Welcome back to another Astra Exodus dev diary! My name is Fernando and today we are going to talk about a little about the galactic map and everything on it: from anomalies to menaces and fleets.
But first I wanted to mention that we are now running the Beta for Astra Exodus, so if you're willing to lend a hand and give your honest feedback, please feel free to apply! We'd love to have you on board. You can apply here.
The main feature of the map are the star systems, which host the planets you’ll want to expand to. There are multiple types of stars, depending on which they can host different types of planets. This of course can be tweaked to your liking in the galaxy settings in Skirmish mode.
When a Star system is scouted, an Exploration Event might fire, with different effects for the first player that does so. For example you can come across an orbital terraformer, which when fired will terraform a nearby planet for you. However, we’ll talk more and in depth about these on a following dev diary.
Star systems can have up to 5 colonizable planets, out of which there are many types, each with different characteristics, like how much food or metals they produce. They also have a size and gravity rating, which will affect the Habitability of the Planet and thus the base Morale of any future colonists. We’ll cover planet types in more detail in a future entry.
Last but not least, planets can have a Peculiarity, something that differentiates it from all others of its class. One example would be the presence of Ancient Robots which automatically work for any colony settled there, giving it extra production. Another example is a Natural Wonder, which increases the default morale of any colonists on the planet.
As you explore the galaxy you will eventually run into other non player factions in the form of hostile fleets that have taken over entire star systems. These are usually the most attractive systems for the player, as they might be mineral-rich and be abundant in resources, possibly even having a Peculiarity on a planet. This serves as a way to engage the player in space combat without entering a large-scale war against a major faction.
The threat these menaces represent and the form they take varies: it might be pirates, which focus on small strike-craft to harass your capital starships, or maybe highly shielded ancient probes, with powerful beam weaponry. It’s worth mentioning that the AI will face the same menaces as you do, so in that sense all players face the same challenge, when exploring and expanding across the galaxy.
We know that space is a vast and strange place in general, but sometimes it is even worse than we thought. In Astra Exodus you can find Anomalies, which show up on the map and alter the game rules in some way. There are several types of Anomalies you can find.
One of these types of anomalies are Wormholes, which connect distant star systems, allowing fleets to travel between them almost instantaneously (in only one turn).
Other more complex types of anomaly are Black Holes and Supernovas.
Black Holes greatly reduce the Hyperspace Rating, meaning the rate at which starships travel between star systems, of your fleets; when they come within a 10 sector range of them. This represents the immense gravity pull of these anomalies, which in the game extends beyond regular space into hyperspace.
Supernovas in turn hide all moving fleets from enemy sensors, making them both an asset and a liability when waging war. All of these adverse effects can be negated by researching the corresponding technology, if available on the Research Grid. We’ll talk more about researching and the grid on a future entry.
We will be back next week with a new Dev Diary on Construction and Resources! Let us know what you think, or if you have any questions, by posting on the forum.