Dominus Galaxia -- MoO 1 spiritual successor; free game build and KickStarter.

Hello Quarter To Three!

I’m making the 4X game Dominus Galaxia, which is something of a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 1. I’ve been a long-time lurker here, so I know that there are a number of MoO 1 fans present. Honestly, I would have posted something sooner except that I’ve been waiting until I have something special to share with you guys.

And now seems as good a time as any. I’m planning on launching my KickStarter on the 6th, so I checked with Tom to make sure it’s alright to promote it here, and he gave me the go-ahead. To go along with the KS, I’m releasing the latest beta version of the game for free, no restrictions. This is about four years of my life right here :)

EDIT: KS is live now!

While the lineage from MoO 1 is pretty obvious, I see it as more of a starting point. The general concept here is: “What might MoO 2 have looked like if it had followed more closely in the design philosophy of its father?” Besides that, Dominus Galaxia has a number of customisation options, such as optional star-lanes.

And of course, there is tactical combat. Turn based, hex based, and stack based. Kind of 1/3 MoO 1, 1/3 MoO 2, 1/3 it’s own thing. There’s support for more than two sides in a battle, and battles can be auto resolved from any point.

Networked multiplayer is also planned, but for the moment there is just hotseat support.


KickStarter is live now!


And the beta build is here:

Paging @BrianRubin

I’m aware, guy is on my Discord. ;)

Welcome here, Jeff. So it seems from your video you’re a fellow survivor of the Star Lane Holy Wars, huh? What regiment did you serve in? I was with the Star Ruler 2 Battalion back in the day. :)

I don’t know how unusual it is to make a full build freely available during a Kickstarter campaign, but that’s a solid way to demonstrate confidence in what you’re doing! Good luck with the campaign and thanks for keeping us updated.

-Tom

Done! Good luck!

Can we get a link to your discord?

Sure!

Every once in awhile I just add a feature on a whim. I probably need to stop doing that. Starlanes were one of those, since I figured it would be easy enough, and would radically alter the feeling of the game in a cool way.

I was right on one of those counts :P

Internally all that star lanes do is increase the travel distance between points that aren’t connected via a lanes. Kind of like passing through slow nebula. Internally though, this is basically invisible to the AI and the rest of the game logic. It doesn’t have a concept of “this is a starlane,” it only thinks “these edges are pretty large, and these are pretty short.” And the behaviour can even be edited in a config file. So, the default is 4x slower outside the star lane network. But you could put any value there, or even put in a value <1 so that star lanes become the slower option. There’s a ton of cool stuff that is exposed in that kind of manner.

While initial support was easy to add, it ended up exposing a bunch of edge case issues that weren’t often visible without such weird geometry, and it’s that which took a decent chunk of time to fix. Counter-intuitive, but at least it let me kill two birds with one stone.

From a practical standpoint, playing with star lanes helps give each map a more unique and personal feel. Maps feel like they have geometry. Exploration definitely feels better. But the overall pace does suffer a bit. It’s not really any better or worse. I think if we didn’t let fleets travel outside the star lane network at a slower speed it wouldn’t work nearly as well though. I like playing with the lanes just a bit more, so they’re enabled by default.

Besides star lanes, DG has a number of strategic terrain features. Slow nebula, as is tradition, and also blocking (can’t be traversed at all) nebula, stealth nebula (which also impacts sensor LOS. Eg. if you have stealth nebula between a fleet and a colony, that colony won’t see the fleet), and wormholes that (optionally) have specific up and down times.

It’s somewhat related, but you can also drop your own bitmap files into the maps directory to load your own map shapes. The galaxy generator will make sure everything just works and is reachable. One of my favourite shapes is just having a number of separated islands. The generator knows to connect them with wormholes.

(I could talk about the galaxy generator for days. For example, it can see if certain stars are difficult to reach and, if so, increases the chance of making them special in some way. Unlike MoO 1 which would regenerate the map if it didn’t meet certain criteria, DG’s map generator will tweak the map after the fact until it does, and you can change the behaviour of starting positions in the data files.)

To be honest, while the terrain does add to the game and makes it better, in hindsight I think there are much better things that I could have spent my time on. I’ve probably spent 20% of my time on terrain features in one way or another, and I don’t think that adds up to a 20% improvement. Everyone says that lack of terrain in space is one of the biggest weaknesses in space 4Xes, and at the time I thought so as well. But now I think that pales in comparison to the disadvantages of using a tiled strategic map as most terrestrial games need to… but that’s a tangent for another time.

You know, I keep hearing about SR 2 but I haven’t actually played it yet. I very much need to, because there’s one person who seems to, unfailingly, point out to me that “SR 2 already did that.” Whenever I think I come up with an idea I think is unique.

So, for example, relationship values in DG aren’t really meant as an indicator of how an AI feels about you, because otherwise, that kind of breaks when you have multiple human players and AIs in the same instance. At the same time, diplomacy modifiers are interesting from a narrative standpoint, and help to create those, you know, emergent plot points. So in DG, relationship is the overall standing between two empires driven by outside events and a bit of randomness. A good relationship makes trade and research treaties yield higher but also makes both sides more vulnerable to one another’s spies – and vice versa. The AI is still kind of blunt about how it takes relationship into account to be honest, and I’m not even sure to what extent it would be a good idea to make it less blunt from an immersion standpoint (eg. less role-playing, more playing-to-win). But I’m leaning towards having a toggle or a slider control the extent to which AIs role-play versus attempt to play like humans.

Anyway, this is just a long way of saying (I’m truly terrible at going on tangents) that the entire “good relationship = mutual benefit + mutual vulnerability” is supposedly something SR 2 already did. If even half the stuff I’ve heard about that game are true, it’s a shame it sold as poorly as it did.

Yeah, I’m sure it’s been done a few times. I’m less sure about a build that’s this substantial and/or non-restricted. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else has tried it though.

Sold!

I suggested to some devs of some other games to create a contour map based on gravitational strength of stellar masses, and make travel times faster or slower depending. Except that IRL the strength of gravity falls off pretty dramatically over short distances, and you would only really notice any changes if you were really really close to a planet or star. Pffffffffft, damn you, physics!!

No reason the travel time couldn’t depend non-linearly on the gravitational field strength!

Liking what I see in the beta build. I’m a slider guy. Like that you can set a limit on number of missile bases, and that you don’t have to build pop transports or tankers! By bolstering a colony you can select what I believe to be how safely those colonists will arrive by choosing a risk level, cool. And I like that planets are treated as planets and not as dinky cities.

Don’t see how to edit existing ship designs - want to dump those heavy lasers from colony ships.

Some of the exit buttons are a little fiddly, for me anyway. Which brings up my question @jeffgraw what are the system requirements for the graphics of the final build?

I will definitely back this if it will run on my toaster.

Like with MoO 1 there isn’t support for refitting. I think that generally helps with depth since choices are less significant when they can be undone. That said, I also think that a lot of people have come to expect it as a feature, so that its absence becomes noticeable. I’ve been mulling over a way to satisfy both sides, such as keeping track of scrapped ships and using those hulls to discount new production, and defining refitting that way.

Shouldn’t be too high, although the game doesn’t like certain integrated GPUs very much. I’d say anything post-Core 2, and most any discrete GPU post GeForce 200 are generally alright, if not always ideal. However, I do want to improve the performance (especially) on lower end machines come release.

You could have new models have a production ramp up time so the first x ones are slower to produce.

There’s a Diablo-esque crafting component to ship design where you fill out a design like you do in MoO1/2, and then you enter some parameters and invest some credits into the design. X turns later, the design completes but is somewhat changed. I think this probably puts sufficient traction on switching ship production to new models already.

What I haven’t done yet, which is related to this, is adding sabotage spy ops where you can try to throw a monkey wrench into another empire’s ship development, so that a ship class comes out with lower stats. The spying system is very recent, but going forward I want to add a lot of variety to mission types like that.

Wow, this looks amazing! Great job so far!

Thanks a lot! Itch.io page is officially open to the public now.

I’ll be interested to see how this component turns out as it is one I’ve thought about a number of times.

Which component? Crafting?

Ha, sorry. I meant to quote it. Yes, ship design where you aren’t in full control of the development. Also considered a whole hidden defect/bonus thing that can only be discovered from using the ships.

Oh yeah, that could be interesting, although I have something sort of similar planned. Basically, the idea is that when you first encounter a new ship class it looks like a blank slate… after interacting with it more (eg. fighting it) you begin to uncover its stats. And the more you fight it the more effective you get at killing it. Espionage would play into this as well, so you could also sometimes get information without needing to go into combat. And allies would share information in general.

Besides just being, I think, really cool, and giving players something to “explore” later in the game, I think this would lend well to a lot of strategic situations. Making huge fleets of cheap ships to appear stronger than you are? Being careful when to use your new designs so as to keep them hidden (and therefore strongest when finally revealed)? Even when to build new ship designs seems like it would become a much more involved question.