Showing posts from 2016

Ongoing Alpha Test - Update #2 Release Notes

Today we are releasing the second update to our ongoing alpha version. Before going into specifics, I'd like to offer an update on our release plan:

Ongoing Alpha Test - Update #1 Release Notes

If you've been participating in our open alpha test , thank you! It's been a very exciting start, with amazing feedback, great discussions, and lots of bugs. We are happy quite a few players have seen promise in this very early version of the game, and we'll do what we can to deliver on that promise. We see Hades' Star not as a monolithic game that we develop, "finish" and launch, but as a living game that will evolve and (hopefully) improve significantly over the years. We will be delivering constant updates based on feedback we get from the community and our own plans to evolve the game. We want to be transparent with these updates, by explaining why we did the changes we did, and perhaps in some cases why we didn't implement popular requests. Today we are delivering our first update to the live alpha test. Here's the list of things that are changing in the update, and the motivation for the changes: Yellow Stars Significantly reduced pric

Our design philosophy

On a previous post , we presented the game's design pillars. Those are the immutable goals for the experience we want to offer with Hades Star. To sum up, we want to create a game that has players growing an empire over time; exploring interesting parts of space; making meaningful interactions with other players, and becoming involved in exciting strategic decisions. The design pillars are quite high level and don't by themselves give much information on how we'll approach specific design questions. This post is an attempt to share additional information. By giving some background on our design approach, including our personal preferences and biases, we hope to add context in how we work and share insight on why the game is the way it is. This design philosophy may evolve over time, and it will affect not only the initial version of the game, but also the new features we add through ongoing updates. Any new proposed feature, including features suggested by our players,

The Stars of the Hades Galaxy: Red Stars

In a previous post we described the yellow star : A player's main base of operations. Yellow stars last forever and are bound to a specific player. That player has the option to fully explore the star over time, build infrastructure, and optionally allow access and establish trade, mining and military relations with other players. Red Stars are very different. They do not belong to any player. Only a small amount of players have time limited access to a given Red Star (we're thinking 3-8 players depending on the star's level, likely to be tweaked). The star's lifetime is very small - probably much smaller than a day (exact amount to be determined from playtesting). After the time limit expires, Red Stars go Supernova, destroying any objects near them, including any ships the players may have left there.

The Stars of the Hades Galaxy: Yellow Stars

Note: This post describes features under development which may change or get cut. The usual disclaimers apply .  Hades' Star is a game about a mysterious, distant galaxy. Players join with the goal of exploring this galaxy and growing their empire, while also interacting with other players. There are many kinds of interactions we want to experiment with, especially between groups of human players. Breaking down the galaxy in stars of different types is a way to allow such different interactions. Each different star type a player will encounter has different rules. Some stars might encourage single player exploration, some might encourage co-operation between players to achieve specific goals, and some might allow players to fight other players. Initially the game will offer a small number of star types,  but we plan to implement more via regular updates. Player feedback will be one of the factors that guide what new star types we will implement, and when.  This initial p

A disclaimer: Talking about features under development

The purpose of this blog is to share some of the development of Hades' Star with future players of the game. My hope is that openly sharing this information can help everyone see early on whether the game is for them, and to solicit important feedback that can further guide development. As is always the case, features under development can change substantially or get cancelled. This is a normal and expected part of development: Very often, things that sound great on paper break down when they are play tested. It's also especially true in online games, where getting the best out of a feature relies on human players not deviating too much from a specific range of behaviors. Human players have the habit of surprising naive designers like me who think they can design human behavior on paper. In practice, I believe any non trivial feature that relies on human interaction in a massively online game has to be playtested with a good number of players before it's called done. Fo

The Three Design Pillars of Hades' Star

Last year, while pondering what I personally saw as the promise of Master of Orion , I identified three key elements of that promise: Exploration and Progression : Exploring and expanding into interesting parts of space, growing your empire from nothing to a formidable force in the universe Diplomacy : Interacting with other players in a highly political environment that involves friendships, rivalries, unholy alliances, betrayals Strategy : Making meaningful strategic decisions, using (sometimes incomplete and hazy) information that the game provides These three elements have become design pillars for Hades' Star. Every idea for a feature that could go into the game is evaluated by asking "How does this advance one or more of the pillars?". Ideas that don't cleanly relate to at least one pillar (or worse, contradict one of them) are quickly discarded. This allows us to maintain focus. The three pillars are central to the game we're trying to make, and I

Announcing Hades' Star

Today, my partner and I are excited to announce Hades’ Star, an original, social, persistent online strategy game designed for mobile devices. The game’s newly launched web site has some initial information, and will be updated with more information over the next several months as development continues. With this announcement post, I wanted to focus on two things. First, some personal background on why create this particular kind of game. Second, some thoughts on the current business environment on mobile platforms, including a promise of sharing any resources we can with other small studios making service-based games.