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Stardock Game News

Take to the Stars Episode Eleven: Manuel Valencia

Published on Monday, October 16, 2017 By Tatiora In Offworld Dev Journals

From the desk of Manuel Valencia
CEO, Icarus Investments Contractor, Seneca Inc.

Losing Icarus Investments was a blow, and by most accounts should have been the end for me.

Lucky for me, my mama ‘didn’t raise no quitter,’ as the saying goes. It took some time, and more than a little convincing, but I finally found someone who didn’t see my previously failed venture as a bad thing, but rather a stepping stone into something greater. I preferred being my own boss, but joining Paulo Rubini at Seneca, Inc. wasn’t a terrible alternative.

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Take to the Stars Episode Ten: Silas Critchton

Published on Monday, October 9, 2017 By Tatiora In Offworld Dev Journals

From the desk of Silas Crichton
CEO and Founder, New Meridian Corporation

Antarctica was nothing compared to this.

Yes, I used the “frozen north,” as my assistant liked to call it, in order to run trials of what would be necessary to sustain life on Mars. While my research was successful and my findings accurate, I wasn’t fully prepared for what it would actually feel like when I finally got here. 

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Conspicuous Consumption DLC for Offworld Trading Company is Now Available

Published on Monday, October 9, 2017 By Island Dog In Offworld News

Conspicuous Consumption brings cosmetic
upgrades for advanced buildings

Add some flare to your game with custom art, animations, and audio lines.
Check out the changelog at the bottom of the post to learn more about the update!

Check out the new building versions:

  • Hacker Array: Well, it ain't Vegas, but it'll have to do. Take your chances and make luck your mistress while styling the goofy roulette version, or embrace the retro feel with an old-style radio tower. 
  • Offworld Market: The colors, Duke, the colors! Launch your goods offworld and hope the popsicle rocket doesn't melt, or change to a sleek retro rocket to make your opponents envious of your sweet ride.
  • Pleasure Dome: Disco Inferno, baby! Tear up the dance floor inside a giant disco ball, or leave your platform shoes at home and enjoy some space burgers at a retro-styled diner. Just...don't order the special. 
 
  • Optimization Center: Careful not to burst anyone's bubble while you optimize your resources in a silly bubble machine, or give your opponents a little shock with the retro-styled Tesla coil.
  • Patent Lab: Research some science inside a giant Rubik's cube (we DARE you not to get distracted trying to match the sides!), or get ahead of your opponents in a building that looks suspiciously like the robot's head from "Forbidden Planet."

Take advantage of the Stardock Community Discount and get 10% off when you buy direct from us!
Available for purchase on Steam 

To learn more about Offworld Trading Company, visit www.offworldgame.com

 

Changelog:

Patch 1.16.17762 adds 4k support and a large number of UI optimizations to Offworld Trading company. The team also continues to support the game with balance, stability and performance updates to continue to improve the game for all players.

Balance

  • Increased profit from Elite Pleasure Domes by +50%
  • Return Claim black market now gives 2 items
  • Patent time penalty is lowered with >4 players.
  • Lowered base market demand slightly

Fixes/Perf

  • Fixed some AI sabotage bugs and AI is less likely to target human in Practice Challenges
  • Fixing built-in mods failing to register on start up
  • Buying out an unfounded player no longer gives them shares after they found
  • Fixing bug where loading a map doesn't check if a mod is required.
  • Fixing replay's overwriting previous match history
  • Fixed an issue where some text elements were not updating due to being enabled and disabled in one frame
  • Disabling claim canceling in the last two tutorials to fix a bug related to doing that.
  • Fixing strange map number return on the infinite challenge screen
  • Fixing issue with lobbies not refreshing properly because Steam thought we were still in a mod
  • Optimizing Tile network message performance by 2x
  • Reduced network message sizes by 50%
  • Loaded games now wait for the loading screen to finish before progressing
  • Optimizing AI found performance by 2x

UI

  • Added 4k support
  • Game Option size is no longer hard-coded
  • Fixed random prices bug, added warning when player has X% of the money to buy you out
  • Added Options Toggle for muting the menu music when application is out of focus
  • Made location nodes on io appear less blurry
  • Adjusted ceres lighting fog
  • Made sure Banner Notification scales uniformly as it animates in and out
  • Fixed splotchy outline text on banner notifications by scaling uniformly
  • Added higher poly version of io
  • Adjusted scaling for glowing text on tutorial check buttons
  • Adjusted "Compare Players" text to scale correctly in the charts and graphs screen
  • Added layout element to pagination text on daily and infinite map challenge pages so they  scale properly
  • Slight adjustment to Infinite Map Challenge updating leaderboard current page (so it stays the same when a button is pressed, and switches to first page onEnable)
  • Fixed scaling issues for the auto sell indicator and the espionage arrows
  • Patents now highlight for perks in campaign mode
  • Clicking on the Infinite Map Challenge Leaders will now take you to that map number
  • Mod dropdown menus now have tooltips so users can read long mod names
  • Adjusted credit text and unity image to scale with larger monitors
  • Changed width of object so the help button (campaign screen) would display onscreen in 1920x1080 and other resolutions
  • Fixed alignment of banner notification text
  • Styling Loading Screen progress bars
  • Adjusted auto sell icon to scale with aspect to prevent squishing
  • New text-tutorial info regarding placement of scientific buildings on ice (text provided by Dorian)
  • Fixed tooltip blocking map number for infinite map challenge

Why Space?

Published on Thursday, October 5, 2017 By Tatiora In Press Room

To Boldly Go
Why Stardock Loves Space Strategy

Stardock has a long history of strategy games set in space. Starting with the original Galactic Civilizations back in CEO Brad Wardell’s college days all the way to the more current Galactic Civilizations III, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, and Offworld Trading Company, we have continued to bring the stars to 4X fans everywhere.

But, why is outer space so alluring to our Michigan based studio? It’s a question we're asked a lot, one our devs are more than happy to answer. 

“I think people like the idea of being out there in space,” said Paul Boyer, the lead designer for Galactic Civilizations III. “They just want to go out there and explore. And when you find that great world, that perfect planet that you uncover...that’s what [you would] call a ‘second of fun.’” 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation lead designer Callum McCole says that making games set in space is “very useful for designers.” The flexibility to make units feel different to each other as well as visually intuitive is possible because while some things in science fiction are influenced by reality, there is plenty of room for creativity and application of the imagination. 

While some designers enjoy the wide possibilities offered by pure sci-fi, others prefer an approach that’s more familiar to people. The CEO of Mohawk games and lead designer for Offworld Trading Company Soren Johnson got his start with games based in history (Civilization IV) and tends to stay a little closer to proven science. “I’m not really super comfortable as a designer making up this brand new fiction from whole cloth,” Johnson said. “I wanted Offworld to be - even though it’s set in the future - pretty grounded, which is why we set the game in the solar system. It’s attached to things that people know.”

“Sometimes it’s a question of ‘how can we fill a role that the game needs?’ but we also want something that’s unique and isn’t just a larger version of existing units,” said McCole. “That is the good thing about sci-fi is that you don’t always have to think about the physics or the realism. You can do what you want and what’s good for other parts of the game without having to stop and think about whether it’s realistic or not.” 

All of the designers at Stardock agree on one thing, though: it’s all about what makes gameplay fun. While some level of realism is considered when determining what kind of resources are required to build something within the game - for example, needing thulium for certain types of weapons in Galactic Civilizations III - ultimately those types of design decisions are of secondary importance to the question of, “is it fun?”

Stardock has been making space strategy games for over 20 years and we're not stopping anytime soon. We continue to release DLC for our most popular space titles and we're also working on Star Control: Origins, a long anticipated continuation of the beloved Star Control series. 

To keep up to date with what’s happening here at Stardock, you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook, or check out our games blog here.

GalCiv III: Beyond version 2.6

Published on Monday, October 2, 2017 By Frogboy In GalCiv III Dev Journals

Greetings!

So the team is starting work on the next major expansion pack.  But we also want to keep an eye on the base game.

Right now, the recent Steam reviews for GalCiv are pretty awful with most of the people reviewing it doing so because they don't like some of the changes in v2.5.  So if there are changes you would like in 2.7 and beyond, this would be the place to ask.

The Steam review system is something I have and will continue to complain about because frankly, it absolutely destroys games.  When it's less than 70, a game might as well not exist.  So I'll be explicit, if you want us to keep working on GalCiv III, please leave a Steam review.  If not, don't. If you already have, thank you!

As many of you know, I am AI biased. But I know I'm in a minority because there is another space strategy game outselling GalCiv III and, suffice to say, AI is not its focus. 

It is clear that narratives in games matter.  GalCiv has a quest system ala Fallen Enchantress/Sorcerer King.  But we have tried to avoid doing that because we don't want the game to be a series of scripted narratives.  We don't plan to change that position in the base game but we are looking at releasing DLC that will do that if players want it. 

Now, the next major expansion pack focuses on politics and government.  So we'll set all that aside for now.  Otherwise, it's all open. What would you like to see?

Star Control: October 2017 update

Published on Monday, October 2, 2017 By Frogboy In Star Control Journals

It's been a year since we posted the last big public update on the new Star Control.

Last year, we began the Founders Program!  Thank you all that joined.  In the next two weeks, we will be ending the Founder's Program as we prepare for a public Beta program.  If you want to join the Founder's Program it's not too late yet.

A new tier

Right now, we have Founders and Lifetime Founders.  Both get access to our internal vault of stuff.  Lifetime Founders get everything we ever make for Star Control: Origins.  Those who are standard Founders get Star Control: Origins and everything we release for a year after.

Development schedule

Our original release date was going to be November 2017.  That's exactly 25 years from the release of Star Control 2 (The Ur-Quan Masters).  Some design changes we made have extended the development time (which I'll be talking more about soon) but we will be releasing the Super Melee beta in time for the anniversary.

Some screenshots

 

image 

Super Melee in action

 

CommanderClose image

In engine, animated, voice synced conversations with aliens and of course the commander of Star Control.

 

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Design your own ships, share them, and fight with them either against the computer or your friends online or on the same PC.

 

STC_sc01_sh0140_000 

The writing team, led by Cracked.com's Chris Bucholz, has a compelling sci-fi story that is also very much in the style you expect from a Star Control game.

 

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We are working on a host of tools that will make it easy for people to create their own universes to share and play in.

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Explore worlds for minerals, Precursor artifacts, hidden bases, and more.

We will have a lot more information in about two weeks!

Take to the Stars Episode Nine: Sam Moreno

Published on Monday, October 2, 2017 By Tatiora In Offworld Dev Journals

From the desk of Sam Moreno
Manager, Reclamation, INC.

I always thought that working with a bunch of people mired in debt would be one of those jobs where I ended up hating everyone and just went home to the bottle every night. These people were supposed to be degenerates who had to pay back society so that they could have their lives again. I was supposed to look down on them.

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