A new game and so much more in this third edition of the Stardock Community Newsletter.
In this, the third edition of the community newsletter, we have highlights on a new release, game updates and a hot new mod.
As a reminder, if you have any comments or would like to see something included in a future edition you can leave it in the comments below or as a direct message on discord.
The Video Game Machine!
We have announced a new game: The Video Game Machine
What is The Video Game Machine (imagine an echo each time)? Well, simply put it is a game for making other games. Fun idea huh? Of course, there have been a few games like it before, but this one is a PC-first title and supports multiple different 8-bit inspired genres.
With The Video Game Machine you will be able to create your own levels, scenarios, add dialogue, create triggers, change the rules and even go a step further (for the really technical) and edit the XML files directly. You can then share your game with others who own The Video Game Machine and see who has the most diabolical mind amongst your friends.
In VGM you will be able to make a game, play that game and then share it with others! All without needing to know anything about programming, bitmaps, tilesets or driver incompatibilities.
The Founder Program is live now, you can sign up and expect to get your hands on the game as soon as the 29th of May. By doing so you will also be able to help us direct the development of the game, including what future genres we add and other features that we may or may not have thought of yet.
Sign up today!
Ages of the Federation
The biggest piece of news coming from the community today is the release of Ages of the Federation. A total conversion mod for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion.
This mod is from the same minds behind the very successful Armada 3 mod. Always the fans of Star Trek they have put everything they learned about Sins into creating some of the most impressive ships brought to life in the Iron Engine yet. In fact, you might need to wait a bit as the game pauses to load in textures when zooming all the way in on a single ship.
Not just a pretty face, the AOTF mod also includes a few twists in the gameplay removing it from stock Sins including:
- A new antimatter mechanic.
- Unique damage model.
- A focus on asymmetric faction progression.
Siege of Centauri Updates 5 & 6
Whilst we are gearing up for a big refresh of Siege of Centauri the team has been hard at work pushing out feature-filled updates for early access defenders in the Beta 1 phase. Our last two big updates have added exciting new features including:
- Chronoshift - A new bullet time like mechanic for slowing down the game during critical moments.
- Reworked progression system. Tower/orbital unlocks are no longer tied to score. Instead they are unlocked by completing missions.
- Releasing new missions including Dule, Ascent and Gaol.
- Outposts are now in the game, these are buildings with no military value, but they give a big score bonus if they survive the mission.
- New music and sound effects.
This is not counting loads of new balancing, UI improvements, bugfixes and more.
Galactic Civilizations III 3.7 Update
After almost two months of feedback and work, we are proud to have launched the big v3.7 update to Galactic Civilizations III.
This patch is now free to download for all owners. Don't own Galactic Civilizations III yet? You can buy it from Steam, GOG or direct.
Today we are highlighting the work of HaomaiCL on the steam workshop for Star Control: Origins.
A couple of specific ships we would like to point out include the U.E.S. Alexander
Along with the more recent Provectus.
#3 - Stellar Parallax
In today's interview with spoke with some of the guys of the Stellar Parallax team, first is Hobbs with the text portion of the interview, second Max (GowronGaming) in the audio portion.
Listen to the interview with Max here.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into modding Sins of a Solar Empire?
Hello I’m Hobbs and I’m a member of the Stellar Parallax band of modding misfits. I’m currently working on Ages of the Federation: The Four Years War and have also done some bits and bobs on the team’s other mod Star Trek Armada 3.
Back in college I studied a diploma in Video Game design and have always enjoyed the idea and process of making games. However, I was (and still am) pretty awful when it comes to getting my head around coding and all that stuff so I guess that’s how I ended up as a graphic designer.
As a massive science fiction fan and avid strategy gamer I’ve been enjoying playing Sins of a Solar Empire since the Entrenchment days. Some very long nights playing that with mates when I probably should have been studying I’ll tell you that much!
I joined Stellar Parallax just before the release of The Final Frontier where I add a few models here and there and working on some other projects the team had. I’ve also worked on some art for the Nemesis and Uprising versions too.
However, since joining the team I’ve been pretty much exclusively working on Ages of the Federation which I would consider my baby. I’m pretty much responsible for the 2D art side of things including designing the new menus and interfaces as well as iconography and other elements like that, which ironically has involved a lot of code! In terms of the 3D side a lot of the Romulan ships are my models as well as some of the neutrals too so that’s fun.
Q: What inspires/motivates you to create?
I’m pretty unashamedly a perfectionist so I’m always pushing myself pretty hard to make sure everything I put out there is the best that I can do. After all, if I’m not happy with it chances are someone else will moan at me about it so it’s best to do it right the first time right?
Along with that I have a maaaasive passion for the source material which I’m modding and it’s nice to be around a group of people who share that insane level I guess fanaticism when it comes to Trek and science fiction in general.
But the most important thing when you’re doing something as a hobby is to just have fun with it. If modding felt like a job or a chore I would definitely not spend so much of my spare time tinkering away at making buttons or research icons or you name it!
Q: Which tools can you not do without?
It might sound corny but nothing beats a great group of knowledgeable weirdos both within our team to have fun and collaborate with, but also in the community to chat to and bounce ideas off of. There’s also a great sense of friendship between modding teams within the Sins community so it’s always good to know whatever obstacle I’ve come across, there’s probably others who’re in the same boat who can offer some advice.
I have in the past worked on a mod where a lack of this collaborative and fun atmosphere really takes the fun out of what you’re trying to make. After all nobody wants their hobby to be full of confrontation and bickering all the time.
Q: Any special request for the future of modding in games? (Sins or otherwise)
I think plenty of tools and support from the game developers and publishers is a must to get a game to really develop outside of the box. There’s plenty of games which have been released which have started out originally as modifications for existing titles and I think there’s a lot of creative individuals out there who like us like to find a creative outlet and make something fun and unexpected.
I also think that a lack of support or even when companies go as far as shutting down mods or making their game in a certain way to make mods next to impossible to make are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to creative a deep and long living community and fanbase.
Q: What challenges have you had to overcome, creatively, technically or otherwise?
There are a lot of hard-coded components to the Sins engine which we don’t have access to be able to mod which is probably our most common stumbling block. Things like AI behaviours or ways in which menus work can be quite specifically set so you lean to be quite creative in new ways to trick the game into behaving how you’d like it to which makes for some really fun and interesting challenges.
A current example which springs to mind is that we wanted to try and move shipyards over to the Tactical structure menu instead of the Logistic structure menu. Unfortunately, due to some of the way the AI is coded to behave, we didn’t realise this ended up resulting in the AI never building shipyards. Ever.
Q: What is your all time favourite spaceship design and why?
Wow that’s a tough one. Only one? Ugh there’s so many to choose from… I think I’m going to have to split this down into two choices or my head will explode.
My favourite non-Trek ship would have to be Starbug from Red Dwarf. Such a cool looking ship and I love the models shots of it landing on a planet or moon and the legs depressing and the dust being blown up from the landing rockets. Really cool colour too which makes it a bit more unique.
I guess Trek-wise it would be the Excelsior. Star Trek VI is one of my all-time favourite films and it features quite prominently in that one. I like the scale of it in that era and how it’s the pinnacle of Federation technology.
If you ask my tomorrow my choices will probably change again!
Q: Is there anything you would like to plug?
I’d just love everyone who hasn’t had a chance to head over to ModDB and give the mod a download and let us know what you think on our Discord!
Enhanced 4X Mod Playthrough by Blaan Sarge
Ages of the Federation Post Release Shenanigans