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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.
16,408 backers pledged $701,010 to help bring this project to life.

On the observation deck

Posted by Perihelion Interactive LLC (Creator)

Hey backers,

For today’s update we will cover three topics in particular. First we will discuss some changes we are doing to service branches based on both internal and external feedback. If you did not read the previous update #38 you might want to CLICK HERE to review it before proceeding. Secondly, we will discuss our event system and also elaborate on ceremony events as well as where they take place (hint: check the headline). Lastly we will discuss the progress with ship interiors and show a sneak peek of what we have in store for one of the next updates. 

But first things first. We decided to revamp both crew progression and service branches (name may change). The first change is now that enlisted is a separate career track in the progression for your crew. While specialists will focus on a narrow set of skills, enlisted are more a jack-of-all-trades. You will need to strike the right balance between the number of specialists and enlisted in your crew as this will affect your ship’s performance and also redundancy (in case of battle losses enlisted are more flexible). The chart below shows the revised career track for your crew. Keep in mind that the distinguishing features for each crew type is not finalized and just for illustration purposes. 

The second change is that we decided to remove the logistics branch altogether, and so we cut service branches from seven to six. Several others tweaks have taken place as well: infantry and cavalry have been merged into security, artillery has been renamed to weapons, science has been split into science, medical and astrogation. Astrogation covers both helm/navigation and sensors. The uniforms have been updated to reflect these changes and we also decided to use some special patterns, for example for astrogation and medical.

Changing focus a bit, let’s talk about our event system. In The Mandate, the choices you make during character creation will impact your part of the universe, your sandbox, in different ways. Did you save a famous captain from the clutches of pirates? If so, you may have a powerful ally waiting for you in your game world. The event system will use these decisions to tailor your sandbox as well as add specific situations and encounters during play.

The basis for our event system is that it uses player’s actions as input to produce a desired output. When events are further linked to our faction reputation system the result is a more dynamic story arc. As you play and expand your sphere of influence and build up your economy, you will see changes taking place in your sandbox. For example if you build remote mining operations these will link up to your supply network. Freighters may pickup and haul ore back to refineries and merchants will arrive to buy surplus resources.

This is all well and good but one of our key focus areas with The Mandate is your crew and naturally we want to have events that center on your crew and ship, just like the TV shows we are inspired by. You can walk around your ship and interact with your crew, hear their concerns and perhaps help them with specific problems that they may have. Other times you may need to respond to events that are a consequence of your latest space battle or planetary investigation mission, for example damage to systems, stowaways or put crew in quarantine due to risk of disease.

A special type of event is the ceremony event which covers things like funerals, court martials, executions, ship christening/decommissioning, dignitary inspections etc. These all take place on the observation deck which is situated above the bridge deck. Again, if you review the previous update you can see a side-view of the positioning of the various decks.

Some ceremonies have interactive elements where you as captain get several choices to pick from. Certain choices may require skill checks, sufficient reputation or special items. Did you manage to deliver a particularly engaging eulogy or did you botch it up? Either way you can expect your crew to be affected by your actions and how they perceive you.

Next up we thought we should give an update on the progress with ship interiors. We are already quite happy with how our ships look externally and we are pushing to get the same level of detail and interest for the ship interiors.

Ship interiors are important both for boarding gameplay as well as walking around and interacting with your crew (for example during the events mentioned previously). Our deck plans should not just feel like interior levels -they should make us feel that we are actually inside a ship. Therefore we are experimenting with ways to add the feeling of depth and cramped spaces. We are adding elements like pipes, substructures and bulkheads. This is an iterative process where we go back and forth between the concept team and the 3D art team. Below you can see an earlier 3D model of one of our rooms. 

It is often useful to show rather than tell, so the concept team will do paintovers to clarify what direction to take the 3D model in. Here is an example of a paintover for the room in the previous image where the concept artist has added self-illuminated textures, objects to help make the room feel more busy and cramped as well as transparency on the floor to reveal pipes and lights below which help add depth to the scene. The 3D artists then do a 2nd pass on the room to bring it more in-line with art direction.

All the work on the interiors is starting to pay off. The procedural textures were quite new to us when we started but now we have more experience with this technology and can push it further. We are getting close to where we want to be visually and are now playing around with how to light the interior scenes. In parallel we have also done stress testing to check how expensive it is to have many unique characters on the screen at the same time. Our aim is for The Mandate to look appealing on modern PCs yet scale well to run on older hardware, too.

You may remember the floor plan for the bridge deck from the previous update and we decided to expand it slightly by adding a few more rooms. We are using this bridge deck to prototype assembly of corridors and rooms. Also we are testing out crew interaction, pushing the visual quality, performing lighting tests, animation tests and pathfinding tests. Stay tuned for more details on the bridge deck in a future update.

We will round off this update with a couple of screenshots of our work-in-progress bridge deck. First up is the captain quarters which you can see below. This is still very much work in progress.

Also we have a view from the bridge which is currently on red alert. Again, this is work in progress.

We normally do not cover non-game Kickstarter campaigns but we wanted to give a shout out about the Reading Rainbow project, which aims to engage and teach children to read. Both LeVar Burton (chief engineer Geordi La Forge) and Brent Spiner (Mr Data) from Star Trek: The Next Generation are involved. Star Trek: TNG is one of several sci-fi shows alongside Battlestar Galactica, Firefly & Babylon 5 that serve as inspiration for The Mandate.

Your friends at Perihelion Interactive

xlynx, GragGunslinger, and 78 more people like this update.


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    1. Evgeny on

      Wow, it's nice to see such an attention to details. Great job!

    2. Missing avatar

      Chlom on

      Haha, no worries, I am joking. Give it all boys, you are doing a great job so far!

    3. Perihelion Interactive LLC Creator on

      @Isaac Williams: Yes, the deck plans will be fully realized. For example the frigate consists of 3x 60 m long sections (front, middle, back). You can walk around your ship and see what your crew is up to, and you will also be fighting in the same environment if you get boarded by enemy troops. As for whether you can inspect all your ships in the same manner/detail, that is TBD (our systems support this but its more about how much additional data we need to track for the NPC ships).
      @Bagehi: We are not ready to talk too much about the economy/supply lines/trade routes yet. However, our goal is to let you prey upon enemy trade routes and other factions should be able to do the same to you =) Light craft will have limited range and need a mother ship or starbase as base of operations. If a freighter is ambushed close to a friendly starbase and this starbase has light crafts, they could respond. As for how many light craft are needed to take out a heavy cruiser or battleship, that's TBD ;) (We definitely want the focus to be on capital ships, with light craft more as support)
      @Donald Turos: How we deal with narcotics, slaves and alcohol is TBD. Ideally we want this to be a decision on the player's side, with pros and cons. Keep in mind that if you intend to play as a Grand Fleet officer, you may wish to review articles of war #2 and #12 ;)
      @Chlom: We are not married to the term "security" and may tweak it later. For now the important thing is to nail how many service branches we will have and what each focuses on.

    4. Isaac Williams on

      So question about ship interiors. When navigating through your ship will we literally be able to walk the halls? Or is it we click on a room and view the room then. And another question is will we be able to visit other ships in our fleet or just our own flagship? Looking amazing Btw cant wait to play this.

    5. Bagehi on

      Really shaping up. Can't wait! Question though. I assume freighters/mining/etc will be at risk from attack. Do you have to attack capital ships to defend them or can light craft work as a defense? What kind of risks would there be to such things?

    6. Rand Chua TL on

      All backers and fans pls do check this link out

    7. TerraPosse on

      Redshirts for security...mmhhh, I may give that branch a wide berth... ;-)

    8. Don Turos (aka Col Paladonov) on

      Nice update. Very cool captain's quarters. Does the bar mean there is alcohol on board? How about a playable chess set? The training progression is much improved. I also like the service branch changes. Maybe have the Marines and aviators be off on the side and they get hired or trained separately.

    9. Missing avatar

      Godewijn on

      Looking really great :)

    10. Missing avatar

      Chlom on

      @Perihelion I get that, but they will also be the boarding parties if you board other ships right? I just feel the term Security is overly defensive. My poor space bros will never be able to pick up chicks at the bar if they are constantly are confused with douchebag spaceport security. Oh well, it's a minor issue really, and luckily for them, in space noone can hear you cry... Oh great Creator atleast give them dark visors so I do not see their grief stricken faces, and their manly... manly tears..

    11. Perihelion Interactive LLC Creator on

      @Andreas: We need to find the right number of service branches. There are several perspectives to consider:
      - each room type (service branch) will have a unique look and feel, the more service branches we have, the more work for artists and more confusion/more for players to learn and identify
      - each service branch will have a number of skills associated with it, the total number of skills and how they are organized must be considered relative to # service branches
      - we are working on ways to streamline the management of your squads/platoons and flights/squadrons, so it makes sense to distinguish between crew that normally run your ship, and crew that either defend your ship against boarding parties or (as pilots) work to prevent boarding parties from landing (by intercepting in space)
      @Rob Barba: Keep in mind different countries around the world apply different terminology based on their local traditions/customs
      @Jeff Kaplan: Both Traveller and Darklands (old Microprose CRPG from 1990s) served as inspiration for our character creation process

    12. Missing avatar

      Chlom on

      Old Russia (1904) used Okhotniki (Hunters) as a term for mounted infantry. Just sayin'

    13. Missing avatar

      Chlom on

      Sky cav gone? Noooooo! I might be petty, and navy boys might scoff at me for saying this, but comming from a infantry, cavalry, ranger background myself, I must admit, that as long as you do offensive operations, most guys with my background utterly detest being labeled as Security. It sounds so defensive. Sure, we might cover security tasks as well, but as long as they are more than static guards the term is just wrong. Love your work so far guys, I would like to know the reason for merging infantry and cavalry into security. Does it fit better with the whole navy shebang?

    14. Jito463 - WoOS, LofUT on

      I'm really looking forward to this. Great update, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

    15. Rob Barba on

      I like it, but I have to admit that the Sailor in me (Navy vet here) bristles at the Enlisted to Specialist (Army rank) to Warrant Officer to Officer, as well as "Service Branches" (which would be ratings in a naval setting.)

      Yup, I know that it's more Starfleet than actual fleet, and by no means am I getting on your case on this. Just stating that it's bristling.

    16. Jeff Kaplan on

      Excellent update, and the artwork is coming along better than I hoped at this stage. I must also say, I see some very positive parallel or inspiration ,in character generation, from a game called Traveler 2500 that I played pen and paper many moons ago. It was a very in depth system, and character generation, then initial progression was a very enjoyable aspect of the game. You are, as I had hoped, on a stellar (pun intended) track for creating an epic space saga with elements of space opera that virtually all fans of these genres will love. Keep up the great work, and continue to not compromise until it screams of perfection. As Mal used to say, "May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

    17. Jean-Luc Picard on

      Great update and thanks for the quality KS shoutout.

    18. Moon Shine on

      Right! Rand Chua knows what I mean. Aside from the sexy part. I wouldn't like them to be in bikinis. They are soldiers after all. :D I want the option to recruit on females, only males, or both. Is what I'm getting at. I knew we could have a female captain I was just wondering about the crew. It would make for interesting personal stories when a bunch of hardy pirates were bested by what they thought of only as girls. And have that go into my captain's log or something. ;]

    19. Amenomade on

      Cool but I'm a little bit disappointed about the space cavalry being gone. I was hopping to create a a moron quarter for pilots with sunglasses. And I understand what can do a scientist on a starbase, but I don't see what they can do on a ship :°). nice work, keep sending us artworks !!!!!

    20. Helena on

      Nice detailed update as usual. It's good to see that we'll be able to customise so many things about our character.

    21. Rand Chua TL on

      For Travis Gaby & Moon Shine mean a ship full of Valkyries (All ladies only ship) No male on board. ^_^
      Hope they would be sexy in the game? :p
      Would there be any Black bird like spy plane?

    22. Perihelion Interactive LLC Creator on

      @Vocarin: There will be a finite type of events. Some events can trigger only once while others can appear several times, but with different possible outcomes. We will not spam the player with events.
      @Travis Gaby, Moon Shine: Our character system is quite flexible and supports over 200 morphs. Yes, we will have both female and male crew members. Your captain can be either male or female.
      @Timothy Cook: Yes, Light craft (fighters, interceptors, bombers, heavy fighters etc) are more escorts to the large (capital) ships than the other way around. Light Craft can still play an important role during combat, however.

    23. Vocarin on

      I love the look of the observation deck. Simple and formal, and yet the applications feels pretty varied and awesome. Also, that pic of the galaxy map made my day - huge upgrade from what we saw in the Kickstarter trailer.

      When it shows the faces of the factions, the one at the top in the middle, is that meant to represent the pirates? Or is that the mysterious Third Section? Either way it's pretty eye-catching.

      Regarding the events, will there be a finite number of them? The sandbox itself is generated at the beginning of each game, but will the game keep throwing rescue operations and pirate bases at us? Or will there be a cap on the amount of stuff there. I ask only because there seems to be a trend in sandbox games toward 'more is better, and even more must be best' like in Watch_Dogs or GTA. I'm all for interesting stuff and the chance to explore a living galaxy, but making the events meaningful would be preferable to just having a tonne of them.

      Keep up the great work! Can't wait for more.

    24. Travis Gaby on

      Hmm, Yep, it's would be nice crew's body and face is not same and clone everywhere, shorter, taller, fat, thin, ect..

    25. Moon Shine on

      I don't know if this has been covered in a previous update, but will there be female crew members? I see you have taken inspiration from great space fairing series and hopefully that also extends to having both male and female crew. It's great to see not all crew members have the same physical countenance. It make makes a ship really diverse and unique. It's also my secret wish to have a ship of Flying Valkyries. :D I love getting updates and I'm so excited for this project. Keep up the good work!

    26. Timothy Cook on

      Man, never not excited.

      If pilots are part of security, it seems like that says something about the tactics involved, that most of your fighting is done by your capital ships themselves and the fighters are more like escorts. Feels like I already knew that, but it's still a big distinction against settings like Star Wars where it almost seems that large ships are just escorts for the main strike forces of small craft.

    27. Perihelion Interactive LLC Creator on

      @Rand: Infantry and cavalry (pilots) are rolled into security now. Astrogation deals with maneuvering capital ships and controlling sensors -not fighters.
      @Austin48: We will reuse the same system behind the scenes which saves us time and allows us to do more customization and produce more events
      @Justin Sher: We will update the picture and fix a few other errors at the same time, good catch
      @Jeff: We plan to have medals, knighthoods and commendations which you can earn and award to your captain, officers and crew. In addition we are discussing battle honours which could be awarded to either your embarked military formations (squadrons, platoons etc) or to your ship. You will be able to recruit existing veteran/elite military formations (some will be designed by backers) from the factions you work with/for and these may possess battle honours which affect their effectiveness or loyalty. For example if you work for Empress Anastasia you may eventually be allowed to recruit the Preobrazhensky Life Guard Regiment.

    28. Rand Chua TL on

      what happen to the guys flying the fighter plane?
      There no computer or droid doing Astrogation.
      Meaning: Astrogation is the planning of a route through space and the actual navigation of spacecraft, either in interplanetary travel or in interstellar travel. The mathematical principles governing interplanetary astrogation were first derived by mathematical physicists in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    29. Austin48 on

      NICE!! My only concern is that the different options (ie. ships, events, speeches, etc) will be many but all seem the same. But I have faith that you guys will make it not so. Also nice shout out, I remember watching reading rainbow as a kid and loving it. :D

    30. Galit

      Thanks for the awesome update! (and thanks for the RR shout out!)

    31. J. "Tech" Priest on

      Just wanted to mention that in the latest Reading Rainbow update they are also involving Reading sessions that include members from nearly every Star Trek series.

    32. Justin Sher on

      *Warrant Officer

    33. Missing avatar

      Jeff Heaney on

      Looking quite good! One question that I had, is there any way to recognize current crew for outstanding events? Such as, say Enlisted Man Jim Bob fended off an entire platoon of Space Pirates singlehandedly, and emerged as the only survivor. Aside from the career progression, are there any plans for recognition for individual crew members, Medals or titles or the like? Perhaps this was covered in a previous update, but it escapes me at the moment.