Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Updates incoming…

We have great news for all Gladius fans!

The team got some vacation and they are now back at work, really busy finalizing some exciting features.

 

First off, they have been working on a new free update which will go into open beta any day now.

Among the usual balance changes and minor fixes, that’ll bring two major changes that we feel will greatly please players.

First off, the world builder has been greatly improved. You can now customize your maps to a much higher degree, to the extent that you can control the biome size and density. Do you want to play on a desert planet? You can. Would you rather play on a completely arctic world? You can definitely do that now. It is extremely flexible.

Secondly, the AI has been completely revamped. It is now much better than before. It’s been improved decisively in several areas: resource collection, building priorities, combat… you’ll see that the AI will be much tougher than it ever was.

But that’s not all…

There are DLCs with more content in the pipeline. We will announce the first one very soon, and it’ll be a smaller one while we prepare for bigger things. The team from Proxy Studios is working hard on implementing a new race, one that’ll have a completely new type of gameplay… but all in due time. 

We are excited to see that so many people liked Gladius. It’s been a success for us and we are looking forward to expanding the game. This is just the beginning. There are many directions where we can go from here, and we can’t wait to hear your feedback about it. Please let us know what you would like to see added in the game.

Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach – Sandbox Campaign Update!

We have a surprise for all Sanctus Reach fans today.

It’s been a while since the last major update, but the developers from Straylight Studio have not been idle. They have been secretly at work on behalf of the Emperor of Mankind, toiling silently on a secret project… which we are releasing today.

With today’s update comes the new Sandbox Campaign mode.

Now you will be able to completely customize and generate new campaigns to your liking, choosing the faction you’d like to lead and setting the parameters you want. 

Have you ever wanted to lead a horde of Chaos Daemons, facing the servants of the Imperium? Or maybe you’d like to lead a new massive Waaaagh! and fight a series of battles against, well, anyone who would put up a good fight? Now you can!

You can choose to play as any faction you have unlocked, against any other faction. You can also set the number of battles you’d like to fight, up to a maximum of 20. You can of course set the difficulty level you prefer. 

There is also now a new mode known as Ironman mode. When playing a campaign on Ironman mode your units will suffer from permanent death and your forces won’t be replenished between missions! Not for the faint of heart, surely.

We believe that this new feature will greatly increase replayability, and we are eager to hear your feedback on it. You can download it here.

Afghanistan ’11: Royal Marines is out!

Royal Marines, the first expansion for Afghanistan ’11, is now out on PC and iOS!

Afghanistan ’11, just like its prequel Vietnam ’65, revolutionized the wargame genre by representing counter-insurgency warfare with an original formula. Your goal isn’t to destroy enemy units on the battlefield: by organizing logistics, intelligence, controlling territory, building infrastructure and training Afghan national forces you will be able to engage in nation building and stabilize Afghanistan. But you will succeed only if you’ll manage to win the Hearts & Minds of the locals.

With Royal Marines the co-in formula is back! 

With a new faction (the UK Army), plenty of new units and vehicles, a brand new campaign featuring the lenght of British involvement in Afghanistan, new mechanics such as civilian vehicles, car bombs, roadblocks, Afghan national police, Royal Marines is sure to entertain you and give you dozens of hours of additional fun.

It is a must-have for every Afghanistan ’11 players, so get it now! If you are new to Afghanistan ’11 this is your chance to get the base game, too, which will be discounted at 40% off for one week. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Last but no least: commander Agrippa will lead the British forces for the first time ever on the hills and valleys of Afghanistan. Tune in on our Twitch channel at 7 pm CEST and stay with us for our release live stream!

 

 

Aggressors – Dev Stream – Military Command

This Friday we are going to start the first stream of a series of developer streams for Aggressors: Ancient Rome.

The lead designer himself, Pavel Kubat, is going to stream Aggressors live, focussing every time on a different aspect of the game.

All of these streams will be extremely detailed and in-depth, offering deep insight on the game’s mechanics.

This time he will focus on Military command: how warfare works, how to get the best performance out of your units, how to exploit terrain to your advantage, how to wage a war from a strategic point of view, and more. 

So join us on our Twitch channel this Friday on September 7th at 9 pm CEST.

 

Aggressors – Developer Stream

We have something special coming: in sight of the release of Aggressors next week, the developers themselves are going to stream the game on Twitch live next Monday!

 

 

Don’t miss it – it will be a very informative stream, with the lead designer speaking at length about Aggressors and answering all your questions in detail

The stream will begin at 8 pm CEST on our Twitch channel on Monday August 27th.

Sci-Fi sale! 30% off on our sci-fi titles!

Starting today we have a sale encompassing our range of sci-fi games, all at 30% off! The promo ends on August 28th so hurry and get them discounted while you can. You can get games like Battlestar Galactica Deadlock, Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach and many more!

 

 

How does it work? Just use “STARS-30” as coupon code and you will obtain the discount. Please refer to this guide for referral on how to use the coupon code, and should you incur in any technical issue please write to our customer support at support@slitherine.co.uk who will be more than happy to give you all the assistance you need.

 

The following games are part of the sale and will be discounted at 30% off during its duration:

 

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock: Reinforcement Pack

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock: The Broken Alliance

Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager

Distant Worlds – Universe

Last Days of Old Earth

Legions of Steel

Pandora: Eclipse of Nashira

Pandora: First Contact

Polaris Sector

Polaris Sector: Lumens

Star Hammer The Vanguard Prophecy

Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon

Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Angels of Death

Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Collector’s Edition

Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Da Orks

Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Glory of Macragge

Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Golgotha

Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Ork Hunters

Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon – Vulkan’s Wrath

Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach

Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach – Horrors of the Warp

Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach – Legacy of the Weirdboy

Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach – Sons of Cadia

 

Aggressors Dev Diary #8 – Trade Routes

One of the things which was pretty difficult to implement in Aggressors was the way the game handles resources.

Initially, the number and types of resources were hardcoded in the game’s core and the only thing which could be changed (or modded) was the amount required for certain actions.
 

I didn’t like this approach. I knew that if there are mods focusing on different eras or genres, something like money or gold would not make sense anymore. And so I decided to define all resources externally in a modifiable file and connect them directly with unit actions that consume them, then the type of resource consumed and also the amount is entirely up to the externally-loaded rules.

Basically, every action in game, whatever you do, can cost you some resources. Building roads, bridges, settlements, irrigating lands, draining swamps, building improvements, healing… I could go on and on. It is entirely up to the rule creator (or modder) to set the resource costs for specific actions.
Aggressors: Ancient Rome itself comes with 10 different resources starting from gold, stone and coal through influence, knowledge and food to very special ones such as citizens and happiness.
Other mods might have a very different set of resources. For example: the Holland mod, the mod of one of our beta testers that we talked about few weeks ago, has two additional resources – cowhide and fish. Both are harvested in a different and very unique way.

But let’s focus on Aggressors: Ancient Rome only.

I already covered some of the special resources, their production and usage in previous dev diaries. I explained the use of Influence which is accumulated by cities and used on foreign towns to incite unrest. I also covered the citizens resource which is the main source of army recruits and the workforce and is therefore the backbone of the economy. Knowledge is another resource accumulated in cities, and is essential for research. But let’s not go into an exhaustive list of the resource types and instead talk about another aspect of the game – trade.

 

All the resources in-game are tradable. The only resource that cannot be exchanged is happiness. You can trade all mined or harvested resources as well as influence or citizens. And you can trade knowledge.
It sounds a bit artificial, but it is actually much closer to reality than it might seem on first sight. 

I never liked the way technologies and inventions were traded in the Civilization series. The whole system of “I give you a Chariot technology and you give me Navigation” simply doesn’t make sense. Not only that such “technology-for-technology” deals are extremely rare even in modern history but I couldn’t find a single example in the ancient history. And I am not even talking about the fact that if you are good friends with a very civilized and technologically advanced nation, you could turn a barbarian tribe into a modern state in a few turns.

So, why do I think that the approach in Aggressors is better? Firstly, you don’t trade inventions but knowledge. You trade know-how of the scholars which can help you to understand the work of nature and progress faster to a new level of technological development.

Secondly, research of every technology requires a certain number of knowledge points. If you have excessive amounts of knowledge resource, you can even accelerate the time needed for research. The shorter the time, the higher the resource cost, of course.

Thirdly, even if there is a very generous player who is willing to give you a vast amount of “knowledge”, you can accelerate the research process but you will not uncover technologies that are simply beyond your current stage of development. Minimum research time is set for every technology so you cannot just jump over several technologies in a turn. All this means that every player has to research every technology by his own means. The only exception is when you unite with another nation in a federation or you merge together. Then you naturally also get access to all the technologies of the partner player.

So, how does the actual trading work? It was really important for me to come up with such a system that would reflect the importance of trading for the life of all ancient nations.
As I said, you can trade all the resources except happiness. Trade exchanges are not one-off events but they lay foundations to long-lasting business relationships that can last for decades. No wonder that some negotiations can go on for several turns (years) as both parties need to set the right conditions.

 

 

How to start? You begin by establishing a trade route which is a path connecting your city with a city of the partner. Both partners need to have full visibility of one of partner’s cities meaning that they know where they are sending their merchants to.

The routes are calculated automatically so that the shortest and safest route is chosen. Depending on the length of the trade route, a so called “trade loss” is calculated which are basically overhead costs that will be deducted from the amount of traded goods.

Calculation of new trade routes is determined by many factors. It is not just the distance, but also the terrain types through which the traders will have to travel. If you build a dirt road between the trading cities (or at least connect some of the tiles of the trade route) you make the route safer and decrease the trade loss. Paved roads are even better, of course. If there are no roads, trading caravans usually use sea or river routes. It is indeed better to trade with a partner nearby with a good road connection (or secure sea paths) than with partner on the other side of the map. Sometimes the trade loss can go as high as 50% which you really need to consider before the trade is agreed upon.

With a trade route established, you decide what you want to sell and buy. You can either ask for a very specific deal or make a relatively open offer and give the partner room for negotiations. Another important point is that there is no “good” or “bad” deal. It is all about supply and demand.
The exchange starts when the deal is confirmed by both sides. And then the resources start flowing both ways every turn.

The trade routes might change over time, for example if an enemy blocks them. In such cases a new route is chosen (calculated) and when doing so the overhead costs might change as well, which could render the exchange unprofitable. As one of the trade conditions you can set a “trade stop loss” which defines what overhead costs you are willing to accept. If the trade loss exceeds this limit, the deal is automatically cancelled.

Of course, where there are resources (and money) involved, there are bandits and pirates who live off the loot they manage to get. There are two concepts of raiding in the game: independent raiders, who randomly attack the trading caravans and steal part of the traded goods; and state-controlled raiders, who take orders from their masters (other players) and their loot then goes to the resource deposits of their masters.

Bandits and pirates operate both on sea and land. All military units can turn into raiders when they are close to at least one active trade route. The more units you use as pirates and bandits, the higher the chance of success and larger loot. Of course, there is certain danger involved. Firstly if you use a unit for raiding, it is not fortified and has a reduced defense ability which makes it very vulnerable if attacked. Besides, raiding is perceived as a dirty practice and your diplomatic relations can deteriorate fast, not only with the victim, but with all other nations as well.

 

But you are free to choose your own path. After all, ancient history knows many examples of nations that survived solely by attacking traders and living off the loot. 

 


Well, I hope I teased you enough to try all these aspects of the game yourself. Perhaps, pirates and thieves will rule the world under your command. Or maybe you will stand on the other side of the divide and be the one who frees the civilized world of all bandits on land and sea.