This mode refers to the bulk of the game which is spent managing the traffic of resources throughout various planets and outposts.
In the future, new resources have been discovered which will greatly increase the productivity and quality of life for people. These resources however, are scattered throughout the galaxy. You have been given the responsibility of managing the flow of these resources.
The player's objective is to build the most efficient path between areas of resource production and consumption. Further complicating this will be obstacles that the player will have to navigate around, thus sometimes the best path will not always be the clearest.
The player is first presented with a grid where resources, planets, and space outposts have been randomly placed. The size of this grid will vary based on difficulty and customization settings that the player is able to choose before hand.
Each planet and outpost will have a need for a specific amount of a resource. In order to get this resource to the outpost or planet, the player must set up a gathering facility on a tile that contains the desired resource. For example, if a planet requires ore, the player must set up a mining facility on a tile which contains an asteroid. Then this ore can be moved from the mining facility to the planet by setting up a shipping pathway between them.
Furthermore, pathway "Hubs" can be set up to help direct the flow of resources. When two or more pathways are connected to the Hub, the player will be able to manually set the amount of resources that are sent in each direction. For example, if there 4 tubes connected to a Hub, one going in each direction (up, down, left and right), and the resources are coming from the up direction, the player can have 20% go left, 20% go right, and 60% go down. This will allow the player to maximize the efficiency of their resource pathways by keeping unneeded, and thus, wasted resources, from going to outpost and planets.
When the resources arrive at a planet or outpost, the player will be paid in credits based on the amount of tiles that the resources had to traverse to reach their destination. The farther the resources had to travel, the less the player will receive from their delivery.
The game will run in a semi-turn-based fashion, where the speeds of resources are measured in tiles per tick. One tick will last several seconds, making the movement very slow. From the user's perspective, the movement will look continuous, since the resources will move at the appropriate rate.
The screen is divided into two major sections. The main area displays the map (with approximately 20x20 tiles visible). A menu bar sits on the right of the screen, approximately 2 inches wide. The menu bar contains buttons that are labeled graphically. When the user hovers over them, the name will appear over the cursor. The buttons are as follows: Build Structure, Build Line, Build Path, Place Reward, Budget, Sell, and Options. If a button is clicked, then a submenu pops out to the left of the main menu bar. This submenu contains a scrollable list of all placeable buildings within the selected category. Clicking on one of these brings up the building information in the bottom area of the main menu. With a specific building selected, the cursor is replaced by a transparent image of the building if the user mouses over the main city area. Clicking on a suitable location places that building in the colony.
When no building is selected in the submenu, the user can click on any placed structure to display its information in the bottom of the main menu. This information contains a picture of the building, and displays (with words and symbols) the build costs, operational costs, output, and units.
Since there is no explicit victory, a player's score is essentially the happiness of the planets and outposts along with the amount of money they are generating each turn.
Under the Bonnet
This section outlines the algorithms/systems used in the colony mode. Part of the fun of this game is learning the interactions between all the game's systems and figuring out how to use them to get the kind of colony the user desires.
The time is measured in ticks. During each tick, each resource will move one tile through the pathways and then all buildings will be updated. The player will also be able to pause the game at any time. Once the game is paused, the player can make changes and this changes will be reflected when the game resumes.
Resources move along the paths placed by the user, and split and are directed appropriately when the they reach Hubs.
Hubs are intersections between pathways where the user is able to set manually the fractionation and flow of the resources. At a hub, the player can choose the percentage of resources that will be sent in each direction, thus enabling them to maximize the efficiency of each pathway and keep excess resources from going to buildings where these resources aren't needed.
Note: These Controls are strictly for testing and debugging and are no reflection of what the controls will be in the final game.
C Key: Switch Between CONSTRUCT and SELECT mode
Numpad 0: Select Outpost to be built (must be in CONSTRUCT mode to place)
Numpad 1: Select Planet to be built (must be in CONSTRUCT mode to place)
Numpad 2: Select Pathway to be built (must be in CONSTRUCT mode to place) Note: Each pathway piece currently only flows in one direction, thus resources will only be seen moving if it is placed facing the appropriate way.
Numpad 3: Select Hub to be built (must be in CONSTRUCT mode to place)
Right Click: Rotate the currently selected structure.
+ and - (non-numpad): zoom the camera in and out
[ and ] : rotate the camera
; and ' : tilt the camera
The camera will scroll when the mouse cursor is moved to the edges of the screen.
Spacebar: Re-centre the camera on the build area