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    Firgof Umbra
  Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:25 pm
Member

Buy the game...
At Impulse!
At GamersGate!
At Direct2Drive!

And if you're feeling really appreciative...
donate to us directly! (It's at the bottom of the page; please buy the game first before donating!)

Well, what is it?
A 4X/RTS by Blind Mind Studios (our studio's first game) that's currently in development and is due out August 21st.

Official Trailer


Screenshots



So what do you do?
Ensure the survival of your species through whatever means you see fit. You have access to a full suite of resources to help you do so from creating new ship designs to specifying how you would like your Empire to expand to managing your empire's diplomatic policies.

As you play you'll unlock new technologies in a dynamic web, find unique phenomena, participate in huge battles, manage a complex and powerful diplomacy system, and design and modify your ships and strategies. Empires will declare war on you, your scientists will discover breakthroughs which can put you well ahead of your time, you can outfit your planets, stations, and stars with highly advanced technology and turn your stations into roving dealers of death.

The Galaxy will change, with or without you, and it's your job to make sure that your species is there to see it through.

Interesting, but can I get an actual feature list?
  • A fully customizable and new experience each time you play:
    • A dynamic, 5 to 700 (or beyond 4000, with powerful rigs) system, procedurally-generated galaxy, which may be altered over the course of the game (create and destroy stars, planets, and other interstellar phenomena; turn stars into powerful platforms, etc.)
    • Bring Your Own Ship (Choose their components, sizes, the AI which governs them, and their scale (from the size of a boat to the size of the whole galaxy))
    • Create your own race or choose from a set of races which ship with the game.
    • A research web which shuffles every playthrough
    • AIs which adapt to player actions by modifying their ships to counter yours
    • Complex diplomatic interaction between empires and races
    • Rich, diverse, planets whose type, size, number of moons, and other characteristics vary.
    • A directional damage system which makes how you build your ships important
    • Save and load your custom ships and settings to your profile for easy importation and exportation.
  • Extensive mod support
    • Almost the entire game is modable by an editor as simple as Notepad
    • Built in tools to ease mod creation including: Particle System editor, and Model configurator.
    • Example mods and scripts which ship with the game to provide scripters and modders an easy way to see how modifying Star Ruler works
    • Smart use of AngelScript allows users to create entirely new gamemodes, gameplay, and online experiences
  • Lots of Meat for your Carnage
    • Massive ship battles fought in real-time with particle effects and location-based damage
    • Ships whose individual components can be compromised, destroyed, disabled, repaired, and renovated
    • Catastrophic failure of critical systems (such as a fuel tank exploding near a munitions cache which detonates, damaging the ship's power supply and control systems, leading to the failure of life support systems and imminent crew death if the ship isn't rescued or if the crew can't repair the systems in time)
    • Subsystems such as Bulkheads and Coolant Systems which modify internal components, adding that extra 'oomph' or extra bit of armor to protect against the exploitation of critical systems in ship designs.
    • Fully simulated newtonian physics
  • Co-Op, Team/Objective based play, Competitive play, and Single play (Skirmish)
    • Up to 4+ players playing simultaneously, with drop-in-drop-out compatibility
    • Supports both internet and LAN play
    • Standard server controls
    • Seamless transitioning: Multiplayer games can be saved and then played in Singleplayer and then brought back up in Multiplayer.
  • Easy to use interface, complex gameplay.
    • Planetary governers which intelligently govern planets using a simple, easy-to-use, language which may be modified on-the-fly by the player to quickly and efficiently manage their entire Empire without much of the micromanagement typically involved; allowing the player to set their assets up and step in to directly control them without them getting in the way.
    • Ships have their own fuel stores, power supply, and et cetera.; all represented in a very visible, easy-to-read, format along with visual cues to keep the focus on the battles, not the numbers.
    • Numerous easy-to-use interfaces which provide quick solutions to specific problems, all of them moddable by the player for maximum comfort.
  • Much more to come!
    • As time goes on, more and more features, graphics updates, and so on will be added to Star Ruler. We won't be satisfied until we're the best in the genre.

You're selling this for how much?
$24.99 USD / £16.35 GBP / €18.99 Euro

Okay, and will this have DRM?
No. Our company belief is that DRM is: too intrusive, too easily defeated, too hardware/software-error prone, and too much of a time-and-effort investment to be worth it; especially when that time and effort could be spent on adding value to the game.

System Requirements
Minimum (lowest tested):
Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, 7
CPU: 1 Core, 2.0 GHz, SSE2 Support (Pentium 4 and higher) System Memory: 512 MB
Graphics Memory: 256 MB
Graphics Driver: OpenGL 2.1 or better
Screen Resolution: 1024x768 or Higher
Free Hard Drive Space: 500 MB

Recommended:
CPU: 2 Cores, 2.5 GHz
System Memory: 1024 MB
Graphics Memory: 256 MB

Recommended for a flawless experience:
CPU: 4 Cores, 2.5 GHz
System Memory: 1024 MB
Graphics Memory: 512 MB

Links:
Star Ruler Wiki (Still under construction)

GameSquad Interview ( July 17, 2010)

The official Star Ruler website on Blind Mind Studios

You can contact me directly at:
firgof@blind-mind.com
Skype: firgof
Steam: FirgofUmbra


Last edited by Firgof Umbra on Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:06 pm, edited 18 times in total.

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    Tindy
  Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:09 pm
blahblahblah
User avatar
Sponsor


Location: Pittsburgh
It's damned pretty, I'll say that. Is there a story or is it a straight sandbox game?

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    Firgof Umbra
  Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:18 pm
Member

Thank you; it's not even close to how pretty it will be by the end. :)
We'd like stars to have crepuscular rays
Crepuscular Rays

and 3d textures and flares erupt on their surfaces, planets to have their atmospheres disrupted by incoming fire, changes to the planet texture based on what you build on the surface, creeping nightlights that expand as the population for the planet expands... et cetera. There's a lot of graphical improvements we're really looking forward to implementing. Unfortunately, a lot of our time is going into making sure the gameplay is up to snuff so it'll be a little bit longer before the real graphical power of Star Ruler starts coming through.

Quote:
Is there a story or is it a straight sandbox game?

We're undecided at this point in development. It is an ongoing debate among the devteam. Basically, we don't want to tack on a story if we don't think it'll work well. Add to that we don't have a dedicated writer. I could still try my hand at it but if we do write a story it'll be about as loose as you're used to seeing in RTSs. We just don't have enough personnel to really make a great, tight, story to go with the game. Maybe if we make an expansion we'll have a proper story.


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    para.Dox
  Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:39 pm
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I'll be a dedicated writer if you need one. I'm a huge fan of the RTS genre, space games in general, and a pretty decent writer if I do say so myself. Name your poison, and I'll feed it to you. If you want some form of submission as to prove my calibre as a writer, I'd be more than happy to do so.


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    Firgof Umbra
  Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:49 pm
Member

para.Dox: Submit a writing sample to thyreaper@blind-mind.com with 'Star Ruler, Writing Sample' as the subject.


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    Firgof Umbra
  Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:00 am
Member

I've added some screenshots of the latest build of Star Ruler to the main post. Check 'em out. :D


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    Axerax
  Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:54 pm
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Member

Not enough Jar Jar Binks.


J/k looks pretty cool, don't see many games like this on this site, good job :)

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Kailis Topic: http://www.hbgames/forums/viewtopic.php?f=78&t=63810


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    Firgof Umbra
  Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:09 pm
Member

The next wave of beta tester applications have been processed.
Those who got through: see you in space soon. Those who didn't: keep tryin'.


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    Velocir_X
  Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:00 am
You are a whore...
Find yourself in Jbristianity!
(totally ripped off Scientology)
User avatar
Member


Location: In Bed
I got accepted :D
Awesomeness here I come...


So how close is this beta to the final product?


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    mawk
  Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:17 am
User avatar


I know we've talked a lot about this thing on irc, but I guess I should go on record saying that this is incredibly cool and I feel lucky that I'm able to catch it in the middle of production and watch the final product evolve. this thing seems like it's got a ton of potential, and I can't wait until it's actually out on the market.

why are there so few posts in this thread? it's the only game on this forum that seems like it's actually going anywhere.

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your freedom's in a bind
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    Firgof Umbra
  Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:20 pm
Member

Haha. Well, maybe everyone's just waiting for the next Teaser to show up where I start showing off our gameplay assets. It should've been up already but it's been continuously delayed by a lack of certain key assets which we feel would make the teaser incomplete without; namely the full terrakin ship asset list. We have our old placeholder models but they're not very impressive compared to the new designs.

I'd like to show off some of the new improvements like the completely brand spanking new camera system (the other one we felt was just a bit too 'old-hat' and 'stiff', so we just threw it out and completely rebuilt the camera rig) and other things that we may or may not be putting in due to potential motion sickness (star/motion blur, etc.) but its hard to do that in screenshots.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, mawk! :D


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    ama55
  Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:42 pm
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Location: Ohio
only skimmed this topic, but I'm impressed. I like the idea personally. How are you designing your planets and what software? I am somewhat experienced in planetscapes using photoshop so I was interested in how you managed to make them.

Looks good

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    Firgof Umbra
  Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:33 am
Member

Thanks! Our planets have three layers of information on them on three separate images; a bump map, specular map, and a diffuse (color) map. Also there's a nightscape map for planets that are colonized. To create these maps we used a combination of Photoshop, GIMP, and CrazyBump.


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    Firgof Umbra
  Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:05 pm
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New screenshots are up.


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    Firgof Umbra
  Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:07 pm
Member

http://www.moddb.com/games/star-ruler/n ... -to-mature
Our first news article! :D


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    Firgof Umbra
  Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:04 am
Member

Okay, more ships. More ships. More ships. ... MORE ships. Not a few. MORE.
Image
Okay, stop ships. STOP SHIPS. STOP SHIIIPS!
Image
FFFFFFFFFFFF


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    Firgof Umbra
  Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:26 pm
Member

Here's an interesting question for you guys:
How do you like your UIs? In particular, what games do you remember having really easy-to-use UIs and had features you'd like to see in Star Ruler?


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    Firgof Umbra
  Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:29 pm
Member

Hm. Apparently, people don't have much of an opinion on GUIs. Oh well.
So: Any questions anyone has about the project, the team, the software we're using, etc.?

(By the way, congrats to the latest wave of testers who were accepted into the closed beta)


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    Firgof Umbra
  Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:52 pm
Member

Image


From the beginning, Star Ruler was designed to be accessible to modders. In this article, we'll explore the impact of that choice from two perspectives: impact of modability on development, and the advantages modability brings to the end users.

It was an early choice to design Star Ruler with support for modifications, as that's how I personally got most interested in game design and development, and I wanted to give that opportunity to people that are just becoming exposed to game development. This choice has had significant impact on the rest of the design process, both positively and negatively, although the positives vastly outweigh the negatives.

Starting with the negative side of mod support, everything in our engine will be exposed to circumstances far beyond what any of us can envision, requiring code which is resilient to all sorts of input errors as well as other strange things that modding may cause. We don't know that ships will always leave a system under their own power, or that planets always need people, or that stars will be stationary. Many of the shortcuts that could have become available without support for modding simply aren't options.

Additionally, we have extra difficulty in designing the user interface as we try to balance design complexity on our end with support for things modders (or even we) may make use of, thereby saving time for modders whom won't have the same difficulty during their development.

On the other hand, these design requirements have also benefited us as we got farther along in the development, because the engine already supports things we didn't even know we would eventually be adding, and allows us to very rapidly code things that had already been planned, as well as quickly and easily change many elements of the game.

Looking back at the decision to support modification, I'd make the same choice. While supporting that decision has made development more difficult, the extra difficulty truly comes from programming the engine in a way that is far easier to maintain as time passes, and the design requirements limit the times where a quick solution wins out over a long term solution.

Star Ruler from a Modder's Perspective
Star Ruler's modding starts with its data files. These files are in a plain text format, so any text editor with the ability to export plain text works. Data files consist of Key:Value pairs as an attempt to maximize both human and machine readability. Each data file specifies base data, or a relationship between the base data and the mechanics of the game. Here's an example of a Sub System definition.

System: MediumHull
Name: "Standard Hull"
Description: "Standard hulls provide the necessary support structure to equip components, and some moderate damage resistance. They provide a middle ground between strength and speed."
Appearance: MediumHull
Tags: IgnoresScale, Hull
Available: Techs.ShipConstruction.Level > 0
Level: floor(Techs.ShipConstruction.Level)
Size: Object.Size
Durability: Size * progress(20,0.5,Level)
Mass: Size * 20
Costs: Metals[100 + 50 * Size], Electronics[50 + 10 * Size], AdvParts[20 + 4 * Size]
Provides: DestructsShip

All the blue text is the keys, and the remainder of a line is interpreted based on the key. All the mathematical expressions are evaluated via algebraic order of operations whenever an instance of the Sub System is created. The Provides line adds gameplay effects, specified elsewhere, to the Sub System, optionally with variables that define the effect's behavior. Also of importance is the costs, which can be named anything – adding a new resource is as simple as referencing one that doesn't already exist – which ties into the more general system of object states.

For non-data files, we use the C++ style scripting language AngelScript. This language is used for the GUI, custom effects system, and AI, and it may be expanded elsewhere in the future. A great deal of the engine is exposed in this language, and very little is impossible to do. While learning this language gives a modder far more power to create his or her vision, plenty of modding can still take place in the data files, or by editing clearly described variables within the code files.

To make mod creation as easy as possible, mods can make use of as much of the base game – or any mod – as they chose, overriding parts as the creator sees fit. We also plan to support meta-mods, which could function independent of the base mod (e.g. a new GUI window), or act as options or small modifications to larger mods.




All images are "Works In Progress" and are not representative of the final product. All ship models, images, and in-game screenshots used in this news article are the property of Blind Mind Studios and the team members and contracted individuals who created them (listed on the About page); they may not be redistributed without permission. To seek permission, contact us; if you are a member of the press, please indicate as such!


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    Firgof Umbra
  Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:56 am
Member

It's been a while since we updated around here. Here's what the game currently looks like: (click on images to head over to our gallery if you'd like a bigger view!)
Image
Image
Image
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    Firgof Umbra
  Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:35 am
Member

Updated the Features list to show off all the features of Star Ruler. :)


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    Firgof Umbra
  Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:39 am
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The game is coming along well; we've just about got the full part of the new research system in and two new tracks from our composer; our ship textures recently got a big upgrade (unfortunately not shown in the first teaser we're showing) to their specular maps so they look better than ever. New ship models are on the way and promise to add more spice to the visual flavor of the game.

And, despite numerous problems and delays, we're in final preparations to release our Gameplay teaser very, very soon. There were some issues with quality loss and stuttery performance from our capture software so this first teaser won't be in HD and won't show off parts of the game such as interaction (our cursor gets flipped and disjointed from the where it's supposed to be on the actual screen for some reason -- we're working on finding a solution D:) but we're working hard to get the next one to be HD.

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    Pokémaniac
  Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:39 pm
User avatar
Awesome Bro


Location: Australia
So sorry for taking so long!

I’m going to be honest. I don’t have much to say in regards to the actual game. I’m just going to plough through that and onto what I think I can be useful for.

Graphically, this game is astounding. I have no grounding in 3D, so most things will flabbergast me, but I honestly have nothing negative to say in this regard. It all looks nice, and the video was fluid. Good job.

Game play wise, I believe we discussed this the day before the pairings were put up. I find that when making a game of a certain genre, your core features probably should be based around covering these flaws. The main flaw with RTSes is the often ridiculous playtimes of a single match. You said that the player gets to choose the game size, which is a good compromise. What I think seems awkward here is controlling these large fleets, especially in 3D. It’s easy to get disorientated in 3D where you play as one character, but in 1000 vs. 1000(or thousands?) you could easily get completely lost, especially when a good majority of the screen seems to be the black of space. But I suppose a good mini-map could alleviate the problem.

Also, I think that this game will encourage a gap between competitive and non-competitive players that makes it hard to get into it. This game seems so customizable that all you need is the perfect race to smash every one in the face. Also, the idea of needing a language to control the AI seems very overwhelming to the player. Overall, this seems very much to me like the sort of game that makes the player feel more like the creator in a way, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’re going to want to have reasonable defaults and good single player for people that want to feel more like the player.

Overall, though, I think the game play is very promising and my chat with you definitely shows that you have a good grounding in design theory. I don’t know if this will necessarily be my type of game, but there is definitely a market. Which brings me to my next point…

I am afraid to say, the reason that this thread to a game which clearly has truckloads of effort put towards it hasn’t been getting attention, is because it is atrociously laid out. But don’t worry, there are solutions.

I think the first problem with this thread is the size of the images. They are unruly! I had to refresh the page to get the images to completely load. Not to mention, some of them have the edges hanging off-screen.

Now, the solution is simple- splice these pictures up, and have them link to the full version. I wouldn’t suggest shrinking them, but rather cropping them so that all that’s left is the focus of each screenshot. Then have it link to the full picture, so the viewer can see it in context if they please.

The next problem is that you have giant walls of text. It’s hard to read. It’s hard to absorb, and chances are it won’t be read at all. Note that I wouldn’t at all say your problem is too much information- once again, it’s how you’ve laid it out.

I think that having a screenshots section has become a bit out-dated – people skip to the screenshots any way. They often don’t read the thread. That’s why it’s always nice for them when there’s information under the screenshot. Do you see where I’m going with this?

If you stick one of your groups of bullet points under a screenshot, people are much more likely to read it. It breaks up the wall of text and lets the viewer stomach the information without even realising it. It also adds more value to the pictures. I’d also suggest you avoid spoiler tags – they do absolutely nothing other than hide your wonderful pictures(which will be even more wonderful once they’re smaller). They don’t even stop the images loading. They just break the thread into sections, which you really don’t need.

Although, having said that, spoilers can be used to store extra information. Always assume the viewer doesn’t care about your product. Use the non-spoilered bits of your thread to hook them, and then use the spoilers to feed their new-born hunger for information. Basically, make the thread for every viewer.

Well, I’m sorry I didn’t say nearly as much as you did about my game despite the fact you’ve provided more information. You have a skill for talking about game design, is all I can say. I’m very eager to see how this works out for you!


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    Firgof Umbra
  Sat May 22, 2010 1:50 am
Member

Star Ruler is now available for Pre-Order through GamersGate.

Whenever you pre-order the game, you should receive a serial key; if you include that serial when you apply to the beta we will prefer you when we draw from our next wave. However, due to the volume of testers applying, it's not a guarantee.

EDIT: Got a report from someone who purchased from GamersGate that said they did not receive a key. If you did not receive a key, e-mail GamersGate or me (firgof@blind-mind.com) and we will get it worked out.

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    Firgof Umbra
  Sun May 23, 2010 4:35 am
Member

For those interested, Artem Bank is putting up the Star Ruler soundtrack over at Bandcamp and will be streaming it all the way to the game's release (and adding tracks as they make it into the game). They're not all quite up yet (it's a work in progress) but they ought to be very soon. Feel free to drop by and give a listen. :)

Link to the Bandcamp

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    Firgof Umbra
  Thu May 27, 2010 1:49 am
Member

The original post's format has been updated. Screenshots are soon to follow.

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    Firgof Umbra
  Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:05 pm
Member

I've updated the original post significantly including purchase information and etc.

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