Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #50: Orbital Relays

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LennartGS

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Hi there and welcome to a development journal for Planetfall! We are working on the new expansion but also have a number of exciting free new features planned. We’re revealing the first of these today: The Orbital Relays.

Orbital Relays boost your empire’s infrastructure; it allows fast unit transportation between sectors in order to beat mid and endgame movement slog. These relays are built outside of colony centers as Sector Exploitation that also providing new economic upgrades. Placing them outside of colony centers means they can be taken out by enemies.

Orbital Relay Research

After unlocking the new Tier 5 Economic Tech ‘Orbital Relay Development’ the player gains the ability to exploit a sector into an ‘Orbital Relay Exploitation’.

Orbital_Wmap.jpg

Building Orbital Relays

Once unlocked any land sector can be exploited into an ‘Orbital Relay’ sector, instead of the other economic types.

The Orbital relay can be specialized to either support diplomacy, operations or defence. Its income is general to reflect this, giving larger economic benefits to developed colonies but giving a decent added benefit in the form of Garrison upkeep reduction to incentivize its construction on conflict colonies as well. Please see details of the upgrade below:

Orbital_Res1.jpg

Using the Relay for Transport

Once built the Orbital Relay and its adjacent hexes serve as ‘teleporters’ to all other Orbital Relays (and their adjacent hexes). Orbital Relays can only be used by units belonging to the Orbital Relay owner (or allies if the players share an ‘Open Relay Agreement’).

Players can manually select a destination via a list box. Player’s armies can also path through an Orbital Relay in the same manner as through a teleporter, by ordering an army to move to a position that another Orbital Relay is closer to. The arrival point is chosen based on which available hex position has the lowest movement cost.

An army moving through an Orbital Relay consumes all remaining movement points when it appears on the other side. A Relay can only facilitate a single army transportation per player per turn, thus prevent multi-stack armies from swarming through before an enemy can respond. These rules also mean that armies can’t instantly transport to the center of a colony (as the Wizards Towers in AoW:Shadow Magic). Because Relays are on a separate location they can also be more easily taken out.


Upgrading the Orbital Relay

In addition to the Tier 5 unlock there is a Tier 7 Tech group called Advanced Relay Infrastructure, which among other things allows transport to forward bases:

Orbital_Res2.jpg


With Orbital Relays I think we've find a nice way to reduce large empire slog, add new city upgrades and still give enemies opportunities to counter.

This is one of many additions and fixes we have planned. Stay tuned for Planetfall news at PDXCon. Oct 18-20 in Berlin and streamed on the internet via the Paradox Twitch channel.
 

Refumee

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I waited so long for a dev diary!
And it is awesome :)

Looking forward to it.
 

Pappus

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Please the economy science tree is already completely convoluted. We already can't tech the vast majority of things in there during a match - find a solution for that too.

My suggestion would be to take the relay stuff, top line and bottom two lines(society tree) to start the third research tree.

That way the economy tree might at some point be used.
 
Last edited:

Ludomancer2

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Neat concept! I look forward to trying it out. I have a few suggestions:

1) Forward Bases should automatically be able to receive "transports" once a Relay is built, without any further upgrades / research.
2) I suggest a generic Strategic Op (available to every faction & tech) called "Emergency Shuttle" That can teleport a single army from anywhere not in enemy territory to any empty Relay hex.
3) It might be interesting to have a Research / build-able upgrade available for Forward Bases that would allow them to "send" armies back to Orbital Relay sectors.
4) It would be neat if Relays provided extra defense when they are attacked directly, e.g. the anti-air defenses of the giant radar dish (?) tactical map.

That's in for now, looking forward to seeing this in action!

Ludomancer
 

Cassilda

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Thank you, the orbital relay it's a feature that I personally appreciate much :)
 

Malik van Ishtar

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At least, we can create 'buildings' outside colony just like in the Age of Wonders 3 we did (Forts, bridges, anti-magic towers etc.) I have request - give races ability to 'terraform lands/sectors, e.g. Assembly can make frozen sectors, Kir'ko Fungus sectors, etc.
 

Pappus

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At least, we can create 'buildings' outside colony just like in the Age of Wonders 3 we did (Forts, bridges, anti-magic towers etc.) I have request - give races ability to 'terraform lands/sectors, e.g. Assembly can make frozen sectors, Kir'ko Fungus sectors, etc.
Terraforming is already available for some secret techs and races
 

Ferrus Animus

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I like it. It allows some more flexibility in city building, especially in the midgame and might make the slow higher tier units a bit more usable.

However ahve you thought about reworking the interface and allow more sectors per city (there exists a mod to try) to make the city management less burdensome?
 

Sifer2

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Sounds good. Those 24 movement units will become a lot more useful. Though I still think cosmite costs to mod higher tier units is too high. This does beg the question though that if we have all this orbital infrastructure then where are our spy satellites? Dropping a radar on the ground seems a little low tech lol.

I am a little surprised about the forward base teleporter though. It's so easy to make a FB. Seems you can just take flyer stacks over to plop one down then teleport a massive invasion force through.
 

Promethian

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Dammit. Now I want this so much its going to be hard to play the game without it. Stellaris does this to me too.
 

Mauer

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Are these new features planned for when the expansion is released or will they be added before in an update?
I am a little surprised about the forward base teleporter though. It's so easy to make a FB. Seems you can just take flyer stacks over to plop one down then teleport a massive invasion force through.
You can only teleport one army per turn, so that would give time to mount a defense or even counter attack faster I guess.
 

Jolly Joker

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Very much an overly complicated solution for a problem that shouldn't have existed in the first place: with Teleporter Gates being on maps as configurable feature anyway, the endgame logistics aspect is pretty much reduced to researching "Teleporter Gates", after that being able to build them in each any and colony (with or without a prereq), movement costing 4 points through, as it does on the map.
 

Snorro Soliman

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@LennartGS this is wonderfull. Orbital relays will, in my view, add 'modern mobility'. Strategic redeployment should be available. However, is it conceivable that some secret techs will allow further differentation? Voidtech seems a logical candidate(lorewise, not sure about balance) to be 'better' at this, such as free city teleporters, or retained move point after relay redeployment?
 

Sifer2

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@LennartGS this is wonderfull. Orbital relays will, in my view, add 'modern mobility'. Strategic redeployment should be available. However, is it conceivable that some secret techs will allow further differentation? Voidtech seems a logical candidate(lorewise, not sure about balance) to be 'better' at this, such as free city teleporters, or retained move point after relay redeployment?

Yeah that's a good idea. Like how Promethean can ignore penalties from Hazards/Volcanic. Makes sense if Voidtech can implement faster movement into their orbital relays.
 

The Founder

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An army moving through an Orbital Relay consumes all remaining movement points when it appears on the other side. A Relay can only facilitate a single army transportation per player per turn, thus prevent multi-stack armies from swarming through before an enemy can respond. These rules also mean that armies can’t instantly transport to the center of a colony (as the Wizards Towers in AoW:Shadow Magic). Because Relays are on a separate location they can also be more easily taken out.
Please define "Army";
- does a single unit count as much as a full 6 unit stack?
- if so, could you limit it to something like units/turn rather then a flat limit?

@LennartGS this is wonderfull. Orbital relays will, in my view, add 'modern mobility'. Strategic redeployment should be available. However, is it conceivable that some secret techs will allow further differentation? Voidtech seems a logical candidate(lorewise, not sure about balance) to be 'better' at this, such as free city teleporters, or retained move point after relay redeployment?

Yeah that's a good idea. Like how Promethean can ignore penalties from Hazards/Volcanic. Makes sense if Voidtech can implement faster movement into their orbital relays.
They already have that operation that ports Armies to the Capitol and gives them fast Movement, wich should Synergize with Relays quite well.
 

Misogi

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This sounds a good idea.


This might give new options in battle in both strategic and tactical manner.
 

Snorro Soliman

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Please define "Army";
- does a single unit count as much as a full 6 unit stack?
- if so, could you limit it to something like units/turn rather then a flat limit?




They already have that operation that ports Armies to the Capitol and gives them fast Movement, wich should Synergize with Relays quite well.


Quite right! Forgot about that. Still, per tech unique orbital relays may be fun. Maybe they create better op strength, cloak redeployed armies or buff them, or allow for special actions in zones where they are present?
 

Cainist

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This is SO EXCITING! I can't wait to send a fast moving stack with concealment to capture an enemy's Orbital Relay to pave the way for invasion. It'll be just like capturing an airport! It would be cool if there was some kind of JTAC or TACP unit :D