Category Archives: Blog

1.10 – Forests and Performance

Dear Civilization Manager Guild,
finally we have the update announced for February in the box. Due to the long waiting time, the blog post has become quite a few pages long, stuffed with optimizations of game mechanics and interfaces, plus a performance turbo of up to 100%, which we had to bring forward for the implementation of the game on consoles. That’s why this time there are only a few small goodies that make Imagine Earth more interesting from a gameplay point of view. Please keep in mind that there are still only two of us working on our complex world simulator, but rest assured that we won’t give up until it is complete in our eyes.
There is still a big add-on on the horizon that will be accompanied by some great new features for the main game, so stay tuned.

Fusion Power Plants

Power plants of this class no longer consume lithium constantly. Only a certain amount is now needed to build them. Thus, we have ended the absurd special status of this building. It was the only one ever that required a rare resource in operation. In exchange, we reduced the overall power of this unit a bit and gave it a special bonus when placed next to lithium deposits. Looking forward to see how you think this power plant is used best.

Forests are Back in the Build Menu

For a game that is not least about climate change, we have to note that the function for planting forests and reforestation was surprisingly difficult to find. Although we had built a very convenient control option that automatically plants the best fitting forests, this was unfortunately hidden in the sub menu Tools. Quite occasionally the feedback came “why this function is so strangely difficult to use”. All forests are pretty crucial buildings in the game and we have now combined the forest menu with the automatic forestation tool so that you can automatically see which appropriate forest is placed and what individual values the tree species has.

Upgrade for Thermo-Generator

The thermal generator plays a central role in colonizing and terraforming inhospitable planets. Therefore, this has now received a range upgrade that you can unlock via research.

Sounds and Ambience

We’ve worked through an age-old feature list and added 14 new sounds to the game to make the game world more vibrant and atmospheric, such as when you’re upgrading towers, having incidents, or clicking on a ship and a foghorn sounds. When there are riots in your districts, you will now hear an angry protesting crowd and when the probe comes to pacify the riot, a siren.

Title Screen

We always wanted to show you a beautiful sunrise on the start screen of the game, but this meant that the whole planet was in front of the shadows at first. Now the game starts with a beautiful day and shadows are allowed behind the mountains.

Performance optimization

If any of you were wondering why the latest update took so long, it’s partly because of how labor-intensive the game’s performance optimization has been specifically for the Switch console. It was worth it though – resulting optimization of processes and graphics provides a big performance increase on older systems without dedicated graphics card it can be to 100%. On current systems it feels a lot more smooth now.
This improvement is accompanied by a few new graphic options that allow you to adjust the quality of shadows, lights, clouds, meshes and the planet shader.

Achievements

  • We have decided to significantly lower the requirements for the competitive achievements down to 50, 100 and 200 victory points achieved in competitions and the weekly challenge. As a result, you may simply have already completed certain objectives the next time you restart the game.
  • The “multitalent” achievement is working again.

Research Filters and Bonus

We have included an additional visualization for meta-research. To highlight the overarching benefits of having a fully completed research lane.
With an improved filter in the research area, you can now see even better which researchable upgrades have certain positive effects.

Shop and Trade

  • Merchants that are in the approach are now directly cancelable outside the ring. Especially useful if you didn’t call them at all or just misclicked.
  • Merchants now always bring 20 items instead of just 12 when they come over.
  • To adapt to systems with smaller resolutions, we have made the icons of items in the trade panel more concise and recognizable.
  • Traders now have more storage space to buy your goods.
  • Resource usage info is now on the side outside the panel instead of underneath where they liked to overlay the controls.
  • Merchants now have a spaceship preview graphic that makes it a bit easier to distinguish them.

Crafting Optimization

  • Auto Crafting is now possible with gamepad and you can see by default which items are available for selection.
  • In the Victory Panel we also cleaned up a bit – line breaks when describing the essential victory points are reduced to the minimum.
  • Crafting Panel no longer remembers which build category was previously selected, so you always see all options when you open it.

AI Learnings

Working with AI is a challenge in itself, it’s a lot about balancing and finetuning there. Feel free to let us know how you perceive their behavior and how it could be made more plausible and authentic. We’ve felt for some time that your competitors go broke too quickly and could pay a little more attention to money earning and spending to make for more interesting competitions.

  • Also, the regularity and frankness with which they carelessly squandered their entire share packages seemed to us uneconomically unwise.
  • AI factions have so far been too fixated on capturing large temples, neglecting other goals and duty to do so.
  • In one of the last updates, we introduced whales as living creatures into the ecosystems. The AI considered them threatening and, as it does against pirates or insects, built noisy towers when they swam by.
  • The AI corporations are now exploiting the ruins of temples to get the valuable artifacts.

Serious vs Sci-Fi Mode

  • Sci-Fi Game Mode, which includes all game features, is always default from now on.
  • Whether Serious Mode is enabled, which restricts the game to city building and climate change, is displayed in the top right corner of each game from now on.
  • If you change the difficulty level in the game, you no longer have to reselect the game mode as well.
  • In addition, in the campaign, instead of the serious mode, it will be displayed whether you have activated the additional help dialogs.

Interface improvements

  • Display and alignment factions in game setup has become fancier.
  • When looting temples now you also get a warning if the warehouse is full or not, namely why looting artifacts was sometimes prevented in an unexplained way.
  • On-screen keyboard optimized for PC with gamepad.
  • Optimized tutorial and story on Planet Tuto.
  • Delete mode for game and save states made nicer.
  • Laser and pulse animations optimized.
  • How to store goods was not explained so comprehensibly in the 1st mission and was completely unclear with the gamepad.

World improvements

  • Space Pirates, Natives, Illumati, Xrathul, Midras Burrowers, and Assimilators now have one thing in common. They will talk to you again in endless and competitive games. We’ve written them an extensive set of greetings, some of which respond to diplomatic mood and your actions.
    [In the World Congress, the factions now vote in a jumbled fashion with sound, making it much livelier.
    [Extraterrestrial threats no longer work when the planetary shield is activated. Because then you would just waste asteroids and pirates.
  • We have reduced the basic ground pollution of nuclear power plants.
  • The NPC tribes on Rounos can now be relocated after mission completion.
  • Leen flies away on Rounos and Bora as soon as the planetary shield disappears.
  • On Omicron Persei in the Bonus Galaxy, there were mission objectives that could fail due to other circumstances. These now don’t count towards the overall score, so no one gets annoyed because they have to replay the mission.

Bug Hunt

Glitch of the month

  • In the building list, you clicked through to the planet behind it.
  • The radius of the energy shield of cities was displayed too large.
  • The shield helps against tornado again, basically it reduces the destruction by disasters, sabotages and invaders to 5%.
  • Fixed incorrect voice output when explaining research in the tutorial.
  • After completing Mission or Weekly Challenges, opponents will rave about their successes again.
  • Sometimes mission objectives hung out of the bottom right of the screen.
  • Editor crashed when removing all buildings on a planet.
  • Display of effects on buildings made whole again.
  • Licensing button with gamepad is above the other buttons again.
  • On-screen keyboard display with gamepad in PC version is no longer buggy.

Players of the month

Our very special thanks in this update go to our ultimate players of the month Matts and Phoenix Flag for their enthusiastic and merciless bug hunting, which enabled us to find and weed out the most bizarre detail bugs. Also, feel free to come to our Discord to learn and discuss the latest developments first.

Thanks for your interest & support!
Jens & Martin

IE is Ready for Steam Deck!

Hi guys. Short time ago, our Steam deck was finally delivered, and we immediately tried out how Imagine Earth runs on it. Somehow, the folks at Steam noticed it right away and promptly tested IE. Except for some text that is displayed a bit too small in the game, it was perfectly playable. One player wrote us that Valve’s powerful handheld even runs our world simulator smoothly in 3K when he connects a monitor in desktop mode. Have fun with the latest changes and enjoy playing. Jens & Martin

Improved readability

We have immediately enlarged the texts. So you can look forward to improved readability on PC as well. Then we have directly resubmitted Imagine Earth for compatibility testing and has just been verified.

Proton compatibility

I’m no expert, but this should mean that the Windows version of Imagine Earth is smoothly playable on Linux systems thanks to Proton. Because this is something that players keep asking for, we’d be very interested in your feedback.

Vital life in the oceans

Along the way, four new species of fish have been discovered swimming around the planets and providing more hustle on it. Next time I think we’ll discover birds, I’m optimistic about that.

Meteor shower defense

Since the Xrathul Palace exists, meteor showers can also be targeted. At the same time, we had to increase the destructive power and then again make sure that defense lasers and pulses can shoot them.

Indiecade Everywhere

By the way, Imagine Earth is also in the Indiecade Sale right now and can be had for a hefty 50% off. Feel free to spread the word 😉

Optimizations & Fixes

  • Button and control layout for Steam Deck integrated
  • Buttons on popups enlarged so that font fits again
  • improved placement of mountains in editor mode
  • Victory Points in the faction panel are now clickable
  • Dialogs to controls no longer play twice
  • Trade menu overlap removed
  • Fixed gamepad menu showing options that are not available

Update 1.9.5

  • Fixed bug that lead to crash in cannon logic

Update 1.9.6

  • Fixed laser cannons not destroying asteroids with one shot (e.g. on Lorian)
  • Improved visibility of tooltip for traded items and resources

1.9 – Xrathul World discovered

Greetings colony managers, welcome to our latest Imagine Earth update – it feels great to deliver once again! We have decided to bring you one of the new buildings and a new bonus mission to give you something while our main efforts still go into finalizing the Open Space DLC. Please have a look at the complete roadmap at the end of the post, everything we have already achieved since release and what we still want to create for version 2.0

Xrathul World

A new Planet has been discovered in the Udoxia Galaxy and a brand new mission awaits on Omicron Persei 9. To quote the briefing “Strange building complexes have been spotted here. Apparently they can release powerful forces. This could become even more dangerous for us if they fall into the wrong hands.

Xrathul Palace

This palace was built to worship the Xrathul. The built-in technology can summon their giant locust spaceships and lure them to a specific destination reckless opponents for example. The following forces are available in this giant building.

Xrathul bait – This device spreads Xrathul pheromones and is therefore an irresistible target for Xrathul and lures all ships on the planet. It also doubles the probability of new Xrathul coming to the planet.

Meteor shower – The Illumati developed the technology to tear down some meteors from their orbit around the planet and let them rain down purposefully.

Indoctrination – Indoctrination of the guards in towers and buoys allows you to take control of the building and radius.

Two New Gaming Modes

You can now choose between the following two game modes when starting endless and competition game rounds. This can be changed whenever you start a new game.

Sci-Fi Mode

Experience all the adventures that a future colonization of space could hold in store for us and technology we can only dream of today. Use Gaian force fields or intergalactic space trade and get ready for space pirates and alien invasions.

Serious Mode

Experience a more realistic gameplay that corresponds to the technological level of development on Earth in the 21st century. The focus is on solving the problems of economic growth and resource consumption and coping with the related environmental and climate impacts.

New Animal – Manta Ray

Another fish species has been sighted. Now the manta ray enriches the biodiversity on our planet. Once we have cultivated even more animals on our planets we will make biodiversity an important thing in the environmental climate simulation of the game.

Improvements

  • The Xrathul Palace and the Great Pyramid are now destructible giant buildings
  • Entering the bonus galaxy will now always provide two planets, to give you a choice
  • Meteor shower and Xrathul bait have become more powerful
  • City building is now cancel-able until the capsule lands
  • Supply capsules now come more often and are shown in the bookmark panel
  • Items are now cancel-able until the drone is on site and has activated them
  • You can now get up to 50 new city permits through population growth

Interface Improvements

  • We gave the main character Alia an eye surgery because some people felt she gave them an uncomfortable look
  • Only resource deposits of relevant size are now displayed
  • Gaia constructs: Active conversion is also shown in the waiting bar
  • New speech of Eko at the invitation to the world congress
  • New cursor when closing the ring
  • 8 great interface improvements that are way too hard to describe
  • Country specific subtitles in the main menu
  • Popup renamed: “Mission successful” instead of “Campaign successful”
  • Added a notification for game beginners to try the tutorial first

Fixes

  • Fixed buildings not showing up immediately when jumping between cities
  • Fixed galaxy screen layout for 4:3 resolutions
  • Fixed planet being briefly lit differently on exit
  • Joma: Fixed completion logic of “use power” goal before
  • No longer show Whales in navigation view
  • Fixed sandbox planets not working
  • Don’t show trade options for natives that are not close to your territory
  • Move tool-tips closer to ring
  • Colony value chart limit for quality of life
  • Spell-checking EN
  • Decrease audio range of ocean animals
  • Fixed bookmark buttons not correctly opening tool ring for units
  • Fixed ruins collapsing every time a generated planet is restarted.
  • Fixed navigation icons overlapping message panel




Green Game Jam 2022

In the first half of June 2022 we participated in the Green Gam Jam organized by the UN initiative Playing 4 the Planet. Together with 42 partly big international game studios we tried to do our bit for reforestation and sustaining the world’s forests and raise players awareness for this issue. This is about all we achieved even though we did end up with slightly different solutions for the activation than originally planned.

…and who would have guessed it, we won with our tree planting campaign in the category forests.

Our first participation in this game jam among big studios was very exciting and accordingly let us come up with a very ambitious plan. One of four items we had in our activation plan was releasing a new free spin-off version of Imagine Earth on Steam. Unfortunately, the release of a whole new product on Steam turned out to be not so quickly feasible in terms of scheduling and might not even have been most effective activation strategy.

Thanks for the kind words, but they forgot to say how much fun the game is to play ; )

I still like the idea but as a 2 man studio have to concentrate first on finishing DLC and Playstation version. So we decided to alter the free version we already had on Steam – The demo of Imagine Earth which also offers a fully playable planet and since the Green Game Jam has an end screen where you can now choose to buy the soundtrack or the green planet bundle to plant trees with the proceeds. These donation options are now in the game to stay.

Activation Campaign Achievements

  • We integrated a new Steam achievement – Players who plant twenty forests on one planet in the game from now on plant one tree in the real world.
  • We organized a custom Steam Sale Event during the campaign time to raise awareness for game and demo with a discount and offered to plant ten trees for every copy sold.
  • You can buy the official soundtrack and all proceeds will also donated to Eden Reforestation.
  • On top of this we parallel participated in the Ocean Day Steam Sale in June 5-8 and donated another 10% of net income to Whales and Dolphins Conservation.
Thanks for voting for us in the GGJ player’s choice award

All this enabled us to plant 14,920 trees between 6/3-17 with our partner Eden Reforestation Project. A result that wasn’t possible without your help. As we started to sell the soundtrack for charity shortly after the release in May last year we could already plant a total of 48,940 trees. We’re actually really proud.

1.8 – Wildlife Update

Welcome to update 1.8, we have pushed some necessary optimizations in between.

At the very bottom, at the end of this update we have again mapped the current position on the complete roadmap, which should still lead us to the big 2.0 Open Space DLC later this year.

Whale Watching
Whales are the giants of the seas and from now on you will also find them on the worlds in Imagine Earth. This is in line with our desire to bring more life to the worlds of Imagine Earth. However, the population is decreasing due to water pollution, oil spills and fishing. Animals resp. biodiversity are of great importance to the biosphere. In the future this will also be the case in our environmental simulation and more species will follow to populate the seas.

Best Expert Game at the German Game AwardsGeoff Keighley himself presented us with the German Computer Game Award.

It was with great pleasure that we received the official award for “The Best Expert Game” of Germany 2022 a month ago. This award was presented by none other than Geoff Keighley, the internationally known host and producer “The Game Awards” And the “Opening Night Live” show of Gamescom.

New rule for space traders
Space traders can now be turned off in competitive and endless games. This change is to allow games that have a more realistic scenario. Without Gaia forces and Space Invaders, we have a constellation that largely dispenses with science fiction elements and is technologically comparable to the post-industrial age on Earth. This makes the plot framework and the confrontation with climate change more plausible and authentic. At least as an option, we felt it was important to offer this gameplay experience to focus on Imagine Earth’s core theme.

The Forester Achievement
There is a new achievement in Imagine Earth on Steam that you unlock when you plant more than 20 forests on a planet. We track how many players earn this achievement and plant a tree for each one. This activation is part of an initiative called Green Game Jam, which seeks to have an impact on the world through actions in games.

The strategic view.

The victory points panel in competitive mode revealed a lot of interesting information about the status of the other corporations and especially about your own. This view is now available without victory points in endless play.

Bookmarks
The display of which merchants just landed in which of your cities is back, some of you have sorely missed it. In addition to this the functionality to define your own bookmarks by keeping a number key pressed is back.

Improvements & fixes

  • The system voice now also warns you when there is a low supply of food, goods or energy.
  • Intact asteroids are not automatically harvested.
  • Cannons and shield upgrades are not available if you have disabled asteroids and comets
  • Trade panel no longer closes accidentally
  • Biome brush – You can also delete biomes when pressing Ctrl.
  • We made the light around the cursor brighter so you can see more on the downside of the planet.
  • In the tutorial, we are now making sure you don’t miss control instructions
  • Improved mouse control in the resource panel, you can no longer accidentally hover over the panel to click on the planet.

1.7 – Full Control – UI Update

Dear planet managers, we really struggled a bit to be able to offer you this hyper-speed optimization of the global management system! The interface is the most annoying part of the game production. Let’s hope that the latest interface optimizations will leave nothing to be desired!

Control optimization

Fast and universal switching between temples, workshops, cities, factions and merchants is finally possible and revolutionizes the navigation in our game.

You can now trade and do diplomacy with all sorts of partners through the interface without having to jump to you with the camera. This way, you are not always pulled out of the local action on the planet because of crafting or item acquisition, and you always keep track of what’s going on.

Takeover through stock trading

A separate stock panel right at the frasction panel, where you can see all the information about a company’s cities and directly buy shares and take over cities. A big button that flashes visibly and visualizes the takeover process.

We built a large popup that solemnly announces that you have successfully taken over a city. And also indicates if you have captured equipment in the process, which means you have taken certain items from the enemy.

We also restructured the stock trading panel so that the player always automatically starts at himself and can more quickly throw some shares on the market to get new capital.

Setup optimizations

The difficulty button has been redesigned to look the same in the setup for new rounds of competitive and endless play as the other options or tabs in the setup menu. The start button has been enlarged.

Also, you can now turn off Gaia Forces and Asteroids in the game for a more realistic gameplay experience that is mainly about global warming and environmental issues rather than futuristic sci-fi elements.

Fossil buildings

Fossil power plants can now drill and exploit deposits in adjacent fields. This keeps them productive longer and means they need to be moved less often.

In exchange, fossil production buildings have again received a malus. It no longer looks in the game as if there would be no problem at all if a certain resource is not available.

This is especially important in the context of the core message of the game. Fossil buildings that just keep on working, that too is unrealistic.

The new taskbar

The taskbar has been made narrower. Options like Research and Technology, which are already positioned in the top left of the interface, are no longer duplicated there.

Gamepad layout

We didn’t spare ourselves and once again tweaked the configuration of the controls. There is a new control pad ring menu with which you can control many things in the game even faster than with a mouse.

In all ring menus, the D-pad or directional pad can now be used to navigate particularly quickly and directly, select a build option or item.

Jumping to an event or an alarm. Has not worked for a while. Is now, however, on the left stick.

Supply capsules

Had literally disappeared from the game. On medium setting, such a vehicle now lands again every 5-10 minutes.

Navigation

We cleaned up the navigation so that too many enemy cities are no longer displayed around the globe at once.

Optimizations

  • In the field ring, the updates of houses, are now displayed on the right and thus it is no longer too long on the left, so that information sometimes hangs pointlessly out of the screen.
  • The buttons for diplomacy no longer show all the time, all the details that play a role there. This makes the user interface much narrower.
  • Auto-harvesting now also works for temple ruins from which artifacts are harvested.
  • When a building ring has a panel open on the left, the building info is displayed on the right.
  • In the colony rating screen you can now select the different factions.
  • Citys Panel – Merchants, Workshops and Temples now only displayed at cities when hovering.

Bugs

  • We have 5 bugs that have been sent to us via Discord.
  • Factions often built too many towers next to each other and also liked to place City Centers in clusters or in a pile.
  • The controls in the build menu were a bit disjointed.
  • The build menu can now stay open with the gamepad, so you can always see your list of strategic items.
  • In the Weekly Challenge, the gamepad cursor disappeared until you pressed something.
  • “Show Influences” in the Technology panel was not selectable with gamepad.

Best Expert Game 2022

We are grateful and happy about the recognition of Imagine Earth as Best Expert Game at Deutscher Computerspielpreis 2022!

Laudator Geoff Keighley , producer and host of
The Game Awards , digitally handed over the award to Martin and me. Thanks so much to the jury for these ususpected honors. The adress by the well known personality was the cherry on top of the unsuspected honors for our 14+ years lasting strategy game project about the climate crisis.

Live on stage Uke Bosse was hosting theevent in a quite charming and relaxed way and as he handed over the mic we used the occasion on stage to thank over 43.000 supporters who backed the project and made the development independent for over seven years in Early Access on Steam.

But more over we have to direct our thanks to a few folks in person. Imagine Earth wouldn’t be released yet without the amazing work by Rico Posienka and Alexander Leps for gamedesign and coding, Tilo Alpermann and Zevik Perry for soundtrack composition and Marko Fiedler for the new character illustrations.

Roadmap to Open Space DLC

Greetings, world builders! Recently I had a particularly nice task on the table, but it also made me a little nervous. To finally give you a complete vision of what we want to accomplish next in the evolution of Imagine Earth. You can see the product here, a visually appealing roadmap to the Open Space DLC, which we will finalize by the middle of this year. Many of the game elements, scripts and objects are already created, we often just have to carefully put all the pieces together.

The picture above shows the approximate set of features that the following updates and DLC will contain. We will go into more detail when the time comes.

Here’s what’s happening right now. We are very euphoric about how much better navigating the planet and building your global colonies will work with this fine tuning.

Here I have summarized what we have achieved since the release last year. This graphical reappraisal of the events somehow did me good.

All the achievements we made last year before the big final release would not have been possible without the funding we received at that time and your years of support in Early Access. However, we also learned a lot and were not able to realize some things, which will now be rounded out with the DLC, just as we always wanted to complete the game.

Look forward to when I finish the project story soon. In this entertaining style, it will offer incredible insights into the past and how this project started 14 years ago as a concept of some students.

Thank you for your interest, please share your ideas and thoughts. What have you always wished for Imagine Earth? Best regards, Jens & Martin

1.6 – Crafting & Generator

Greetings, dear world-builders!

While we are already working on the next big thing for Imagine Earth we have worked on a lot of usability, balancing and performance improvements and decided that this is worth being released in a dedicated update.

Deferred Rendering & Motion Blur

Switching to Deferred Rendering has made our Imagine Earth 10% faster right off the bat while at the same time allowing us to show more individual light sources on the planet.

Motion Blur makes the planet’s rotation look smoother, especially when running a system with fewer frames.

Items & Crafting

We have built a new crafting panel, that automatically buys the needed resources as soon as not all components to create items are available.
While working on this we have also balanced which resources are needed for crafting and reduced what is needed for most of the items.
Honey Pots, which can be used to attract Xrathul, have been optimized in their operation, especially in the probability with which they lead to Xrathul spaceships arriving on your planet.

Planet Generator Balancing

To get better and play worthy planets we had to diligently tweak the generator. In making adjustments, we tried to achieve as even a distribution of field types and rare resources as possible, while also providing local hotspots that make good starting places for your colony. Also we increased the number of mountains and rocks on the planets and placed more Gaian ruins so that there are more artifacts in the game. Under these circumstances it also made sense to regenerate the Weekly Challenge planets. They are still based on the same planet, but the distribution of resources is a bit different now.

Bugs & Fixes

  • Dropped Dynamic Resolution
  • Removed graphics setting for anti aliasing, because only marginal differences can be seen here based on the rendering techniques of the Unity engine we are using
  • Fixed configuration display of polar ice
  • Fixed blurred intro
  • Workshop Planets File System Windows 7 bug
  • Fixed the description of the frontier station
  • Navigation: Show only one city of each other faction
  • World congress is no longer happening during game over
  • When productivity is low because of plague, show the corresponding plague icon