We’ve just released the enormous V0.9.9.0 update, the last update before we hit the big V1.0 release and enter the iteration and refinement phase. This update includes a massive overhaul of the Diplomacy gameplay with an all-new favour system, new diplomatic advisors, several new technologies, the Threats and Coercions system, a new Star Claim feature, and significant improvements to the AI diplomacy algorithms. The Spying gameplay has been improved with a simpler deployment system (including Send Spy shortcut buttons), changes to the spy missions themselves, new technologies, and Spying being finally tied into the Diplomacy AI.
This update also completely revamps the main menu screen with new visuals and highly requested features such as a load game panel, finishes off the New Game screen with the ability to pick your race colour and crashed ship types, and completes the dropdown menu interface with the final Fleets menu to let you see all of your ships at a glance. We’ve also improved the galaxy generation algorithm, tweaked the Aquatic race balance, added our second-last set of building and infrastructure models, filled the remaining gaps in the diplomacy text, and more.
Read on for a full progress report on everything in the V0.9.9.0 update. This update is so big that we’ll be releasing information on what’s coming next in the big V1.0 release and beyond in a further update article soon!
The biggest change in this update by far is a massive iteration on the Diplomacy gameplay. Many of these new features and improvements were things we were planning to do after V1.0 or even drop from the game entirely to get it out the door quicker, but when developing the Diplomacy AI’s Memory system we decided to push ahead with them. You only get one shot to release a game and this was one of our biggest opportunities to do something new and exciting in the 4X genre, so we’re very glad we took it. We posted an update on this to the Steam forum that was positively received, and in particular we were absolutely blown away by follower EVIL’s incredibly kind words below. We hope it lives up to your expectations!
This was the final major piece of the diplomacy puzzle for us. It’s taken us some time to get here, but I hope you’ll agree that it was worth the wait! The Coercion panel in the Diplomacy screen is now active and you can use it to add diplomatic threats and demands to your deals that really take diplomacy to the next level. Races will also remember your recent threats and coercions in all future negotiations and will react accordingly. The weightings of threats may be tweaked as we balance test this gameplay, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
Threats: Threats are a way to strong-arm another race into accepting a deal that would otherwise be in your favour. They add weight to a diplomatic offer and increase the chance the enemy race will accept, but will cause a -10% diplomatic penalty with that race for the next 100 turns and a minor penalty with the other races. Each threat can only be issued once every 50 turns, so you better make sure you get something useful in exchange.
Threaten to Declare War: Threatening to declare war adds value to the diplomatic offer based on how big your military is compared to the enemy race’s (essentially, how afraid of war with you they are). This can be a gamble if the enemy’s chance of accepting the deal is less than 100%, as war will be declared immediately if they call your bluff and reject the deal.
Threaten to Cancel Treaty: You can threaten to cancel any Alliance, Research Agreement, Trade Agreement, Sensor Treaty, or Peace Treaty you have with the enemy race. This will add value to the agreement depending on whether or not they get a lot of value out of that treaty. For example, threatening to cancel a peace treaty when your military is smaller than theirs isn’t much of a threat but doing so when your military is stronger will add a lot of weight to the deal. If they reject the proposal, the treaty will be cancelled immediately and you’ll take a diplomatic hit for both making the threat and breaking the treaty.
Coercions: Coercions are demands you can make other than just money and technologies, and are a great way to manipulate the other races. You can diplomatically isolate a race by convincing everyone to break their treaties with them, for example, or convince a warmongering race to lay off an ally of yours they’re at war with.
Demand They Break Treaty: If the enemy race has any treaties with other races, you’ll be able to see them all here in the Threats & Coercions tab and can demand that they break those treaties. You’ll have to offer them something substantial in exchange or make a sufficiently large threat to make them agree. For example, you could bribe The United Colonies with a few technologies to break a Research treaty they have with the Z’loq or threaten to cancel all of your treaties with them if they don’t break off a Peace Treaty with the Kazzir.
Demand They Stop Spying: If the enemy race has any active spies in your planets, this Coercion option will show up in the Threats & Coercions tab in the diplomacy screen and will let you know how many spies they have in your empire. This is a simple demand that the enemy stop spying on you, which will make them set all of their spies from active missions to the inactive “Hide” mode for the next 100 turns.
Demand They Make Peace With Someone: If the enemy race is at war with another race, you’ll be able to demand that they make peace with them. If they agree, they’ll attempt to contact the other race and make a peace offering within several turns (except during the first 10 turns after a war declaration, when diplomatic contact is cut off). There’s no guarantee that the other race will accept their peace offer, but they will make what they consider to be a reasonable offer. If you can convince both sides in a war to make peace, a peace treaty is guaranteed to be signed. We’ve also added a new Peace Mediator technology that gives you a global +10 diplomatic boost with all races for 100 turns every time you mediate a peace treaty in this manner, so you can keep the whole galaxy at peace if that’s your plan.
Star Claims: Every fully uninhabited star system you’ve been to that has planets will show up in the Threats & Coercions tab, where you can issue a demand that the other race respect your territorial claim to it.
Claim Star System: If you can get a race to agree to this demand, they will not send any colony ships to planets in that star system. Any colony ships that are already on their way there will not colonise on arrival and will soon select a new planet to colonise. Your claim is valid for 50 turns only and counts as a minor diplomatic threat, so it will carry a small diplomatic penalty for that 50 turns.
AI Star Claims: If the AI is thinking about settling a planet in an uninhabited star system and it’s in your sensor range too, it will sometimes contact you to declare a claim on the system. Sometimes they’ll just issue the claim as a demand and sometimes they’ll include minor inducements like free money to convince you to accept. You can either accept the claim (which will of course make them like you more) or reject it and maybe try to grab the star for yourself. It’s also perfectly possible to accept a claim and then violate it by colonising a planet in that star system anyway, but this will cause a diplomatic penalty with the other races that they’ll remember for quite a long time.
AI Memory / New Favour System:
The old diplomatic favour system had a point scale running from 0% to 100% representing how much each race likes you, and events such as wars or giving them gifts would permanently increase or decrease this rating. In practice, this meant you could just give an enemy race a bunch of gift technologies and they would like you forever unless you did something to decrease your rating again later, and they would never consider going to war with you.
In the new favour system, everyone starts with 50% favour to each other and this is modified based on your recent diplomatic history with the other race. Every time you do something that could change to your favour rating with another race, such as launching a surprise attack or giving them a technology gift, it’s recorded in that race’s list of AI Memory events. The value of each event decays slowly over around 100 to 200 turns, so you can’t just give them a gift once and coast on that goodwill forever. Decay also solves a problem in some other 4X games where empires can hold ancient grudges for the entire game even when it no longer makes sense.
Positive memory events: Making a good impression in first contact, making fair deals, offering gifts, current treaties, and accepting the other race’s proposals.
Negative memory events: Making a poor impression in first contact, proposing unfair deals or demands, breaking treaties, launching surprise attacks on their planets without declaring war, using biological warfare, using weapons banned by the Galactic Council, mistreating your citizens (e.g. picking a violent resolution to a riot random event or researching the Medical Testing technology), your spies on their planets being caught, violating a star claim agreement, and recent diplomatic threats made against them.
Spontaneous Diplomacy AI Offers:
The Diplomacy AI now periodically checks if the other empires in the game have something they want and constructs a diplomatic offer to try and get it. It will now trade for key technologies, barter any strategic resources it has for something worthwhile, and offer treaties when it’s advantageous to its empire. The AI will seek peace treaties and eventually alliances with empires that have powerful militaries, sensor treaties if it will help them expand their empire, and research and trade treaties with large enough friendly empires.
This new part of the diplomacy AI is influenced by the empire’s overarching strategic goal (Expand, Consolidate, Diplomacy, Defend, or Conquer), the randomly selected leader’s personality type, and your diplomatic history with the target race (e.g. if you have a reputation for breaking treaties). This means a race’s diplomatic strategy can naturally vary from game to game and depending on its situation. We’ve also implemented a new twist in the form of hidden pre-existing diplomatic motivations.
Two races can start the game already predisposed to liking each other or hating each other, which will modify the weight and duration of postitive and negative AI memory events and leads to some interesting gameplay. They can also really beg for peace when you’re kicking their ass, as below:
Predestination’s AI is pretty complex, basing decisions on a huge range of factors including military strength, scientific progress, colonisation progress, and recent diplomatic dealings. One thing we realised while playing test games to evaluate the AI’s responses to diplomacy was that it was very helpful to be able to see some of this information and gauge whether the AI will accept an offer and what its motivations are. That’s where the three new diplomatic advisors come in:
Scientific Advisor: This advisor evaluates the current diplomatic offer on the table and give you the estimated value of each side, a percentage chance that the other race will accept the deal, and a text recommendation.
Diplomatic Advisor: This advisor gives you a breakdown of your current favour rating with the other race, showing the total contribution from each type of memory event and other factors such as legendary commanders and racial bonuses or penalties. This is a good way to see what the consequences of your actions are and keep track of grudges races still hold for your prior actions.
Military Advisor: This advisor gives you the estimated military strength of both races’ fleets and planets. Comparing these is a handy way to see how likely they are to accept a Peace or Alliance treaty, and how much weight they’ll give to threats of declaring war etc. This advisor also tells you the race’s current strategic goal (Expand, Consolidate, Diplomacy, Defend or Conquer), which will also affect how they value certain diplomatic offers.
While testing out the new diplomacy coercion options such as demanding that the enemy stop spying on you, we remembered that the AI doesn’t actually engage in spying. We also spotted some ways that the spying gameplay could be simplified and improved for both the AI and the player, so we took a little time to implement the spying AI system and iterate on the spying gameplay itself:
New Deployment System: To install a spy in an enemy planet, you previously had to build a ship with at least one Spy Pod module, fly it to the enemy system, pay 100 BC to install the spy, and then fly the ship home to refill it with new spies. The new system is much simpler and more consistent with the rest of the game. Now you just build single-use Spy Pod probes that work a lot like survey probes, fly them to the enemy system, and install the spy for free. The probe shows up as a Survey Probe on enemy sensors so they don’t know it’s a spy, and you may find it very suspicious if an enemy race starts sending survey probes into your systems.
Spying AI: The enemy races now build spy probes once they are able, pick out ideal target planets to install spies in, and send spies to infiltrate them. When spies arrive, the AI gets them to hide for a while to get their infiltration ratings up and then switches them to another mission. The AI picks which mission to use based on factors like how much they like the other race, how much research and other activity is happening on the planet, and whether they’re at war. If you threaten the AI to stop spying on you, they’ll put all of their spies on your planets into hiding until the threat expires.
Spy Mission Changes: There was a bit of a lack of consistency with the spy missions, as some had ongoing effects and some had no effect until they roll for success every 20 turns or so. We updated all the missions so that now each one has a passive effect that happens while the mission is ongoing and an active effect that rolls every 20 turns or so. You also now get a popup when a mission is successful and the AI will condemn you when they catch one of your spies. The updated missions are below:
Hide: Passive is +1 infiltration rating each turn for all spies on the planet. Active mission is a chance every 40 turns to make contact with criminals on the planet, increasing the infiltration rating of all spies on the planet immediately by +50%. This mission has a base success bonus of +50 (very low chance of being caught), costs nothing, and is the default mission.
Espionage: Passive steals 5% of the planets research output and adds it to your own empire. Active mission is a chance every 20 turns to steal important data from a computer system, from planetary maps and more research points to full working technologies. This mission has a base success bonus of +20 and costs 2 BC/turn.
Sabotage: Passive reduces security coverage by 8,000 population, which can bring the planet’s security rating down below 100%. Active mission is a chance every 20 turns to shut down the planet’s farms, factories, or research labs for 10 turns. This mission has a base success bonus of +30 and costs 1 BC/turn.
Terrorism: Passive kills 50 population each turn on the planet. Active mission is a chance every 20 turns to blow up buildings, infrastructure, ships in orbit, the space station, or even a whole city. This mission has a base success bonus of +50 and costs 1 BC/turn.
Rebellion: Passive reduces the planet’s morale by -40%, which can bring it below 100% and may cause riots and other random events. Active mission is a chance every 20 turns to organise a riot that will cost the enemy money or permanently reduce the planet’s morale rating, making it easier for ground troops to capture. this mission has a base success bonus of +30 and costs 2 BC/turn.
Assassination: Passive reduces the enemy’s planet leader bonus by 50%. Active mission is a chance every 20 turns to assassinate the planet leader. This mission has a base success bonus of +0, costs 2 BC/turn and can only be used on planets with an assigned planet leader.
New Spy Technologies: While implementing the new spy missions, we split the Troop Pods and Spy Pods back into two separate technologies and added several new ones to the Sociology tree. We’re planning to add a few more in the next update, so we’d love to hear any ideas you have for new spying technologies!
Covert Coordination: Developing a system for coordinating the covert actions of your deployed spies allows you to add an extra spy to each enemy planet. Each additional spy on a planet contributes up to a +10% bonus to the success chance of missions depending on its infiltration rating.
Deep Cover: Spies can be trained to prepare additional cover stories and false identities for any new operatives that will land on the planet. Spies will gain +2% infiltration rating per turn instead of 1%, and all spies deployed to a planet will share the same infiltration rating, drastically cutting down on infiltration time.
Up until now, the main menu screen has been a simple background image with a few buttons on it. It wasn’t very visually appealing, you couldn’t edit any of the game options from it, and the only way to load a game was to use the Continue button that loaded your latest save game. There was also no way to select the singleplayer mission you wanted to play, which will be important as we add further chapters to the story. I’m happy to say that we’ve now totally revamped the main menu to solve all of these issues, and the new screen very closely resembles the mock-ups from the previous dev update.
Visual Update: The screen now looks more appealing, with an animated rotating galaxy on the left hand side and a randomly generated planet on the right. We’re considering adding some kind of clouds to the planet to make it more animated, but this is of course a low priority.
Options Menu: A new panel appears in the middle of the screen when you hit the Options menu, with a number of toggleable checkboxes and sliders for things like volume. These are all actually pulled directly from the Menu dropdown in the main game, so if we add new options there then they’ll also appear in the main screen options panel.
Load Game: The new panel is also used for the Load Game panel, which shows all 8 save game slots and the Autosave in slot 9. The old Continue option has been added here with your latest save game being drawn in slot 10. Each save slot also shows the races in the game next to it, with eliminated races marked off.
Story Missions: The new panel is similarly used to show a list of all of the singleplayer Story Missions in the game and let you launch one. There’s currently only one mission (The Kazzir Story, part of the Before the War story arc), and we’ll be adding more as quickly as possible. The aim is to hopefully have two full story arcs with 6 missions in each by launch. We’ve also added three rating stars to each mission on this part of the UI (Bronze, Silver and Gold), and in a future patch we’ll have a score screen after each mission to work out how well you did and let you know which of the three ratings you achieved. At the moment, completing the mission just assigns you the bronze rating.
Challenge Maps: We’ve activated the Challenge Maps button, which uses the same UI as the Story Missions panel, but there are no challenge maps currently available. We’ll be adding some of these leading up to release and after release, and they’ll have the same three star rating system.
We’ve now finished off the New Game Screen, which was missing some of the options players could select when creating a new sandbox mode game. The load time when clicking the Sandbox Mode button on the main screen has been eliminated, we’ve made some small UI improvements to the galaxy selection page, and all galaxy options are now saved to your Predestination.ini file and will be remembered the next time you load the game. The race selection page has also been renamed to Empire Options and now allows you to select your race’s colour and which crashed ship you want to start the game with:
Science Vessel: Generates 20 RP/turn. On reaching the Space Exploration tech era, you unlock the Orbital Scanner ship module and get a Science Vessel that can scan planets.
Asteroid Miner: Generates 25 Metal/turn. On reaching the Space Exploration tech era, you unlock the Asteroid Miner ship module and get an Asteroid Miner ship that produces +50 metal/turn.
Colony Ship: Provides housing, food, health, and security for 2,000 additional population. On reaching the Space Exploration tech era, you unlock the Colony Module ship module and get a Colony Ship that can settle another planet.
War Cruiser: Provides 50 Energy/turn. On reaching the Space Exploration tech era, you unlock the Laser Cannon, Laser Rifle, Mass Driver, and Electron Shield technologies and get a prototype warship with no FTL drive that can defend your home system and remains quite powerful into the mid-game.
Galaxy Distribution: We’ve made some changes to the galaxy and nebula generation algorithm again, making stars a bit closer together and re-balancing the number of stars on each size level (32 for Tiny, 48 for Small, 64 for Medium, 96 for Large, 128 for Huge, and 180 for the new Colossal size). A few tweaks have been made to ensure every race has a certain minimum start quality, so races such as the Starforged and the Zloq who are highly sensitive to finding the right type of planet nearby should no longer get screwed over by map generation. You’ll still have to go exploring to find the ideal planets, but there’s now guaranteed to be a decent one nearby.
Nebula Tweaks: The nebula graphics have been tweaked a bit and should now look a bit better with more variation. Stars will also now more accurately detect that they’re inside a nebula and show that visually in the system window correctly, which will be a bigger deal as we add further gameplay differences for stars inside nebulae such as gas pockets during fleet combat. The Primordial galaxy age also now makes nebulae sprawl out across multiple stars for a more unique look, and Ancient galaxy age has more distinct nebulae.
Aquatic Race Tweaks: Someone pointed out that the Zloq can be kind of overpowered when it comes to producing metal as their Metallic Coral Reefs are massive and can harvest ore deposits on nearby land, so we’ve re-balanced reefs a little. They can still harvest ore on land, but pure Ocean worlds now start with less ore and Aquatic races can no longer research Carbonide Drills so their ore deposits are only worth +2 metal/turn. To compensate, the Metallic Coral Reef now automatically plants 4 additional coral deposits in ocean hexes in their area when built or 9 new deposits with the Pre-Seeded Reefs technology. This also applies to Fishing coral Reefs, which now start with additional fish deposits so you will no longer have to wait as long for fish growth.
Standalone Ship Designer: As part of the 3D Ship Designer Kickstarter campaign, we offered a standalone version of the 3D ship designer that let you save your designs to files. We deployed the first version of this last month and will be deploying an updated version soon and sending everyone out emails with the link.
Building Models: We’ve now added the models for the Coral Spire, Fishing Coral Reef, Metallic Coral Reef, Gas Harvester, ByteCoin Miner, Antivirus Tower, The Forge, and Heat Sink infrastructure / buildings. Several are still remaining to be completed, including the Factory, Research Lab, Food Processor, and Factory. We’ve also now added the models for biospheres, making it a lot easier to see which cities and infrastructure have biospheres and thus cost an extra +1 BC/turn to run.
More Diplomacy Text: As part of this update, we had to add new diplomatic responses for each race to cover new circumstances that can occur. The races all now have responses for when you accept a counter-offer they make, when you accept a deal they spontaneously suggested, when you reject a deal they spontaneously suggested, when you reject a demand they make of you, and when they catch your spy on their planets. We’ve also taken the opportunity to fix a number of text errors in the diplomacy text files.
I’d like to thank everyone for reading through another colossal dev update article, I didn’t quite realise how much was in this patch until writing this up! A special thanks also to those providing feedback and bug reports during Early Access. As always, if you’re a Kickstarter backer and you’d like an early access key for Steam or to check out the latest DRM-free non-steam edition of the game, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the email address you used on Kickstarter. The next wave of keys will be going out in the next day or two.
We’re eagre to get feedback on all of the new things in this update, so please do share your thoughts here, on the Steam forum, or directly via email to email@example.com if you’d like to keep your thoughts and ideas private. Are the new threat and coercion options too heavily weighted or does the AI still drive a hard bargain? We’re also interested in any ideas you might have for new spying technologies and potentially for new endgame technologies and weapons in the Physics and Biology tech trees. The next major update will be the big V1.0 release, when we change gears from feature development to iteration and balancing. More information on what you can expect in V1.0 will be released in a further dev preview article soon!
This Colossal update started out as a month-long incremental update to overhaul the main menu and fill in some missing Diplomacy gameplay. We took the opportunity to add some huge diplomacy features, revamp the diplomacy AI, Spying, and more. Please note that all of your older save game files will be broken in this new version and won't load. This is unfortunately necessary as the galaxy and race data just isn't compatible with the new format.
We've completely overhauled the main menu screen, replacing the boring background image with a new animated scene of a rotating galaxy and a planet on the right hand side, all rendered using the in-game tech. The new screen now seamlessly switches to the New Game screen and also includes a panel in the middle of the screen that pops up to be used for everything from options to picking a save game to load.
Implemented Options menu. When the Options button is active, the panel in the middle of the screen now shows a series of toggleable checkboxes and sliders pulled directly from the Menu dropdown in the main game.
Implemented Load Game menu. When the Load Game button is active, the panel in the middle of the screen now shows all eight of the save game slots, the autosave and a shortcut to the most recent save game. The races present in that save are drawn in little hexes next to each save.
The Save Game directory now contains information on each race in the game and whether it has been eliminated. Older save game files may display this incorrectly, but new saves made after the patch will be fine.
Implemented the Story Mode and Challenge Maps menus. When each button is active, the panel in the middle of the screen now shows a list of playable missions and indicates whether they are locked and whether you've achieved the bronze, silver, or gold rating.
The UI for selecting Galaxy options when you create a new Sandbox game has been improved with new buttons and a header image.
The Galaxy options you select when starting a new Sandbox game are now saved to the Predestination.ini file and remembered next time you start the game.
The Race Select screen when creating a new Sandbox game has been renamed to Empire options and now has a header image
You can now select what colour you want your empire to be on the Empire Options screen.
You can now select which crashed ship type you want to start with on the Empire Options screen. The choices are Science Vessel, Asteroid Miner, Colony Ship, and War Cruiser.
AI Memory System
Added a positive AI Memory event for when you give the enemy a gift.
Added a positive AI Memory event for when you make a fair deal in the enemy's favour.
Added a positive AI Memory event for every time you accept a deal that they've proposed to you.
Added a negative AI Memory event for Mistreating Citizens when you use violence to quell a riot random event on one of your planets. There's also a -10% Mistreating Citizens penalty if you have researched the Medical Testing technology and the other race hasn't.
Added a negative AI Memory event for launching a surprise attack on a planet without declaring war first. This penalty is larger if you are violating a peace treaty at the same time.
Added a negative AI Memory event for using a superweapon on a planet that has been banned by the Galactic Council, such as the Genesis Device or Stellar Converter.
Added a negative AI Memory event for firing biological weapons at an enemy city that kills their population and troops.
Added a negative AI Memory event for when your spy is caught on attempting the active part of its mission.
Added a negative AI Memory event for when the enemy rejects a proposal weighted in your favour.
Added a negative AI Memory event for when the enemy accepts a proposal even though it's weighted in your favour. This punishes you a bit for constantly making deals in your favour by making the enemy less receptive to your future offers.
Added a negative AI Memory event for breaking a treaty. The penalty is increased if the treaty was that race's idea in the first place.
Added a negative AI Memory event for any time you make a diplomatic threat using the new Threats and Coercions system. This forces you to use threats selectively as the enemy will be a bit less receptive for 100 turns.
Added a negative AI Memory event for every time you reject a deal that they proposed to you.
Added a negative AI Memory event for violating a star claim you've previously agreed to.
Added a -50 diplomacy favour penalty for being at war. With enough positive counter-points, it's possible to have a positive rating with a race and still be at war, which will make them more likely to make peace.
When you end a war by securing a peace treaty, the "Historic War" memory event is triggered, replacing the diplomacy favour penalty for being at war with a new -50 penalty that tapers off over the next 100 turns.
Added an AI Memory event for First Contact that can be either positive or negative
Implemented a new friendship / rivalry system to the Diplomacy AI. Races can now start the game with a predisposition toward liking or hating another empire in the game, decided at random during map generation. This modifies the value and duration of positive and negative memory events, having far reaching effects throughout the game.
Factored game difficulty setting into the friendship / rivalry system to make Hard and Impossible mode harder.
Factored game difficulty setting into the value of memory events to make the game naturally harder in Hard and Impossible mode, and promote more natural wars in those difficulty levels.
Added a diplomacy favour bonus for each treaty based on the treaty's length, so that long-standing friendships are more valuable.
Threats and Coercions:
Threats are a way to strong-arm another race into accepting a deal that would otherwise be in your favour. They add weight to a diplomatic offer, but if the enemy rejects your proposal then the threat is carried out automatically. Coercions are a way to manipulate another race into doing your bidding, but you have to add a lot of value to the deal to get them to accept it.
Activated the Coercions panel in the Diplomacy screen to contain all threats and coercions.
Added Threaten Declare War feature. If the deal is rejected, war is automatically declared.
Added Threaten Cancel Treaty feature. All existing treaties you have with the enemy race show up here.
Added Demand Break Treaty feature. All treaties the enemy race has with other races show up here, and you can demand that they break them.
Added Demand Make Peace feature. All wars the enemy is involved in will appear here and you can demand that they make peace. If they accept, they'll construct a peace offering.
Added Demand Stop Spying feature. If the enemy is spying on any of your planets, you can demand that they stop. This will make them all switch from their active mission to the Hide mission for the duration of the coercion (50 turns).
Added Star Claim feature. All uninhabited star systems within range of both empires will show up here, and you can demand they leave the system alone. The AI will respect your star claims for 50 turns.
Implemented peace mediation mechanic. When both races in a war have been convinced to make peace, the peace agreement is automatically accepted.
Implemented Peace Mediator technology, giving a +10% global diplomacy bonus every time you mediate a successful peace treaty between two other races.
Implemented Star Claim AI: Whenever an AI race picks a valuable planet to send a colony ship or survey ship to, they will often contact any nearby races and inform them that the star is claimed by them.
Modified the Threat Psychology technology. It now adds +50% to the value of threats and coercions in diplomatic deals.
Implemented the Covert Coordination technology. Allows you to add an extra spy to each enemy planet.
Implemented the Deep Cover technology. All spies gain an additional +1 infiltration rating per turn when in Hide mode. When installing a second spy on a planet, it inherits the current spy's infiltration rating.
Changed the spy bonus and chance roll algorithms. The first spy adds 50% of its infiltration rating to its offensive spy score and each additional spy adds 10% of its infiltration rating.
Split the Drop Pods technology into two separate technologies: Spy Pod and Troop Pod. Also re-organised the Sociology tree to add the new spying technologies as a small sub-tree.
Implemented Spying AI. This builds spy pods when the technology is available, selects enemy planets that would be ideal to spy on, and sends spies to infiltrate those planets. The spy hides until it has a high infiltration rating and then switches to an active mission depending on what mission would be best on that planet.
Spies now cost 0 to install. Instead, you now build single use stealth probes to carry spies to enemy planets that work like survey probes.
The Send Spy button when you right click on an enemy planet in the system window is now fully functional. It will light up if you have any idle spy pods in your empire, and clicking it will dispatch one to that planet. The same button can be found on the Planets menu's Exploration panel next to enemy planets.
The Spy Satellite now costs 500 metal and 100 BC and the description has been fixed so it now correctly says it gives a +50 spying bonus for 100 turns.
The Spy Pod now fits only on a probe hull and is limited to one per ship. It costs 1000 metal and 200 BC, which replaces the cost of installing spies.
Renamed Hack Computers mission to Espionage and added a passive component that steals 5% of the planet's research each turn.
Renamed Sabotage Computers mission to Sabotage.
Renamed Plant Bombs mission to Terrorism and added a passive component that kills 50 population each turn.
Renamed Incite Civil Unrest mission to Rebellion.
Tweaked the difficulty and success chance of all of the missions and changed the success chance algorithm. Each mission now has a base chance, onto which all positive and negative bonuses are applied to reach the final odds. Total bonuses are +0 to +110 defensive and +0 to +110 offensive
Modified the chance of being caught when executing a diplomatic mission. There's now a 25% chance of being caught on failure and a 10% chance of being caught anyway if you were going to be successful. This means there's no guarantee you won't be caught even if you have a massive spying bonus.
Diplomacy AI & Improvement:
Added new Diplomacy text for when spies are caught or you reject an offer they've made to you
The AI race leaders can now sometimes take an immediate liking or disliking to another empire that will affect the weighting they give to positive and negative interactions. If a race decides they don't like you then you may have to work harder to avoid war, and if they like you then you can expect more favourable diplomatic deals.
Implemented Spontaneous Offer AI. The Diplomacy AI now periodically checks if the other empires in the game have something they want and constructs a diplomatic offer to try and get it. It will now trade for key technologies, barter any strategic resources it has for something worthwhile, and offer treaties when it's advantageous to its empire.
Implemented complex Spontaneous diplomacy AI that constructs realistic diplomatic offers and demands depending on a wide range of factors.
Added modifiers to the Diplomacy AI to account for the race's overarching strategic goal (Expand, Consolidate, Diplomacy, Defend, or Conquer)
Added modifiers to account for the AI's randomly selected leader personality type and your diplomatic history with the target race.
Added a special warning if you are caught spying on another race and have previously agreed not to spy on them. This causes a larger diplomatic hit than a standard caught spy.
Added a new Reject Deal button and moved the UI around to accomodate it. This button appears when the AI contacts you to make an offer.
Implemented new Scientific Advisor report: Evaluates the current diplomatic offer on the table and give you the estimated value of each side, a percentage chance that the other race will accept the deal, and a recommendation.
Implemented new Diplomatic Advisor: Gives you a breakdown of your current favour rating with the other race, showing the total contribution from each type of memory event and other factors such as legendary commanders and racial bonuses or penalties.
Implemented new Military Advisor: Gives you the estimated military strength of both races' fleets and planets, and tells you the race's current strategic goal (Expand, Consolidate, Diplomacy, Defend or Conquer).
Buildings / Infrastructure:
Added model for the Coral Spire, the central Aquatic city building.
Added model for The Forge, the central Robotic city building.
Added model for the Heat Sink, a piece of Robotic infrastructure.
Added model for the Gas Harvester, a piece of infrastructure for all races.
Added model for the Metallic Coral Reef, a piece of Aquatic infrastructure.
Added model for the Fishing Coral Reef, a piece of Aquatic infrastructure.
Added model for the infrastructure and city biospheres. It should now be clear whenever something is surrounded by a biosphere, which costs an additional 1 BC/turn to run.
Added models for the Barren, Molten and Toxic biospheres with different colours of glass (Barren:Gray, Molten: Red, Toxic: Purple).
Added model for the ByteCoin Miner, a piece of Robotic infrastructure.
Added model for the Antivirus Tower, a Robotic building.
Increased the Damaged Mining Barge's metal output from 20/turn to 25/turn.
Increased the power output of the Fossil Fuel Power Plant from 50/turn to 75/turn so that the start of the game is less restricted.
Increased the power output of the Nuclear Power Plant from 200/turn to 250/turn to make it more effective.
Increased the power output of the Biofuel Reactor from 100/turn to 150/turn
Changed the Heat Sink building from a city building to a piece of planetary infrastructure. It now provides +10% research and metal production across the planet but takes up an infrastructure slot and must be built in an Ice environment.
Coral reefs now automatically plant 4 free deposits of the resource they grow (Coral for the Metallic Coral Reef and Fish for the Fishing Coral Reef) in empty hexes of the right environment. This is in addition to the deposits already there. The bonus is increased to 9 additional deposits with the Pre-Seeded Reefs technology.
The Auxiliary Hatchery reptilian building has been changed to increase population growth rate by 5% at the cost of 250 food per turn.
Removed the Auxiliary Forge robotic building has been removed as it kind of went against the design of the Robotic races by providing population growth.
Misc Features / Changes:
Implemented the Fleets dropdown menu. This new dropdown shows all of your current fleets and provides shortcuts to open them. Moving ships have their destinations shown and stationary ships are labled as "Standing Fleet" with the system of origin displayed.
Ocean and Swamp planets no longer start with poorer mineral rolls. Instead, they generate part of their minerals as ore on land and part as coral in the oceans. This makes these planet types more viable for Aquatic races and less for other races.
Strategic resources such as Neodymium, Helium-3, and Coffee Beans will now always be found surrounded by other resources of the same type (e.g. Neodymium in an ore deposit and Coffee in a fertile soil deposit) rather than sitting out on their own.
Added the new Robotic technology "Upgrade: Cooling Vents" that increases research on all Ice type planets by 10%.
Renamed "Fuel Pellet Conservation" robotic technology to "Upgrade: Insulation" and increased its bonus from +25% fuel pellet production to +50%!
Improved the Biogenic Research technology. It now provides +25% research on all Toxic planets and no longer requires that you are researching the Biology & Geology field.
Temporal Rifts now have 10-14 turns before they open rather than 8-12, so it should be easier to reach them in time.
Adjusted Galaxy Size parameters to provide more options: Tiny is still 32 stars, Small is 48 (down from 64), Medium is 64 (down from 96), Large is 96 (down from 128), Huge is 128 (down from 180), and a new Colossal size is 180.
Adjusted Galaxy nebula generation algorithm to allow much larger nebulae without letting them overlap. Also improved the nebula detection algorithm so stars will now much more accurately determine whether they are inside one or not.
Adjusted the nebula graphics a bit, they should now be more visually appealing and there's a bigger difference between each Galaxy Age option. Ancient now looks round and washed out, while Primordial now sprawls across multiple star systems.
Improved the load speed on the Main Game screen's galaxy generation process.
Galaxies should now be more compact, with fewer stars lying far from the main body and less chance of getting stuck in a corner without anywhere good to expand to.
The Robotic race Forge option to construct new citizens now builds in smaller batches, allowing you to build 250 at a time rather than forcing you to build chunks of 1,000.
Added a new taskbar notification for when a Revenant fleet appears from a temporal rift but is going after another race.
The sensor sphere graphics now draw spheres for all of your planets and those belonging to races you have a sensor treaty with, so it should now be more obvious where you can travel.
Aquatic races no longer have access to the Carbonide Drills technology, so they only get a maximum of +2/turn from each Ore deposit. This helps even off the disparity between the Ore Refinery and Metallic Coral Reef.
Removed the Diplomatic Computer technology from the Robotic research tree as we've since
The Genetic Enhancement: Happy technology has been increased from +5% empire-wide morale to +10%, and the description has been corrected on the research screen.
The Research dropdown menu now draws the building, infrastructure or ship part in a technology in the bottom left panel when you mouse over the technology.
Added biosphere graphics to the Research dropdown menu when you mouseover those technologies.
The Diplomacy dropdown menu now displays a dotted line for Peace Treaty, Alliance Treaty, or War next to the line denoting how much two races like each other, so it no longer covers it up.
Exploring a conquered enemy homeworld should no longer allow you to find free cargo and escape pods. This is intended to be something a race finds as it explores its homeworld in the Pre-Warp era.
Fixed bugs causing a number of Robotic technologies to be labled as non-racial.
Fixed a bug allowing the AI to trade away the endgame technologies that lead up to the scientific victory. These technologies must be researched by the player.
Fixed a number of text errors in the Research trees and diplomacy text
Fixed several Strategic Resource popups that had their text cut off because it was too long.
Added some automatic memory recovery to the Fleet Combat explosion code so that it should no longer crash with an Out Of Memory error and will instead stall for a few seconds when it runs out of memory. This is a temporary fix, and more rigorous solution is in the works for a future update.
Fixed a bug causing Ship Captains and Planet Leaders to be stuck at level 9 and never make it to level 10.
Fixed a bug causing Ship Captains and Planet Leaders with diplomacy bonuses to provide massively over-inflated bonuses.
Fixed some galaxy generation bugs causing too many stars to generate on Tiny maps and the gaps between stars to be too large on the Large and Huge maps.
Fixed a bug causing ship designs to not be deleted from the save game files when you save over an old slot. In rare cases, this could cause an obscure crash.
Fixed an incredibly unlikely crash that could happen if you rapidly clicked on the Music volume slider a whole bunch of times. Seriously.
Fixed a bug with the sliders in the options menu that caused the notch to be drawn in the wrong place if you used the scrollwheel to change the slider rather than clicking.
Fixed a serious Planet AI bug that could cause the AI to build too much of one thing or another when there's a lack of staff to run all the infrastructure on a planet or buildings haven't finished building. The AI now examines the planet as if everything is built and working before making its move. This results in more consistent behaviour, and planets should no longer fail to become established due to overproduction of food or energy.
Fixed a bug causing the completion status of your singleplayer missions to not be saved. This wasn't noticeable because we didn't have any way to see the completion status, but now we've added the Bronze / Silver / Gold icons on the main game screen.
Fixed a bug with the system window's scrollbar being the wrong height for the number of ships in the system sometimes.
Fixed a display bug where some menus would disappear while opening and closing the System window.
Fixed a bug where starbases wouldn't build ships that cost 0 command points when at the command point limit, and wouldn't build ships that use 1 point when they have 1 left.
Fixed a display bug on the Planet Screen in the city stats window where you can see the infrastructure attached to a city. Shipyards were accidentally drawing 100 times larger on this panel than they should have.
Fixed a bug where you could see the cloaked Revenant planet using the Planet dropdown menu's Exploration tab before it decloaked and revealed itself.
Fixed a bug in the United Colonies diplomacy text where it never replaced %latestweapontech% with the name of their latest weapons technology.
Fixed a bug where the coloured segments for colonised star systems could become misaligned because it was measuring them as non-bold text but displaying them as bold text.
The System window should now correctly update when you hit End Turn and a new ship is built. Previously it didn't update until closed and opened again
Attempted a fix for the problem where the AI fires weapons that are on cooldown in Fleet Combat. Didn't seem to work, more testing required.
Fixed a bug where the Auto button in Fleet Combat could start switched on if the previous combat ended with it switched on.
Fixed a bug where tooltips could draw on the First Contact diplomacy screen and wouldn't disappear until you left the screen.
When the Diplomacy AI fails to form a counter-proposal after rejecting one of your proposals, the offer is now properly reset back to a blank deal. Previously the AI would add elements to the offer to attempt to form a counter-offer and then reject your deal if it wasn't good enough, but the added elements remained on-screen.
The Diplomacy AI now correctly decides to cut off contact due to you repeatedly contacting them with poor deals. Previously it would decide to cut off contact but not actually end the current diplomatic session until you clicked on the Treaties tab.
Fixed a bug causing mouse clicks to go through the popup dialog box with the new mouse handler.
The Soldier Hatchery now correctly provides +10 security (enough for 2000 population) rather than +2.
Fixed a bug with some missing diplomacy text for the Z'loq
Fixed the robotic technology Bytanium Battle Armour being put in the wrong place in the research trees.
Fixed a number of file exceptions when loading images that don't have any corresponding mouseover image. This should speed up some of the screen loading.
As always, these are as complete patch notes as it's possible for us to make but there may be some small things missing from them. Please continue to send in your crash and bug reports as you play V0.9.9.0 and we'll release follow-up patches to fix any major errors. Check out the latest Dev Update in the News section (to be posted shortly following this) for a clear breakdown of everything in this update.
Following the recent implementation of the singleplayer mission system and robotic race overhaul, we successfully deployed V0.9.8.0 earlier this month. We’ve since released a number of fixes for reported bugs and completely replaced the mouse handling and keyboard code with a much more robust system, and the game is now running smoothly as V0.9.8.4.
This update adds all but one of the dropdown menu interfaces that help players organise their growing empires a lot more effectively, keeping track of planets you’ve discovered and alerting you to problems in your colonies. We also took the opportunity to implement custom player-designed starbases, improve starbase technologies, and improve the 3D ship designer user interface to make it easier to find the ship parts you want and modify existing designs.
Read on for a full breakdown and progress report on everything in V0.9.8.0 and details of what’s to come in V0.9.9.0.
Up until now, players have had to choose from a selection of pre-designed starbases and couldn’t change the weapons and modules attached to them. It took some pretty big changes under the hood (as Starbases used to be Infrastructures) but we finally made player-designed starbases possible in this update, completing one of the big stretch goal features from the 3D ship designer Kickstarter campaign.
When you open the ship design screen, you’ll now see a new Starbase hull size option that lets you create a custom starbase, which starts with a 450MW power core (half a battleship’s worth or one and a half cruiser’s worth). These designs will then show up on the planet screen for you to build just like any other starbase. We’ve also made the following changes to Starbase technologies and mechanics:
Update Button: The Update button on the Shipyard design screen now allows you to automatically update all starbases using the design all across your empire. When you edit a shipyard design that’s in use on one or more planets, the Update button shows a cost in BC to do the update (e.g. If your design is in use on 3 planets and you add 100BC to the build cost, you’d have to pay 300BC to save and update the design. If you ever delete a design that’s in use, all starbases using that design automatically revert back to the standard computer-designed Starbase.
Battlestations: This used to be a starbase module named War Room that added +1 command point and extra power grid. This turned out to be a problem when we added player-designed starbases because you could use the extra power grid for non-combat modules like research labs. Now this module consumes 50MW and just provides +1 command point. To compensate for the reduced power, starbases can now fit the Auxiliary Power Core module to add +150MW at the cost of 450BC and 5,000 additional metal.
Command Processor: This used be a starbase module named the Command Module that added +1 command point and extra power grid. Now it’s called Command Processor and provides +1 command point and increases the damage of all defending ships by a massive 50%.
Orbital Cannon: The old Orbital Cannon Bay was a starbase module that was supposed to deploy two orbital cannons in fleet combat but it never actually worked. The new technology is a piece of Infrastructure that creates two cannons, which contain defensive modules and your best beam weapons.
Structural Mount Changes: All player-designed starbases automatically get the Structural Mount module added for free when loaded in fleet combat (just like the standard starbases did before the update). This increases the range of all Beam and Projectile weapons on the ship and gives them circular firing arcs, and we’ve improved it to also double the ammo of all missile launchers and fighters so they’re less likely to run out of ammo mid-fight.
While developing Custom Starbase Designs, we took the opportunity to redesign the UI for the 3D Ship Designer. We’ve added separate tabs for cosmetic parts, modules, and weapons, and items within each tab are split into sections (e.g. Beam Weapons, Projectile Weapons etc) so it’ll be a lot easier to find what you’re looking for.
We’ve also added the “Attached” tab containing a list of all parts currently fitted to the ship design so you can quickly find, select, and delete parts when updating a ship design’s weapons or defensive modules. The next step for this UI is to add tooltips to all of the ship parts and possibly an Info button in the top left of each button to manually open the tooltip.
We noticed that the ship graphics in the Ship Designs dropdown menu often looked dull and off-centre, and on investigating the problem we discovered that the lighting and orientation of ships and buildings drawn to the UI was changing depending on where it was drawn on the screen. In order to solve this, we completely overhauled the system for drawing ships and buildings on the UI to a new one using a rendertarget and standardised lighting setup. The result looks much better and is now standardised all across the UI, and it works better with varying screen resolutions.
Building UI Improvements:
After improving the way buildings are drawn to the UI, we also took the opportunity to replace the building UI when zoomed into a city with a new one using square elements similar to the Infrastructure list to make it consistent with the rest of the game’s UI. City-based buildings are also now divided into three categories to make it clearer how they are used:
Core Buildings: These are the large buildings that come in three unlockable tiers and give large bonuses. (e.g. Factory, Food Processor, Research Lab, and City Shield).
Service Buildings: These are all the buildings that are limited to 1 per city/planet/system and provide large strategic bonuses. (e.g. Agricultural Market, Industrial Market, Energy Market, Astro University, Recycling Plant, Housing Office, Scout Transceiver, and Training Facility).
Small Buildings: These are all the remaining buildings that you can build multiple of and whose bonuses stack. (e.g. Anti-Missile Turret, Ground Cannon, Missile Base, Fighter Garrison, Military Barracks, Housing, Apartment Complex, Hospital, Police Station, Food Replicator, Matter Replicator, Metal Silo, Energy Silo, Food Silo, Auxiliary Solar Panel, Auxiliary Wind Turbine, Auxiliary Geothermal Pump).
With the new method in place for drawing buildings and ships on the UI, we spent a little time to add them to the Research dropdown panel when you mouseover a technology that contains a ship module, ship weapon, building, or infrastructure. It just adds a bit of polish to the research system. The next step for this panel is to add images for the technologies that don’t have ship parts or buildings, and possibly more information like power grid usage and other stats on weapons.
We’ve now added the Exploration panel on the Planets dropdown menu, which shows information on all planets in star systems you’ve visited to help you find good targets for colonisation. It’s divided into 8 tabs and the list can be re-ordered by clicking the tabs:
Name: This section shows an image of the planet and its name, with a border coloured depending on the planet’s environment type. If the planet is explored or currently being explored, it will show the percentage that’s explored. This section also has a small icon indicating that you have a survey ship in orbit of this planet and another indicating that you have ships in the star system.
Owner: Shows who currently owns the planet or “none” if it’s uninhabited. This is useful for finding either prime planets that aren’t currently owned or good targets for conquest.
Size: The planet’s size dictates the number of cities you can build on it (1 for tiny, 2 for Small, 3 for Average, 4 for Large, and 5 for Huge) and the amount of resources. This is generally one of the most important factors for finding a good planet for colonisation, and is particularly important for industrial worlds.
Minerals: This shows the mineral rating of the planet from 1 (ultra poor) to 6 (ultra rich). The icons also show any special minerals on the planet, such as gold or crystal deposits, and shows harvestable gas for Toxic worlds.
Organics: This shows the organic rating of the planet from 1 to 6, which affects how many deposits of fertile soil or other food there are on the planet. The icons also show the types of food deposit available on the planet, including land animals on Terran worlds and Fish on Ocean and Swamp planets.
Technology: This shows any technology on the planet, such as crashed ships and ancient ruins, showing them as question marks when they aren’t yet discovered by a planetary scan. We may add Uranium to this too as it’s also included in the new Technology rating meter on the long range scans.
Special: This shows whether the planet has any special effect, such as a strategic resource. Now when you find a planet with Coffee Beans or Helium-3, you won’t have to remember which planet it was or go hunting for it.
Dispatch: These three icons act as shortcuts for dispatching ships to the planet, and works just like the same icons on the right click radial menu in the system window. From here you can send a Survey Probe/Ship to an unexplored planet, a Colony Ship to any planet, or a Spy Ship to an enemy planet. (Note: The Spy Ship button currently doesn’t seem to be working.)
We’ve now added the Your Planets panel in the Planets dropdown menu, which gives an at-a-glance overview of all planets in your empire. This panel helps you quickly spot any problems on your planets and stay organised while your expire expands, and lets you quickly find excess resource production that you might want to send to another planet via a trade route. We kept this consistent with the rest of the game’s UI by pulling in the resource hexes from the Planet Screen.
Name: The planet name and environment type.
Citizens: The planet’s current population, maximum population and net population growth.
Food: The planet’s current food storage and net food production.
Energy: The planet’s current energy storage and net energy production.
Metal: The planet’s current metal storage and net metal production. This will help you find planets with large metal stores and output for building ships.
Net Tax: The total financial output of the planet in BC/turn. This will help you find planets that are financial drains on your economy (e.g. planets with lots of cities and infrastructure requiring biospheres) and those that produce a lot of money (e.g. residential tax planets, or energy market farms).
Research: The total research output of the planet.
Morale: This is the morale/health/security from the planet screen, and helps you see any problems with those stats.
Fleet / Ship Designs: This panel displays a small box with a scrollable list of all of your ship designs and allows you to edit them and create a new design. We extended the box to cover the entire panel in this patch and separated designs out into individual tabs for Ships, Missiles, and Starbases to keep things simple.
Fleet / Ship Captains: This panel now displays a list of all ship captains you have currently hired, along with details of their bonuses, levels and salaries. There’s no limit to the number of captains you can hire at one time, but the costs of their salaries will quickly add up, so this menu can be useful for seeing which captains are bleeding money from your treasury and dismissing them. It can also be handy to see what bonuses your captains have so that you can design specialised flagships around them for your fleets.
Planets / Planet Leaders: As with the Ship Captains panel, we used this panel to show all Planet Leaders you have currently hired, their current stats, and what planet they are currently assigned to.
We’re now working on V0.9.9.0, the last major update before our big V1.0 release, when all features and user interfaces are in and we’ll officially transition into full beta state. At that point, we’ll begin more heavily iterating using your feedback, adding in promised user content and additional story missions, and polishing up the game for final release. Plans for the V0.9.9.0 update include:
Spontaneous Diplomacy Offers: The Spontaneous Diplomacy AI currently lets the enemy empires engage in simulated diplomacy with each other, but it doesn’t construct offers to the player’s empire and doesn’t form treaties. The previous update to this added a War AI that spontaneously declares war on opportune targets and can construct peace offerings. This final update will make it construct diplomatic offers based on what it needs and what the other races have, and suggest treaties to races that are on good terms with them. It’ll do this to the other AI and the player.
AI Memory: The Memory system currently records a wide variety of events, from broken treaties, using bioweapons and launching surprise attacks to giving generous gifts, forming long-lasting treaties, or mistreating your citizens. These memories each last for a certain number of turns but don’t impact the diplomacy AI’s decision-making algorithm yet. This final update will incorporate Memory events in the Diplomacy AI algorithm.
Advisors: Diplomacy memory events aren’t currently displayed anywhere, so we’ll be adding a summary of these to the Diplomatic Advisor popup along with a list of any other factors affecting diplomacy such as the presence of an Ambassador or bonuses from commanders. The Scientific Advisor will become the advisor who evaluates the current deal on the table and how likely the AI is to accept, and the Military Advisor will give an estimate of the enemy’s military strength and your own empire’s for comparison. The advisors will be available right away rather than locked behind a technology, and in their place we’ll add some new diplomacy technologies.
Main Menu screen: We discussed the need for a main menu overhaul in the previous dev update, but the feature itself has been moved into 0.9.9.0. The screen will be getting a visual overhaul with animated galaxy graphics rather than a static background, and smooth transitions into the New Game screen. A new multi-purpose panel will appear in the middle of the screen when you click certain buttons to let you select a singleplayer mission from a list, pick which save game to load, and edit game settings from the main menu. We’ve designed the new menu screen and are already part of the way through developing it, so this should be something we can add as a point release before the main V0.9.9.0 update. Below is our design goal mock-up for the new screen (with the galaxy and possibly the planet being animated).
New Game screen: This screen will seamlessly blend into the New Game screen that appears when you click Sandbox Mode, which will let us get rid of the short “Loading” screen when you click that button. The New Game screen is being slightly improved graphically as you can see below, but the main change is the addition of new empire options that let you pick which Crashed Ship to start with and which colour your empire should be. Lastly, all of the selected options will be saved to your Predestination settings file and remembered the next time you create a new game. We’re eagre to get any feedback you have on this screen as we’re about to start implementing it.
Below are a few examples of the new industrial infrastructure models, which have been complete for several months but haven’t yet been added to the game while we’ve been focusing on remaining gameplay features. Adding the models is a purely cosmetic change but we’ll be adding a number of them either in V0.9.9.0 or in point releases ahead of the main update, including the race-specific infrastructure models such as the two robotic models below:
Thanks to everyone for reading through another massive dev update article, and a special thanks to those providing feedback and bug reports during Early Access! Please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this update in the comments!
Patch V0.9.8.0 has just been released, completing all but one of the remaining dropdown menu tabs and implementing custom player-designed starbases. This update also overhauls some of the graphics and existing user interfaces, adds several new technologies and minor features, and fixes a ton of bugs. A full fleshed-out breakdown of the update (with screenshots) will be posted very soon along with details of the next major patch and what's still to come in Predestination as we close in on the big V 1.0 release. Thank you to everyone who has supported Predestination and helped to test the game so far, and a special thanks everyone who has sent in bug reports or crash reports and provided feedback. Below is the patch notes for this update:
Major Feature: New Dropdown Menus:
Implemented the Your Empire panel on the Planets dropdown menu. This shows details on all the core stats of all planets in your empire (population, food, energy, metal, net tax, research, and morale/health/security). This will let you know if anything is wrong in our empire and let you quickly find out things like which planets are producing the most metal or which ones have excess food etc.
Implemented the Exploration panel on the Planets dropdown menu. This shows details on all planets in systems you've visited, and will help you explore the galaxy and select targets for colonisation etc. It shows important stats such as organic rating (affects food bonus deposits), mineral density, ancient artifacts, etc, and you can arrange the list by any stat if you want to find something specific. This panel also has shortcuts to send survey ships and colony ships to planets if available.
Implemented the Planet Leader panel on the Planets dropdown menu. This displays stats on all of the Planet Leaders you've hired and allow you to dismiss them.
Implemented the Ship Captain panel on the Fleets dropdown menu. This displays stats on all of the Ship Captains you've hired and allow you to dismiss them.
Added code to update the new Planet Leader, Ship Captain, Planet Empire and Planet Explore tabs any time certain actions take place such as visiting a star system or colonising a planet. This ensures that the menu doesn't have to update every time you open it, so it should be nice and fast.
Major Feature: Custom Starbases:
Implemented player-designed shipyards using the new Starbase hull, and added that hull to the 3D Ship Designer
Added a new Starbase hull type and modified all Starbases to use it instead of Frigate Hull
Rebalanced Starbase power grid.
Starbase designs are now generated with 60% power used for weapons. 70% for races with a Military leader, and 50% for races with a Balanced / Agricultural leader.
Implemented mechanics for updating built starbases across your empire by editing the design.
Implemented mechanics for switching starbases across your empire back to standard designs when you delete its special design.
The War Room is now called Battlestations and simply adds +1 command point. The module now uses power grid rather than providing additional power grid.
The Command Module is now called Command Processor and adds +1 command point and 50% damage to all fleet members. The module now uses power grid rather than providing additional power grid.
The Auxilliary Power Core module now works on starbases. It still increases the cost of the starbase.
Feature: 3D Ship Designer UI Improvements
Added separate tabs in the Ship Designer part window for Weapons, Modules, and Cosmetic parts
Ship Parts in each tab are now displayed in lists e.g. Beam Weapons, Projectile Weapons etc.
Added a new Attached tab that shows a list of all parts used in the current design. This allows you to highlight and select individual parts and is useful for removing all weapons and modules from a ship to upgrade the design.
Feature: Enhanced Graphics:
Overhauled the method used to draw ships in 2D on the UI. It now draws using a rendertarget and always draws from the same angle and with the same lighting regardless of position on the screen. This has significantly improved the quality of the ship graphics on the UI and eliminated the strange orientation and lighting bugs they suffered.
Overhauled the method used to draw buildings and infrastructure in 2D on the UI to use a rendertarget just like the new ship drawing method. This has greatly improved the quality of the building graphics on the UI.
The Research Panel now shows a preview of Ship parts and buildings in the technology in the bottom left part of the screen. This screen will be improved a bit in a later patch, we'll move the lock icon somewhere else and possibly add some more details of the ship part / building.
Improved the FXAA implementation to also work on smaller scale textures such as the rendertargets for 2d ships and buildings. The ships and buildings drawn to the UI should now look a little better with FXAA turned on.
The lighting on planets is now tinted more heavily based on the parent star and distance of the planet to the star.
The lighting used for buildings and infrastructure now more closely matches the lighting used for the terrain.
The lighting used for buildings and infrastructure now has an additional component based on the atmosphere of the planet (e.g. purple on a toxic planet) so buildings and infrastructure look better in-place.
Switching to the ShipyardScreen now causes a momentary black fade-in effect to make it consistent with other screens in the game.
Structural Mount now also increases weapon ammo by 100%
Re-arranged several Sociology technologies.
Added the Peacekeeping Navy technology in the Sociology tree that provides a flat +5 command points and the Ministry of War that gives +10
Xeno Psychology now improves the value of diplomatic and scientific offers by 50%
Subvertive Psychology now improves the value of military offers by 50%
Strategic Resources are now smaller on the diplomacy screen
Implemented new half height tooltip popup (used for some things on the new planet dropdowns)
Changed the Orbital Cannon Bay to a new infrastructure that creates two cannons in orbit.
Buildings can now spawn more than one ship in Fleet Combat (used for the new Orbital Cannon infrastructure)
Implemented new shortcut option to send a spy to a planet
Revenant attacks now have a 10% chance to attack player #3 in military order in addition to the 25% chance to hit #2
The Habitation Module is now a Starbase only module and provides 2000 population, 4 money per turn, and 20 morale. If destroyed, all planets throughout your empire suffer a 20% morale penalty instantly.
Elite Ship Crew now automatically start at level 3 (300% XP) instead of 150% and can reach a maximum level of 10
The Shipyard Efficiency technology now decreases both metal and money cost of ships by 10%
Re-designed the Building list when zoomed into a city. It now uses the same square icon and style as the Infrastructure buttons.
Split the Building list into three categories: Core Buildings for large tiered buildings, Service Buildings for buildings you can only build one of per city/planet/system, and Small Buildings for everything else.
Added "No Captain On-board" text to the Ship Captain button on the ship info panel when the ship belongs to another race and has no captain.
Moved Power Usage, Metal Cost and Money Cost from ship part data files to the modules and weapons data files.
Modified hull parts to still contribute Power Usage, Metal Cost and Money Cost
Fixed a bug where dismissed ship captains wouldn't be removed from their assigned ship
Fixed a bug where dismissing a ship captain wouldn't update the ship info window
Fixed a bug where dismissing a planet leader wouldn't update the planet screen if it's open
Text now draws with a smaller border on smaller resolutions than 1920 x 1080
Text that is resized to fit a smaller resolution can now reach a smaller minimum, though this realistically only affects people playing on tiny resolutions like 1024x768
Fixed a bug where ships captured while immobilised wouldn't reset their immobilisation status and would continue to be immobilised in future combat.
Captured ships now also capture the ship captain on the ship
Implemented the Survival Pod mechanics. Destroyed ships now kill the ship captain unless you have one.
Implemented the Neural Interface ship module's double captain bonus.
Fixed a bug where you could delete a starbase and open it in the ShipyardScreen using the same mouse click if there was an overlap between the model and the delete button
Fixed a bug with the radial menus on the PlanetScreen not closing when you zoom into or out of a city.
Fixed the zoom distance for zooming into cities on different terrain heights and in different screen resolutions, particularly on Tiny planets.
Fixed a crash that could happen if the Revenants are dispatched to attack a planet and that colony has been destroyed before it gets there.
Fixed a bug on the DiplomacyScreen when a council vote is happening with two races involved. The placement of the race images and tick icons didn't agree.
Fixed a bug with diplomacy where races would respond with the "Gift" response when accepting any deal.
Fixed a bug where the ship designer mistook the Command Processor for the Starbase Sensor Array
Fixed a bug with the Planet AI where it could crash when there are more orbitals than shipyards
Fixed a bug where bombs that kill population show the "Immune to Bio-Toxin" message when the race is immune to biological warfare. This now correctly shows when using biological weapons that kill troops rather than population.
Fixed dozens of UI scaling bugs with ships and building graphics all over the UI
Fixed a camera bug on the Victory popup when auto-resolving combat.
Fixed various scaling bugs with combat rating icons on various parts of the UI.
Fixed several instances of the wrong combat rating icon being used for captains and crew
Fixed spacing issues on several tooltips
Fixed scaling and spacing issues in the Tax window
Fixed text position of the Long Range Scans information on small screen resolutions
Fixed the size of the clickable area around planets on the system window not resizing based on UI scale.
You can no longer assign a ship captain to a warp missile.
Fixed a few scaling issues with scroll bars on parts of the UI
Fixed a scaling issue with the Race headers on the New Game screen.
Fixed a bug where starting a new game after exiting to the main menu wouldn't reset some Level variables
Fixed a bug where the Galactic Council, fleet list, and some other things didn't reset if you exited the game and started a new singleplayer mission
Fixed a bug causing AI fleets in an enemy star system to attack a planet twice in the same round
Fixed a bug where races could end up over 100 favour or under 0 after a diplomatic exchange
Fixed a major bug with the screenshake in Fleet Combat that could cause the camera to go far offscreen and never stop shaking.
Default ship designs are now correctly priced. Previously they didn't charge for the cost of the modules and weapons attached.
Fixed all structure based ships to include a Structural Mount when updating their stats.
Fixed several bugs and crashes with the ship design panel
Fixed popup windows drawing wrong when the dropdown menus are open
Fixed multiple weapons and modules not being available on the right type of ship hulls (part of starbase changes)
Fixed a bug with tooltips not opening and closing correctly
Fixed bug with ship designer where you could copy a ship part to bypass the one per ship limit
Fixed display bug with the green area on the resource window on the planet screen. It should now be easier to see
Fixed bug with popup boxes where the Yes button could get stuck grayed out
Fixed display bugs in the ShipyardScreen with the hex grid
Fixed ship designer bug when attaching parts with the stats not updating
Fixed shipyard screen crash when you deleted a ship design and had the last one in the list selected
Fixed a bug causing Planet Leaders with Energy Percentage bonuses to add 100 times the bonus (whoops!)
Fixed a bug causing the Planet Leader ground weapon bonus to not apply
Fixed a bug causing the AI to underestimate the damage of ground cannons when you have Phasors
Fixed a bug with planetary shields in planets with multiple cities with shields and planets with no city shields but that have cannons.
Fixed a bug with the planetary shield efficiency bonus
Fixed a bug causing the scroll bar on the Ship Captain dropdown panel to be too small
Disabled the Solar Flare disaster as it crashes the game
A full detailed breakdown of everything in this update with screenshots will be posted very soon, along with details of what you can expect from the next major update (0.9.9.0). As always, we'll be monitoring the Bug Report thread and crash reports sent using the in-game crash report tool and will be deploying minor bugfix patches as quickly as we can. We'll also be deploying a series of small patches before 0.9.9.0 to add new content that didn't quite make it into this update such as new sound effects and some of the missing buildings. Any feedback on this update would be greatly appreciated!
We’ve just released V0.9.7.0 and activated the first Singleplayer Mission in the Predestination storyline. You can play this mission after updating your game to 0.9.7.0 by pressing the Singleplayer Mission button on the main menu. In this dev update, we’ll be talking about the Singleplayer Mission system and getting an in-depth look at the mission editing and modding toolset that we’ve built as part of our mission framework. We’ll also discuss the significant improvements to the Robotic race gameplay in this patch, small UI improvements, the Morale/Health/Security V2.0 overhaul, and a slew of other gameplay improvements. Finally, we discuss plans for the next update, which will finish off the remaining dropdown menus, completely overhaul the main menu, add more content throughout the game, and make some much-needed UI improvements.
While the core game mode in Predestination is of course the sandbox mode in which you play the survivors of a ship that was sent back in time and crash-landed on a habitable planet and there are multiple victory conditions, we’re also developing a set of difficult pre-made challenge maps and a full storyline campaign. The entire campaign has been designed and roughly written up, and is split into main two story arcs:
The pre-disaster arc: This story arc happens before the Revenant war and depicts the events leading up to the temporal disaster. Each race will get one mission tell the story of how it reached space, interstellar colonisation, and diplomatic contact with other races. This is a progressive story, so some of your choices such as how you choose to interact with the other races will have an impact on further chapters. These missions will also start off very easy and act as a kind of story-based tutorial for players unfamiliar with the game or to show players the differences between humanoid gameplay and aquatic or robotic gameplay. The missions get progressively more advanced and difficult as the story progresses. It’s not exactly a spoiler to tell you that this arc eventually culminates in a final battle with the Revenants and ships from each race being sent back in time.
The post-disaster arc: This story arc deal with what happens to each of the races after being sent back in time. There will be one mission for each race again telling the story of how they re-establish their empires and their conflicting views on how to deal with the Revenants in the past. This will be another progressive story arc with branching options, and without spoiling anything I can say that the final mission will conclude the story and set the canonical ending of the game. That doesn’t mean we can’t deliver new story arcs in the future, however, and we plan to have additional story missions for the backer races post-release.
The Kazzir Story: The mission you can play right now is the first mission in the pre-disaster story arc, named The Kazzir Story. It follows the story of the powerful Zaibatsu Entertainment Network corporation using its wealth to explore and industrialise the Kazzir homeworld, the formation of the Kazzir Corporate Directorship, the Kazzir race to space, and their first contact with an alien civilisation. If the Kazzir aren’t your favourite race in Predestination, remember that both story arcs will get one mission for each race so there are more to come after V1.0. This mission is designed to be a simple introduction to the pre-warp gameplay without being as intrusive as the tutorial. It guides the player slowly through the pre-warp phase and uses story to tie all of the gameplay elements together rather than telling you exactly what to do. There’s no failure condition in this mission, but without spoiling anything I can say that your choices toward the end will affect the gameplay in future missions to a degree.
Hopefully the Kazzir mission will give you an idea of the kinds of things we can do with our mission system, but it’s really only scratched the surface of what’s possible. The whole mission toolkit has been designed to load information from human-readable flat files where possible so that it’s fully and easily moddable, and we can do some pretty awesome stuff with it. Below is a detailed breakdown of all of the tools we have at our disposal when designing missions, and that will be available to modders:
The Conversation System: The heart of the mission toolset is the Conversation system, which allows us to write a branching dialogue between two races and pop up options for players to pick. As you’ll see in the Kazzir mission, we can choose to display the Scientist, Diplomat, Soldier, or all three in any frame, and can give them custom names to create characters. Each scene can alternatively just display an image just like in the intro sequence.
The Response System: This lets us present the player with one or more dialogue responses or selectable options at any point a conversation, and it lets us do some awesome things. Selecting an option can unlock a special mission-only technology, so we can assign bonuses or new ship modules or buildings to particular options. Each option can also optionally trigger a victory sequence, failure sequence, or conversation file — this lets us do full branching dialogue. Responses can also have points attached (though right now you don’t get a points screen), and they can trigger mission stages so you can have different missions for different responses.
Mission Objectives: The mission data file lists all of the stages in the current mission, and each stage can be triggered by a particular response in a conversation or by completing another mission. Every stage has a list of objectives, and each objective consists of a condition like having more than 3 Ore Refineries or having fewer than 2 colonised planets. The objectives actually peek into the game variables to find the stats you want so you can specify literally any variable in the game if you know where it is and what’s it’s called, and it can select from lists and arrays. This lets us do pretty much anything we can think of with the mission objectives.
Objectives can be set up as optional so that you don’t fail the mission if you fail that objective, and they can have special rewards like free technologies and points. You can even make objectives hidden in order to hide secret technologies and bonuses in your mission. They can optionally be given deadlines of a certain number of turns to trigger the condition or you fail the mission, or can also be set up as “survival” objectives where you have to last for a certain number of turns without triggering the condition. We’ve also set up a special class in the game code called GameStatistics that we pull information from, so we can do more complicated things.[/*]
Memory Events: Another major feature we’ve added is the ability to create Memory Events attached to certain dialogue choices. These events are recorded in a file in the same place your save games go, and future missions can look up the list of all the memory events you’ve triggered! This can lead to complex storylines where your decision to help or hinder a race in one mission can lead to consequences in another when you come to play that race.
Galaxy Setup: We can specify practically every aspect of the game setup in a text file, from basic galaxy parameters to modifications like disabling wormholes, removing the Revenants, switching the map to 2D, even custom options like changing how frequent temporal rifts are. We can specify which races are in the game and modify the resources on their homeworlds, what crashed ship they start the game with (or None if we want them to start without one), and what type of government and leader they have. We can also specify what seed value to use for the galaxy so every player gets the same version of the galaxy, or tell it to use a random seed for added mission replayability (e.g. in challenge maps).
Intro Sequence: Before each mission, we can play an intro sequence similar to our game intro sequence or victory sequences. It’s a fully controllable slideshow of images with text, music, custom shader effects, and optional voice narration. We can also optionally skip this and either jump straight to the first mission stage or to a conversation (as we did in the Kazzir mission).
Unique Technologies: Each mission has a special file containing unique mission-only technologies, and files containing unique buildings, infrastructure, weapons, and ship modules those technologies can use. This is all totally customisable, including the stats of the individual weapons, buildings, and modules. We can also limit the tech tree to any number of eras (for example, the Kazzir mission is limited to only the Pre-warp era), and can modify the tech trees any way we like, even building completely new tech trees for one mission and different trees for each race.
Unique Ship Designs: You can include your own ship designs and ship parts in a mission, and there’s a mission setup option that will disable all of the standard ship designs so it only uses the ones you supply. This has some great use cases, for example we used this and some new placeholder modules to let the player select between designing a Camera Ship, War Ship, or Ambassador Ship in the Kazzir mission. This could be used for missions where you might want to have new ship designs carrying unique weapons, like a massive death star.
Still to come for Missions:
We’ll be using this system after release to develop both episodic mission arcs discussed above and some special challenge maps. In addition to this, there are a few features that we’ll be adding in the near future that you’ll be glad to know we haven’t forgotten about:
Main Menu Overhaul: The “Singleplayer Mission” button is just a temporary way for you to test our first prototype mission, you’ll be glad to know this isn’t the final user interface. We’ll be overhauling the entire main menu screen before release, including adding a panel to browse through the singleplayer campaign and easy options for loading any of your save games and toggling various options.
Points Award Screen: After the Kazzir mission, you’re currently just dropped back to the main menu. In a future update, we’ll be adding a points awarding screen and a high score chart so you can keep track of your performance.
Challenge Maps: Special missions not connected to the main story but set up as a unique challenge to overcome. For example, you might be stranded on a single planet with no way to colonise a new world, and you have to survive for 100 turns as the Revenants send wave after wave of ships toward you. The Singleplayer Mission tools give us a way to implement these challenge maps simply and easily, though we’ll probably want to have the Points Award screen and main menu overhaul complete first so you can track your performance in them.
In the previous update, we improved the Robotic race gameplay with the addition of some new technologies and game mechanics, but the Robotic tech trees still had several organic-based technologies and some options such as the Forge Services turned out to be extremely micromanagement-heavy. This patch solved these issues by overhauling how the forge services work and adding new options linked to new technologies. There are now three construction options (Construct Citizens, Deconstruct Citizens, and Construct Seed Ship) that can be activated manually, and four toggleable Forge Patches (Virus Scanner, Spy Scanner, Distributed Computing, and Bytecoin Mining) that consume energy per turn to run (only one can be active at a time). 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.
Forge Construction – Seed Ship: This new forge option constructs a Seed Ship which is unique to robotic races, turning 2,000 population and 5,000 metal into a special colony ship with no faster-than-light drive. This makes it easier for robotic races to colonise other planets in the same star system as an existing colony. The seed ship is also built instantly and doesn’t tie up your shipyard.
Forge Patch – Virus Scan: +50 security when toggled on. Costs 50 energy/turn to run this program.
Forge Patch – Spy Scan: +25 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.
Morale changes: Robotic races are now affected by morale bonuses and penalties (such as Propaganda transmitters), but they still can’t be taxed or research the Entertainment Centre. They instead get -10% morale for each city with no Support Center. This makes propaganda transmitters and spies an effective way to throw a robotic race’s morale into disarray, but also means they won’t have major problems with morale unless attacked in this manner.
Radiogenic Power Plant: A new robotic-only 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. This is a late-game technology designed to effectively take the limits off power (which is quite limited for Robotic races) and limiting it to Toxic planets means you’ll have to use trade routes to send that power elsewhere.
Radiogenic Fuel Pellets: This technology 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. It’s a large modified gas harvester just like the Radiogenic Power Plant and so takes up considerable space on the planet’s surface. This helps take the limits off food production at the endgame, freeing the player from the need for coal and uranium, and makes Toxic worlds a high endgame priority for Robotic races.
The Cloud: Since it doesn’t make sense for Robotic races to research Android Bodies, we replaced that tech 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, having the main effect of increasing the money and RP from the Mine Bytecoins and Distributed Computing forge patches.
The previous patch overhauled the Health, Security, Morale and Loyalty stats to be more like resources, but feedback on it wasn’t very positive. Players pointed out that it felt quite random and often difficult to manage, and that even a small loss such as -4% health per turn would quickly lead to a low health rating and catastrophic disease outbreaks. We went back and took a long hard look at this system and decided that the previous implementation was better, but that it still needed improvements. We’ve now gone back to the pre-0.9.6.0 version and iterated on that to produce our new system:
Health Rating: This now shows a rating between 0% and 100% indicating what percentage of your population is covered by health services. Each hospital provides coverage for 2,000 population, so for example a planet with 1 hospital and 4,000 population will have a 50% health rating. Health rating now affects the population growth rate, and disease outbreaks of varying severity start at 75%, 50%, and 25%. Nuclear power plants now reduce the planet’s health coverage by 2,000 population.
Security Rating: Similar to Health Rating, this now shows what percentage of your population is covered by security services and each police station provides coverage for 2,000 citizens, with disasters being possible once you’re below 75%, 50%, or 25% coverage. Security Rating now affects the planet’s total GDP due to theft, so a planet with a 60% security rating will have a 40% penalty to its taxable economic wealth. Low security rating also makes a planet more vulnerable to spies and less likely to catch spies.
Morale Rating: Morale is a flat percentage between 0% and 100%. It starts at 100% and is decreased by 10% for every 10% tax rate you set, so a tax rate of 60% will reduce morale on all planets by 60%. Low morale also decreases the combat rating of all cities on the planet by -1 per 1% missing morale, so that 60% morale planet will have a -40 combat rating penalty in all cities. Disasters such as strike action and civil disturbances can happen when below 50% Morale, with more severe disasters at 25%, and at 0% the planet may rebel and try to leave your empire. The Loyalty stat that used to do this has been completely removed.
Permanent Bonuses: Planets can now acquire permanent planet-wide bonuses or penalties to Health, Security, and Morale from various random event choices. The homeworld starts off with +10 to each and all planets start off with +10 to health and security (providing 2000 citizens worth of coverage) so that your first city is safe (otherwise it would start with 0 security and health).
Related gameplay changes:
Entertainment Centre: This 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. You should find it much simpler to balance the morale across all of your planets and maintain a steady tax rate.
Captured Planet Changes: 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, to make it so you have to consider the best way to conquer large swathes of space. Occupied planets can also periodically suffer from insurgencies and uprisings using the Disaster system, where rebels can re-capture a city or blow up farms, ore refineries, or a whole city. This threat persists until that race is fully eliminated from the game, at which point they stop.
Mind Control: This powerful new technology allows the Psionic Flux Phaser to be used in planetary bombardment, immediately mind controlling a city’s population with no resistance and regardless of any ground troops. It also eliminates the -40% morale penalty for conquered planets across your empire. This is a very powerful endgame technology in the Galactic Domination stage of the Sociology tree, and it gives us something to experiment with to consider whether we want to add a Telepathic race trait to the game.
Spy Mission Changes: 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 Incite Civil Unrest mission now reduces Morale on the planet by 40% while active, and if the planet drops below 50% morale then it will experience riots and other problems.
Tax Calculations: Since you now get a flat -10% morale across your empire for every 10% citizen tax, the taxable economic wealth from cities has been reduced to compensate. Players will find that they’re able to keep a much higher rate of tax than they could previously as long as their planets’ morale is balanced. The Tax Office has been re-branded as the Housing Office, which increases economic wealth in the city by 25% but decreases the city’s combat rating by 20 instead of messing with planetary morale. The tax window now gives an orange warning if any planets will have below 100% morale with the selected tax rate, and a red warning if any will have below 50% morale.
Civilian Government: If you’re careless enough to allow morale to hit zero on a planet, you run the risk that the population will rebel and attempt to leave your empire. This now happens through a new disaster event, and your options include allowing them to leave, pacifying them by force, or granting the planet a civilian government. If you grant a civilian government, the planet remains within your empire but is controlled by an AI and gets a massive cut in tax and productivity so it’ll be a drain on your resources.
The next major update will be 0.9.8.0, which has the accurate but not-very-sexy working title of “UI and Content Update.” It will fill out the dropdown menus, add the missing building models (including all the new ones added in the robotic updates etc), and completely redesign the Main Menu screen. We expect this update to be a lot faster than previous patches (possibly 2 weeks) since it’s mostly user interface work and won’t require many new game mechanics or challenging problem-solving. Highlights of the update will be:
Ship Designs: This panel currently just displays the same design screen as the shipyard, and we’ll simply extend this down to cover the whole screen. When we add player-designed starbases, this screen will get three buttons at the top to toggle between Ship, Starbase, and Missile designs.
Ship Captains: This panel will show a list of all ship captains you’ve hired and what ships they are serving on, and will allow you to dismiss or de-assign them from their current ship. We may also include captains who have offered their services that you have recently declined in order to let you change your mind.
Manage Fleets: This panel will contain a list of all of your fleets with an indicator of what system they are stationed in or travelling toward, and some more stats on each fleet. This will serve as a shortcut to let you quickly locate certain ships or open certain fleets, and clicking on a fleet will open the System window or Fleet window depending on whether they are stationed in a system or currently in transit.
Shipyards: This panel currently doesn’t exist, but we’re considering adding it. It would contain a list of all star systems you have a shipyard in and stats on its shipyard, including what it’s currently building. This list would be sortable by build capacity, metal per turn, stored metal, or current build queue length so that you can pick the best place to build a new ship.
Your Planets: This panel will contain a list of all the planets in your empire, along with basic stats on each one and an indicator showing if something is wrong that needs your attention. It will act as a shortcut for getting into your planets and you’ll be able to sort the list by various stats.
Exploration: This panel will contain a list of all the planets your scouts have visited but that aren’t part of your empire, along with some basic stats on each one. It’ll also have shortcut buttons for sending a survey ship or colony ship to the planet. You’ll be able to filter the list by various factors like enemy presence and habitability, and sort the list by factors like metal content, organic content, number of ancient ruins, size, and explored percentage.
Planet Leaders: This will be the same as the Ship Captains panel in the Fleets menu but for planet leaders.
Load Game Selection: Currently, the only option for loading the game from the main menu is to continue with the previously loaded game. When we overhaul the Main Menu, we will make a panel appear when you load that allows you to select which game to load from the full 10 slots.
Singleplayer Mission Selection: There’s only one mission at the moment, and you activate it by clicking on the Singleplayer Mission button. In this overhaul, we’ll be making a panel appear when you click on Singleplayer Mission that displays a list of available missions. Selecting each mission will give details about that mission and show your progress through the storyline, also giving you the opportunity to replay previous missions.
Challenge Map Selection: Similar to the Singleplayer Mission selector, we’ll have a panel for starting challenge maps and will display your high score for each.
Options Panel: The game options can’t currently be changed from the main menu, forcing you to either start a game and use the Menu dropdown or edit the .ini file for the game. When we overhaul the main menu, clicking on Options will open a panel to let you change them before starting a new game.
Saving New Game options: The galaxy parameters you use in a new game are currently not saved anywhere. We’ll be making a small change by making the game save these to a file so it always pre-selects your previous settings.
New Game Screen Improvement: We made some graphical improvements to the New Game screen in 0.9.7.0 (see image below), but we aren’t finished with this screen. The top portion of the race selection window will be updated to let you pick a race colour, change your race’s government type, set your leader name, and select what type of Crashed Ship you want to start the game with. Races such as the Starforged might want to start off with the research boost from the Science Vessel and benefit from the faster orbital scans of the free ship in the space exploration stage, while the slow-to-grow Z’loq might benefit from the injection of metal that the Mining Barge provides, and the Renegades may like the free pre-warp population and free second planet from the Colony Ship. Your choice also determines which technologies you get for free on breaking the warp barrier, and will let you tailor your start to the race you’ve picked and the strategy you intend to employ.
Small UI Improvements: Parts of the UI have been implemented using ugly text and gray bar images in order to develop them quickly, such as info on the the City Stats tab of the Planet Screen. In 0.9.7.0, we replaced the info in the stats tab with a much more visually pleasing system using icons and square button graphics (see below). We’d like to go back and change more of the UI to use this kind of visual system if there’s time in this update.
Additional Tooltips: Some areas of the gameplay have been changed or added since we first started adding tooltips to the game, and as a result there are parts of the UI that really could do with some new tooltips. For example, we’d like to be able to add tooltips to the Morale / Security / Health graphs that display a breakdown of exactly where each stat is coming from. This will help you spot when your empire is being disrupted by nearby propaganda transmitters and enemy spies, or when you’ve just forgotten to build something.
Building Models: The large buildings such as Research Lab have been complete for a long time, but we haven’t added them as they aren’t textured yet and we want to add all of the remaining building models in one final pass. We’ve also been adding new buildings to the Robotic race archetype such as heat sinks, bytecoin miners, etc as part of our ongoing overhaul of the Robotic race gameplay. Now that this overhaul is finished, we’ll be texturing up those models and adding them to the game at the same time. This will hopefully be finished in time to put it in 0.9.8.0.
Extra Content: This includes adding new Disaster events, positive random events, more ship captains and planet leaders, possibly more temporal rift events, more ship weapons and modules, and possibly additional synergies in the Synergies tech tree. Since the Singleplayer Mission system is implemented, we may even be able to release our first difficult Challenge Map (admittedly with no points screen).
Thanks once again for reading through this colossal dev update, and a special thanks to those of you testing the game and providing feedback for us during Early Access and sending in bug and crash reports. The next wave of Early Access keys has been delivered to anyone who requested one recently and the latest DRM-free edition of the game has been sent to those who requested it. If you’re a Kickstarter backer and you’d like an early access key for Steam or to check out the latest DRM-free non-steam edition of the game, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the email address you used on Kickstarter and we’ll send one over as soon as we can!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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:
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:
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. .
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. .
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.