Last week was a big one. On May 22, we unleashed Galactic War, Planetary Annihilation’s single-player mode. Since the opening hours of its launch, many of you have annihilated and explored the mode’s procedurally generated systems. You’ve discovered oodles of new abilities and tech — and maybe even unlocked a loadout or two for your next adventure.
One of the goals of Galactic War was to create an engaging meta-game that layered even more interesting choices and decisions into Planetary Annihilation. When should I take out this Faction Leader? How can I do it without, say, advanced orbital? Should I toss my storage capabilities in favor of Advanced Bot capabilities? These are the questions we hope you’re asking yourselves as you play.
This isn’t the last you’ll hear about Galactic War. This week, we’re working on fixes and tweaks. We’re also going to be smoothing out the difficulty curve so, as you play, you encounter bigger systems and more difficult battles. We also have plans to add in something called “Hardcore” mode, which sounds as delicious as it is.
But, Wait, There’s More!
A single-player experience wasn’t the only feature the Galactic War Update introduced. As you’ve probably noted, we also added voice-over to the game. VO, in general, is an important component. VO has the ability to alert you to things you’d otherwise may or may not notice. But, more generally, it delivers information.
With the voice, we wanted something that sounded firm and in control. We didn’t want a voice that was too excited or intense, as that tends to be grating or numbing after a couple of hours. We think we hit a good balance. We also wanted to make sure we had an enormous amount of alternate lines. All said, about four hours of audio were recorded. Most of it made it into the game.
We also added a new hotkey system. Earlier today, our executive producer Adam talked about the design requirements we had for the system:
- All items should be buildable from the keyboard so you don’t need to move the mouse back and forth between where you place things and the build bar.
- The same key sequences should deterministically build a given unit, regardless of selection of fabricators/factories, so you can commit the the key sequence to muscle memory and stop thinking about it.
- Just as common key sequences are important, common visual locations are import for people who prefer to use the mouse.
- The interface should visually represent what keys could be pressed, so it can teach people how to use the keys.
- A spectator on Twitch should be able to see what key was pressed so they can know what was built even if it happened quickly.
- Key sequences should be short and easy, especially for the most commonly built items.
- Queuing up multiple units at a factory should be fast.
- The design should have some capacity for expansion and modability.
- Avoid collisions with RTS standards, like A is Attack and S is stop.
And those are just the requirements — you should jump into the thread to get a look at how we designed the system. We’re also actively looking for feedback, as we polish it up.
And, finally, the Galactic War Update will give you more modding capabilities. Chris wrote an great post the other day in the modding forum, shedding a bit of light on what we have in store for all of you. Very exciting stuff!
And Now For Some Questions
When will there be a single-player mode?
Right now! Enjoy!
When will we be able to save a private game with just AI and play offline skirmishes (and save them)?
This is something we’re still thinking about and working on — and the same goes for pausing Galactic War games. We’ll get you details as soon as we can.
Are the Commanders completely autonomous or is there a human or alien in there?
That’s a great question. Commanders are sentient machines. Humans, as far as they know, are gone.
Have a great week, guys, and be on the lookout for an update or two in the near future. Feel free to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or our forums! Also, if you have a question send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org!