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Nyphur  [developer] Mar 19, 2017 @ 6:36pm
Official Singleplayer Mission Feedback/Ideas Thread
Hey guys,

We've just released V0.9.7.0 and activated the first Singleplayer Mission in the Predestination storyline. You can play this mission after updating your game to by pressing the Singleplayer Mission button on the main menu. I'd like to use this thread to give some background for the mission, a brief overview of future missions still to come, and to collect feedback on the singleplayer mission system.

The core game mode in Predestination is the sandbox mode (accessed by clicking New Game on the main menu) in which you play the survivors of a ship that was sent back in time and crash-landed on a habitable planet, and there are multiple victory conditions. We're also developing a full storyline campaign, which is split into two story arcs:

The first arc: This story arc happens before the Revenant war and depicts the events leading up to the temporal disaster. Each race will get one mission tell the story of how it reached space, interstellar colonisation, and diplomatic contact with other races. This is a progressive story, so some of your choices such as how you choose to interact with the other races will have an impact on further chapters.

The second arc: This story arc deal with what happens to each of the races after being sent back in time. There will be one mission for each race again, and a final mission that concludes the story and sets the canonical ending of the game.

The Kazzir Story:
The mission you can play right now is the first mission in the first arc, named The Kazzir Story. It follows the story of the emergence of the Kazzir Corporate Directorship, the industrialisation of the Kazzir homeworld, their eventual race to space, and their first contact with alien civilisations. If the Kazzir aren't your favourite race in Predestination, remember that both story arcs will get one mission for each race so there are more to come after V1.0.

This mission is intended to be a simple introduction to the pre-warp gameplay without being a direct tutorial. It guides the player slowly through the pre-warp phase and uses story to tie all of the gameplay elements together. There's no failure condition in this mission, but without spoiling anything I can say that your choices toward the end will affect the gameplay in future missions.

Mission Tools:
Hopefully the Kazzir mission will give you an idea of the kinds of things we can do with our mission system, but it's only scratched the surface of what's possible. The whole mission system has been designed to load information from flat files so that it's fully moddable, and we can do some pretty awesome stuff with it. I'd like to quickly discuss the kinds of tools we have at our disposal when designing missions:

  • Conversation System: The heart of the mission toolset is the Conversation system, which allows us to write a dialogue between two races and pop up options for players to pick. This is a highly adaptable system! This shows a diplomacy-like screen with one of the races in the mission. As you'll see in the Kazzir mission, we can choose to display the Scientist, Diplomat, Soldier, or all three in any frame, and can give them custom names. Each scene can also just display an image just like in the intro sequence, so you can use it for cutscenes or showing the player something, or your race showing the other race something.

    The Response system lets the player choose between multiple different options during a conversation, and it lets us do some awesome things. An option can unlock a special mission-only technology, for example, so we can assign bonuses or new ship modules or buildings to particular options. Each option can also trigger a victory sequence, or a failure sequence, or another conversation file -- this lets us do full branching dialogue as you can pick an option and it loads the appropriate dialogue file for that option it. Responses can also have points attached (though right now you don't get a points screen to show you how many you got), and they can trigger mission stages.

  • Mission Objectives: The mission data file lists all of the stages in the current mission. Each stage can be triggered by a particular response in a conversation or by completing another mission. Every stage has a list of objectives, and each objective consists of a condition like having more than 3 Ore Refineries or having less than 2 Fossil Fuel Power Plants. The objectives actually peek into the game variables to find the stats you want so you can specify literally any variable in the game if you know where it is and what's it's called.

    We can do pretty much anything we like with the mission objectives. They can be set to optional so that you don't fail the mission if you fail that objective, and they can have special rewards like free technologies and points. They can be given deadlines of a certain number of turns to trigger the condition or you fail the mission, or can also be set up as "survival" objectives where you have to last for X turns without triggering the condition. We've also set up a special class in the game code called GameStatistics that we pull information from, so we can do more complicated things for our missions like looking up how much of the homeworld is explored.

  • Memory Events: Another major feature we've added is the ability to create Memory Events attached to certain choices, such as the choices at the end of the Kazzir mission. These events are recorded in a file in the same place your save games go, and future missions can look up the list of all the memory events you've triggered!

    This can lead to complex storylines where your decision to help or hinder a race in one mission can lead to consequences in another when you come to play that race. I don't want to spoil anything, but the Kazzir mission uses memory events to determine which option you selected at the end of the mission and we will be using that in a future mission.

  • Galaxy Setup: We can specify practically every aspect of the game setup in a text file, from basic galaxy parameters to custom modifications like disabling wormholes, removing the Revenants, switching the map to 2D, even changing how frequent temporal rifts are. We can specify which races are in the game and modify the resources on their homeworlds, and we can also specify what seed value to use for the galaxy so every player gets the same version of the galaxy.

  • Intro Sequence: Before each mission, we can play an intro sequence similar to our game intro sequence or victory sequences. That's a fully controllable slideshow of images with text, music, custom shader effects, and optional voice narration.

  • Unique Technologies: Each mission has a special file containing unique mission-only technologies, and files containing unique buildings, infrastructure, weapons, and ship modules. This is all totally customisable. We can also limit the tech tree to any number of eras (for example, the Kazzir mission is limited to only the Pre-warp era), and can modify the tech trees any way we like. We could even build completely new tech trees for one mission if we want, and different trees for each race.

  • Unique Ship Designs: You can include your own ship designs and parts in a mission, and there's a mission setup option that will disable all of the standard ship designs so it only uses the ones you supply. We used this and some new placeholder modules to let the player select between designing a Camera Ship, War Ship, or Ambassador Ship in the Kazzir mission. This could be used for missions where you might want to have new ship designs carrying unique weapons, like a massive death star.

    Future Additions:
    We'll be using this system after release to develop both episodic mission arcs discussed above and some special challenge maps. In addition to this, there are a few features that we'll be adding in the near future that you'll be glad to know we haven't forgotten about:

  • Main Menu Overhaul: The "Singleplayer Mission" button is just a temporary way for you to test our first prototype mission, you'll be glad to know this isn't the final user interface. We'll be overhauling the entire main menu screen before release, including adding a panel to browse through the singleplayer campaign and easy options for loading any of your save games and toggling various options.

  • Points Award Screen: After the Kazzir mission, you're currently just dropped back to the main menu. In a future update, we'll be adding a points awarding screen for after you win or lose a mission with a rating for how well you did and a high score chart so you can keep track of your performance.

    I may have forgotten a few things to include here, but that should give you an idea of what we can do with the mission system now that it's built, and the Kazzir mission should give you an idea of how a basic mission works.

    Please use this thread to post any feedback of both the Kazzir mission and the mission system discussed above, or feel free to post any ideas you have.

    -- Brendan, Lead Developer
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Showing 1-2 of 2 comments
Ravenleft Mar 24, 2017 @ 5:45am 
I just finished a fast playthrough of the Kazzir story. Crashed twice (sent crash reports with descriptions) when starting it. I think both crashes were due to me being able to click on buttons/dialogs before everything was fully loaded.
Once started I was able to finish the story without any further issues. I had the tax slider maxed out by the end...not sure if that's a balancing issue or if it was due to mission bonuses to morale? (I avoided all options with negative morale and picked some options with + to morale).
Nyphur  [developer] Mar 24, 2017 @ 11:10pm 
Originally posted by Ravenleft:
I just finished a fast playthrough of the Kazzir story. Crashed twice (sent crash reports with descriptions) when starting it. I think both crashes were due to me being able to click on buttons/dialogs before everything was fully loaded.
Once started I was able to finish the story without any further issues. I had the tax slider maxed out by the end...not sure if that's a balancing issue or if it was due to mission bonuses to morale? (I avoided all options with negative morale and picked some options with + to morale).
Thanks for sending in the crash reports, I've found a few crashes that can happen on the singleplayer mission dialogue and should have a patch out for them soon. We've also spotted a graphical problem with the way the background is being drawn incorrectly on some resolutions, but are having trouble replicating it.

Regarding the tax slider, 100% is definitely achievable as we changed the algorithm to a straight -10% morale per 10% tax rate and reduced planetary GDP amount to compensate. A combination of a few Broadcast Towers and bonuses from the mission selections could provide +50% or more, and negative morale problems only really kick in below 50%. If morale is this easy to manage in the sandbox game, we may do a balance pass and tweak the morale penalties or entertainment centre, but for the case of this mission we don't mind it being easy to get high morale/tax.

-- Brendan, Lead Developer
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Showing 1-2 of 2 comments
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