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Predestination in March – 3D Ship Designer on Kickstarter

By on January 6th, 2014 11:57 am

Space 4X game Predestination is currently under beta testing and approaching final release. The four-stage beta started with the fleet combat module in September of last year with the planetary exploration and colonization gameplay testing starting a month after. Two more beta stages are planned still; a galaxy-level gameplay testing phase and then a final stage with all three segments combined. At least that’s the plan according to Brain and Nerd’s CEO Brendan Drain, in our recent interview.

Now, the devs launch a second Kickstarter. The main reason for that seems to be twofold: to give people who missed the first Kickstarter a chance to get in, and to enhance the 3D ship design feature for which they got initial funds for from the Northern Ireland Arts Council.

We have independently secured £10,000 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to work on this 3D ship designer project. That budget is enough to complete the basic project, but we need your help to fund additional features and make it even better. -Brain and Nerd

So, this is strictly a stretch goals Kickstarter. Their initial goal of $3,500, to implement racial ship designs, a ship refitting function and an online designs sharing feature, is already secured. The first stretch goal of $5,000 was also achieved, and this unlocked a “mirror tool”, which facilitates symmetrical design. $8,000 unlocked space stations’ design, and the currently open stretch goal left, for now, is $12,000 – Non-combat ship parts, with 24 days to go. They plan to define further stretch goals according to backers’ suggestions.

They’re aiming for a March 2014 release, which should include the 3D ship designer already, but they reserve the possibility to slate that as a free update after release, if that happens to compromise the March release.

They plan to go indie all the way (no publisher), so, they need help to get on popular digital stores in order to reach a bigger market. For that you can always visit and vote on their Greenlight page on Steam or on their wishlist page on GOG.

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  1. Tina Lauro says:

    Thanks again for your support, Adam!

    We’re delighted to answer any questions or listen to any comments anyone has for us! Just pop them in a comment below.

    Co-Director, Brain and Nerd

    • Mammoth_IL says:

      Hey Tina
      Personally, I think that Predestination has tons of potential. I backed your game during the first kick starter, and i really like the way the game is going since. Flexible ship designer, turn based grid combat, deep colony system – those are the thing many guys waited for since MoO2.
      The only potential problem area of the game is one of it’s strong points. Your game is unique in its colony management – every planet is almost a game in it’s self. Wouldn’t it become a problem during the late game, when there is lots of planets to manage? I read about the colony management presets, but still…
      Also, couple of suggestions from a outside point of view :
      1) As the game get closer to release, it would make a lot of sense to increase the frequency of news releases. Maybe twice a month?
      2) Maybe it’s just me, but i couldn’t find a Facebook page for Predestination. Social network publicity (and the ability to create flexible ad-campaigns) is a must :-)

      Good luck with the development – I personally really look forward to release!

      • Hey Mammoth,

        Thanks for your support :D. We’re aware that micromanagement could spiral out of control with such a deep planetary colonisation system, and our solution is the Blueprint system. This hasn’t been released for beta testing yet, but we hope to show it off soon.

        Colony blueprints will let you save and re-use your colony designs and automatically edit and update all colonies using the same blueprint at once. This lets you keep full control of your entire space empire with very little effort, so the only micromanagement is in exploring and setting up new planets. Once a planet is fully settled, you’ll never have to visit it again if you don’t want to.

        Your suggestion of doing two updates per month is a great idea! We’ll have plenty of backer-designed races and other content to show off as development goes on, so we’ll definitely aim to do that.

        We have a Facebook page at that we use for marketing and part of the reason for the second Kickstarter was to gain some more exposure for the game leading up to launch. It’s going to be an interesting few months as the game approaches completion!

        Thanks again for your support!
        — Brendan, Lead Developer on Predestination

        • Ofer says:

          Hey Brendan,

          I think that the game is looking good so far.
          I also like the careful, multi-stage beta approach.
          I think that the planetary colonization is one of the interesting parts of the game. The blueprints idea does lower the micro-management but it also hides this part.

          Another approach can be making this part more fun, so it wouldn’t feel like a repetitive micro-management. I have several ideas around this:

          1. Add more variety to planets by adding some more terrain types: volcanic, jungle, ammonia ocean (not all all oceans are water), craters etc. If each planet is unique, you’ll have more reason to spend time there.

          2. make the planet less passive. for example add natural disasters (like floods, volcanos, meteors etc.) hostile natives, and even rebel colonies. I heard about the idea of a colony of another empire on the same planet. This is great because it competes directly with your colony on the same resources. But it’s simply irrelevant for most planets..

          3. minimize the more tedious parts of the management: the storage buildings and the resource production chain. I think this one is easier to implement. For example in civ there are different resources but you can only stockpile food. Other resources are abstract – you can build certain buildings or units if the city controls a resource, or if it’s imported from somewhere else. Another example is command n conquer (the energy concept reminded me of this game): you have 2 main resources – energy, non stockable which can be produced by buildings, and ore that needs to be mined and can be stockpiled.

          Anyways, good luck and looking forward for more news.


  2. Lens Flares Suck says:

    This looks very promising, please keep us updated on future progress!

  3. Ore says:

    Looks really good – I like how all the classic 4x game play elements are in, or at least promised.

    I don’t know if it has the Master of Orion 2 ‘feel’ (art, music, UI design) which keeps me playing that game though, but probably too soon to tell.

  4. Jeff P says:

    I, too, am a Kickstart backer, and have been very pleased with the progress Predestination has made. I’ve learned the hard way that a slick presentation and extensive promises do not guarantee a good (or even complete) game. The professional manner of the Predestination team gives me confidence that my money wasn’t misspent.

    • Tina Lauro says:

      Thanks so much for your kindness, Jeff! We try our best to stay available and open, which I reckon is the least our backers deserve.

      Co-Director, Brain and Nerd

  5. Chuki792 says:

    Looking forward to this, in fact 2014 seems to be a massive year for space strategy fans with Predestination, Horizon, Star Lords all set to release and a few others that are still in early development, cannot wait, I will be playing them all!!
    I confess I’ve not backed this one, was off my radar and have been playing Rodina a lot, but is it too late to get into the Beta?

    • Hey Chuki,

      Thanks for the kind words! We launched the second Kickstarter specifically for people like yourself who happened to miss the game the first time around or were unable to pledge. There was a lot of comeptition on Kickstarter at the time and the campaign ended very close to Christmas.

      The new Kickstarter is a great opportunity to get into the beta. Anyone pledging at the $40 tier or higher will get the game with free DLC for life, a bonus copy to send to a friend, and access to all previous and future beta stages. The current betas released are tests of the Fleet Combat and Planetary Interaction gameplay, and we’ll be releasing a third combined beta with all the core gameplay implemented hopefully by the end of this month.

      If you have any questions, let us know here or on Kickstarter and we’ll be sure to help!

      — Brendan Drain
      Lead Developer on Predestination

      • Chuki792 says:

        Sweet, cant get onto Kickstarter at work (damned firewall, cant even see videos :( ) but will defo hop right in when i get home.

        PS, just a thought, was there some wordplay with the naming of the company and your own moniker? I cant get “Brain-Drain” outta my head :p

  6. vonPryz says:

    Have you guys planned any tools that would help creating a symmetric weapon load to ships?

    I’m a bit worried that instead of a mean, killer ship of pure awesomeness design, my ship will look like a 3rd grade art project. CAD-styled tools like snap points, grid and mirror/clone would come into my mind.

    • vonPryz says:

      Oh, and what about firing archs? I wouldn’t be happy to go in a battle just to see that my guns are pointing to anywhere but the enemy.

    • Hey vonPryz,

      Several of our backers actually suggested symmetrical design tools early in the campaign. We put it up as the first stretch goal and smashed that goal very quickly, so we’ll be able to easily include a Mirror Mode option for symmetrical editing.

      Further tools like grids might also be useful for getting proportions the same, and being able to specify exact sizes and angles for ship parts will probably help too. We’ll look into adding these as they shouldn’t be too difficult to implement and would help a lot!

      — Brendan, Lead Developer on Predestination

  7. Dudester says:

    I don’t get the fascination with the 3d ship builder. I mean did Civ4 or 5 feature this? I don’t believe you need a ship builder for 4x games if you just offer more compelling gameplay. I mean even games like Sins of a Solar Empire (altho not turn based 4x wouldn’t work so well if there was a ship builder)

    My opinion is that this 3d modeller detracts from making a more complete game. Please invest your time wisely. Try to improve planetary management, add more variety to planets, and allow for even subterranean colonies and multiple factions owning a planet. It would be good if other planet types are favourable to one faction over another. Resource management should be compelling and functional. Not just having resources for the sake of it, without any bearing on the overall game.

    • echo2361 says:

      I have to respectfully disagree with you. I find shipbuilding/customization to be very important in space 4x games. To take your example of SOASE, I find that game can get a little boring even with the largest of fights occurring because I have no real reason to watch any battles besides checking in to activate a capital ship ability every now and then. I just build lots of long range frigates and heavy cruisers and overwhelm my enemies with them. In other 4x’s with ship customization I tend to watch battles to judge the performance of my designs in battle so I can tweak and improve them. I also get more attached to ships I design myself so I don’t just view them as expendable things to be thrown in the face of the enemy while I zoom out to check on something else.

      I don’t think the 3D ship designer will be taking anything away from the development of the rest of Predestination. Here is a quote from their development blog about this very issue:

      “Q. Will work on the 3D Ship Designer slow down progress on Predestination?

      A. No, it shouldn’t! We have hired an additional developer named Lugh who is currently dedicated to working on the 3D Ship Designer. I am still laser-focused on the core Predestination game and work is progressing on the galaxy-level gameplay.”

      Also, from my experience with the betas and from reading their forums I can tell you that some of the things you are looking for are already a part of Predestination. For example, multiple factions will be able to colonize a planet at the same time. Also, different races already favor different planets. Robotic races like ice planets to help them bleed of their excess heat, reptile races like desert planets for their high temperatures, etc.

    • Happy Corner says:

      The fascination with 3d ship builders?

      GalCiv 2 had an intricate ship-builder for its time, and one that proved very popular with its player base, who spent countless hours seeing what insane designs they could come up with. I even saw someone post a giant Borg cube at one point, which was pretty amazing given the little components the game gave you. All this despite how the ship builder didn’t change the gameplay at all… the game’s battle system didn’t care where the hell you put components on your ships. Yet lots of people loved messing around with it.

      I never used the ship builder myself, but I didn’t mind it, either. I thought GalCiv 2 was an excellent 4X game overall, as did many critics (including Space Sector’s beloved host Adam Solo), so implementing the ship builder clearly didn’t detract THAT much from making a complete game, IMO. Laymen like us often grossly misjudge just how much effort it takes to add something to a game.

      Anyway, clearly there are a lot of people who love this sort of (entirely cosmetic) customization in games that allow it, even 4X games. I can’t say I blame the Predestination people for trying to draw them in.

    • Hey Dudester,

      Thanks for the feedback! As was pointed out below, we’ve actually hired a new developer to work exclusively on the ship designer. Lugh has also worked on implementing feedback from from the first two betas we had in order to get up to speed with how Predestination works under the hood, so the main game has also benefited from us taking him on board.

      The 3D ship designer is something we’ve wanted to do since the original Kickstarter, but it wasn’t as high on our list of priorities as things like multiplayer, so we didn’t quite reach that stretch goal. We had already promised people a tactical ship design feature as designing your own ships with particular strategies in mind is a core part of the Tactical Fleet Combat we have in mind. The 3D designer not only saves us from having to make a boring 2D ship designer, but adds some personality to the game by letting people customise the way their ships look.

      The scope of the planetary management gameplay is already very much larger than any other 4X game, and we’ll be continuing to add more variety to planets in free updates after release and DLC. Subterranean and underwater colonies may not be ready for launch, for example, but would make a good update after the game is out. We’ve already planned to allow multiple races to inhabit a single planet and have terraforming wars across its surface, and if we can’t get that finished for launch then it too will be in a free update.

      The feedback from our Planetary Colonisation was very positive about how the resource management gameplay works. We think it’s in a good place right now, and will of course be taking feedback from supporters again during the upcoming galaxy beta to make sure it ties into the overall game well.

      — Brendan, Lead Developer

      • Dudester says:

        Wow first time a dev answered me directly. Well thankyou very much for the reply. I am glad you are taking a very serious approach to expanding on this genre. Many in the past liked to the rinse and repeat approach. But its refreshing to see you are not so complacent in your design.

        All the best.

  8. True_poser says:

    So much for swearing off pre-orders…
    Threw in my 4000 cents.

    Though I’m wary of “This isn’t just a visual editor, it’s also a ship design mechanic similar to MOO II.”
    I believe I’ll suck in creating effective designs.
    But as long as I’ll have F, Fx and 360 to fall back on to, I’ll be fine.

    • Thanks for backing us even though you’re naturally wary of pre-ordering! There will be default ship designs for people who don’t want to customise them, but it’s our hope that the ship design process will be easy enough to get into that making a custom ship will be more effective.

      The statement about MOO II is meant to give a close comparison for how the actual design mechanics will work. Where MOO II limits what you can place on a ship with a limit to internal space, in Predestination each ship hull has a limited power core output and weapons and modules use up some of that power.

      Regarding weapons, you’ll still have all the same arcs we’ve shown in our Fleet Combat beta and this very early design video:
      When you place a weapon onto the ship, you’ll be able to set its arc manually. Where you place it on the actual model in the designer is just for looks. The same goes for thrusters, shields, armour, and any other ship modules.

      — Brendan, Lead Developer on Predestination

      • csebal says:

        So in essence its a glorified visual editor for an otherwise completely MOOesque ship design component. Not that I have a problem with how MOO handled ship design, but I am one of those practical types who does not waste time on prettying up designs, when it has no impact on gameplay.

        Oh btw: 2D ship design is hardly boring. I would take the ship design from Aurora any day over the pointless “simplistic CAD tutorial” style of nonesense that GalCiv offered for example.

        • True_poser says:

          Sufficiently advanced editor may be a game in itself – see Forza speedpainting – and it can additionally promote a game by “Look at my madskillz”.

          It’s fine while it is not mandatory.

  9. True_poser says:

    “So… how do I increase my powergrid?”

    I wonder how have you managed to rid of space constraints (I want three reactors on a fighter, no, wait, four, and I’ll just put high-thrust maneuver engines to make for increased mass) if not by hardwriting available energy (*tech_level) for each hull, but I’ll see it in time.

    • Powergrid is basically the exact same thing as space in MOO2, we just called it something different. There are base hulls of different types (Frigate, Cruiser, Battleship etc), and each one has a certain amount of powergrid output.

      You can’t add extra powergrid to a hull right now, it’s calculated based on the power core tech you’ve researched and the size of ship. We could have something like MOO II’s Battle Pods by allowing you to add one auxiliary reactor as a ship module, but I’d limit that to one per ship like Battle Pods.

      • True_poser says:


        I meant that you can actually reasonably limit the ship design with space.
        Aerodynamics is no issue in vacuum, but EM visibility is and noone wants to have a ship with -100% beam defence and missile evasion.

        Not so much with reactors as long as you don’t postulate forcefields-hypertech which gets locked in quantum-subspace-magic resonance with any other similar unit nearby and shuts down/blows up.

        Anyway, it’s not really important how it is called.
        Thank you for clarifying.

  10. Gary Vandegrift says:

    The 3D Ship Designer has been released :)

    Update #53:

    YouTube Video “Designing ships with Predestination’s 3D Ship Designer”:

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