menus. We’re working hard on getting these features complete as quickly as possible and will be deploying them as V0.9.7.0, and after that all we should have left before we’re at the main version 1.0 release is content such as additional races of ship models, more random events and disasters, some new technologies, Kickstarter backer content, and UI improvements. At the same time, we can focus on polishing and iterating based on your feedback and get ready for the main launch and to get started on free post-release updates.

In this dev update, I’ll go into detail on everything in version 0.9.6.0 and talk a little about what’s coming in 0.9.7.0.





We discussed the spying gameplay in detail back in July, when we decided to move it from the planned features list into the main game release due to popular demand. The Spying gameplay is now live in 0.9.6.0 and is mostly the same as what was previously announced, with a few mechanics changing from the previous plan. The old system required you to send spies on individual missions, which turned out to be very micromanagement-heavy and easy to lose track of and had to be re-designed to be more passive.

In the final implementation, you still pay 100 BC to insert a spy from a spy ship into a city, and you still pick which mission you want the spies on that planet to attempt. Each mission now costs a certain amount of money per turn instead of a lump sum, and your spies continually attempt that mission until you switch missions or they are caught. To support this, we’ve combined several of the missions together to make the choice more logical:
  • Hide: “Infiltrate the planet and lay low awaiting further orders. All spies gain +1 infiltration rating each turn, with the possibility of establishing contact with criminal and subversive elements in the target planet’s society for a surprise 25% bonus once every 10 turns.” This is the default mission and costs 0 BC/turn.
  • Hack Computers: “Hack the planet’s computer systems to steal important data. Spies may steal the enemy’s maps of the planet, money from the treasury, research points from the scientific network, or even complete technologies.”
  • Sabotage Computers: “Introduce a virus into the planet’s computer systems, disrupting planetary activities. This may destroy research points, shut down infrastructure, reduce planetary morale, reduce the planet’s health rating, or reduce the planet’s security rating.”
  • Plant Bombs: “Attempt to plant bombs inside cities, buildings, infrastructure, starbases, and ships in orbit of the planet. This mission carries the increased risk that the spy may blow himself up in the destruction.”
  • Incite Civil Unrest: “Attempt to incite civil unrest and rebellion among the population, reducing the morale and security ratings of the planet temporarily. If the planet’s loyalty rating drops low enough, the planet may even defect to your empire”
  • Assassinate Leader: “Attempt to assassinate the legendary planet leader currently stationed on this planet.”


Above is the user interface for spying, showing two infiltrated spies and some of the missions available, along with their costs per turn and estimated chances of success. The spy will attempt his mission every 10-25 turns and a failed mission has a 25% chance to result in your spy being caught and killed by the enemy security forces. A caught spy will cause a diplomatic incident, costing you favour with the enemy race, treaties to be cancelled, and even war to be declared if your favour is low enough. We’ve also added some new spying technologies as part of this update:
  • Atomiser Implant: Spies are equipped with an implant that completely atomises the body on death and leaves no trace. If your spies are caught during a mission, the enemy race will not be able to prove that the spy belonged to your race and there will be no negative diplomatic actions.
  • Computer Hacking: Spies can be trained in advanced computer hacking techniques, providing a +20 bonus to the Hack Computers spy mission and a +20 bonus to defense against enemy hacks. A successful hack attempt will steal planetary maps, money, research points, and even full technologies.
  • Spy Satellite: The Spy Satellite probe is an unmanned stealth probe fitted with an FTL drive and advanced camera equipment. It can be installed in orbit of an enemy planet in order to perform surveillance spy tasks and give your spies a +50 bonus to all spy actions for 100 turns.
  • Neural Interface: The Neural Interface ship module allows a ship’s captain to directly interface with the ship’s systems, doubling the bonuses provided by any Legendary Captain aboard the ship. Spies can also use this technology to access computer systems more effectively, giving a +10 bonus to all spying actions.
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This patch included an overhaul of terraforming weapons and several new ship weapons and modules designed by our Kickstarter backers, plus a few changes to existing weapons. The Plasma Mine Layer was a little bit rubbish as the AI just avoids them, so we improved it to deploy a small field of mines instead of just one at a time so you can surround a ship in mines or use them to block off an area.

We’ve added the Titan ship hull to the game, which is now the largest ship hull in the game with 1350 base armour, 2100 base power output. A larger Dreadnought ship hull size was originally planned but it didn’t fit the current technology progression and wasn’t very practical to build or control in Fleet Combat, so we removed it and buffed the Titan instead. Below is information on all of the new ship weapons and modules:
  • Plasma Storm Bomb: Reduced from 200 damage to 100 and added the secondary effect of creating Electrodynamic storms in the planet’s atmosphere, making it impossible to run any factories and ore refineries for 5 turns. This can help you stop an enemy from rebuilding as you lay siege to his planet.
  • Empulsor Device: An Electromagnetic Pulse device powered by an anti-matter reaction and designed for planetary bombardment. The Empulsor bomb can be dropped anywhere on a planet and will immediately shut down all infrastructure and orbital structures on the planet for the next two turns. The device gives off harmful radiation and is only suitable for use on unmanned warp-capable missiles.
  • Disassembler Bomb: The Disassembler Bomb contains a breed of destructive nanites enclosed in a standard bomb casing. When used to bombard an enemy city, the nanites seek out and disassemble a piece of infrastructure connected to the city, turning it back into raw materials. Half of the metal used to build the structure is reclaimed by the planet’s owner.
  • Graviton Field Emitter: By shunting high-energy plasma through a sustained graviton emitter, the Graviton Field Emitter ship weapon creates an uncontrolled graviton field on the battlefield. The field deals 20 damage to all ships in its area of effect each turn, slows all ships in its area of effect, and lasts until the end of combat.
  • Proto-Wormhole Generator: By interleaving two opposing graviton fields, the Proto-Wormhole Generator ship weapon causes a localised spatial displacement, sending any ship in the selected hex to a random unoccupied position on the battlefield. The weapon has to cool down for 3 combat rounds between uses.
  • Quantum Destabiliser: The Quantum Destabiliser uses a modified tractor beam to scramble the enemy ship at the molecular level, causing components to fuse and short circuit. The beam deals 10 damage directly to a ship’s armour, bypassing any shields, and increases by 10 damage each turn until the target ship is destroyed or the beam is terminated. Each Quantum Destabiliser weapon can be active on only a single ship at a time.
  • Psionic Flux Phaser: The Psionic Flux Phaser is a ship weapon that uses psionic frequencies to transmit thoughts and propaganda directly into the minds of enemy crewmen, disorienting them during the battle and causing them to make mistakes. The affected ship’s engines, weapons, or shields will be disabled for 3 turns.
  • Fleet Heart: The Fleet Heart is a power-hungry ship module that uses quantum entanglement to link together the computers of every ship in a fleet and share sensor data in realtime. Every ship in the fleet benefits from +20% damage and a +10% chance to dodge incoming attacks while a ship carrying a Fleet Heart is operational. Only one Fleet Heart can be fitted to a ship, and the effects of multiple Fleet Hearts in the same fleet don’t stack.
  • Habitation Module: Contains living space, hydroponic farms, and facilities for 2,000 citizens. When stationed in a friendly star system, the self-contained miniature city will produce 4 BC, 50 metal for one planet in the star system, and +10 morale for all planets in the system each turn. If it ever gets destroyed then you’ll suffer a -20% morale hit on all planets across your empire.

Terraforming weapon overhaul:
  • Dessication Device (Reptilian Only): The Dessication Device is a low-yield bomb that introduces a self-replicating crystalline structure into the oceans of the target world, where it absorbs water and locks it away underground to reduce the sea levels. The planet’s climinate will become 10% closer to Desert status, making it more habitable for Reptilian species and less habitable Humanoid, Aquatic, and Robotic races.
  • Liquefaction Device (Aquatic Only): The Liquefaction Device is a low-yield bomb that spreads catalytic nanoparticles throughout the atmosphere of a habitable planet, combining free oxygen and hydrogen into water in order to raise the sea levels. The planet’s climinate will become 10% closer to Ocean status, making it more habitable for Aquatic species and less habitable Humanoid, Reptilian, and Robotic races.
  • Weather Stabiliser (Humanoid Only): The Weather Stabiliser is a low-yield bomb that spreads biological catalysts throughout the upper thermosphere of a habitable planet to stabilise the planet’s weather patterns and promote diverse ecologies. The planet’s climate will become 10% closer to Terran status, making it more habitable for Humanoid species and less habitable Aquatic, Reptilian, and Robotic races.
  • Smogger Bomb (Robotic Only): The Smogger is a low-yield bomb that spreads light-blocking particles of carbon soot and dust throughout the atmosphere of the target planet, reducing the global temperature and attempting to trigger an early ice age. The planet’s climate will become 10% closer to Ice status, making it more habitable for Robotic species and less habitable Aquatic, Reptilian, and Humanoid races.
  • Genesis Device: A metastable biological catalyst in a standard bomb casing, capable of completely wiping out all life on a planet and re-generating it as a paradise for your species. The Genesis Device can be launched at any planet, instantly transforming it into a Terran world and destroying all structures. The Genesis Device is a single-use warhead that can only be fitted to warp-capable Missiles. Use of this device on colonised planets may incur a diplomatic penalty with other races.


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Every part of Predestination’s gameplay has an accompanying artificial intelligence module that makes decisions using the same kinds of criteria that a player would use, and the interplay between these AI modules often leads to unexpected emergent results. When we implemented the War AI system we found that the AI sometimes made some odd decisions such as asking for peace with a race shortly after declaring war on them, or two races both invading each other’s planets rather than defending what they’ve already got.

Complex AI is tricky to debug, but after spending some time setting up in-game scenarios to test the AI’s reactions, we managed to figure out what was causing most of these odd quirks and solved them with a new AI Goal system that operates in distinct phases. All races start with the goal of expanding their empire rapidly and then later switch to other goals depending on the circumstances that they find themselves in. The AI continually re-assesses its military strength, diplomatic relationships, and empire metrics compared to the other races in the game and makes its decision on what goal it should pursue based on that. The five goals it can use are:
  • Expand: This is the default AI goal and instructs the race to prioritise outward exploration and expanding into new star systems. This is analogous to the Explore and Expand phases of a typical 4X game.
  • Consolidate: Prioritises colonisation of suitable planets in star systems you’ve already colonised, and building up all of the existing planets. The Consolidate goal is typically triggered by other races encroaching on the AI’s territory, and is analogous to the Expand and Exploit phases of a typical 4X game.
  • Diplomacy: Prioritises diplomatic contact and advancing its race’s technology and status within the galaxy rather than simple expansion and colonisation. This goal also includes building up more military defences to act as pressure in diplomacy, and is analogous to the Exploit and Exterminate phases of a typical 4X game. The AI currently only does simulated diplomatic deals with each other and not with the player, but this is coming in a future update.
  • Defend: Prioritises building up military defences and slow down its colonisation. It’s often triggered by the presence of a more powerful race threatening the AI’s borders and is analogous to the Exploit and Exterminate phases of a typical 4X game.
  • Conquer: Prioritises declaring war on another race and invading its planets, as well as building military defences and attack ships. This goal is typically triggered when a race has assessed that it’s more powerful than the other races in the game, and is analogous to the Exterminate phase of a typical 4X game.
Giving the AI these overarching goals that influence its behaviour in all aspects of the game was enough to make their gameplay a lot more cohesive and player-like, and we also took the opportunity while working on this to refine some of the rules the AI uses to make its decisions. The AI now has added incentive to colonise planets with strategic resources, specials such as crashed alien ships or ancient civilisations, and star systems with wormhole connections. They also now build ships in up to 3 shipyards simultaneously rather than just building in their best shipyard and leaving the others empty, and we’ve improved how the AI values Peace and Alliance treaties. Below is a screenshot of the new AI goals and debug panel, a new tool that helps me to figure out bugs in the AI by showing some of the stats it uses in the decision-making process.



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War Declaration: The AI races now periodically assess whether they should declare war on another race using parameters such as fleet strength, strategic weaknesses in the enemy planets, their current favour level, the difficulty setting, and the personality type of the race’s randomly generated leader. The AI also now automatically declares war if you bomb their planets or attack their fleets.

Strategic Analysis: When in a war, the Strategic Analysis AI will periodically analyse the enemy planets for strategic weaknesses and compare the strength of its own fleets to the strength of your fleets and planetary defences, also taking into account all the ships that could reach the target system in time to defend against attack. It will put together fleets it thinks can defeat a target planet or fleet and dispatches them to attack.

Bombardment and Capture: The AI is now capable of bombing enemy planets and launching troops to capture them. After a successful attack on a planet, the AI will then continually bomb it until it runs out of ammo, destroys/captures the planet, has to return home to defend another planet, or is repelled by enemy forces. This can lead to long sieges and blockades if you have city shields, and the AI may dispatch additional ships or find a weaker target.

Defensive Deployment: The Defensive Deployment section of the War AI deploys an empire’s ships based on an assessment of nearby threats. It works out how many enemy ships could reach each star system, assesses the threat they pose (modified by whether they are at war or have a peace treaty or alliance) and sends enough ships to defend. This naturally tends to deploy ships around the race’s borders and concentrates them near other races they are at war with. This part of the AI was already implemented, and has now been refactored and absorbed into the War AI code.

Bid For Peace: The War AI continually re-assesses how its current wars are going and can decide to bid for peace with the enemy race. It will generate an offer that it thinks the enemy will accept, which may contain technologies and money to sweeten the deal. If the race is losing the war and it’s absolutely hopeless and they think they’re never going to be able to secure a peace treaty, they can sometimes even surrender to another race. All assets and planets are transferred over to the new race on surrendering, and a special diplomacy event announces it.



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We’ve made some improvements to how planets generate resources in response to recent feedback from the Steam discussion forums. It was pointed out that planets with higher mineral ratings had more deposits of Ore but that there was no guarantee that they would be closely grouped together so you could end up with a lot of ore refineries with 4 or fewer deposits in them. There were enough deposits to run several full-scale industrial cities, but if you ran a specialised setup with just 1-2 industrial cities those cities wouldn’t be any better than those on other worlds.

To solve this problem, we re-designed the resource distribution mechanics to group deposits together into larger clumps, so now veins of ore on mineral dense planets can now extend over a large portion of a continent. We’ve also applied this new strategy to other resources, so coal can now generate in small clusters and organic-rich planets will now roll patches of fertile soil, fish for Ocean/Swamp planets, and Land Animals for Terran planets. This will let you get more out of a planet and will also help you decide where to place cities as the resources are less spread out over a planet’s surface.



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The Morale, Security, and Health systems have been overhauled as part of implementing the Spying gameplay and War AI. In the old system, planets had flat values for each of these stats based on factors such as tax rate and buildings on the planet, and the only way to change them was to change those factors. In the new system, Morale, Security and Health are now resources that can be increased or decreased over time or reduced in chunks by special events or weapons. We’ve been following the feedback on this feature since the patch went live and are eager to hear any thoughts you have on the system after playing with it. Does it make sense, is it too chaotic, is the tax system fair, does the UI need tooltips to give a breakdown of the stats, etc?

Tax Rate: Population tax rate now decreases the morale per turn in each city by -1% per 10% tax rate. This means planets with more cities will be affected more by tax, but building one extra entertainment center per city will allow you to raise tax rates by 10%. We hope that this system is easier to work with than the previous one, but we’re open to discussion on it if it’s confusing.

Technology Changes: All technologies and buildings that affect Morale, Security and Health now have been modified to provide bonuses per turn rather than flat values. A full list of the changes can be found in the patch notes for this update on the Steam forum.

Disaster/Weapon Changes: As part of the overhaul, we’ve added new disasters that can be triggered at the 75%, 50%, and 25% levels for Morale, Security, and Health ratings. For example, minor virus outbreaks can occur at 75% health rating, widescale disease outbreaks can happen at 50%, and an epidemic can trigger when below 25%. This update also opens the door to allow tactical weapons and spy missions to cause damage directly to the Morale, Security, and Health ratings of a planet.

Planet Defections: The Loyalty stat works just the same as before, increasing by +1 per turn for each of the stats (Morale, Security and Health) above 50% and reducing by -1 per turn for each of the stats below 50%. If a planet’s Loyalty stat ever drops to 0, the planet will defect to another empire in the game.



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While developing this update, we noticed that Starforged performed quite poorly when controlled by the Galaxy AI, so we took some time out to improve the Robotic race gameplay and add some new technologies for them.  Robotic races can now build new population using only metal (no more coal/food required), and a bug preventing them from building new population when near the planetary maximum has been fixed. Robotic race AI also now use their lack of farming and residential city requirements to their advantage — building more Defense cities.

A new Robot Deconstruction technology allows you to salvage 1,000 population and get back half the metal used in their construction. We’ve also added a number of new Forge Patch technologies, which are abilities that can be activated from a planet’s Services panel and cost energy from the planet’s reserves. The “Forge Patch: Antivirus” technology increases security on the planet by a flat 20 points, and the “Forge Patch: Spy Scan” will reveal enemy spies and has a 25% chance to kill one spy.



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As part of our original Kickstarter campaign’s stretch goals, we promised to add an episodic singleplayer campaign mode and some interesting challenge maps to the game. We hope to include the very first singleplayer mission in the next major update (V0.9.7.0). We’ve already broadly designed how we’re going to implement singleplayer missions and written the first draft of the storyline, and now we’re implementing all of the mechanics along with support for modding and the remaining two dropdown menus:

Singleplayer Missions: Each singleplayer mission will be broken down into a series of Stages, each of which has a number of goals you have to achieve to progress to the next stage. Some goals will be optional but give you more victory points at the end of the mission, and others will be mandatory so you’ll fail the mission if you don’t complete them. Each stage will be prefaced with some storyline exposition or discussion with another alien race that advances the story, and we’re hoping to be able to voice act all of these either in this patch or a future release. As we discussed in the previous dev update, the story we have planned is broken down into two main story arcs — The first follows the story of each race before the Revenant war and has a mission for each race, while the second follows what happens to each of the races after being sent back in time and will contain the canonical ending for the game.

Mission-Modding: The mission system is going to load all of the relevant information for a mission from flat files within a directory in the game files. This will allow players to modify the missions or add their own easily. Mission modding will include the ability to override the game’s standard technology trees, planet leaders, ship captains, weapons, modules, etc. Mission modders will also be able to decide the spawn rules for the map, mission objectives, dialogue, and graphics.

Dropdown menus: The Planets and Fleet dropdown menu still need to be implemented, and we’re hoping to get that done for this update if possible. These dropdown menus will provide at-a-glance overviews of your planets, ships, and shipyards, and will act as shortcuts to help you navigate a sprawling empire as it grows. This feature may not be completed in V0.9.7.0, but if we make good time on the singleplayer then there may be time to implement it.

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Thanks for reading this dev update, and for your support of Predestination’s development. As always, we welcome any and all feedback on the contents of the update or the game via our Steam forum, Kickstarter/blog comments, or via email to brendan@brainandnerd.com if you’d like to keep your feedback private. We’ll be sending out the next wave of invites to Kickstarter backers who have recently requested them today. If you’re a Kickstarter backer and haven’t received your copy of the game yet but would like to get it now, send an email to earlyaccessrequest@brainandnerd.com with the email address you used on Kickstarer and we’ll send you either a Steam code or a link to the latest non-Steam DRM-free version, whichever you prefer.

Cheers,
— Brendan, Lead Developer
Community Announcements - Nyphur
Patch Notes for Spying and War mega-patch (V0.9.6.0 to V0.9.6.2, Build ID: 1499713)
Note: This is a major update with new features and makes save game files from before V0.9.6.0 incompatible.

New Weapons and Technologies:
  • Plasma Storm Bomb: Reduced from 200 damage to 100 and added the secondary effect of creating Electrodynamic storms in the planet's atmosphere, making it impossible to run any factories and ore refineries for 5 turns. This can help you stop an enemy from rebuilding as you lay siege to his planet.
  • Empulsor Device: An Electromagnetic Pulse device powered by an anti-matter reaction and designed for planetary bombardment. The Empulsor bomb can be dropped anywhere on a planet and will immediately shut down all infrastructure and orbital structures on the planet for the next two turns. The device gives off harmful radiation and is only suitable for use on unmanned warp-capable missiles.
  • Disassembler Bomb: The Disassembler Bomb contains a breed of destructive nanites enclosed in a standard bomb casing. When used to bombard an enemy city, the nanites seek out and disassemble a piece of infrastructure connected to the city, turning it back into raw materials. Half of the metal used to build the structure is reclaimed by the planet's owner.
  • Graviton Field Emitter: By shunting high-energy plasma through a sustained graviton emitter, the Graviton Field Emitter ship weapon creates an uncontrolled graviton field on the battlefield. The field deals 20 damage to all ships in its area of effect each turn, slows all ships in its area of effect, and lasts until the end of combat.
  • Proto-Wormhole Generator: By interleaving two opposing graviton fields, the Proto-Wormhole Generator ship weapon causes a localised spatial displacement, sending any ship in the selected hex to a random unoccupied position on the battlefield. The weapon has to cool down for 3 combat rounds between uses.
  • Quantum Destabiliser: The Quantum Destabiliser uses a modified tractor beam to scramble the enemy ship at the molecular level, causing components to fuse and short circuit. The beam deals 10 damage directly to a ship's armour, bypassing any shields, and increases by 10 damage each turn until the target ship is destroyed or the beam is terminated. Each Quantum Destabiliser weapon can be active on only a single ship at a time.
  • Psionic Flux Phaser: The Psionic Flux Phaser is a ship weapon that uses psionic frequencies to transmit thoughts and propaganda directly into the minds of enemy crewmen, disorienting them during the battle and causing them to make mistakes. The affected ship's engines, weapons, or shields will be disabled for 3 turns.
  • Fleet Heart: The Fleet Heart is a power-hungry ship module that uses quantum entanglement to link together the computers of every ship in a fleet and share sensor data in realtime. Every ship in the fleet benefits from +20% damage and a +10% chance to dodge incoming attacks while a ship carrying a Fleet Heart is operational. Only one Fleet Heart can be fitted to a ship, and the effects of multiple Fleet Hearts in the same fleet don't stack.
  • Habitation Module: Contains living space, hydroponic farms, and facilities for 2,000 citizens. When stationed in a friendly star system, the self-contained miniature city will produce 4 BC, 50 metal for one planet in the star system, and +10 morale for all planets in the system each turn. If it ever gets destroyed then you'll suffer a -20% morale hit on all planets across your empire.
  • Dessication Device (Reptilian Only): The Dessication Device is a low-yield bomb that introduces a self-replicating crystalline structure into the oceans of the target world, where it absorbs water and locks it away underground to reduce the sea levels. The planet's climinate will become 10% closer to Desert status, making it more habitable for Reptilian species and less habitable Humanoid, Aquatic, and Robotic races.
  • Liquefaction Device (Aquatic Only): The Liquefaction Device is a low-yield bomb that spreads catalytic nanoparticles throughout the atmosphere of a habitable planet, combining free oxygen and hydrogen into water in order to raise the sea levels. The planet's climinate will become 10% closer to Ocean status, making it more habitable for Aquatic species and less habitable Humanoid, Reptilian, and Robotic races.
  • Weather Stabiliser (Humanoid Only): The Weather Stabiliser is a low-yield bomb that spreads biological catalysts throughout the upper thermosphere of a habitable planet to stabilise the planet's weather patterns and promote diverse ecologies. The planet's climate will become 10% closer to Terran status, making it more habitable for Humanoid species and less habitable Aquatic, Reptilian, and Robotic races.
  • Smogger Bomb (Robotic Only): The Smogger is a low-yield bomb that spreads light-blocking particles of carbon soot and dust throughout the atmosphere of the target planet, reducing the global temperature and attempting to trigger an early ice age. The planet's climate will become 10% closer to Ice status, making it more habitable for Robotic species and less habitable Aquatic, Reptilian, and Humanoid races.
  • Genesis Device: This is now a super-weapon that can be used on ANY planet type. It will wipe out all life and structures on the planet and instantly transform it into a terran world. The Genesis Device is an expensive single-use warhead that can only be fitted to warp-capable Missiles.
  • Plasma Mine Layer: Modified the Plasma Mine Layer to deploy small fields of mines instead of just one at a time.
  • Neural Training Uplink: All ships start with entirely elite crew and bonus XP
  • Titan Ship Hull: The titan is now the largest ship class in the game and we've activated it for players to use. The Dreadnought ship hull size has been removed from the game as it didn't fit the technology progression in the current tech trees, caused some problems in Fleet Combat, and wasn't very practical to build anyway.


    Spying Gameplay:
    The core spying gameplay has now been implemented, as discussed in our previous development blog. In testing, we discovered that the proposed system was very micromanagement-heavy and we had to re-design it to be more passive. Now instead of spending money to send a spy on an individual mission, you pick from a variety of ongoing missions that each cost a certain amount of money/turn and periodically attempt their missions. The default option is a free mission to hide and infiltrate the planet, raising your spy's infiltration rating over time.
  • Renamed "Spy and Troop Pods" technology to "Drop Pods"
  • Added Spy Pod module and Spy Transport default ship design.
  • Added "Hide" Mission. "Infiltrate the planet and lay low awaiting further orders. All spies gain +1 infiltration rating each turn, with the possibility of establishing contact with criminal and subversive elements in the target planet's society for a surprise 25% bonus once every 10 turns."
  • Added "Hack Computers" mission. "Hack the planet's computer systems to steal important data. Spies may steal the enemy's maps of the planet, money from the treasury, research points from the scientific network, or even complete technologies."
  • Added "Sabotage Computers" mission. "Introduce a virus into the planet's computer systems, disrupting planetary activities. This may destroy research points, shut down infrastructure, reduce planetary morale, reduce the planet's health rating, or reduce the planet's security rating."
  • Added "Plant Bombs" mission. "Attempt to plant bombs inside cities, buildings, infrastructure, starbases, and ships in orbit of the planet. This mission carries the increased risk that the spy may blow himself up in the destruction."
  • Added "Incite Civil Unrest" mission. "Attempt to incite civil unrest and rebellion among the population, reducing the morale and security ratings of the planet temporarily. If the planet's loyalty rating drops low enough, the planet may even defect to your empire"
  • Added "Assassinate Leader" mission. "Attempt to assassinate the legendary planet leader currently stationed on this planet."
  • Implemented spy installation mechanics and Spying tab on the planet interface. Deploying a spy costs 100 BC and requires dropping one onto a city. This can be done even while there are ships defending the planet.
  • Implemented spy catching mechanism. On executing a mission, the spy has a chance of being caught and causing a diplomatic incident. You can lose favour, treaties can be cancelled, and it can even lead to war being declared.
  • Implemented spy outcome chance rolls. Defensive score is based on the planet's security rating and technologies, plus a difficulty factor based on the mission. The offensive roll is based on the spy's infiltration rating and spy technologies.
  • Planet Leaders can now give bonuses to defensive rolls against spies.
  • Added new Atomiser Implant technology that allows spies to kill themselves and completely destroys their body when caught, leaving no evidence that can link back to your race and eliminating the diplomatic backlash of a failed mission.
  • Added new Computer Hacking technology that provides a +20 bonus to the Hack Computers spy mission and a +20 spy defense bonus against enemy spies hacking your computers.
  • Having a spy on a planet now lets you open the planet and view its current fleet defences etc.
  • Added the Spy Satellite technology, which unlocks a special warp-capable probe that can be installed on an enemy planet through the Spy tab. The Spy Satellite provides a +50 bonus to all spy actions on that planet and lasts for 100 turns. This tech also lets you install a second spy on all planets, but we'll likely be moving that ability to new technologies and racial traits in the future.
  • Improved the Neural Interface technology by adding a +10 spy bonus to it.


    Implemented War AI:

    War Declaration: The AI now periodically assess whether they should declare war on another race using parameters such as fleet strength, strategic weaknesses in the enemy planets, their current favour level, the difficulty setting, and the personality type of the race's randomly generated leader. The AI also now automatically declares war if you bomb their planets or attack their fleets.

    Strategic Analysis: When in a war, the Strategic Analysis AI will periodically analyse the enemy planets for strategic weaknesses and compare the strength of its own fleets to the strength of your fleets and planetary defences, also taking into account all the ships that could reach the target system in time to defend against attack.

    Defensive Deployment: The Defensive Deployment section of the War AI deploys an empire's ships based on an assessment of nearby threats. It works out how many enemy ships could reach each star system, assesses the threat they pose (modified by whether they are at war or have a peace treaty or alliance) and sends enough ships to defend. This naturally tends to deploy ships around the race's borders and concentrates them near other races they are at war with.

    Bid For Peace: The War AI continually re-assesses how its current wars are going and can decide to bid for peace with the enemy race. It will generate an offer that it thinks the enemy will accept, which may contain technologies and money to sweeten the deal. If the race is losing the war and it's absolutely hopeless and they think they're never going to be able to secure a peace treaty, they can sometimes even surrender to another race. All assets and planets are transferred over to the new race on surrendering, and a special diplomacy event announces it.

  • Laid the groundwork for an extortion algorithm in the War AI that makes demands against weaker races. This will have to be activated later once we get the threats and coercions system implemented.
  • Laid the groundwork for player-designed starbases, which we can implement in a future update.


    Galaxy AI and Diplomacy AI Changes:
    The Galaxy AI has been overhauled with the addition of a new Goal system that operates in distinct phases. All races start off with the goal of expanding their empire, then later switch to different goals depending on the circumstances they find themselves in. The AI continually re-assesses its strength and empire next to the others in the game and makes its decision on what goal it should pursue based on that.
  • Added the Expand goal that prioritises expanding into new star systems.
  • Added the Consolidate goal that prioritises colonising and building up all of the planets in your existing star systems.
  • Added the Diplomacy goal that prioritises diplomatic contact, building military defences, and slower expansion.
  • Added the Defend goal that prioritises military defences and building ships, and slower expansion.
  • Added the Conquer goal that prioritises declaring war on and attacking other races, building military defences and building ships, and slower expansion.
  • Added incentive for the AI to colonise planets with strategic resources or other specials, and star systems with a wormhole connection.
  • The diplomacy AI now values Peace and Alliance treaties differently, based on the relative strength of each race's total military presence (planets and fleets).
  • The AI now uses its leader's personality type and race archetype to influence research choices. Special racial technologies are prioritised, warlord races will focus on ground combat techs etc.
  • Robotic races will no longer get free armour regeneration in Hard and Impossible difficulties. This was previously added because they tended to lag behind in technology, but we've since fixed this with the Robotic race overhaul.
  • Races will no longer automatically race for the Diplomatic Victory when on the galactic council. Instead, they'll tend to propose resolutions that will benefit them.
  • The AI is now able to siege planets, continually bombing them every turn until repelled by an enemy fleet.
  • AI missile fleets will now head home to re-arm if they run out of ammo.
  • The Galaxy AI now builds ships in up to 3 separate locations, rather than always picking the same location. It selects the best locations based on metal production and build capacity of the shipyards.
  • The AI now recognises when a planet's metal production drops so low (possibly due to bombing) that it won't complete a ship build and cancels it so the planet can use the metal to rebuild.
  • The AI no longer considers the defensive stats of a planet's shields etc when working out how well defended a planet is, as fleet combat now ends if the planet is the last remaining structure. Starbase defenses are also weighted lower than other ships when assessing military strength because they can't move.


    Planet Generation Tweaks:
    A player on the Steam forum pointed out that planets with higher mineral ratings have more deposits of Ore but that what they really need is larger deposits so you might get more clusters of 5-7 ore for your Ore Refineries. We took this feedback to heart and re-designed the resource distribution mechanics to do exactly that and also adapted the new mechanic for the distribution of coal, food, and other resources.
  • The number of ore veins on a planet is now determined by its size class, and the size of those veins is determined by the planet's mineral rating, leading to much larger veins of ore.
  • Gas clusters will no longer frequently contain ore deposits on Toxic planets. These should now be much more separate and easier to harvest.
  • Fish shoals now generate in larger groupings based on the planet's Organic rating on Swamp and Ocean planets.
  • Fertile Soil deposits now generate in larger clumps together depending on the planet's organic rating rather than being spread in small clumps across the planet.
  • Land Animals now spawn in small herds rather than individual deposits on Terran worlds to make them easier to harvest.
  • Planets with the special Ancient Civilisation will now generate two clumps of 2-3 Ancient Ruin resources.
  • Planets with the special Crashed Warships will now generate two clumps of 2-3 Crashed Ship resources.


    Morale/Security/Health Overhaul:
  • Added a new part to the Loyalty Graph section of the UI to show the net change in security, morale, and health each turn and updated the warnings associated with low stats.
  • The tax calculation has been adjusted. City GDP is now 4BC per 1k population multiplied by any race multipliers and tax office bonuses, +1 BC per infrastructure built, and +10% if the planet has a starbase.
  • Population tax rate now decreases the morale per turn in each city by a certain amount. Planets with more cities will be affected more by tax, but the effect can now be more easily counteracted by building more entertainment centres in each city.
  • The Tax Policies technology now reduces the morale penalty from taxing citizens by -2%, and completely eliminates the penalty from having a 10% tax rate.
  • The Psychiatry technology now gives +1% morale per turn in cities with a hospital.
  • The Tax Office building now gives +25% GDP in a city and -2 morale per turn
  • The Entertainment Center now gives +1 morale per turn
  • The Genetic Enhancement: Happy technology now gives +5% morale per turn to every planet across your entire empire.
  • The Waste Management technology now gives +1% health per turn on all planets.
  • Added new planet leader Slave Driver Korn, who gives +10% metal production per turn but causes -4 morale per turn on the planet.
  • Planet Leaders can now have stats that increase or decrease morale per turn, health per turn, and security per turn on their home planet.
  • Weapons can now have effects that decrease morale, security, health, or loyalty by a fixed amount.
  • The Neural Scanner technology now gives +2 security per turn on all planets in addition to its +10 spy bonus.
  • The Universal Antidote technology now gives +5 health rating per turn on all planets and a 100% resistance to biological weapons.
  • The Crimewatch Network technology now gives +1 morale per turn in cities with a police station
  • Added new Security events for your planets: Petty Crimes when below 75 security, Rioting when below 50, and Organised Crime when below 25.
  • Added new Health events for your planets: Minor Virus when below 75 security, Disease Outbreak when below 50, and Epidemic when below 25.
  • Warlord races now get -1 morale per turn for each city without a military barracks.


    Robotic Race Improvements:
  • Robotic races no longer require coal/food to now build new population, they can do it just with money and can now build up to the planetary maximum even if there isn't enough room for a full build load (e.g. if there's space for 750 pop and you would build 1000, you can now build the remaining 750 while you previously couldn't).
  • Added a new "Forge Patch: Antivirus" technology that you can activate once every 10 turns at a cost of 500 energy to increase security on the planet by a flat 20 points. This option is under Forge Services in the Services panel.
  • Added a new "Forge Patch: Spy Scan" technology that you can activate once every 10 turns at a cost of 500 energy to tell you how many spies are on a planet and have a 25% chance to kill one spy. This option is under Forge Services in the Services panel.
  • Added a new "Robot Deconstruction" technology that lets you deconstruct 1000 population in exchange for half the metal used in their construction. This option is under Forge Services in the Services panel.
  • Added the Nanite Engineering technology, which gives all ships an additional +10% armour regenerated per turn in addition to the standard Robotic race bonus. Also gives +10 ground troop and boarding party bonus. This has now been activated and should be working correctly.
  • Robotic race AI now use their lack of farming and residential city requirements to their advantage -- building more Defense cities.


    Other Features and Small Changes:
  • Ice planets now have a much smaller equatorial region with terran and desert land. As a result, Tundra planets (50% Ice 50% Terran) also now retain most of their ice.
  • Race colours are now randomly selected from a list of 6 possible colours, which were chosen to be distinctive enough to avoid confusion in fleet combat. The player is always green, but colour selection will be added in a future update.
  • The Save Game dialog now prompts the player for a name for the save game file. The save box has been altered to fit the new name, and the confirm overwrite window is no longer needed since you have to type a name and click the button or enter key now to save.
  • The Auxiliary Forge now holds 1000 population and is still limited to one per city. We've been having a discussion recently on the forum about these limits, and this may change in the future.
  • The AI will now build propaganda transmitters on all new planets if it researches them.
  • The Survey Scanner now scans 100 hexes per turn, up from the previous value of 50 per turn. Probes still have one scanner and multiple scanners on a ship still stack, so a science vessel with multiple scanners will make short work of scanning a planet.
  • The Ambassador Module has now been changed from a flat favour generation per turn to a +10% bonus to the value of all diplomatic offers to other races as long as we have an ambassador in one of their star systems.
  • Added a new Solar Flare on Red Giant disaster that can happen if you colonise a planet in a Red Giant system. It's extremely rare but will wipe out everything on the planet and turn it into a molten wasteland.
  • Added a new Global Warming disaster
  • Rearranged some of the tech trees to make room for new technologies
  • Removed the Laser Rifle technology as you don't engage in ground combat this early and if you pick it you can be without a turret. This also caused the AI to sometimes build warships with armour plates but no weapons.
  • The Orbital Minefield now deploys mines on top of several enemy ships so that they explode at the start of the combat.
  • Fighters and Heavy Fighters now have their own modular ship designs.
  • A small number of kickstarter backer star names proved to be too long for the game, so we've had to split them up into multiple names.
  • The planetary stats should no longer appear to randomly flicker when hitting End Turn. This was caused by the game updating planetary stats while drawing from the same variables. The stats are now cached while the new ones are recalculated to prevent this.
  • The Revenant ships have been nerfed. The Spectre (Frigate) now has a damper field, one bomb and one particle beam. The Phantom (Cruiser) has a damper field, one armour plate, two beams, one bomb, and one fighter. The Battleship has lost a few armour plates but is otherwise unchanged, and the Titan has been added. We may increase the number of ships in revenant fleets later as part of a balance pass and may factor in the game's difficulty setting.
  • Temporal rifts now open in 6 to 17 turns instead of 12 to 23.
  • Fighters and Heavy Fighters now always contain one beam weapon with a range of 2 rather than sometimes using a projectile weapon. If the race has no beam weapon, they will instead be equipped with slightly worse "Prototype Laser Cannon" beams. This can still be modified in the weapons.txt file to make them carry other weapons (for modders). If they do ever happen to use a projectile weapon, it will deal half damage.
  • The map will no longer rotate when you hold the left mouse button on the End Turn button.
  • The Auto-Resolve option for Fleet Combat has been enabled.
  • When you auto-resolve a fleet combat, the game now displays the Fleet Combat Victory panel to tell you the result and let you level up crew members and salvage ships. Right now the entire battle happens instantly.
  • Increased the point cost of galactic council resolutions to account for new council technologies

    Bug-fixes:
  • Solved several crashes that can happen when ending turn while on the Shipyard screen
  • Shipyards no longer accidentally use metal and build capacity from enemy planets in the system
  • Natural disasters such as the Solar Flare will no longer make you declare war on yourself (lol)
  • Shipyards will now pause when their owner has insufficient command points remaining to build the ship.
  • The GalaxyAI now correctly re-initialises after creating or loading a level. Previously it didn't start making decisions for 1-2 turns.
  • Robotic race AIs will no longer sometimes accidentally set a tax rate and ruin their income.
  • The galaxy AI is now executed before the rest of the end turn code, so races can no longer dispatch ships on the same turn that they arrive (an ability the player can't have).
  • Fixed a bug in the code that checks treaties between two races. This had no effect before this patch because all treaties previously came from your race, but we noticed it when we made the AI able to declare war.
  • Fixed several crashes that could happen when ending turn due to changing ship numbers in the system window.
  • Fixed potential crashes in the code that dispatches fleets.
  • Fixed bugs in the Merge Fleets code, previously sometimes fleets belonging to the same race didn't merge correctly when idle at the same star system.
  • Fixed a crash that could rarely occur when a popup appeared during the level creation process that caused the game to play a music jingle before it loaded the music.
  • Fixed a visual bug with one of the United Colonies ship parts
  • It should no longer be possible to accidentally open two fleet combats at once by responding to two attack popup boxes in a row. The popup dialog queue is now saved when you open fleet combat and restored after combat ends to prevent this problem.
  • Revenants now correctly attack enemy fleets, bomb enemy planets and self-destruct after the bombing run. Previously they would just arrive in the system and stay there quietly for the rest of the game.
  • Fixed a bug where you could get the Revenant threat message when the Revenants were dispatched to attack an enemy planet. (Note: We may actually put in a separate message when the Revenants attack another race as it's good to know when it happens)
  • Fixed a bug with farms sometimes getting bonuses from the wrong hexes and missing bonuses from others.
  • Fixed a bug where certain untradeable technologies were making their way into the trade list for diplomacy.
  • Fixed a bug with certain planetary disasters that caused them not to activate. That red giant you're colonising can now correctly throw off a solar flare and cook your planet. Enjoy :D
  • Fixed a bug with the Bio-toxin bomb that prevented it from being fired.
  • Fixed a bug with ships going through wormholes they hadn't discovered yet or taking shortcuts through wormholes even if they can't reach the other side normally.
  • Fixed a bug with ship captains that would cause anyone giving an armour HP bonus to give 100 times the expected bonus.
  • Fixed a bug in the shipyard window causing ship design 0 to be non-modifiable. This should never happen unless you're modding the game.
  • Fixed a bug preventing the "Upgrading to Blueprint" message from being drawn from the city view
  • Weapon stats from weapons.txt are no longer case sensitive. This fixed a small bug with one of the weapons, and ensures we don't get a repeat of that error in future, and it'll be easier for modders.
  • Fixed a bug with disaster immunity not applying correctly. We are going to drastically increase disaster immunity turns in a future update when we add more disasters
  • Fixed bug causing planets not to update after a disaster if you happen to be at the planet when it occurs.
  • Planetary defenses will no longer prevent you from bombing the planet on their own, as this would lead to a fleet combat that ended immediately.
  • The AI will no longer accidentally attack a planet even if the owners have changed since the fleet was dispatched to attack it.
  • Fixed a series of bugs with the planet screen code that caused various mechanics to mis-calculate areas near the planetary seam. This led to some strange behaviours all across the game, from the AI code and bombing to resource generation.
  • Fixed a bug where the AI wouldn't realise the planet maps wrapped around and would screw up placement on the planetary seam. This is a separate issue than the previous one.
  • Fixed a number of End Turn crashes when you're on the planet screen.
  • The Fighter Squadron Cruiser ship design will no longer have multiple augmented engines. It should only be possible to have one of these per ship.
  • Fixed various Fleet Combat bugs causing ships to move or fire at the wrong time or target.
  • Fixed a crash in Fleet Combat caused by the game thinking a ship is moving but it actually has 0 moves in its movement queue
  • Fixed a visual bug and related crash in Fleet Combat caused by the game using the wrong variable to draw the laser for reactive strikes
  • Fixed a bug with the display of star system names when multiple races colonised the same star system.
  • Fixed a bug with the display of the number of turns for a fleet to reach its new selected destination
  • Fixed a bug with auto-resolving fleet combat that caused the victory window not to have anything to salvage.
  • Fixed a bug with the fleet combat wrap-up code that destroys starbases etc that were knocked out during the battle. When starbases are destroyed, the star system will correctly update to reflect this immediately instead of waiting until the next time you click End Turn.
  • When an AI fleet attacks a planet, all combat ships belonging to that race that are stationed in the system (and may be performing a trade route blockade) will now join the fleet combat. This makes the AI-spawned fleet combats consistent with player-spawned ones when attacking a planet.
  • Fixed a bug with how the AI valued the military force of ships using missiles and drones. Now your best warhead damage is used in the calculation for missiles, and your best beam weapon damage is used for fighters.
  • Fixed missing Spy Pod module for Zloq and United Colonies.


    Cheers,
    -- Brendan, Lead Developer
Community Announcements - Nyphur

Apologies to Steam users, this dev update announcement was supposed to be released earlier but was delayed.

In our previous dev update, we showed off the complete overhaul of our 3D ship designer, the Galactic Council that meets to vote on matters of galactic importance, and improvements to the sociology tech tree. We also discussed plans for our ambitious Art Patch (V0.9.5.0), which was to introduce HD planet textures, ship models for several races, a start sequence animation, and victory sequences for the various victory conditions in the game.

The Art Patch took a few weeks longer than expected as we decided to add narration voiceover to all of the victory and start sequences, and adding new races of ship models to the 3D ship designer turned out to be a bigger technical challenge than we thought, but this update is now live on Steam! Since then we’ve implemented all of the core mechanics for spying and have begun writing the storyline for the singleplayer campaign. The next milestone for the Predestination Alpha (patch V0.9.6.0) will include the UI for Spying, add all of the spy technologies proposed in the previous dev update, and a War AI system that will analyse enemy empires for weakness, declare war, and send ships to attack.




The new HD planet textures and shader are now live and they are huge improvements over the previous versions. Areas which show up as Terran, Desert or Ice on the environment map are now more easily discernible just by looking at the texture, and the detail and shadows now match the texture of the underlying terrain. In order to add some variation between planets of the same type, we have also added several different variations of grass, dirt, sand, and rock textures that the game now picks at random when it generates the planet.

We used a combination of Substance Painter and Bitmap2Material to generate the base textures or produce them from photos we took ourselves, so each texture has a matching heightmap that gives it additional detail, and we used Substance Designer to create new environment maps with more realistic variation for habitable worlds. For a few of the planet textures, we also used an impressive new smart texture platform called Artomatix Materialize that lets you remove gradients and specific features you don’t like from a photo and generate a new tiling texture from it. Check out the screenshots below to see some variations of the most common planet types:






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Much of the work since the last update has gone into finishing and integrating new ship models for the Z’Loq and United Colonies, which are now live in the main game. We expected this to be a relatively simple matter of just copying the Renegades ship parts and then slotting in the new models and textures, but things rarely go that smoothly in game development. In the end, we had to develop a new 3D model loader to get the Z’loq and United Colonies ship models into the game and scale them correctly. We then built new default ships for everything from frigates, cruisers, fighter squadrons, and battleships to warp-capable missiles, space stations, and probes. Below are some examples of the new ships:




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The victory conditions were activated in a previous update, but until now they’ve had placeholder ending sequences. As a tiny independent dev team with a very small budget, we decided to play to our strengths and develop animated story slideshows with shader effects rather than producing potentially expensive video cinematics. When the story sequences were complete, Project Manager Tina Lauro watched them all the way through and concluded that they would really benefit from voice narration.

Recording the voices and developing a system to use them in the story sequences with correct timing took a little extra time, but the result was definitely worth it and we needed to develop a narration system anyway for the upcoming fully voiced singleplayer storyline campaign. The victory conditions and intro sequence with full voice narration by Tina Lauro are now live on Steam, and below is a video of the intro sequence recorded directly from the game:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSaso3pyCME
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The core Spying gameplay we discussed in the previous dev update was actually fully implemented and tested for V0.9.5.0, but we didn’t have time to develop the user interface for it or to implement and test all of the associated Spying technologies so players can’t currently access it. We’ve designed mock interfaces for the Spying tab on the hostile planet interface and are in the process of implementing these now. The screenshots below should give you an idea of how the tab will function, though of course the icons and images will change.


One change we’re announcing to spying from the previous dev update is that the calculation for success chance of a mission now uses the planet’s security rating. The spy gets a score based on his infiltration rating from 0 to 100 and all of your spy technology and racial bonuses, while the defender’s score is based on the planet’s security rating from 0 to 100 and all of his spy bonuses. Certain missions will have increased difficulty factors and a random element is always thrown in just as with ground combat.

Security Rating Improvement:
As part of the Spying update, we’ll be trying out a few changes to how the Security rating system works. We’re going to make security act like a resource that can be built up or depleted, for example police stations will add +1 security per turn and each city without a police station will give -1 per turn. Events such as bombings and some spy actions will then be able to reduce security by a lump sum (e.g. -20), so it will take the planet several turns to recover from the hit and get back to 100% security.

If this works well in practice, we may do the same for the Health and Morale ratings as this would open up some interesting tactical options. We could then easily implement propaganda weapons that reduce morale, deployable computer viruses that reduce security, and biogenic weapons that not only kill troops but also reduce the planet’s health rating. It would also open the option of having more random events, and maybe making health ratings suffer on planets with hostile environments.
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The Galaxy AI in Predestination is currently a purely defensive AI , so it builds ships and distributes them throughout its empire according to which systems are the most vulnerable to attack from neighbouring fleets. It can detect when you’re sending a fleet to attack and will move enough ships into the system to repel your attack (providing ships can get there in time), but it can’t declare war and doesn’t attack you of its own accord. The next major improvement to the game’s AI will be the implementation of a proper War AI that can analyse strategic weaknesses in an enemy’s empire and send fleets to attack.

The first step will be to implement a system to declare war on enemies and tie it into both the diplomacy and fleet combat gameplay. We then plan to give each race a particular style of War AI that will affect how they wage war,  in a similar manner to the random government type each race gets at the start of a game that affects its choices in diplomacy and colonisation. Some races will be more territorial, some may prefer to exterminate cities rather than capture them, and some may use more strategic weapons such as warp-capable missiles than others. We hope to get the War AI implemented alongside spying in V0.9.6.0.
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Remaining 3D models:
There are still a few 3D models left to implement for the planetary buildings and infrastructure, such as the large buildings and race-specific infrastructures. We announced in the previous dev update that these were all completed and were ready for texturing by our Art Director Steven Pollock for texturing, and I wanted to let everyone know that this is still to come. The time we had budgeted for this task was used to fix unexpected problems with the Z’loq and United Colonies ship parts. We’re aware that placeholder models can make the game feel unpolished and will attempt to find the art dev time to texture the remaining buildings as soon as possible.

On the subject of 3D ship parts, we have three races of ships now completed (Renegades, United Colonies, and Z’loq) and three remaining (Sauros, Starforged, and Kazzir) in addition to a limited number of ship designs for the Revenants that we’ll be designing under the direction of a Kickstarter backer. The Sauros ship parts are about 40% complete at this stage, and we’ll be beginning work on the Starforged and Kazzir as soon as possible, and reaching out to the Revenant Kickstarter designer backer to begin that process.

Singleplayer Story:
A fully voiced singleplayer story campaign is one of the goals we reached during our original Kickstarter campaign, and we intend to deliver on that promise. We’ve written outlines for the first two major storyline arcs, the first being the story of the events leading up to the Revenant war and the second being the canonical story of what happens to each of the empires after they are sent back in time. The pre-war story arc will function as an introduction to the lore and backstory of each of the races, all of Predestination’s core game mechanics, and how each race archetype plays differently.

We’ve broken down the pre-war story arc into 7 episodes, each of which has a particular map setup and branched story options with challenges/goals to be completed. Now we’re working on writing the dialogue for the story option sections, which will be recorded to produce a fully voiced storyline. We don’t currently have a release date for the first storyline episode, but wanted to let everyone know that writing and design work is thoroughly underway on this major feature and the programming and mechanics required will be implemented once we’re finished with the other major gameplay features above.

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Thanks for reading this massive dev update and for your continued patience as we work hard toward the big Version 1.0 feature-complete release. As always, if you’re a Kickstarter backer or paypal pre-order customer and would like your key for the Early Access alpha of Predestination, you can email earlyaccessrequest@brainandnerd.com with the email address you used on Kickstarter or paypal and we’ll send over your keys immediately. If you’d prefer a DRM-free option, email earlyaccessrequest and specifically ask for it and we’ll provide you with the latest non-Steam release.

Cheers,

— Brendan, Lead Developer
Community Announcements - Nyphur



The Galactic Council update (Version 0.9.4.0) has now gone live on Steam Early Access, and it’s a big one. The core feature of the patch was the addition of the Galactic Council discussed in the previous dev update and an overhaul of the Sociology and diplomacy technologies. Using feedback from people testing the game recently at Q-Con, we decided to dedicate some time to completely overhaul the 3D ship designer’s mechanics and user interface in preparation for adding the ship parts and designs for the remaining races. This patch also laid a little bit of the ground work for Spying, made improvements to Trade Routes and Commanders, and fixed various reported bugs and crashes.

The Galactic Council and Spying are two features that we had originally intended to hold back for a possible free update or expansion after the main V1.0 release, but after careful consideration we decided to spend the extra development time to make them part of the main game. Competition in the 4X genre has become more intense with the release of several new games with triple-A funding, so it’s even more important for small indie games like ours to focus on making the gameplay as good and complete as it possibly can be.

In this dev update, I’ll discuss the 3D Ship Designer overhaul, the implementation of the Galactic Council, and changes to the Sociology technologies in the recently released V0.9.4.0 patch. I’ll then delve into the details of our plans for the upcoming Art Patch (V0.9.5.0) and tentative plans for the spying gameplay.




The 3D ship designer is an extremely important feature for us not least of all because of all the support fans showed during the 3D Ship Designer kickstarter, but often it can be difficult for us to see how features like this are actually used by players and how they might be improved. In order to get some feedback on the ship designer and see how people actually used it, we ran a 3D ship designer competition recently at the annual Q-Con gaming event in Belfast. The feedback mirrored much of what we’ve been hearing from existing players but we got to see problems first hand, and this made it clear that some parts of the designer badly needed to be improved.

The old designer was clumsy, it had limited features, and creating a new design from scratch was confusing to many players. It was also too easy for players to accidentally pick up a part and ruin their whole design while attempting to turn the camera, and the Undo feature was frankly broken. The new overhauled designer solves these issues with more powerful CAD-inspired design tools, an advanced Undo feature, and a selection of pre-built designs and base hulls available. Key features include:
  • Move Tool: A more intuitive move tool has been added to the toolbox, which makes three arrows appear around the selected ship part that allow you to drag it in on all three cardinal axes.
  • Scale Tool: An intuitive new scale tool replaces the old scale slider bar in the toolbox. This allows you to scale the model on the X, Y, and Z axes separately to produce more varied shapes. A checkbox in the toolbox allows you to toggle on the option to rescale all three directions at once if you want to make an entire item bigger or smaller but keep its current proportions the same.
  • Rotation Tool: A new CAD-inspired rotation tool replaces the old X, Y, and Z rotation dials in the toolbox. When toggled on, three rotation arrows will appear around the selected ship part that allow the player to rotate the part around the three cardinal axes. When rotating a ship part, a visual rotation disc will appear in 3D to indicate the plane around which you can rotate, which should be a lot more intuitive than the old 2D dials.
  • New Design Window: When creating a new design, the player is now initially presented with the “New Design” window. Buttons along the top allow you to select the hull size you want, and a list of pre-made ship designs for the selected hull type is then shown to allow you to select a pre-made design as a starting point. A second list of Base Hulls allows players to create a blank design starting with just one Crew Quarter part mirrored.
  • Advanced Undo feature: The previous “undo” feature was full of bugs and only stored the rotation and scale of one part at a time. We’ve now replaced this with a much better universal undo feature that saves the entire ship’s state using a deep data clone procedure every time a change is made, saving up to the last 50 changes. The new Undo feature can be triggered either by clicking a new Undo button at the bottom of the screen or by pressing Ctrl-Z.
Implementing these designer upgrades took considerably longer than I had initially hoped, but we’re incredibly happy with the result. The result is a much more versatile and easy to use ship designer that we hope you’ll enjoy using a lot more. We’re particularly eager for feedback on the new designer, so please let us know if you have any thoughts after giving it a try.







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In the previous Dev Update, we discussed plans to add a UN-style Galactic Council to the game that meets to vote on issues of galactic importance. This has now been implemented and is live on the Steam Early Access build (V0.9.4.0). The Galactic Council technology has been moved to the end of the First Contact tech era so that it’s created a little earlier than before, and whoever discovers it first becomes the council’s first leader. Below you can see the user interface for the council and the meeting itself.

The final implementation of the Galactic Council is almost exactly as described in the previous dev update, except that several of the resolutions are now tied to technologies in the Galactic Domination tech era. We’ve also implemented the diplomatic victory conditions via the council as discussed in the previous devblog, with two different endings depending on whether or not the Revenants have been unleashed on the galaxy.


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We’ve previously overhauled the First Contact and Galactic Domination tech eras in the Physics, Construction and Bio/Chemistry fields, and in this update we did the same for the Sociology technologies. We didn’t think it made sense to have each of the different treaties being its own technology as it felt like an artificial limitation on diplomacy, so now all treaties are automatically available. The new Improved Trade Pact and Improved Research Treaty technologies double the bonuses from their respective treaties, and new technologies are available for the Galactic Council. We’ve also added placeholders for Spying technologies and have added several completely new technologies:
  • Exo-Systems Analysis: Alien computer systems often operate differently to our own, making it difficult to gain information directly from captured computer systems. Your experience with interrogating alien computer systems and defending against intruders allows you to solve this issue. When you capture a ship in Fleet Combat or conquer a planet, you have a 50% chance of learning any weapon, module, building, or infrastructure based technologies present.
  • Subvertive Psychology: (Note: Threats and Coercions not yet implemented) Cultivating an adversarial relationship with the other empires can often yield better results in diplomatic negotiations. Applying your knowledge of how each race interacts with the psychology of threatening behaviour improves the effectiveness of your threats and coercions in diplomacy by 50%.
  • Self-Destruct Device: All ships are automatically equipped with a self-destruct device triggered by a triple-redundant deadman switch. If all crew and marines aboard the ship are killed and the ship is captured during Fleet Combat, the engines will automatically overload and the ship will explode.


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The next major patch will be the Art Update (V0.9.5.0), which adds a ton of art assets that we’ve been working on in the background. The United Colonies’ ship parts have been complete and textured for a month or so but have been disabled pending a shader improvement and the 3D ship designer overhaul, and the Z’loq and Sauros ship designs have been progressing nicely. With the ship designer overhaul now live and the recent optimisations we made to the game’s memory usage, now is the perfect time to pick that back up. This patch will include:

Ship shader improvements: It can’t have escaped your notice that the Renegades ship models can be a little dark and the back of the ship is dimly lit. We plan to modify the shader to improve the lighting setup, and give each race its own slightly modified shader so that we can subtly change how their materials react to the light.

United Colonies Ship Models: The United Colonies are technologically advanced and they want everyone else to know it. Their ships are covered in bright white metal panels and huge multi-deck blue windows.  These models are complete and textured, and are almost ready to be added to the game. All we need to do now is tweak the shader so that the lighting looks better with these models, tweak the scale and orientation on each model to centre it correctly, select parts to represent each of the modules and weapons, and then design some default ships. Below is a sneak peek at some of the United Colonies ship parts:




Z’loq Ship Models: The Z’loq are an aggressive and tribalistic aquatic race who grow metal for their ships in vast underwater coral reefs. Their ships will have strong nautical themes and organic part designs, plated with the colourful shine of green-blue scales grown by metallic corals. The Z’loq ship models are complete and are currently being textured. After this, we’ll need to perform the same shader, scale and orientation tweaks as described above for each model, select parts to represent each functional module and weapon, and then design up the default ships. Below is a sneak peek at some of the Z’loq ship models being painted:




Sauros Ship Models: The Sauros are an ancient race who value appearances and tradition, and their ships are designed with the same aesthetic. Several Sauros ship models are built and textured, but many are still to be built. We’ll need to complete all of the Sauros models, perform shader and scale/orientation tweaks etc as described above, and design up the default ships. If this doesn’t get complete before the gameplay is complete then we can push the update live without the Sauros ship models and release them in a separate patch if required. Below is a sneak preview of some of the Sauros cosmetic ship parts being painted:




High-Res Planet Textures: The planet graphics in Predestination run on a custom piece of graphics tech that we invented years ago, and the base textures are still the same low-quality placeholders that we threw together back then. We’ve been working on replacing all of the existing terrain textures with new high quality ones and adding more textures of each type so there’s some variation, and improving the planet shader. We had originally intended for release these in 0.9.3.0 or 0.9.4.0, but the improved planet shader is seeing some visual bugs and performance issues and we need to resolve those before releasing the high-resolution textures. We’ll share screenshots of the HD planet graphics as soon as we are able.

Final Building Batch: Some of the building models in the game are still using placeholders, such as the food processor, research lab, factory, and some special buildings belonging to specific race archetypes. The Forge central city building for robotic races, Hatchery city building for Reptilian races, and Coral Spire city building for Aquatic races are a few examples. These have now all been modelled by our building modeller Craig Stafford, and will be textured by our Art Director Steven Pollock for release. Below is an example of some of the buildings:



End Sequences: When you win or lose the game, a slideshow sequence with text and music will tell you the story of what happened at the end of the game. The mechanics for this feature are already implemented using placeholders, so what we have to do now is put together a story and slideshow for each of the victory conditions. The first draft of the story for each victory condition is already complete.

Start Sequence: When you start the game, you are just shown the Brain and Nerd and NI Screen logos. We want to add a story-based start sequence here that will trigger the first time you launch the game, and can be re-visited by clicking the “Start Sequence” button on the main screen. We’ve actually already implemented part of this start sequence, so we need to finish that and then activate it.

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Spying is one of the major features that we had planned to release as a free update or as part of an expansion after the main game was released, but we’ve now decided to bring it back into the main release. We’ve discussed several types of potential spy system in previous updates and various interviews throughout development, but have now settled on a game design for it. The design may still change during development and we are of course open to all feedback on it:

Installing Spies: Spies will be dropped onto planets from ships in orbit equipped with a Spy Pod in a similar manner that ships can currently drop troops onto a city. The difference is that you’ll be able to drop spies onto a planet even if there are enemy ships present, and installing a spy will cost you a lump sum of money from your treasury. When a spy is installed on a planet, you will always be able to see all ships in the system and can open the planet to view it even when you have no ships in the system. There will be a limit to the number of spies that can be dropped onto a planet (possibly 1 spy per city built), and only one spy mission can be active at a time.

Executing Missions: Once at least one spy is installed on a planet, you’ll get a list of missions that you can attempt, such as to steal something, sabotage something, or incite civil unrest. Each mission will have a certain percentage chance of success and a chance of getting caught, which will be modified by the planet’s security rating, the spy’s infiltration rating, and any anti-spy technologies employed. The spy is killed when caught, and there’s a chance that he’ll be identified and you’ll be hit with diplomatic consequences. Missions will take a certain number of turns to attempt so they’re essentially a limited resource.

Infiltration Rating: Once a spy is installed on a planet, he will slowly begin to infiltrate the planet’s computer networks and make contacts with criminal and subversive individuals who can help with missions. Spies start out with 0% infiltration rating and gain 1%  every turn up to a maximum of 100%, and this rating affects the chance of successfully completing missions. This prevents players from treating spies as disposable and encourages careful weighing up of the risks and rewards of each mission type.

Proposed Missions (work in progress):
  • Steal Maps: Steal the enemy’s maps of the planet and the locations of all resources, pieces of infrastructure, and roads. This will allow you to mount unorthadox attack strategies such as cutting off the enemy’s power or food supply.
  • Steal Research: Attempt to infiltrate a scientific organisation and steal their research. If successful, you will steal either a random technology belonging to the target race or a number of research points.
  • Steal Finances: Attempt to steal money from the target race’s treasury.
  • Steal Political Secrets: Hack into the planet’s computer systems and attempt to unearth political dirt that can be used in negotiations. Political Secrets will be used in the Threats and Coercions diplomacy system once that’s implemented.
  • Sabotage Computer Systems: Introduce a virus into the planet’s computer systems, disrupting planetary activities. Random outcome: Destroys research points, shuts down infrastructure, reduces morale, reduces health, reduces security.
  • Sabotage City: Plant a bomb inside a random city on the planet, destroying several random buildings and reducing morale and security rating of the planet.
  • Sabotage Starbase: Attempt to smuggle an explosive device onto the planet’s Starbase. If successful, the explosion will damage or destroy the ship currently being built, or might destroy the Starbase entirely.
  • Sabotage Ship In Orbit: Gain access to a ship in orbit and attempt to cause undetectable damage to its drive and power systems so that the engines will overload, destroying the ship. (Option available only if there are ships in orbit)
  • Establish Contacts: Attempt to establish contacts with criminal and subversive elements in the target planet’s society. This will boost the spy’s infiltration rating by 50%, but carries the risk that he will be discovered and killed.
  • Incite Civil Unrest: Attempt to incite civil unrest among the population, reducing the morale and security ratings of the planet temporarily.
  • Incite Rebellion: Try to incite a full-scale planetary rebellion, overthrowing the local government. If successful, the planet’s ownership switches to your race. (Option available only if security and morale ratings are both below 50%).
  • Assassinate Leader: If the planet has a leader (a commander) assigned to it, you can attempt to assassinate him.
Proposed Technologies (work in progress):
  • (Sociology) Spy Pods: Orbital drop pods with built-in inertial dampening allow spies to be launched into enemy cities from orbit. The Spy Pod stores 1 spy who can be secretly deposited in an enemy city to conduct surveillance and sabotage.
  • (Sociology) Spy Satellite: The Spy Satellite probe is an unmanned stealth probe fitted with an FTL drive and advanced camera equipment. It’s invisible to long-range sensors and can be installed in orbit of enemy planets in order to perform surveillance spy tasks and give your spies a +20 bonus to all spy actions.
  • (Sociology) Computer Hacking: Spies can be trained in advanced computer hacking techniques, allowing them to retrieve more sensitive information. This unlocks the Steal Research, Steal Political Secrets, and Sabotage Computer Systems spy missions.
  • (Biology) Atomiser Implant: Spies are equipped with an implant that completely atomises the body on death and leaves no trace. If your spies are caught during a mission, the enemy race will not be able to prove that the spy belonged to your race and there will be no negative diplomatic actions.
  • (?????) Spying Bonuses: More technologies with spying bonuses may be added to various tech fields in the third and fourth tech eras, and spying bonuses could be added to some existing technologies (such as police stations).
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The 3D Ship Designer Overhaul, Galactic Council, and Sociology technology overhauls are now live on the Steam Early Access version, and we hope to have the Art and Spying update out to you in the next few weeks! As always, we’re very interested in hearing any feedback you might have on this update or any ideas and comments you have. We’re particularly interested in focused feedback on the following things:
  • Comments and ideas on the proposed Spying implementation.
  • Feedback on the revamped 3D ship designer.
  • Feedback on the Galactic Council from a real gameplay session.
— Brendan, Lead Developer
Community Announcements - Nyphur
NOTE: Dev Update incoming with full breakdown of this update (21st July).
This major patch implemented the Galactic Council, overhauled the Sociology and diplomacy technologies, laid the ground work for Spying, and made improvements to Trade Routes and Commanders. It also completely overhauls the 3D ship designer's mechanics and user interface based on recent feedback. We would greatly appreciate feedback on the revamped 3D ship designer before we complete implementation of the remaining races' ship designs.


Galactic Council:
Before the original Revenant war, the races of the galaxy regularly met to discuss and vote on matters of galactic importance as the Galactic Council. The first race to research the Galactic Council technology will recreate the council and become its leader, after which any race can choose to join. Council Members can propose a variety of resolutions, and a council meeting is scheduled for 10 turns later to vote on the issue. Each council member gets 1 council point per turn and each resolution costs a certain number of council points to propose, and only one proposal can be pending a vote at a time. The council leader gets +1 point/turn.
  • Implemented the galactic council's core voting gameplay
  • Implemented new diplomacy screen visuals and UI for voting on council resolutions.
  • Changed the "intelligence" tab in the Diplomacy drop down menu to "Galactic Council"
  • Implemented the UI for the Galactic Council dropdown menu. This panel displays all council members, council points, council tax, current council bank total, the current pending vote, and a list of resolutions to vote on.
  • Implemented Weapon Ban resolutions (Genesis Device, Bio-Toxin Bomb, Stellar Converter) **Still some bugs to fix with this resolution**
  • Implemented Building / Infrastruture ban resolutions (Nuclear Power Plant, Fossil Fuel Power Plant)
  • Implemented Open Civilian Trade resolution (reduces cost of all trade routes by 1BC/turn)
  • Implemented Vote New Leader resolution (vote your race to become council leader)
  • Implemented Security resolutions (Share Intelligence, Intelligence Updates, Intelligence Network)
  • Implemented Health resolution (Share Medicine, Medical Conference, Universal Healthcare)
  • Implemented Combat Rating resolution (Share Weapons, Weapons Trade Fair, Joint Training Exercises)
  • Implemented Shipyard Capacity resolution (Share Schematics, Astro-Engineering Conference, Joint Engineering Projects)
  • Implemented Morale resolution (Share Culture, Entertainment Expo, Cultural Exchange)
  • Implemented Metal Production resolution (Share Metallurgy, Geology Conference, Industrial Exchange)
  • Implemented Food production resolution (Share Food, Agricultural Conference, Seed Bank Initiative)
  • Implemented Research resolution (Share Knowledge, Scientific Conference, Science Collaboration)
  • Implemented Financial Aid resolution (Request Financial Aid (10%), Request Financial Aid (25%), Request Financial Aid (50%))
  • Implemented Request Economic Stimulus resolution (all races get even share of council bank)
  • Implemented Limit Military resolution (-5 command points to all races)
  • Implemented Share Strategic Resources resolution (all strategic resources are shared with all council members)
  • Implemented Share Sensor Data resolution (all council members are treated as having Sensor treaties with each other)
  • The AI now makes a decision on whether to join the council each turn once it's founded.
  • The AI will not place any banned infrastructure.


    Diplomatic Victory:
  • Once the Revenant planet reveals itself, the Ignore Revenant Planet resolution appears for voting in the Galactic Council.
  • If Ignore Revenant Planet resolution is passed, the AI will not colonise the Revenant planet. (Still to be tested)
  • If the Ignore Revenant Planet resolution is passed and you colonise the Revenant planet, you are immediately ejected from the council and banned from re-joining. Diplomatic victory is then impossible for you, and you could lose if another council member gets diplomatic victory.
  • Once the Ignore Revenant Planet resolution is passed, the Galactic Peace Treaty resolution is available for voting.
  • If the Galactic Peace Treaty resolution is passed, all current wars immediately end and the Declare War option will no longer be available in diplomacy with other council members.
  • If the Galactic Peace Treaty resolution is passed, the AI will not declare war or engage in combat with other council members. (War AI not yet implemented, so this has not been tested)
  • If the Galactic Peace Treaty resolution is passed and any council race attacks another, the attacker is immediately ejected from the council and banned from re-joining. (Still to be tested)
  • Once the Galactic Peace Treaty resolution is passed, the Universal Alliance resolution becomes available for voting.
  • When the Universal Alliance resolution is passed, the Diplomatic Victory Condition is triggered.
  • If the Revenant planet is colonised before the Ignore Revenant Planet resolution is passed, the resolution is removed from voting and selection, and this victory path is no longer possible until the Revenants are unleashed.
  • Once the Revenant force is released from the planet and begins attacking the galaxy, the Revenant Priority Act appears for voting. This functions the same as the Galactic Peace Treaty.
  • Once the Revenant Priority Act is passed, the Revenant Defense Initiative becomes available for voting.
  • If the Revenant Defense Initiative resolution is passed, all council races take half damage from Revenant weapons. This will help them fight back the periodic fleets from the Revenant planet, and makes the Destroy Revenants victory condition considerably easier.
  • Once the Revenant Defense Initiative resolution is passed, the Universal Alliance resolution appears in the voting list. As above, this triggers the Diplomatic Victory Condition.


    Complete overhaul of the 3D Ship Designer
    Recently we brought Predestination to the annual Q-Con gaming event in Belfast and ran a 3D ship designer competition to collect feedback and see how people use the designer. We have now completed a full overhaul of the ship designer's construction mechanics based on that feedback, including a complete revamp of the toolbox and the addition of more advanced CAD-like design tools. The addition of CAD-like advanced tools was one of our stretch goals on Kickstarter that we promised, so we're very happy that we've now got that implemented.

  • Ship parts can no longer be picked up by clicking and dragging. This eliminates the problem where people would accidentally click and drag a part when attempting to rotate the camera
  • Move Tool: A new intuitive CAD-style movement tool has been added to the toolbox. When toggled on, three arrows appear around the selected ship part that allow you to drag it in three directions. The Move tool correctly aligns itself based on the ship part's rotation.
  • Scale Tool: A new intuitive CAD-style scale tool replaces the scale slider bar in the toolbox. When toggled on, three arrows appear around the selected ship part that allow you to stretch the part in one of three directions. This is an improvement over the existing system as it allows you to scale the model on the X, Y, and Z axes separately to produce more varied shapes. A checkbox in the toolbox allows you to toggle on the option to rescale all three directions at once if you want to make an entire item bigger or smaller but keep its current proportions the same.
  • Rotation Tool: A new intuitive CAD-style rotation tool replaces the X, Y, and Z rotation dials in the toolbox. When toggled on, three rotation arrows will appear around the selected ship part that allow the player to rotate the part on three axes. This tool correctly aligns itself based on the ship part's current rotation. When rotating a ship part, a visual rotation disc will appear in 3D to indicate the plane around which you can rotate.
  • New Design Window: When creating a new design, the player is now initially presented with the "New Design" window. Buttons along the top allow you to select the hull size you want. A list of pre-made ship designs available for the selected hull type is shown, and clicking on one will give you a copy of that design to start working with. A second list of Base Hulls allows players to create a blank design starting with one Crew Quarter mirrored. Players who aren't interested in designing their own ships cosmetically but are more interested in function can simply select a pre-made design and then throw the modules and weapons they prefer on them. Those who like designing ships from scratch can use the base hull options, or even start with a blank slate.
  • Advanced Undo feature: The previous "undo" feature was full of bugs and only stored the rotation and scale of one part at a time. We've now replaced this with a much better universal undo feature that saves the entire ship's state using a deep clone procedure every time a change is made, saving up to the last 50 changes (changing part scale, rotation, moving a part, adding a new part, deleting a part, resetting a part, or mirroring a part). It can be triggered by clicking a new Undo button at the bottom of the screen or pressing Ctrl-Z.
  • Other Toolbox Improvements: Made prominent buttons for the "Copy Group", "Delete Group", "Mirror Part" (formerly "Mirror X), and "Reset Part" options.
  • Removed the Mirror Y and Mirror Z options from the toolbox as they were confusing to some people and in reality only Mirror X was ever used.
  • Removed the Flip X, Flip Y, and Flip Z options from the toolbox as they were confusing and not actually very useful.
  • Added a toggle switch to snap rotation angles to the nearest 15 degrees. This should make lining up angles a lot easier.
  • Ship part extra rotation is now stored as a Quaternion so that it can be rotated on arbitrary axes without running into problems. Previously rotation was stored as three Euler angles representing yaw, pitch and roll, and then converted into a Quaternion/Matrix on demand. This caused issues depending on the multiplication order used for the yaw, pitch, and roll, so we replaced it with a Quaternion and used swing twist decomposition to perform rotations around arbitrary axes in the ship designer.
  • Implemented backward compatibility mode for old ship designs. When a design is loaded, the old Euler angle rotations and single float part scales are converted into the new Quaternion rotation and Vector3 part scale regime. All ship designs are now saved using the updated schema.
  • All races now have separate sets of default ship designs that are loaded from file. This is required for the implementation of some backer rewards.
  • Added an exception triggered when you try to add more than 255 parts to a ship. Don't do this :p
  • The perpendicular base hull plane cross has been replaced with a single vertical plane to work better with the new base hull paradigm. You can see this if you create a new design using a Base Hull and then select and delete the base hull.


    Sociology Technology Overhaul:
  • All diplomatic treaties are now available without researching them via the Sociology tree.
  • Implemented the Improved Trade Pact and Improved Research Treaty technologies, which double the bonus of the corresponding treaty.
  • The Diplomatic Computer technology is now a robotic version of the Diplomatic Advisors technology
  • Moved the Ambasssador Module earlier in the First contact era so that it is still useful in small maps.
  • The Galactic Council is now at the end of the First Contact tech era.
  • Buffed the Xeno Psychology technology to +25% to all diplomatic offers and moved it to the end of the First Contact era. It is now an alternative to selecting the Galactic Council, so if the Galactic Council is already founded then you'll have something else to pick.
  • Implemented spying technology placeholders in the First Contact era of the Sociology tech tree.
  • Added Spy Pod to the Troop Pod technology to create the "Spy & Troop Pods" technology. The spy portion is not yet implemented, but acts as a placeholder for when spying is implemented.
  • Added the Self-Destruct Device technology, which gives a 50% chance when a ship is taken over that it will self-destruct.
  • Restructured the right hand side of the First Contact tech era so that we have three alternate paths: Spying techs, Ship Defense against boarding, and boarding techs.
  • Implemented Exo-Systems Analysis technology. When you capture enemy ships or planets, you have a 50% chance of discovering the technology behind each unknown weapon, module, building or infrastructure.
  • Implemented Subvertive Psychology technology, which increases the effectiveness of threats and coercions in diplomacy by 50%. Threats and Coercions have not yet been implemented, so this acts as a placeholder for now. This is another alternative technology to the Galactic Council so that you can pick it if the council has already been formed.
  • Implemented the Council Influence technology in the Galactic Domination tech era of the Sociology tree, which gives you +1 council point per turn.
  • Implemented the Financial/Scientific/Industrial/Open Border Resolutions technologies in the Galactic Domination tech era of the Sociology tree, each of which unlocks another set of resolutions.



    Misc Gameplay Changes:
  • Trade Routes are now limited to 50ly range, so to set up longer trade routes you'll need to send it via an intermediary star system.
  • The Open Trade Routes technology now increases trade route range to 100ly
  • When setting up a trade route, the game now displays the range of your route and all stars in range.
  • Trade routes now cost a flat 1BC/turn for Food and Metal or 2BC/turn for Energy/Population. Previously they cost BC per 50ly.
  • Trade routes can now correctly go through wormholes. If a star is within range and has a wormhole then you can also set up trade routes with the star on the other side of the wormhole
  • Commanders now start showing up periodically once you break the warp barrier rather than waiting for you to research the Homing Beacon initiative.
  • The Homing Beacon Initiative now increases the frequency with which commanders offer their services to your empire by 50% (from about once every 150 turns to once in 100 turns).


    Bugs and Crashes:
  • Fixed a spritefont crash caused by certain characters not being available in certain languages
  • Fixed a bug causing the last ship captain and planet leader in the list not to load
  • Fixed a crash with the planet scout icons
  • Fixed a bug with certain mouse clicks going through the tutorial window and allowing you to break the tutorial
  • Fixed a bug with the keyboard input on text boxes that was making the shift key not press correctly in some circumstances and preventing keys like the @ key from being pressed.
  • Fixed a thread crash caused by generating the graphics for temporal rifts
  • The Farm and Ore bonus from race bonuses etc is now applied correctly. Previously it was being divided by 100.
  • The player should no longer get messages about planet surveys being blocked that were actually meant for other races.
  • Fixed a bug with text on the title of tooltips extending out of the tooltip box if it was too long. This can now take up to 2 lines.
  • Racial bonuses to diplomacy were not being added to diplomatic proposals. This has now been fixed.
  • Fixed various bugs with placement of ship parts in several existing ship designs after conversion to the new system.
  • Fixed z-fighting on ship parts that are mirrored or placed exactly on the same plane.

    Cheers,
    -- Brendan, Lead Developer
Community Announcements - Nyphur
Patch Notes for V0.9.3.0 (hotfixed to V0.9.3.1) (Build ID: 1171612)
Read more about this update in our latest announcement: https://steamcommunity.com/games/340210/announcements/detail/957392279211628292

Starbases / Orbitals:
  • Added new models for starbases
  • Orbital satellites and starbases are all now infrastructures rather than buildings, and there are now separate sections in the planet UI for both.
  • The Orbital Telescope is now an observatory infrastructure that spawns a satellite in orbit of the planet. As it takes up an infrastructure slot, it has been buffed to provide +10 RP/turn in addition to its 40ly sensor range bonus.
  • The Weather Control Satellite is now an orbital infrastructure just like the Orbital Telescope, with an observatory building and a satellite in orbit.
  • Added a new Temporal Acceleration Satellite that causes the planet to experience permanent Temporal Acceleration (executes two turns every turn, very powerful effect!)
  • The Services menu no longer lets you launch a weather control satellite but does show the satellite's status and progress and now also shows the temporal satellite's status and progress too.
  • If you have multiple satellites or ships in orbit of a planet, each now occupies a slightly different orbital band around the equator.
  • Removed Shipyard city blueprints since they aren't buildings any more.
  • Adjusted the Planet AI to build a starbase as your last piece of infrastructure.

    Victory Conditions:
  • Replaced the endgame placeholder techs with their finalised versions.
  • Eliminated races now cause a diplomacy screen popup informing the player that the race has been eliminated and who did it.
  • The Diplomacy dropdown now shows eliminated races.
  • Eliminated races are no longer considered by various parts of the galaxy AI, so a race will no longer compare itself with an eliminated race.
  • Implemented and tested the Galactic Domination victory condition
  • Implemented and tested the Destroy Revenants victory condition
  • Implemented and tested the Scientific victory condition
  • Added a placeholder victory end sequence for each victory condition, to be fleshed out later.

    Optimisations:
  • Optimised generation of planets and homeworlds.
  • Significantly optimised the end turn code. It turned out that the AI has been executing a very expensive road recalibration process every single turn but it's not necessary. This caused the game to slow down to several seconds per turn after about 5-6 planets are colonised.
  • Optimised processing speed, I/O time and memory use when generating planets by batching continents together and loading each file only once.
  • Optimised several parts of the planet code by coming up with a new quick method of determining which hex the mouse is over on the planet screen based on camera position. This was only used a few times in the code but had a high processing overhead, and now it's incredibly efficient.
  • Developed an entirely new content loader system which smartly loads models and textures from files, both those compiled using the XNA framework and flat files (.png for textures, .X for models). This new loader caches files in many cases where the old system couldn't, reducing RAM usage by over 35%.
  • We've moved the End Turn code over to a second thread so that the game can continue to render smoothly while the End Turn operations are underway, eliminating the end turn stall.
  • Implemented a new highly optimised range RecursiveHexList algorithm for finding large circular arcs on the fleet combat and planet hex grids. Now it finds three extended arcs and merges them, eliminating the exponential recursion growth due to graph cycles.
  • Ship models now load only the low-res 256x256 textures by default, reducing initialisation times and reducing RAM and VRAM usage. The high-res textures are loaded on request in a separate thread and disposed of when the Planet or Shipyard screen is closed or the fleet/system window is closed.

    Revenant Planet Event:
  • Gave Revenants Ancient buildings technologies
  • Ancient buildings are now all small sized to prevent them from suddenly getting bigger
  • Added revenant planet decloak event, which can also optionally spawn a guardian ship at the planet. Currently the guardian is disabled, but we may add a chance of the revenant planet being revealed early and use the guardian to stop players from getting access to the planet too early.
  • Fixed bug where the Revenant homeworld could sometimes attract a temporal rift, and hilariously then the Revenants could emerge and attack themselves.
  • Added a new Revenant awaken event that can be triggered to wake up the Revenants. Event causes the planet to be captured by the Revenants, and one city to be destroyed and replaced with new technology.
  • Once revenants are the revealed, a new counter launches a new fleet every 10-20 turns toward a random planet and Revenant fleets increase in speed from 2ly/turn to 8ly/turn.
  • Added new Revenant type planet with new textures and a new bump map.
  • Implemented Recenant awaken event trigger. 1% chance per turn the planet is colonised, 25% chance every time a crashed ship is excavated on the planet, and 100% chance if all crashed ships are excavated.
  • When you excavate a crashed ship on the revenant homeworld, you now have a chance of getting a Revenant technology like the particle beam.
  • Added a new environment type (Revenant) for the Revenant planet.

    Bug fixes and other updates:
  • Fixed bug with Biomorphic Fungi causing it to generate too much food/turn for aquatic races and not working in non-habitable environments.
  • The crashed ship at the start of the pre-warp period no longer requires staff.
  • Changed 100% Desert planets to have sea levels of 0m.
  • Fixed bug with the continent graphics that caused squares on terrain at low sea levels
  • New colonies now start with 2000 population instead of 1000 to help them get established.
  • Fixed bug with Aquatic races tech tree (Infrastructure Biospheres didn't unlock the next techs correctly)
  • All Artifact Excavations now continue to provide +100% research bonus after they complete, and all ancient buildings now provide +100% research bonus.
  • Fixed bug with the tooltip on the research hex
  • Fixed text alignment bug in research screen
  • Fixed serious bug with Ocean homeworld planet generation where land could spawn under the starting colony
  • Improved the efficiency of the planet generation code. Note: This necessitated making the new version incompatible with the old one.
  • Fixed bug where you get kicked out to orbital view when the AI colonises a planet while you're zoomed in.
  • Planets with strategic resources are now generated when explored rather than during map generation time. This significantly reduces map generation time.
  • The blueprint creator and AI will no longer over-estimate power requirements of a city. Now they assume each city has a 100MW power station attached and 5 other pieces of infrastructure. Aquatic races have adjusted power expectations since teh fishing coral reef uses no power.
  • Fixed water colour problem with partially Desert planets. Desert water now looks clearer and as the planet is terraformed away from Desert it gets deeper and bluer.
  • Fixed a crash caused by sharing sensor ranges with a sensor treaty
  • Laid ground work for switching End Turn code to a separate thread, and fixed numerous thread-safety crashes. This option has been switched off for now while we test more for other edge cases and to make debugging new features more straight-forward.
  • Fixed bug with display of tooltips on infrastructure that can use more than 4 types of resource (e.g. ore refinery)
  • Auto-updating blueprints now use the new upgrade mechanics to update, so they will no longer demolish a building for several turns.
  • Planet graphics improved a little on Terran worlds
  • Switched the Research Icon mouseover and non-mouseover text. Now it displays number of turns normally and RP amount on mouseover.
  • Fixed a bug where explosions would try to play on the planet screen if bombs were dropped on other planets.
  • Fixed bug where the Engage Enemy Forces button could be clicked even if it wasn't being displayed.
  • Fixed bug with the diplomacy window first contact and revenant threats sometimes having the left and right windows blur effect even though the windows themselves don't show.
  • Fixed a rare fleet combat AI crash
  • Fixed bugs causing all ground cannons and fighters to use prototype tier 1 weapons instead of your best weapon when fired from a planet.
  • Homeworlds can no longer be destroyed by TimeExpand temporal rifts.
  • Fixed bug causing the AI to sometimes build cities on top of existing roads
  • Some Infrastructures now require a specific race archetype to function. For example, Robot fuel factories require robotic inhabitants. This only matters if you annhilate all cities on a planet and then re-colonise it. Captured colonies retain the original race's abilities and requirements.
  • Fixed bug causing a "Planet" item to be in the ship designer cosmetic item list. This was supposed to be a dummy item used in the game engine to identify planets in fleet combat.
  • Replaced Algae Silo with Food Silo for aquatic races
  • In diplomacy, improvements and synergies are now worth the maximum value.
  • Fixed "satelite" typo in multiple places in the game
  • Fixed bug causing player designed ships to be saved in blank files, in some cases saving over each other.
  • Fixed a bug where the wrong infrastructure details could appear on the popup when you excavated an ancient ruin that turned into a building.
  • All planets now have +1 city when fully terraformed to your race's ideal environment. The "Terraforming Complete" popup now explains this.
  • Fixed a bug causing all fighters and starbases to spawn with prototype beams
  • Fixed a shipdesigner crash caused by losing a reference to the currently picked up part
  • Added Diplomacy text responses for all of the races.
  • Fixed bug with Reptilian races having two Brood Hatchery buildings and no Research Lab
  • Fixed bug with Titan Hull technology unlocking randomly
  • Moved Reptilian Scientist Hatchery further along in the tech tree so you can choose it and another hatchery type
  • Fixed bug with Robotic races not having a Research lab sometimes
  • Increased Slave Conscription technology for Reptiles from +5 combat rating to +10 since it applies on the city level and +5 was quite small.

    Update: We've deployed a hotfix as patch 0.9.3.1 to solve a deployment bug with the patch where people could try to load save games and it would crash due to major changes between this version and older versions. Older save game files will now simply fail to load.

    Cheers,
    -- Brendan, Lead Developer
Community Announcements - Nyphur


In the previous dev update, we delved into the details of a massive technology tree revamp that was in the works for Predestination, including dozens of new ship modules and weapons and the Improvements/Synergies tech tree. We fully tested and deployed the tech tree update last month, and we released five follow-up patches thoughout the month of May to correct new bugs and crashes caused by the update. I'd like to give a huge thanks to everyone sending in bug reports on the Steam Early Access forum and those of you submitting crash reports, it really helped us get on top of this.

This month we've been working hard on some really exciting features! We've developed the key storyline event that causes the Revenant Homeworld to decloak at a certain point during the game, tempting players to plunder it for technology at the risk of waking up the Revenants. If the Revenants awake, they periodically launch fleets out to annihilate populated worlds. We've completed the Galactic Domination, Scientific Victory and Destroy Revenants victory conditions, and have made several big improvements to be released in V0.9.3.0.

Those who like to play a diplomatic game will be excited to hear that we're going to add a UN-style Galactic Council that meets to vote on important issues and that this will tie into a deep Diplomatic victory condition. And everyone will be happy to know that V0.9.3.0 will add some major optimisations on the game. We've managed to reduce RAM usage by over 35%, cut map generation and planet generation times by up to 50%, eliminate over 60% of the startup initialisation time, and reduced End Turn delays by up to 90%!

Read on for a full detailed breakdown of everything that we're currently working on and everything that's coming in V0.9.3.0 (estimated release in about 1 week).



The story of Predestination starts when the United Colonies discover the cloaked Revenant homeworld filled with advanced technology, and when plundering that technology they unwittingly awake the Revenants and unleash them on the galaxy. During the final battle with the Revenants, ships from dozens of different races are flung back in time and scattered over an area of hundreds of lightyears. Many crashland on planets throughout the galaxy, and a few survive to form new civilisations, but the Revenant homeworld is still out there somewhere and it's still cloaked.

Once anyone in the game reaches a certain level of technology, the Revenant homeworld will decloak and appear in a system roughly in the middle of the map. The planet is barren and covered in metal and circuitry, with several ancient ruins and clusters of crashed ships on the surface making it a tempting target for colonisation. When you fully excavate a crashed ship on the Revenant homeworld, you have a chance of finding powerful Revenant ship technologies like the Particle Beam, Damper Field, and Norn Iron armour, some of which you can't even research normally.

Colonising the Revenant homeworld is a risky move, however, as every time you excavate a ruin and every turn that passes with a colony on the surface there's a chance of waking the Revenants. The planet will be taken over and a Revenant fleet launched into orbit to defend it, and every 10-20 turns a new Revenant fleet will launch from the surface toward a populated planet. In the next version we have enabled a switch to turn Revenant attacks on or off from the New Game screen, which will enable/disable both the Revenant homeworld decloak event and Revenant fleets coming out of temporal rifts.



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While developing the Diplomatic victory condition, we brainstormed on the idea of adding a UN-style Galactic Council. We've previously said that we wanted to do this but also that it might have to wait for an expansion, but recent work on the diplomacy screen makes it a lot more feasible so this feature may take less time than we thought to implement. The Galactic Council will be unlocked in each game once any player researches the Galactic Council technology, and the first race to research it will automatically become the Council leader. Anyone else can opt to join the council at any time once it's discovered.

The council's job is to vote on whether to pass various resolutions tabled by its members, so when you're in the council you can select any resolution from a list and table it for the next vote. Only one resolution can be tabled at a time and once it's tabled it'll be 10 turns before the council meets to vote on the decision. Each resolution is a simple yes/no question that passes by majority vote (with the Council Leader getting the deciding vote in the event of a tie), and while one is tabled you can contact the other races in private diplomatic talks to convince them to vote yes or no. Every council member gains 1 council point per turn and each resolution costs a certain number of council points to table. Council members also pay 10% of their empire's income each turn (as long as it's positive) into a council fund bank. Some example resolutions include:
  • Request for Aid (10%, 25%, or 50% of the bank funds)
  • Economic Stimulus Package (50%, 100% bank funds divided evenly among all council members)
  • Increase / Reduce council tax rate by 5%
  • Share Knowledge (+5%, +10%, +15% empire-wide Research bonus for all council members)
  • Seed Bank Initiative (+10%, +20%, +30% empire-wide Food/turn bonus for all council members)
  • Metallurgy Conference (+10%, +20%, +30% empire-wide Metal/turn bonus for all council members)
  • Joint Engineering Projects (+10%, +20%, +30% empire-wide Shipyard capacity bonus for all council members)
  • Cultural Exchange (+10, +20, +30 Morale on all planets for all council members)
  • Joint Training Exercises (+10, +20, +30 Combat Rating on all planets for all council members)
  • Healthcare Agreement (+10, +20, +30 Health Rating on all planets for all council members)
  • Vote yourself to become Council Leader
  • Ban new Nuclear Power Plants / Fossil Fuel Power Plants from being built
  • Ban Stellar Converter / Warp Missiles / Bio-Toxin Bomb / Genesis Device / other weapon or super weapon
  • Ceasefire (All wars between council members instantly end and cannot start again for 20 turns)
  • Ban Spying (All spy actions cease and can't begin again for 20 turns)
  • Add tax on trade routes (+1 BC per trade route)
  • Limit Military (-5, -10, -15 Command Points for all council members)
  • Share Strategic Resources (All races automatically share all strategic resources with each other)
  • Share Sensor Data (All races automatically have sensor treaties with each other)
Many of these resolutions are straight-up strategic benefits for being in the council that are likely to be agreed on by all parties, such as empire-wide bonuses to a stat, but they'll cost quite a few council points to table for vote. Poorer empires can spend a few council points to table the Request for Aid or Economic Stimulus Package to get some money, though you may need to contact the other council members to convince them to vote your way.

Most of the remaining resolutions are strategic limiters that can help level the playing field if an enemy empire is getting ahead. If the enemy is decimating your colonies with biological weapons or the planet-destroying Stellar Converter, just vote to ban them and convince the majority of the council to vote your way. If your fleet has been decimated and you need time to rebuild, table a ceasefire resolution for at least 20 turns of peace. The Galactic Council is also how we're going to implement the Diplomatic victory condition (discussed below).



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Up until now, the game has been an endless sandbox mode that has no victory conditions, but recently we've been working on adding the four main victory conditions (Galactic Domination, Destroy the Revenants, Scientific Victory, and Diplomatic Victory) as well as a fifth hidden victory condition. The game designs for these victory conditions have had to change a little during implementation, but we're now confident that we have our final design and many of the victory conditions are nearly ready to release:

Galactic Domination:
Every race that's sent back in time has a different plan for how to win against the Revenants and ensure its own race becomes the dominant power in the future. The simplest way to make sure it's your race that gets to enact its plan is to dominate the galaxy. Eliminate all of the other races by either destroying or capturing all of their planets to trigger this victory condition.

Destroy the Revenants:
If the Revenants awaken during your game (see Revenant homeworld section above), the Galactic Domination victory condition is off the table and you'll need to destroy the Revenants to win. Whoever destroys or captures the Revenant homeworld will get access to the storehouse of ancient technology underground and is sure to dominate the galaxy, so they win the game.



Diplomatic Victory:
Originally the diplomatic victory was going to be a simple matter of securing universal peace for a certain number of turns or getting everyone to agree to a treaty, but that felt a little underwhelming. We went back to the drawing board and decided to spend some time developing the Galactic Council (discussed above) and we've decided to use that for the victory condition.

The path to diplomatic victory begins in the final tech era when the Revenant planet reveals itself. A new council resolution will appear in the list that anyone can table for a vote -- an agreement to declare the Revenant planet off-limits and avoid risking waking them up. Once this passes, the next resolution in the victory path is to cease all active hostilities between the races, then an Galactic Non-Aggression Pact, and finally the Universal Alliance.

When the Universal Alliance passes and all races not yet eliminated are in the council, this victory condition triggers. If the Revenants are triggered by someone plundering their homeworld, the resolution to declare their planet off-limits will be invalidated and can be skipped if it hasn't been passed yet. You can still secure a diplomatic victory by completing the other resolutions (and so getting all races to join forces against the Revenants), and you'll get a different ending.

Scientific Victory
While some races want to destroy the Revenants in the past, the more scientifically inclined recognise that this could lead to a predestination paradox and prove ultimately ineffective. These races seek to research advanced weapons and defensive technology and find a way back to the final battle with the Revenants in the future to turn the tide of the war. To do that, they'll need the technology to invert a temporal rift and ride it back home, the knowledge of how to recalibrate the time satellite that caused the rifts in the first place, sensor scans of the battle on the other side of a temporal rift, and a well-researched battle plan.

Each of those requirements is a technology that unlocks in the Improvements tree once you've researched an advanced technology from the end of each of the four main tech trees. The four technologies required are now Temporal Shields from the Physics tree, Temporal Conduit (previously named Wormhole Generator) from the Construction tree, Temporal Prime Directive (new) from the Sociology tree, and Temporal Accelerator Satellite (new) from the Biology & Geology tree.

Once you've got all four parts of the plan, you can then research the Scientific Victory and you'll win the game. In the future, however, we are considering making this victory condition a bit more involved by asking players to actually build a fleet and fly it to a temporal rift to travel back to the final battle with the Revenants. Victory would then be decided by actually winning this battle, similar to the Attack Antares option in MOO2.



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We've received a lot of feedback throughout Predestination's time in Early Access, and one thing that comes up quite often is the issue of performance. We've been making steady progress on the game and have already knocked most of the major features off our to-do list, but optimisation has always been put off until later in development. The feedback makes it clear that performance is a very important issue to you, so I decided to take a few weeks out from feature development during May to focus on all of these issues. The results so far have been huge improvements, and we plan to deploy the following optimisations in the next major patch:
  • End Turn stall fixed: We've moved the End Turn code over to a second thread so that the game can continue to render smoothly while the End Turn operations are underway. With this implemented, the game no longer feels like it's stalled when you click End Turn. This has introduced a number of new crashes that we've been tackling as we find them, so please understand that there may be some new and unexpected crashes to report.
  • End Turn optimisation: End Turn times can easily reach 5-10 seconds when a handful of planets are colonised, so we ran the JetBrains dotTrace profiler on Predestination and discovered several unexpected bottlenecks in the End Turn code (the main one being some code for refreshing the status of roads). After solving the biggest four bottlenecks, most End Turns now typically execute in a fraction of a second if a planet doesn't need to be generated.
  • Planet Generation Optimisation: Most of the planet generation time was actually taken up by loading the continent texture files, but there are only a handful of continent files and they were each being re-loaded dozens of times. By batching continents together behind the scenes, we reduced planet generation times by over 50% and were also able to improve the planet graphics at the same time.
  • Map Generation Optimisation: Creating a new map was taking longer than expected, so I ran the profiler while generating a map and discovered that it was spending more time generating planets than it should have. We found that all planets with strategic resources were being pre-generated when they didn't need to be, and were able to solve that quickly to reduce map generation time depending on the settings used.
  • Ship Model Optimisation: You've probably noticed that when you start the game, it stalls for a few seconds on the "Initialising Ship Models" stage. This happens because it's loading all the high-res ship part textures into memory, so we decided to heavily optimise this to save both on load times and video memory usage. Now the game only pre-loads the low-res textures and loads the high-res textures on demand, discarding them again when they're not being used in order to save on GPU memory. The high-res texture loading happens asynchronously in a separate thread so it doesn't cause the game to stutter, and it takes just a split second so you shouldn't even see the difference in-game.
  • RAM Optimisation: The current live build of Predestination takes up about 1.6gb to 2gb of system memory and a lot of gpu memory. A lot of this is in the form of assets that have been loaded into memory multiple times by different parts of the game, as many of our user interfaces share elements and some models are re-used. XNA's ContentManager is supposed to handle this for you, but it's designed to load only XNB files and if we want player modding then we have to load standard .png files. I bit the bullet and implemented a new content manager with all the features I wanted using roonda's ContentTracker V0.2 from 2009 as a starting point. As a result, the game now uses over a third less RAM, now hovering around 1gb to 1.1gb! As an added bonus, the new content manager can load models for the ship designer straight from .X files using SlimDX so modding will be a lot easier.


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The odd thing about game development is that often you're so used to using debug commands to cheat and quickly test features that you don't get a very good sense of how the game fully plays or what the progression is like. I took a few hours recently to just play though Predestination and found a number of problems that need fixed and little things that could improve the game, many of which correspond to feedback and bug reports we've received from players. In no specific order, here are a few of the bigger changes coming in the next update:
  • One-per-planet buildings like Starbases and the Orbital Telescope didn't really make sense to be inside a city. I also kept accidentally clicking on a starbase when trying to zoom into a city. These have now been turned into Infrastructures connected to a city by road, and have their own section in the build menu separate from other infrastructure.
  • Feedback suggested that planets felt like they could support another city, and also that terraforming needed to have a bigger payoff. We're going to try out giving each planet a bonus city if it's 100% terraformed to your native environment. This idea was suggested by a fan, and after playing for a while I can really see the merit of the idea.
  • It felt like it was feasible to just build cities full of Research Labs everywhere, even without artifacts to boost them. We've reduced the research output of labs, but Artifact Excavations now continue to give a +100% bonus when excavated so they're more necessary. Artifact Excavations can also be re-built if destroyed on excavated ruins and ships.
  • Desert planets now have no sea level at all until they begin terraforming into something else.
  • The sea graphics on Terran planets have been made brighter and more colourful, because while the dull colour was more accurate it wasn't very appealing.
  • Fixed that persistent bug where you get kicked out to orbital view every time the AI scans or colonises a planet. I had no idea how annoying that bug was until I was playing for several hours.
  • The Auto Blueprints now use the blueprint upgrade mechanic just like when player blueprints update, so they will no longer demolish buildings for several turns.
  • Homeworlds can no longer be destroyed by TimeExpand temporal rifts. Yep, this happened and it was awful.
  • Ocean homeworlds have been fixed and will no longer spawn with land under the first colony.
  • The crashed ship at the start of the game no longer requires staff. This was a big difference now that we have 500 staff per piece of infrastructure.
  • New colonies now start with 2,000 population to help them get started rather than 1,000.
  • Some of the Sociology technologies for diplomacy need to be available a lot earlier in the tech tree.
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The next major update is 0.9.3.0, which will be going live within the next week. It will contain:
  • All of the optimisations discussed in this dev update (Mostly complete, still a few bugs to fix)
  • The Scientific Victory victory condition (Complete pending final testing)
  • The Galactic Domination victory condition (Complete pending final testing)
  • The Destroy Revenant victory condition (Complete pending final testing)
  • The Revenant Planet Decloak event and Revenant Awakening event (Complete pending testing)
  • New high-res planet textures and bump maps (Work in progress)
  • Finished Diplomacy Text (Mostly complete)
  • All of the rebalancing and tweaks discussed in this update (Complete)
  • Dozens of bugfixes and quality of life improvements (Mostly complete, still a few bugs to fix)
After that, the next major update is 0.9.4.0 and it will contain the Galactic Council and accompanying UI, new sociology technologies relating to the council, new diplomacy options relating to the council, Diplomatic Victory, the end game points screen, and endgame story sequences for the victory conditions. We also hope to have the United Colonies ship models finished and in-game and a batch of new sound effects to replace the current placeholders.

Cheers,

-- Brendan, Lead Developer
Community Announcements - Nyphur


In last month’s dev update, I discussed the new ship crew XP and salvage system, Temporal Rift investigations, diplomacy AI improvements, and details of a complete overhaul of the galaxy generation code and planet distributions. A lot has happened since that patch went live, and overall it’s definitely been a productive month. We had some disappointment when Predestination was unfortunately rejected by GOG, but we made great progress on the tech trees, iterated on several features based on feedback, and laid the ground work for victory conditions.

We also had some internal discussions about the increased competition in the 4X genre and spent some time writing a report on Predestination for NI Screen (a company who gave us a small business loan last year). And there was some really happy news too as our Project Manager Tina Lauro and our Art Director Steven Pollock got married (to each other!).

Read on for a preview of the tech trees as they will be in the next major update and details of new weapons technologies in addition to changes to terraforming, shield facing, weapon mods, and more. We’ll also take a brief look at work on the start sequence and victory screen that will let us tell the story of Predestination.





The next big update (V0.9.2.0) was originally going to add victory conditions to the game as well the Revenant Planet event, and in order to do this we were going to add tech era 4 with mostly placeholder technologies. We then planned to add the rest of the technologies and do a balance pass over the tech trees in a future patch. When we started working on this, however, we found it made more sense to fully revamp the tech trees first and add the victory conditions after even though the tech trees are a monumental task that requires a lot more work.

As part of this work, we’ve implemented and balanced dozens of new weapons, ship modules and other technologies. We’ve also implemented the Synergies and Improvements tech tree, which contains small improvements on some weapons and bonus technologies for combining sets of two technologies from different tech trees. The new technologies need a fair amount of bug-fixing and testing before we can deploy them in a patch, but you can get a preview in this post and we expect the patch to land very soon as patch V0.9.2.0. Below are the finished tech trees. Note that there are a few placeholder technologies still to fill, some racial variants still to design, and room for more techs in the Sociology tree if we decide to add more:


The introduction of the fourth tech era means we had to rebalance the progression of technology research costs. Research costs now follow the curve below, with tech eras 1 and 2 requiring a bit less research to acquire and the technologies in era 3 and 4 rising more steeply to take into account the expansion rate of a growing empire. This era contains all of the advanced weapons and endgame technologies such as the Stellar Converter, Damper Field, Titan and Dread Star ship hulls, Phasors, Stasis Field and Temporal Shields.  Most of the technology arms race will happen in the third and fourth eras, when the game will really start to heat up as borders meet.



Head over to the official Predestination blog for more information that would not fit in this post



To put together the final tech trees, we needed to flesh out the number of weapons and modules available in the game in a way that introduces them periodically and makes them fairly easy to balance. To do this, we created five of each type of  Beam Weapon, Projectile Weapon, Bomb, Missile, Ship Drive, Sensor, Rifle, Shield, and Armour, and divided them into five broad tiers staggered evenly throughout the game’s four technology eras. Each technology’s tier was used when calculating its damage, power grid usage, hit points and other stats, and many of the tier 5 technologies are reserved for the Revenants or might be given by rare commanders and events. We put together a spreadsheet to figure out stats and settled on stats that resulted in clear progression (example section below):



Once we figured out stats and a progression model that worked on paper, we ran the numbers on a theoretical Frigate, Cruiser, Battleship, Titan, and Dreadnought ship of each tier and worked out how many shots each ship would have to fire at an identical ship in order to destroy it. According to our calculations, a balanced ship using 50% of its power grid for weapons and 50% for defenses should be able to survive an average of 5 full attacks from identical ships of the same size and tech level before it’s destroyed. Players may choose to add more weapons or more defenses as they see fit to modify this balance, and tactics will of course have a large impact on the outcome. This setup appears to be balanced on paper, and of course we’ll have to see what happens when it goes into testing and will pay close attention to your feedback.

Weapon special effects
In addition to each weapon tier having increased damage, many weapons have special effects that make them more unique. For example, the Graviton Beam has a chance of detonating unfired missiles and bombs on the enemy ship and the Phasor beam partially cuts through shields. We also use Improvements to add bonus effects to weapons and make the most advanced weapons even more powerful:

Head over to the official Predestination blog for more information that would not fit in this post
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We’ve implemented the Synergies and Improvements system discussed in the previous dev update, which contains special bonus technologies that you can unlock depending on your choices in the four main trees. The left hand side of the new tech tree contains Improvement technologies (highlighted as light blue stars) which are simple improvements of existing tech. For example, if you research Laser Beam then you can select from the three improvements Heavy Laser Beam, Point Defense Laser Beam, and High-Focus Laser Beam. Creative races can pick multiple improvements, and you can trade for improvements you don’t have if another race picked it up.

The right hand side of the tree contains Synergies (highlighted as purple stars), which unlock only once you research both requirements. These are special bonuses gained by combining research in different fields together, such as combining the Mass Driver and Tritanium Armour technologies together to make armour-piercing mass drivers. Synergies are occasionally used to reward players for selecting a slightly underpowered choice in one of the main tech trees, and we’ve left a little room for more in there if we feel some technologies are underpowered later.

The final tech era in this tech tree contains the research path that leads to the scientific victory condition. This requires you to research four different technologies (one from the end of each of the tech trees) and then research a series of technologies that let you come up with a way to get back to the future and a battle plan to beat the Revenants. Once you have all of this in place, you can research the Scientific Victory to win the game. The actual victory condition will be activated in V0.9.3.0 but the technologies are going in now.

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We developed a new animated slideshow system that will be used in the splash screen, start sequence, and victory screen. We’re starting off with just some logos on the splash screen in the next update, and we’ll add the storyline start sequence once we get a chance to put the artwork together for it. We’ll also be using this system on the Victory screen to tell a story of what happens after the game ends, which will depend on which victory condition you meet (Galactic Domination, Destroy the Revenants, Scientific Victory, Diplomatic Victory, and a fifth secret ending). The Credits screen was also developed this month, which will be finished off and activated when we get a chance to put together a list of all of our Kickstarter backers etc for credits. There are a lot of people to thank in there!



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Bonus photo from Steven and Tina’s wedding:



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Thanks to everyone who has supported Predestination so far, and a special thanks to those who have been recommending Predestination to 4X fans online who are looking for a game that follows in the spirit and design intent of classics like Master of Orion II. Patch V0.9.2.0 will be out soon with all of the new technologies, and victory conditions will be released shortly after.

— Brendan, Lead Developer
Community Announcements - Nyphur



In our previous dev update, we added the Revenant faction and talked about Temporal Rifts that can open throughout the game and spit out Revenant ships to attack. This month we activated that feature and expanded on it with a whole series of new Temporal Rift events and and an entirely new Rift Investigation mechanic that spawns the rift inside fleet combat. As part of this system, we’ve re-activated the salvage gameplay on the Fleet Combat Victory Screen and added ship crew XP to this screen. We’ve also made a number of improvements and optimisations to the Galaxy generation code and galaxy graphics, and fixed a ton of bugs and crashes.

As expected, we lost some dev time recently due to boring but necessary parts of running a business such as putting together our corporation tax return and documentation for the British Film Institute to get the game accredited as a British video game. We also took a weekend out to attend the 2016 global game jam, which was a ton of fun! Now that we’re through all that, we’re ramping things up and moving on to develop victory conditions, the Revenant Planet event, the Synergies tech tree, and start on tech era 4. This will take us considerably closer to the big version 1.0 release, so we hope you like it and continue to follow our development this month.

Read on for a brief breakdown of what we’ve added since the last dev update. Head over to the official Predestination blog for a more detailed summary and a preview of the victory conditions and other features we’re currently working on




We’ve now implemented the salvage system and added in the crew XP system to this screen so you can see your ship captains and crew gaining XP and levelling up. When a ship or structure is blown up in fleet combat, it will be completely obliterated, disabled or shipwrecked. After each battle, the winner can salvage any ships that weren’t completely obliterated and can gain a number of things:
  • Nothing (Common)
  • Money (Common) – A fraction of the BC cost of the ship.
  • Data Disk (Uncommon) – A data disk gives bonus research points.
  • Technology (Rare) – A weapon or ship module can sometimes survive the battle in-tact.



Rift Investigation: When you send ships to investigate a rift, it now spawns a Fleet Combat scenario filled with asteroids, nebular gas, ion storms, and one central temporal rift. The rift will open within 2-3 full fleet combat rounds, giving you very little time to get your ships in place to deal with whatever comes through. You can hide ships in the nebular gas to cloak them, for example, or move your ships to surround the rift. Rift types are:

  • Nothing – Nothing comes through.
  • Asteroids (Common) – A few asteroids come through.
  • Unexploded Mine (Common) – A space mine comes through and explodes.
  • Salvage (Common) – Shipwrecks to salvage for money, research, and technologies.
  • Commander (Uncommon) – An escape pof with a free Ship Captain or Planet Leader.
  • Friendly Ships (Uncommon) – Free ships for your empire.
  • Enemy Ships (Uncommon) – Ships belonging to another race in the game.
  • Computer Virus (Uncommon) – Destroys research progress.
  • Ancient Ruins (Rare) – Adds 2 ancient ruins to a planet.
  • Temporal Freeze (Rare) – A planet is frozen in time for 10-20 turns.
  • Temporal Acceleration (Rare) – A planet takes double turns for 10-20 turns!
  • Temporal Bubble (Rare) – Fast-forwards a planet in time by 100,000 years. The Civilization is wiped out, but all cities on the planet to turn into clusters of ancient ruins.






In patch V0.9.0.6, we deployed a new planet balancing algorithm based on your feedback. Some players pointed out that stars could generate with illogical planet setups such as Red Giants with Ice planets right next to the star. We worked out a completely new map generation algorithm that will produce more realistic results and which has been designed with game balance in mind. Each planet type was given a habitability index for each race archetype (for example, Reptiles really like Desert planets), and that was used to work out balanced planet percentages. A spreadsheet with the new data and analysis can be found here. This will also allow us to work out different star probabilities for different galaxy ages in a future update while maintaining the game balance.



After overhauling planet distribution, we overhauled the galaxy map in V0.9.1.0 with a new galaxy generation algorithm that produces nicer maps. We’ve also improved the nebulas and reduced the brightness of the stellar gas, as we found it washed out the graphics a bit.

Head over to the official Predestination blog for a full listing of all the Galaxy changes.





In response to your feedback and some footage from let’s plays of Predestination, we tackled some problems with the Diplomacy AI in patch V0.9.0.6. The main change is that there is no longer any diminishing returns on diplomatic offers, as this often worked out to be quite confusing for people making offers in diplomacy. The scores the AI assigns to things like technologies and money have also been rebalanced, and the penalty for making an offensive offer have been reduced significantly as they were far too punishing. This is something we can potentially use in future for the harder difficulty modes.

Head over to the official Predestination blog for a full listing of all the Diplomacy AI changes.

A big thanks to everyone for reading this massive development update, and a special thanks to all of our new players who bought into the Early Access over the recent Steam sales, and everyone who has been putting in bug and crash reports and leaving reviews for the game on Steam. As always, please feel free to give us any feedback you have on this month’s dev update either here or on the Steam forum, or you can send your feedback directly to us in private by emailing it to brendan@brainandnerd.com

Cheers,

— Brendan, Lead Developer
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