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Interview: Round 2 with Novacore on Legends of Pegasus

By on August 8th, 2012 11:02 am

Legends of Pegasus Interview

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.

Legends of Pegasus | Colony management screen

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.

Legends of Pegasus | Space combat

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 GamersGateGreen Man GamingAmazon 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.

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  1. Seboss says:

    Since the massive letdown Sword of the Stars 2 was for me (even all fixed and completed, it’s just not the right formula for me), I can tell you I’m literally on the edge of my seat!

    Thanks for the nice interview :)

    • Adam Solo says:

      It’s indeed a nice one by Andre Overhagen from Novacore. I was also extremely happy with the answers myself. Things are surely looking good, but let’s see now how polished and fun the game really is. After the SotS2 letdown (from allegedly reputable companies) one never knows now. See what they did… Let’s hope this total letdown never happens again in our beloved genre.

  2. Soki says:

    The lack of real diplomacy puts me off a bit.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I was a bit off with that also. “declaring war, allying and proposing a peace treaty” and possibly trade with guilds (NPCs?). Let’s see how deep diplo really is.

      • Seboss says:

        I don’t care much about diplomacy. It’s a very difficult subject and very few games got it right. In most 4x, diplo can be exploited to push the AI around and suck it dry, and/or the AI is simply completely schizophrenic . So I’m ok with a very basic diplomacy in the base game.

        • Soki says:

          I see your point. I have not played many 4x games yet but am eager to see how Star Lords will do in this respect. Basically, I am looking for some kind of meaningful and non-destructive interaction.

  3. red1939 says:

    Hmm… I think the ONLY thing that CAN set this game apart from other 4xs is the single player campaign. Everything else seems very similar to every other 4x, there are virtually no gameplay videos or a demo, and finally the price is quite high. That leads me to a conclusion that every 4x fan should consider buying this game after a few months from release.

  4. Jay says:

    After checking out the Star lords alpha I suddenly became a huge lot less interested in this. It completely blows away legends of pegasus in some of the aspects that I really appreciate in 4x games like the diplomacy(from what I’ve read) and espionage (it doesn’t even have it). Still I’m curious to see how this turns out, but my expectations are rather low.

    • RandomBlue says:

      Star Lords is still quite a ways from release though and I have yet to find a 4X since Swords of the Stars 1 that really sucks me in. I pre-purchased this one and hope I’m not in for SotS2-style release. *shudder*

  5. t1it says:

    True some aspects like diplomacy are pretty rudimentary but the actual meat (seems) well thought. I’ve no idea how it’ll actually work out but they know the genre and taken inspiration from many great games like Ascendacy so the foundation is well established so hopefully no design misses and we’ll probably get a good 4xgame…maybe even great:)

  6. Keith Turner says:

    For some additional info, I recommend you check out the Gamerzine they just put out for LoP. It’s a pdf that is linked from their forum. It also includes a video of one of the opening cutscenes that I hadn’t seen before. The voice acting was better than I expected. I’ll try to include a link to it here…

    I’ve had my ups and downs regarding Legends of Pegasus, but I’ll be giving it a try here in a couple of days. If nothing else it will at least offer a rather lengthy campaign, even if the sandbox play doesn’t turn out to be deep or interesting enough.

  7. Kurrick says:

    I am another that got bit by the SotS 2 release. I still have not tried it again after the first couple of months. I figure when the patches stop coming out Ill try it again. Have enjoyed Endless Space and will play it again from time to time but, it just doesn’t have enough depth to keep me interested for long.
    I actually played a game of MoM2 yesterday (the GoG version works well on Win7) Its hard to look at with the poor resolution it has but still fun to play. :)

    I hope LoP has some staying power! Mainly hoping the 4X space game is going to make a strong comeback…. I have truly missed the genre.

  8. Jeff P says:

    I have serious reservations about this game that I have explained in other posts. According to Kalypso’s website, today the game goes on sale in German-speaking countries. Perhaps some German readers will grace us with an early evaluation of this title.

  9. TaRaken says:

    im another fellow completely let down by the sots2 release. even after almost 9 months the game still has glaring GUI holes and busted AI.

    its kind of a reality check in the sheer absolute complexity and 1000s upon 1000s of programming hours it takes to develop a polished 4x game, and the kerberos programmers have literally years of experience while novacore is still putting out there first title. seems very ambitious for a studios first game. MP, single player campaign with FMV cut scenes, free play mode.

    lets look at another kalypso published title, jagged alliance back in action. it was broken in so many ways at release and took months of patches to get it up to par. i picked it up at a steam sale 6 months later and it plays pretty darn well however.

    I too will not be preordering but I will keep a close eye on first-look videos and reviews over the next couple days. I have no doubt there are gonna be issues but if at least the single player campaign plays out without too many hitches ill shell out the full 40$ and give novacore my support.

    the man is definitely spot on when he sais that you can never have too many 4x game. its up to the fans to support such a niche genre.

  10. Harold says:

    OMFG, seems like a catastrophic start:

    From the official german forum (buyers of the boxed version already got game access this afternoon):

    Just a selection of bugs found within the last hour:

    – Audio settings will not be saved
    – Bonus techs in the Tech Tree sometimes not displayed
    – Texts are cut off at 1900×1200 resolution
    – Round timer also in Singleplayer mode
    – Switching from window to fullscreen mode crashes game immediately
    – Selecting units needs prior zooming in and out
    – Game crashes after one hour

    Now my favourite:
    – Saved games cannot be loaded in campaign mode, causes either an immediate crash or a random 2player-game will be shown

    In case you don’t believe me:
    Here’s the (german) thread:

    I wanted to order tonight but now I’ll wait what other players will be reporting…

    • salvo says:

      unfortunately, what I have been expecting, the devs not having been given the time necessary to actually finish their game. I would have prefrerred to be wrong, but, and it’s a shame, some things apparently don’t change. On the other side, some people do learn from history :-)

    • TaRaken says:

      yep does not surprise me one bit. no doubt theres gonna be a string of patches to address some of the more major issues over the coming days/weeks, then ill take the plunge.

      much like the jagged alliance BIA kalypso debacle, it could take months to sort everything out :(

    • Soki says:

      Now I’m glad that I could restrain myself from preordering. If I understand Kalypsochris in the german forum correctly, they were aware of many bugs before release. Good old times when we were disappointed because a game was delayed. Anyway, I still hope LoP will be done in a few days or weeks since some of the features (e.g. tech tree options) sound really promising to me.

  11. Evil Azrael says:

    Add Steam dependency to the list of game bugs. ;)

  12. Ashbery76 says:

    There has never been a strategy game released on day1 without issues.SOTS2 was not the norm as that game was half done.I will await more reviews because people have their own agenda.

  13. Jeff P says:

    From the Kalypso forums by Kalysochris:

    RE: How long will you support the game.
    “In fact, the german version has been released today and we already released a huge patch. And we are preparing the next one based on player suggestions and bug reports from the community which should be released tomorrow at the latest.”

    Good news: they are releasing a huge patch today and preparing another one for tomorrow.

    Bad news: they ALREADY HAD a huge patch prepared to release today and are preparing another one for tomorrow.

    Kalypso released the game knowing there were serious unresolved problems with it, which is what many of us suspected. This is reprehensible, although not uncommon these days. Regardless what you may feel about the game content, Endless Space was very stable and complete when Amplitude launched it. THAT is what should be standard for the industry.

    Remember, these are games: their purpose is to entertain and provide relief from the stresses of real life. When a game becomes the source for stress (just ask the German purchasers of LOP) then it is no longer entertainment.

    • Harold says:

      Another one from the official forums:

      lop.exe file header saying “version”.

      >> When a game becomes the source for stress (just ask the German purchasers of LOP) then it is no longer entertainment.

      Agreed! I remember playing swots2 for the first time…

  14. Spookyy says:

    Just tested the game a bit…

    Video options…. what video options? you can only change the resolution, lol!

    When typing in my chaaracter name i noticed the game switched my Y and Z keys. Bloody hard to type if it use the wrong keyboard setting.

    Gonna wait for patch, thats for sure. Noob bugs right from the start., and btw you need to create an online account to be able to play. So always online gaming it seems.

  15. Wayne Basta says:

    A lot of that sounds cool, especially the ship design features. But I’m really disappointed that it’s an RTS. It usually hate 4X RTS games. To many things to keep track of going on at once. Turn based is far superior.

  16. Ales says:

    These game could be woth of 45eur… for now I will pay 5eur…………..the bug game and full incoplited game…………it should be relised in aug 2013!!

  17. Harry says:

    Why cant Blizzard build a space 4x game…

    All Space 4x games are buggy in the beginning.
    Build a game in 5 Years and then release it.. patience and then the game is a best seller for years.. like star craft..

    • Adam Solo says:

      Well, perhaps Blizzard has its hands full at the moment. And they have StarCraft2 already (not 4X but a sci-fi RTS) which consumes a great deal of their resources. Or they think there aren’t has many potential buyers for 4X as there is for fantasy MMOs or RTS games.

      Companies like Blizzard need to be convinced that THERE IS a big audience for 4X games. They need to be convinced internally and externally of that fact. If these big company bosses think there isn’t money to be made in 4X games we at are doing our part to show them that they are wrong, and missing a hell of an opportunity.

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