Sunday 24 February 2013

Colony Development

Colony Interface Screen

I have started work on the colony development features. This is a screenshot of how the colony interface screen currently looks.

(Click image for fullsize version)

I will go into each catagory in more detail, but I am hoping most of the values are quite self explanatory. In the game you can hover over each of them with the mouse to display tooltips with a full description and breakdown of how the values are calculated. The buttons along the top are used for navigating to the different pages.


Each planet type has a maximum population it can support, temperate being the highest (7 to 15 billion depending on planet size) and volcanic the lowest (1 billion, due to less suitable building space)

The maximum population values still need some adjusting. I havnt much of an idea how many people ice, ocean, carbon and iron planets could realistically sustain for example, assuming the advanced technology was available.

Most commerce and income from a planet will come from a high population. But it will take quite some time for them to grow to the maximum it can sustain.

Still unsure of how conquering planets will work exactly and whether the existing population gets eradicated, integrated into the conquering faction or something else entirely. There wont be troop invasions or ground battles.


For every 1 billion of population, the colony will require a single unit of food. If it doesnt have the required amount then the population will shrink. Having more than is required increases the rate at which the population will grow.

Excess food produced at a colony gets added to the global empire-wide surplus value and then is imported at colonies which have a shortage. Any remaining surplus food available is spread evenly between all colonies to increase their population growth rate.


Happiness level determines the chance of revolt and has a big effect on the population growth rate. Even if you have enough food available, the colony wont grow unless the population is happy.

There are lots of planet bonuses/penalties that can affect happiness, such as meteor showers, acid rain, seismic activity, planetary rings and many others.

If the happiness level goes below 0-25% for too long it will risk triggering a rather nasty revolt penalty at the colony which lasts for some time. There probably wont be a feature where you can lose control of the colony to a revolt or rebellion however. Will maybe be added in a future update/expansion.

Luxury Trade Resources

Colonising a planet which has a trade resource gives a happiness bonus to all colonies in your empire and a big boost to commerce at the planet, depending on which resource it is. Access to more than one of the same resource can be traded away to other empires and used in diplomacy. Having access to all of the luxury resources will provide a significant boost to happiness and population growth rates.


Commerce at the planet mainly comes from a high population or having access to valuable trade resources. Small amounts are generated from farming and natural resources, but these are more helpful during the early stages of colony development.

You can change the tax rate at each colony, which will determine the percentage income you receive from the total commerce value. Setting it too high will decrease happiness which results in lower population growth rate and increased risk of a revolt.

Colony income is added to the empires total credits (per second) Ships will also now have an upkeep cost rather than using the supply depot facilities briefly mentioned in an earlier post.

Going into negative credits for too long will trigger a bankrupt penalty for all colonies and will be extremely damaging to your empire.


Colonies on the easily colonisable planet types will cost the less to support while the more hostile environments such as volcanic, iron and carbon will be a lot more expensive.


You can only build and upgrade farming on barren, temperate, ocean (fisheries) and jungle planet types. Each can produce varying amounts, jungle being the highest. To produce food on the other less hospitable planet types you need to build Hydroponic facilities. These will use up valuable colony building slots. Developing dedicated farming colonies will be a good strategy.


These are not metal resources that you can use to build things, but natural resources which benefit commerce and increases the planet income. Resource rich planets like iron, carbon and volcanic will have the highest values.

With the addition of food and trade resources as well as the modules, ore and metals from mining I'm starting to distance myself from the earlier idea of having everything needing to be transported by ship rather than getting added to a hidden global resource pool as in most RTS games.

Its possible that it could get too complicated or annoying to manage ship transport and getting the AI to do all of it intelligently could be difficult. This isnt an announcement that I'm removing the transporting resources feature, just that I have concerns with it and may ultimately be changed once its been tested with everything else working together. However I will do my best to try keep the feature as I really like it.

There is still some work to get colony development properly implemented so let me know if you see any obvious problems or feedback you might have.

You can now also follow the development of Galaxial on Facebook where I have created a page.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Alternative Planetary Rings

This is a follow on from the previous post in case you havn't already seen that.

Made some more changes to the planetary rings by removing the 3D effect which made them look like they went behind the planet. They now look flat and circular, which I think fits much better with the graphical style of the game.

This also means I can put small ice asteroids within the ring, which could possibly be used as a resource for something in the game.

I am going to create new graphics for the ice asteroids/chunks which will be a bit smaller than in the screenshots and look more like sharp ice. At the moment they are using the same graphics as the ore asteroids.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Recent Updates #5

Some of the things I have been working on over the past few weeks.

Planetary Rings

Finished creating the planetary ring graphics for planets. The rings are procedurally rendered so the gaps in the ring are not always in the same place. At the moment the rings use a similar colour to the sector background as I havn't yet found any decent colours to make them. (apart from white)

I tried placing smaller ice asteroids around the ring but it looked really bad, so removed them.

Apparently its possible (but incredibly rare) for there to be multiple rings with one larger than the other, so I added them also. Although I'm not sure if they will stay... I still have doubts that the style of the rings dont go with the rest of the game, so let me know what you think.

Planets can now be rendered in different sizes. This will be used as a visual indication for the maximum population they can support. I have also added another 3 planet types, Barren, Jungle and Carbon! so there are now 8 types in total.


The music player/jukebox interface is almost finished. With it you can select individual tracks to play and re-order the playlist. Custom music can also be added to the playlist, but needs to be done from outside the game.

Added data pack file support, which is just going to be used for the music. All other game data is easily accessible for modding.

Added random pitch variation support so repetitive sound effects dont sound too similar. From the data files you can specify how much the pitch can vary for that particular item/weapon etc.

Other Stuff
  • Wreckage can now be selected, targeted and salvaged by ships using a Salvager module.
  • Fixed collision detection for really fast projectiles and missiles, so they dont fly straight through their target.
  • Created slider widget for the user interface.
  • Cargohold interface screens.
  • Minor sound engine overhaul.
  • Changed the blog address to (old address still works but will redirect)

Planet & Colony Development

I dont tend to write many really extensive design documents when developing the game, but I have done for the planet and colony development system. It will certainly be a lot more in-depth than I had originally planned and will include:

  • Population growth
  • Food
  • Happiness
  • Commerce
  • Research
  • Planet bonuses
  • Trade & Strategic resources

It's all looking really good from the design documents (spreadsheets) and next I will be starting to implement it all, which should be fun!