Shadow Empire Design Snippet #26

Snippet #26: Moving to the Interface Phase after holidays

Click image to enlarge

The screeny shows a small empire that just started expansion. For a change we find an empire that is on a planet that actually supports open farming and has some rainfall! That’s good because it makes growing crops a lot easier. No need to build domes or do ice mining for supplying your plants with water.

The small empire shown above is starting to deal with some Marauders at its borders but has not yet ran into any real opposition. Only issue it seems to have right now is a Crime Syndicate which is causing some loss of private Credits and increasing the Danger level a little bit.

The Crime Syndicate is an example of a Story Module that is the first of a template approach for later on. It will be relatively easy to add more Modules like that to further flesh out the game universe. I am using a modular approach with further story content and the aim is threefold: allow the player to switch on/off a Module before starting a game, allow VR Designs to add DLC-like content after release and allow modders a way to create extra content for the game.

But for now it has been enough work on content. There is now a quite rich tapestry of immersive details in place. Lots of events to occur and decisions to make, including diplomatic ones, almost 200 Stratagems, detailed Leader stats, dozens of Hex Perks and Unit Feats, politics, elections, internal factions, archeology, rebellions and what not more. There is enough there right now to make the world feel sort of like a real place. It needs some more work for mid and late game in the final content design phase, but I consider the basic content design phase finished.

It’s time to move to the Interface & Graphics Phase start of August and after that do some AI work. Then it will be on to the Final Content Phase. And then we’ll be getting awfully close to full beta.

Thanks for following my progress. It is always a motivating for me to have feedback.

Best wishes,

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11 Responses to Shadow Empire Design Snippet #26

  1. Noot says:

    I am sorry if this has already been answered somewhere and i forgot, but could you tell us the approximate price of the game?
    The design snippets are interesting and it is good to read that there seems to be good progress on the game

  2. vic says:

    I have honestly no clue yet. My only target for now is to finish an interesting and fun 4x-wargame. Once we are closer to release the publisher (Matrix) will lean in to suggest a price point. Cannot imagine it will be to far off from my previous titles.

  3. Thorsten says:

    I like the layout of the UI right now. Seems very orderly and at least partly self explaining for someone with some strategy game experience.
    The position and graphic of the town/city screen (between Mars and MarsEmpire on the top) looks nice too.
    A small detail I really love is the naming of landmarks. Will this be a feature in random maps? That´s one of the things I like in Sid Meier´s Alpha Centauri/Alien Crossfire. Would be even better to connect ressources to those landmarks as SMAC/AX did. I don´t know if an AI could handle this (if I remember right the AI in SMAC tried to conquer those landmarks).

  4. vic says:

    Thanks for the feedback Thorsten.

    Mountain chains are named, so are forests, ruins and deserts and the like. Villages, mines and Hex Perks receive names as well.

  5. Khanti says:

    Will this game have “next idle unit” button? Or just “next unit”?

  6. Khanti says:

    Another question: do you plan to allow option in preferences “HQ unit always on top of the stack”? If there are stacks, chain of command or leadership in general, there will be handy to actually see those units. In DC systems it easy to click to put HQ on top, but it needs clicking.

  7. stdwanze says:

    Landmark feature adds a lot of immersion, especially if it is reflected in messages or in diplomatic encounters.

  8. Noot says:

    The game seems really interesting ,i especially like the logistical systems and the way you could build a nation , however i want to ask if you would be willing to make these posts longer or more often. The Shadow Empire design snippets often mention something interesting, but only touch the surface, for example in design snippet #20 7 profile groups each with 3 profiles are mentioned though only one groups is though briefly explained. (Not trying to sound rude)

  9. Louist says:


    I’ve stopped by after reading a mention of Shadow Empires on Rock Paper Shotgun, and I have to say I am pretty darned excited but what I’ve I’ve read in your snippets! While what your designing seems to be quite different from Empire of the Fading Suns, it still brings that game to mind, which is a very good thing!

    I have a couple questions, if you don’t mind:

    Will Shadow Empires be mod-friendly? Will campaigns be limited to one planet at a time? And will you be opening your testing program up to more people?

    Thanks, and happy development!

  10. vic says:

    Hi Louist,

    Yeah. It is not Empire of the Fading Suns. However if sales are good enough I would be enthusiastic to expand the current one planet and low tech to multi planet and higher tech.

    It will not be super mod-friendly. Though having said that almost everything is accessible to a potential modder.

    Each game is limited to one planet. And so-far there has just been a small invite for alpha testers. Beta test is still to come.

    Best wishes,

  11. Louist says:

    Hi Vic,

    Thank you for the reply!

    Even if this is not Fading Suns, I really like the “sci-fi light” vibes it is giving off! It’s a welcome change from the strategy sims we often see. I’ll keep my eye out for news about testing and the game’a release.

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