Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category
I have been working hard to get v1.2.1 out to the beta group, and I worried that making video update #3 would prolong it even further. Thankfully fellow Starbase Orion player and composer Mark Kent saved me that trouble! Mark graciously offered up his talents and has composed four separate tracks totaling nearly 30 minutes of original music. Many thanks to Mr. Kent, Starbase Orion has never sounded this good!
Thanks to everyone who backed the project for porting Starbase Orion to Android, PC, and Mac. We gave a good showing, but in the end failed to raise the money required. I learned a lot running this KickStarter; if and when I do another KS it will be that much better for it.
Now that the KickStarter is over, what’s next? One of the aspects of the KS I was personally excited about was being able to work on a custom server to open new doors for improvement in Starbase Orion. This is something I started researching before the KS began, and a couple weeks ago started implementing. But what will this mean for the Starbase Orion player? Having a custom server will open up a ton of possibilities, and I’d like to mention some of them now!
Please note these are all possible future additions. All of these features will definitely NOT be in the first version of SO that uses the custom server, but they are all long or short term goals I would like to achieve eventually.
Server-side Turn Processing
With a custom server we can start doing the turn processing on the server (instead of your device). This provides numerous advantages: decreasing the ability to cheat, make the game more stable (low memory crashes when “press turn and it crashes”), quick server patches and updates (if the bug is server-side I can fix it without needing to submit an update to Apple). While all of this obviously applies to multiplayer games, it it can also apply to “single player” games! In Starbase Orion all games are multiplayer games; “single player” games are simply multiplayer games with one human and multiple AI. So long as you have an active internet connection, you could play a single player game hosted on the server, giving you all of the advantages of doing so.
While we will continue to support playing Starbase Orion without an active internet connection, the majority of the time you probably have one. And if you have an active internet connection, the you can access a powerful server on the cloud. That server has three very important things: much more CPU power than your iOS device, much more RAM than your iOS device, and persistent storage that is not on your device. The AI algorithms in Starbase Orion are greedy when it comes to CPU and RAM. SO uses heuristics-based genetic algorithms; that’s a fancy way of saying the AI looks at a bunch of possible ways to take its turn, theorizes how the game would play out given those orders, and runs it through a heuristic to see if it should do that or not. These kind of algorithms gain so much from having more CPU, and running your games on a powerful server will allow the AI to examine more possible plans per turn.
Another popular strategy for AI development is to examine, catalogue, and analyze thousands of played games. This data is then fed into the AI to teach it what works in certain situations and what doesn’t. Currently we don’t have access to any game data; Apple does not provide us access to GameCenter servers, and we certainly don’t have direct access to your single player games. With a custom server, server-side processing, and a few months of it being live I will have a wealth of data to start playing with (enough to make a nerdy man cry).
Contiguous Asynchronous Multiplayer
GameCenter has a convention where there is a “turn stick” that gets passed between players in a game; only the player with the “turn stick” can play their turn. When they complete their turn, they submit it and the next player gets a notification. While this can work for the majority of games, it is not ideal for Starbase Orion!
When you play your turn in Starbase Orion, what you are really during is creating a list of orders to be played at the end of the round. When everyone has defined their orders, the round is processes simultaneously and the results present back to the player. As such, the concept of a “turn stick” adds unnecessary latency when playing a match. With a new custom server all players will be able to enter their orders at the same time,
One of the built in features in the Smart Fox Server is a complete chatting system. The new “multiplayer” section in SO will contain “The Space Bar” where players can lounge and chat if the mood strikes them. In addition, each game will have a custom, persistent chat room just for that game, so you can easily chat about strategy or whatnot between turns.
Server-side Game History
Every turn of a game played in the cloud will be stored on the server. This fact will be able to power several new features: the ability to roll-back a game to a previous turn (details TBD), game replays and player spectating.
Browseable Player Profiles
Know this great thread on the forums where committed players look to find other players? Now that ability will be completely in game, where you can write a little ditty about yourself and let other players know you want to play with them, your timezone, and your game preferences.
Better Automated Match Making
There is a lot of improvement that can be done here, so suffice it to say when we control the server we can implement whatever we want. I have some cool ideas around this but we’ll save that for another post.
What’s a competitive 4X space game without rankings? This feature has been a long time coming, but only made sense if the rankings mean something. GameCenter did not provide enough controls and security to make this feasible, having a custom server does. I plan to implement a variant of the ELO ranking system.
SO players have organized tournaments using the forums in the past, but until now have lacked the tools the really make it work. New victory conditions, turn time limits, and automated bracketing will all play key roles in allowing successful online tourneys.
Integrated Friend System
All of your GameCenter friends who play Starbase Orion will be listed inside the SO interface. Use this to invite them to games, send them private chat messages, see their profiles and more.
The “multiplayer” section of Starbase Orion will also contain a “News” section. This will be updated with patch notes, stores, tips, strategy, highlighted forum posts, and more.
These features just scratch the surface of what will be possible. We can use more players in the beta testing group to help iron out all of the issues.
Explore. Expand. Exterminate. Can you defeat your friends and become the ruler of the galaxy?
Starbase Orion is an old-school 4X space strategy game that draws inspiration from titles such as Master of Orion and Galactic Civilizations. Lead your empire from the birth of its space age in Starbase Orion. Colonize new worlds, explore new horizons, and discover other players attempting to do the same. It is a race to the stars where only one empire can declare victory over the galaxy.
Strong Single-Player Experience
Compete against a battle-tested artificial intelligence. Our AI was derived from our entry into to 2010 Google AI contest, where it placed in the top 15% of thousands of competing intelligences. Go head-to-head against a single AI opponent, or ramp up the carnage with a 4 way free-for-all.
GameCenter Multiplayer Turn-Based Games
Starbase Orion was designed to provide a fantastic multiplayer experience. Launch the game, sign into GameCenter, and start a new multiplayer game. Play your turn, and you will be automatically matched to another player when someone else decides to play. No need to coordinate play times, seek out other players. Just go play, when you want and on your terms.
Starbase Orion is built from the ground up for iOS 5. It supports iCloud so that your saved games are instantly available on all of your devices. Start a game at home on your iPad, then pick it up again the next day on your iPhone. Simple, streamlined, fantastic.
Universal – You bought the cool gadgets, go play on them.
Full support for iPad, iPhone, iPod, standard and Retina displays. Play when you want, where you want.
Choose Your Race, Or Create Your Own
There are five uniques races included; Human, Draske, Vass, Cyban, and Isather. You can also create your own custom race by picking and choosing between different race characteristics.
Intense Space Combat
Design your ships from a variety of weapons, hull, and systems. Send them into battle against the enemy. Give them orders, then watch the battle in unfold as they duke it out in the dark expanses of space.
It is quite common these days to buy an app one day only to watch it go “free for a day” the very next afternoon. Starbase Orion is not one of those apps. We will have an opening sale with the price set at $4.99 USD. After which the price will be fixed at $7.99 USD. Starbase Orion will not be switched free at any time. We want you to be able to buy the app with confidence, and this is our guarantee to you.
Guaranteed Free Updates
We have a lot more planned for Starbase Orion. We plan to release all updates for free, without any hidden fees or In-App Purchases.
Chimera Software Announces Starbase Orion
4X Turn-Based Space Strategy for iOS 5
Available Fall 2011
4X Turn-Based Space Strategy for iOS 5
Available Fall 2011
(Atlanta, GA) July 11, 2011 – Chimera Software is thrilled to announce Starbase Orion, a fresh way to experience the beloved 4X Turn-Based Strategy (TBS) genre on iPhone, iPod, and iPad. A sidequel to our popular strategy defense game Starbase Command, Starbase Orion will take the Starbase series into a new frontier by providing an engaging single player and multiplayer 4X TBS experience.
“Other space strategy games desire to become a worthy competitor to the genre-defining title, Master of Orion.” said Rocco Bowling, founder of Chimera Software. “Starbase Orion is no exception. It has been designed to provide a classic 4X TBS experience suitable for the modern day enthusiast; someone who desires a robust single player experience and rewarding player-vs-player (PvP) action.”
- Built for iOS 5: Asynchronous Games with GameCenter, Universal Binary, Retina Display, Multitasking.
- Glorious Space Battles: Watch your fleets duke it out each turn with a fully animated and controllable combat system.
- Customizable Races: Choose from one of five existing races to play, or make you own by picking and choosing from a variety of race attributes.
- Customizable Ships: Starbase Orion includes a complete ship designer which allows you to design your ship weapons and systems.
- Premiere PvP Experience: Playing a competitive strategy game has never been this easy.
- Balanced random galaxy generation
- Hassle-free automated game matching
- Battle-hardened AI: We battle tested the fleet management AI for Starbase Orion in the Google AI Challenge 2010. Our AI ranked 698 among thousands of competing bots; it has played hundreds of matches and is ready to give Starbase Orion players a challenge.
To learn more about Starbase Orion, please visit:
ABOUT CHIMERA SOFTWARE
Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Chimera Software is the independent publishing entity for Rocco Bowling (owner and founder). During the day Rocco is CTO for Small Planet Digital; at night he exercises his creativity by creating award winning games.