Category Archives: Developer Updates

The Problem of Scope

Planetary conquest is only the beginning

     This planet is covered with an amazing amount of varied settings and locales. There are frozen tundras filled with ice that never melts, and  scorched deserts beaten by our relentless sun day after day. There are  areas of tropical paradise with thousands living in luxury, yet we also have thousands scraping by in misery and poverty. This planet tells many stories. Conquest, building, rebuilding, domination and destruction all live here. It is no wonder that there are so many great games staged here.  One planet, however, has limitations. It is only 1 tiny portion of the galaxy, and does not come close to reaching the vastness of space. The exploration and exploitation of billions of miles of light, anomalies, other stars, and living species requires us to move beyond one simple planet.

Widening the lens

    In order to fully capture the essence of what a 4X game is, we have to think big. We cannot be locked in and sitting on one single planet.  We have to find other species, other planets, and other stars. Mastering strategic elements that come with moving into the eternal vacuum of space will be the hallmark of our new strategy.  We have to exploit the anomalies and explore what the other species have to offer. We will move as far and as fast as we can, taking everything and growing our empire along the way, but we cannot forget about each planet’s surface either.

Putting it together

    We need to look at the galaxy as a collection of planets within space, but  at the same time see each planet and its land as a different battlefield. The tactics and strategy required to conquer  the many light years of space is very different than the traditional tactics of conquering and thriving on a planet’s solid surface. You cannot forsake one for the other. A true master of conquest will need adaptable strategies both on a planet’s surface  and in space. You may have a mastery of  the space around a planet, and may even have a blockade around said planet, but to truly control each planet (or more importantly the resources on it) you will need to land your ships and adopt new strategies for the surface. It is within this massive scope that the world of Xenia’s Ark is realized.

A small probe in the middle of a lush jungle

    Imagine a small circular probe, no larger than a small domestic cat, zipping across a jungle planet’s surface at amazing speeds. This is the last remaining probe, the only one left of hundreds that began this mission. Many of these probes were shot down by ships fighting  in this solar system, or were collateral damage while flying through the atmosphere of a few planets on the way to their target. Despite the odds, this one probe made it to the target planet on a last ditch mission of hope to discover a critical resource.

  Instantly, the direction of the war changes. The lucky probe sends out a priority message. Many ships in the armada are diverted to create a hole in the blockade to allow a landing party to immediately begin harvesting of this new resource. Native hostile races, as well as the difficulties of getting through the blockade, make this mission’s success all but impossible. Ultimately, it is through the covert actions of spies and sabotage that the difference is made, and a foothold is finally gained on the jungle planet. Key battles are won with the new weapons powered by this rare resource. Forces, both on the planet and in space, work together to push the adversary to the brink of extinction.  But a remnant remains. This is one galaxy in an infinite space -millions of stars and planets- any one of which could allow the adversary to land and build their home in order to make a new start, and seek their revenge.