Predestination - Nyphur


It’s been some time since the last major dev update article, so this is going to be a big one as we have a lot to catch everyone up on! First I’d like to say thanks to all the people who offered words of support recently when I mentioned on Steam that my dad had passed away. We’ve been working hard on the game since then and the big news is of course that we hit a major milestone with the release of V1.0, which marked the point at which Predestination officially left alpha and entered the beta release stage.

All of the gameplay is complete in V1.0, and we began a series of iterations and overhauls touching on almost every part of the game using your feedback. We’ve already deployed several hotfixes and our first gameplay iteration on the Resource system, and have started a whole series of other iterations across the game that should make it a lot more fun and cohesive. The upcoming V1.1 major iteration update will contain a total economy balance overhaul, new economic options, a sweeping rebalance of race bonuses, an overhaul to the Star Claims diplomacy gameplay, random event improvements, asteroid mining, planet gameplay improvements, a ship design overhaul, major AI improvements, and more.

In this dev update, we’ll briefly break down the improvements made in the V1.01 to v1.03 hotfixes and delve into the details of major iterative improvements we’re working on or considering for each area of the game.

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Most of the work since the V1.0 release has been fixing bugs and crashes as reports come in, but we’ve also made some general improvements based on feedback:

Resource Spawning: In our first significant iteration, we tackled a number of issues with resources and how they spawn on planets. On rare occasions, resources such as Coal, ancient ruins, or rare Coffee Beans could spawn completely surrounded by ore deposits, making them completely inaccessible. We revamped the placement code to group resources that can be harvested by the same structures together, and generate a border around dissimilar deposits so that they don’t overlap and become inaccessible. It’s possible to find Coffee Beans next to Fertile Soil deposits, for example, but not next to Ore. Resources are also now spread out more evenly across a planet and are more strictly limited to certain environments (fertile soil on Terran environment hexes etc).

Farming Improvements: We made a few changes to level the playing field in farming gameplay for different race archetypes. We added a new Cactus Plot resource that generates food in Desert environments and can only be harvested by the new Cactus Farm, a specialised Reptilian replacement for the standard Farm. The humanoid Farm has been renamed to AutoFarm and can harvest Fertile Soil and Land Animals but not Cactus or Fish. Humanoids can now research the Fishery structure to farm for fish on Ocean planets with very little Terran environment land. And Aquatic races can finally harvest Coffee Beans and grow food on ice or desert worlds with a new Algae Farm infrastructure, giving them a way to colonise those planets before terraforming them.

Ocean Planet Generation: We iterated on how planets are generated in the engine, with the specific goal of making sure that Aquatic races can never start with land under their starting city. This persistent bug had been squashed 3 or 4 times previously but always somehow managed to return, so we took the time to investigate exactly how it was happening and added special rules for Ocean planets to prevent it in the future. We’re confident that this bug should now never return.



Dynamic Descriptions: The descriptions on buildings and infrastructure can now contain variables and they will update to reflect changes due to new technologies etc. For example, Ore Refineries will now correctly update to state that they generate 3 metal per ore deposit in range when you research Carbonide Drills. This was reported as a bug by a few confused players who expected the tooltip to update, so we considered it an important quality of life improvement.

Starbase Improvement: When you start designing your own starbases, you can quickly find that the metal costs get way out of hand and it can be difficult to build them simply because a planet doesn’t have enough metal storage space. We also wanted updates to custom starbase designs to be automatically rolled out across a player’s empire, which again posed a problem due to the difference in metal cost. We quickly settled on a solution: All starbases now cost only 5,000 metal, and the BC cost of all modules and weapons added to a design have been doubled to compensate. We may revisit these costs when we do the upcoming economy iteration.



Optimisations: After the first round of optimations in V1.0, we released a number of other improvements in further patches. The planet generator’s procedural seed textures are now automatically pre-loaded and kept in memory throughout the game rather than being loaded only when generating a planet, for example. This increased memory usage by about 100mb (eating into some of the V1.0 memory savings), but reduced planet generation times significantly and solved a number of reported crashes.

Quality of Life Improvements: In addition to a dizzying array of bug and crash fixes, we’ve been implementing small quality of life improvements to parts of the game to make the game easier to play. Researched technologies are now unlocked as the first step in the End Turn code, for example, so the effects will apply on the turn that you get them and the user interfaces will all update automatically to reflect that (previously it took 1 turn for some effects to apply). We also fixed the problem with clicking on a star or fleet on the galaxy map when two stars or fleets were very close together, the game now works out which is closest to your mouse pointer and clicks on that one. Build New City buttons are correctly grayed out when you’re at the planetary maximum, and a number of issues with the city blueprint system have been fixed. A full listing of the bugs fixed in these updates can be found in the V1.0.0.1, V1.0.0.2, and V1.0.0.3 patch notes.

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All of the core gameplay that will be in the final release version of Predestination is now in the game, but some of it will need improvements before it’s ready for release. We’ve been collecting your feedback for some time and compiling a list of areas of the game that could use improvements, and this is all being rolled into V1.1, our first major iteration. Work on this update is already well underway, several features have been completed and we plan to deliver them all as one big update as some of them are interdependent. I’d like to break down each aspect of the iteration now, and if you have any thoughts on these changes then we’d love to hear them.



A discussion thread started some time ago on the Steam forums about Predestination’s economy gameplay, and we discussed various changes that could be made to improve it. In addition to doing a balance pass on the economic gameplay, we plan to both improve the different ways of generating money and add new outlets for spending it. BC should be a universal currency that lets you cut corners throughout the game, something that you save up when you can so that it’s there when you need it.

The primary goal of this iteration is to make it very easy to make enough money to support a planet and run an expanding empire while giving advanced players a benefit for figuring out more efficient setups. The secondary objective is to make multiple viable strategies for generating money, which will vary between races and depending on what types of planets you find and races you meet. The plan to achieve this breaks down into the following major changes:

Purchasing Ship Production: We’re going to add a new feature that will let you pay BC to purchase ship production on the private market, so you could pick any ship that’s currently in your build queue and pay BC to immediately complete construction. Not only would this skip lengthy build times but it would also give you a way to build a ship even when there’s already something earlier in the build queue. You could rush-build a colony ship or survey probe to take advantage of a nice find, or combat ships to defend against an impending attack. Rushing ship production won’t be cheap though, as you’re not only paying for the metal but also the extra construction work.

Markets: One of the parts of the economic gameplay that we’ve had a hard time balancing is the Industrial, Agricultural and Energy Market buildings. These sell the excess metal, food, and energy produced by a planet on the open market for BC, but only once the planet’s stores are full. These used to be the best way to generate income as you could turn habitable planets into profitable farm worlds and molten planets into giant geothermal money-factories, but they were a bit too strong so we nerfed them. We plan to rebalance these so that they’re viable again, and provide a new Black Market racial bonus (for the Renegades) that makes them more effective.

Citizen Tax Rebalance: Citizen tax is intended to be the main way that non-robotic races generate the income needed to run their empire. Cities and infrastructure all cost upkeep in BC/turn, and taxing your citizens a reasonable amount should pay for that in practically every case. Right now you can break even at about 50% tax, but that feels too much compared to real life tax systems. We plan to just tweak all of these numbers so that tax is now optimal at 20-30%, that penalties will make 40-50% tax work in the short term but punishing for long term use, and that 60% or more tax rates can generate significant money but will start causing serious problems with escalating civil unrest. New racial bonuses to planetary economy size will also make certain races generate a lot more citizen tax, and the morale penalties from tax will be rebalanced.

Industrial Tax Rebalance: Industrial tax is intended to be a way to temporarily trade off your industrial growth and ship production capabilities for extra income, something that you do occasionally in order to save up for something big like a large ship. This is in a good place right now, but we’ll have to rebalance the numbers after we rebalance citizen tax and markets. Industrial Markets should pay a better rate than 100% industrial tax, for example, as they take up a large building slot.

Trade Routes: Trade routes currently cost 1BC/turn per route, and they are limited in range but not in capacity. We plan to experiment with adding capacity limits or scaling costs to make it more expensive to send huge amounts between planets. The goal should be that trade routes give you a way to make more efficient empires (e.g. have dedicated farming worlds) but to make it cost enough to make it a meaningful choice. We’re also considering having set up times for trade routes to simulate ships travelling with supplies, as right now it happens instantly. This would not only make trade routes more interesting but also make blockades a more destructive tactic. This feature will rely on us make the AI set up its own trade routes so you can disrupt their empires without direct combat.

Biosphere Change: All cities and infrastructure in environments outside your race’s primary environment are automatically enclosed in biospheres, which currently just add 1 or 2 bc per turn to maintenance costs. This was intended to encourage players to colonise their own race’s environment preferentially and be picky about planet selections, but that’s not always in your control as resource placement and planet rolls are pretty random. We plan to try removing these additional maintenance costs and exploring a few more options such as increased staff requirements or energy consumption. This should ensure that all planets are tax positive once they are up and running regardless of what types of planet you’ve found, and so should help you scale your empire up.



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The racial bonuses in Predestination haven’t changed since race stats were first implemented, and we’ve noticed that some of them are unbalanced. The United Colonies’ Creative trait that allows them to research all branches of the tech trees can be super powerful, for example, while the Renegades’ Hardy ability that lets them live on Ice, Desert, and Ocean environments without biospheres is a bit crap. Now that the final gameplay is in place, bonuses such as +10% to food or metal production also feel pretty weak and will need to be buffed.

With this update we are giving each of the races an iteration pass. A full breakdown of each race’s new profile will be released in another article once the details are finalised, but the goal is that each race should feel like it plays differently and has one or more optimum strategies. Each race will have:
  • Archetype: Each race has a core archetype (Humanoid, Reptilian, Aquatic, or Robotic), which determines the technologies the race has access to, its native environment, and major gameplay differences such as Robotic races having no tax gameplay and generating income via ByteCoin Miners. This isn’t changing, we’re happy with the archetypes as they are.
  • Special Traits: Each race has one or more special traits, such as the United Colonies’ Creative feature or the Z’loq’s Warlord and Transdimensional traits. We’ll be looking at how powerful these traits are, adding some new ones, and changing some races’ special traits. The Renegades will get a new Black Market trait that makes markets more effective, for example, and the Kazzir will finally get a decent trait.
  • Economy/Planet bonus: Each race gets at least one bonus to an empire-wide stat or planet-based stat, such as bonus research or metal production. In order to make each race play more uniquely, we’ll be revisiting all of these bonuses and making them much larger. 10% bonus food production may not make much of a difference to the strategies you employ, for example, but a huge 25-50% bonus definitely would! Races should get either one big bonus or two smaller ones.
  • Ship bonus: Each race gets one bonus to some ship function, such as a bonus to beam weapons or armour hitpoints. We will also be making the AI take these bonuses into consideration when designing its ships and selecting research options, which should lead to each race being more unique on the battlefield.
  • Penalties: Some races have penalties to balance out their positive traits and ensure that they play in a unique manner. For example, the United Colonies may get a lot of technologies to trade in diplomacy but they also get a diplomacy penalty that affects the value other races give to those techs, so you’re encouraged not to share. We’ll give each race a look over to see if any penalties are appropriate.
  • Special Technologies: In addition to archetype-restricted technologies, we plan to give each race two unique pieces of technology that replace existing tech in the tech tree. These are big iconic technologies that races will want to hold onto and not trade away, as they will give big advantages to that race’s play style. For example, the Kazzir will get the Broadcast Tower from the singleplayer mission in place of the Entertainment Center, and the Holographic Decoy ship module in place of another tech. We’ll have more information on these in the upcoming article on the race overhauls, but we’d welcome your ideas and input in this area as we’re still designing these changes.


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We recently added the Star Claims feature that lets you negotiate with the other races for exclusive ownership of uncolonised star systems. We’ve collected solid feedback on the feature and done a lot of internal testing and have now come up with a plan to improve it. We’re going to flip the Star Claims on their heads. Instead of individually negotiating the same claim with every race you’ve met, you will issue a global claim and races that don’t like you may choose to disrespect it. The design we have right now is as such:
  • Universal Claims: Rather than being an agreement between two races, Star Claims will now be issued universally. A new Claim icon will be visible on the System window showing who claims it, and you can claim an uninhabited star system by clicking that button. The first race to colonise a star system will also gain the official claim to it, so AI races will know that you have an implicit claim on your star systems.
  • Claim Limits: Each race will be limited to 1 or 2 star claims on uninhabited star systems, and we may give Warlord races 1 additional claim slot so they can claim a little more. When a claimed star system is colonised, the claim flag remains but no longer counts toward the claim limit, so you can claim another uninhabited star system.
  • Diplomacy penalties: The AI will recognise when you’re trying to annex strategically valuable stars near its space and respond with suspicion. Each Star Claim you have issued on an uninhabited system within another race’s borders will decrease their diplomatic rating with you by 10-20, possibly more based on the empire’s leader personality.
  • Territorial AI: The AI currently sends a claim request to any other race in range of a star system it wants to colonise, so with the new system it’ll just issue a global claim to the system if it has a claim slot left. Each AI will also have a rating for how much it respects the sovereignty of another race’s claims, so the Zloq for example would colonise your star systems without a second thought but the Renegades would be more cautious.
  • Claim Violation: Violating a territorial claim by colonising someone else’s star system or an uninhabited system that has been claimed will result in a diplomatic penalty. This will work similarly to how breaking treaties or being caught spying works currently, with penalties ranging from a small favour adjustments and threats all the way up to cancelled treaties and war declarations if they hate you enough.
  • Star Claim View: To make it easier to visualise Star Claims, we’ll be adding a new map control button to the galaxy screen that toggles Star Claim views on and off. This will display flags on claimed star systems to let you see which ones have been claimed at a glance when exploring the galaxy, and who they have been claimed by. We will probably take this opportunity to add a few more controls, such as displaying enemy Sensor areas.


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Random events are a core feature in any 4X game, and in Predestination they take the form of Planetary Disasters, Revenant Attacks, and Temporal Rifts that can be investigated to find anything from free ships to bonus research. We recently changed Revenant Attacks to happen on a turn-based timer to keep tighter control over how often they appear and to use as part of the difficulty system, and now we plan to do the same with other random events. At the same time, we plan to iterate on the planet disasters, add positive planet events, add more random events, and improve temporal rifts:

Temporal Rift Improvements: Temporal rifts take several turns to open and then have an effect, some of which only occur if you investigate the rift (such as getting a free commander) and some of which happen anyway (such as ancient ruins appearing on a planet). We’d like to clean this up, so temporal rifts will only produce something if you investigate them and the other random events will be in a separate system like we did with the Revenant Attacks. We also plan to just improve the rewards from Temporal Rifts so that they always give something useful.

Positive Planet Events: Right now planets can experience disasters, such as acid rain or global warming if you have too many fossil fuel power plants. We plan to augment this system with more positive random events, some of which will be random and others that will act as rewards for good planet management. Examples include unearthing ancient ruins, finding more ore deposits, population booms, and permanent bonuses to morale or other stats. We will be using this as part of the difficulty rating system and the race designs if we decide to add a Lucky race trait.



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The Asteroid Miner module currently just produces 25 metal/turn for a planet in the system, and there are no actual asteroid belts in the game. We plan to add asteroid belts as a type of planet and spawn them into some of the empty spots in generated star systems, and then Asteroid Miners will produce 25 metal/turn for each asteroid belt in the system.

This will make Asteroid Miners useless in systems with no asteroid belts, but extremely useful if you happen to find a system with several asteroid belts. We can also then make the Stellar Converter superweapon destroy a planet into asteroids rather than into a molten planet as currently happens. The Strip Miner module will be changed to produce 50 metal/turn for each uninhabited planet in the system. Mockup below (it won’t actually look like this, but something similar):



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Infrastructure Build Queue: We’ve been investigating the idea of adding an Infrastructure Build Queue the same way we have for city buildings. If you place an infrastructure that you can’t afford the metal cost for, it would be added to the queue and appear as scaffolding while its cost is slowly accumulated. This would also solve the issue where a Tiny planet still needs a minimum of 5,000 metal storage to build a starbase. There are some problems relating to staffing infrastructure and which ones it should build first, but we’ll implement this and do some tests to see if it performs well.

[Complete] Soil Enrichment Iteration: The Soil Enrichment planet service currently lets you place new Fertile Soil deposits on the planet in exchange for some money and energy from the planet’s reserves. We plan to completely overhaul this, replacing it with a new option that lets you spend a large sum of money to boost the planet’s Organic rating. All food deposits on the planet (Fertile Soil, Cactus, and Fish) will be expanded by several hexes so that they become the size that they would have been if the planet had started with that organic rating.

[Complete] Seismic Excavation Iteration: Similar to the Soil Enrichment iteration, we’re changing Seismic Excavation to do the same thing with the planet’s mineral rating. This will probably still be limited to Barren planets, and we might add a small chance that planets excavated in this manner will blow up in a random event, turning it into a Molten planet or Asteroid Field.

[Complete] Oil Drilling Iteration: The Oil Drilling service currently lets you excavate a small area for underground oil deposits, but it feels clunky. We’ll change this instead to something where you can spend a large sum of money to excavate the whole planet at once, generating a number of fossil fuel deposits depending on planet size. This will of course only be possible on habitable planets, and we will be reducing natural oil deposits on several planet types to make this more necessary for robotic races.



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[Complete] Simple Mode Editor: Last time we overhauled the ship designer, we added advanced editor tools for placing items on the ship hull, scaling, rotating etc. In the next update we’ll add a simple mode editor that lets you design a ship quickly by picking a hull size, selecting one of the pre-designed visual designs, and then dragging weapons and modules into a simple list. When creating a ship design, you will now choose between using the Simple Editor or Advanced Editor.

[Complete] Engine/Speed Improvements: Right now it’s not possible to design a very fast ship because all ships are limited to one Augmented Engine, but if we let you to add a large number of them then larger ships with their huge power cores would become faster than small ships. Instead, we’ll allow these to stack but create different sized versions for each ship that each use different amounts of power core and cost different amounts. This allows all ship sizes to have high speed, but balances that speed against losing more weapons on larger ships.

[Complete] Ship Armour Plating Changes: You can currently add individual standalone armour plate modules to your ship that increase hitpoints by a flat amount (e.g. Bytanium Armour Plating). On large ships, you can end up placing dozens of these on your ship. Instead we’ll replace these with a single stacking “Heavy Armour” module that increases your ship’s armour by +25% and with different versions for each class of ship to balance armour across all ship sizes just as we’re doing with Augmented Engines.

[Complete] Shield Emitter Changes: Shield emitters are currently individual modules of varying grades (Electron, Magnetic, etc) that block a certain amount of damage, then absorb the rest to a pool of hitpoints that regenerate 10% each combat round, and stacking multiple emitters adds their hitpoints together. We’ll follow the engine change model with this and create different sized shield emitters for each ship class, which use more power but also give more hitpoints. This essentially just makes larger emitters work the same as groups of them, but lets us tweak shield balance differently for different ship sizes. For example, we can give larger ships slightly more shield HP/MW or different recharge rates if we want to.

Ship Refitting: We plan to add a new Refit option to the build panel in the shipyard that lets you select a ship in the system and then pick a ship design of the same hull size to refit it into. This will immediately cost the money difference between the two ships, salvage all modules and weapons for 50% build cost in metal, and then put the ship into the build queue with the new design. Once it’s in the queue, you can let it build normally or buy it using the new ship purchasing mechanic. All ship crew and captains will be transferred onto the new ship when it’s complete, so you’ll keep their XP and bonuses.



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Every feature in Predestination has an associated AI that knows how to use the feature about as competently as a human player, and we’ve kept these up to date with each update. Once all of these iterations are complete, we’ll have to revisit every aspect of the AI to ensure it’s still able to play competently, and build new AI routines for all the new gameplay. This includes but is not limited to:
  • Asteroid Miner AI that decides when to build them and where to put them.
  • Trade Route AI that figures out reasonable trade routes, sending food to harsh environment worlds etc.
  • Ship Purchasing added into the War AI so they can buy some ships when under extreme threat and have a fighting chance.
  • Temporal Rift Exploration AI, since all rewards will now require exploration.
  • Updated ship designer AI to work with the new mechanics.
  • Updated Star Claim AI to use the new mechanics.
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Thanks for reading this enormous dev update, and I hope you enjoy the upcoming V1.1 Iteration update when it’s finished. This update should add some much-needed cohesion to the game and put us in a good position leading up to final release. As always, we welcome your feedback on anything in this dev update in the comments or you can email me at brendan@brainandnerd.com with your thoughts or any problems.

Cheers,

— Brendan, Lead Developer
Predestination - Nyphur
Patch Notes for Hotfix V1.0.0.3 (Build ID: 2590635)
This hotfix solves a number of reported crashes that didn't make it into the previous hotfix, and fixes a lot of bugs that have been recently reported or in the backlog for some time. The patch also adds an Exit Tutorial button to the Tutorial and adds a new diagnostic suite to the crash reporter that gathers basic information on your CPU adn GPU to help diagnose complex and unusual faults.

Note: This update includes changes to the planet generation code to fix a problem with the Aquatic homeworld. We've chosen not to invalidate any V1.0.0.1 or V1.0.0.2 save game files in case you're in the middle of the game and because the risk of disruption is extremely low on all planets but the Z'loq homeworld. If you see a previously explored planet's continents rearranged compared to where they were in the previous version, it's nothing to worry about and the resources should remain where they were before the patch.

Bug and crash fixes:
  • Any technology you research now applies immediately on the turn that you get it, so any bonuses are applied to that turn's output.
  • The planet UI will now correctly update immediately after researching a new technology that affects it such as Advanced City Planning.
  • The Waste Management Tech will now correctly stack with improved road techs and applies immediately when researched.
  • The Zloq will no longer accidentally start on land. For real this time!
  • Deep Core Coral deposits will now correctly be revealed on planets you have already explored. We may be removing Deep Core Coral in a future update though as it doesn't make much sense.
  • All Deposit descriptions now automatically update to reflect new technologies, such as Carbonide Drills increasing Ore Deposit yield from +2 to +3.
  • All building and infrastructure descriptions now automatically update to reflect new technologies and changes based on environment. For example, Fossil Fuel Power Plants will now update from 50 to 100
  • Fertile Soil and Land Animals can no longer spawn in desert environments.
  • The recycling plant technology's description now correctly states that it produces 1 metal per thousand population in the city, not across the entire planet. It now correctly matches up with the building description on the tooltip.
  • It's no longer possible to select the same city blueprint that's already in use at the current city, triggering a popup asking if you want to upgrade even though it's the same blueprint. The current blueprint is now grayed out. This interface is due for a revamp soon too.
  • The game will no longer autosave every time you load a save game file. It now correctly autosaves when you create a new game or start a mission.
  • All ships in the build queue of starbases are now automatically regenerated when you load the game. Previously they were only regenerated when you hit the end turn button.
  • The debug keys for Show Sensor Area (b) and Show Star Chart Plane (c) on the Galaxy Screen are now correctly disabled in non-debug mode. The player could accidentally press these keys and get confused.
  • It's no longer possible to click the blueprints on the blueprint screen multiple times.
  • Cities no longer mark themselves as not built when Updating a player-made blueprint.
  • Cities now correctly update to the latest version of their blueprint when it's modified, taking a number of turns based on the build time of the new buildings.
  • The game should no longer black-screen on rare occasions when moving from the planet view to the galaxy view. This was caused by the game accidentally opening two versions of the same screen.
  • Fixed a rare Predestination.DialogPopup.AddDisaster crash that could happen if the planet's colonies are destroyed before a disaster happens there.
  • Attempted a fix for a rare Predestination.PlanetScreen.RenderBiospheres crash that we can't replicate but is most likely due to thread timings.

    Minor Changes:
  • Added a button to let players quit the Tutorial early at any point. The tutorial must currently be restarted from the beginning if you want to continue it.
  • Enemy planetary shields will now be a minimum of 50% opaque even if they have almost 0 energy reserves, so you can see that there are still shields wwhen dropping troops etc.
  • Attached a new diagnostic suite to the crash reporter. This will now send us generic information on the system's CPU and GPU, which will help us diagnose whether a crash is in our code, a driver fault, or a hardware incompatibility that we can look into. Please keep sending in those crash reports!

    Cheers,
    -- Brendan, Lead Developer

Predestination - Nyphur
This hotfix patch fixes a number of critical crashes and bugs afflicting players since V1.0.0.1 went live. As this update needs to correct a bug in people's settings, we have set the game to reset everyone's settings. Old save games from V1.0.0.1 should still work. See below for a complete listing of the crashes and bugs fixed:

Bug-fixes:
  • Fixed SharpDX.Result.CheckError crash caused by people's graphics cards to reset periodically during play. This only affected a small number of users with certain GPUs but happened to them persistently, so we got over a hundred crash reports on this one and were able to find a fix.
  • Fixed the Kazzir mission launch crash (Predestination.Building.Fetch). This was caused by a mistake in the mission attempting to load the "Farm" building when we have renamed it to AutoFarm.
  • Fixed the Predestination.PlanetScreenHostileWindow.BuildSpyActiveList crash that would happen after the Kazzir mission crash when you launched the game. This was caused by the galaxy settings being inadvertantly set to 0 enemy races, and should no longer be possible.
  • Fixed a variety of bugs caused by the game accidentally loading multiple copies of the ShipyardScreen if you double-clicked the button. It is no longer possible for the game to accidentally load two copies of the same screen.
  • Fixed a bug where you could break the game by repeatedly clicking on the "Intro" button on the main menu.
  • Fixed a bug where clicking on the "Next" button on the Sandbox map creation page would cause it to reset the screen transition. Now nothing happens if you click during the transition, and repeatedly clicking this button was hit the Start Game button once it appears as expected.
  • Issued a full settings reset that will take place once when your game starts up and will fix a number of bugs from V1.0.0.1
  • Slightly optimised the star rendering on the main screen
  • It is no longer possible to accidentally click on something on a screen that is still fading in from black and so isn't fully visible yet.
  • Fixed a rendering bug with the lines between stars and the galactic plane. They now draw the correct brightness and correctly fade out when outside the sensor area when you are selecting a ship.
  • Implemented a fix for an unusual null Fleet crash that has been reported. We haven't been able to identify the root cause of the crash or replicate it, but have added additional checks in the code that should fix the problem any time it happens.

    Apologies to anyone who was affected by these crashes, and thanks to everyone who sent in crash reports! They helped us hunt down these critical bugs and get them fixed as quickly as possible.

    Cheers,
    -- Brendan, Lead Developer
Predestination - Nyphur
Patch Notes for V1.0.0.1 (Build ID 2462838):
This is the first bugfixing and iteration update since the recent V1.0 update when we officially started the Beta phase. It fixes a number of serious crashes players reported via the crash report tool in-game and several major bugs reported in the bug reporting thread in the forum. While fixing some bugs in the resource deposiy distribution algorithm, we also took the opportunity to iterate on that part of the game.

I'd like to quickly apologise for not getting this update out sooner and not catching up on all the forum posts and emails right now, unfortunately my dad has just passed away and I won't be back to work until next week at the earliest. Until then, please keep sending in your bug reports and suggestions on the forum and know that I will get around to all of them as soon as possible. Remember that all feedback is useful at this point ad we are going back to iterate on old gameplay we may not have changed in a while.

Major Bugs & Crashes Resolved:
- Solved an out of memory crash during the "Initialising Planet Generator" step. Turns out that MonoGame may be handling disposing of textures differently, so now we do it explicitly in this code.
- Modified the PlanetGenerator to pre-load all of the continent, mountain, crater, and terraform data at the start of the game. This uses about 100mb extra memory, but reduces video memory usage and significantly reduces planet generation times. It solves a video memory crash that was being reported by a few players.
- Added forced texture memory cleanup after unloading ship textures. Combined with the asynchronous texture loader, this should improve video memory usage a bit in most of the game and may fix a few crashes reported by players.
- Solved a problem where the graphics generated for a planet could change after the first time they're generated.

Resource Iteration:
- Resource Borders: The resource deposit generation algorithm has been significantly improved. There is now always at least a 1-hex border between resources that can't be farmed together (e.g. there's not necessarily a border between Fertile Soil and Land Animals, but there will be one between Ore and Fertile Soil). This ensures they are more usable and should prevent deposits such as Coffee or Uranium from generating inside an existing deposit seam where they can't be reached.
- Tighter Seams: Seams of deposits such as Fertile Soil or Ore will now slightly prefer tiles that are next to two or more of the same resource. This means they now generate in bigger blobs with less empty space, allowing you to get more 4, 5, and 6-hex filled ore refineries and farms.
- Improved Distribution: To help stop resource seams of the same kind from sticking together (which happened sometimes under the old distribution but more with the new distribution), the game now preferrentially selects starting hexes a distance of at least 3 from existing deposits. The seams can still grow toward each other and merge, but it's less likely to happen now.
- Cactus Resource: Added a new Cactus Plot resource, restricted to Desert environment hexes. It provides a +100 food bonus just like Fertile Soil.
- Cactus Farm: Reptilian races now start with the Cactus Farm infrastructure, which provides 200 food per Desert hex / 100 per non-desert hex, +100 per Cactus Plot, +100 per Fertile Soil, and can harvest Coffee Beans. It can't harvest Land Animals (appears on Terran planets) or Fish (appears on Ocean planets).
- Algae Farm: Aquatic races can now researvh the Algae Farm infrastructure. This compact but very inefficient single-hex infrastructure provides a flat 1000 food/turn and can be built on Ice, Terran, and Desert hexes. It can harvest Fertile Soil and Cactus for a small +100 bonus and can harvest the rare Coffee Bean strategic resource for a global research bonus. This gives Aquatic races a way to finally harvest Coffee Beans, and to colonise Desert planets prior to terraforming.
- AutoFarm: The Humanoid's Farm infrastructure is now called the AutoFarm. It still provides 200 food per terran hex / 100 per non-terran hex, +100 per Fertile Soil deposit, and can harvest Coffee Beans. It can't harvest Cactus (appears on Desert planets) or Fish (appears on Ocean planets).
- Fishery Infrastructure: Humanoid and Reptilian races can now research the new Fishery infrastructure, which can only be built in the ocean. This provides 200 food per hex and gets a bonus of +50 from any Fish deposits that are in range for a minimum of 1400 and a maximum of 1750. This makes it more efficient than a Cactus Farm or AutoFarm on planets with very few Desert or Terran hexes or few Fertile Soil / Cactus Deposits but lots of fish.
- Fertile Soil: Fertile Soil hexes are now restricted to Terran environment hexes. We've also rebalanced how many Fertile Soil deposits appear on non-Terran worlds (e.g. Ocean planet food resources are about 75% fish and 25% fertile soil).
- Fishing Coral Reefs: Increased base food output from Fishing Coral Reefs from 50 per ocean hex to 60. This gives them 1140 food/turn if completely empty building up to 2090/turn if filled with Fish.
- Growing Deposits: Deposits grown in Coral Reefs etc are no longer deleted when the infrastructure is destroyed. This allows you to demolish and rebuild new infrastructure to switch priorities if needed without having to wait for new deposits to spawn.

Other Improvements:
- Starbases now always cost 5,000 metal to build regardless of what is attached to the design. This ensures that all planets can build a starbase even with only a nominal amount of metal storage such as 1 or 2 industrial cities. It's also important on tiny planets as they can only get one city.
- To compensate for the removed metal cost and make upgrading simpler, all weapons and modules fitted to Starbases cost double BC.
- Made the loading screen display progress for loading each race's ship models individually rather than just displaying one message for all of them.
- When you click the "Open Planet" button on a notification about finding a rare resource, the game now rotates the planet around to that resource upon opening the planet.
- The Build a New City buttons are now correctly grayed out when you have reached the planetary maximum.
- When the mouse is over both a Fleet in space and Star at the same time, clicking will now open the Fleet window or System window depending on which is closest to the mouse pointer on the screen. Previously it was difficult to click on.
- Improved memory management code and activated compaction of the Large Object Heap in several places in the saving and loading code.

Other Bugfixes:
- Fixed slow-down when the Planets >> Exploration panel is open with a large number of planets available. The game was not correctly culling off-screen text, and rendering that much text caused some slowdown.
- Fixed the size of the fleet container boxes on the Fleet >> Manage Fleets menu when you had a lot of ships in one fleet. It wasn't taking into account the tiny gap between each ship image.
- Fixed a bug in the Diplomacy >> Galactic Council panel where the scrollable list wasn't restricted to within the bottom part of the screen.
- Fixed a bug in the Diplomacy >> Galactic Council panel where you could click on council resolutions outside the viewable area.
- Fixed bug where the revenants could destroy your homeworld early in the game. Homeworlds are now off-limits to Revenant attacks.
- Fixed the Spying tab tooltip saying "SPYING NOT IMPLEMENTED" when it actually is.
- Fixed an odd visual bug and crash that could happen when clicking the "Open Planet" button on a notification about finding a rare resource. The new planet would open but the map would be using data from the previous planet you visited, and you could end up with big white hexes and an index bounds error at Predestination.PlanetScreen.HandleRadialMenu.
- Fixed a bug where explosions on the planet screen were appearing 2-4 times for each explosion.
- Fixed incorrect delays on some explosion graphics.
- Fixed a ship designer bug where it would say "1 planet using this design" etc if you create a new design and haven't even saved it yet. It was mistakenly checking how many of the default Starbase you had in your empire.
- Fixed a crash in the ship designer when updating a starbase design you've just created.
- Fixed a number of bugs in the ship designer that could happen if you had the Fleets >> Ship Design tab open while in the Shipyard Screen and selected different tabs on each of the two Ship Design windows. Now all ship data and tab selection data is shared between these two tabs automatically so if you change to the Starbase tab on one, the other will also switch to the same tab.
- Fixed a bug that could happen in the ship designer if you seleted a ship design while it was open in the editor. The fix for this was simply to disable clicking on the Fleets >> Ship Design tab while you're editing a ship.
- Fixed a big where the planet graphics could change if the AI explored a planet.
- Fixed several bugs that could cause the roads to flash and the AI to not colonise if you create and then load a game in a specific order.
- Fixed a bug causing the Reptilian Hatchery selector highlight and building model to be drawn over the UI when the UI is scrolled down. Also fixed the buttons being off-centre.
- Fixed a bug causing part of the Infrastructure Info panel to be drawn over the UI when the UI is scrolled down.
- Fixed visual bug with the Metallic Coral icon
- Fixed a bug on the Infrastructure Info panel when viewing farms etc that don't use any power. There was a weird red line next to the Power reading.
- Fixed a bug where the Planet AI would demolish an Artifact Excavation or Farm or Power Plant in order to build a Starbase. This resulted in sub-optimal starts if you selected the Space Exploration era start, and made the AI sometimes accidentally harm its tiny planets.
- Fixed a bug causing the highlighted technologies in the Trade panel on the Diplomacy screen to be drawn over the UI when they are outside the window.
- Fixed a bug with terraforming where the planet would suddenly disappear. Like what? How? What?
- Fixed various bugs with resources like Land Animals spawning in the sea or Fish on land.

Cheers,
-- Brendan, Lead Developer
Predestination - Nyphur
Hey guys,

We've just released our massive V1.0 update, which marks the point where we're officially leaving alpha and entering beta. That means we've finished all the gameplay features and it's unlikely we'll make any major gameplay changes from this point on. Instead we'll be focusing on smaller gameplay improvements and iterations, bug fixing, balance changes, and UI changes. We'll be asking for focused feedback on certain topics on the forum to help guide us through beta and on to final release.

The headline features of this update include a complete engine overhaul (including switching from XNA 3.1 to Monogame), 64-bit support, massive optimisations, a near total overhaul of the Tactical Fleet Combat gameplay, our first Challenge Map, a score system for both singleplayer missions and sandbox games, and Fleet Combat in space (not at a planet). We've also added support for some new graphics options, smoother animations, better explosions, new nebulae in fleet combat, a bunch of new building models, and a ton of bug fixes.

A Dev Update article will be released on this update and our plans for the next step soon, and below are the patch notes:


Core Engine Overhauls:
We switched the underlying tech in the Predestination engine from XNA 3.1 to Monogame and .NET 3.5 to .NET 4.5.2. This was a massive job, but allowed us to add 64-bit compatibility and take advantage of some new memory management tools. At the same time, we overhauled large parts of the game engine to fix recurring bugs, clean up a lot of technical debt from all the features we've adding during alpha, and optimise performance and memory usage.
  • Switched from a 32-bit executable to a 64-bit compatible one. Players on 32-bit operating systems should not notice any difference, while those on 64-bit operating systems will have more memory to work with. This will let us expand the game more in the future, and if we expand it to the point that it causes memory problems for 32-bit users we'll put in some low-memory options.
  • Replaced the fragile old XNA spritebatch code with a new more fault-tolerant system. Instead of crashing when things happen out of order, the worst case is now a graphical glitch and most of the time there's no problem at all. This was pretty necessary in order to switch to MonoGame.
  • Replaced all of the old graphics state code throughout the game with a robust new GraphicsState system. We've pre-defined a series of common renderstates, depth states, stencil buffer states etc and now switch between them before rendering each element. This was a massive task but required to switch from XNA 3.1 to MonoGame.
  • Overhauled all screens to have multiple rendering layers: Pre-Rendering (rendertargets etc), Under UI Rendering, UI Rendering, and Overlay Rendering. This fixed a number of display bugs all throughout the game, and makes adding new UI a lot easier.
  • Wrote a new texture loader that results in an overall smaller memory footprint.
  • Wrote an entirely new runtime model loader for .X files that's compatible with Monogame and supports both pre-scaled models and our custom automatic scaling to optimise it for use in our 3D ship designer. Added scaling and rotation data to all of the Renegade and Kazzir ships, fixing a load of broken designs after the switch to Monogame.
  • Removed FXAA code as it proved to be incompatible with the new setup, but we plan to add a new FXAA module at some point in future if we get the time.
  • Removed the visible star from Fleet Combat as it was only seen if you happened to turn the board upside down, and there's no reason to do that. The code for the star and lens flare had some problems and it wasn't really worth fixing, so we removed it.
  • Fixed incompatibility of planet continent heightmaps and other images with XNA 4.0 / Monogame.
  • Overhauled all of the existing shaders in the game for compatibility with Monogame and Shader Model 4.0 specifications. Also used this opportunity to tweak some of the existing shaders and add new effects for each class of shield.
  • Overhauled the System window's rendering code. The planet code was taking far too long to render and has been replaced with simpler textured spheres. The old star rendering code turned out to be a MASSIVE memory hog and performance killer, so we replaced the entire thing with a much more efficient one based on rotating fake cameras around a pre-generated nebula. Star size is now correctly shown on the system window and bebulae are more visible.
  • Wrote a system for handling the dynamic loading and unloading of voice files while preventing memory fragmentation, and a system for playing voice files. The Diplomacy voices have been unavoidably delayed as the person who is processing them has been unavailable.
  • Drastically reduced the runtime overhead of loading in some UI elements by checking whether each image has a separate mouseover component before loading rather than handling load errors.
  • Improved memory management and resolved fragmentation of the Large Object Heap.
  • Quad and QuadBatch rendering is now more efficient.


    Fleet Combat Overhauls
  • New State System: We added a whole new Fleet Combat State system with a built-in action queue and timer system. This was a lot of work, but has eliminated a ton of bugs and odd behaviours in Fleet Combat. The game now constructs actions such as movement and firing as separate state objects and adds them to a queue, and processes that queue in order. Certain actions such as Reactive Strikes can skip to the head of the queue in order to interrupt a player's move as expected, and impossible actions are now automatically pruned from the queue (such as moving a ship that has been destroyed by a reactive strike). Overall, Fleet Combat feels a lot more solid and polished since we made this change.
  • Fleet Combat In Space: You can now intercept enemy fleets in a system outside orbit of your planets by clicking on the race icon in the Enemy Ships tab of the System Window. This lets you break blockades, destroy unwelcome enemy scouts that wander into your star systems, defend an ally in war whose planet is being sieged, and kill non-combat ships. Of course, if your enemy owns a planet in the system then you'll have to attack the planet and can't intercept the fleet in space.
  • Ammo Rework: Previously, all bombs and missiles had limited ammo and had to be resupplied by visiting a starbase. This was frankly not fun and not a very big strategic element, so we've redesigned how ammo works. Missiles and Fighters now automatically re-fill at the start of Fleet Combat so you have 5 shots each battle, and Bombs now refill each turn so you can bomb a planet into the stone age over several turns without refueling. We may need to go back and look at bomb balance in a future update, but this ammo system feels much better.
  • Larger Battlefields: The size of the fleet combat battlefields has been increased and ships now start slightly further apart. This will allow players to execute more strategies based on getting ships into position (e.g. hiding in nebulae) or firing missiles while running away into the corner. Ships also now start further apart to stop them getting stuck behind each other.
  • Nebula and Explosion Optimisation: We used to have a serious problem with memory leakage caused by nebulae and explosions in Fleet Combat, and if too many explosions happened at the same time then your game could crash with an out of memory error. This has now been fixed as we now pre-generate a small set of nebulae and explosions and handle their positions and animations on the GPU.
  • Nebula Overhaul: We've added a few new types of nebula to Fleet Combat and changed their bonuses, it now goes like this: Cloaking Field (ships inside count as cloaked), Ion Storm (damages ships inside each turn), Ice Cloud (Halves Missile and Projectile damage), Dust Cloud (Halves Beam and Fighter Damage), Graviton Field (Slows and damages ships each turn), and Hydrogen Plasma (doubles missile explosion and area-effect damage).
  • Nebula Distribution: When fighting in a star system that's inside a nebula, there will now be pockets of nebular gas in the fleet combat. Blue nebulae have Ice Clouds and Ion Storms, Green have Cloaking Fields and Ice Clouds, Orange have Dust Clouds and Hydrogen Plasma Purple have Ion Storms and Gravity Wells, and Red have Hydrogen Plasma and Dust Clouds. This can be used very strategically if you colonise a planet inside a nebula.
  • Smooth Animations: Ships now turn smoothly as they move rather than turning sharply in a single frame, and ship movement animation times are now based on the ship's size class and speed. Movement in general feels much smoother and more polished now.
  • New Shield Graphics: Each class of shield (Electron, Magnetic, Graviton, and Temporal) now has its own unique corresponding model and shader, all of which are moddable. The Electron and Magnetic shields have a similar hex-based design to the previous shield model, while the Graviton and Temporal shields are more circular.
  • Projectile Weapon Overhaul: Projectile shots now draw as bullets based on specified 2D images rather than all of them just firing a tiny asteroid at the enemy. Every projectile weapon now has its own moddable weapon texture and a specified Bullet Pattern that lets you make it appear to be rapid fire, single-shot, charge-up, etc.
  • Beam Weapon Overhaul Beams now draw as lines based on input 2D images rather than simple coloured hardware lines. Every Beam weapon and beam-type Special weapon now has its own weapon texture in the files, and these can be modded too.
  • Weapon Audio Overhaul: Every weapon now has its own moddable Audio File specified in the weapons data file. Weapons are also now timed by the audio, so you can have slow-firing weapons or weapons with long charge-up times if you want for effect.
  • Missile and Fighter Pathing: Missiles and fighters no longer follow ship-like paths to their targets. They now pick a hex closer to the enemy and move straight there without passing through intervening hexes. They can still be shot down by reactive strikes on reaching their target and before firing, so the balance hasn't changed, but they will no longer accidentally generate crazy long paths to their targets and will no longer be blocked by targets in between.
  • Missile Rebalance: Missiles have now been increased in speed to increase their utility. Nuclear Missiles are 1 speed faster than your fastest frigate, Fusion and Gravimetric are 2 faster, Anti-Matter Torpedo is 4 faster, and Quantum Torpedo is 6 faster. Missiles and fighters also now draw dotted lines toward their targets to give you an idea of where they are going.
  • Fighter Rebalance: Removed the Ammo Regeneration from the Fighter Bay and Heavy Fighter Bay and gave both 2 Fighters total to launch during Fleet Combat instead. Fighters now fire 2 shots returning to the ship that launched them, and heavy fighters can fire 4 before returning. On returning, they are refueled and ready to be launched again.
  • Dauntless Guidance: Missiles and Fighters now automatically pick new targets when their assigned targets are destroyed, so it's no longer a total waste to fire too many missiles at the same target.
  • Engine Disabling: Shooting a ship in the rear now has a chance of disabling its engines for up to 3 turns as long as the damage penetrates the target's shields.
  • Utility Improvements: The Anti-Missile Beam now has a 100% chance of destroying a missile on contact, increased from 50%. The chance-based nature of this just made it unsatisfying, even if it does only cost 15MW to fit. The Stasis Field, Tractor Beam, Transporters, and Graviton Field Emitter also all now have circular firing arcs. Previously they had extended arcs that made it difficult to use them strategically (e.g. to fly past an enemy ship and tractor it from behind).
  • Plasma Field: The Plasma Field area-effect weapon has been re-added as we've solved the memory issues it was causing. Its power grid usage has been increased from 25MW to 50MW as it was a bit ridiculous against larger ships when tested.
  • Orbital Minefield: The Orbital Minefield technology now automatically starts all enemy ships on 50% armour instead of spawning mines on the battlefield.


    Score Screen:
  • Added a new score screen that appears at the end of every sandbox game, singleplayer mission and challenge map. It gives you points for things like number of planets colonised, technologies researched, different victory types, eliminated races, etc. There are also bonus points for things like rifts investigated and peace treaties mediated, and a speed bonus depending on how quickly you win the game and what size the galaxy is.
  • Singleplayer missions can now give points for each objective, and the score screen now shows how many Objective points and Bonus Objective options (from optional missions) you achieved.
  • Singleplayer missions now have star ratings (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) depending on the points you gained during the mission. The rating thresholds and which points are available are determined by the individual mission. The maximum achieved medal is now saved to your game data directory.


    Missions / Challenge Map:
    The first Challenge Map has been implemented: The Time Trap, original design by kickstarter backer Lee Newsum. This mission takes place in an alternate ending to the main game, where scientists from the United Colonies have captured the Revenant homeworld and begun searching for technologies. The excavation team accidentally triggers a planetary security system that traps the star system in an energy bubble and begins spawning regular Temporal Rifts full of Revenant ships.

    Cut off from the rest of the empire and most of your technology blueprints, all you have left is a selection of ship technologies, a few Ancient Ion Cannons found on the planet, and a powerful Ancient Starbase in orbit. You must use your limited resources to rebuild their fleet and fend off waves of Revenant ships that grow in intensity throughout the mission. You can research the ancient structures on the planet to improve their effectiveness, unlock powerful Revenant technologies, design new ships to try out unorthadox strategies, and maybe even capture a few Revenant ships.

  • Added new galaxy map options for missions for if we want to move the race's homeworld to the Revenant planet and delete its original homeworld. This is used in the first challenge map.
  • Added new galaxy map options to make Revenant fleets to escalate over time by a specified amount (in terms of military score). Without this option set, Revenant fleets will always be proportional to the military strength of the race being attacked.
  • Missions can now select to either completely overwrite the default tech trees with new ones instead of merging the new ones into the old ones. This is used in the new Challenge Map to create completely custom tech trees with all-new techs and even new names, and this will be available to modders.
  • Mission objectives can now be instructed to hide their progress from the player on the info dropdown. This is used in the new Challenge Map to provide a countdown to when the next Revenant Attack is going to happen without having it display a confusing Progress indicator.
  • The mission info on the left hand side of the screen now draws on top of whatever screen you're on, and fades out on the Conversation screen.


    Game Options Improvements:
  • Added the ability to switch between bordered and borderless mode in the options. The device will automatically reset when you click the checkbox so there's no need to restart.
  • The screen resolution is now set when you launch the game for the first time, but changes to the resolution in the ini files will be preserved, so you can finally change the resolution. There is not currently a dropdown for screen resolution in the options panel, though, and if you change screen resolution after first launching the game then you'll need to edit the ini file to change to your new resolution. We're working on getting a resolution selector into the game as soon as we can.
  • Cut out and replaced the system that blurs behind the user interface with a much better system that now automatically catches UI elements and has far less rendering overhead. Everything is also now drawn to rendertargets before final rendering, opening up further potential for post-processing effects.
  • Cleaned up a load of unused game options in the ini file.
  • Renamed many of the game options in the ini file to make their purposes more clear (e.g. by adding PlanetScreen or GalaxyScreen before options that affect a particular screen).
  • Added a new bakc-end system that allows me to specify whether an update should overwrite the existing ini file with default values the first time it runs. This is neccessary to prevent crashes when we make changes to the ini file other than just adding new options, and if we want to change the default options.
  • Added an option slider for Voice Volume separate from Sound and Music volume.


    Minor Features:
  • Races and technologies can now have bonuses specifically to Ground Cannon damage in fleet combat in addition to bonuses to Beam weapons. This is used in the new challenge map.
  • The game now keeps track of how many Temporal Rifts you investigate and how many Revenant Attacks you survive, for use in awarding bonus points or tracking during missions.
  • Switched the main game font from Verdana to Xolonium.
  • Added the ability to make the Volume sliders exponential rather than linear in the ini file.
  • Added GroundCannonDamagePercentage and ShipyardBuildRate as Technology Stats, so we can now make generic stacking bonuses to those as technologies. Used in the new mission.
  • Added models for Factory (Tier 1, 2, and 3), Research Lab (Tier 1, 2, and 3), Food Processor (Tier 1, 2, and 3), Industrial Market, Military Barracks, Reptilian City (Hatcheries), Robotic City (The Forge), Robot Fuel Factory
  • Added model for Support Centre (robotic)
  • Updated the tutorial to remove a few references to "upcoming" gameplay that is now in the game, and reflect the fact that we've entered beta.
  • Optimised the tech tree loading process. Previously there was a lot of error handling happening that could cause the game to slow down when initialising the game or loading a mission.
  • The explosion graphics have been modified to be a bit more rendering-friendly and visually appealing. They're now a bit more random, more spread out on the planet screen, and the game no longer omits explosions when there are too many already on screen as we fixed the memory issues it was causing.
  • Added support for races having buildings that belong to another race, so we can have a Revenant space station in the first challenge map and it'll use Revenant technology (particle beams etc).
  • When loading a Building, Weapon or Module that is already loaded (e.g. through mission files), the existing item in the pool is replaced instead of the game crashing.
  • Total overhaul of animation code and transitions all throughout the game to use a more accurate delta time system. You should now notice smoother animation and transitions on slower computers.
  • Overhauled the screenshake code to a more tightly controlled variant so it will no longer sometimes jerk way off-screen for a split second if you blow up a ship with a missile. Also took the opportunity to add rotation to the screen shake and extract some new screen shake options into the ini file.
  • Added a half-size tooltip for some smaller items
  • Improved the way the game fades to black and back out again when switching screens, saving, loading etc. This is now consistent across all screens and much smoother.
  • Individual races may now use the ModelProcessOverride.txt file to specify that their ship part models have already been pre-scaled to the correct size. This is used now for the Renegades ships as they were designed before we came up with our new auto-scaling model loader.

    Bug-fixes:
    Dozens of minor bugs have been fixed as a result of the Fleet Combat overhaul and the engine changeover, but they haven't all been documented. Below are those that have been documented:
  • Fixed a bug causing Revenant fleets to automatically attack the player if they don't find a military threat worth attacking.
  • Fixed a bug causing the tutorial to sometimes not reset fully if you exited during the times where you have no popup on the screen to prevent you from quitting.
  • Fixed a bug causing the map options to get stuck to weird defaults after you launch or load a singleplayetr mission or the tutorial. This now correctly only saves the options for your Sandbox games.
  • Fixed a tutorial bug causing the game to sometimes skip over the check to see if you have a colony ship if your game was running slowly enough.
  • Fixed a bug causing the music to get stuck on if you set the volume from full to zero inside one frame.
  • Fixed a Fleet Combat bug causing the Plasma Mine Layer to lay mines off to the side of your ship instead of where the firing pattern shows it should be.
  • Fixed a bug making Kazzir missiles invisible.
  • Fixed the scale of asteroids in Temporal Rift investigations
  • Fixed a missing United Colonies satellite model that could rarely cause a crash
  • Fixed a text bug in the first Kazzir mission - It said to build a Scout ship but really you select what ship to build.
  • Fixed a number of text mistakes in the technology files. All of the ship hull technologies were displaying the wrong amount of power grid.
  • Fixed a number of new bugs with the tutorial that only started happening on our test rigs after we switched to Monogame. These bugs may have affected a number of other players, causing the tutorial to get stuck at various points.
  • Fixed a certain tooltip staying open when you enter fleet combat.
  • Fixed a scrolling defect on the Research panel.
  • Fixed a major bug with the research panel that allowed tech trees to be held over from one game to the next, causing problems with missions like the new challenge map that have unique tech trees.
  • Fixed several rendering bugs with the 3D ship designer and with 2D representations of ships on the UI.
  • Ships now correctly re-cloak when starting a new fleet combat with a cloaking device active or ending turn inside a Cloaking Field.
  • Bonuses from Planet Leaders that affect Fleet Combat now correctly apply during Fleet Combat. Previously, a few bonuses applied 100 times larger than they were supposed to or didn't apply at all.
  • The game should no longer sometimes crash when a planet switches owners or is destroyed while the Planet Screen is open.
  • Fixed the game accidentally designing some ships with multiple copies of "One Per Ship" technologies.
  • Fixed several bugs with the totalling up and display of research points in the top right of the screen not matching the actual output of your empire.
  • Fixed the display of tax stats from planets sometimes not matching up with the amount of net tax being made.
  • Fixed a bug in the ship designer when editing a starbase designt hat was in use elsewhere in the galaxy. It previously wouldn't work out the cost to upgrade all of them correctly.
  • Fixed a few display bugs resulting from the font switch
  • Fixed the lighting graphics on the Recycling Plant, Apartment Complex, Humanoid City, Energy Market, Industrial Market etc.


    We'd like to give everyone a huge thank-you for waiting for this update! The patch was ready just before the holidays but we found a stubborn engine-level crash right as we intended to release it. It's taken us until now to get all the bugs resulting from that fixed and last night we completed a full test series that came back successful. As always, please let us know if you experience any problems with this update!

    Note: This update will make all of your old saves no longer work, and will reset your game options the first time you start up. It will also go through the first time setup on Steam when you launch it to install new dependencies.

    Cheers,
    -- Brendan, Lead Developer
Dec 22, 2017
Predestination - Nyphur
Hey guys,

Just posting to give everyone a quick update on the release schedule for the massive V1.0 update. The patch was finished in time for the Steam Christmas Sale, but the final release client is having unexpected video memory crashes on most of our test GPUs. These crashes are only happening on the release client and didn't show up in debugging, so we didn't know there was a problem until we went to deploy the update. We spent last night developing a fix and will now have to do a full test series to prove it works in release mode.

Brain and Nerd is due to take a short break for Christmas, so we'll be back with V1.0 as soon as possible after the 25th. We're extremely pleased with how this update has come along, especially the new challenge map and the score screen. Fleet Combat has never been as smooth and bug-free as it is now, and the new graphics and sound effects are a significant improvement.

We hope everyone has a great holiday, and enjoys the V1.0 patch when it releases next week (barring any more unexpected problems)!

Cheers,
-- Brendan, Lead Developer
Predestination - Nyphur


Recently we released the massive V0.9 update to Predestination, our second last major update before we hit V1.0 and officially enter our final beta phase, at which point we can start delivering all of the remaining content (singleplayer missions, kickstarter backer content etc) and heavily polishing the game up for full release. We’ve been busy working on V1.0 and on a few unannounced things since V0.9 went live, and in this Dev Update we’d like to share details of all of that with you along with an updated estimate on the impending release of V1.0.

The biggest change is that we’ve upgraded the Predestination engine from using parts of the old XNA 3.1 framework to using the newer MonoGame framework. This took considerable work but is now complete and will lead to performance improvements, 64-bit compatibility, memory problems solved, more scope for modders, and possibly even cross-platform support. We’ve also recorded voice lines to spice up the Diplomacy system, added a Score screen after each game to let you know how well you did, and we’re part way through developing the first Challenge Map. Also on the agenda for V1.0 are major improvements to fleet combat (both gameplay and graphics improvements), graphical improvements to weapons, new sound effects, notification improvements, building models, and AI improvements.

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Upgrade to MonoGame: Predestination is made in our own custom game engine that was built on top of Microsoft’s XNA 3.1 framework, and unfortunately that has left us with a number of technical limitations that we’ve recently started to run up against. XNA 3.1 is 32-bit (which limits the amount of memory it can use), it doesn’t work with newer versions of the .NET framework that have some memory management tools we want to use, and our engine was limited to DirectX 9. This is why the game can crash with an “out of memory” error after a while even if your computer has plenty of memory left, a problem that will only get more common as we add more content such as new models, ship parts, sound effects, voice clips, and user interface elements to the game.

The latest Steam Hardware Survey shows that over 97% of gamers now use a 64 bit operating system, so we finally decided to upgrade from XNA 3.1 to Monogame, the open-source replacement for XNA 4.0 that has 64-bit support, Direct X 10+ support, etc. Switching frameworks like this is a huge undertaking as there are a lot of differences between the two versions, but we wouldn’t be doing it if it weren’t absolutely necessary. It took us a few weeks to make the switch but I’m happy to report that the game now runs properly on Monogame, all we have left to fix is a number of graphical problems and minor bugs that should take no more than another week of work, and then we can get back to finishing the update.

So what are the benefits to you of the new framework? The game should render faster and take up less memory when we’re done, and it will now be able to use more memory when it needs it, so we have the capacity to add new things like voice lines. It also opens the scope of the game for modding purposes as players can make very large mods without worrying about memory issues, and it fixes a number of stubborn crashes and graphical bugs some players currently experience. Monogame also has great cross-platform support so it should be easier for us to release Linux and Mac versions after the main release or even port the game to other platforms.



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Score Screen: One small feature of 4X games that always helps increase replayability is a score system, which gives you points at the end of each game. As we continue to add challenge maps and singleplayer missions, you’ll also want some way of knowing how well you did in those. We’ve added a new score screen that pops up at the end of every sandbox mode game, singleplayer mission and challenge map with points for things like number of planets colonised and technologies researched. There are points for the type of victory, eliminated races, extra points for rifts investigated and peace treaties mediated, and also a speed bonus depending on how quickly you win the game and what size the galaxy is. Below is the score screen after winning a colossal galaxy sandbox game via technological superiority in 856 turns.



Singleplayer Scores & Modding: Below is the score screen following the completion of our first singleplayer mission, The Kazzir Story. Each objective you complete in a singleplayer mission can have points associated with it that will increase your final score, and extra points can be made available for hitting bonus objectives or hidden objectives. Each mission can also have hidden endings with bonus points or a bonus for reaching the storyline’s official canonical ending (as in the screenshot below). Each singleplayer mission will give you a star rating (bronze, silver, or gold) based on your performance so you may be incentivised to play it again to get the gold rating — something that is sure to be especially difficult in our challenge maps. All of these things are loaded straight from easily-readable text files so modders will have full access to this suite of tools for their own singleplayer levels and challenge maps.



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Diplomacy Voice Recordings: In our original Kickstarter campaign, the final stretch goal we just about hit included a full singleplayer story campaign. We’ve already released one episode of the story and have 11 more episodes in development for full release, and we hope to add voiceovers to the entire story if possible before launch. This month we took a big step toward that by recording voiceovers for all of the diplomacy dialogue for the 6 core races that are currently in the game. This was Brain and Nerd’s first trip to a recording studio and it was a great experience, we’d like to thank Red Apple Audio for the use of its facilities. The audio will need to be processed and filtered and will then be added hopefully as part of the V1.0 update.



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In addition to a singleplayer campaign mode, we’ve also promised to add unique challenge maps. These are small self-contained stories or challenges that aren’t tied to the main story, and the first of these will be going live in V1.0! This first challenge was designed by kickstarter level design backer Lee Newsum shortly after our campaign, his ideas have helped shape the tools we built for challenge maps and we’re super pleased with how it’s coming along.

Challenge #1 – The Time Trap: This mission takes place in an alternate ending to the main storyline, and you play as the United Colonies after they’ve captured the Revenant homeworld and are ransacking it for technologies. One of your scientists accidentally activates an unknown piece of Revenant technology, trapping the star system in a time dilation field and attracting temporal rifts every few turns. Time passes much faster inside the bubble so your empire outside the field can only send in a slow trickle of ships and supplies. You have to use limited resources to rebuild your fleet and fend off waves of Revenant fleets that grow in intensity, and your goal is simply to survive until your scientists can figure out how to shut off the device or help can reach you from the outside. Every ship that gets through your defences will do considerable damage to the planet’s ancient infrastructure, and once it’s gone you can’t replace it.



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Fleet Combat in Space: Right now you can only attack other races by attacking their planets, but you can’t attack a fleet in space. If an enemy sends a fleet to blockade a star system, you can send your own ships to the system to end the blockade but can’t attack the enemy fleet. You also can’t attack an enemy fleet in an ally’s star system to help them out during a war. We’ll be fixing all of that with a new button on the System window that lets you attack enemy fleets, nice and simple.

Weapon Graphics Overhaul: If you’ve played the fleet combat in Predestination enough, it can’t have escaped you that all the weapons look and sound the same, all the projectiles fire a little rock and all the beam weapons fire a straight line in your race’s colour. That’s boring, so in this update we’ll be taking a little time to add new graphics to all the weapons and also new models for the different classes of shields so you can tell when your enemy has got some new tech.

Nebula Improvements: You’ve encountered some nebulae if you’ve ever sent ships to investigate a temporal rift, and now we’re going to add them to the fleet combat at planets too providing that the planet is inside a nebula. Green nebulas will create pockets of sensor-blocking green gas and laser-dampening dust clouds, blue nebulas will will missile-dampening ice clouds and damaging ion storms, orange nebulae will have dust clouds and explosive plasma pockets that destroy projectiles, and purple nebulae will have plasma and ion storms. This should make the choice of galaxy age in the game options a bit more interesting too, as a primordial galaxy will have nebulas in a lot of star systems.

Missile/Fighter Improvements: Missiles and Fighters currently fly in hex-based paths the same as ships, and sometimes it means they go very odd routes in order to catch up with an enemy. We’ll be changing them to a more freeform system where they always head straight toward their targets, and we’ll see if that improves missile and fighter gameplay.

Bigger Battlefields: Currently larger ships like cruisers and battleships can easily get stuck behind each other. To mitigate this problem, the Fleet Combat area generated by the game will be increased in size significantly and ships will start off further apart from each other. Ships will also always be positioned so that the fastest ships are in front, so the back row of ships shouldn’t get to move until the front row has at least had the opportunity to get out of their way.

Misc Improvements: Minefields will be changed to simply start the enemy ships off damaged instead of spawning mines, as the spawned mines often blew up on your own ships and caused other bugs. We’ll also be adding a chance of immobilising an enemy ship if you hit it in the rear when its shields are down, and fixing some bugs like the missing Plasma Field weapon (this was removed intentionally due to a bug it caused with explosions, which is now fixed). We’re also considering completely removing the ammo system for bombs and missiles as it turned out to be just not very fun to have to constantly go back home to re-load ammo, and will rebalance those weapons accordingly.

Bugfixes and Iteration: Fleet Combat has a number of strange bugs and inconsistent behaviours, and it has some pretty big memory leakage over time in long games. We hope to do a quick iteration on the Fleet Combat gameplay either in V1.0 or shortly after, starting by fixing all of the memory leaks and adding a new State system under the hood to combat most of the existing bugs and crashes.  We then hope to replace the user interface panels with ones that fit in better with the rest of the game.



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AI Trade Routes: One thing that always strikes me about the screenshots that come in with your crash reports is that a lot of you are using the Trade Route system pretty extensively, setting up separate shipyards, food planets and energy harvesting worlds exactly as we intended! We’ll be upgrading the AI to form its own trade routes to make the AI empires more efficient so that it’s a fair fight, which will also provide you with the opportunity to blockade their star systems and cause some economic havok. This may not make it into V1.0 depending on time, as it’s low-priority and we really want to get this patch into your hands ASAP.

Declare War on Race: The new diplomacy coercion system is working beautifully, and we want to expand on it with the addition of a new coercion: Declare War on Race. It’ll be extremely difficult to convince another race to agree with this, though they’ll be more likely to agree if you’re in a military alliance with them. As part of this change, the AI will also sometimes ask all of its military allies to join in on wars it’s pursuing and will threaten to cancel the alliance if you refuse.

Star Claim Improvements: You’ve probably noticed that the AI now periodically sends you territorial claims for star systems, but this system could use some improvement. Claims should last for a lot longer than 50 turns (possibly indefinitely), and Homeworld systems should be automatically claimed. We’ll be adding some kind of visual indicator of who claims a particular star system so you know in advance that you’re about to cause a Diplomatic incident by colonising a planet. You’ll also be able to lay claim to star systems you already have a colony in, which can be handy if you spy a colony ship en route to one of your systems and want to convince them to turn around.



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Notification Improvements: Every type of window that pops up in the taskbar will be getting its own unique icon and sound effect so you can quickly tell the difference between a ship exploring a new star system and a survey mission completing. At the same time, we’ll be adding a small checkbox on every notification window (and in the main menu) that lets you disable that type of notification so you never hear about it. We’ll also be looking into adding a copy of each taskbar notification icon onto the galaxy map so you can see exactly where the notification is coming from.

Optimisations: When converting the game over from XNA 3.1 to Monogame, we identified several big targets for optimisation that we’ll be tackling when we have time. When the patch deploys, you’ll notice that the star graphics have changed; The technique used to render the star in the system window dates back to the very start of Predestination’s development and it was ridiculously inefficient, so we’ve fixed that with a much more efficient one that we think still looks good. There are a few other places we can save memory and some places we can make the game render faster, and we want to explore some of these before releasing V1.0 and test the game on lower-spec computers.

Buildings: With the memory limitations caused by XNA 3.1 no longer limiting us, we’re free to start adding more content without worrying about increasing crashes. The Factory (tier 1, 2, and 3), Research Lab (tier 1, 2, and 3), Food processor (Tier 1, 2, and 3), Industrial Market, The Forge (Robotic city), The hatchery (Reptilian city), Robot Fuel Factory, Support Centre, Military Barracks, and a few others have been added to the game and are now just getting final tweaks.

Sound effects: We’re looking into adding new unique sound effects for each weapons, things hitting shields, explosions, and user interface elements.

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Thanks for reading another massive dev update, and thanks again to everyone patiently waiting on the V1.0 update. We’d usually be releasing a patch on Steam about now, but this one is taking extra time due to the switch over to Monogame so there are still a few features left to complete. With such a big change, we also need to make sure we test it thoroughly on the Steam internal build with a variety of computer systems. We’re aiming to get V1.0 fully complete, tested, and in your hands within the next 2-3 weeks. We’ll do another dev update when that patch lands, summarising how development of this portion went and looking at the next step for Predestination V1.1 and beyond.

The next wave of Early Access invites is going out this weekend, so if you’ve sent us a request in the past month you’ll be getting a key in the next day or so. If you’re a Kickstarter backer and you’d like a key as part of this wave, as usual please just send us an email to earlyaccessrequest@brainandnerd.com with the email address you used on Kickstarter and we’ll send you a code right over. Once we hit V1.0 and we’re happy it’s stable, we’ll also send everyone out their codes via email and Kickstarter messages even if they haven’t requested one yet.

Cheers,

— Brendan, Lead Developer
Predestination - Nyphur


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.
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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:



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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.


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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.


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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.




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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.


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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.

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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 earlyaccessrequest@brainandnerd.com 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 brendan@brainandnerd.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!

Cheers,
— Brendan, Lead Developer
Predestination - Nyphur
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.

Main Menu
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.


    Spying Gameplay:
  • 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.


    Bugfixes:
  • 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.

    Cheers,
    -- Brendan, Lead Developer
Predestination - Nyphur



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.


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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.



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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).

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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.



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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.)


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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.


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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.





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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.



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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.




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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:



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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!

Cheers,
— Brendan, Lead Developer
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