Announcing the Dark Galaxy Beta

The announcement you’ve all been waiting for. Signups for Dark Galaxy Beta 1 are now open, with turns starting on Friday the 22nd of May at 20:00 DGST (Dark Galaxy Standard Time, aka UTC), ticking once per hour, with the game running for 3072 turns, ending on the 27th of September.

Do note, that in the event the game somewhat stagnates due to planets being populated, and no one being able to really play anymore, the game may end earlier, or a reset may occur.

For those returning to the game, firstly, welcome back! We’ve been working on discord with some members of the community to iron out the game based on a completely new code-base, with a new front-end that blends the classic Dark Galaxy design with more modern web technologies. Several alphas have been run, and it’s time to run a full beta.

The goal of this beta is to ensure everything fits together properly in ‘realistic’ conditions, as well as track down some bugs, and provide the time to make major improvements to the game.

@Ingus has put together a temporary manual until we can get things written out properly, it can be found here.

There is also a bit of nostalgia which can be found here

What’s Changed?
Firstly, feedback is welcome on everything, I love to read good, well reasoned, discussions about changes, what’s working, what isn’t. I ask that people avoid the cliche of ‘I don’t like change’,

Since the last formal Dark Galaxy round, there have been several major changes, as well as some minor ones, here’s a quick breakdown of what’s happened during development.

Food has been removed.
Wait, don’t leave yet! Food as a concept was a weird one, difficult for new players to get their heads around (growth patterns didn’t always make sense), and not much of a hindrance for experiences players. When it was all said and done though, with the changes to Research (more on that later), food ultimately became a resource which grew a resource (Workers). The removal of food has allowed us to work with the Workers directly, and previously food-producing structures now directly influence a static worker growth. Whether this was a good idea or not, we’ll see during the game.

Research has Changed
Previously, research followed a ‘the rich get richer’ approach to unlocking ships and structures, those with more / stronger planets were able to produce more scientists, which increased the speed they got their unlocks at, while this benefited some players, it hurt a lot of others. It was also possible to complete the research tree, so a lot of decisions were less about ‘if’ and more about ‘when’. So we’ve changed research quite substantially.

Research is now gathered at 1 point per turn, and can be spent on various ‘paths’ which focus more on economic / empire / military (coming later) progression, as seen below:

So, the ‘Metal / Mineral / Population’ research options allow you to add up to a 72% increase in output across ALL planets (with strips / hydro made available to build in the middle), however reaching the end of just one of those trees will take 960 turns. The goal is to force compromise, and determine what’s more important to you, you can work the Economic up to the middle (which will give a 25% bonus, and Strip access), then focus on Planet Limit, or mix and match as you feel they’re needed.

Research is currently something which requires some tuning, but is working as a concept, I’ll listen to feedback on what could be improved there during the beta.

All ships, and other structures are currently immediately available when the game starts, there’s no need to research these anymore.

The Universe
Navigation in Dark Galaxy has always been interesting, a list of galaxies, inside them systems, and inside them planets. While we’re not changing that tried-and-true method too much, we are focusing on design of the galaxy a little more, as well as how it plays.

The galaxy is now split into three distinct areas, Galaxy 1, the ‘Inner Ring’ and the ‘Outer Ring’. Galaxy 1 has the fewest planets, but the highest resources, with the resources dropping as you move through the rings to the outside. The goal is to attempt to keep intense fighting happening in the middle, while newer players stick on the comfortable outskirts, and either fight against themselves or prepare for an incursion into the middle. It also provides a safer place for alliances who are being bullied to fall back to and regroup.

Holographic ships were introduced to help reduce the predictability of combat, as well as provide an additional strategic tool for players. They work simply, build a Holo Generator on a planet, then you’ll be able to construct a Holo Projector from your shipyard, as well as Holographic Versions of all available ships (these cost Energy as a primary resource). These ships are non-combat, but from a score and composition perspective cannot be differentiated from real fleets in Radar or Fleet Scans. They can be used to augment an existing fleet, or as a decoy fleet, be creative!

Other Notes
Alliances & Mail
It should be noted that Alliances and Mail aren’t close to complete yet, and are being heavily worked on. Basic alliance joining / inviting is available, as well as basic mail sending, new frameworks for these will be built as the beta progresses, including rich functionality to provide a much better and more rounded experience.

Other Changes
While I’ve outlined some of the larger changes in game above, there are lots of smaller ones, the ability to split fleets, clickable news icons, and filtering. Lots of quality of life stuff which I hope you’ll enjoy!

Mobile UI
As an addition, we’re aware that Dark Galaxy isn’t the easiest thing to play on-the-go at the moment. As the beta progresses, we’ll be working on developing a brand new mobile friendly version of the game (that requires far less zooming), so bear with us on that one.

Image Commissioning
I’ll be looking to commission some images for Dark Galaxy (replacement galaxy / planet images, some additional icons and units, etc). If you are, or know, a graphics artist who could be able to help out, please reach out to me directly. Credits will be provided.

Good Luck, and have fun!