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(Antimatter) Factions, Exploration & Replicants
« on: October 28, 2023, 09:16:40 AM »
This is a massive chunk, with 3 devlogs combined, reformatted to be readable on the forum.

Original devlogs :
FACTIONS & BACKGROUNDS : https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1343010/view/3740861311281737077
PLANET EXPlORATION III : https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1343010/view/3719469846529534570
THE REPLICANTS : https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1343010/view/3719469846531345423

--- FACTIONS & BACKGROUNDS ---



Player's faction & background

There are now 6 playable factions:


These are the base organizations that drive the universe dynamic,  but of course, there are many others (sovereign organizations, corporations, and pirates) that are procedurally generated to complement the universe.


Muga, Uhmrane and the Eridani Pact share the core worlds.

The chosen faction will then determine the possible backgrounds. A background is the starting conditions (and difficulty) when starting a game, some are particularly rough, such as starting with a large debt.


Some factions don't have all backgrounds available, for example, Umhrane is too weak to offer the player to start with a large ship or a fleet, and some factions don't have any territories for the player to become a governor.

The Rim, is a particular choice as it puts the player as ruler of its own under-developed colony, outside the core world and under the influence of an Urghogh (a giant worm).

Polished universe generation

Besides the UI rework, the generation was greatly improved. Now history is separated into 5 eras, each having its own dynamic during the generation.



  • Age of Exploration (The antimatter is exploited for uncontrolled exploration and colonisation)
  • Replicant's Invasion (an unknown invader, using self-replicating spacecrafts, tried to seize the Antimatter and exterminate the Urghogh)
  • The Reconstruction (A short period of time when humanity tries to rebuild while facing ideological turmoil)
  • Urghogh Age (Antimatter Crisis, in reaction to the Replicant's invasion, the worms decide to put the human race under harsh tutelage )
  • Eridani's Rise (The institution guarding the Antimatter rebels against the Urghoghs, thanks to the help of Uhmrane, the outcast worm. This is when the player starts)




Each circle is a stellar system

Title screen

This is not a big deal but here is the new title screen.

A fun fact is that what is shown here is emulated from the in-game view, Antimatter being in flattened 3D.





Would you like to know more ?
Universe & history generation :
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/geopi/antimatter-a-city-builder-and-4x-game/posts/3571013

Characters :
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/geopi/antimatter-a-city-builder-and-4x-game/posts/3366719

Organization:
 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/geopi/antimatter-a-city-builder-and-4x-game/posts/3694897

Characters (part II) :
 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/geopi/antimatter-a-city-builder-and-4x-game/posts/3680996

Organizations [Part II] :
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/geopi/antimatter-a-city-builder-and-4x-game/posts/3797976

-----------------

--- PLANET EXPlORATION III ---

This major addition expands the exploration system even further. (see planet exploration I and planet exploration II to know more)
I have completed the (massive...) framework and scripting system for encounter and tile features and content-wise, I have decided to complete the first content "arcs" to stress-test it.
Regional features
 


Regional features


Regional features are persistent points of interest on the planet's surface, they can be visited and have effects on a city, an outpost a region, or an organization. They can also trigger special events, some can be easily discovered (even from orbit)while others need to be found with a land expedition.
 

Built early in reaction to the Urghoghs, these rare and often disabled devices create pocket of developed civilisation.

These are important discoveries as the bonus/malus can be very significant and cumulate across the entire region.
 

A list of regional features present on this planet




Encounters
Additionally, there are non-persistent "encounters" which are contextual events occurring during travels but also as time passes. They can lead to more areas/events and sometimes contain rewards in the form of goods, codex entries, and people to hire.

 
This unassuming rock shelter leads to an underground ruined city, this is quite a rare occurrence.

Some action can also be performed, there is a system for crew skill and traits roll and a full range of effects. But for now, there isn't enough content to make very long and engaging adventures.
 


Some valuable industrial machinery and tools were found here.

Currently, there are :
  • Rock shelter (and all variants for all climates)
  • Stash
  • Abandoned Mineshaft
  • Worm tunnel
  • Aquifer cave
  • Fungal cavern
  • Magmatic cave
New areas can also be revealed during an encounter if that's allowed by the context, current region, and the planet.

The Future

It is important to have a critical mass of content for all that to become relevant and properly intertwined, so the future content arcs that will be built upon this framework each have a range of encounter and tile features :
  • Civilisations remants (Tile feature)
  • Crashed spaceships (Dynamic)
  • Unique lifeforms and biomes (Tile feature)
  • Geological features (Tile feature, partially done)
  • Crew and Expedition routine (but I won't include party member buggering you with their life problems)
  • Encounters & Combats (using the abstract ground combat system)
  • Accidents (chain of decision and skill/trait tests with very limited initiative reserve)
  • Planetary and celestial events (Will occur regardless of player's presence)
  • Urghogh (dynamic, related to migration/ presence of giant worms)

Bonus

Too short to make a devlog, but too significant to skip it :

Landing
A previous devlog introduced planet exploration, which is now polished.
 


Exploring the planet's surface is necessary to find some type of regional feature, trigger some "encounters" or trade with local populations and nations on the surface. Now scanning the planet from orbit is dangerous due to the replicant's threat, which I will describe later.


Some risks are unknown given the survey level of the region
 
the atmosphere, the relief, flora density, and surface gravity pull are all factors creating more risks to land, while the crew's skill, survey level of a tile, and the presence of a landing pad minimize the risk.
 

This region has been surveyed and the risks are known.

 
There are the following hazards :
  • Atmosphere density: during atmospheric entry, the ship's hull is heating and can take damage, this risk is dependent on the ship's hull condition, aerodynamic profile, and the ship's size.
  • Relief: chaotic relief and ship size influence the risk.
  • Flora density: which also depends on the ship's size.
  • Surface gravity: which is influenced by the thrust-to-weight ratio of the ship.

Crew casualties

Now any penetrating damage to a ship (including accidents) will wound and kill crewmembers


--------

--- THE REPLICANTS ---

A new foe

A sort of autonomous spacecrafts with limited ability to self-replicate was used during a past invasion and repurposed by the Urghoghs (the worms) to nest into any world outside the core and ward off any local civilization from spacefaring. These swarms of spacecraft are now dormant, nestled into their host planet's crust.

To provide some context, here is a generated universe:


The core worlds consist of a few star systems inside a nebula, this is also where the only source of Antimatter is found


The "Rim" consists of all worlds cut out for hundreds of years from the Antimatter supply.

Most inhabited worlds of the rim are infested with replicants (and the giant worms (the Urghoghs)).

While the core is also occupied by the worms, replicants are machina non-grata in this space, as the worms exert a much more direct form of control there (especially on the Antimatter source which proved itself to be a historical can of worms (uhuhuh (got it ?))).

Finding nests

While kicking on the nest by flashing sensors toward the planet's surface is a viable way to purge the planet from the infestation, this is also a good approach to get swiftly destroyed and form another planetary ring consisting of little matter and much vanity.


Found the buggers...

Another way to get rid of the nest, or even plunder it is to find them on the planet's surface and perform some fireworks directly at the source, with good old explosives and heroically timed detonators.


The combined skill and special traits of the crew would help for successful rolls.

Nests are created during the universe generation, these are simulation-persistent features and populated during the historical generation, they are scattered on the planet and come in 7 different sizes, from the single replicant fighter to a giant fleet with its mothership.

A nest allows some interaction, such as destroying it, deactivating it, or reprogramming it in order to add it to your fleet.

Replicants are only a problem for those in space


Oops ?

Waking a nest while are the surface won't create a problem for anything at the planet's surface, the replicants will launch from the planet after some time and angrily patrol the vicinity and shoot on sight.


Let's leave this planet, it can't be this bad...

Keep in mind that at this point their AI is as advanced as a pissed wasp's brain.

This is potentially a good way to have a free and zealous force protecting your planet, or a deterrence to follow you.

Replicant also has a chance to wake when landing or launching from a planet, making viable planets for mining operations or colonisation scarcer.

A global threat

Until they were reprogrammed, replicants used to be an existential threat to humanity, as such in their "vanilla" form they regroup around a mothership purposed to create more spacecrafts from raw materials.


The mothership's fleet. Just unbeatable in a single strike...

In the game such motherships can be found in deep space until more events are introduced into the game, this fleet is active and replicating right from the beginning of the game.


The mothership's  fleet is dispatching 3 harvester fleets

Replicants have a special faction AI, they will send a fleet of harvester for very long mining expeditions and then come back with raw material to the main fleet.

They don't have faster-than-light drive and, thus are very slow for interstellar trips. This is a slow, predictable foe, but potentially with overwhelming power.

Is that... gameplay ?!

It must come to you as a piece of shocking news, finally some glimpse of this so-called "gameplay loop" with progression, shooty stuff, and bad guys to waste without moral overthinking.

Indeed since spacecrafts are a big deal in Antimatter, killing people is yet another big deal, it is nice to have a foe finally pressuring the player.

 
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Re: (Antimatter) Factions, Exploration & Replicants
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2023, 09:32:08 PM »
Only a single source of antimatter on the entire map? That's... troubling.

Especially with the implication that the worms have a death grip on it. Or, you know, any other organization that manages to wrest control from the worms. There's really little incentive to provide it outside your faction if it's the only source of FTL travel, it's just such a massive advantage you'd want to squash access as much as possible.

Everything else looks pretty good, although I wonder if the Replicants, if they build up strong enough, could eventually take the Core?