It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s your space station!

Hi guys! Exciting times, huh?

Today I’m writing this very same words not on Earth, but above. 250 miles above, and traveling at 17,000 miles per hour. Yes, I’m at the Space Station, and you could be here too. Remember, not everything is Earth and Mars.

On The Initiative you’ll have the opportunity to build your very own space station to further enhance and improve your performance as a company.

Giving strict limitations for safety and contractual obligations with all competitors, your space station’s size is limited, so you’ll need to choose strategically which modules you want to send up, because you won’t be able to send all the available ones.

You may want to enhance your science output to move faster on the Technology Tree, you may want to improve your security to increase your security points generation, and many other choices including reputation, happiness, training improvements and even revenue, by using it as a tourist attraction in case you are short on cash and you find someone who can afford the trip.

Space Station Concept

You Space Station also has requirements you need to maintain in order to keep it running, and to keep your astronauts stationed there alive.

It runs on energy, which mostly comes from the sun and solar panels. So make sure you always have enough to keep each new module running.

Also you’ll need life support modules, such as oxygen, food storage and water recycling.

Having a Space Station is an important step for your company, some contracts will be available only to those who own one, and the most important thing is you can brag all your friends about it by taking selfies from here!

So, I hope to see you soon orbiting Earth!

Zimm out.

Holdings

Hello, Dawners!

Today is exciting, since I’m going to share with you one of the more powerful features on The Initiative: the Holdings.

Company Holdings are groups of members who share a common interest, in our case, a common goal. You may be more familiar to them as Guilds.

It adds so many layers of interactivity it would be hard to name them all, but I’ll do my best to summarize.

First and foremost, there’s Management.

As establishing a self-sustainable colony on Mars is such a huge endeavor, it’s not easy for a player to achieve on its own. This is why Holdings become paramount as colonies can only be established by them.

Holdings can help, and should, organize members to specialize and focus on certain areas to maximize the overall output of the whole.

Holdings do not have a launch complex on their own, so success will come from the combined effort of each and every member as they send to Mars everything that is needed, from resources or modules to the last colonist.

Me and… other holding Me.

Each Holding has a CEO, the Board, and members.

The CEO has many tools to manage the Holding, assign certain resources, define strategies and communicate and monitor member activities. It can also call for votes on certain matters, so either the Board or all members can cast their vote.

The Board is a group of members with the ability to also call for certain votes.

All members, including the CEO and the Board, will have Contribution Points towards the Holding, based on their own personal score on the game (technology advancement, launches, contracts, reputation, etc.) and their contribution to the Holding (money, resources, spy points, etc.).

There are three ways to change the CEO of the Holding:

  1. If he resigns, which will immediately ask for candidates and call for a vote, if there are no more candidates, the top contributor will automatically be the new CEO
  2. If the Board calls for a vote to remove him from office, in which case 66% of all the contribution points are needed to remove him
  3. Every certain amount of time, a request for available candidates and subsequent call for a vote will define the new CEO more than 50% of all contribution points; if there are no other candidates, the CEO will remain in office.

The Holding creator though, can choose, when and only when the Holding is created, to have a democratic Holding (with votes like above), or an authoritarian one, where the CEO cannot be removed unless he resigns. Democratic Holdings have increased perks and also advantages so members will most likely join these ones.

As Holding increase in size and influence, so will the perks that members receive from it. We will talk more about perks in the future.

Joining a Holding is as easy as creating one, or through our amazing online database of existing ones, you should be able to join one in no time and start enjoying the perks immediately.

Holdings will have their own leaderboards, but each member will be accountable for their contribution to the goal, so keep an eye to player’s leaderboards as well.

Aside from management, there’s strategy. Holdings, following a common goal, must often organize and focus attacks on key enemy competitors, in an effort to reduce any leverage they may have. Defending the weakest or their very own key members is crucial for a winning strategy.

As you can see, Holdings are as importante as their members, because they allow you to manage resources, organize efforts, orchestrate attacks, plan defense, and achieve the ultimate goal: being the first to establish a sustainable colony on Mars.

Zimm out.

Code abstraction: Events and delegates

As a one-man team, indie developer, or hobbyist game developer, your time is more limited than that of a big company or a big team. As such, you need to optimize your development process as much as possible.

Often, your scripts need to contact each other for several reasons: a city finishes up producing a unit and needs to tell the unit manager script that its done and it should actually Instantiate the GameObject and set it up; or a ship arrived at its destination and needs to tell the planet it has arrived and needs to be stored in a hangar.

Whatever your case is, you need to contact other scripts. And sometimes, you need to contact more than one script.

The usual way is to have properties (variables) pointing at the other scripts and running methods. Here’s an example of a production gauge with a timer that notifies the city the production is done.

ProductionGauge.cs
——-
UnitManager unitManager;
CityManager cityManager;

void Update () {
[…] when production of a unit finishes

// Tell the unit manager to actually create the unit
unitManager.Create(unitType);

// Tell the city the unit has finished production
cityManager.FindByName(“Rome”).ProductionDone(unitType);

[…]
}

Now this is fine, but as I started, you need to optimize your speed as much as possible. In order to do that, you need to create your own set of scripts that you can re-use in future projects.

If we keep the code like this, if you want to use the ProductionGauge.cs in another project and you drag just that file, then you’ll end up with errors because the UnitManager and the CityManager are not there, so you need to remove all the code related to those scripts, and of course, you need to modify this new ProductionGauge.cs to fit the needs of your new project (call the PlanetManager instead if its a space game, for instance).

This is a maintenance nightmare, because if you happen to find a bug on ProductionGauge.cs, suddenly you realize you have that bug in both your games, the city game and the space game, so you should go back and fix the city game as well. But you can’t just copy back the ProductionGauge.cs into your city game, because it already contains all the logic for that particular game. Well, you get the idea.

Here’s where Events and Delegates come handy. They allow a layer of abstraction between scripts.

Basically, what you can achieve is for the ProductionGauge.cs to shout “hey! I’m finished producing!”, and any script can listen and act accordingly. Therefore, you don’t need any specific references inside ProductionGauge.cs to any other script. It just shouts to mid air.

Here’s the same example of ProductionGauge.cs with events and delegates:

ProductionGauge.cs
——————–

// Declare the delegate and the event
public delegate void ProductionGaugeFinishedEventHandler (ProductionGauge pg);
public static event ProductionGaugeFinishedEventHandler OnFinishedEvent;

void Update () {
[…] when production is done

// Always check if event is not null before raising it because if
// it is null, then no-one is watching
if (OnFinishedEvent != null) {

// Raise the event on all registered listeners
OnFinishedEvent(this);
}

[…]
}

And on the City.cs side, this would be like so:

City.cs
————–

void Start () {
ProductionGauge.OnFinishedEvent += MyOwnFinishedMethod;
}

void OnDisable () {
ProductionGauge.OnFinishedEvent -= MyOwnFinishedMethod;
}

void MyOwnFinishedMethod (ProductionGauge pg) {
// This method will be executed whenever the ProductionGauge raises its event
}

As you can see, the ProductionGauge.cs does not refer to any other script now, so you can easily use it between projects.

Also, even if you don’t share the code between projects, if with the example above we need the HUD to also listed for that event, the HUD script can simply add itself as listener and it will also get notified when production finished.

So you should use Events on all the scripts you want to re-use in another project or when you need to notify several scripts about something.

Don’t forget to follow us on twitter for news regarding articles and game development.

 

 

@IndelveStudios
@NickVarcha

Reputation

Hi there!

Today we’ll go over a key ingredient of your success on The Initiative: your reputation.

Don’t take it for granted, it took me years to build mine, and I’m still trying for people to see me for what I truly am: a genius. But, I digress…

Your reputation will be increased primarily by the contracts you fulfill successfully. Logically, failure decreases it, whether it is because your launch failed and blew up in the air or you missed the deadline.

But, reputation is extremely important because it enables or improves a lot of things throughout The Initiative. Let’s go over the most important of them:

  • Contracts: first and foremost, some contracts have a minimum reputation requirement, which means you’ll only be able to get them if you meet such minimum.
  • Talents: just like contracts, some have a minimum reputation requirement, so you’ll only be able to make them an offer if you comply.
  • Loyalty: headhunters are everywhere, and a competitor may poach a great Talent from you. An increased reputation also increases the loyalty stat of all your payroll, hence protecting you from poachers.
  • Increased some buildings outcome: visitor’s center and other buildings open to the general population greatly benefits with a higher reputation, yielding a higher visitor count and revenue

Keep in mind you can also be attacked with a negative PR campaign to get your reputation down. So, you’ll need to keep an eye on it to avoid being caught unguarded.

Some have said a well-timed reputation loss, preventing a competitor from getting a unique contract, is a clever strategy 🙂

Some say a good reputation is more valuable than money… I don’t know, but I can tell you it’s important!

Zimm out!

Contracts

Hello! Zimm here.

On this opportunity, I’d like to talk to you about how to keep your billion dollar machine running. Spoiler: you’ll mostly need contracts.

Although there are several complementary sources for income, your main stream comes from successfully executing contracts by launching rockets.

Launch Complex

There are three main types of contracts:

  • Unique: these are just like Talents, when someone gets it, the contract is no longer available to anyone else. These usually have higher reputation requirements and higher penalties for not fulfilling.
  • First N to deliver collects: these can be accepted by a limited or unlimited number of competitors, but only a predefined number that fulfill them will get the reward.
  • Common: these are available for all to acquire and fulfill

Most contracts will have a minimum reputation requirement for you to be able to get it. This is another reason why reputation is paramount for your company. We’ll talk about reputation in greater detail next time.

Contracts also have a due date, a reward, conditions of satisfaction, and penalty for failure. Logically, you need to fulfill the contract before its due date to get the reward and avoid the penalty which may be monetary and a reduction in your reputation.

You can also have a limited amount of contracts active at any given time, so choose carefully which ones to accept, as there is also a penalty for abandoning them.

Contract options

The type of work a contract requires varies, with the following being the five most common:

  • Perform lab experiments on Low Earth Orbit: these occupy little to none space and weight on the spacecraft, so these are ideal to add to any other mission.
  • Launch private and government satellites: these can vary from huge expensive satellites to very small specific ones giving you the opportunity to take advantage of every inch of space on your spacecraft fairing.
  • Send cargo or crew to the International Space Station (this is not your private space station!): these usually occupy plenty of space and weight but their rewards are much higher.
  • Fly-by other planets or moons: these usually don’t allow for any other contracts to be added to this same mission manifest.
  • Space Tourism!: Once you’ve developed the technologies required to send humans into space, prepare to receive offers from millionaires eager to have a drink on zero gravity or to drop the ashes of a beloved (or not so) familiar on the moon.

So you need to design your rockets with your contracts in mind to make the best of each launch, wether you’re taking cargo or crew.

Zimm out!

Between Earth and Mars

Welcome back! Zimm again. This time I’m going to tell you about your other bases.

As we stated before, you start on Earth. That’s where you currently live on, right? (not for long, though). And, as we’ve also defined, your goal is to establish a sustainable colony on Mars.

Between Earth and Mars, you’ll be able to enhance your Earth base outcome by establishing other bases.

The first one will be your very own Space Station. Although there is an International Space Station in orbit to which you’ll send stuff to and retrieve more stuff from, you can have your own. You can build several modules here, in order to conduct different kind of experiments and procedures to improve the outcome of some of your buildings on your base on Earth, such as increasing your technology research, your security points and your reputation.

Next step ahead is your Moon outpost. This is your very own piece of the Moon! The modules you’ll build here will not only enhance your base on Earth, but also provide additional income for you by mining asteroids for minerals and water. Also, with the right technology, you’ll be able to deliver water to your space station directly from your Moon outpost, greatly reducing its maintenance cost and the cost to send resources to your colony on Mars.

In order to have the Space Station and the Moon outpost, there are several steps you have to do before such as researching the adequate technology, manufacture the corresponding modules, and launch a rocket with them inside. And afterwards, you need to maintain it!

So, get your gear ready to keep growing your aerospace company by having a piece of space and a land on the Moon, just for you.

Zimm out.

 

 

Corporate War

 

Hi, fellow Dawners… Today we’ll talk about the darkest, shadiest, sneakiest part of The Initiative. We call it: Corporate War. And so should you since… well, that’s the name…

Although we highly encourage not to engage on these activities (yeah, right…), we are aware some competitors may play dirty so, to make things fair, we want to provide tools for anyone to defend from (and attack) others.

There are a few key elements to consider:

Your security building will constantly generate attack and defense points (they are not really points, but let’s call them that). These points will have a monthly cost to maintain, so make sure you put them to a good use.

The Security building is a fully automated building when it comes to defense. You just need to set it up and configure how you want things handled. This is done this way as the attack will most likely occur when you’re not watching. You can change your defense strategy at any time both to improve it or to disorient attackers from memorizing it.

Attacks come in different flavors:

What is it good for? Well, to get ahead if you’re up to some shady stuff…
  • Spy: find out what someone else is doing, their current technologies, bank information, payroll, etc. It’s always an advantage to know what your competitors are currently doing, specially when the race is tight.
  • Steal Technology: you can steal whatever technology progress a competitor currently has and apply that to your current technology research.
  • Poach Talent: you can tempt a Talent to leave your competitor and work for you. This does not come cheap!
  • Sabotage Building: you can render a building useless or slow it down for a specific amount of time.
  • Negative Gossip Campaign: give false information to the media about a competitor in an effort to lower their reputation.

The attack process involves a three round engagement, in which your attack points will measure against your target defense points.

Defense will have a pre-defined point distribution for each round, and when you attack, you’ll define yours. Points spent on each round cannot be used for the next.

As the attacker you need to win two of the three rounds to breach the defense’s security and succeed.

The strength of your attack depends on your security building level, your station talent, any active skills, and the amount of attack points you’ve assigned to this battle. That will define things like how long a building will be slowed or stopped or how much science you’ll steal.

Again, please do not engage on these type of activities (:eyeroll) but if you do use these tools, use them with caution, your reputation is also at stake.

Stay tuned as this week we’ll have major announcements.

Zimm out.

The Launch Complex – Cargo

Hi again! One more time, Zimm is taking the lead.

We’ll talk about the Launch Complex today with focus on cargo missions. This involves using big rockets, adding stuff inside, and take them to orbit.

Of course, you need an assembled rocket, which you will do at the assembly building.

Every rocket is different, and based on your design you will have different payload performance to different destinations. The more payload space and weight available, the more contracts you can fulfill in a single launch. Hence, maximizing your profit.

You will have several possible destinations to choose from. The most important are:

  • Low Earth Orbit (LEO): This is the closest orbit you’ll be able to send stuff to. It’s a couple hundred kilometers away, and this is where some satellites and your space station will be. Since its closer, you require less fuel, therefore the payload performance will be higher.
  • Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO): This orbit is much farther away, approximately at 40,000 km. Some civilian and military satellites orbit here. Since the distance is considerably larger, your payload performance going to this destination is much lower. However, the money reward is usually higher.
  • Moon: This is… well, our Moon. It orbits at about 384,000 km, and this is where your -suspense here- Moon Outpost will be located. You’ll be able to ship and assemble different buildings and perform special operations such as mining asteroids or running super secret laboratory experiments to enhance your science research on Earth.
  • Mars: The final frontier (for now). This is our very own goal: Mars. Depending on the moment, it can be as “close” as 54.6 million km, or as far as 400 million km. Logically, getting there is much more difficult than any of the previous destinations, but the rewards… oh, the rewards.
Launch Complex

Launching a rocket is expensive and, after all, you’re running an aerospace company and you need the profit. On each launch, you should be able to fulfill as many contracts as you can fit to lower your fixed costs.

Although we’ll talk about contracts in much more detail in another article, just keep in mind each will take some of your available payload space and weight with cargo for you to deliver, and provide you with a money reward if you succeed. There will be many types of contracts with different requirements and obligations.

Every launch is a major milestone for your company, and it also affects heavily your reputation. The more successful launches you have and the more contracts you fulfill, the higher your reputation -and income-, which in turn will allow you to get better and more important contracts.

As you should know by now (if not, do your homework and read this), the main goal of The Initiative is to establish a sustainable colony on Mars. That is, a colony with at least 25,000 people requiring no resources from Earth to survive.

For the one who accomplishes that first, belongs the spoils.

There will be thousands of competitors attempting to get there first… but who knows, you could be the one!

Zimm out.

Assembling your team

Well… we’ve been pretty busy over here, how have you folks been?

I’ll need you to pay special attention here, as we’ll talk about a key part of your experience at The Initiative: assembling your team.

Although we’ve covered this a bit in the past, we’ll go through the actual process of hiring them.

In the world, there are amazing Talents eager to work for you (for a price, of course). And since they are limited, you need to be fast and determined when hiring because once someone else hires a Talent, that’s it (until they fire them, they get laid off, or some shady poaching occurs).

But how does that process work? We’ll give you access to a private network where these Talents supply all their information for you to make the decision about who to bring in to your team.

All Talents have a pretended salary which you’ll need to pay on a monthly basis. Some may have a sign-in bonus which, if you pay it, they will immediately work for you.

Now, that sign-in bonus is not a fixed factor, it’s a value the Talent calculates base on how your company is doing. If you have great reputation for example, that sign-in bonus may go down a bit.

Talents Example

So, back on track. If you pay the sign-in bonus, that Talent will immediately work for you. However, sign-in bonus may be a bit hefty so be cautious if you want to spend your money there. If you don’t, or the Talent does not have a set bonus, then you’ll need to bid on him.

Talent has a base salary he wants, but you can offer more. Talent defines a bidding time right after the first offer received, during which all players can offer a salary. And following the rules and regulation of our HR department, once the bidding time passes, the best offer will be awarded and the Talent will go to work for such company.

However, the new employer will have to pay the second best salary offered to the Talent and not his actual offer. This is commonly known as a Vickrey auction.

The best offer will not be visible to the public, though. You’ll only see the second best offer at all times and its up to you to bid a value you think will surpass the top one.

Once the Talent joins your team, he will be readily available to work on any of your buildings and, if he is specialized enough, as an astronaut in your spacecrafts.

At any time you can fire a Talent, which will make that Talent appear again available for others. Keep in mind that any new learning, training and specialization the Talent gained while working for you will remain with him, so you’re giving your competitors a much more trained Talent than you received.

As with everything else, we’ll be with you every step of the way to help you out and offer you tips.

See you next time!

Zimm out.

Rocket Design

Fly me to the moon… and Mars!

Hi, fellow dawners. As always, I’m reaching out to explain a bit more about The Initiative.

In this occasion, we’re going to cover one of the most important aspects: designing your rockets.

We’ve worked very hard to make the process as straightforward as it can possibly be, considering you will be building huge flammable flying machines with thousands of electrical circuits.

It all begins with a name. That’s right, you get to choose the name of your rocket! We’ll add the number of engines and boosters to the name. For example, if you choose a great name like, say, Zimm, if could end being Zimm 9 Heavy.

Vehicle Assembly Building Mid-Lvl 3D model

You also get to choose wether it has a single stage 1 booster with or without additional boosters attached to it.

Then, you start adding the modules you want. You choose the first stage booster, then the second stage, and last, but not least, the spacecraft.

Different modules will be available as you research technology using the Technology Tree, located in the Engineering building.

You can also include add ons to enhance certain aspects of the rocket, like a “Reusable Launch System” on the first stage.

As you design your rocket, you’ll see in real time a whole bunch of numbers and stuff (scientists call it “useful information”), that will help you decide the best design for the goal you want to achieve: wether is to send a few satellites to the Low Earth Orbit, or a payload to Mars!

You can play around as much as you want until you’re comfortable with your design, you can save it to reuse.

Once the design is done, you need to obtain the required parts by building them at your own Factory, or buying them on the global market from competitors.

Finally, after you have all the parts the rocket needs, you can go ahead and start its assembly to be ready for the next mission!

You’ll decide your mission based on your available contracts and your company Holding needs, which we’ll cover in another article.

For now, simply remember these few steps:

  • Design
  • Assemble
  • Launch

It took me a little while to learn them and I’ll give you a hand for you to learn them as well.

Until next time… Zimm out.