Snippet #23: Formations
In this snippet you are seeing me choosing which new Formation to build. Once I select one I’ll pay the costs in Industrial Points, Metal, etc.. and I’ll get a fully manned HQ and subordinate Units placed on the map.
There are two kind of Units in Shadow Empire. Those which belong to a Formation (a Formation is several units + an commanding operational HQ) and those which are Independent Units. Formations should be preferable to build since they come with their own HQ and can thus have their own Commander, who can give significant combat and other bonuses. As well a Formation gives you the option to play Posture Stratagems on it like: Defense, Hold-at-all-Costs, Shock, Blitz, Reconnaissance-in-Force, etc…
The other kind of Unit is the Independent Unit. The Independent Unit allows you to build specialist Units like for example extra Artillery or AT Support. And each operational HQ can next to its own Units still take a limited number of Independent Units under its command.
The system is more flexible than DC, but less flexible than Advanced Tactics. Instead of designing your own ‘TOE’s you’ll need to develop them (like research) to be able to raise a certain type of Formation.
It is quite an intricate system that also deals with quality levels of equipment, if a player desires so, but at the same time it is a system that can be easy to use for the player who don’t want to micro-manage.
Snippet #22: Minors and Unaligned Forces
In this snippet you are seeing the 1st Assault Infantry Brigade advancing on a group of Free Folk Marauders.
You core enemies in Shadow Empire are the other Major nations. These function much like your own nation. However there are also Minor nations and Unaligned Forces. These Minor nations are somewhat organized, but they don’t have the culture, intelligence, tech or will to become a real (major) nation. They are quite diverse and include Roamers, Farmers, Slavers, Religious Fanatics and Mutants. Gameplay-wise they mostly function as speed bumps to your growth, but you can also engage in limited diplomacy with them. It is for example possible to offer your protection to a Minor or make it a client state. Eventually they can even merge into your Major nation.
Next to the minors there are also Unaligned Forces and they represent those entities that are completely without organisation. They include Free Folk forces and also Alien lifeforms native to the Planet. Note the non-terrestrial plant colours in the screenshot. That is because this particular Planet (Lazonar Lumus) has alien plant life. If it has sizeable Alien animals is not sure yet. It is relatively rare to find yourself on a Planet that had much alien evolution. (well… unless you don’t go fully random and select the ‘Medusa’ planet class for your game)
More news soon. I hope to recommence the First Impressions test in about 2 weeks. I am finishing up on some last features.
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.
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!
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.
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.