September 2012 blog archive

This page contains all the blog posts from september 2012. To read the most recent blog posts, click here.

30/09 - Wars

Wars are the final campaign submode. Every week, 4 wars will be generated, allowing 4 pairs of races to fight against each other. The battlefield looks like any other campaign, with a number of encounters that are available to the player. The difference is that the availability of the encounters is not controlled by the player's progress, instead the total score of both races determines how deep into hostile territory one of the races has managed to advance. The score of each race is the sum of all individual scores of the players fighting for this particular race. A player's score goes up the more encounters he completes, the points rewarded for each encounter then depend on the difficulty level as well as the overall progress of the war. On top of that, defenders receive a small score bonus compared to attackers.

Players can repeat encounters as many times as they like. Each encounter has a specific theme (it could be a base with a large number of structures in play, or it could be flagship or carrier fleet, etc), but beyond the this theme, the contents of each encounter is randomized everytime it's played.

When the week is over, players are rewarded with 4 cards (if they supported the winning race) or 2 cards (if they were on the losing side). The rarity level and upgrade level of these cards is determined randomly, but the more points a player has, the better the odds of cards being elites or upgrades (or both).

23/09 - Random encounters & campaigns

Random encounters was the last mechanic to be added to the campaign gameplay mode. Everytime a player completes a storyline mission, there's a chance that a random encounter appears on the map with a limited lifetime. The contents of such an encounter is a randomly generated elite challenge that includes several cards with randomized abilities - i.e. cards that are not part of the hardcoded cardset. These random encounters are thus quite unpredictable, but players are given some hints regarding the primary race of the deck and any environments that might be active during the duel.

The next step up from random encounters is an entire campaign made up of such encounters. The random campaign generator allows the player to set up the size, overall difficulty and the races of a campaign. Each mission in such a campaign has the normal droprate for random encounters (which is generally relatively high), and on top of that the final mission has a guaranteed card reward. The upgrade level of this guaranteed reward depends on the size and overall difficulty of the campaign.

One more campaign submode remains to be added : the weekly Wars - these are similar to the event idea from HD:S.

16/09 - Player-created campaigns

The campaign builder is now complete. It allows players to create campaigns with up to 25 encounters that can be set up in great detail.
These campaigns are then stored in a database, from which other players can download and play these campaigns. A few small things remain to be set up and tested before the downloading and playing part is complete. This process is similar to player-created challenges, but due to the size of a campaign (basically up to 25 times the average challenge), you can't expect a player to complete a campaign in a single gaming session. So, when a player loads a campaign made by another player, it gets stored on the savegame allowing it to be continued where-ever the player left off, at a later time.
Also similar to challenges, when a player has completed a campaign, he's given the opportunity to vote for this campaign. When browsing available campaigns, players are shown the average score of all campaigns.

09/09 - Campaign builder

The basic campaign framework has been completed and added to the HD:X alpha. This allows the game to turn the campaign data structures into fully working campaigns, ranging from the view of the environment map and the location of mission encounters to the actual setup of the type of duel each encounter contains.
In the end it's a rather complex element, since every aspect of a campaign and all its encounters needs to be editable. This would make adding in campaign data manually a near-impossible task, so the HD:X alpha currently only has a very basic campaign to test out the framework. At the same time, it makes the campaign builder all the more powerful, since this piece of code will be able to edit every aspect of a campaign.

The campaign builder is still in its very early stages, as the amount of editable elements of a campaign translates to lots of buttons and sub-screens being required. Most of the editing of the campaign builder itself is focusses on the campaign map, where various environment and ship or structure icons can be used to set up the location where a campaign takes place. The actual AI encounters will be using the two challenge editors which are already in-game. While they'll be needing some adjustments to work in tandem with the campaign builder, these editors can basically make any kind of AI setup possible. The only thing a player couldn't do with the challenge editors, was adding environments to the duel and this will now become possible for campaign mode as well.

02/09 - Campaign basics

Work on campaign mode has begun : for now, the focus is on getting the layout formats for the main campaign screen as well as for the galaxy and sector map into the game.
A campaign is basically a single sector map with a number of objectives in it. The hardcoded campaigns that come with the game (one for each race) will be made up out of several sector maps. For the purpose of testing the layouts and basic campaign mechanics, a dummy campaign will be created.

The plan is also the create the campaign builder early on and use it to build the racial campaigns, this will guarantee that when this builder is made available to players, that it is actually capable of generating complete campaigns. The only difference between player campaigns and game campaigns is that player campaigns are limited to a single sector map.