We did another round of questions with the Novacore Studios’ guys on their space 4X game Legends of Pegasus, which will release officially in two days (Aug 10, 2012). Andre Overhagen, CEO of Novacore Studios, had this to say further about his game:
SS: Tell us about the eXploration phase in Legends of Pegasus. What will we be able to experience, and do, while exploring LoP’s galaxies? Do we need special ships and/or techs for surveying systems and planets?
Andre: At the start of a sandbox or multiplayer game, you only have a small fleet consisting of one military ship, one colonizing ship and one ship for mining. And you have one home planet. You can see all the planets in your starting system. If you double-click them, you are presented with basic information about them: How much building space is there, how suitable is the planet for your race, what special characteristics (low gravity, native population, volcanic activity, etc.) are there, etc. You pick a suitable planet and bring your colony ship into the orbit of the planet. You then drag-and-drop the colonizing module from the ship onto the planet to colonize it.
At the same time, you should start researching technologies and mine special resources from the nearby asteroid fields by building a mining facility with your mining ship. Your military ship will protect your newly founded colony while you build a shipyard and research the technology to build additional ships. With them, you can then explore the nearby star systems. You can also research and build special buildings and technologies that let you reach the star lanes with your scanners so you can see which units the enemy brings through the wormhole.
SS: Judging from the announced terraforming ability apparently there will be different kinds of planets available for colonization. Is that correct? If so, do you need to unlock special techs in order to colonize those different planet types?
AO: Yes that is right. All the planets are randomly created — not only in the way they look but also in their characteristics. There are colonizable planets in all sizes, with lots of water, with volcanic activity, with giant deserts, as large cold rocks, as ice worlds, etc. And there are also gaseous planets that cannot be colonized. Each planet is more or less suitable for your race.
You can colonize most of the planets, but if they are not suitable for your race, it will be hard for you to get a good colony going there. In the course of the game, you can research special technologies that let you alter the planets, terraform them and make them more suitable. This, as well as other things like pollution or overpopulation, also gradually change the look of the planet.
SS: What can you tell us about LoP’s economic management? How does it work? What types of structures can we build? How does trade work? What about resources, what types are there and how important are they in the game?
AO: The typical colonization of a planet starts with a factory and a habitat. Factories and similar industrial structures define the production rate of the planet. The higher the production rate, the less time it takes to build a structure, a building or a ship on this planet. But industrial buildings also produce pollution and cost credits. You can earn credits by building culture buildings like habitats or shopping centers and thereby increasing the population. For each colonized planet, you get a fixed amount of officers to staff your ships with. This number can be increased with special buildings.
Bigger ships need a lot of officers so you will want to constantly increase the size of your empire, gain new colonies and increase the number of officers. Culture buildings also increase the morale on the planet. If the morale drops too low, the colony will not work very efficiently and it might rebel against you. You also construct other buildings on the planets such as laboratories (which increase the amount of research points contributed from this colony to the overall research pool), planetary shields, barracks, shipyards, etc. But of course, these all cost credits and you want to keep a positive balance throughout your empire.
There are also two additional resources: Boronium and Choxid. Both are extracted from asteroids by mining. Boronium is a material used in spaceflight. You can operate your ships without them but it will greatly improve the efficiency of your overall fleet if you have enough Boronium. Choxid on the other hand is a very valuable resource for the guilds in this sector of space. You can trade the Choxid you have mined with each of the four guilds and get bonuses from them.
SS: Could you please tell us in detail how ship design works? Are there different types of weapons and counter defenses available (e.g. lasers, missiles, shields, armor)? Are there special modules that allow special powers for example?
AO: As you may already know, the humans use basic ship hulls and then attach different modules to them that are then filled with components such as weapons, shields, reactors, and so forth. The X’or directly connect modules to each other and the Arthrox use different “head” sizes to which organic modules and a tail tentacle are attached. Each race has a certain preference for a kind of weapon. The humans like particle weapons, the X’or prefer beam weapons and the Arthrox tend to use biokinetic weapons and rockets.
With the bonus tech tree system we have, you are also able to get additional weapons not specific to your race. So the humans might get ion weapons or laser weapons. You can also put armor and shields on your ships.
There is a huge variety of armor and shields as countermeasures against different attack styles. There are armor coatings and shield modulators against laser, biokinetic, plasma, antimatter, ion weapons and so forth. You could, if you wanted, place all of them on a ship, but it will take up a lot of space. So you might want to find out which weapons your enemy uses and build ships accordingly.
There is also special equipment like tractor beams, repair modules, capture modules (to take over enemy ships), scan blockers or EMPs. Those special abilities have to be micro-managed by the player in the battles.
There are also fighters, bombers and interceptors for which you need hangar bays on a ship that then automatically launch and refit them. Of course, all these technologies are only available if you research them first.
SS: Late game micromanagement is always a hurdle in 4X games to some degree. How do you think to have tackled that in LoP?
AO: To overcome your enemies you will have to keep growing your empire and balance it. But we also give you the ability to manage your empire on a large-scale via a special empire menu. So, instead of setting a tax rate for each colony you can also change the empire tax rate and see where that takes your colonies, for example. If that leads to problems in one colony, you can always re-adjust the single tax rate on that planet. To keep things interesting — the guilds also bring some variety to the economic system. Also, it will take you a long time to research all the technologies.
SS: Concerning diplomacy, what types of actions can we undertake while negotiating with other races?
AO: At the moment, diplomacy only consists of basic functions like declaring war, allying and proposing a peace treaty. And you have the diplomatic correspondence with the guilds, sending them Choxid and probably getting help from them. We may add a more detailed diplomacy system later on.
SS: Combat unfolds in real-time in the same seamless environment where the game’s strategic part takes place (no transitions). How does combat work? What kinds of actions can we undertake (e.g. boarding, launch fighters, use special powers, others?) Can you choose ships individually and attack other ships also individually? How does the combat camera works?
AO: Combat in Legends of Pegasus plays like a typical RTS. You manage every single ship in battle; decide where it should go, which target it should attack or which special ability it should use. Left mouse button selects a ship or multiple ships; right mouse button gives a move or attack command. If you want your ships to go up or down, you hold ALT and SHIFT while giving the move command and you see a tactical view of the battlefield and the target height in relation to your current position. It’s pretty similar to movement in the Homeworld series. You can move the camera freely in 3D space, zoom in and out just like in the strategic turn-based mode. You can also tag a selected ship to follow it around.
SS: How can you win in LoP?
AO: There are currently three different victory conditions that you can choose from when you start a game. There is one option that lets you win if you rid all other players of all their planets, in the second option it is enough to take over the home planet of your enemy. The third option lets you win if you own two thirds of all the systems in the galaxy. We may add additional victory conditions later on.
SS: Why is your game different/better than other space 4X games currently in the market of lately? In other words, why should we pre-order or buy your game?
AO: There can never be enough good and successful 4X games out there! We love the genre and it is great to see it flourish once again. Then again, we don’t have to be afraid of the competition. With a deep economic and research system, the great ship editor and a 40 hour single-player campaign, we have what we feel is a strong game and we hope that all the players will enjoy it.
Legends of Pegasus is developed by Novacore Studios and published by Kalypso Media, and is due to release officially on August 10, 2012 for the PC. At the moment you can already pre-order the game on GamersGate, Green Man Gaming, Amazon or Steam. Checkout our collection of screenshots and have a look at our first interview on LoP with Novacore Studios. Everything we have on Legends of Pegasus here.Subscribe RSS
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