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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingCorona Celestia - (renamed from Empire browser game)
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Author Topic: Corona Celestia - (renamed from Empire browser game)  (Read 5827 times)
charon
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« on: October 10, 2010, 11:05:51 AM »

New outlook, new screenshots, new name  Hand Fork Left Blink Hand Knife Right









And the original post:

Dear fellow tigsourcians. Smiley

This game is something I've been dreaming about for the last decade or two... But only recently acquired enough knowledge, skill and courage to actually undertake it.

What I wanted required some kind of massive multiplayer capability, so I decided for the cheapest technology there - mysql/php/javascript thingy. The result (although still in the prototype stage) is here, ready for anyone curious enough to try it out.

The setting is the galaxy itself, the galactic empire. This galaxy contains around 100000 stars and 1000000 planets for the players to explore and exploit. The empire itself, which lies at the core of the galaxy, contains roughly 3500 stars, and they are all bound by imperial feudal laws.

I am not hiding that my greatest influence/inspiration is the Frank Herbert Dune novel and his world. What I especially found appealing was this rustic, medieval feel to his science fiction, the political, ecological, religious aspect of his setting. The whole universe controlled by a single faction, every facility and service possible under state monopoly, even space travel itself.

The background mechanics of the game is pretty standard space invasion and colonisation, although I tried to evade the micromanagement as much as I could, concentrating instead on (economical) politics, warfare, and inter-house relationships. Players can form alliances and trade unions, or declare war on each other. They fight not only for territory and resources, but also honor, leadership, influence inside the crucial imperial guilds such as Spacing Guild, the Senate, the Church, Ore Bank and Ministry of Historical Archives. The final goal is to provide a strategical backdrop and mechanical canvas for player versus player conspiracies, alliances, backstabbing and political struggle. For the time being, most of the code is intended for the former, and less for the latter but it is where I am aiming at. So any feedback especially related to that will be most welcome. Smiley

Enough words, some pics:















To register/play the game use this link:

http://www.sinistersystems.com/empire

You don't need to fill in the email field yet, and registration is automatic without email confirmation. To create a character, simply choose one of the offered planets.

P.S. Everything is still very rough. I spent cca 3 weeks on making this game, and I wanted it playable ASAP now there's lots of features still to be added. I'll prolly have to set up some kind of tutorial or wiki pretty soon as well, but till then, you can direct any questions to me here or at the forum on our site.

Have fun! Smiley
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 07:28:51 AM by charon » Logged

iffi
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2010, 11:14:25 AM »

Looks interesting, but in my opinion the border frame contrasts too sharply with the rest of the interface.
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george
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2010, 04:17:39 PM »

love the concept. After I register, when I click on a planet to choose a homeworld I get just a blank page with url of kind 'http://sinistersystems.com/empire/gen_pc.php?pid=750346' in Chrome and Firefox.
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charon
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2010, 08:22:23 PM »

Sorry about that... Of course what's going to break on release day if not character generator hmmm? :D

Fixed.

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CosmicMaher
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2010, 11:23:33 PM »

I dig the border next to the space stuff, personally.
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charon
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2010, 12:13:17 AM »

I wanted to have both the sci-fi and medieval feel to the game. For a long while I was contemplating standard solutions with bunch of medieval ornaments and gui elements. But on the other hand I really wanted something quite minimal. Then I thought, why not just stick a reneissance-style mirror frame around the hi-tech interface and that's it. Personally, I kind of like it too  Smiley  Maybe this particular frame has too much detail but for the time being, it was the best that I could find in a reasonably short notice.

ICly, the frame is the frame of this huge window in your family residence's throne room, which otherwise offers a beautiful view on the garden beneath, but when business is to be made, it darkens completely for this 'feudal control interface' to be projected upon...  Wink

In addition, what I thought since there's no tutorial or manual whatsoever to speak of, that maybe I should explain the first few steps the player can (and should) take in the game.

First, you should check your own systems for any unused planets that can be reformed. If you have enough money to afford it, reform them all as mining, industrial and agricultural planets are your only source of imperial crown rupies (ecr). To acquire any guild shares you might need, you can sell some of your family legacy (check Treasury in the Household) artefacts to the guilds. Open Factions in the Household, click on the stellar empire or church, then Trade button under the planet image. The rest is self-explanatory. Through the Trade option, you can also send gifts, messages and truce/union/alliance offers to other players (but you need to find their homeworld first).

To conquer and reform more planets, you need legions. If you have any military planets, you can train/recruit them there, otherwise, your Ancestral Family Residence allows you to build one House Guard unit (with only base unit types and weapons to select from).

A unit requires 15 minutes to train (the ETA related to training is not fully implemented). Once you have it, pick a star system to invade. Click the Galaxy button in the left bottom corner of the window. Bright yellow numbers indicate your systems, golden numbers are imperial stars, and orange numbers are your competition - other noble houses. Blue numbers represent the Frontier Territory - all the stars that have been scanned by the Spacing Guild, and are now recorded in the Galactic Database which all noble houses have access to.

Click on the blue sector that is nearest to your home world. Find a system and planet that you like, and transfer your legion(s) there. Claiming unpopulated planets is easy - you only need a legion there and Claim it with a button. Once it's yours, you can reform it and...

Space travel takes quite some time. The first jump into the Frontier Territory will usually take a bit longer (up to a few hours) but once you're there this won't be much of a problem if you stick to the neighbouring stars (which you should since your kingdom shouldn't be too thinly spread). Interplanetary travel costs 0 and only takes a minute, so once a system has been claimed, be sure to check for any other planets within that might also be useful, before you send your legions towards the next star.

Hope this helps a bit, there's lots of other stuff I hope you'll be able to discover for yourself.
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Maunomau
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 11:16:07 AM »

So far things seem simple enough. Only two complaints so far, first there doesn't seem to be (at least I haven't noticed) anything really interesting or different from some other similar games except for having less micromanaging(just making things feel a bit more alive or something might help), and second and more important one is that I can't queue things so I end up spending hours of my time just moving things one by one. I'd much rather spend an hour or two planning the travel route and attacks of my units for the day than have to be around for the each and every part of the journey.
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charon
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2010, 11:48:51 PM »

I definitelly have to agree that the world needs to feel more alive. Hence on, most of my working efforts will be directed into that (the game so far is more like a skeleton, was pretty much done over the last three weeks or so). The game is quite large, containing around 1000000 planets, each of them has their own properties and outlook, but now I need to make them more specific and some even unique. I will make the stars themselves visible to the player as well, as many properties of the planets and the system will be based on the star, I will add new astronomical objects to seek for and exploit (binary, trinary stars, black holes, asteroid belts, quasars, megaplanets and lots more). There are already structures that can be found on some planets (archaelogical sites, remains of ancient, even space faring civilisations, relics that the player will be able to build monasteries around and increase his prestige or honor). On one side I want to add as many details as possible, on the other hand I don't want them ever to be just cosmetics, they need to have a gameplay feature. Even now, you can win an ancient trophy or a piece of ore when battling against indigenous populations of some planets. With such a trophy, you can build a War Monument to that specific battle, on any of your planets, which boosts the morale of the population and armies there, increasing your defense (yet in some other way from the castle/citadel which is another thing you can build for now). When converting a planet to mining you can find ancient artefacts or extremely rare ores, which then you can either spend on building a citadel (the ore) or sell to one of the guilds for guild shares (of course the church will pay much more for religious scriptures, while the spacing guild will be interested in technological items, and the ministry of history in any ancient artefacts of historical nature). Receiving shares slowly builds your position within the specific guild, allowing you their specific services, army types, spacecrafts and such. (Once the undiscovered part of the galaxy is open for play, the player will need spacing guild stock to send probes into outer space, for example).

But only small part of the final game will actually be focused on taking over new systems. It's supposed to be a political sandbox, or more like a battling field of sandboxes, for you the players, and a creative sandbox for me to constantly add new features to. Planets and systems don't just give the player resources to spend on more armies, it also gives them political power(s of various color). Imagine having enough shares in the NutriCOM that you could force an economical blockade on a system of a political adversary, allowing it to starve itself to death, or having enough support among the members of the senate to cast another one of your adversaries out. Enough spacing guild stock to know about any troop movement, enough spying guild stock to know what planet the Empire is interested in so you can occupy it for a hefty reward? Having enough legions that you can prevent other players from occupying indigenous planets under your protection? This is all just a small portion of what can be done!

It's not about the size of your Feud or your wealth, it is about what you can make of it. Some players who already have spread over too much space too thinly in a couple days (hehe you know who I mean) are headed into some trouble time when I add the events/planetary disaster/riots module to the whole mixture Smiley That is why the game measures the success in other fields as well: honor, leadership, political reputation, influence. Influence, for example, only grows when the player owns stocks but does not spend them. So it's always a dilemma - do I spend my two church shares on zealots or do I wait for my church rank to increase instead?

Another thing that I am quite proud of even in this early stage is the planetary battles. I really wanted this epic, Dune battles feel Smiley The battles (either with indigenous population or another player's ground legions) may have varying impacts on the planets, which requires alternative approaches. When invading a planet with exceptionally combative inhabitants, made tough by their harsh environment, will you risk the population and the planet's already weak environment with nukes and biological weapons? Or will you rather try with terror-inspiring imperial elite, or even zealots who are known to have subdued even the harshes planets without any real battle to speak of? And besides, what good is it to take over the planet but at the same time wiping out its population (thus missing an opportunity for those neato church shares rewarded for new believers) or destroying its resources so it's not even good enough for mining afterwards? On the other hand, if it is a matter of principle, or if it will make the other three planets in the same system surrender immediately upon seeing the terrible fate of their neighbour?

Eventually I want this game to have depth, and lots of it. It's what I enjoy about playing and making games. But like I said, the development is still rather early, and for now I need patient testers so I can experiment on them and see how things are going Smiley If there is at least a little bit of interest, I can guarantee that the things are only ever going to get better and better. Smiley

And just to make things a bit more colorful, some pixel work for the features that are yet coming - starfleets and emissaries (send an imperial archaelogist to the Pyramides of Alpha Centauri for some ancient scripts, or a saboteur to disable your opponent's planetary shield orbital station). I am not a painter most of the time so I just stick to the minimum & monochrome but I guess it's still better than nothing  Wink.



P.S. on queuing - certain things do queue (attacks, army recovering) but I get what you mean, and I will think about it. But also as I say - this massive troop movement around, claiming planets etc it should only be an issue in the beginning of the game while later on, more focus will have to be spent on maintaining and upgrading your kingdom, quests/events and pvp battling/conspiracies. Till then I can only beg for patience, as I know there's not much to do for a newcomer beyond this take-up-the-planet, reform and exploit pattern. Working on that too. Tongue

P.P.S. I added a new forum http://www.sinistersystems.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=18 for bug reports and such.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 12:02:03 AM by charon » Logged

Maunomau
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2010, 09:12:09 AM »

Plans sound awesome.  Hand Thumbs Up Right

Figuring out how many "letters" you have and what they mean could be a bit easier. Also they aren't consumed when building things that require them, right? Using something else ie. "requires" after the credit cost instead of "+" would make it clearer.

Monuments only boost defense on the planet? So building a monument to a systems first conquered planet won't help taking over the other planets in the same system?

P.S Leaderships seems pretty harsh it seems to go down more than up. (I have it at -150 Sad I hope it doesn't have too much of an effect on battles.)
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charon
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2010, 12:18:38 AM »

Yeah, the interface is still pretty rough, especially the action forms - they are more like game mechanics made into some sort of ad-hoc interface on the fly. Once that all main features are done, I'll make a new, more solid and consistent one from the scratch.

Till then I'll just have to explain a few things. The letters represent the cost (of planetary reformations, army units and equipment, orbital installations...) in guild shares. (E - empire, G - spacing guild, C - church, S - the senate, O - ore bank, M - mining guild, T - trading union, H - historical ministry, N - nutriCOM). You can see how many shares you posess in the Factions screen (but it doesn't get automatically refreshed on change yet). Only whole part shares may be spent. In general, you'll need as many whole shares as there are letters of the same kind, ie cccee means three church & two empire shares.

A share once spent is spent. However by earning shares and not spending them, your rank within the particular guild grows, gradually enabling you to access higher level guild services, and later on, even to take part in the guild's profits. This will be one of the points where economy loops, so the more players travel around in space, for example, the higher the profits of the spacing guild, and therefore higher profits for any of its share-owners.

Monuments boost the defense of the entire planetary system (as long as they are built on the planets owned by you of course), castles on the other hand only boost the individual planet (but there is the bonus of home guard unit that comes with one). Small orbital stations in general only cover the planet they orbit, medium also cover the two neighbouring ones, while large class orbital stations (where applicable) cover five planets in a row. There will be a limit of 3 (1 for gas giants) orbital stations per planet so the player will have to combine effects to get optimal results.

As for the leadership yes, it measures your success ratio but according to the difficulty of the planet, and there is a penalty for any losses. Balancing this one out is going to be quite a challenge for me, but the idea behind is that your leadership grows if you can guess what kind of strategy wins you the planet with minimum losses.

In other news - you can now finally see the stars!  Grin Also, planetary descriptions are done, I've populated the galaxy with some neat archaelogical sites, and claiming unihabited, extremely harsh planets now comes with a price.

Have fun!

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simono
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2010, 02:44:11 AM »

interesting! Seems a bit slow right now.. I could register but then I get "not available" errors.. will try later.
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Maunomau
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2010, 05:04:18 AM »

Huh why am I getting riot reports from your planets?  Shocked

Also since planet listing shows only a few planets and reports aren't logged I have no idea where some of my riots are since I sent a unit to the first rioter before checking the other reports.  Sad

EDIT: can I even do something about riots?

Does negative losses to environment mean I found more people or what?
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 05:14:11 AM by Endymion » Logged
charon
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2010, 06:10:03 AM »

Well... riots, black plague outbreaks etc. are considered events of general importance. You want to know about such events because they have a tendency of spreading to other planets Wink. So until the chronicle is up I figure this is the best way of letting everyone (especially me, for the purpose of testing heh) know about what's going on.

You can check your daily (and older) messages in Reports (next to Logout button). As for seeing your rioting planets, use the Global button beneath the planets spreadsheet, then Order by type. This way you should see all your planets neatly grouped together by type and event.

As for doing something about the riots, I am working on that right now. Actually it's already implemented I just haven't tested it yet so... you're all invited to try out. :D
The trick is to send some legions to that planet and use the Police button. Smiley

Any impact on the planet is generally a bad thing. But some planets are so tough to invade you may not have another option but to use heavy artillery that causes it. Also, when players are fighting each others, their planets by default have a much larger bonus (being that they have imperial level technology platform) than indigenous so taking them over will be that much harder. But if you don't have to, you will generally want to restrain yourself from using heavy impact weapons. The planet with less resources and lower technology will produce less, a planet with degenerated environment will be less hospitable and generally more crowded in the long run (this especially goes for extremely hostile worlds where people are forced to living under domes or geostationary bases). Also, killing too much population in the process is not a good thing either - it will cost more to reform as more colonists need to be drawn in from elsewhere, which will especially become obvious further away from the empire where travel costs are much higher. It will also earn you a smaller reward from the empire and the church (both of them cheering any increase in imperial population).

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Maunomau
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2010, 06:27:16 AM »

You can check your daily (and older) messages in Reports (next to Logout button).
Awesome!
As for seeing your rioting planets, use the Global button beneath the planets spreadsheet, then Order by type. This way you should see all your planets neatly grouped together by type and event.
Ooh the scroll bar is invisible :/
The trick is to send some legions to that planet and use the Police button. Smiley
Home guards won't work?   Concerned
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charon
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2010, 06:53:00 AM »

Heh yes the scrollbar is invisible (they're so ugly, I just couldn't... :D). But you can generally scroll everything that seems unscrollable just find the area with the compass cursor, then drag & drop. It's usually overlaying the icon bar (for the planets) or, for the legions, it's over the power/skull indicators.

Home guards should work for planets with smaller populations, but they might not be strong enough for the crowded ones. Like with invading planets, it's safer to use several units combined. The policing isn't balanced yet so we'll have to see how it goes, in any case the difficulty on controlling riots is set much lower than invading, so weaker units should at least in theory suffice.

You can safely use heavy-armed legions to police, as their heavy weapons will be automatically disabled.
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Rob Lach
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2010, 02:57:03 PM »

I don't think you need the titlebar with "household", a simple line break will do. the same goes for "command", no need to clutter up the space when the area's use is intrinsic to whatever is in it.
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« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2010, 05:26:11 AM »

I was going to post a lot of things, but you have planned most of them already, so I'll just say I'm looking forward to the interface improvements and a tutorial or a reference page.

I think you should add a way of relocating or choosing the location of your Ancestral Residence. Mine is in the most desolate planet of my "empire" Cry

I love the border btw.
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charon
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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2010, 04:04:13 AM »

Well... you can't move your *ancestral* residence man, I mean it was built by your *ancestors* many millenia ago what would they think of that huh?  Grin

Instead of that, you may now build palaces to gain titles (and with a title comes more charter and larger fiefdom). So if you want to become, let's say, the Baron of Alpha Centauri, you only need to claim that system, boost its prestige (or your own) to a certain threshold and there you are. (The details about it are posted on the forum, but it's going to make its way into the faq soon I hope). You may have as many titles as you want (or can afford) but of course every next title is a bit more difficult to obtain.

In the future I will add the possibility to select any of your palaces/capital systems as your 'base of operations', plus there'll be a line of icons beneath your homeworld in the status panel for each of them for easy access. Smiley

In other news, next to a bunch of small features I keep forgetting about after I've coded them, there are now fleets to build and fight with, and non-player characters/emissaries to bid for (although the latter don't really do much yet - next thing on the todo list methinks). The fleets are pretty essential - they are A LOT more expensive than legions, and not even a mass of legions stands any chance against a single gunship. So if you want to attack other player's planets you now better take care of cosmic supremacy inside the system first, or suffer massive causalities hehe.

So the game's coming along rather fine, and I think I'll have a fully playable beta within a week. YAY! Smiley Smiley Smiley
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charon
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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2010, 01:58:33 AM »

Ok, so it took a little longer than a week, but that's how things usually work out. Smiley

All the essential features are now in place, and the server's been thoroughly optimized, so it shouldn't lag and drop off any more (or well at least not as much). In a few days I hope to be able to decide if I'll have to move the game to another server, in the meantime, I'll start working on some serious manual/wikipedia.

Have fun!
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charon
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2010, 12:43:56 AM »

After a short vacation (and now another one's coming with NY&stuff approaching Beer!) the work continues. I finally managed to pile up some spare time and started up some code that I was wishing to make for some time now, just never found a space to squeeze it in, so to speak. It's a planetary landscape generator, and it's still very raw but I intend to work on it until I think it's perfect. Smiley

To look at the already generated pics use this link:

http://www.sinistersystems.com/empire/planets

Each time you refresh a new random set is generated. And uh... don't think it's blitzy this one only picks the piccies out of a cache, a single image now needs about a minute to render actually.

And, some of my favorite pics:















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