Pandor: First Contact - Just Announced Space 4X from Slitherine and Matrix


Alpha Centauri already had the minimap at the bottom right with the end turn button above it. In my opinion, the big difference Civilization 5 introduced was a smart and accessible flow throught the turn. That interface is probably what I liked the most of Civilization 5 (apart from the great presentation); I disliked some of the other core design decisions, such as one unit per tile, cities having inherent health and global happiness.

Proxy Studios, and no problem at all, it’s not my or our thread, it’s a discussion and I’m more of a guest here than you.

I’m quite proud of our interface. It’s simple, friendly and filled with tooltips, pretty much everyone I’ve seen mention it in the forums had good things to say about it. Of course there were a few that would have preferred a more involved style than what we have, the people who have a very opposite mentality to yours, but that’s just not what we wanted, we don’t think graphics should trump usability. I don’t think our interface is perfect, I won’t lie, but I think with a bit more work it can get close enough. In a perfect world it would be fully resizable and the text and images scalable to be pleasant at every resolution for everyone. Definitely not out of the question, but we’re not there yet. I think smart defaults go a very long way.

It should be $29.99.

That is a valid asumption.


I have a question about the game play. I noticed the world is not mapped out and you need to explore. This makes no sense since the start of the game is a space faring race lands on the planet. You would think they would take some pictures of the planet if not launch satellites into orbit before landing. Also the tech seems a bit backward. Why are they researching basic techs? I can see the discovery of some new alien phenomena which would spur some new tech race, but things like steel armor and flame-throwers?


I’m not saying this is the reason because I have no clue. What if the ship crashed on the planet, not giving them time to scan it? Or some other event that caused them to land in a hurry. From a gameplay perspective, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun if the whole map was revealed. Peeling back the black is always part of the fun.

As far as the armor, maybe the research pertains to how to build suitable manufacturing facilities to create the steel armor, due to the planets alien nature.

I guess this type of stuff doesn’t bother me since they could have called the armor - polycarbon trifold armor and it would still give the same benefits :-). Steel is easier to remember.


Not having everything mapped out is one of those things that you’ll have a harder time explaining, but the reason why is simple. It’s more fun to play when you don’t see everything. Doesn’t mean there can’t be an option for a mapped out landscape though.

Researching basic techs is easier to explain. The atmosphere and ground of Pandora is not the same as on Earth, so even if they know basic concepts of how those things work, they still need to adjust them to the new world and the new resources available to build them from.

For those interested there’s a preview from today on Digital Gambit, lots of story here and an AAR here.


Release day is Thursday confirmed, and that’s when the NDA will be lifted. Stay tuned.


That second link doesn’t seem to work.


So many good games coming out this month along with tons of cool movies, I feel blessed. Expecting g this to be on my list too


Others have made this point, but in the words of Col. Santiago herself:

I have often been asked: if we have traveled between the stars, why can we not launch the simplest of orbital probes? These fools fail to understand the difficulty of finding the appropriate materials on this Planet, of developing adequate power supplies, and creating the infrastructure necessary to support such an effort. In short, we have struggled under the limitations of a colonial society on a virgin planet. Until now.

Col. Corazon Santiago, "Planet: A Survivalist's Guide"


I cannot agree more. Since Civ 5 came out I have, many times, been playing another 4X and thought, “They really need to copy this aspect of the interface from Civ 5.” Never once have I thought the reverse.


Well put!


Except the colony ship IS an orbital probe. While it is orbit, take some pictures or bring a satellite or 3 with you. Launch the satellites before you land. Just roll them out the cargo bay door or whatever, THEN land.


Doesn’t civ have an option for explored land, pretty sure civ 4 had


Alpha Centauri certainly did, although in that game I suppose it could be explained by the fighting between the different factions starting on the spacecraft, perhaps making it impossible or difficult to deploy the satellites.


Right, I meant with respect to “rediscovering” technology we currently know (e.g. steel). With the planet mapping you’d have to make something up. Like Nikolaj said, maybe some sort of internal strife on board the ship, or unexpected EM interference, or a mis-calculated orbital entry… usual sci-fi jibber-jabber.


Did you miss SephiRok’s answer to your first post, which neatly shoots down any of your “NOT REALISTIC” kvetches? :) Here, I’ll quote it for you because it’s something these types of conversations invariably ignore:

But I thought it was awfully diplomatic of him to suggest it’s an option they might include later.



Just skipped through a LP video of it, and it doesn’t look like it has the wonderful hills and modifiable terrain of Alpha Centurai :(

Still, I’m sure that won’t stop it being an interesting game.


That looks like a very nice streamlined Alpha Centauri. I especially liked the limited troop customization (yeah I’m one of those tinker with your spaceships guy - stop judging me Troy). Definitely on my list for a future purchase when I have time.


I did not miss that. I do understand the decision from a gameplay point of view. However it still bothers me from a story point of view. In Alpha Centauri, the crew awoke because the space ship had suffered critical damage. Their choices were essentially where to crash on the planet for each faction.

In this game, the video shows separate, distinct ships all seemingly choosing where to land. There is no apparent emergency forcing them all to land.

In any case, there could also be some regional map information if you can’t get the whole planet. Certainly as your landing you could know have a certain radius, say 6 tiles from your landing spot to know what is out there. Anyway, it really is a story thing that bothers me. Both the map thing and the discovering basic technologies that are “beneath” a space fairing race. For example in Alpha, there was that pink moss everywhere. It makes perfect sense that you now have lots of research to do because it is the first time it is ever encountered. Yet in some lets play, they are discovering steel armor. Wasn’t this stuff discovered in the 13th century?

I have an easy out for the game devs on this one. You land on the planet and research a basic tech which is a basic geological survey. You discover a new material, Duralloy. This can be use for many things, one of them is Duralloy armor. Problem solved. Now about those flame-throwers…


Oooh, I forgot about that and forgot to look for it (I never used it very much in Alpha Centauri, for whatever reason).

I went to the main webpage for the game, however, and this is one of the features bullet points:

Shape the landscape with terraforming; construct farms, mines, forts, and other improvements to increase the productivity of your colonies or to fortify positions.”

Of course “terraforming” could mean something different here than actually creating hills and valleys, etc. I’m not sure if it means actually raising and lower and otherwise altering the land (I hope so), or if it just means the part about placing farms, mines, and forts.


Not sure if this was already posted but it looks like you can access the game manual here.