Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Dev Diary #2: World Building

Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Dev Diary #2: World Building

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LennartGS

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Hi there, this new DD is about World Building. The premise for this intricate Planet-based sci-fi game started to come together when we gave the factions a common origin and a shared history, as opposed to having aliens first meet each other in outer space.

Central to the setting of Planetfall is the Star Union, a shattered galactic empire that once spanned thousands of worlds. As one of the survivors, you emerge from the dark age to craft a new future. You travel to one of the lost worlds of the old empire, where you will find many marvels among the remnants of this once great civilization.

Imagine the world of Fallout on a galactic scale, with players competing to establish a new future. The world is loaded with wonders, hidden secrets and ancient rivalries. Scraps of information scattered through the game world allow the player to piece together the horrible fate that befell this great civilization.

EmpireRuins.jpg
This is one of the first mood images we did: a ruined capital world establishing the sci-fi monumental architecture. Notice the propaganda mural which made it into the announce trailer. Then there is a nice contrast between the destruction and the ship making planetfall which signifies a new hope.

Reasons why we made the Star Union central to the setting are plentiful:
  • Lore and Exploration: The remnants of the Star Union are everywhere – like ruins of the roman empire sprawled across Europe and the Mediterranean. Discover its urban centers, research labs, weapon test sites and the origins of your faction.

  • Universe Consistency: In the game you’ll visiting many worlds. The Star Union is an overarching entity explaining why similar structures or NPC factions reappear in the galaxy.

  • Shared History for Factions: Room for factions and characters to have ancient beef to settle. Like there is this insectoid slave race called the Kirko that has been freed from its shackles. (not all playable factions are humanoid in origin)

  • A different take on Research: Research is about rediscovery the secrets of this ancient empire, adding a narrative to this mechanic.

  • Whodunnit? Who or what brought the empire down? Maybe they’re coming after you as well. Maybe the techs you’re rediscovering are the ones that caused the cataclysm.
Here are a few examples of elements that constituted the Star Union:
  • The Nexus: The thousands of worlds of the Star Union were connected through a network of wormholes, called the Nexus. This allowed FTL travel and fast communication between the worlds. After the Collapse clusters of stars at the heart of the Union ominously disappeared and gravitational storms made travel through the Nexus impossible. The surviving factions were marooned on the outer frontiers of the Union, light years apart.
  • CORE: As the Star Union grew from dozens to thousands of worlds, the Union deployed a governance system at the heart of the Nexus called CORE (short for Conscientious Omnipresent Regency Engine), which gathered and processed data from across the Union. At the start of their term, Emperors and Planetary Governors would be connected to CORE, opening their minds to the immense interstellar dataflow.
  • Vanguard: The Vanguard originate from the expeditionary forces that were sent out to claim new worlds on the frontier of the Union. The Vanguard are hardened pioneers and marines with few ties to the old world; the effects of time dilation matter little to them. When they arrived at their destination, the Vanguard found out the Nexus had gone black, and they had no way to return. In the time they had been traveling, the empire they were sworn to protect had fallen. Because of this delay, the Vanguard resemble imperial forces from before the fall.
  • Paragons: The Union’s privileged citizens and praetorian military. Named after the Paragon Augmentations company that provided them with the extensive bionic implants that unnaturally extended their lives. One of the NPC Factions in the game.
  • Terratech: This biotech company did the Empire’s Terraforming and ran scary genetics programs. You’ll see their facilities popping up on various worlds, as well as embedded in the origins of various post-collapse factions
  • (Edit - Whoops this journal is getting long - must bring it to a close)

Posters.jpg

In-game Lore illustrations. The various interstellar corporations and institutions have left their traces on the worlds of Planetfall. You’ll see them reflected in map structures, units, factions, secret technologies and quests and lore entries.
 

mr_stibbons

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Wasn't expecting this until tomorrow. Great to see, I love all of this.
 

Jean-Luc

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Some of the art style is very art deco-ish. Has Metropolis provided significant inspiration maybe? Most people probably know this as the "Bioshock look". Regardless I really like it. It smells of retro sci-fi and opulence.





 

Jean-Luc

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Yes, its visual design feels timeless, it's very visible in the UI elements.

Hope the artists manage to make it work throughout the game.
 

Darth.

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The Nexus: The thousands of worlds of the Star Union were connected through a network of wormholes, called the Nexus. This allowed FTL travel and fast communication between the worlds. After the Collapse clusters of stars at the heart of the Union ominously disappeared and gravitational storms made travel through the Nexus impossible.
The Webway: The thousands of worlds of the Star Union were connected through a network of wormholes, called the Webway. This allowed FTL travel and fast communication between the worlds. After the Collapse clusters of stars at the heart of the Union ominously disappeared and gravitational storms made travel through the Webway impossible.

FTFY ;)
@LennartGS Is this a WH40k reference to the Fall of the Eldar Empire?:p
 

Arduano

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Looking forward to learning everything about the decline and fall of the Star Union.
 

Jolly Joker

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The Paragon logo concept artist took their inspiration from one of the best ever, that's for sure ;) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitruvian_Man

That said, the Terratech is cool - as is the Vanguard "poster" that seems to ring a bell as well, although I can't point a finger. Gut says, some socialism propaganda posture poster, although I may be wrong.

While I'm really excited about gameplay, the background story looks really fascinating, and I'm really curious about the way the info is revealed in the course of the game - and of course, what will be revealed as well.

The one thing I do hope is that the UI won't be too TECHNOLOGICALLY FUNCTIONAL looking.
 

DeinonychusTaco

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You know, I was pretty skeptical when this game was first announced, considering Stellaris already exists and one of the main reasons Paradox's purchase of Triumph was exciting to me was the prospect of finally having a real fantasy game in the clausewitz engine (as in the past we've only had CK2's minor fantasy elements and a few good TC mods for other fantasy universes). Planetfall is starting to look pretty cool, though, and sufficiently differentiated from Stellaris (both gameplay-focus-wise and universe/setting wise). So, yay, looking forward to this.
 

CustodianV131

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Reading about the world building aspects was very enjoyable.

Looks like you have created a rich setting with endless possibilities for new factions and creatures. Very promising indeed. Binding everything together with the Star Union saga is a smart move. Look forward to learning more about them and encountering their ruins and secrets on many different planets.

Sound like it will be a good experience claiming worlds for my faction for sure.

The posters look really good. I look forward to a T-shirt with the Paragon technologies picture at some point in the future.

The -EDIT- snip I was saddened by. Was enjoying the read. Hope you will elaborate more on the world building process in the future.

Onward and upward!
 

Thrake

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Nicely creepy art for terratech.

You know, I was pretty skeptical when this game was first announced, considering Stellaris already exists and one of the main reasons Paradox's purchase of Triumph was exciting to me was the prospect of finally having a real fantasy game in the clausewitz engine (as in the past we've only had CK2's minor fantasy elements and a few good TC mods for other fantasy universes). Planetfall is starting to look pretty cool, though, and sufficiently differentiated from Stellaris (both gameplay-focus-wise and universe/setting wise). So, yay, looking forward to this.
It isn't developped on Clausewitz as far as I know.
 

Quark02

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Hopping from world to world? I wonder if this means the return of choose-some-units-or-items-to-go-with-you approach from AoW1 in the campaign.