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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Shadow Empire Design Snippet #16

Snippet #16: Quick rough overview and Organisations

In fact Shadow Empire is going to turn to be a bit more towards the Grognard side of the strategy spectrum than expected. There are a lot of moving parts. The key thing that is different compared to other games and previous games (ATG) is the introduction of Organisations. Think here of analogues of ministries. You can have multiple off them and you can allocate part of your budget (in BPs, bureaucratic points) to each you have. The idea behind them is partly to allow the game to be easy to expand with new features after release, but mostly to allow the player that does not want to do to much management to not create to many organisations (which are not free of cost). My aim is that the game should be perfectly playable even without the advanced options some of those organisations give you.

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Shadow Empire Design Snippet #15

Snippet #15: Stratagems

This snippet shows a part of the stratagem tab. Stratagems can be played on zones, empires or HQs and cost political points. Here we see the ‘Send Spy’ stratagem which you can send to any visible zone. If the insertion of the spy is successful (skill roll involved) it means you’ll get recon points on the zone (and subsequently the empire owning it). Basically the spies enable you to explore the map without using military force. Furthermore more spies will allow you to get information on the enemy troop dispositions and economy. There will be plenty of stratagems available, but well since this is a snippet I am only showing one :) And for anybody wondering what the bar in the right is… its the items present with the Strategic HQ. It receives items from excess production in zones and sends them to your military and zones that have shortages.
Disclaimer: Artwork shown can be placeholder artwork and does not necc. represent the art in the final game

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