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PC Gaming Terra Invicta general thread

Martenzo

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So, this long-awaited thing from the makers of XCom's Long War mods has released a Demo. By now, I've played 30-ish hour of that Demo and it's clear from that demo that they really do have a mechanically finished game that just needed to delay for polish and bugfixing.

Definitely a unique game. Easy to figure out the basics, but it's a long road to actually master all the aspects of it. In the Demo, you can play only as the Resistance faction, which is basically the classic X-Com organisation. Build up Earth's defenses to a point where Aliens can't threaten humanity anymore, and then more or less return to the world order that existed prior to arrival. But you're not the only faction of humans with ideas about what humanity should do in response to the alien Arrival.

Humanity First believes that to defeat the aliens, humanity must unite in their hatred of the alien and basically turn into the Imperium of Man.
The Academy thinks the correct path forward is to fix all of Earth's problems (inequality, civil strife and ecological damage) and pursue peaceful first contact with the Aliens as equals.
The Initiative is essentially the Illuminati who think this is a great time of opportunity and think the best way forward is to turn the solar system into the playground of a Megacorporation (owned and led by the Initiative, of course).
The Exodus Project thinks the solution to Earth's problems (both internal and with the Alien threat) is to just fuck off into space, potentially even leave the solar system.
The Protectorate is convinced that victory against the technologically advanced Aliens is impossible and that Earth should position itself to become a protectorate of the Aliens.
The Servants are alien cultists who believe the Aliens are here to fix the world's problems and create a new Utopia on Earth (and if that means destroying humanity then humanity deserves it). (I'm not entirely clear on if these guys will be playable in the full game).

There are many layers of key mechanics. Nations on Earth will (at least at the start of the game) produce the bulk of the research. And to focus that research into productive directions, you need to take control of nations through political influence. For big nations, it's even possible for control of the nation to be split: say that the Resistance controls the Mass Media and the Legislature, but Humanity first gets control of the Corporations and the Executive.

Then there's a rather involved economy system, where a Nation's GDP generates "Investment Points", that will be invested back into various aspects of the country in accordance to priorities set by the nations' controller(s), these include categories like Economy, Welfare, Knowledge, Unity and Military that slowly improve the country's own stats, but you can also choose to tell the country to invest in categories that benefit your faction more directly.
Spoil is basically kleptocratic theft of taxpayer money and reckless exploitation of natural resources. Elites of countries that have low Government (meaning: less democracy) and high inequality will demand that a certain percentage of the GDP go toward this priority (and failing to do that makes your control of the country vulnerable to Coup d'Etat by other factions). Allowing this will also get you your own cut of these profits.
Funding is more sustainable development of direct, legal funding to your faction. Slow to build up passive income, but does not damage the country in the long term, nor does it damage the global environment.
Boost is a key resource for sending stuff up into space, representing development of launch pads and aerospace manufacturing. It builds up slowly, but is absolutely necessary to getting your space assets started, though eventually you'll want to transition to mining resources in space and using those, instead of using Boost to get heavy things out of Earth's atmosphere.
Mission Control invests into the ability to manage your various space assets. It takes a significant chunk of investment, but it makes your Mission Control Cap tick up by one. Going over the cap makes your space assets very vulnerable to takeover by other factions.
And then there's producing Armies, Navies and Nukes. These also take a significant chunk of Investment Points to "finish", but provide either an Army on the map, equip an existing Army with a transport Navy (allowing them to move from any coastal province to any other coastal province), or give your nation an additional nuclear weapon barrage to launch.

Okay, well, I'm going to cut the explanation rant short here, because there's no point to effectively recreating more than a year's worth of dev diaries here.

Anyone else here played the Demo yet?
 

Ixian

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I've been playing the demo, I've done about all you can do with space in the demo so my next run I'm going to shoot straight for the social tech and try and get to some of the formable nations like the Pan-Asian Combine or the Caliphate.
 

Martenzo

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I've been playing the demo, I've done about all you can do with space in the demo so my next run I'm going to shoot straight for the social tech and try and get to some of the formable nations like the Pan-Asian Combine or the Caliphate.
I managed to get the Great Nation tech for Europe in one playthrough and discovered it was kind of pointless if you already control Russia. I'm actually more interested in diving into the Independence Movements side of things and see what the utility of Balkanising the world is. But I'm definitely waiting for launch, since the game does need polish and the whole "No Saves" things is a bit harsh. Especially since there's some stuff that causes crashes.
 

Martenzo

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How exactly does research work?

What does the Tech-Tree look like?
Research is mainly generated by Countries based on their total population, GDP and education level. Countries have anywhere from 1 (Iceland at game start) to 6 (USA at game start) Control Points that factions can take control of by various means, and it's possible for a country's control points to be split between multiple factions. Regardless, a faction receives a share of that generated research from every country they hold Control Points in, receiving 100% of the nation's research if they control 100% of that nation's Control Points. It's also possible to build Research stations in orbit around planets, which in the scope of the Demo mainly produced bonuses to specific categories of research.

Then, once a faction's research income is tallied up from all the sources, the faction distributes all the research into a selection of projects. You can set four different priorities (None, Low, Medium, High) for each slot, but these only control how all your income gets distributed: having three different projects at High is a 33/33/33 spread same as three different projects on Low. High, Low, Low would be a 60/20/20 spread. There's no storing up research: 100% of your daily research income gets spent and the game won't let you reduce your last project to priority level None.

There are two kinds of projects: Research Projects and Engineering Projects. There are always three Research Projects ongoing, and these are global and shared between the factions. Every faction can contribute, and the faction that contributes most to a particular project gets to decide which available project goes in the empty slot next. Research projects represent fundamental progress in humanity's scientific and technological fields. As an Example, "Molten Core Fission Reactors" is a global technology that takes 5000 RP to finish, and finishing it means that Earth as a whole has reached the point where it can produce Molten Salt reactors as routine matter.

Engineering projects are faction-specific, and are not shared globally (but can be traded to other factions and stolen by/from other factions). These represent specific technologies that your faction has the expertise to deploy. To continue from the example, "Molten Salt Reactor I" represent your faction having a specific design for putting a basic Molten Salt reactor on a spaceship. The engineering project will unlock some time after the Molten Core Fission Reactors global research has finished, and supposedly will pop up faster for factions that contributed more research to the global project. Once the engineering project is finished you get access to the appropriate item in the ship designer. Eventually "Molten Salt Reactor II" will pop up in your list of Engineering projects, representing further refinements to your design. And after that, if certain other global technologies are also finished, the projects "Molten Salt Reactor III" and "Compact Molten Salt Reactor I" will up in your Engineering list (off the top of my head, I think MSR III needed Carbot Nanotubes or something).

The Tech-Tree that shows just the Global Research techs already looks absolutely fucking huge. The "Full" tech tree that also shows the smaller engineering projects actually lagspikes when it's drawing it up. Which isn't a big deal, you visit it a few times when you're first internalising how it all fits together, but after that you can manage just fine simply looking at the pared-down global research tree when you have to decide which project to pick next, and simply looking at which. The game itself makes no reference to "tiers", but technologies are pretty clearly tiered. As you get "deeper" into the global research tree, the costs of projects quickly ramp up: 500, 1000, 2500, 5000, 10000, 20000... I'll be honest, playing the demo, I did not bother to deeply study the far end of the tech tree. I avoided spoilers and focused on things that I could potentially reach within the scope of the Demo.
 

Martenzo

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The developers posted a news update on Steam.

Terra Invicta Demo is once again available on Steam. Still the same version used for NEXT Fest in June, so don't expect extra content or bugfixes. The team is focused on finishing the actual game, and the Demo definitely won't be updated before release. This time, no deadline has been announced for the Demo availability, so it might be available until release.

They're also holding an event at PAX West, Saturday, September 3rd, 10:00 - 11:00 AM US Pacific time, which is streamed on the PAX Twitch channel. That said, it's quite possible they'll be announcing an actual release date, but who knows.
 
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PsihoKekec

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It sure looks promising, but with my game backlog I doubt I will buy any new games in next 5-10 years.
 

Martenzo

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Early Access has been announced. Launches on Steam and GOG on September 26.


Also, a sizable dev diary was posted on the Pavonis Forums, where johnnylump explains in more detail what the EA is going to be like, and touches lightly on various aspects that they know are not finished yet.

johnnylump on the Pavonis Forums said:
Why Early Access?
Because we think game is playable and a lot of fun, and our fans in general and our Kickstarter backers in particular have waited long enough to start playing it, but it isn't done yet.

EA Release Price
$39.99/€39.99/£34.99/¥4980

Product Notes:
This is the full game. You can play any of the seven human factions from start to finish of the base campaign. No cut content or features we're holding back. You'll get new stuff as we get it in a working state.

Initial EA release will be PC only.
Will be Available on Steam and GOG.

We continue to hope to do a Mac release. We've made Mac builds but they aren't sufficiently tested for us to feel comfortable making them available yet. We only have so many team members and hours in the day, and it's also a lot of extra time dealing with Apple's requirements to post even private test builds, so we've made the decision to focus on getting our PC build where we want it first and then rather than constantly re-verify we didn't break our Mac build with one fix or another.

We are not planning a separate Linux release at this time. In testing, we found Proton users had a better experience than on native Linux builds, so we're encouraging Linux players to use Proton to play TI.

The EA build will have our draft translations into the six languages we've announced: Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Traditional and Simplified Chinese. These are undergoing a separate QA process with professionals who know the game and those languages. The game has a couple novels worth of text, and we know there will be some grammar issues that will be in this release because we need to have the code handle string substitution better in some cases -- this is due to things like gendered nouns than aren't really an issue in English. This is on us, not the translators.

The Cold War and Foothold scenarios aren't going to be in the EA release. We're still determining how big a feature set we want to add to support those.

Modding and Steam Workshop support is coming along nicely and we expect it to be ready sooner rather than later, but it may not be there in initial release. It's currently functional but needs some manual workarounds until we get some issues fixed. Stay tuned.

Beyond all that, there will be bugs. There are probably CTDs out there we don't know about. We hate them too. The game has periodic autosaves you can roll back to, but occasionally a bug can't be avoided until we post a patch. Let us know about them with saves and logs and we'll get after them. No doubt we'll make all new and frustrating bugs as we add features and content after release.

There are balance issues. We've provided gameplay tools that are too effective for their cost, or not effective enough. Let us know about them and we'll work on them. We're aware of a few ship designs that bust some systems we don't want busted. We try not to design puzzles with a dominant strategy to solve, so if something is just too darn strong we'll nerf it.

There are simulation-related things to keep an eye on. China and India's military strength. The war in Ukraine. Ireland's per-capita GDP. It takes some finesse to fit those things into our game's various abstractions.

We'll be adding small features here and there if we can get them working satisfactory. Like tankers to refuel your ships.

There is still content coming in -- event illustrations and music tracks, in particular. We'd like to add more events and projects, too.

There are places we need to improve the AI. It can be a bit suicidal in combat, exposing its flanks when it shouldn't be. Maneuver needs to be more important at certain stages of the game. AI factions other than the Servants aren't great at pursuing their final win objectives. The AI humans don't build fleets as quickly as we'd like, but this has been a major focus and they are getting better at it.

We're also working on performance -- in the late game, when the AI has a lot to manage, the game can get choppy on high time compression as its list of decisions to make gets longer. This obviously depends on the system you're playing on, but the CPU needs to do some rocket science for dozens of fleets while managing Earth and its colonies: It's a lot, and coding it is a balancing act between smooth gameplay and a challenging AI. There are some big summary UIs with tons of data that take a noticeable amount of time to load. Also on the list.

Finally, there's more QOL stuff to do. We've definitely focused on this based on demo feedback. But we still need to reduce clicks to move your armies, build habs, and handle your fleets. We need to provide better feedback on the nations you are managing and why a particular value is changing. We want to add formation-keeping to combat. We want to see what we can do with text scaling and notification controls.

If this stuff is going to drive you nuts and get in the way of your enjoyment of the game, please wait to purchase it! Different people have different tolerances, and that's fine. We're acknowledging all these issues so you're informed. We'll get there.

We'll keep multiple builds available. A stable default one. Ones with newer stuff that we're less sure about. And a rollback to an older stable build in case something goes wrong or we have to break saves to fix the game at some point and you don't want to lose your progress.

We encourage lively discussion; we read it and learn from it. We'll have dedicated Discord channels for feedback that we'll monitor. We'll also watch our forums here for longer-form feedback. We'll set up a mechanism to report bugs and balance issues directly -- probably keep using our issues Github from the Beta test.

We'll post patch notes. We'll do our best to communicate our plans as they evolve. We can't communicate constantly because that does take time away from making the game.

A more specific roadmap will be along soon.
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commanderkai

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I am very curious to see how this plays out, but it does seem quite complicated.

I do hope that the actual nations also have a bit of autonomy if they're not fully influenced by the player or other factions. Armies/navies/air forces won't ignore a megafauna attacking one of their cities, and the like.
 

Martenzo

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I am very curious to see how this plays out, but it does seem quite complicated.

I do hope that the actual nations also have a bit of autonomy if they're not fully influenced by the player or other factions. Armies/navies/air forces won't ignore a megafauna attacking one of their cities, and the like.
Uncontrolled countries definitely do move their Armies when at war with other nations. Getting to see if "Undecided" countries will respond to Megafauna can be a bit trickier though: usually the big countries that have mobile armies are already under someone's control by the time Megafauna starts appearing. Armies that actually appear on the map are forces big and cohesive enough to be capable of invasion of other countries. The armed forces of smaller countries are represented as invisible province garrisons that fight back against anything that attacks their particular province, but are not capable of force projection outside their own borders.
 

Ixian

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Pro tip, don't let the Servants take over China or the Protectorate take over Russia, actually don't let either of those two take any nation with nuclear weapons... because they will use them.
 

Marduk

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And a pretty obvious tip for game start - start by taking over UAE and/or Saudi Arabia, and set them on a high spoils policy. They are easy enough to take over for the early game people without orgs or experience, AI isn't very interested in them, and in few turns this will ensure that you will always have enough money for orgs, events and actions with a nice chunk of change to spare.
 

Martenzo

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Another good tip for the start, if you're a faction that doesn't want xenoflora spreading everywhere: Do a Surveil Area action on the Alien crash sites. And if your councilors say that they've reduced xenoflora but there's probably more, follow up with Surveil Area to find that "probably more" and attack it again until they report it's been wiped out.

Surveil Area is also instrumental in actually locating Alien Councilors once you research Alien Movements
 

Ixian

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Well the Servants managed to take the UK and rebuild the British Empire in my game, then halfway through their war with the Humanity First controlled EU (France, Spain, and Germany) they turned the British Empire over directly to the Aliens.

I think that's game over for me.
 

Marduk

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Well the Servants managed to take the UK and rebuild the British Empire in my game, then halfway through their war with the Humanity First controlled EU (France, Spain, and Germany) they turned the British Empire over directly to the Aliens.

I think that's game over for me.
Hard reset of enemy assets is always an option. And i mean the "purge them with nuclear fire" option. You need surprisingly little of that to make a country effectively worthless.
 

Ixian

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Hard reset of enemy assets is always an option. And i mean the "purge them with nuclear fire" option. You need surprisingly little of that to make a country effectively worthless.
I'm worried it'll kill the global GDP. I have the US, so I have the nukes, but there are a lot of miltech 7+ armies landing throughout the UKs territory, which is extensive as they basically completed the British Empire reunification tech (minus Canada which I share with the Resistance).
 

Marduk

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I'm worried it'll kill the global GDP. I have the US, so I have the nukes, but there are a lot of miltech 7+ armies landing throughout the UKs territory, which is extensive as they basically completed the British Empire reunification tech (minus Canada which I share with the Resistance).
Better kill the global GDP than lose completely. What has the global GDP done for you?
Not that it will mean much.
Nuked India several times and even China once, nothing particularly significant happened outside of them (India is a bit of a basket case though, even several years afterwards). Get the armies to bunch up if you want to limit collateral.
 

Martenzo

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I'm worried it'll kill the global GDP. I have the US, so I have the nukes, but there are a lot of miltech 7+ armies landing throughout the UKs territory, which is extensive as they basically completed the British Empire reunification tech (minus Canada which I share with the Resistance).
A couple nukes directly on the Miltech 7 Armies won't destroy the world, and will destroy the armies.
 

Ixian

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Nukes cleared the alien armies, but it seems to have pissed them off pretty bad. My stations around mercury and mars are scrap, and a 2.0k fleet is making mincemeat of the east coast and mid west of the US.

Additionally, the Protectorate somehow just gained like 70% public approval in China (which has been untouchable until now), and taken all of the control points. They seem be pouring the Chinese economy into military, and armies.

Global GDP has dropped by a significant amount, I'm throwing what resources I have into my ship yards and trying to get a fleet to challenge the aliens bombing the US from orbit. Thankfully Humanity First has EU armies attacking the Servant UK, so maybe the aliens will shift focus to them soon.
 

Marduk

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In late 2032 now, had a little nuclear war between Eurasian Union and Protectorate controlled China, destroyed it's armies conventionally with aid from Japan and Germany i also control, some of my armies got nuked when trying to occupy Beijing, retaliated with Eurasian nukes which created conditions that enabled arranging a coup. Now i control somewhat damaged China too.
EU is controlled mostly by Initiative and Humanity First, same with USA but i also have one control point and Humanity First has the executive in both. Just destroyed my first alien warship, took a side shot from a 2 slot nose laser of a frigate on a close pass. I dominate the Earth-Luna orbit with 3 new marine unit carrying patrol corvettes, yoinked lots of free bases and stations. Also crossed 400 allowed control point value and researching few things to get even more.
One thing i apparently did right is that i focused on bullying Servants and Protectorate since years, not allowing them to have good countries and not allowing their experienced operatives to live. They can do some nasty shit if you let them do their faction research in peace.
 
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