The header image shows the new extended navigation mode. Currently it’s quite difficult to get an overview of available resource fields, gold depots and special buildings like temples or native tribes.
To use it you enter the navigation mode (by zooming out, pressing space or by clicking the compass icon). The new panel on the left allows the selection of a ground type, an environment object, a special building or any other building. The selected type will be highlighted on the planet with a light turquoise. You can also leave the navigation mode to have a closer look.
The feature described above is currently not available in the game and will be part of alpha 15 coming in early September.
The important information first: The two big things we are working on for Alpha 15 is a new version of the research system and a new planet.
This week was all about conferences. We have been attending Game Developers Conference Europe 2015 and Respawn. It was really great to get out and see how other people (indies and big companies) are creating their games and to learn from them.
Croteam (the makers of the “Talos Principle”) inspired us to build a scripted AI that plays through the campaign automatically and enables us to make sure all missions are still working whenever we make a change to the gameplay.
In addition we have started to experiment with an ingame mission editor that might enable you to become creative yourself. Would you like to create your own mission? Get in contact.
Finally, at Gamescom it was kind of unbelievable to see the big publishers showing their games on displays that are larger than our working room. We had a look at upcoming games and especially liked Unravel, Star Wars Battlefront and the Indie Arena Booth with games like Gangbeasts and Planetoid Pioneers.
Next year we will very likely show the finished version of Imagine Earth at the Indie Arena Booth, too.
New Tool Icons
Jens designed a whole new set of icons that better fit the general style of the game. They are a bit less colorful and come with cleaner symbols as the following picture shows.
Tool-Mode with Colorizing
By clicking on an icon in the toolring and dragging it with the mouse or simply keeping the mouse button pressed you can switch to the tool-mode. In this mode you can easily click a bunch of buildings to apply the tool and don’t have to open the tool-ring again and again.
In addition the planet fields withing your radius or colorized based on the tool.
When you enter the upgrade- and level-modes the colors show which buildings are ready to be upgraded. In the example (picture above) all buildings that are ready for an efficiency upgrade are displayed light blue. The buildings that already have the upgrade are drawn with a grayish blue. Notice the upgrade-icon that is attached to the cursor – it symbolizes that you are in tool-mode.
In the repair-mode (left) every building that is damaged is colorized from yellow (medium damage) to red (high damage).
In the cleaning-mode (right) the planet fields are colorized accordingly helping you to see which fields are polluted.
Finally the harvesting-mode displays which forest have a lot of wood (green) and which ones are nearly cut down (red) and should better be not harvested until they have regrown.
Currently we are working on adding more achievements to the game and we are creating a concept to make the growing of your cities and population a bit more complex and interesting.
Have a great week, Jens & Martin
Since we didn’t have enough time, the first version of the Bora mission had to be released without a visualization for the planetary shield. As you can see in the header image the planet now has a quite beautiful shield around it’s atmosphere.
We tried to replace the bollards of the player’s city border with a laser fence. Since it allows to distinguish the different cities much easier we decided to use it for the other players, too and add some polishing. Here is the result:
Jens is creating a new trailer, because some time ago we realized that our current trailer is really old. It lacks a lot of new features that have been added during the last months.
I am currently working on a new “Free Play” menu that will be added to the main menu. It will allow you to start a custom game with a few clicks. You only have to decide on the game mode and take a randomly generated planet or pick one from the campaign planets or sandbox. The game modes currently available are “Competiton” (population goal), “Open World” (no goal) and “Time Trial” (population goals within a certain time).
What is planned for Alpha 12?
After the release of Alpha 11 last Friday we will now focus on polishing the existing missions. Here are some examples of the things we plan to enhance:
- Introduce Merchant and Warehouse in the Joma mission
- The research licenses sold by the merchant will be limited, but you will keep them for the next mission.
- Split the abilities of the temples: Illuminati temples have the ability to start a fire and to force a volcanic eruptuion. The stonehenge like temples from the Joma mission have the ability to fertilze land and to raise land from the ocean.
To balance this another field will become a desert respectively ocean.
- The laser defence will be properly introduce within the Lorian mission.
- We will reduce the amount of people you need to win Lorian
In addition we will add the following things:
- Geothermal Power Plant
- Based on the level of difficulty and it’s individual likes the AI will choose more climate-friendly buildings
- Game menu to start a custom game on any planet. E.g. you can start a competition mode game on either a campaign planet or a sandbox planet without having to switch between the different menus.
What aspects of the mission would you like to change?
Please let us know. This is the perfect time for you to make a dent in the creation of Imagine Earth.
Don’t continue to read this report if you want to be completely surprised by what is happening in the final mission of Imagine Earth’s campaign.
This week we have been working on the merchant, the meteorite and the endboss – all important parts of the final Bora mission. As we already mentioned in last week’s report, we will postpone the Alpha 11 release to next week.
Last week I removed the rigid connection between stars and research funds (stars are what you receive during the campaign for achieving things; research funds are needed to research new tools and enhancements). After doing this I was now able to add research funds to the trade offer of the Merchant. The screenshot shows all things he will offer. The prices are subject to balancing.
Jens built a new model for the meteorite.
There he is! The Endboss of Imagine Earth is making it’s way into the game! A few days ago Jens created the the models and during the last two days I have been implementing the necessary logic to use them for the mission. Starting from an Uplink that supplies him with orders he spreads like an infection to the nearest city. On his way he is taking over all buildings and when he finally reaches the City Center you will loose you whole city.
What’s up next week?
Immediately after writing this post and publishing it, I will continue to work on the Bora mission script. There is still a lot to be implemented, tested and polished. And we might have to add a way to defend against meteorites 😉
This week for us was dominated by the German Games Awards. Aside from this Temples now have some superpowers and seismic activity increases the probability of a volcanic eruption.
Temples now have up to three superpowers:
- Make ground fertile
- Start a wildfire
- Cause a volcanic eruption
To be able to use them the temple needs to be charged. How long it takes depends on the number of people living around the temple. So it’s a good idea to build your cities nearby.
Volcanoes and Seismic Activity
Geological investigations allow you to display volcanic activity. Every fossil-based or ground influencing building near a volcano (e.g. a geothermal power plant) will increase the seismic activity and through this the probability of an eruption. This also goes for exploding buildings and incidents. So you better be careful, because you definitely don’t want a volcanic outburst near your city!
German Games Awards
We had two nice days in Berlin attending the opening of the International Games Week and the awards ceremony of the German Games Awards. But the nomination must be enough for now they handed the award over to somebody else ;).
This week we mainly improved the games performance and added new graphic settings. In addition we finalized the concept for temples in the game and started with the implementation. Remember that all changes will be published with the Alpha 11 release planned for May 1st.
Graphic Settings and Performance
The graphic settings now comes with options for the shadow quality and the details of textures and particles. Depending on your system this should allow you to increase the frame rate about 20% .
In addition to this Martin has been searching for performance bottle necks and memory leaks. He was lucky enough to find several of both so even without changing graphic settings Imagine Earth should run more smoothly.
The screenshot was take on a system without dedicated graphics adapter – so 30 fps is quite good.
Concept for Temples
Instead of plundering a temple you can also bring a sacrifice. This will give you access to the temple and it’s powers. The powers include making fields fertile, starting a wildfire somewhere on the planet and even letting volcanoes erupt. To use them you have to wait until the “believe energy” is full. The time this takes depends on the amount of population in nearby buildings.
And how do these powers work? We don’t know, but Twostone has kind of an explanation for it:
I would describe this power as a technology that we have not fully understood yet. But why shouldn’t we use it?
What’s up next week?
We will build all necessary logic and user interface elements for the Illuminati temples and add them to the Bora mission.
If there is time left we will also add a new way of earning development funds that can be used to unlock technologies.
Also we will attend the price gala of the “Deutscher Computerspielpreis” where we are nominated for best game design. If you haven’t voted for the audience award yet you should do it now: http://dcp-voting.gamezone.de
We received a lot of feedback since the release of Alpha 10. After taking a few days off during the Easter days, we decided to focus on bugfixes and enhancements based on this feedback. This left only few time to work on other stuff, but we managed to update the early access version and demo with the changes (alpha 10.1).
Research and Development Funds
We are working on a concept to make sure research and development are better distinguishable and easier to understand. A first step was to add new icons so they have a clear connection to research and development (at least we hope so).
The next step will be to disconnect the research funds from the mission goals. Until now you could only earn up to 5 research funds per mission and there was no way of receiving additional funds in a free game. We plan to change this by doing the following:
The mission goals of the campaign (five per mission) will continue to give you stars. A new mission or free play will start with one research fund for every star you have. In addition you can earn additional research funds from non-mission goals and they will also be offered by the merchant. However these will not last for the next mission or another free play.
What’s up next week?
We have been adding several new graphic effects and performance hungry features like AI opponents during the last alpha releases. It’s time to enhance the performance of Imagine Earth. In practical terms this means that Martin will add more graphic options that allow you to increase the game performance.
Meanwhile Jens will continue working on the Bora mission and together we will add the final details for the Space Merchant.
It’s already three weeks since we released Alpha 9 and we still have a lot of todos on our list. Here are the main features we have been working on last week.
The concept we wrote about in Friday Report #3 has now found it’s way into the game. The space merchant (see imagine above) is a new building that will have it’s introduction in the Bora mission. He arrives from time to time and stays until his ship is full with resources you have sold him. This said it’s a good idea to build warehouses so you are prepared when he arrives.
Victory Conditions and Competitors in Free Play mode
If you prefer to have a goal when playing, we have great news for you. We have built a first prototype of victory conditions for the free play mode. Instead of playing a free (and endless) game you can set the victory condition to “population” and add some AI competitors. The amount of population you will need to win depends on the planet size and the number of competitors.
Jens doesn’t want to spoil details on this yet, so we will have to go with a screenshot.
What’s up next week?
Alpha 10 will be released on Friday, April 3rd. Until then we hope to
- give the AI for the free play mode some polishing,
- fix a logic problem in the Tuto mission,
- add a few Steam achievements,
- integrate the warehouse into the existing Lorian and Rounos missions,
- work on the Bora mission.
With the Alpha 10 release the demo will be updated, too. We want to add some free play to it, so it gives a better feeling for the full version.
If you haven’t heard it yet: Imagine Earth is nominated for the “Deutscher Computerspielpreis”. Please vote for us: http://dcp-voting.gamezone.de.