Frequently Asked Questions

This forum is for general discussion of all topics related to Galaxial.
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StuartMorgan
Developer
Posts: 92

Frequently Asked Questions

Post#1 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:48 pm

Gameplay

What is this game?
Galaxial is a 2D grand strategy game (4X) set in space. It features a sandbox mode allowing the player to explore, colonize and conquer planets in vast randomly generated galaxies.

What features will the game have?
The features include:

  • Thousands of ships and many hundreds of colonizable planets in a single game.
  • Colonize new planets with each type of world having unique strategic bonuses.
  • Explore the galaxy to discover valuable planets and asteroid resources.
  • Mine resources from asteroids to build planetary facilities and new spaceships.
  • Protect your empire from enemy factions and raiding pirates.
  • Diplomacy system to form relations or declare war with other factions.
  • Take manual control of any of your own ships.
  • Assign ships to squadrons and task forces, allowing them to fly in formation and work together to deal with threats.
  • Hundreds of individual ship modules including various weapon types, electronic warfare, shield/armor repair and propulsion upgrades to specialize each ship and enhance their abilities.
  • Research new technology to unlock new ship designs, modules and empire wide bonuses.
  • Customizable ship, engine trail and turret colors to make your ships look unique.
  • Full modding support for user made ships, weapons, items, factions, colonies and research.

What resources are there in the game?
  • The main resource for building is metals, which are mined from asteroids. This asteroid ore must be processed at a refinery before they become useful to build with. Wreckage from destroyed ships can be salvaged using specialized ships for extra metal resources.
  • Credits are needed for doing most things in the game and are accumulated from high population colonies. Colonies require enough food to grow.
  • Research data is needed to build the most advanced ships and modules.
  • Ships will also require crew and in some cases troops, which both need to be trained.

Will there be multiplayer?
Multiplayer is not planned at this stage. All my effort is focused on creating a great single-player game.

Which games inspired you to make this?
EVE Online, X3, Sins of a Solar Empire, Total Annihilation, Europa Universalis

Will it be moddable?
Yes. Most things in the game can be added or modified very easily using XML files.

Development

How many people are working on this game?
Just myself.

How long have you been developing this game?
Since January 2012. Working on the game part-time for much of that.

Technical Questions

What platforms are you going to release for?
Windows. I would like to port the game to Linux and Mac after the initial release if possible.

How do you develop this game?
Everything is programmed in C++ using my own OpenGL based engine. Third party libraries I use include:

  • Parallel Patterns Library (concurrency)
  • FreeType (fonts)
  • LibPNG (images)
  • Expat (XML parser)
  • OpenAL (audio)
  • LibOGG/Vorbis (audio files)
For creating all the graphics in the game, I use Adobe Illustrator.

What will the minimum system requirements be?

Minimum
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
Dual core CPU (Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon64 X2)
2 GB RAM
256 MB dedicated video RAM
2048 x 2048 maximum texture size.
OpenGL 2.0 compatibility
Hard Drive ~500MB
1280 x 720 Minimum display resolution

Recommended
Quad core CPU
512 MB dedicated video RAM

I regularly test the game on a fairly old system: AMD Phenom X4 9950 (4 core), Geforce GTX 260, 2GB RAM
Anything close to this should run the game perfectly with hundreds of planets and many thousands of ships.

Release

How will it be distributed?
I would like to distribute the game via Steam and directly from the games own website. Possibly through some other digital distribution sites as well.

Will there be DRM in any shape or form?
Absolutely not, if you buy through the games website.

When will it be released?
I am aiming for a late 2015 release. I hope to have a beta (release candidate/pre-order) version ready shortly before the full release, but I don't have an estimate for when this will be yet.

Will the game be free?
No

How much will the game cost?
I don't know exactly yet. Probably somewhere in the $20 / €20 / £15 region.

User avatar
woutpet
Posts: 1

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#2 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:44 pm

Really looking forward to this!

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DevildogFF
Posts: 2

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#3 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:04 pm

Anything in particular stopping you from going full time on it? I'm sure publishers like Iceberg Interactive would jump on this one...

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StuartMorgan
Developer
Posts: 92

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#4 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:26 pm

DevildogFF wrote:Anything in particular stopping you from going full time on it? I'm sure publishers like Iceberg Interactive would jump on this one...

Having a life! :D I've been gradually spending more and more time on Galaxial, so should be full-time very soon.

Iceberg have contacted me in the past. I decided to go it alone, fund the game myself, self-publish and have complete freedom. I'm not really convinced having a publisher would be that beneficial.

User avatar
Teal
Posts: 2

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#5 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:58 pm

Hi Stuart,

Have you looked into/considered a kickstarter?

I think with the progress you have so far, and some example videos, that space game/4x fans would go nuts for this :)

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StuartMorgan
Developer
Posts: 92

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#6 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:46 pm

Teal wrote:Have you looked into/considered a kickstarter?

I am quite a motivated person, but I would worry about getting payed for the game in advance could make me lazy.

Think I'm past the point where it would actually be helpful now, Galaxial is going to get finished anyway. Running a successful Kickstarter campaign would need to be a huge effort and distract me away from developing the game.

Will probably do some sort of pre-order beta access as it gets nearer to the release.

User avatar
Dan
Posts: 33

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#7 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:24 pm

StuartMorgan wrote:
Teal wrote:Have you looked into/considered a kickstarter?

I am quite a motivated person, but I would worry about getting payed for the game in advance could make me lazy.

Think I'm past the point where it would actually be helpful now, Galaxial is going to get finished anyway. Running a successful Kickstarter campaign would need to be a huge effort and distract me away from developing the game.

Will probably do some sort of pre-order beta access as it gets nearer to the release.


A kickstarter would give some nice exposure, but I see what you mean. But this made me curious, what are the features you are currently working on and still need finishing to be able to release the game?

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StuartMorgan
Developer
Posts: 92

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#8 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:58 pm

But this made me curious, what are the features you are currently working on and still need finishing to be able to release the game?

Hmm, that's a tough question. I will need some time to come up with a roadmap with everything that's left to do...

Right now I'm working on an idea to massively speed up rendering and increase the amount of objects. Experimental stuff, so may or may not work :roll: Worth trying though.

Also some code tidying up to do, after adding all of the finished menus.

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Wrymn
Posts: 20

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#9 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:54 am

Hehe adding more objects :)

I think even those 15k+ active ships in map is really impressive :D I don`t know whether they are rendered all the time or when the battles are off screen the battles are just math (no bullet spawning, effects etc.), but even then, 15k is really, really good from the developers perspective.

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StuartMorgan
Developer
Posts: 92

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#10 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:39 pm

Wrymn wrote:Hehe adding more objects :)

I think even those 15k+ active ships in map is really impressive :D I don`t know whether they are rendered all the time or when the battles are off screen the battles are just math (no bullet spawning, effects etc.), but even then, 15k is really, really good from the developers perspective.

Battles off screen are really fast in Galaxial thanks to multi-threading and they don't get rendered. Individual bullets/missiles still spawn and are updated.
It's the battles you are viewing that can become a problem and can only manage a few hundred ships on screen.

That's not too bad, but it bothers me because I could add a lot more details if it was faster. The CPU overhead from the amount of draw calls is the biggest bottleneck in the game and its not an easy problem to solve in these sort of 2D games.

Cliff (Gratuitous Space Battles developer) seems to be having similar problems as well: http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/2015/0 ... cy-issues/

User avatar
Wrymn
Posts: 20

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#11 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:20 pm

Hmm is it possible, I know it is hard, but sprite batching could greatly reduce the amount of draw calls.
I am certain you already know and are familiar with it and surely have considered it :)

But again, drawing 100 ships in one draw call per frame instead of 100x per frame, would greatly increase performance. And I think OpenGL supports that.

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StuartMorgan
Developer
Posts: 92

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#12 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:52 pm

Wrymn wrote:Hmm is it possible, I know it is hard, but sprite batching could greatly reduce the amount of draw calls.
I am certain you already know and are familiar with it and surely have considered it :)

The problem is most objects in Galaxial need decent quality alpha blending and transparency, so have to be rendered in the correct order. Very few draw calls can be batched when doing this.

I'm trying a different approach using 2 passes and the z-buffer to allow good batching, but not sure its going to look as good.

User avatar
Wrymn
Posts: 20

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#13 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:12 pm

StuartMorgan wrote:
Wrymn wrote:Hmm is it possible, I know it is hard, but sprite batching could greatly reduce the amount of draw calls.
I am certain you already know and are familiar with it and surely have considered it :)

The problem is most objects in Galaxial need decent quality alpha blending and transparency, so have to be rendered in the correct order. Very few draw calls can be batched when doing this.

I'm trying a different approach using 2 passes and the z-buffer to allow good batching, but not sure its going to look as good.



Isn`t z-buffering mostly used in 3d ? Also wouldn`t ships that are far away look, yeah kinda unprecisely drawn? Sorry I am no expert at this , it`s new to me xD

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StuartMorgan
Developer
Posts: 92

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#14 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:38 pm

Isn`t z-buffering mostly used in 3d ?

Technically Galaxial is 3D
It's just that everything is rendered as textured quads rather than triangle meshes. But they still have 3D depth positions.

Polygon Mode:

Image

I haven't needed z-buffering until now as the scene is rendered in order using the Painters Algorithm

User avatar
Wrymn
Posts: 20

Re: Frequently Asked Questions

Post#15 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:26 pm

StuartMorgan wrote:
Isn`t z-buffering mostly used in 3d ?

Technically Galaxial is 3D
It's just that everything is rendered as textured quads rather than triangle meshes. But they still have 3D depth positions.

Polygon Mode:

Image

I haven't needed z-buffering until now as the scene is rendered in order using the Painters Algorithm


Wow How did you get the view of the frame like scene? Have you created your own engine UI editor? Or this is just in game look via some code?

Also aren't triangles better for rendering since some GPUs aren't supporting quads?

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