This game is not vaporware

You will all get a chance to download it for free and try it out within just over 24 hours. I will make a video tomorrow night and provide a link to download the alpha.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  1. It’s not finished – the main things missing are:
    1. No tactical combat – (that’s next!) when your ships arrive, you will be given the option to not enter combat (retreat) or to enter combat (let the AI control your fleet). Sometimes the AI will retreat anyway. IT WILL FEEL KLUNKY, but this is just a stopgap and will be replaced completely with real, actual MOO1-style tactical combat in the next alpha. Please be patient on this.
    2. Missing 5 races – The Sakkra, Humans, Darloks,  Mrrshan and Klackon are not yet done. The Sakkra are in work and will be in the next alpha
    3. Orion – the Orion and Guardian ship will be in the next alpha with ship combat.
    4. Some Diplomacy – tributes and counter-offers are not in yet
    5. Polish – many things are in the game and not yet finished: some rough animations, placeholder graphics from MOO1, etc.
  2. Lots of things, most of the original game, already works:
    1. Colony management – all in
    2. Tech research – all in
    3. Ship Design – all in
    4. Colonization – all in
    5. Transports and Ground Combat – all in
    6. Espionage and Sabotage – all in
    7. Diplomatic Treaties and Trade – all in
    8. Win/Loss conditions – in but unpolished
    9. Lots of other stuff I can’t remember
  3. It’s written in Java
    1. You need Java 8 installed
    2. No installation. Just put in a folder and double-click to start.
    3. You need at least 1GB memory on your Windows, Mac or Linux PC
    4. More memory = bigger galaxies. Up to 10,000 stars supported. However, extremely large maps (>2000 stars) still need tuning for Next Turn performance — BUYER BEWARE!
  4. I’m not a game programmer
    1. This is my first video game. It’s not an AAA title
    2. Graphics are all 2D,  just like the original game
  5. This Alpha is for June only
    1. On July 1st, the game will stop working
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Alpha update – 1 week away

No new feature work or artwork is going into the Alpha. All I am doing now is some last-minute testing to look for bugs. A co-worker friend has successfully loaded the game onto his $35 Raspberry Pi 3 and played a bit with it. There are some incompatibilities in Linux with the sound, but if we find a fix for that it will be shared.

I will be out to town for a 4-day weekend starting Friday, so I literally have just 4 nights to tweak the game before the Alpha starts. In other words, it’s almost set in stone at this point.

I hope to make a final “How to test” video on Tuesday night, as well as a list of features that are included in this version of game and those tentatively scheduled for the next alpha.

Anyway, I want to express in advance my appreciation to anyone planning to test the game starting on June 1st. This is a part-time role for me, and there is a finite amount of testing time I can give the game while I am also developing. I look forward to a month of fixing bugs that I’ve never seen and seeing shortcomings in features I never thought of.

Please use the subreddit at http://www.reddit.com/r/rotp to post any issues or questions concerning the alpha. I really want to consolidate the discussion into one location, if at all possible. It will make my life easier!

There is no ship combat yet, so this game will not really feel like the original MOO since that is such a critical feature to the game. Hopefully we will successfully cross that bridge in the next alpha.

There is also no in-game help. However, the target audience for this game is MOO1 players so hopefully you guys will already know your way around the game. There will eventually be a real manual for the game when we are done, but that is a long way off.

On a related note, mouseover tooltips are dinosaurs and the comet is about to hit. Please don’t ask for them!

Currently, the game takes up about 170Mb in space. The size of save game files will range from 40-50K (for the tiniest maps) to about 5-6Mb (for 2500+ star maps with 15 empires).  Also,  don’t forget to have the JRE for Java 8 installed on your PC. That is required for the game to run.

The game supports touch screens and should work  fine on any Windows, MacOS or Linux PC. It runs within a window using an 8:5 aspect ratio that automatically sizes to fill your screen. Currently it is not resizeable. I’m sure everyone will hate that, but resizing will have to wait until the next alpha, I think.

ROTP requires a MINIMUM of 500Mb of Java heap memory to run. What is “Java heap memory”, you ask?  That is the memory your PC allocates to a  Java program when it starts up. The default is for a PC to allocate up to 1/4th of the PC’s total memory. That means  my 8GB notebook allocates 2GB of heap memory to the game when it starts up. That’s a LOT: far more than the maximum map uses in my testing. Please note that the game doesn’t use all of that memory at the start, it represents the maximum amount of memory it’s allowed to use before the PC tells it “you’re out of memory. Crash now. ”

However, if you have a PC with 2GB (or less) of memory, it may not allocate enough memory to the game for it to play.  Fortunately, there is a fairly easy way around this which allows you to override the default 1/4th and allocate as much heap memory to the game as your PC can spare. My friend with the Raspberry Pi 3 (which has 1GB of memory) has it allocate 500Mb to the game. So if you have a PC with 2GB of memory or less, please look out for special instructions on how to run the game with more allocated memory.

Also  remember that the game will “expire” on July 1st — meaning that it will not start up. There really is only 30 days to play the alpha. Mainly, I do not want such an incomplete version of the game floating around the internet indefinitely.

Lastly, if there is someone you know that might be interested in this game, NOW is the time to let them know. Call, text, tweet, post, or whatever you need to do. Every user who tests the game now makes it better for everyone who plays it when it’s done.

That’s the end of my stream of consciousness. This posts was much longer than I expected.

Meklar Council image

This one is almost done! Just a little tweaks and polishes left. This is the last piece of artwork going into the alpha. After this, we will probably start the artwork on another race — we’ve been sitting at 5 races (of 10) for far too long. That will be scheduled for a subsequent alpha where we’ve added ship combat.

Meklar_Council_23

 

Alpha Update – two weeks away!

The Alpha is on schedule to start in 2 weeks, on June 1st. It will last until the end of June. This will be an open test; there is no signup. All you need to do is:

  1. Have Java 8 installed on your Windows/Mac/Linux/Solaris system
  2. Download the game executable (about 180 Mb) from this site on June 1st
  3. Run it and start playing. There’s no installation wizard.

That’s about it. This game is being written in straight Java, so you don’t need any special video card or drivers. The first alpha last year ran successfully on a Raspberry Pi 2, so I’m curious if the updated version will as well.

The game will run in windowed mode at an 8:5 aspect ratio and will automatically resize to fit your monitor. I’m not really sure about memory requirements but I would not be surprised if it runs poorly on less than 4G, at least for the larger maps. My development laptop has 8G with a hi-dpi display (3200×1800).

This is an alpha, which means the game is not feature complete. There will be things missing! When it is feature complete sometime next year, I will start a beta test. This is what is currently missing.

  1. Tactical ship combat
  2. 5 remaining races: Darlok, Human, Klackon, Mrrshan and Sakkra
  3. Random Events
  4. Orion system / Guardian ship
  5. Empire rankings display
  6. Game difficulty options at setup
  7. Custom dialogue for races
  8. In-game background & lore
  9. Some diplomatic options:
    1. Offer/Demand Tribute
    2. Ask Empire to attack another empire
    3. Ask Ally to join war
  10. Lots and lots of artwork
    1. The 5 remaining races
    2. Ship icons for tactical combat
    3. Technology discovery icons
    4. GNN artwork
    5. Sabotage artwork
    6. Game Over artwork
    7. Many miscellaneous animations

As you can see, there is a lot left to do. The most time-intensive task will be the artwork. I expect each additional race to take at least 8 weeks apiece — that’s 40 weeks right there.

What this means is that there will be several subsequent alphas as the game moves forward before we get to a beta stage. The game will not be rushed, so we should have plenty of time to incorporate alpha test feedback into the game. Once the dust from this alpha test settles, I’ll put out an updated project schedule.

For those MOO1 fans who are waiting anxiously for this game, all I can say is that we will do this right but it will take time. There’s no realistic way to speed up the project faster than it’s going now. From a scheduling perspective, the only person on the person who needs to be working full-time is our illustrator, and he is doing that.

 

 

 

A game with 20 races

I’m testing the “Race Multiplier” features with a  x5 multiplier on a Small map. This results in a map that starts with 20 empires (including the player) on a map of 126 stars.

About 60 turns into it, I can see 8 empires on the map and have already received one GNN message of a race exterminating another.

Here’s a screenshot of the map. I’m placing the Psilons in the lower center. The “Granitoid” empire is selected (a copy of the Silicoids). Particularly worrisome are the 2 yellow empires and the 1 red empire above me. They are all bear races and have already allied with one another.

RaceMultiplierMap

You can also see the new optional memory usage tracker in the lower right corner. I’m using that to better monitor memory issues as the game progresses.

Here is the embassy list from the same game. It should give you a better idea of the variant race names being used.

RaceMultiplierEmbassy

There are a few visual glitches to work out since I have never tested with this many races before, but I think everyone knows by now that I am not afraid to show a work in progress!

My goal is to get the memory improvements in the game by the Alpha so that you can conceivably test a game with 50 empires.

 

Double Ludicrous Map

For those players who like epic, galactic-scale battles with dozens of empires, I am implementing a “race multiplier” feature that will allow you to specify, for example, “up to 5 empires for each race”.

These will be different empires and grow outward  from their home planets, and will interact with you as separate empires.

And since map sizes are directly affected by the number of empires, doubling the empires will effectively double the galaxy size. Below is a “double ludicrous” map where a  “times  2” factor has been applied to a Ludicrous map size.

This has resulted in the 4400-star, 500-light-year across, monstrosity below. No one except sado-masochists should ever, ever try to play a game like this. But if you really wanted to, I am pretty confident that Remnants of the Precursors, with its MOO1-inspired mechanics, is probably the only game you’ll ever be able to pull it off with.

This is what I am using now to test extreme memory and load situations.

DoubleLudicrousMap

 

Edit: I should have included a shot of what the Setup Galaxy UI looks like for this feature. Here is a sample below, showing an Average galaxy with 4 opponents (5 total races) times 20:

AverageMapx20