Ludum Dare 30 — August 22nd-25th, 2014 — Theme: Connected Worlds

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Space Pioneers

by Vudu - Jam Entry

Space Pioneers is a God-Game-Simulation.
Some young cultures try to reach greatness, but they will fight each other if they meet. Especially one of them is evil. You will have to extinguish it in order to win the game. Lead your cultures to victory by providing them with valuable resources like water, wood, iron, or later uranium or diamonds. Build bridges to reach neighboring worlds and to expand cultures. But be careful, every action costs you power and you need praying followers to gain new power. So choose your actions wisely and lead your cultures to victory!

by
Johannes Lauinger
Christian Mayer
Florian Mehm
Tim Richter
Philipp Schillinger
Viktor Wendel

Downloads and Links


Ratings

#18Theme(Jam)4.16
#89Overall(Jam)3.74
#103Fun(Jam)3.58
#118Graphics(Jam)4.11
#160Innovation(Jam)3.47
#330Mood(Jam)3.18
#545Audio(Jam)2.53
#1694Coolness35%

Comments

aescula says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 4:22am

Crashes on looking at a planet when it changes faction. Or when it goes to "no faction", I'm not entirely sure. (Win64 version)

J-d-H says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 6:45am

Perhaps you should split the versions to reduce download size.

KayZ says ...
Aug 27, 2014 @ 6:38pm

My first game was over pretty fast, losing two civs but the third quickly took over the enemy civ. Had to take over the whole galaxy on my second try, with new civs spawning several times.
Then I realized I can zoom in, lot's of detail. Loved it :).

Florent says ...
Aug 28, 2014 @ 8:58pm

There is a lack of feedback on what's going on, and it crashes twice one me.
That's too bad, I can't rate it in this state, and it looked like a nice game !

Snicklodocus says ...
Aug 28, 2014 @ 9:03pm

I'm not sure I understand the mechanics but still had a good time with this. It's fun to build bridges and then watch your civ expand on it's own. Good job!

PTSnoop says ...
Aug 28, 2014 @ 9:13pm

Very graphically detailed for an LD entry... I'd have preferred a slightly faster pace, once I'd got the enemy surrounded and outgunned it still took quite a while for their inevitable demise. Good gameplay idea, though!

Binary Gambit says ...
Aug 28, 2014 @ 9:19pm

Crash on Ubuntu 14.04 every time I open the archive :(

lkr says ...
Aug 28, 2014 @ 9:32pm

Seems like a really fun game, but I'm not entirely sure why I suddenly start losing planets, especially after my cultures had 3/4 of the map and I couldn't make any more connections. (I assumed more connections to a planet would influence it more?)

Would love to play again if I understood more of what's going on and why :)

Boberro says ...
Aug 28, 2014 @ 9:39pm

I love the aesthetics but as for the gameplay, even after winning the game I'm not really sure how I did this, and how anything is supposed to work.

HuvaaKoodia says ...
Aug 31, 2014 @ 10:18pm

As someone who has worked on similar "indirect influence" projects I hope I have a few pointers to give out.

Actions

The actions of the player and the AI entities drive the simulation and shape the world.
Needless to say they need to be in balance.

-The main mechanic is simple and intuitive.
Unfortunately the AI cultures can also use it and quite often the allies fall into strife by creating multiple connections between themselves.
This wouldn't be a problem if burning bridges was cheap, but it's not. Another possible fix would be clear maximum amount of connections a planet can make. This would allow one to stop certain planets from expanding.

-The simulation is in real time, but a pause function would really help when trying to figure out optimal connections.
A turn based structure is also a possibility.

Feedback

It has to be very clear how your actions (and inactions) affect the world.
This doesn't need to be displayed as exact numbers.
Audio visual cues and text messages can also suffice as long as they provide enough information.

- In the beginning of the game the allied cultures are not self sufficient.
They will die out fast if the player fails to act accordingly. Thus inaction leads to rapid failure without clear indications of the cause.

- The exact values don't add up.
Even if an ally culture has the highest tech level and more than double the amount of strength and intelligence they are seemingly incapable of invading the enemy cultures planets.
This AI handicap effectively renders these values unusable as a form of progress feedback.

Effects (consequences, not snazzy graphics!)

The effects of actions have be powerful enough to push the state of the world forward.
If individual actions have too little effect the gameplay falls flat and becomes boring.
Too powerful actions on the other hand remove any nuance and make the gameplay too easy thus boring as well.

- Trying to uphold a diverse pool of cultures isn't worth the trouble. It's more difficult and doesn't seem to have any positive effects.
A clear energy boost would help as well as some cooperation from the poor sods.
Trying to bring multiple cultures to a high level of technology is at times impossible as they can only share neighbouring planets. A single Uranium source in the corner is only useful to a single culture.
As such the top strategy is the let the other cultures die which is a shame.

-Spontaneous culture creation/change is an intriguing prospect, but here it seems to be rather random.
A strong culture with a dozen planets might just change in an instant. More annoying are single planets amidst war zones changing cultures.
They are easy pickings for the enemy as they loose all the main culture benefits and protection.
If culture changes are to happen they should be caused by actions in the world, not by random.

Conclusion

Overall indirect influence is quite difficult to get right. It requires a lot of balancing and well made support systems build around it. You did a rather fine job and I hope you'll take the idea further in the future. This applies to every other developer as well. Indirect gameplay is a worthy pursuit.

Crefossus says ...
Sep 1, 2014 @ 10:52am

I was a little confused at first but on the second playthrough I was able to win. I'm still not sure what causes you to beat/win a planet you are connected to that the enemy is as well.

The graphics are really amazing... I couldn't believe the detail when I zoomed in.

The map navigation is pretty straight forward and works.. good job there.

damrem says ...
Sep 1, 2014 @ 11:45am

Really fits the theme, good graphics, interesting concept, even if it is currently balanced in a way we can just wait for civs to develop by themselves.

creative630 says ...
Sep 12, 2014 @ 1:24pm

Cool game! I had two cultures devouring the enemy when I hit a weird bug. Another purple culture randomly appeared and my orange friendly culture was instantly taken over by it and somehow the feed on the left showed multiple copies of the orange one with 0 stats... I guess I won?

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