Hello everyone, Alpha 4 of Remnants of the Precursors is now available for download and testing. For those new to the project, this game is intended as a strict feature clone of the original Master of Orion game from 1993. Standard disclaimers are that this is an alpha and that you are the testers. This means that not all features are present and also that you will find bugs.
Update: You can download version 4.12b of the game (Remnants.jar, 361Mb) from:
Join the discussion in our growing subreddit at: www.reddit.com/r/rotp
It is my hope that the game is playable and enjoyable and that bugs will be resolved quickly. This Alpha 4 release will iterate through several fixes and minor enhancements, and remain publicly available up until about two weeks before Alpha 5 is released. Although saved games for previous alphas are no longer compatible, I will make every attempt to not break saved games for this version. However, I cannot guarantee that since there’s always some chance that a critical bug will appear that requires a change that breaks saves.
What’s changed since Alpha 3
The Mrrshan race – Added to the game. This is mostly artwork and writing. It takes over three months to create the current set of artwork for a race since there is very little artistic overlap between the races. The purpose of this is to create a unique feel for each race. The same approach is taken with the writing as each race currently has a unique introductory background and advisor text.
More languages – The base game is in English, but we also have “full” translations for German, Greek and Polish, and partial translations for French and Spanish. There is also a Hungarian and Russian translation in work. The “full” translations may be missing some translations for user interfaces that have not been redesigned yet: Ship Design, Map, Sabotage, Races, Credits and Galactic Council.
Additional UI redesign – the following user interfaces have had their graphical redesign completed: Load/Save Game, Setup Race, Setup Galaxy and Tech. We are now at the point where over half of the user interfaces have been redesigned.
New Ship Combat UI – the previous Alpha had a very basic user interface for ship combat that simply showed combat results. This has been replaced with an early version of the UI that will eventually be used for tactical combat. Players will now have the ability to watch their ships fight if they like, although all of the graphical effects and ship icons are placeholders. However, players will now have the ability to choose whether they want to retreat ships from combat instead of letting the AI decide for them.
More efficient data structures – The huge performance improvements made in Alpha 3 laid bare a lot of inefficiencies with some underlying data structures that the game used to represent things like ship fleets and star systems. These structures have been drastically overhauled in order to allow the game to use memory more efficiently. It is reasonable to believe that these changes introduced ugly bugs that will need to be fixed, and some of these may break saves. These are precisely the kinds of things we need to fix in Alphas!
Outstanding Alpha 3 bugs – I believe that most outstanding Alpha 3 bugs are fixed, although two found very recently (a cloning bug and one regarding ship maintenance cost) were not reproduceable because of my inability to properly recreate an Alpha 3.20 development build to work with the saved game files I was given. This is totally my fault and I hope that these bugs can be found again in Alpha 4 so that I can fix them.
User preferences retained – A minor change, but user settings for things like Sound, Music, Language, etc will be remembered each time you start the game.
Remnants of the Precursors is designed to be playable on any Windows, Mac or Linux PC. It is playable on systems as small as a Raspberry Pi Zero with 512Mb. It is a Java application, so you will need to have Java 8 installed on your system.
My recommendation is to create a special folder in which to keep the game. Once you have downloaded the it (Remnants.jar file), simply double-click on the file to start it with Java. If for some reason you need to start the game from the command line, you can type:
java -jar Remnants.jar
All saved game files will be stored in that same directory and have the *.rotp suffix.
There are two special files you may see in this directory:
Remnants.cfg – this file keeps the configuration settings. It is a text file and safe to view, but please do not manually change the values as this might create unexpected behavior in the game.
recent.rotp – this is the saved game file that Remnants uses to keep track of the current game being played. Every time you hit “Next Turn”, this file is updated immediately and then again after the game has finished playing the turn. If any bugs occur during the Next Turn, this is the file I will need to debug the problem!
How to Test
In general, just play the game and have fun. There is a “Difficulty” setting on the Setup screen that you can set to “AI”. If you do so, then the AI will play most of the game for you. You will occasionally have some input, but not a lot. This is a good way to play a lot of turns very quickly, but it’s not very fun!
If the game gets an error, you will generally see a very basic screen with text explaining what to do. Generally, you would just take a screenshot of the text and email it to me along with the recent.rotp file (grab it right away!).
If you see something weird that’s not a crash, send me a screenshot and the recent.rotp file. If this error is during the Next Turn, make sure you close the game WITHOUT finishing the turn in order to keep the recent.rotp from being updated at the end of the turn.
I know I also say this a lot, but remember that the Remnants subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/rotp) is where I am trying to centralize discussion about the game as much as possible. This makes it a lot easier for me to see and respond to bugs and questions since it’s all in the same place. If you subscribe to the reddit, you’ll see it in your reddit feed as well.
What’s coming in Alpha 5
This is the tentative feature set for the next Alpha. There is no scheduled date currently since I need to get a feel first for how much time the artwork will require. If I had to guess? March-April 2018.
Turn-based Ship Combat – players will be able to tactically control their ships in turn-based combat
Ground Combat Death animations – when soldiers die, you’ll see it. This was originally planned for Alpha 3 but pushed back due to schedule constraints.
Additional User Interface redesigns – planned for the next alpha are the Ship Design, Map, and Galactic Council UI. Maybe another if time permits. Ship Design was planned for Alpha 3 but also pushed back due to schedule constraints.
Thanks again and have fun!