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As the captain of a Mandate starship, you lead a crew through the galaxy where they will adapt and grow as they fight alongside you.
As the captain of a Mandate starship, you lead a crew through the galaxy where they will adapt and grow as they fight alongside you.
As the captain of a Mandate starship, you lead a crew through the galaxy where they will adapt and grow as they fight alongside you.
16,408 backers pledged $701,010 to help bring this project to life.

Only a cat of a different coat

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Hey backers,


In this update we are going to cover several topics. First we are going to touch a bit on player customization options, specifically Coat of Arms. Next we will discuss the backer design pledges and what each backer who pledged to a specific tier is expected to design for inclusion in the game. Finally, we will also give you a short production update.

Ok, so what exactly is a coat of arms? It was a design worn by medieval knights on their shield or coat. The purpose was both to protect and identify the wearer in battle. Historically the coat of arms included many different elements to uniquely describe and identify them as you can see in the picture above.

Both Garret (Art Director) and Vegard (Technical Art Director) have been exploring heraldry and armoury books recently and now we want to share with you the first fruits of this labour: In The Mandate you will get to create the personal coat of arms for your captain character! Your coat of arms will be displayed both outside and inside your capital ships; on your light craft and on your marines.

Initially your ability to customize the coat of arms will be limited to the shield itself. However, based on your actions during the game (which factions you join, which knighthoods you unlock, your noble rank etc) you may unlock upgrades for your personal coat of arms (like the ability to select a mantle or wreath) as well as additional options (new faction specific motifs). In this way the coat of arms is both a visual chronicle of your journey and a unique identifier when joining a cooperative game. As a side-note whenever your christen a new capital ship you will also have the option to assign it a custom ship’s crest to uniquely identify it. Marines and light craft assigned to that ship will display the ship’s crest in additional to your personal coat of arms.

Above you can see a video that shows an early version of the coat of arms designer. It uses procedural textures and gives quite a bit of control over how the shield will look. The selection of motifs are quite limited for now but the final version will include both more motifs and allow you to pick signifiers, wreath, motto etc. The “random” button already produces some very interesting shield designs.

To test the coat of arms designer yourself CLICK HERE!

We decided to make this early version available for testing and feedback similar to the interactive demos we had online for our Kickstarter campaign. Keep in mind that this version runs via the Unity Web Player as it allows us to upgrade to latest version if we do fixes or improvements. If you have problems running it in a particular browser then we recommend you test with another browser instead. We have tested with the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome.

The coat of arms designer is actually relevant for our next topic which is backer design pledges. As you know from our previous update we aim to finalize these during February but we may slide a bit into March. In the mean time we wanted to give you an overview of what exactly you get to design for each pledge tier.

In the table above you can see what each pledge tier includes. You can also see the approximate number of pledges for each tier. For example the “Design an Officer” allows you to write the backstory, allocate skill points and pick personal traits. The Officer will be a mid-level subaltern character and the backstory will be accessible from inside the game. This character may be recruited later by the player if the faction allegiance of both player and character are compatible.

The “Design a Captain” has many of the same design elements as the previous pledge but adds a few new ones: “Character visualization” and “Personal Coat of Arms”. The former will allow you to specify the visual look of the captain using a standalone version of our character creation editor whereas the latter enables you to use a feature-complete version of the coat of arms designer. Also the backstory for the captain will be included in the Great Captain Doc (which will include up to 400 captains and be around 700-800 pages long!).

For most of the tier designs we are implementing a point-buy system where you get a pool of points which can be allocated to different areas. An example of this is the $500 pledge tier “design a ship encounter”. This pledge tier actually includes several designs and you can see advanced (but not final) versions of these templates below. Keep in mind that it is not completely final yet but probably 80% complete.

https://www.mandategame.com/sites/default/files/ks_46_design_captain.pdf
https://www.mandategame.com/sites/default/files/ks_46_design_ship.pdf
https://www.mandategame.com/sites/default/files/ks_46_design_encounter.pdf

Our writers are busy working on the back-story for factions, sub-factions and major characters (faction leaders etc). Who exactly are the Explorer’s Society and the Unknown Legion? How are they related to the Duchy of Penrose? We expect to release more background info and lore starting in early April. This should be both an entertaining read to help immerse yourself in the universe or if you pledged for a design tier it can give you a starting point for your custom design.

Hopefully this has given you a good overview of what to expect from the design tier that you have pledged to. We will continue to work on and flesh out the templates so they are easy to understand and gives you a lot of flexibility when designing your character, weapon, starbase or cyber-parrot!

Finally, we wanted to give you a production update. Right after Christmas vacations we began the search for additional talent. We also had a few developers on stand-by who were ready to jump onboard as soon as our contract with Eurovideo was signed. The development team is growing rapidly from 12 before Christmas and we expect to be at full strength (around 30) by the end of March. The team is quite diverse and includes members from ten different nationalities and our combined development experience now includes over 100 years of AAA development experience. This helps reduce risk and allows us to iterate and polish on both visuals, story and gameplay.

Due to the team growing we are also spending time to reorganize our internal documentation and bringing it up to date. We have a lot of knowledge in our head that needs to either be put in writing or the previously written version was out of date. For example both art direction (style guide, signature colours, designs), technical art guidelines (how do we actually build a ship from A to Z, what restrictions apply to the bipedal animation rig) as well as story and game design documents are being reviewed and fixed.

The impact of new team members should be quite obvious by the time the next Kickstarter update is ready to roll out. We expect to have a healthy mix of environment art, character art and animations to share with you. Next update we also want to talk about battle drills and adaptive formations. However, we are currently waiting on a third party to deliver crucial code to get everything working together (we want to avoid hacking something together just for demo purposes as that is wasted effort). If we have something good then we will show it. Alternatively we may split the next update in two. Time will tell.

We will round off this update with a concept of an Osmani space station. The scale object (ship) on the left is a Black Eagle heavy cruiser (the same model we showed in drydock a few updates back).


Cheers,
Your friends at Perihelion Interactive

Scott, Thomas Aigner, and 83 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      dfinlay on February 22, 2015

      May I suggest descriptions of the meanings of each of the elements be included in the crest creator? I know that each colour, each pattern and most especially each motif has a meaning in heraldry. It would be cool if those would appear as tooltips or messages along the bottom when in the Crest Editor.

    2. Alexander Barger on February 13, 2015

      Hi Guys, I should design an officer - will there be a template like the one for a captain for me to get everything right? the design deadlines are set at march as far as i know, but I have no idea where to start to be honest.

      So long story short - will I get a template / guidline for this tier or at least am I able to see other designs somewhere to get a rough idea how to do it?

      thanks,
      br Alex

    3. Perihelion Interactive LLC Creator on February 11, 2015

      @Albacksen: Congratulations. Yes you are the first to discover it without any hints :)

      Originally the title of the update was going to be "Honi soit qui mal y pense" but it was thought that it would be too obscure. So we tried something we thought would be a bit easier instead...

      @James Henry: We have not finalized the templates yet and we are discussing the feedback that has arrived so far.

      @Rishav Sharan: Our goal is to show you more "gameplay logic" for next update, update #47. However, we have a few dependencies, so as mentioned in the update we may need to cover it in update #48 instead. Do keep in mind that right now we are staffing up and doubling/tripling the team in a very short amount of time. Once the team is at full strength (and everybody knows what they are doing) then we will be able to share a lot more of what is going on, both for code, design, art and audio.

    4. Albacksen on February 11, 2015

      "Only a cat of a different coat, that's all the truth I know."

      Was I seriously the only one that caught the Rains of Castamere reference in the title?

      This stuff is awesome though. Can't wait to see what players do with it once the game is out.

    5. Voronwer on February 10, 2015

      @Donald Turos: But late, but thanks for taking the time to reply to that question. I can completely understand not following it and will just be a geek about it myself. I do love what you guys have done with it already, it's a lot of fun and a cool way to personalise your game.

    6. James Henry on February 9, 2015

      I have a question about the random traits assigned to player designed characters - will someone check to make sure they do not counter information listed in the background? For example, if the background states he/she is painfully shy are they going to end up with a charisma or "Life of the Party" bonus trait? Will there be a final review by the backer to point these potential conflicts out or see our creation before it enters the game?

      Thank you!

    7. Missing avatar

      RecklessPrudence on February 7, 2015

      I made a post in the Suggestions section of the forums, showing a family crest I was aware of that the current iteration of the crest creator can't concoct (my great-grandfather's), and asking others to post ones they were aware of, hoping that if it was easy for the dev team, they could implement features in the crest creator that would allow for them to be made, as each real-life crest that wasn't able to be made but then is possible opens hundreds more custom crests based simply on the one feature that's been added.

      One of the team said it's a good idea, and invited anyone who knows of crests that aren't supported to link to the examples to give the team ideas on what could be possible to implement.

      Anyone here got a database of coats of arms and the willingness to go through them and figure out what the creator can't make yet?

    8. Don Turos on February 6, 2015

      @Voronwer: mod Paladonov here. It seems the Crest Creator tool is robust enough to generate the colors for the tinctures, however, restricting the tool to the traditional hearaldry rules would then completely negate the ability to have fun with the tool and create designs that allow ownership and pride for all game players. I respect your geekdom as a historian, I am the same way in other areas. However, from a game system, the drive would be to maximize variability for the vast spectrum of players. You could follow a very strict set of rules in your Mandate sandbox and require those joining you to maybe meet that standard. The idea is fun with a sense of authenticity but it also a game and not a simulation.

    9. Rand Chua TL on February 6, 2015

      Happy to see this update! Going to play with it soon.

    10. Missing avatar

      Rishav Sharan on February 6, 2015

      Hi Julius.
      Thanks for replying. I understand that a lot has changed since the pledge started and i certainly dont want to trivialize all the effort which goes into making a game like this.

      But my point is that as a backer i really dont have a lot of visibility on how far you guys have progressed. So many of us are itching to see any actual footage of the game.

      The footage that was shown in the previous updates (correct me if I am wrong) were just static maps. i'd really like to see some game logic stuff as well. I probably sound whiny and entitled, but having seen many of Kickstarter failures in the past few years has made me worried.

      I understand you guy want to run a alpha for backers later this year. I feel it will be awesome if more video diaries of the game actually running (no matter how alpha or bare bones it is right now.) were released in the updates. I suppose Limit Theory has spoiled me heavily.

    11. Missing avatar

      Graham Martin on February 6, 2015

      I must admit I am really looking forward to this now, with every update you seem to be including things that so many strategy games leave out, leaving them feeling thin and underdeveloped and players wondering why you cant do certain things.

    12. Julius Ter Pelkwijk
      Superbacker
      on February 6, 2015

      Mod Mrseeker here: I have asked about the import of motifs, and got back that it was not possible for the standard version (since your friends and everyone else also needs to have this design). However, since modding is possible with the game, it should technically be possible to create your unique crest in a modpack.
      @Rishav: Yes, that part has come past many times. Note however that the estimate was originally for the 500k. Strech goals and especially the modding has added the time to this project in a way you could not believe. Note that it is normally not possible to mod Unity games (or very difficult), by adding a layer on top of the Unity engine it is giving it a LOT of new challenges since not many people have actually done that (its not half-life you know).
      On top of that, there have been delays in staffing, there have been delays in the Unity Engine (version 5 is still not production ready), there have been delays in 3rd party code... Don't think that building a game is easy. If you have everything ready and just want to go into full production, then the estimates were great. But we are talking about a game here that surpasses the original game.
      And they have shown rough footage last time. We have seen those in the last update. However, most footage is being drawn and made, and I am not sure if all of them will end up in the first game.

    13. Missing avatar

      Rishav Sharan on February 6, 2015

      Hi Perihelion.

      Love your ideas as usual.
      However my concern form your last few updates remains the same.
      You guys have not shown anything about the game in action. Its been over an year and I think you guys could have at least shown some actual in game (rough and alpha of course) footage.

      All we have seen so far are some screencaps of your spreadsheets, wonderful design ideas and some self contained modules like the ship designer and this coat of arms.

      the early delivery date was march 2015 for the game.
      We have 0 idea of your current progress in the project because you have nothing tangible with us yet. I dont think a lot of people will mind you guys missing your estimated delivery date as long as you guys are transparent about where you are.

      Apologies if i am being blunt but I am beginning to wonder if you guys are capable of shipping it at all.

    14. Missing avatar

      Sleet
      Superbacker
      on February 5, 2015

      The coat of arms sounds like a great concept! I can't wait to watch it grow fancier and fancier as I surpass my humble beginnings.

    15. NobleBrutus on February 5, 2015

      Really looking forward to this game. Looking forward to the next update.

      Request for Unicorn Motif and Y shaped two pronged fork design :)

    16. Voronwer on February 5, 2015

      Neat, I love it. Any plans on including the rules of tincture for this? It's not so much a limitation of colour as that you're not allowed to put colours on colours and metal on metal. Metal is limited to or and argent, colours is everything else. This mostly had to do with making sure the designs were distinct enough and there's only a handful of exceptions to the rule.

      I'm a historian, though, so I tend to geek out over this.

    17. David Nemeskey on February 5, 2015

      I am on Linux, so I couldn't test the Crest Creator, but looking at the screenshot, something caught my attention: the color picker. It seems as if the user could select just any color. While I am no expert of heraldry, I seem to recall that tinctures are usually limited to a select few (usually gold, red, blue, and a few others).

      Since obviously you aim to invoke the atmosphere of historic Russia & Europe, I think a more restrictive approach would be more appropriate: being able to only choose between a few (perhaps fraction-dependent) colors would perhaps fit the setting more.

    18. Don Turos on February 5, 2015

      Good stuff Peri! Crest Creator is awesome--I can see myself spending way too much time with this. Nice teasers with the sub-faction names and the Osmani station. Whoa--does it contain a jump gate internally? I want to be part of the Lost Legion ...

    19. Nathaniel O'Neill on February 5, 2015

      I'm lucky enough to have been born to an Irish family with a very old name, and as it happens, a crest. Will it be possible to recreate my actual family crest in game? I just have to say, that would be really cool :D

    20. Adam Taylor on February 5, 2015

      This is awesome. I love being able to customize such things. I hope you've given us a ton of options.

      Will it be possible to combine motifs? Combining say a crown with a sword to have a motif of a sword going through the crown?

      Or would such things be three individual motifs? (Which hopefully are implemented) :)

      I definitely agree with being able to import motifs. Let us create things that are truly personal. Shouldn't be too hard really, it's something many games using such features have.

    21. Jean-Luc Picard on February 5, 2015

      Very nice.

      Regarding the crest creator it'd be great if we could change the size/scale of the motifs and perhaps even fine tune their positioning by dragging them with a mouse if possible or some sort of vertical/horizontal positioning slider.

      In any case the CC seems very detailed, more than I expected.

    22. Michal Nemec on February 5, 2015

      The coat of arms sounds good. And it would be cooler if players could import their own motifs to the editor :-) Like from *.png file or I don't know...

    23. Nicolas Guibert on February 5, 2015

      Thanks for the informative update, can't wait for the next !

      On a sidenote, i think that the PCB texture on the Osmani space station look a bit too old SF for me ;)

    24. Zack McCay on February 5, 2015

      So wait is every one you recruit going to have their own family crest or will some share crests/family?