Shadow Empire Design Snippet #21

Snippet #21: Stratagems

In this snippet we are seeing some new Fate Stratagems the player has received. I am really expanding on these Stratagems and using them for lots of different stuff. These Fate Stratagems are rare and can only be acquired by conquest and levelling your empire up. Other Stratagems will include Artifact Stratagems that you’ll acquire through scavenging and archeology. Faction Stratagems that you’ll acquire by having a good relation with a faction within your empire. And then there is a big bunch of Organisation Stratagems that are produced by your different councils.

Quick update. The First Impressions team is taking a few weeks off as I am doing some mechanic revisions to Shadow Empire. Initial test results where very helpful and so was the feedback from Matrix-Slitherine HQs. The revisions are focussing on giving the player more sense of freedom and sandbox by among others making the zones more flexible. Also I am adding empire customization upon starting your game.

More news soon.

Best wishes,
Vic

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Shadow Empire Design Snippet #20

Snippet #20: Profiles and Stratagems

Your empire will have 7 profile groups, each with 3 profiles. The groups are: Society, Work Method, Ideology, Warrior Spirit, Diplomatics, Leadership Style and Economics. In the little screenie shown here you see the Warrior Spirit Group. Its 3 profiles are: Cleverness, Bare Bones and Morale. Cleverness gives you good tactical bonuses in the field, but has a limiting effect on Bare Bones once it gets to high. Bare Bones gives your logistical network a boost, but has a limiting effect on Morale once it gets to high. Morale increases the base morale of your troops in the field and helps avoid unwanted retreats or panics, but has a limiting effect on Cleverness once it gets to high.
Furthermore once you get a certain profile field to a certain level you’ll be able to produce specific special Stratagems. In the case of this group of profiles you can get Posture Stratagems that you can play on HQs. Like for example: Hold at all costs, Recon in Force and Ambush.
That’s it for this small snippet. Thanks for staying with me during development!

Best wishes,
Vic

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Shadow Empire Design Snippet #19

Snippet #19: Planet Classes

I formalized the types of planets a bit. Hence when you generate a new planet you can now first choose a Planet Class, or of course go for: Unclassified to have a complete surprise. The thing I like most is to generate with shroud of darkness on so once my game starts I just see the immediate surroundings of my tiny empire and have no clue what is out there.

The type of Planet you play on will impact your game quite a lot. It determines the terrain of battle (and economy), but also the relative scarcity of the different resources. For example a Seth Class desert planet will have very little water, making water very precious. While on other planets water will be more or less plentiful and of no concern.

The ‘First Impressions’ test has also started. Sorry if you are one of the people that has to wait for the next wave to join. Anyway feedback has been relatively good, especially on what are for me the essentials. Its good to have some players aboard to help me prioritize and judge development. Its paying off already.

Best wishes,
Vic

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Join the Shadow Empire First Impressions Test Team!

VR Designs is looking for motivated testers to give feedback on Shadow Empire.

This is an opportunity to influence the direction of the design of an unique and very ambitious game. What to expect from this game? Shadow Empire is a combination of procedural wargaming, 4X games, with RPG elements in a a futuristic but slightly low tech setting.

Keep in mind the game is still in construction and not even in Beta Test yet. If you think you are able to play with unfinished games, have some hours to spare and are interested and actually happy to provide feedback to us then please sign up now!

Surf over to my publisher, Matrix Games, to sign the NDA and join up as a Shadow Empire tester: http://www.matrixgames.com/beta/cnda.asp?gid=719

Thanks! and hopefully I’ll welcome you soon on the Shadow Empire private test forums.

Best wishes,
Vic

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Shadow Empire Design Snippet #18

Snippet #18: Some more info on assets

In this snippet we are looking at a screenshot of a Scout Station asset. You can build many kinds of different ‘public’ assets in your zones.

However the one shown here is a so called ‘private’ asset. It has been constructed with the private wealth of your populace in order to improve their security situation. The private economy very much runs itself most of the time. Or not… in which case you might want to provide for example financial investments or emergency food supplies.

What did I say before? Yes most of the time the private economy just provides you with your rightful part of the private production. And even more if you tax the zone in question. The design idea is that you do not have to manage your economy if you do not want too.

I am not saying that is the best choice to win the game though. Since to develop to the maximum it is very probably best if you actively develop your ‘public’ economy by constructing some ‘public’ assets. These range from farms, industry to more exotic ones like wind traps or a deep core gas extractor. Though these will require you to hire, pay and feed workers they are overall much more productive than their ‘private’ counterparts and can be leveled up much further.

Don’t be afraid if you only understood half of this month’s snippet. The topic of the economy will require quite some pages in the eventual manual and a paragraph of snippet text can only give you a glimpse of the mechanics.

Thanks for your interest and best wishes,
Vic

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Shadow Empire Design Snippet #17

Snippet #17: Procedural troop types

Click to enlarge

One thing that is interesting to know about Shadow Empire is that its troop types (like tanks, guns, infantry) never are exactly the same every time you play. In the small screenshot above you can see a detailed statistical report on the ‘ATG’ anti-tank gun. Note also that you can improve the gun by ordering a newer version to be designed. This of course does come at a cost in bureaucratic and political points and is best only done after significant technological advances have been made to ensure the investment will be worthwhile. One thing I am not still completely sure about is how much of the detail to hide, probably I’ll eventually allow the player to chose either ‘extreme FOW’ or ‘normal FOW’. In my humble opinion I believe that not being sure how good your equipment is until you are committed to battle would be a very interesting mechanic. However I’ll have to put that ‘extreme FOW’ on the list for later on since hiding stuff is not the best way to debug and beta test :)

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