Alpha 2 - Sept 20th

Greetings and salutations to all, today, I have an essay for you!

After a solid alpha, and a good couple of weeks of bug fixing, it’s time to prepare Alpha 2, it’s phase 1.5 in the general release plan.

The main focus of this alpha is a basic feature / balancing pass across the game, taking the feedback from the last alpha, as well as the pre-alpha which was run since, and trying to resolve some of the more common issues with gameplay. In addition, a metric boat load of bugs have been fixed, closing most of the more common issues with the alpha.

So, here are the gameplay changes I’m planning to make for Alpha 2, along with the reasoning behind them.

PLEASE NOTE: None of these changes are set in stone, and some of the numbers present were (honestly) pulled out of my ■■■. Feel absolutely free to protest / discuss them, I try to take everything to heart. If any of these changes really don’t work, then I’ll revert them for the follow-up alpha.

Holo Ships
General feedback on the holoships has been relatively positive, there are some issues with them acting like tanks in combat which I’m looking into (should have this fixed before the alpha though). One issue which has been mentioned a few times is identifying fleets which may have holo-ships in them. While the idea of holoships was explicitly to prevent it being possible to know exactly what’s in a fleet (which it does well), at least a small indication that some of them may be fake could be useful for decision making.

As such, I’ll be adding a new unit into the game, a ‘Holo Projector’. This unit will be required to be in a fleet if you wish to add holoships to it. It will appear on Fleet Scans, and have score associated with it for radar. It will be a non-combat unit, and if destroyed, all holoships will be lost with it. All holoships being projected by the projector will behave as before, and look like real ships in scans. The projector could be used as additional misdirection (make a player think there are holoships when there aren’t), so watch out for that (as an addition, Holoships may get renamed cleanly to ‘Holographic Ships’, partly so it’s clearer, but mostly to stop my damn spell checker from complaining…)

Planet / Queue Limit
I’ve been thinking about this one for a while, a lot of the pace of play is dictated by peoples abilities to manage and take planets, artificial barriers (via research) for this were placed to ensure there was ‘game progression’ of some description, as opposed to all the planets disappearing immediately to a small handful of crazy players who don’t sleep (you know who you are! :stuck_out_tongue:). With that said, research usage tended to be straight for PL, ignoring the possible economic benefits of research, which isn’t an ideal approach. As such, initial Planet Limit for the Alpha will be increased to 6, and queue length will be increased to 4.

Early Game
The first 100 or so turns of Dark Galaxy are, lets be honest, quite slow and boring. You’re building up a single planet, getting the optimal build queue so you can send your outpost and colonise as fast as possible, there’s not much action or activity involved. So, as an experiment, everyone will receive a Turn 1 Outpost Ship on their home world which can be launched immediately. It’ll have the downside that you wont be able to scan where you plan on heading, but you could delay launch if you want…

Planet Balancing
I’ll be making some minor changes to planets in the galaxy, ground / orbit space are a little too low at the moment, which makes building them up a little frustrating. In addition, the abundances may receive a minor tweak (either to the randomness, or the overall figures). Ideally all planets in the universe should be preferable to home worlds, even if it’s by a small amount in the outer rings.

This is another interesting one (and likely a big change), as it stands, it’s a little too easy to defend a planet, and planetary defence can become close to impenetrable. With the change to invasion so that you no longer receive resources on invaded planets, the very idea of invasion is painful, as the costs associated with it really don’t outweigh the gains, and in a game like Dark Galaxy, I want people fighting over planets! As such, soldier capacities are going to be added to planets. All these numbers are subject to tweaking of course, but for the alpha, the following will be true:

  • All planets will have 100,000 soldier capacity, without the need for supporting structures. this allows for basic defence, especially on planets without a barracks.
  • It will be possible to build multiple Barracks
  • Each Barracks can hold 250,000 additional soldiers
  • Invasion Ships capacity will be increased from 30k to 50k
  • Possible Future Change - ‘Advanced Barracks’ requiring HWF, would have higher capacity and possibly stronger defensive units.

As a final note, there are still a couple of known problems (for example, combat still needs some tweaking) but I’m at least hoping to get a few changes in with regards to targetting (with massive help from, and thanks to @Ingus) which may help provide more consistent results that make sense.

Other features such as the alliance overhaul are in-progress, but due to the sizes of the feature, they need a bit more time.

Signups for the alpha will begin early next week, I’ll post a separate announcement once they’re ready!

Until next time.