Fernando aka Atomic Kaiser here again to ramble about this little crazy thing called Astra Exodus. This time we are going to talk about the two gameplay modes: Campaign and Skirmish.
Before we start, I just wanted to say that we are looking for Beta testers. Your feedback is important to us, so if you’d like to have early access to the game, which is already fully playable, and offer your honest opinion about it, we’d be very thankful! You can apply here.
It is not that often that you find a full fledged campaign in a 4X game, even less so one that is dynamic, which means that it reacts to player choices. You will affect the story in significant ways, depending on how you play each of the campaign missions. In the story you are a Commander tasked with finding out what happened during the Exodus and you’ll need to discover the location of Earth. That goal will be always present during the whole story arc, but how you get there and why will change depending on your decisions.
Each mission in the game has a set of objectives and some will be exclusive with each other, in the sense that you can only complete one of them. This presents you with choices you need to take and will inevitably impact which mission you get next on the campaign. In other words, you can never play all the missions of the campaign in one playthrough, since many missions can be accessed only by making certain choices.
Additionally, there are secondary and optional objectives to complete which grant rewards to those willing to tackle them. These can include special technologies and even additional debriefings with exclusive art, which expand the story behind the campaign and the game. The availability of these though depends on difficulty, meaning you will only get rewards from the Captain difficulty onwards. There might be an additional surprise as well, to those willing to beat the game on its highest difficulty...
So. You have reunited humanity in the campaign (or not) and you are ready for a different challenge? Then why not try playing as the Guardians of the Seed, expanding your roots across the galaxy, until you can achieve an Ascension Victory; evolving your population from vegetable bags to pure energy beings. This is just one of many possibilities in Skirmish.
Skirmish mode in Astra Exodus is all about giving the player options, from the galaxy map, to the game rules (including victory conditions) and factions involved; everything can be tweaked to your liking. You can set the galaxy size, shape, planets and their richness. There are also options to speed up or slow down research, adjust events frequency and even to start with a more primitive/advanced situation. You can also tweak the difficulty, frequency of galactic menaces and enable the Starmarine Mode - which is our name for the infamous Iron Man mode, in which you’re not allowed to save.
You can also set the Victory Conditions, which are probably the most important setting you can pick here. Astra Exodus has four: Galactic Conquest, Diplomatic Alliance, Evolutionary Ascension and Score Supremacy.
Beyond the obvious conquest and score based conditions, an alliance victory requires you to ally with most (all but one) of the factions in the galaxy at the same time. Finally the Ascension victory condition in turn requires you to research and build Ascension Chambers in your colonies, a very costly late game colony installation, which serves to transition your colonists to their next stage of evolution as energy beings.
Besides picking the faction you want to play as as well as those of your opponents, you can also customize whichever you choose; to be exactly to your liking. This includes changing the graphics, lore and traits that embody the faction. This can be done from within the game interface, without any external modding (which the game also supports). In any case you will get to pick how your ships look, the emblem / logo of your faction, name, etc. The most important system to mention here probably are the traits, which can greatly affect how the game is played. They vary from modifying how many resources per labourer you get, to the ability to start the game with the whole map explored or even for your colonists to be immune to pollution.
What do you think about this week’s dev diary? Let us know how you feel, and if you have any questions please feel free to shoot them.
We will be back next week on Tuesday with a new dev diary. This time we will talk about the Galactic map!