Wow, I did not realize that it’s been 18 days since my last post on this blog. I have been very busy working on the final features needed for the private alpha test, and spending a lot of time testing the game and the AI.
Speaking of the alpha, I think the code will be ready in another 2-3 weeks, but there is probably still about 6-8 weeks of artwork remaining. This includes UI elements as well as the Galactic Council and GNN artwork. The December estimates of the alpha being done by April are off by around a month because code & artwork took longer than expected, and plus a few more weeks because I decided to roll the GNN artwork into it as well. It’s okay, however, since the project is still progressing very well.
The Races UI is essentially done. This is possibly the most important UI in the game because it gives you all of the information you have gathered on your AI opponents.
There are 4 sections that you can easily tab through:
- The Embassy pane – this is your primary contact with the other race. You can see how much they like or dislike you. And, more importantly, WHY. You can bring up their diplomat for a chat, and you can see how they feel about other races or who they voted for in the last council election. If you have no active treaties, you can also now withdraw your ambassador (like they could to you) if you don’t want to talk to the other race.
- The Intelligence pane – this is where you tell your spies what to do, and see what technologies the AI knows. From here you can direct your spies to Hide (gather info safely), or commit acts of Espionage or Sabotage.
- The Military pane – this gives you an idea of the size of their fleets and shows you any of their current ship designs that you have encountered so far, via scanning or combat.
- The Map pane – this shows you the size of their empire on the galactic map, how many colonies they have and how large their population is. You can also select on individual systems and see the population, factories or bases last counted by your spies.
Below is the Embassy pane. The player is the Bulrathi and he’s looking at the Alkari embassy. Please note the Diplomatic Events list. This is a scrollable, detailed list of exactly what things are affecting relations with you, good or bad, and how much.
Please note that the race icons are still in work. They have replaced the old flags.
Here is the Intelligence pane. Their technologies that you do not know are show at the top of each category’s list.
Below is the Military pane. Here you can see the overall size of the Alkari fleet (counts by hull size), as well as a scrollable list of their ship designs that you’ve encountered — sorted with the most recent at the top. This is data that the player could see in the original game through scans, but never made available for him to review later.
And finally, the Map pane. Here you can select on an AI colony (or yours, of course) and see known information about that colony as well as the overall size of the empire. This is handy to know when council votes are coming up!
I have worked really hard to present all of the information that the player needs in a clear, presentable format while maintaining the spirit and look of the original game as much as possible. I feel really good about where this part of the game is at.