Galactic Dominion – Version 1.1.0 is Now Live!

Read it on Steam!

We’ve finally incremented the build to Version 1.1.0 with a brand new Steam logo.

Since 1.0 the game has come a long way and been patched 12 times. I want to take this opportunity to summarize all the changes that has gone in since 1.0.

1.1.0

  1. Focus on Unit Hotkey: If you have a Star, Star Fortress, or Fleet selected you can hit <Enter> by default to pan to it. If you hold the key it will follow the Unit. You can change this key in the Input Mapper.
  2. The Unit selection circle is now thicker and green for easier visibility.
  3. Fixed an issue where the Star Fortress HP was not showing in the battle info panel.
  4. Fixed and issue where in Turn Base Mode a Units destination Nav point was not positioned correctly.

1.0.2018.08.18.l

  1. Game Speeds: x0.5, x1.0, x1.5, and x2.0.
  2. Research Game Settings: Randomized Effort Factor.
  3. Research Tree Zoom In/Out and Middle Mouse pan.
  4. Research In-Progress is now an different color.
  5. Fleets can now be Split while In Dock.
  6. Fleets will now move to an offset location if the dock is occupied/full.
  7. Fixed issue where the Objectives button disappears in Turn-Based Mode.

1.0.2018.08.18.k

  • Implemented the Hotkeys and Input Mapping system.

1.0.2018.08.18.j3

  1. Zoom In to Mouse position.
  2. Tweak thresholds for Camera panning near the screen edges.
  3. Slider panel lock distribution ToolTip.

1.0.2018.08.18.j2

  1. Camera Pan sensitivity Option.
  2. Make Game Options more scalable for future updates.

1.0.2018.08.18.j

  1. Research now has a small chance of a Scientist boost.
  2. Quick Play now has Extended Research setting.
  3. Options Menu now has Screen Edge Pan.
  4. Fix Star Spectral Type not showing the proper Star type.

1.0.2018.08.18.i2

  • Fix Achievements not unlocked for some players.

1.0.2018.08.18.i

  1. Star Info ToolTip will now show up if you Mouse over a Star.
  2. ToolTips now show up slightly faster in general.
  3. Star Influence border is now highlighted in the Empire color.
  4. Game Style (Palette and Pattern) can now be changed from Options Menu.

1.0.2018.08.18.h2

  • Fix Chapter End Outro not showing up.

1.0.2018.08.18.h

  • Remove the Pause Menu Transition Anim.

1.0.2018.08.18.g

  • Balance Campaign Chapter 3.

1.0.2018.08.18.f

  1. Unity Analytics is now disabled
  2. Added Big Font Mode for ToolTips

1.0.2018.08.18.e

  1. Added the ability to change Star Names you own
  2. Star Names will now be shown while Zoomed Out if your Scanner Verbosity is set to at least Low (default value)

1.0.0

  • Initial Release.

Until next time! ːsteamhappyː

 

Combat Mechanics and Research

Read it on Steam!

Tomorrow, Galactic Dominion will go live!
But before that we will go into a bit more details about a couple more mechnics.

1. Combat

  • a. Fleet Combat
  • b. Fleet Tactics
  • c. Star Fortresses
  • d. Planetary Bombardment
  • e. Ground Invasion

2. Research

1. Combat

Combat can either take place in space or on the ground so we’ll go into a bit more details here.

1.a Fleet Combat

Fleets are composed of Ships. And Ships can come in a few types. Colony Ships, Transports, Fighters, Bombers, and Battleships.

Colony Ships and Transports are non-combative and used mainly to colonize and invade enemy Star systems respectively. (More on the invasion further down)

Fighters, Bombers, and Battleships are the main weapons in your Fleet. Each Ship type has it’s strengths and weaknesses.

Fighters – Cost the least, have a boost to movement and fires a laser canon at a high rate. It does however, have lower hit points and are vulnerable to Battleships.

Battleships – Cost a more, moves slower, and are weak against Bombers. But they have high hit points and fires a strong and effect Beam weapon against Fighters.

Bombers – Are designed to Battleships, Star Fortresses, and bombard Planets but they are extremely vulnerable against Fighters so would require an escort. More on Star Fortresses and Bombardment further below.

When a Fleet gets within range of an enemy Fleet, they will automatically open fire. Taking into account each Fleet’s Attack, Defense, and Hit Points. Defense will reduce any Attack before applying the damage to the Hit Points so researching advance technologies (more on this in a bit) will be critical in your Fleet missions.


Yellow Fleet being decimated here. Scanner Verbosity set to Low to show the HP and Tactics overlay.

1.b Fleet Tactics

Fleets can be boosted with Tactics once the proper research is completed. These are commands that you can give individual Fleets in order to gain an advantage over the enemy. Alternatively, if you enable your AI Commander they will automatically try to find the best Tactic to use in their given situation.


Here your Fleet takes Attack Mark I, an attack stance that boosts your attack by 1 at a cost of defense.

1.c Star Fortresses

Star Fortresses are primary used as defensive structures for your Star system. They do not take Command points to build but are limited based on the research level you have unlocked.

They are slow moving, cost a lot, vulnerable to Bombers, and can only orbit the local Star where they were created. But they have very high Hit Points and strong ion Flame attack that can hold off many attacking Fleets.

However, the have a very important quality that makes them important and that is, enemies will not be able to Bombard or Invade the Star system if there are any Star Fortresses in orbit. So they effectively acts as a shield for your system.

1.d Planetary Bombardment

Bombers, as mentioned above, can perform Bombardment actions when they are docked to an enemy Star system and there are no orbiting Star Fortresses.

When bombing begins, you will see the Bombardment overlay appear:

If a Star system loses all its Population (Workers essentially) the system is lost. Bombing may also damage and Industry and kill Troops (represented with the tokens and marked as Defenders.

The more Bombers you stage to perform the Bombardment the more damage system damage you can inflict.

You may also enable the Auto-Bomb feature and the AI Commander will keep bombing the planets until all population is wiped out.

1.e Ground Invasion

Transport ships can start Ground Invasions on a Star system that has no Star Fortresses defending it.

When a Ground Invasion begins the overlay will appear to show the Defender and Attacker tokens along with the Hit Point of the unit currently in combat.
If the Attacker defeats all the defending Troops of the Defender then they will take over the Star system along with any Industry and Workers still in the Star system. This is a less destructive take over than a complete Bombardment mission. Of course, you may wish to reduce the number of defenders first by doing a bombing run and then sending in a ground invasion afterwards.

Like Ships, the Attack and Defense of ground units can be upgraded through research.

Research

Research is divided into four fields:

  • Computers
  • Construction
  • Planetology
  • Warfare

Computers focuses on unlocking the science of robotics and generally allows you to build Ships more effeciently, automated Mineral mining, and control more Factories per worker unit. Scanner technology can also be found in this field.

Construction focuses on stronger armor, faster ship engines, cheaper Ship and Factory construction cost, and unlocking Star Fortresses.

Planetology focuses on everything related to Food production, Food consumption, Population growth, and Terraformation which further increases Food production rates and max population limits.

Warfare focuses on Ship and Ground Attacks, Command point limits (allowing you to build for more Ships), and Fleet Tactics.

As mentioned in the previous entry, you can select a different Research topic per field and they can be researched simultaneously by allocating Scientists to the desired field.

Scientists are gained per Infrastructure point, and higher level Infrastructure is unlocked by completing more advanced research. Some Star system based research (e.g. better Factories) will first require you to upgrade the Infrastructure before you can take advantage of the technology within the Star system.

That’s it for now! We hope to see you all in-game tomorrow! :steamhappy:

User Interface and Controls

Read it on Steam!

Hope you’re all having a good weekend!

User Experience has always been a challenging area and it’s no different for Galactic Dominion.

There are so many things a player can do in the game we were afraid that it would be too overwhelming when it came to controls. Furthermore, the design goal is to make sure that players experienced a quick-paced action strategy so we wanted to try to keep the player in as few screens as possible.

With that said, a lot of information that had to be cramped into the game scene so we divided it into essentially 2 sections. We will go over them at a high level and revisit them in details in future entries.

1. Galaxy Map

  • a. Overlays
  • b. ToolTips
  • c. Empire Control
  • d. Star Control
  • e. Fleet Control

2. Pause Menu

  • a. Research Menu
  • b. Stars Menu
  • c. Fleets Menu
  • d. Statistics Menu

 

[1] Galaxy Map

On the Galaxy Map, the player can zoom close into the each individual Star systems or far to see most, if not all, of the current galaxy.


Information can generally be found in Overlays or Tooltips.

[1.a] Overlays

Overlays can clutter the game quickly so we provided players an option to toggle the verbosity. It is part of the Scanner system – Think of it as the part of the hyperspace detection system available to the Empires.

[1.b] Tooltips

Tooltips on the other hand contain a lot of information without cluttering up the scene as they are only shown when you hover over an element.

There are Tooltips everywhere and contains useful information such as amounts, progress, penalties, bonuses, etc.

Here are a few examples:

Command ToolTip shown when hovering over the Empire’s Command resource:

FoodToolTip shown when hovering over a Star’s Food resource:

[1.c] Empire Control

The Empire Control allows you to monitor and manage:
– Research
– Doomsday Meter
– Total War
– Empire AI Assistance

This Control is always available and can be shown or hidden by clicking the Empire button on the side of the Galaxy Map.

[1.d] Star Control

The Star Control allows you to monitor and manage individual Star systems:
– Star Info Panel
– Workers Panel
– Industry Queue Panel
– Drydock Queue Panel
– Governor Panel

This Control is available when you click on a Star system you own. If you click on an enemy Star system, you will not be able to control it obviously, but if you have the proper Scanner capabilities (from Research) then you will be able to see information about their Star system.

[1.e] Fleet Control

The Fleet Control allows you to monitor and manage individual Fleets:
– Fleet Info
– Ship Staging Panel
– Command Panel
– Tactics Panel
– Commander Panel

This Control is available when you click on a Fleet you own. Like the Star Control, if you click on an enemy Fleet you will not be able to see details until you have the proper Scanner technologies.

All the Controls have in-depth Tooltips so if you hover over an element there will be additional information.

There are a couple more minor Controls (Star Fortress Control and the Multi-Selection Control) we will not cover today as they are quite small in comparison.

[2] Pause Menu

The Pause Menu contains a number of sub-menus but we will focus on the 4 that may be used to manage your Empire.

Because of their important they can also be accessed immediately from the bottom HUD on the Galaxy Map:

[2.a] Research Menu

The Research Menu allows you to select the topics to research. You may research up to 4 topics simultaneously, one for each Field.

You will find the Research Tree here and clicking on them will show you the costs and description of the topic. (You can also hover over them for a Tooltip description)

[2.b] Stars Menu

The Stars Menu lists all the Star systems that you have discovered so far. From here you can manage all of your systems, giving you all the same access as the Star Control.

Furthermore, you can run filters and sorts to organize the list and then zoom to the Star with the Focus button.

[2.c] Fleets Menu

Likewise, the Fleets Menu lists all the Fleets that you own and you can track and manage them directly from this menu.

[2.d] Statistics Menu

The Statistics Menu contains a trove of information regarding the progression of your empire.

Once you unlock the appropriate Scanner technology you will also be able to see the statistics of your enemies.

Tutorial Menu

We also wanted to announce that after some preliminary playtests we thought that it was important to include a user manual as a well as a Tutorial section for our players.

We’re happy to present to you here the Tutorials Menu we put together this weekend along with our user manual and short video clips on how to perform specific actions in game.

For those curious about the user manual. It will be available in PDF format and shipped with the game but you can also access it on our website here:
Galactic Dominion Manual

That’s it for now. It was a high level overview of the User Interface and Controls but we’ll go over them in more details in the future.

Next time we’ll go over Research in more details and get ready for the launch of the game!

Quick Play Mode

Read it on Steam!

The Quick Play mode is designed so you can have a lot of replayability. These are the settings you can change:

  1. Galaxy Size
  2. Number of Stars
  3. Empire Race
  4. Opponents
  5. Difficulty
  6. Empire AI Assitance
  7. Total War
  8. Star Lanes
  9. Turn-Based Mode

[1][2] The first couple is pretty straightforward. You can customize the size of the galaxy and the number of Star systems in it. Essentially on large galaxies, the travel time will be longer if the density of the Stars are reduced. So a Huge Galaxy with only 5 Stars will take much longer to travel between compared to a Small Galaxy with 5 Stars.

[3] The Empire Race allows you to choose between 4 different races in the game. Each one will have a different bonus and penalty to resource or technology growth. I won’t spoil too much about the different races. Alternatively, you can select Random and have a race assigned to either yourself and/or the AI opponents.

[4] The Opponents can range from 1 to 3. Each can have its Aggression and Empire Race customized. Don’t be mislead by a Low AI Aggression. They will still attack and will attack early but what changes is the kinds of Missions they send their Fleets on. For example a High Aggression opponent will have a higher rate of attack Missions.

[5] The Difficulty modifier affects the bonuses applied to either the Player or the AI. On easier difficulties this bonus is applied to the player and on higher ones they’re applied to the AI. Normal difficulty is the minimum level needed to be able to unlock Steam Achievements.

The next few Settings are more unique to Galactic Dominion.

[6] If you’re finding the game too hard, or you simplify want to sit back and watch the AI play out a space epic you can enable Empire AI Assistance. This will essentially enable the AI for your Empire. The AI will help you on everything ranging from Star management (building Industry, Ships, and managing Workers), Fleet missions and movements, to Research selection. Generally, it will perform quite well but if you want to min-max your builds it you will have to take direct control. If you wish to disable the assistance once the game has started you can go into the Empire Control and uncheck the Mobile Empire Governors & Commanders box. Alternatively, you can disable individual Star Governor in the Star Control. We’ll go in controls more next time but please note that STeam Achievements are also disabled in this mode.

[7] Total War is something unique to Galactic Dominion. In the Empire Control there’s a Doomsday meter that builds up as the different player perform aggressive on one another.

As it fills up, it will change the behaviour of the AI and once it reaches 100%, Total War becomes available. You can trigger it yourself, or if you have the option enabled the AI may also trigger it. It will essentially force the AI Assistance to be enabled but it does not disable Steam Achievements and it has bonuses and penalties applied to all players. You can think of it as the end game where the entire galaxy is so focused on the war effort that things like population growth and defense becomes secondary.

[8] You can enable and disable Star Lanes in Galactic Dominion. Star Lanes you easier to defend choke points but if you want to play without them it’s an option. When this is disabled, any Free Space (that is, the area of space outside of any Star influence) will put your Fleets into warp speed. This is to prevent games without Star Lanes to be slow.

[9] Finally, you have the option to enable Turn-Based Mode. The game will start paused and you’re turn will pass every time you unpause. This mode will lock in your commands only every game Day which is equivalent to 10 seconds of game time. When you unpause it will process 10 seconds of the game in fast forward speed. Please note, it is note a classical turn base where each player moves one another another. It is a simultaneous turn-based mode where upon starting it will move everyone at once. This mode will change the experience drastically.

I hope with these Quick Play settings you will be able to find lots of replayability to the game – whether it’s for a quick fix or for a longer campaign like scenario.

Next time, I will go over the User Interface and Controls for the game. It’s something that has caused confusion to some players so I want to cover it in details and what we’re working on currently to improve the first time user experience.

The Galactic Campaign

Read it on Steam!

Today, I want to go over the design of the Campaign.

Without spoiling the story too much, the campaign will take place in the not so distant future where Humans have started their colonization of deep space. Along the way, the Commander of the frontier (you the player) will be thrown into many unexpected twists and turns forcing you to stay on your toes and act quickly to keep the Human Dominion alive.

The campaign will span 9 Chapters. Each Chapter will consist of very specific and differentobjectives that will have to be completed to continue. The difficulty of each Chapter varies greatly and this is marked by the stars in the Campaign menu.

Here’s a sneak peak – with the first introduction Chapter unlocked:

In order to increase replayability and to ensure that no two playthroughs will be exactly the same – most of the maps in the Chapters will be randomly generated based on Chapter settings.

And to make things more challenging (or potentially easier), any research completed in one Chapter is carried forward throughout the campaign.

Finally, you can optionally play through the Campaign in simultaneous Turn-Based mode. Each turn is equivalent to 1 Day in-game, or 10 seconds in realtime and the experience and pacing will change drastically in this mode.

Here’s your trusty First Officer who will be with you along the Campaign:

Alright! That’s it for today – Next time I’ll discuss Quick Play mode and the different options you can change to make your games more interesting.