Technology Tree

Here we are again. This time, I want to tell you about all the research you’ll need to perform in order to reach the outer space and beyond.

Research is done through the Technology Tree, which is handled in the Engineering building.

The tree is divided into four categories, each focusing on very specific knowledge. No category is better than other, and although you don’t need all, you will need to research some technologies from each category.

Choosing which technologies to research and when will be paramount for your strategy, specially considering you won’t research all of them. Specializing and coordinating within your Holding can really make a difference and boost you up to the top ranks. This is one of a few key element that makes The Initiative really unique to each one.

Tech example

The four categories are:
1) Propulsion and Avionics: Covers rocket engines and electronics, among other important stuff
2) Propellents and Energy: Mostly involves fuel tanks, propellents, energy generation and storage (you know, explosions and voltage stuff)
3) Structures and Support: Covers spacecraft, satellites and modules for your interplanetary bases
4) Strategy and Management: A key category which will allow you to manage your business more efficiently, as well as make you stronger among other players to defend from attacks (and perform them!).

Keep in mind you can research one technology at a time and, in order to do so, you’ll need to have a manned Engineering building. The Talents manning it will increase the science output which, in turn, will accelerate the current research.

Technologies enable rocket parts, outer space bases modules, output bonuses and/or other technologies, and most of them require previous knowledge of other technologies to be researched (hence the “Tree” name 😉

Although it may seem overwhelming at first, you’ll get use to it in no-time. And browsing the Technology Tree will give you a full description about each item to further clarify what it does and what it unlocks.

Keep in touch as we’ll start to reveal portions of the tree, so you can get ahead and inspect it.

See you next time!

 

The Factory

Welcome back,

Today we will be talking about one of the first and most important buildings your aerospace company will have to build: “The Factory”.

Factory mid-lvl concept

Here you will combine the needed materials to create rocket parts, Space Station and Moon modules, and everything required to build the first ever human settlement on Mars.

Depending on the stats and abilities of the assigned Talents + Factory level + Researched Techs and some random luck you may get different quality items, from “Common” to “Rare” ones, and from time to time a server “Unique”. The stats of those items will define the success rate of every rocket launch and overall missions on your way to success.

Factory mid-lvl 3D model

Every time you build a specific item will increase your proficiency on it, improving the chance of getting a better one next time. So trying to build everything in-house or specializing on some of them and acquiring the rest on the market will be up to you to decide.

Rocket parts items will later be put together in the “Assembly building” to create the most amazing rockets ever built, but we will leave that for another occasion.

See you around!

Your Talents

Hi, it’s me again. I don’t want to leave a major part of your endeavor for later: Talents.

We both know we alone are the brains behind this, but being that as it may, we can’t do it on our own. We need talented people to perform other, more mundane tasks. And this is where Talents come into play.

The Initiative attracts thousands of Talents throughout the world that are willing to work for you. Some will be great, others not so much. Of course, the better ones will expect more money for their services.

Remember, since you are competing against thousands of others, you need to make sure to hire the best talents your budget allows it first, because once someone hires a Talent, that Talent is no longer available (until they fire him, if that happens).

Special Talent File

To further help you decide who to add to your roster, we’ve managed to categorize Talents in four intrinsic features we feel are aimed at the ultimate goal of creating a sustainable colony on Mars, which are: Focus, Dexterity, Creativity and Organized.

  • Focus works great to run Operations buildings, and also helps on Corporate ones.
  • Creativity will help a lot on Research buildings, and also on Assembly ones.
  • Dexterity is preferred on Assembly buildings, but also aids on Operations.
  • Organized greatly helps on Corporate buildings, but also adds on Research ones.

Talents specialize when working on buildings, so the more time the same Talent works on the same building, the corresponding stat for that building will slowly increase. The same way, when you remove it, it will slowly forget what was learned and the stat will slowly decrease. For instance, a Talent working on the Engineering department will slowly increase its Creativity.

We’ve managed a way to measure their Happiness and Loyalty levels. Happiness affects all their stats either positively or negatively, depending on how happy they are! And Loyalty makes it harder for a competitor to poach one from you.

Don’t forget to join to keep up to date with all news and, of course, any specials.

See you around.

Your base on Earth

Hi again. I’m going to tell you a bit about your base on your home planet -for now- Earth.

As I explained before, you will be provided with your own land to build your base, and we’ll even throw a Headquarters building and an operations complex. Let’s talk a bit more about this.

Your base comprises of buildings and decorations. Buildings are all the structures that make stuff happen. But, most buildings required manpower to work, so you’ll be assembling your team of Talents and assigning them to work on each building.

On the other hand, decorations make it look pretty and keep your talents happy (we’ll get into your talents and their happiness on another article).

There are five building categories, being: Corporate, Research, Manufacturing, Operations and Recreational.

Each category serves a general purpose, and each building performs specific tasks.
For example, your Headquarters building (included in your sign-in package as a gift), which is a Corporate one, allows you to hire talents to work with you and man all other buildings.

Another example is your Launch Complex (which includes a Hangar, a Launch Pad and a Mission Control building), which is an Operations one, and allows you to create and manage your actual missions (we’ll talk about them in more detail also in another article).

Operations Complex

Buildings will start being somewhat basic, but you’ll be able to upgrade them. Most buildings will have close to ten levels that you can upgrade. Each upgrade not only will affect how that building looks, but it will affect that building’s outcome and available features.

During this week I’ll be talking specifically about the Headquarters building, showing you concepts of how it looks, the actions you can perform in there, and some insider tips!

So, get ready to start some base building because you’ll need several to win!

Stay tuned for more updates and articles.

Nice to meet you

Hi, there! I’m Zimm.

I know I look all cool and successful right now. But, believe it or not, I used to be just like you.

I used to live with my head on Earth too. I was a used… sorry, pre-owned car salesman. I got paid based on my performance and let me tell you, with that petty cash I hardly made a leaving.

One day, someone like me came and told me the same thing I’m going to tell you, and that changed my life completely.

I remember what he said like it was yesterday, and all I had to do was follow a few basic steps and that’s it.

Now, I’m successful, I’m happy, life smiles at me, and above all, I deeply enjoy what I do… most of the time.

His exact words were: Join the Initiative.

“What is the Initiative?” you may ask? Well, you can learn a bit more here. But despite what you’ll read there I can tell you right now, it will change your life.

You’ll be hearing from me often, as I’m know a full time Recruiter for the Initiative.

You’ll find me posting tips and tricks, explanations, and even doing some photo shoots now and then.

So, until we see each other the next time, here are a few steps you can do to start changing your life:

1) Follow our company on Twitter: 

2) Like our Facebook page at: https://facebook.com/IndelveStudios

3) Join our newsletter at: http://initiative.online/#join to be the first to know tips, secrets, and never miss an early bird promotion. The best offers will always be announced on the newsletter first!

Demystifying Unity for Large Projects – 6 rules

Hi, I’m Nick Varchavsky, lead developer at Indelve Studios.

I’ve been using Unity since it’s version 2.x (around 2008 or so), and I’ve seen it grow year after year. Along with the engine, the projects done with it grew as well.

One thing I’ve noticed is the general mis-understanding (from my point of view) on how capable Unity is handling large projects, and how to do so. I see a huge misconception on what Unity is, and how one should use it.

If I can explain these tips, you’ll never fall back on using Unity like before.

Throughout years of experience, research, and forehead slaps, I’ve come up with a set of rules I implement here at Indelve. I’m sure this is not the only way to handle large projects on Unity, but it has helped us greatly and worked wonderfully in small teams like in our mobile division, and in large teams like in our current large game Initiative: Red Daw.

You’ll notice some of them are not exclusive to Unity and more general to programming, but since they are part of my mantra, I’ll share them as well.


1- Keep it sharp
Use C#. Plain and simple. There’s no reason to use UnityScript (or what many confuse with “Javascript”). As I’ve explained on another article, there are a series of reasons why I use C# for everything, and completely ban UnityScript from any project I work on.

First, most libraries you’ll find are written in C# (such as Facebook’s or other major SDKs).

Second, UnityScript and C# in Unity have different compiling time. This means they are not compiled together. Hence, if you want a UnityScript to access a C# script, you have to follow specific folder guidelines to achieve that. I’ve found myself in a hybrid nightmare of C# and UnityScript scripts that didn’t see each other, so I had to arrange some on the Assets folder, some on Standard Assets, some on Plugins, etc. to be able to achieve what I wanted. Since then, I chosen to use C# for everything.

Also, it’s not Javascript. Unity’s Javascript is not really Javascript. In fact, it’s actually UnityScript and it lacks a few of the most powerful things Javascript has (for my taste), which is JSON. You can see a more detailed list of the differences here as well, but I’ve found several that make UnityScript a turndown for me. I develop a lot in JS (NodeJS and AngularJS for example), and I absolutely love JS. But when it comes to Unity, I go with C#.


2- The point of no return
When working on large projects, there’s a point of no return (usually pretty early) where you must commit and stick to an engine version (strictly speaking, to a specific version of every library you use). This is true not only to Unity. Although Unity still lacks a good version management like Unreal Engine has.

Also, under no circumstance you should depend on a future feature Unity says they will provide (i.e.: Nested Prefabs have been in the roadmap as the next feature since 2013 and still at the end of 2016, no nested prefabs). If you need a feature, either code it yourself or get a plugin from the Asset store. If you plan the latter, check below on #5.


3- Make your own DLLs
When working with multiple programmers and designers it becomes imperative to protect the code from accidental edits. And if you are working with freelancers, you’re also protecting your source code.

You can create one or multiple DLLs if you want. Here are a couple of uses we have for DLLs:

– Prevents accidental edits
– Protects source code
– Easier version tracking (easier to know all developers are working on the same library version)
– Easier update: you simply send the new DLL instead of the source code script or worse, the full Unity project. This is specially useful if you work with programmers off site
– Easier propagation: you can setup your environment to automatically copy linked DLLs to a master server from which others will update automatically

You can make .NET DLLs in Windows and in Mac as well using Mono. Unity uses Mono so you’re not loosing any special features. Send me a buzz if you need some guidelines as to how to create such DLLs.


4- Unity for Unity
One of the biggest mistakes I find online is wanting to have Unity solve every single need we may have.

As a general rule, I put no game logic on Unity. I use Unity simply as a visual front-end of the game. For example, on Initiative: Red Dawn can be played fully from a linux console. Unity is just a visual representation of that.

Initiative: Red Dawn console view (early version)

Remember,  just because Unity has certain functionality does not mean you need to adapt your code to use it.

Use Unity stuff (i.e.: MonoBehaviours) only for Unity-specific visual stuff. If a class has no visual representation on the game world, then it makes no sense to make it a Monobehaviour or even have it inside Unity.

Don’t use Monobehaviours just for the Start/Update/etc. Use Dirty updates instead.

We have a single MonoBehaviour performing the update to the DLL, and everything else is handled through a dirty update from there, even Unity stuff.

TL;DR
If it has a visual representation, use Unity. If not, goes into the DLL.


5- Asset Store plugins
If you want/need to use asset store plugins, there are a few caveats we always check:

– Make sure the plugin is actively maintained by the developer: you can check the forums, their webpage and comments on the Asset Store itself.

– Always have an empty project to import the plugin, run the demo scenes, and make sure it works. Then, delete all unwanted content (demo content mostly), and create your own UnityPackage to use. Never have developers download the asset from the store, always share your version of it (also check the licensing to see how many seats you need when sharing)

– Just like Unity, you need to stick to a version of the plugin and be very cautious when upgrading

– If the plugin comes with source code and the license allows it, embed such code in your DLL and use it from there. If the plugin does not come with source code, I simply don’t use it. We already have to live with Unity’s lack of source code to add yet another black box middleware.


6- Scene usage

Don’t. Just don’t use or relay on scenes for your end-game. Use prefabs for everything (I mean, everything). If its a GameObject, then it is a prefab, no matter how simple it is.

You can use scenes during development to test specific elements of the game if you must. If you do, plan ahead and make sure each scene is fully playable without the need to go through several other scenes to test a single feature.

In our case, we use different Unity projects for each section of the game: the base on Earth is one project (not a scene, a separate project), the technology tree is another project, etc.

All projects have a shared library containing the DLLs and all shared assets (icons, logos, images, sounds).

Also, since we are not using scenes, we can have multiple programmers working on the same part of the game and it’s just like a script file edit.

If they are changing visual elements (models, animations, etc.), it’s just updating a prefab.

 


Well! I hope I did a fair job explaining our method. Remember, I’m not stating this is by far the best method there is, but it sure worked for me in the past and is working wonderfully now.

Game developing consumes an immense amount of time, which unless you’re doing it fully as a hobby, translates into money which, for most of us, it’s very limited and heavily guarded by our CFOs and alike. So, ensuring you use a cleaner and smoother workflow saves plenty of time in the end.

As always, let me know if you find any issues, typos, or if you want me to go deeper into any topic explained here.

Thanks for reading!

You can follow me on Twitter at

 

What is The Initiative

Initiative: Red Dawn is a game about mankind’s desire for exploration, ambition and conquering of the unknown. It challenges you to make your own way among thousand competitors to make human life interplanetary.

Or in a more technical way, an aerospace business manager simulator set in the current space race inspired by NASA’s unending progress and SpaceX’s revolution. BUT it is much more than that.

Created in amazing 3D art with innovative mechanics, the game challenge is to make your way in real time against thousands of competitors to be the first to establish a self-sustainable colony on Mars.

Whether you team up or fly solo, behave as a friend or deceive others, play it safe or risk all to be the first… it is up to you… Your goal will be to create the best aerospace company ever dictating the future of mankind.

Join The Initiative now!

Continue reading “What is The Initiative”

Our Inspiration

We grew as computer games did. We’ve returned home with excitement with our box full of floppy disks with that brand new game that came out.

We knew Scorched Earth before Worms, and played forsaken games such as Sokoban, Supaplex, and all-time favorites such as Master of Orion, Space Federation and Transport Tycoon.

We’ve watched with awe the birth of Internet on games, and that first time we played Doom multiplayer cooperative and felt like touching the sky. Not to mention our first Counter-Strike match with unknown people on the Internet…

When you grow along with a generation that watches the inception of the most modern and comprehensive form of art, you simply can’t ignore that calling, that need.

We’ve read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Robot series only to dream about space travel and the possibility to step on soil of another planet. Do you imagine that? Setting your foot in another planet? It’s mesmerizing. And for a big part of our lives, we accepted the fact it was just science fiction, and we were just born too early in mankind’s history to be able to travel on space.

We are heavily and deeply inspired by NASA’s unending research and the current private sector pertnership (such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX). We’ve been to the Kennedy Space Center every single chance we had, and beheld with admiration the amazing Saturn V rocket and the new Falcon rockets Elon’s SpaceX is testing and the Curiosity with the answers it may bring. 

We’ve been inspired so much, this game is an homage on all these heroes’ lives by using the art we master: Video Games. That’s why in the game you start off with $100 million, just what he had, and push to become a space magnate from there. 

It’s all up to you: the Talents you hire, the technology you choose to research, the relations you cultivate, the contracts you get, the rockets you make, the missions you launch, and above all, the absurdly ambitious ultimate goal you need to achieve: a sustainable colony on Mars.

This is a game we want to make because this is a game we want to play as it converges on so many angles. And at the same time, bring the space race back to the dinner table conversation, since mankind’s next step is enabling life on other planets.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this game as much as we are enjoying making it.

And realize, despite some overlapping between young and old, we all live our life at the same time window, and though we missed the Teslas, Edisons and Bells, we do got to live with the Carmacks, the Jobs and all the people that reshape our lives and the world.