The Mandate - All News
Tuesday - June 28, 2016
The Mandate - Producers Letter
There has been a lot of time since the last update from The Mandate and this is addressed in the latest kickstarter update called 'The Producers Letter'. They have brought on board a new community manager who will endeavour to update the community more.
We are putting the Galaxy together. The first Cluster, which consists of a four star system, is done and it was very needed to have the core systems in place for fast iteration and to have a quality benchmark for level design -- now it's much easier for us to expand and build the rest of the "world". It was a major step and we're much relieved now that it's completed and that it works as we imagined it.
We wanted something rich, we have it, next for us is: build on it and use it up to its full potential.
We are starting to populate the Clusters with missions. This includes both tutorial missions and advanced missions.
Since the relationship with the crew is our focus, personal missions will be included, like requests from your very own officers. You will dive into their Background and learn about the world you live in through their own experience. We know precisely the experience we want to create but it ties into a lot of game Systems. We are looking at how to integrate this at the moment.
As of today, the entire story for the first Cluster is completed, we are currently designing the crew missions, additional side missions and faction specific missions.
Some of the delay can be attributed to the narrative. When we put everything together, we felt, that it was too weak. Of course our universe stayed the same and, but we have now achieved the internal consistency we needed and a way for the player to create his unique version of the story.
There is a much deeper and richer narrative, which ties into you as a captain on a personal level as well as your crew, while still retaining all we have promised before story wise, like the conflict between factions for example.
Events are situations that happen during play and require a response from either your crew or your captain. Basically every event has a clear cause and effect, but there are a couple of events that are triggered randomly, to act as some kind of surprise element you need to take care of.
For now, events are split into two categories: Interior Ship Events, affecting the interior of the ship and Space Events, relating to situations that occur outside of the ship, such as rogue asteroids, pirate attacks, etc. This is one of the things we had right, so we kept it and are working on integrating it to the missions.
Exploration will be a big part of the experience when you are roaming the universe. You will encounter different Points of Interest (POI) -- You can unveil them by ordering your Astrogation Officer to activate the ships' scanners. There you might find lore, items, events or other types of activities, such as special combat encounters. This is part of the things we decided to add as we looked at how we could make our adventure mode the most interesting we can. We will confirm several more aspects as we move forward.
For our internal test purposes, the UI did not have to be very user friendly or pretty, so let me tell you, it made Amelie's eyes bleed. But slowly but surely we are changing this, replacing placeholder art with real art assets - she is thankfully already recovering. Of course this process needs a lot of iterations, but hey - we are getting there and moving towards playtest in the next 3 months!
This is one of the things that nobody notices if you get it right, and everybody complains about it if you do not. During the last months we iterated on the control scheme for the Adventure Mode. Currently you can decide how to navigate your ship, you can also set a desired camera angle to enjoy the universe either top down or more from a third person view. We need to pass the validation test in a few months and iterate to make it smooooth.
Wednesday - April 27, 2016
The Mandate - Ships and Bridges
In a new development update for The Mandate, we learn that quite a bit of work has been done on the game, such as:
In the previous update we discussed how we were putting together the bridges. In all we are making six bridges, one for each class size of ship (from frigate to battleship).
Since we are taking a modular approach as well as using faction-specific textures each ship bridge should look suitably unique.
The bridges and faction-specific modular assets have been completed and in the video below you can see all size classes as well as faction specific variations for one of the bridges.
Armors & heads
For combat armors we have finished all armors minus the IFTL ones. Instead we are focusing on something that is more important: base heads that can be used to make procedurally generated heads. The generated heads will be used when you are interacting with other characters like starship captains, base commanders, planetary governors etc.
In all we expect to have at least eight base heads for each gender. We make these base heads from 3D scans of real people and while this process is tricky to get right, we found a workflow that is efficient and produces good results. These base heads can be used as input by our designers to configure a specific head for an important character. For less important or generated characters the game could also auto-generate NPC talking heads as needed.
When it comes to space ships we are almost finished and only have a few left. As you may remember we produced the medium and small ships first and during the last months we have focused on the big ships, the battle cruisers and battleships. Below are a few screenshots of the Romanov battlecruiser in all its regal splendor with different bow, midship and aft configurations.
Since ship production is coming to a close this means our focus is shifting from production to the tweak & polish phase. Below is a video from one of our test playfields where we have deployed both Arkwright and Romanov ships for general inspection.
For more information, including information about animation and the adventure mode, click the above link.
Monday - February 15, 2016
The Mandate - Captain's Journey
In this development update for The Mandate, information is provided about the campaign structure, the event system and what is called the bridge dialogue mode.
Next let us discuss the event system. What are events? Events are situations that occur during your playtime in The Mandate that require a response from either your crew or yourself as the captain of the ship. Your ship scanners may have found an escape pod with faint life signs floating in space. Do you take the pod on board and risk exposing the crew to whatever might be inside it, or do you leave it where you found it?
Some events require snap-decisions to be made, while others allow more in-depth problem-solving. In the aforementioned example, it could for instance be prudent to first let the medical officer look at the scan-data to see if there is a medical reason why the escape pod shouldn't be taken on board.
With that said - how are events started? While we have the ability to trigger events using almost any criteria you can think of we will limit even triggers to mainly be based on the location of the player fleet in space. This means for example that if your fleet is inside an asteroid belt then there is a chance that an asteroid belt event will trigger. The event system also has support for cool downs so we can limit how frequently an event of a specific type can trigger.
Events are not limited to outer space - your ship is a living, breathing anthill with many opportunities for you to interact with your crew and officers. If morale is low, the risk of certain events go up - on the flip side - if morale is high, the risk of other types of events go up. Events can be both positive and negative and are not designed to be hurdles to be jumped over. Rather, they are designed to convey the life and activity on board the ship while playing.
Events also vary depending on your campaign progress. They respond to the galaxy around you as you have affected it and how you play the game. Events can feed on themselves as well - a response in one event or the completion of a specific mission may lead to another event becoming available (or locked).
Monday - December 21, 2015
The Mandate - December Update
In this months update for The Mandate, we learn about audio, GUI, ships, armours, animation, game design and the IFTL faction.
“Originally a loose association of free colonies and independent traders, the League is now a powerful but largely invisible political force within the Mandate. The League has its own fighting ships to escort convoys through pirate-infested systems, and it works closely with the Gate Transit Authority to keep the Gate network secure and open for business…”
Whenever a new game is started, a limited number of trade hubs are scattered throughout the sandbox as part of the generation process. These trade hubs are starbases which are under the direct control of the IFTL. Each trade hub may establish and maintain a number of inter-system trade routes. These inter-system trade routes always terminate at another trade hub governed by the IFTL. When a freighter begins its journey along a trade route it will first plan a route for which stations to visit on its way to its final destination.
When an IFTL freighter enters a star system and docks at its starbase the local economy will receive a boost and as a result the faction controlling the starbase gains additional income. The freighters may carry different types of goods which can influence the selection of available goods at a starbase, and freighters naturally attract the attention of pirates or other factions who are out to earn a quick buck by less than legal means.
Conversely when IFTL freighters are attacked and looted this has a negative impact on the economy in a star system and will increase the chance of the next freighter planning another route to avoid this system as it is obviously risky and bad for profits.
Ingame this is modelled through a star system security rating. The security rating and says something about how safe the system is to travel through and how likely one is to be attacked by pirates. Repeated pirate attacks on freighters or a state of war between two factions can reduce the security rating of a star system.
The update comes with many images.
Monday - November 09, 2015
The Mandate - Development Update
In a new development update for The Mandate we learn about the process for generating deck plans and away missions, the main points from a recent milestone and a selection of Arkwright ships.
For our Gamescom demo we assembled two large decks for the heavy cruiser. This process was a manual and time consuming process. The Gamescom demo took at least six hours for each deck, and that did not include changes that had to be made as a result of playtesting. Even minor layout changes took lots of time since many small art assets had to be repositioned. The snap-to-grid function does not work perfectly for all object types which created gaps and imprecise collision (which again generated pathfinding bugs).
Therefore we decided to implement a new and faster process. This process is inspired by how we already handle away missions where level designers only need to focus on gameplay and pure level design. This required that we both rework our existing art assets and also develop a new tool, the deck designer.
Monday - September 28, 2015
The Mandate - Development Update
Perihelion Interactive provide a new update about the development status of The Mandate. In it they look back at Gamescom and what they've learned from the presentations, the revised designs of the Osmani armor, crew management, squads, officers, officers lead squads, manufacturers and a look at the recordings for the soundtrack.
As part of our post mortem process after Gamescom we discussed that our current workflow for building the ship deck plans took too much time and was difficult to modify later. Keep in mind that with around 50 ships we have a lot of interiors to build. The process is prone to placement errors which can easily cause pathfinding glitches and issues. For away missions we have a different and much faster workflow. So we are now taking inspiration from this process and improving the workflow for building ship deck plans. It requires some rework but should pay huge dividends in the long run.
Another area where we need to focus is optimization and performance. Both the artificial intelligence solution from Apex Software (which we mentioned in Update #51) and our animation systems require optimization so boarding combat can run smoothly in parallel with space combat.
From a gameplay perspective the Gamescom demo also told us that having small rooms with only one door entrance makes the rooms have less value during boarding combat. While there is still value to blowing up consoles inside rooms (synergy with space combat) the rooms themselves are otherwise dead ends. The player is forced to use corridors exclusively to move squads around the ship and with lots of squads these areas become cramped. The art and design departments are currently rethinking and redesigning the role of rooms during boarding combat and our goals is to have more interconnected rooms. The deck plans should “make more sense” and there will be more obvious pros and cons when fighting in corridors or rooms.
Saturday - August 22, 2015
The Mandate - Boarding Video with Commentary
In the article we had yesterday there was a video with boarding combat. They have made a new video availabe, this time with comments from the developers. In addition in their latest Kickstarter update there is also some Gamescom info from their public booth.
Friday - August 21, 2015
RPGWatch Feature - The Mandate Gamescom Preview
One of the interesting games I wanted to check out at Gamescom was The Mandate. A game that tries to combine various gameplay elements into one game. Here is what I learned.
The character creation is not accomplished by making some selections in a UI but they take you through a 'choose your own adventure' mini-game in which you are presented with a bunch of situations and where you have to make a choice. At the end of the mini-game your character's attributes will be generated, but there are also some long term effects. If you are fine with bombarding civilians in order to get something to start the game with, that is not something a faction like the Black Eagles or Romanovs would like, so you probably would align more with the rebels, the pirates or the Arkwrights. Also, if you help someone in the mini game, that character is likely to be your allie later on in the game. If you however don't help that character he or she is likely to be your enemy later on.
Monday - July 27, 2015
The Mandate - Production Update
A lengthy update for The Mandate showed up on their Kickstarter page, providing information on the stage they are in with development and offering a range of new screenshots an animation preview and a 8 minute preview of the 2 hour soundtrack.
Before we continue, we want to address the subject of Alpha and Feature Beta. Back when we announced the deal with Eurovideo in Kickstarter update #45 last year, our plan was to roll out Alpha in early third quarter. We are in third quarter but our Alpha version is not ready yet. Now what do we mean by that? Well, we want to deliver a top notch quality product so that you can enjoy the Alpha and provide valuable feedback. We also want to have the capacity to respond to the feedback and make a better game. We are not yet feature complete, and from both a stability, usability and performance point of view we still have work to do. Our current focus is the Gamescom demo preparations and we will share gameplay footage from this demo soon. As for when you can expect the Alpha, we will get back to you as soon as we know more.
...Shifting focus to the art budget we can say that since space combat and boarding combat are two of our main game modes it follows that a large part of our art budget is allocated to those two modes. Ships, ship interiors, character armours and animations make up the bulk of the art budget.
...Next we have the character armours which are important for boarding combat. Again we are aiming for the same eight factions as with the ships. For each faction we are producing four sets of armour: a duty suit (jump suit), light, medium and heavy armour. So far we have produced the Grand Fleet, Black Eagle and Romanov armour sets. The Arkwright armours are currently in production. Our production rate is approximately 1 faction or 4 armours per month and we expect all armours to be completed by end of December.
Friday - June 05, 2015
The Mandate - Timeline and More Lore
The latest update for The Mandate, comes in two parts, first there is more on the lore in the game, which now has information on Osmani, Pirates, Rebels, Corporations as well as a couple of Secret Factions.
If you compare to previously released information then you will see that in the revised timeline The Mandate itself is much younger than previously. This change was done in part to better align with the faction conflicts which could be seen as out of place in a scenario where The Mandate had existed for several hundred years already.
A few notes about the lore updates which we want to reiterate:
- The writing style and vocabulary used may sometimes seem a bit unfamiliar or even obscure. It may even motivate you to dig out your favourite dictionary or at the very least google a few words online. This is intentional and by design
- Whenever there is a conflict between the lore updates and any previously released information then you can assume that the lore updates contain the most current and correct informationWith both lore update #1 and #2 released we will send out reminder emails over the next couple of days to all backers who pledged for backer design tiers. That way you can start to review the lore, begin to work on your concepts and initiate the peer review process. We look forward to seeing what you come up with!
On a completely separate note: next week we start recording the 120 minute soundtrack for The Mandate. We plan to do some filming and also ask questions of the composer and conductor. If you have any specific questions that you would like us to ask about The Mandate soundtrack then feel free to add the questions here in response to this update or post your question(s) over on the forums. Provided we have time we may ask your questions and get responses (no promises, however).
Monday - May 04, 2015
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #49
A few days ago an update appeared for Perhihelion's The Mandate. In it the lore update part 1 docuument is discussed, for which they use the acronym LUP1. It is a backer only update, so if you have not backed it, you cannot access the contents.
As mentioned in the previous update the topic of today is the lore update part 1 (LUP1). It includes background information about the Romanov, Arkwright, Black Eagle and Europan factions as well as their respective sub factions. Furthermore, it includes information about how each faction sees both itself and the other factions and makes mention of key figures for each faction.
LUP1 currently stands at 27 pages of text with around 12000 words. This document will grow and expand as we release additional information.
Lore update part 2 (LUP2) will include background information about the Osmani, Rebels, Pirates and a few other factions. It will include a revised and expanded timeline which covers major events in Mandate history. It should help put things in perspective. LUP2 is scheduled for a late May release.
A few notes about the lore updates:
- The writing style and vocabulary used may sometimes seem a bit unfamiliar or even obscure. It may even motivate you to dig out your favourite dictionary or at the very least google a few words online. This is intentional and by design
- Naturally we did not have a lot of time to flesh out the universe before and right after the Kickstarter campaign. As we added sub factions and discussed the role of each major faction it made sense to do certain adjustments. Therefore there are some major changes compared to information we have released previously
- Whenever there is a conflict between the lore updates and any previously released information then you can assume that the lore updates contain the most current and correct information. For example some of the articles on the official website are out of date
- We plan to maintain the lore update document going forward and it will contain both a version number and a changelog (in case we add data or do tweaks/typo fixes)
Sunday - April 05, 2015
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #48
Perihelion Interactive posted the next post-funding update for The Mandate this week. They talk about the adventure mode, and this is the first time they shared the details.
Today we will first focus on a part of the game which we have not discussed in detail before, namely the Adventure Mode. Secondly we have had several requests to do a “meet the team” feature and we are kicking this off today. Actually, we decided to split it in two and the first part will focus on the art service branch while the second part will introduce the other service branches.
Wednesday - March 18, 2015
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #47
Perihelion Interactive posted the next post-funding update for The Mandate last week.
In this update we are going to cover the game flow, show how we are building star bases, discuss ship deck plans (both frigate and destroyer) and last but not least talk about the backer pledge templates.
IMPORTANT: On the 31st of March 2015 we will lock down the ability to pledge for or upgrade to backer design tiers. This will be your final chance to upgrade existing pledges or purchase new ones. See the end of this update for further details.
Thursday - February 12, 2015
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update # 46
Perihelion Interactive posted a new post-funding update last week for The Mandate.The update talks about several topics, but focuses on your Coat of Arms in the game.
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.
Friday - December 26, 2014
The Mandate - New Progress Update
Perihelion Interactive posted a new update with a detailed progress report on were the development of The Mandate is at, and their plan for the future.
Today we are going to talk about our roadmap and progress update as well as the state of the project. Our aim is to shed more light on exactly where we are in development. We also have a new developer video which you can find at the bottom of this update.
Tuesday - December 16, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update # 44
The next post-funding update for The Mandate has more information from Perihelion Interactive about combat, and how to know your enemy in the game.
After playing Starpoint Gemini 2 I'm in the mood for more game of this type.
Time for another update and today we are going to go delve more into detail about space combat. First of all we thought it would be cool to start with a trip down memory lane. Our space combat has gone through several iterations where we have experimented with different control schemes and evaluated the relationship between the ship and your crew. In each successive iteration we have shifted focus and put more emphasis on the crew as well as your officers.
Friday - October 24, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #43
The next post-funding update for The Mandate has more information from Perihelion Interactive about character progression, skills and traits.
The previous update outlined a schedule for the next few updates and today would have been about space combat (update #43). However, we decided to wait a bit with that update and instead dig a bit deeper into the boarding operations. Update #44 which will talk about progress/schedule is on track for the second half of November and the space combat update may arrive either before or after that one.
For this update we will start by talking about character progression, skills and traits. Next we will cover veterancy and how this is important and affects the performance of your marines and pilots in particular. As part of this we will also revisit the battle drills and formations.
Saturday - September 13, 2014
The Mandate - Operation Reclamation
Perihelion Interactive has finally posted a new update for The Mandate about your crew in the game, and mentions the topics of future updates.
Time for another update! Today we start by outlining a schedule for the next few updates:
- Update #42 boarding combat (this update)
- Update #43 space combat
- Update #44 (tentatively) status of development
When discussing the boarding combat it makes sense to first talk about some of our goals for the boarding operations.
The Mandate focuses on the crew inside your space ships and the marines are an important part of your crew. We want boarding combat to come alive with drama and action. These interactions will be more high-paced than space combat, with ample explosions, memorable characters and the occasional acts of heroism or stupidity. After a firefight, the corridors should look banged up with bullet marks and bodies.
Saturday - August 09, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #41
The next update for The Mandate has more information from Perihelion Interactive about how the games economy works, and how cargo is used in the game universe.
Loose Lips Sink Ships!
In this update we are taking a detour to talk about the game economy, cargo and what makes cargo ships stand out. As a side-note we recently hit an important milestone: the art direction and art tests for the ship interiors has been finalized. More on this in update #42 which should be out in a couple of weeks so let's start with the game economy.
In The Mandate the primary focus is not to build a monopoly or become a successful business tycoon. While you may dabble in this, remember that you are a spaceship captain first and foremost. It naturally follows that your focus will be on expanding and supporting your own war efforts. To do this you must establish resource extraction and production centers and set up trade convoys between these. However, once set up by you, these trade convoys will run by themselves. They may require protection, either from enemy factions or pesky pirates.
Sunday - July 06, 2014
The Mandate - Adaptive Character System
Int the 40th post-funding update for The Mandate developer Perihelion Interactive gore in-depth about how the games adaptive character system works.
Adaptive character system
For this update we are going to talk about our adaptive character system and what exactly it allows us to do. First of all it allows you to customize the visuals of your captain as part of the character prologue. The same system is used to generate the visuals for all the NPCs you will encounter during your travels in The Mandate. Also from a production point of view it allows us to automate several time-consuming tasks (rigging, skinning, modelling, texturing) which saves us time and allows us to offer more variation. Lastly we can optimize at run-time for either quality (dialogue scenes) or speed (boarding combat with lots of characters).
Before we continue, we need to take a little detour. Right at the start of our Kickstarter campaign, we were being both accused of under-representing women in The Mandate, and also being asked whether or not the game would feature playable female characters at all. This took us by surprise as our story elements focused on Empress Anastasia Romanova who even had her own Twitter account. In The Mandate she happens to essentially rule most of known space.
Just as some of the strongest leaders historically have been women, and there is a certain romanticism ascribed to service under them, we wanted to build these elements into the story as well as the relation between Anastasia and the player’s (space captain) character.
For example one of our backers wrote “Seriously, that many players want to be Han Solo? (Well, all the male ones, anyways...though I guess of course there could be a greater diversity of characterization too...)”. Another wrote “Hi ! I just signed up to kickstarter specifically to support you guys[…] My only gripe with the project is it's exclusively western focus, with no "asian" or "african" related factions, makes the whole setting harder to believe, at least for me”.
We all noticed the comments, and looking at each-other confused we said “Why wouldn't there be female characters at all levels, including playable ones? Some guys prefer to roll female characters -just like Kenny (McCormick) and vice versa. Why shouldn’t you be able to pick your own ethnicity?”.
In The Mandate you are the captain and we want your avatar to reflect your backstory and the choices you made during character creation. It follows that you should be able to play as any ethnicity, gender and body build. At the same time every video game has a set budget, and every element you add has an associated cost. For example we don’t have the resources to maintain a large set of different rigs, animation sets etc. How then can we give players the freedom of self expression without escalating costs?
Our Technical Director, Vegard Myklebust, wrote an article about our character system which was published over at Polygon. Rather than re-posting it here we invite you to CLICK HERE to read it. It goes a bit “behind the scenes” and includes several pictures so it should be an interesting read. We also made a short video which shows the character system in action and generating different characters.
Wednesday - June 18, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update # 39
The 39th post-funding update for The Mandate has more information from Perihelion Interactive about how the observation deck will work in the game.
On the observation deck
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.
Tuesday - May 06, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #38
In this update for The Mandate more information about ship layouts, service branches and coat of arms is provided.
Now that we have an idea of the ship layout let us discuss the service branches. There are a total of six of these and they are important for crew progression and specialization. Above you can see a representative from each service branch as well as the name and colour of each service branch. The officer does not represent a service branch but prior to his promotion he may have served with one of the service branches but more on that later. Keep in mind that both the headgear and colours for each service branch are not finalized. None are wearing combat armour as this would be too bulky and restrictive for normal ship operations. Finally we are discussing internally whether the name “service branch” or “department” is the correct term to apply or whether we should use some other term.
So what gameplay impact do the service branches have? Well, fresh recruits start out as "enlisted" and only have a few basic skills. They may be assigned to operate vacant consoles in a room and each room is operated by one service branch (with a few exceptions like the bridge). Consoles grant enlisted experience points over time and eventually they will qualify to become specialists. Upon becoming a specialist the enlisted joins one of the service branches and can learn new skills. Each service branch has unique skill types which corresponds with its focus area. There are skills that affect both space combat, boarding combat, away missions etc.
Initially as captain you will probably be "hands-off" and not concern yourself with individual enlisted or even specialists. However as individual crew members level up, you will get more and more influence over their career and education. You may wish to review individual dossiers and check not only skills but also personality traits that may make somebody especially suited for a particular role. Each character has several personality traits which are revealed over time as they become an integral part of your crew. Certain situations and events may also trigger hidden personality traits (positive or detrimental).
Ultimately it is up to you as captain how you manage your crew and how to get the most out of them. Both senior specialists, senior warrant officers and commissioned officers are valuable. You need to train all types to replace battle losses and also grow your fleet. It is up to you to select who will stay as specialists, who will become warrant officers and who should become junior commissioned officers (and later on full captains). We believe the approach outlined above will feel organic and intuitive. You will make the decisions that really matter but not be bogged down with pointless, repetitive micro-management.
Friday - April 18, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #37
Update number 37 of The Mandate brings us news on mod support, the Osmani action and community designs.
First things first, back when we ran the Kickstarter we announced a series of mini-stretch goals. We had one each at $550k, $650k and $750k and are happy to report that we have now passed the $750k threshold. This means that everybody who backed minimum $25 or more will also get the digital add-ons strategy guide, art bible and character pack #3 at no additional cost!
Furthermore, since we fully expect to hit the $800k stretch goal (extended mod support) during 2014, we decided to go ahead as if this stretch goal was already met. Having more powerful mod tools will be useful not only to modders after launch but also help developers before launch since we invest in more robust tools that save us time. We have a lot of respect for the time and effort put in by mod communities to extend the lifespan of games like Mount&Blade, Elder Scrolls/Fallout, Total War, X3, Torchlight and many others. We look forward to seeing what kind of mods will pop up for The Mandate as well as total conversion projects for <insert your favourite sci-fi universe>.
Friday - April 04, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #36
Today we have launched our new community site which in addition to the revamped look also features an integrated chat and brand new forums. You will all receive an invite during the next few days via email with username, password and instructions on how to activate your accounts on the new community site. This allows us to merge the PayPal and Kickstarter backers into one happy family!
The new forums will be where you can discuss all things related to The Mandate and we look forward to reading more of the fan lore that was already posted on the old forums. We are in the process of appointing moderators but if the discussions on the old forums and our Kickstarter comments page is any indication then they should have an easy time. Later on we will also be reaching out to military / ex-military and historians to act as volunteer consultants to help us make a better game but more on that in a future update.
Also, the new forums is where you will be able to receive feedback if you pledged for a design tier. There will be one sub-forum for each design tier and all backers may read these forums but we will access-restrict posting rights to backers who have bought design tiers [specifics TBD]. We believe this will help keep discussions and feedback civil [you can always send a PM with your feedback to the author if you have not purchased a design tier].
The community site is not 100% complete and we will add functionality over the next days:
- Community chat: next week
- Ability to permanently mute the music on the front page: next week
- Guidelines, templates and examples for player design tiers: next week
- New faction details and more lore: within two weeks (check the poll for hints…)
Thursday - April 03, 2014
The Mandate - The Captain's Holomap
Eurogamer made a developer diary video available of The Mandate showing how to plan your combat using the Captain's Holomap.
The developer of science-fiction role-playing game The Mandate has released a new video showing how you plan space combat.
You can interact with your crew for quests and story, fight space battles, storm enemy ships and explore a galaxy "that reacts to your choices". The Mandate has been compared to BioWare's Mass Effect series.
Thursday - March 27, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #35
Update number 35 for The Mandate brings us information about the process of creating the backer accounts at Perihelion's Community site and if you backed this project you need to check if your e-mail is correctly entered in their Backerkit for you to gain access.
Furthermore Art Director Garret discusses style differences between factions and the approach taken towards armor design.
Hi backers, Garret here. The art team has been quite busy lately as we are experimenting with with different visual styles and doing tests to figure out what works and what doesn't. The best place for us to start is by setting up a bad guy vs good guy scenario. So here we've made the clear choice of Pirates vs Mandate simply because of the dichotomy between these two factions: The Mandate is efficient and rigid, where the Pirates are makeshift and animalistic. The way I like to approach visually designing the separate game elements is to put myself in the place of an engineer responsible for creating the ships, weapons and armor for each faction. What’s the psychology of each faction? What are their priorities and philosophies?
Sunday - March 02, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #34
Perihelion Interactive has posted the next monthly update for their funded kickstarter The Mandate. So if you're interested it's just a general update about the game.
Bunch Of Stuff!
Time for another update. We have been quite busy lately so there is lots of ground to cover. Actually, we have decided to split this update into several parts otherwise we would end up setting some kind of world record in terms of number of pages. Instead of one enormous update, we are going to do more frequent updates for the next month or so.
The upcoming updates will cover (in no particular order):
- Game flow with the main GUI screens
- Boarding combat visuals
- Battle Orchestrator video
- Design tiers & lore
- New team members
- New community site
Moving along, let us talk a bit about mod support & tools. We are pretty confident that we will hit the $800,000 stretch goal for extended mod support via extra funding through PayPal and BackerKit during development. So we are moving ahead with this stretch goal now as this would not be easy to introduce later. First we asked ourselves: What if we wanted to create a total conversion for ? What tools would we need to avoid any programming? So we started to discuss how best to organize our engine and how to separate code and data. Of course we also looked at how other developers have tackled this challenge and some of our developers are modders themselves. In parallel we have started to write the tool designs to allow us to design weapons, ships, missions as well as build the world map. We kill two birds with one stone this way: The Mandate will be more mod friendly and a more intelligent engine architecture benefits us developers since expansions and sequels can be created more efficiently.
Monday - January 20, 2014
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #33
Perihelion Interactive has posted the next post-funding update for The Mandate that inclledes a new Q&A, snd talks about their development schedule.
Q&A, development schedule and... Battle Orchestrator?!?
Hi Backers and Happy New Year!
PS! If you read this update from your email, please remember to enable images. There are several interesting images at the bottom of this update.
Welcome to the first Kickstarter update for 2014. As mentioned in an earlier update we plan to do at least one update per month, perhaps more. Keep in mind that we prefer quality over quantity and do not want to spam you unnecessarily.
Today we are going to talk about what we have been up to and our focus going forward. But before we do that, let us do a Q&A to answer a few questions which have popped up from you, our backers:
What is the status on funding?
Back in early December we received $677,000 out of $701,000 from Kickstarter but in addition we got around $24,000 from PayPal backers. With new donations from PayPal as well as BackerKit pledges we are currently at around $725,000. Given the fact that we have done NO MARKETING and people have been on holidays, this is actually a very good result. We are closing in on the $750,000 stretch goal which will unlock free digital add-ons for everybody who donated $25 to $49 (those who donated $50 or higher in total already get these digital add-ons at no cost). The digital add-ons in question are the character pack #3, the strategy guide and the art bible. We are assuming we will eventually hit $800,000 (extended mod support) and are planning accordingly... Kickstarter backers can upgrade their pledges inside BackerKit while PayPal pledgers can do a second donation via our PayPal store and contact BackerKit to have their pledges merged.
Who and where are those mystery developers?
We are both recruiting old colleagues and new ones but there are still some legal obstacles we need to sort out before we can provide an updated team overview. That being said our programming team in particular has received reinforcements! This is essential for pre-production to allow us to estimate the cost of game features and plan out a smart architecture which will be easy to maintain, as well as data structures that make it easy to release expansions and community mods...
I pledged for design tier X. Where do I submit my designs?
We are really happy with how enthusiastic many of you are to contribute lore and designs but please be patient. Our writers are working on both more examples, as well as typing up writing instructions to help you create better designs that work effortlessly with our existing lore. Also keep in mind that we are not locking down the design tiers until 31st of March. Due to the way our game is being developed, there is no rush to finalize the player designed captains, officers, starbases, weapons etc. In the mean time go read up on fan-made lore and stories. There is some good stuff to be discovered there!
Thursday - December 26, 2013
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #32
Perihelion Interactive has posted the next post-funding update for The Mandate with information about the games future development.
The road ahead
2014 will soon be upon us and it will be an exciting year for The Mandate! So today we thought we would look at both the present and the future and discuss some of our plans for the coming year.
As mentioned in the previous update one of the things we are working on is procedural textures for both ship interiors and characters. Previously we had used this technology for ships in the ship designer. Below you can see a demonstration video using colour tints, decals, metal aging and wear. Remember, this is just the first test, and we will be adding more functionality later.
Another nifty feature we are working on is our character system. Once complete it will allow us to use a standard head and body which we can then morph into whichever shape and height we want. Why is this cool and why should you care? Because it is a very efficient system that will allow us to put more characters on the screen at the same time which might come in handy for bigger boarding operations. We hope to share a video of this system in action in one of the next Kickstarter updates.
Moving on, the writers are preparing the design tier (or equivalent digital add-on) instructions which will include both background information as well as tips, advice and a more thorough faction overview (remember, not all factions have been revealed yet!). We hope to have this ready by end of January and you can CLICK HERE to see a skeleton of the document structure/flow. It should be pretty self-explanatory.
On the community side of things we have updated the forums and added a chat function on the left-hand side. You need to login on the forums to use it and it will automatically refresh every 10 seconds. The chat is only visible on the front page/index (we will look into a workaround in January). We hope this chat will help maintain and expand our mature and knowledgeable community and retain the awesome spirit from the discussions on the Kickstarter comments in the later half of the Kickstarter campaign. We may also use this chat to run community events or roundtables later on. In other forum-related news we have added forum ranks similar to those seen on Kickstarter and PayPal.
Several backers have asked if there is an easy way to “gift” copies to their friends and family by having something physical to hand out. So we have prepared the 3x Orders and 1x Medal in editable word .doc format. In addition we are providing all the reward tier graphics so you could edit, print and put these in an envelope. CLICK HERE to download a zip file with everything you need.
Wednesday - December 18, 2013
The Mandate - Happy Holidays
Perihelion Interactive wishes everyone a happy holiday, and released a new behind-the-scenes video for everoyone to watch.
Happy Holidays from The Mandate
New behind-the-scenes video released for Tsarist space opera RPG as well as info on BackerKit support | http://www.mandategame.com/
18 December 2013 - California, USA/… As an early Christmas present to its supporters, Perihelion Interactive has released a procedural textures video for The Mandate, This short test demonstrates colour tinting, decals, rust and armour damage.
Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57T_YWpMr4Q
The Mandate is a six-player, cooperative, sandbox sci-fi RPG (playable online and over LAN), which is currently in development following a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $700k and concluded earlier this month (the original funding target was $500,000).
A dedicated The Mandate BackerKit page will run through to 31 March 2014, allowing those who have already pledged their support to make changes to their order. This includes additional options like extra digital copies of the game, unique features like ‘Name a Marine/Enlisted/Ship’, ‘Design an Officer/Captain/Marine Platoon/Light Craft Squadron’, and even the option of being able to write the history of a past event to be included within the game’s lore. Latecomers to the cause can still join in and pledge their support via PayPal. Perihelion has also set up Knighthood and Medal docs, which backers can fill in names of friends and family who they plan on giving extra copies to, and then print these docs and put in an envelope under the Christmas tree.
Ole Herbjørnsen, Executive Producer, Perihelion Interactive said:
“It’s fantastic that we reached our first two stretch goal funding targets before our original Kickstarter campaign ended earlier this month, meaning that away missions on planets and starbase boarding operations will be included within the final game. We’re currently looking into how we will implement this, and are discussing two types of away missions: the classic Star Trek-style as well as more elaborate small-scale skirmishes between armies.”
If The Mandate is on course to reach its next stretch goal of $800k, where Perihelion will add Mod Support. The developer is a huge fan of the mod communities that have sprung up for the likes of Total War, Mount & Blade and The Elder Scrolls series. At this stretch goal it will be in a position to allocate more programmer and designer time to plan the code and data structures to greatly simplify the process of creating total conversions for The Mandate. Developer tools will receive extra polish and documentation so they can be used both by the devs and by the mod community. Start planning your mod or total conversion project today!
Saturday - December 14, 2013
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #31
Perihelion Interactive has posted a new post-funding update for The Mandate with news about court martials, BackerKit, physical merchandise, and more.
Court martial, BackerKit, & Physical Merchandise
As mentioned in a previous update we are preparing to roll out BackerKit. It allows you to manage your pledge as well as purchase digital add-ons. Very soon you will receive a separate BackerKit email with a link where you can manage your pledge (and vote on the court martial!). So take a deep breath and just wait for that email to arrive. It will contain further instructions.
Yes, the court martial against the disgraced admiral will soon be in session. We decided to do this as a survey inside BackerKit since that allows both PayPal and Kickstarter backers to participate and we avoid fragmenting our community. You do not need to make a login and password to fill out your survey, just fill it out and you are good to go! Also, for our PayPal backers we are setting up a separate mailing list to keep you in the loop and inform you of all future Kickstarter updates.
If you use your Facebook login for your Kickstarter account, the BackerKit invite will be sent to the email you used for your Facebook account. If you have another email you prefer it to be sent to, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What else is going on? First of all we are back after taking a break.
- On the game design side we are reviewing all design notes we took during the campaign as well as reading up on the forums for additional ideas and suggestions.
- The artists are currently experimenting with a new character system which will allow us to have many NPCs on the screen at the same time. In addition we are testing procedural textures (which we already used in the ship designer) for both ship interiors and characters. This takes a bit of time and coordination but will ultimately benefit both us (production efficiency) and you guys (ability to customize and tweak characters and ship interior visuals).
- Our programmers are evaluating different middlewares to upgrade our GUI and networking. Oh and we are prototyping a feature that we have not discussed previously. Hopefully we can give you guys a sneak peek before Xmas.
Tuesday - December 03, 2013
The Mandate - Post-Funding Update #30
In the first post-funding update for The Mandate Perihelion Interactive announces a little surprise as the game reached it's next stretch goal.
Out with a bang and a little surprise!
Wow, we ended up passing 700k on Kickstarter + 15k from PayPal. This last day was our best funding during the entire campaign! Starbase boarding operations will definitely happen! Thank you, thank you, thank you from all of us here at Perihelion Interactive!
Many of you were really keen on getting Knighthoods and were a bit bummed for coming late to the party. So, we have a little announcement to make:
All backers get a Knighthood since we have replaced one of the medals with a Knighthood instead!!!
We will follow up on the Knighthood and their function in The Mandate later but for new backers we wanted to share and example of what it could look like. The specific example below is tied in with Anastasia’s twitter feed which you received a copy of in one of the previous updates:
We are extremely happy and very tired now! Stay tuned for more updates on additional design tiers, lore updates, BackerKit etc etc. We will have announcements about how we plan to engage you in the weeks and months to come so we can keep the fantastic and constructive spirit. Thank you again, you guys rock!
Monday - December 02, 2013
The Mandate - Kickstarter Updates #27-29
Perihelion Interactive have been busy in the last two days with three more updates for The Mandate. Details and links as usual are below.
Update #27- "When the cat is away... + first stretch-goal reached!"
The other day we “talked” about the poem The Destroyers with a bit of help from David Bradley. So today as a natural continuation we thought we would study language phrases and in particular the one phrase “when the cat is away, the mice will play”. How does this apply to The Mandate you ask? And more importantly who is the cat?
Update #28 - "650k achieved, free stuff, and some announcements..."
We just hit the 650k mini-stretch goal on our Kickstarter which is fantastic news! This means that everybody who pledged a total of $50 or more (irrespective of reward tier) will get the digital add-ons strategy guide, art bible and character pack #3 at no additional cost! Keep in mind that we have 13k from PayPal on top of this so the grand total sits at around 664k currently. If we hit 750k either before or after the Kickstarter campaign (the pledges on BackerKit later will count towards stretch goals), everybody who pledged $25 or higher will get the same digital add-ons as well.
Update #29 - "End of the beginning…AMA NOW!!!"
This will be our final update before the end of our campaign. The Reddit AMA starts NOW. CLICK HERE to check it out. In attendance will be
- Ole (producer & lead designer)
- Garret (art director)
- Vegard (tech director)
- Robert (senior designer)
- Bolek (programmer)
- Jimmy (character artist)
- Greg (environment artist)
- Michael (community manager).
We will keep the Reddit open for several hours and ideally until either a) you guys stop asking questions or b) we collapse from exhaustion. Garret will also do a live stream. What will he be drawing? We do not know! Check the top of the Reddit thread for a link to the stream (it may start a bit after the Reddit itself).
Saturday - November 30, 2013
The Mandate - Kickstarter Updates #25 & 26
The Madate developers Perihelion Interactive have been busy in the games last few days by releaseing a few updates. As usual the details and links are below.
Update #25- "Captain Wrack's Thanksgiving"
Captain Wrack's Thanksgiving
First of all Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it! Captain Wrack and all his friends wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving (PS! That is a cyber-parrot, not a turkey!)
On the topic of Captain Wrack our design example from the Great Captain Doc in our previous update (Page 1 and Page 2) generated some internal discussion about the length of each captain backstory. We have decided that each Great Captain will be assigned a full two pages for text and pictures so you can really flesh out the lore and backstory similar to our Captain Wrack example. The Great Captain Doc with nearly 300 captains will be a minimum of 600 pages long (lore captain’s from our writers will come on top!). Our writers and designers will work with those of you who have set out to design captains and ensure both language and content is of high quality.
Update #26 -"The Destroyers"
Today we have a very special something to share with you, namely the third and last piece which we recorded with David Bradley (as Lord High Admiral Suvarov) for use with our Kickstarter campaign. Before we get to that, we thought we would touch on a couple of things.
We have already gotten quite a bit of media coverage from both press and youtube gamers which is damn cool, but getting an endorsement from industry veterans is cool and very humbling at the same time:
"It looks like a fantastic project."- Julian Gollop - Designer of XCOM/UFO:EU (1994)
"They’ve done a really great Kickstarter campaign, are already funded, but are now looking to make it to their stretch goals, which frankly speaking are worth it. " - Swen Vincke, Larian Studios, Divine Divinity series++
We will be doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on this Sunday to answer questions as a count down towards the end of the campaign. We expect to start around 9 PM CET / 8 PM GMT / 3 PM EST / 12 AM PST and will keep it running for several hours until we a) pass out or b) you stop asking questions. Announcements will be made on the official twitter @Mandategame as well as on our Facebook page. As a special treat we will try to get Garret to do a live stream and do some drawing while we are taking questions!
Now, then, we have made you wait long enough. Here is the final video for our Kickstarter, called “The Destroyers”, after an old poem by Rudyard Kipling. It focuses on boarding combat and should hopefully answer some questions. Remember, this is pre-production footage but it should illustrate the direction we want to go in. Expect the final game to be at least 10x more awesome! Enjoy!
Friday - November 29, 2013
The Mandate - Update #24, Perfidious Treachery
Perihelion Interactive has posted the next kickstarter update for The Mandate that talks about a backer only reward called the Great Captain Doc, and how to court martial the games Grand Admiral.
We have passed our funding goal of 500.000 and we are very happy!!! Thank you to all backers who believed in us, Brian Fargo, Kevin Saunders, Angry Joe, Scott Manley and everybody else who supported the campaign! Thanks too to everyone who supports us from this point on.
To celebrate this fact, we bring you a special message from Anastasia. CLICK HERE to read it.
As some of you may be aware, there was a bit of drama with our $10.000 backer pulling out when we were just $5.000 shy of the 500.000 goal. This was only a minor setback and we quickly recovered but this kind of scam could have been a major blow to a smaller campaign.
So how do we chose to respond to this? Do we ignore it? NOOOO WAY! After getting some input from the most active backers in the comments field over on Kickstarter, we have decided to run a little community activity:
- There is no precedence for trying a Lord High Admiral [which is the $10,000 pledge rank] on a court martial and since all members of a court martial must have equal or higher rank than the accused, well, there is only one Lord High Admiral so...
- Instead the accused will be tried by a grand jury of his peers [for the sake of story we assume this event takes place before all of you were disgraced after your own court martial ;) ]
- Our lead writer will act as Judge Advocate General of the Grand Fleet and draft the charges, basically violations of the Articles of War
- You, as captains of the fleet, will decide whether the charges are true or false
- You, as captains of the fleet, will perform sentencing (by popular vote)
We hope this can turn something negative into a fun little community event. The court martial will be in session most likely in early to mid December. In other news we are releasing some cool stuff over the next few days so stay tuned for more. Also, later in the week there will be a dev log update which talks about the different reward tiers and what you will get with each.
Thursday - November 28, 2013
The Mandate - Kickstarter Funded
Perihelion Interactive has released a new press release with infomation The Mandate is now funded, and included a new deveopler video log.
The Mandate Reaches Kickstarter Funding Target
27 November 2013 - California, USA/… Perihelion Interactive is delighted to announce that The Mandate – its six-player, cooperative, sandbox sci-fi RPG – has successfully reached its Kickstarter funding target of $500,000, ahead of the campaign’s end on 2 December 2013.
To commemorate this milestone, Perihelion has released a new developer log video. ‘Anatomy of The Game’ digs deeper into the exploration, combat and starbase modes from The Mandate. The developer log can be watched here:
Ole Herbjørnsen, Executive Producer, Perihelion Interactive said:
“We’re excited that we’ve reached our initial funding goal for The Mandate and look forward to seeing what stretch goals we can achieve before the campaign ends. Everyone at Perihelion is extremely passionate about The Mandate and we will strive to exceed on our backers expectations when the final game is released in 2015.
The following elements will be incorporated into The Mandate once the applicable Kickstarter stretch goal targets are achieved before 2 December 2013:
$600k - Away Missions on Planets.
Perihelion has a long list of possible away missions planned, with both combat and non-combat options that can switch depending upon the scenario. The developer is inviting fans to visit The Mandate forums to suggest their favourite style of away missions and planet-side encounters.
$700k - Starbase Boarding Operations.
At this stretch goal Perihelion will model starbase interiors to allow for boarding operations to take place. The developer will also make it possible for the player to walk around on and interact with his/her starbase outside of combat.
$800k - Mod Support.
Perihelion is a huge fan of the mod communities that have sprung up for the likes of Total War, Mount & Blade and The Elder Scrolls series. At this stretch goal it will be in a position to allocate more programmer and designer time to plan the code and data structures to greatly simplify the process of creating total conversions for The Mandate. Developer tools will receive extra polish and documentation so they can be used both by the devs and by the mod community. Start planning your mod or total conversion project today!
Tuesday - November 26, 2013
The Mandate - Kickstarter Updates #22 & 23
The Mandate has two more kickstarter updates, but the biggest part of the updates is this new video. Now enjoy but don't forget to read the updates also.
There are a lot of sci-fi RPGs out there, but we feel there's something lacking. Being huge fans of the sci-fi genre, we wondered why spaceships feel so empty? What's missing? Looking back to all the TV and Movies that inspired us, like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica or Firefly, we realised games are missing something integral: a crew. A ship without a crew feels hollow and meaningless, so we've taken space travel to the next level. The dangers of space should not only test your metal, but your flesh.
We wanted to make a game where you're not a solid, singular object in a sky-box; you are a captain in an evolving, dynamic ship that hundreds of people call home. They adapt to you, and grow with you as you fight alongside them, and if you suffer losses, you'll feel the loss that comes with that.
That's where the drama is, that's where the story happens, and it's the interacting with people on the deck that makes this a complete experience.
We want to create a complete sci-fi RPG experience.
We want to explore the war-torn depths of space, engage in political intrigue, lead troops on the deck of a ship, command a fleet from the bridge, and sate our thirsts for glory -- and we want you to join us.
For the first time in a game of this type, players will be able to board vessels taking the combat into an RTS environment whilst your friends still fight from their ships in space.
Sunday - November 24, 2013
The Mandate - Interview @ TechRaptor
TechRaptoR interviews the Executive Producer of The Mandate to ask a few questions.
TR: We’re told that the loss of a crew member will be felt by the player, both by losing a character you liked and by losing skills. How hard is a good crew member to replace?
Ole: As you upgrade your base you will be able to found and upgrade academic institutions that allow you to train and replace officers faster. That being said losing a commissioned officer may be a blow, but loosing an NPC captain with his/her crew and ship is something you will not soon forget! Aboard each ship we will have a roll of honour similar to the one we showed in our gameplay trailer. If you fill one up with names we will add another one!
Similarly we will have a roll of honour at your starbase as well and by the late game you may have quite a few of these hanging around which remind you of the war of attrition and human sacrifice involved.
TR: There will be both space combat, as well as the potential for repelling boarders – how will this play out, exactly? Can you walk us through a battle?
Ole: The space combat will be tactical and you control capital ships, not nimble fighters. At the start of an engagement you may be outside visual range and the disposition of the enemy forces may or may not be known to you. You will rely on scanners or scouts to assess the enemy strength and plan out your attack. Since we feature environments that you can use to your advantage to sneak up on the enemy (or they can sneak up on you) these will also play a big role. Once battle is joined you will want to scan enemy vessels and figure out exactly what type of weapons are carried by each ship. Most ships have a mix of primary weapons (turrets) and heavy weapons (torpedoes, missiles, rockets, bombs). The latter is very powerful but ammunition is in short supply and you will want to think through exactly which ships you want to blow up and which you want to disable and later board. As you wear the enemy down and disable individual ship sub systems, take enemy weapons offline and clear out any enemy fighters, it may be safe to launch your assault shuttles. Provided the enemy shields are down, they will dock with the enemy ship and engage their drill to pierce the hull. You can then storm the enemy ship and fight corridor to corridor. But wait! What was your objective? Did you wish to seize the enemy ship as a prize ship, or sabotage some bothersome weapons, rescue a space princess or steal some secret technology?
TR: The game will have the option for co-op. Will it be drop-in/drop-out, or will you be able to assist friends in their story? Can you expand on how it will work?
Ole: We will both feature “coop on demand” where you can join up with a friend for a short battle they are having trouble with almost like in Left 4 Dead. Your friend who jumps in would take the place of one of your NPC escort ships and bring along his own ship, crew and captain. Alternatively you can play for a longer period of time and the way this works is that the host player invites the other player(s) to his sandbox (universe) and the action takes place there. The other players gain loot, gain xp and can upgrade and refit their ships at the host player’s main base.go in and out of battles, explore the universe together and either hunt down pirates or go off on a quest.
Saturday - November 23, 2013
The Mandate - Update #21, State of the Campaign
Perihelion Interactive talks about the state of the campaign, digital add-ons, and a new design update about boarding in the games latest kickstarter update.
State of the campaign + digital add-ons + design update: boarding!Throughout the campaign, our exposure has been a result of action - a plan. Although there have been slower times, those times have been filled with hard work creating the next piece of PR to send to the press. It’s been up and down, but we’re not done yet. Thankfully, we managed to break through to sites like Polygon and Kotaku, which have been goals for us since the start. It could have all come sooner, but it is exceptionally exciting to be seen by a wider audience.
We haven’t paid a cent to anyone for coverage, and so thanks are certainly due. Thank you to AngryJoe, who went above and beyond in his video even pledged $150 of his own hard earned cash! Thank you Scott Manley, who gave us our first big YouTube hit. His video was well produced, and genuinely entertaining! We’d also like to thank Brian Fargo and Kevin Saunders of InXile Entertainment, who took the time to review our Kickstarter and provide excellent feedback before we launched our campaign. Last night they also gave us a shout out in their recent Torment Numenera update! Finally, you guys, our loyal backers, have been out-standing at spreading the word, and even defending us like knights against the trolls!
We spend a considerable amount of time reading your comments on press sites, so believe us, your comments are noted!
State of the campaign and the road ahead:
As mentioned above, we do have a media strategy plan and we are not done with it yet. So what do we have in store for you during these last 10 days of the campaign?
- We have two additional recordings with David Bradley that we will share before the campaign is over [he was so efficient and professional in the recording session that we ran out of material for him to record! Instead David Bradley ended up talking about how excited he was about The Mandate and he wanted to know when he could come back and record more. Bottom line he is a class act, a true tsar!]
- We have two new trailers, one which focuses on boarding operations and one that focuses on, well, uhm… that’s a secret in fact!
- We have four developer logs that are recorded but we need to clean them up properly
- Also there are more design updates still to come and one of them is linked at the end of this update
Thursday - November 21, 2013
The Mandate - Two Interviews
I have two interviews for The Mandate if any of you are still curious, and want to know more about the game. So as usual links and details are below.
MMORPG.com:It’s being billed as a hybrid RTS / RPG title and that those are further divided into three separate and distinct focuses. Please explain how this works.
So The Mandate will feature three main game modes: Exploration & diplomacy, base management where you research and upgrade your base, ships and marines and finally the combat mode. We are looking closely at both Mount & Blade as well as Pirates! for the exploration mode of the game but our diplomacy element will be deeper than either of those two games [yes we are aware of the Diplomacy mod for Mount&Blade]. For our base management, research and manufacturing mode we are inspired by the original X-COM. For combat, first of all we are inspired by Jagged Alliance, X-COM and Men of War. The other part of combat is space combat and this is probably the area of the game that is most difficult to explain briefly.
Rock,Paper,Shotgun - "Crew Control: The Mandate Interview"
RPS: Speaking of the procedural content, how much variety is there between systems? Can you give some examples of the kind of things the player might discover while exploring?
Perihelion: Certain planets, star bases etc will be predefined by us. Others will be randomized. We will have nebulas and other strange phenomenon which will be mini sandboxes where procedural content is generated or spawned from. There will be derelict ships, stations and events to explore and engage with. Perhaps you rescue survivors and have them join your crew or sell them off as slaves (if you are that type of captain). We are really looking to Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly for inspiration on what exactly can and will happen in space, scripted or procedurally generated.
This of course gives us ample opportunity to keep things fresh with minor updates, adding extra procedural content and even end-game content, something we think is pretty important. A good RPG isn’t over when the story is.
Wednesday - November 20, 2013
The Mandate - Update #20 , David Bradley
Perihelion Interactive has word in the latest kickstarter update that Game of Thrones actor David Bradley will be joining the voice cast as Lord High Admiral Suvarov.
Game of Thrones actor voices new gameplay trailer
We’re finally ready to reveal who will be voicing Lord High Admiral Suvarov!
David Bradley, who you may know from Game of Thrones as Lord Waldor Frey [ the Red Wedding planner.. ;)] has graciously voiced our Admiral. Bradley has also played roles in Dr Who, Harry Potter and Captain America too.
He is also an accomplished stage actor who has won the Lawrence Olivier award. You will get to hear his voice sooner than you think! Also, remember Suvarov is not really a Romanov (on his mother's side for example he is Black Eagle!) This announcement ties in with our next bit of news, too.
Our new trailer for The Mandate is now online both on our Kickstarter page and on our YouTube channel. It is narrated by our actor, and focuses on the crew aboard the HMS Retvizan. It should be interesting if you have been wondering how exactly The Mandate relates to Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. We have updated our Kickstarter video on the front page so go check it out or click on the youtube link above. Remember to spread it to your friends as well!
Thursday - November 14, 2013
The Mandate - Kickstarter Update #19
Perihelion Interactive talks about a new Reddit AMA, knighthoods, and design update in this new kickstarter update.
Reddit AMA, Knighthoods and a design update!
First of all, a reminder that our AMA (ask me anything) will start at 11 PM CET, 5 PM EST and 2 PM PST tonight (which is NOW!). Watch our twitter, Facebook and KS frontpage for links to the Reddit around that time. Head to Reddit’s IAmA subreddit, r/IAmA or CLICK HERE.
Also, today we did VO recording for Admiral Suvarov in London. The VO will be used for our next trailer(s) which shift focus from outside to inside your ship. Our devs on the scene had the following to say:
- Dev 1: “Brilliantly. Went through it all, recorded it all.”
- Dev 2: “Yep, it went really well. Just got back. X is a consummate professional and we got all the material recorded pretty much bang on two hours.”
As a lead-in we find it only natural to do a design update which talks about deck plans, modular internals, life on the ship and impact on boarding operations (lighting conditions, reassign crew). We will cover boarding operations in detail in a future design update.
Tuesday - November 12, 2013
The Mandate - Update #18, Reddit & Dev Log
Perihelion Interactive is back with another update for The Mandate with news of a Reddit AMA, dev log, and tha game has reached half it's goal.
Halfway, Reddit AMA & Dev Log #3!
First of all, some great news! With three weeks to go The Mandate has reached the halfway mark as pledges on Kickstarter have surpassed $250.000! Pledges via PayPal are on top of this, and will help count towards stretch goals.
We will be holding an AMA (Ask Me Anything) this Wednesday 13th November at 11 PM CET, 5 PM EST, 2 PM PST on Reddit. In attendance will be Ole (exec producer & lead designer), Garret (art director) & Michael (community manager). We will announce on both our Twitter, Facebook and Kickstarter pages the exact link (as well as the AMA link mentioned above).
Today we present Dev Log #3 where Vegard, our tech director, talks about various things we are doing to ensure we produce art assets and animations as efficiently as possible. There is a small easter egg... well, actually a handful of them, which hint at topics for upcoming trailers that the team is working on. Apologies for the bad quality at the start of the video but Vegard broke his primary webcam and had to use a backup!
Monday - November 11, 2013
The Mandate - Kickstarter Updates 16 & 17
Perihelion Interactive has been busy in the last two days, and posted two more updates forThe Mandate. So without wasting any more time here they are.
Update #16 - "Dressing an Empress"
Today we have a couple of things we wanted to cover. First of all we reached 1600 shares on our Kickstarter page which means we hit another social stretch goal. The mp3 for The Mandate thriller theme has been uploaded and we decided to throw in a second wallpaper pack to celebrate almost 5500 backers. Both 1920x1200 and 1920x1080 versions are available and you can download from the link above. Keep sharing our Kickstarter page on Facebook by clicking the share button right below our Kickstarter video to unlock new free stuff! The "retro version" of the music from our text adventure Scourge of The Mandate is also available from the same page in case you cannot get enough of it!
Secondly, several of our backers have asked us to do an AMA (ask me anything). We are planning an AMA for next week and will get back to you with more details soon. Garret (art director), Ole (exec producer & lead designer) and Michael (community manager) will be on hand to answer questions.
In response to backer feedback, today we are doing a special “behind the scenes” update called “Dressing an Empress”. We understand that some backers may find this update a bit on the “soft” side and would rather know more about gameplay mechanics and features, but rest assured we have plenty of these lined up for the next few weeks as well.
Update #17 - "In Her Majesty's Service"
Spurred on by the positive reaction to our “soft” update on “Dressing an Empress” yesterday and at the request of community member Kelly Costanza [Kelly means “warrior” and is a male name in Irish we have been told!], we will endeavour to do another “behind the scenes” developer update and trace the origins of the Mandate officer uniforms. This update was not really planned for so consider it an extra bonus. It does require taking a bit of a detour first and we start with reiterating a few key points:
- The Grand Fleet and House of Romanov are two distinct factions
- The Grand Fleet is a sub faction in The Mandate and permanently allied to it
- The Grand Fleet does not traditionally take sides between squabbling Houses
- The Grand Fleet owes its allegiance to the holder of The Mandate (Anastasia)
- The player can stay loyal to Anastasia (as one of her Corsairs) while at the same time ignoring the Grand Fleet. You are free to throw its sacred Articles of War out the nearest airlock! How you related to the Grand Fleet will, however, impact your game in several ways...
- The Rebels in The Mandate are not space communists (just to avoid confusion relating to some references further down)
So with that out of the way, all ships shown so far in our campaign are based on standard designs for the Grand Fleet. They are produced at various shipyards spread across Mandate space. Like with Anastasia’s dress, priority is given to function & robustness. The angular hull shapes are designed to allow for mass production, flexibility and extended deployment. The ships of the Grand Fleet may not be as sleek, comfortable or visually impressive as some faction specific ships. However, few ships can match the combination of speed, firepower & armour/shielding and go to to toe with the largest warships of the Grand Fleet -unless trickery or superior numbers are stacked in their favour [and no, we have not revealed the largest ships yet...].
Thursday - November 07, 2013
The Mandate - Update #15, Scourge of The Mandate, Stretch Goals, PayPal & DRM
Perihelion Interactive posted another update for The Mandate with news about a new text based game Scourge of The Mandate, stretch goals, PayPal , and DRM.
Scourge of The Mandate, Stretch Goals, PayPal & DRM
We are finally ready to reveal our third interactive tool: Scourge of The Mandate (SOTM for short). But before we do that, a couple of quick updates:
Developer log #2 has been uploaded. In it, James (Character Artist) talks about the character and ship design process. There is also a preview of some never-before-seen frigate pieces so the video is worth checking out! Besides, Jimmy is a jolly good chap! Click here to check it out.
We have added the first batch of stretch goals, read details at the top of our Kickstarter page:
- $600.000: Away Missions on Planets.
- $700.000: Starbase Boarding Operations.
- $800.000: Mod Support.
PayPal - we have now added a link to our PayPal store on the Kickstarter page. We offer the same rewards on PayPal as on Kickstarter. Please consider donating via Kickstarter if you have the option, as PayPal donations do not count towards the minimum goal on Kickstarter - which makes it difficult for people to see our progress. PayPal donations will, however, count towards stretch goals.DRM - We are in contact with both Good Old Games and Humble Bundle about possible DRM-free versions of The Mandate for backers who do not wish to use Steam.
Now… Scourge of The Mandate [SOTM].Here at Perihelion we take the legacy of older games seriously and they are a major source of inspiration to us. We wanted to pay homage to all these great games and SOTM is our solution: We present our upcoming game with its 1500 years of history through the lense of an old and honoured game genre: the text adventure! So without further adieu:
“Even in these days of rebellion and civil war, when worlds turn on each other and fleets clash in deep space, there are a few names as universally abhorred as that of Jameson Howth, one of the infamous Scourges of the Mandate. The atrocities and crimes committed by this villain have ensured him a place in some infernal pantheon of legendary pirates. This Scourge is still believed to be at large in Fringe space, though his infamous ship, the Deathless, has not been seen in years.
How did Howth become such a notorious villain? What vile and unforgivable crimes did he commit? In this simulation, you will take on the role of Jameson Howth and determine the path he walks, the decisions he makes. Will you bring him to an untimely but well-deserved end, or emulate his terrible example and become the most infamous pirate in the galaxy? Or are you so treacherous and depraved that you can eclipse even Jameson Howth as a Scourge of the Mandate?”
As SOTM is completely data-driven we invite the community and RPG sites around the world to help translate the tool into as many languages as possible [if you want to do Esperanto, Klingon or Latin we will not stop you…]. If your site would like to be an official SOTM “partner” then head over to the forums and mention your site there as well as which language you would be interested in translating into. We will review submissions in the forum thread and select one SOTM “partner” for each language. You and your colleagues will do the translation and you will be granted access to host the localized version of SOTM on your site. We will link to your localized version of SOTM from our main site. Keep in mind we will expect a certain standard for the translation to capture the tone and feel of the original English version.
Wednesday - November 06, 2013
The Mandate - Video Diary
Perihelion Interactive has posted a new video diary were Character Artist James talks about some of the work currently being done on The Mandate.
Tuesday - November 05, 2013
The Mandate - Update #14, Kick It Forward
Perihelion Interactive posted another update for The Mandate with news about the games PR, and plans for future updates.
Today we’re going to talk about a couple of things coming this week, and some PR bits and pieces. Quite a few of you are AngryJoe fans (and as it happens, so are a couple of our team!). You asked us to contact him about the game, so we did… in quite a big way. We know he’s a fan of science fiction, RPGs, and strategy games, so Garret (our Art Director) has produced this fan-art of Angry Joe as a grand admiral of The Mandate. We’d love for Angry Joe to check out the game concept, Prologue Creator, and Ship Designer, so please get onto him on Twitter via @Angryjoeshow.
We wouldn’t ask if we didn’t think he’d be into the game, but since many of you mentioned that he’d enjoy it, we’d love to get some feedback from him. Help us spread the word!
What’s more, we have another developer log right around the corner, notably one from Jimmy (Character Artist) which will take you through the 3D modelling process for both characters and ships and illustrate our approach to character and ship customization. You met Jimmy at MCM Comic Con, and the video for that event has now been uploaded to our YouTube channel.
We have been humbled by the Kickstarter process so far - and the community. We think crowdfunding provides for a wonderful way to both interact with the community to sharpen the game concept as well as raise money to create the games we have all dreamed of. An extra nod to our mature and constructive backers on our forums! With that in mind we have decided to embrace Brian Fargo’s Kicking It Forward initiative:
“Any project creator that puts the KickingItForward.org URL on their Kickstarter project page is agreeing that they will put 5% of their finished product profits back into other Kickstarter projects.”
To make that as clear as possible, 5% of total profit made from The Mandate (not 5% of the total amount raised), will go right back into Kickstarter projects. Let’s help fund some amazing games!
Also next week, we’re going to start contacting other Kickstarter projects and engaging in cross-promotion. These will be games we’re confident are being created by equally skilled and passionate teams, and they are games which should generally fit within the same genre or style of The Mandate. RPGs, space games, strategy games, things like that. We already have a list but if you feel we should reach out to a particular project, by all means give us a shout. Both current and previously funded Kickstarter projects are interesting.
We are heading to 250k - the halfway point for funding - and should hit that towards the end of this week. Our next interactive tool will launch to coincide with that, and we are confident you’ll all enjoy playing with. It’ll feed you some exclusive new lore, too! Here are some preview images, in a unique retro style, fitting the music we released in last weeks update…
Friday - November 01, 2013
The Mandate - Update #12. Steam Greenlit & Lore
Perihelion Interactive posted another update for The Mandate with news about Steam Greenlit, and the games Lore.
Steam Greenlit + important lore update
Hello backers! You've been reading and enjoying Empress Anastasia's Twitter feed, and recently Anastasia introduced us to admiral Suvarov. We feel now is the right time to introduce you to him, as he is a major character in The Mandate lore. Click here to read about Lord High Admiral Suvarov. He is based on both fictional and historical sources and visually Suvarov is inspired by among others Peter Cushing (as Grand Moff Tarkin). However, personality-wise the two are very different. Especially Russian backers may recognize and associate with the name Suvarov, however, unlike Anastasia he is not from the House of Romanov. Later in the campaign we will share details on who exactly will voice this character and we think you will be positively surprised!
In other news, a thank-you is in order, because we have been successfully Greenlit on Steam! That means we can confirm worldwide distribution through the Steam distribution platform without any hiccups, which is a huge milestone for any video game. In addition Steam has several features that will be useful for The Mandate, both in terms of mod support and adding Steam friends into your friends list. Thank you to everybody who voted for us on Steam!
We have stated previously that Kickstarter (KS) backers deserve a reward for your early support. Below is a brief overview that highlights the estimated sales price on digital platforms like Steam after The Mandate launches:
- Warrant Officer: KS $20, Digital Distribution $30
- Cossack Cornet: KS $30, Digital Distribution $40
- Ensign: KS $40, Digital Distribution $55
- Cossack Captain: KS $75, Digital Distribution $100
The design tiers that let players put their mark on the game are only available via Kickstarter and PayPal for backers who help donate $100 or more. We'll discuss the official Stretch Goals next week, after reading many of your suggestions on the forum. Keep them coming right through to the end of the campaign, as we won't be revealing all of the Stretch Goals immediately. We'll also be discussing DRM in more depth, and we're eager to read your feedback and suggestions on that also.
Monday - October 28, 2013
The Mandate - Update #11, Battle Stations
Perihelion Interactive posted another update for The Mandate with two new videos that show off gameplay that was shown at the MCM ComiCon in London.
Today’s update should be especially tasty. First of all The Mandate was shown at MCM ComiCon in London, and our show was packed with all seats taken. A special hello to the guys on the right! Everyone was buzzed and lots of people came up for a “meet and greet” after the presentation. The event was both recorded and live-streamed, so expect a video to be posted soon. Also at MCM we showed off a quick character customization teaser, showing a 3D model of a dummy captain. This is a very, very early preview - check it out here.
Our design update for today covers weapons and coincides well with the gameplay trailer. Click here to read it. The long-awaited gameplay trailer was debuted at MCM. Keep in mind that the gameplay trailer is all running inside the Unity3D engine. From a graphics point of view these are still early days. Click here to see the gameplay trailer.
And they end with answering a funding goal question.
Some backers have asked to see a clearer cost breakdown. We will not be providing a “cake diagram” as we believe that gives a false sense of security. Instead we have put together a development timeline to illustrate the allocation of manpower for the different stages of development. Keep in mind we are on Indie salaries. The Kickstarter campaign will cover the positions outlined and some devs are prepared to work for free as an additional buffer. Click this link to check it.
How can you help The Mandate reach its funding goal?
- If every backer can get 1 friend to back The Mandate for USD 20, we will pass 250.000 or 50%. The 50% mark should shift some backers who are on the fence!
- If every backer can get 2 friends to back The Mandate for USD 20 each, we will pass 330.000 or 66% - which should help draw the attention of some big media!
- If every backer can get 4 friends to back The Mandate for USD 20 each, we will reach our funding goal. We have a couple of huge media sites that will cover us once we get there. This will help us meet stretch goals and make a bigger, better game -everybody wins!
Saturday - October 26, 2013
The Mandate - Update #10, Light Crafts & Heavy Burdens
Perihelion Interactive is back with another update for The Mandate with information about light crafts, and heavy burdens.
The design update that covers Light Craft is available here. It ended up being longer than expected (which should excite you Mandate lore nuts!) so we will launch the weapon update on Sunday, instead of today; this will coincide nicely with the gameplay trailer.
We know gameplay trailers are really important to you guys, so the team is 100% focused on building the gameplay trailer - and we are on track to reveal it on Sunday at MCM (London Comic Con). It will launch a few hours later on Kickstarter and YouTube, so you’ll be able to see it as soon as we release it there. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted!
Next week we have a couple of really cool updates which we think you guys might like...
We are marching steadily towards our next Social Stretch Goal, and we’ve enjoyed reading your feedback on that idea. We’re hyped you’re enjoying it so far, and don’t forget to take another look at the Social Stretch Goals chart, because the rewards get steadily more exciting the more shares we get.
As for Steam we have further good numbers to report, they are a few hours old but we felt the numbers were especially funny. Please go and vote for The Mandate if you have not done so already, because we receive a lot of pledges from people made aware of the project from Steam.
Friday - October 25, 2013
The Mandate - Update #9,The Anatomy of a Ship & Full Steam Ahead
Perihelion Interactive has posted a new update for The Mandate with information about the anatomy of your ship and Steam.
The Anatomy of a Ship & Full Steam Ahead
In a previous update, we mentioned our Social Stretch Goals, the first of which we just hit. As such we are releasing five 1920x1200 and 1920x1080 wallpapers! Click here to download them and enjoy [We have some trouble with the gallery setup. Just right mouse button click and save]! If you have not done so already, please visit the The Mandate Kickstarter and click the link below the main video right at the top of the page to share it via Facebook to bring us closer to the next social stretch goal.
Continuing our ramp-up to the gameplay trailer which will launch on Sunday at MCM (London Comic Con) and be released on the web later during Sunday, we are putting out our next design update, aptly named “The Anatomy of a Ship”. Click here to read it now. As always, feedback and discussions welcome on the forums!
Finally, Steam Greenlight is going very well. We just entered the top 10 which is fantastic news! Still, if you have not voted for us yet, we would greatly appreciate your support. We need your help to stay in the top 10 so Valve/Steam will show an interest in us. Please click here to vote for The Mandate.
Wednesday - October 23, 2013
The Mandate - Update #8, Curse, and Ships of the Grand Fleet
Perihelion Interactive has posted a new update for The Mandate with information about curse gaming , and the ships of the grand fleet.
Curse, and Ships of the Grand Fleet
We’ve a quick update for you today, because we have a lot of updates planned this week which will culminate with the gameplay trailer on Sunday evening. As a preparation for this event we will be rolling out several design updates which cover ships, light craft and weapons. We kick this week off with an exciting and detailed design update that focuses on the ships of the Grand Fleet. Click here to read it - and as always, give us feedback/ideas/anecdotes in the forums.
Last week we reported being in the top 40 on Steam Greenlight and we are now in the top 20! This is excellent news and we thank all backers who both voted for us on Steam and who noticed our project on Steam and then came over to Kickstarter to support us. We still need more votes, so if you have not voted for us yet, please go vote for us here.
In other news we are thrilled to announce that Curse gaming via their sister site Gamepedia has approached us and offered to host the official wiki for The Mandate, so feel free to head over there and help expand and document the lore for The Mandate on the official wiki.
Last but not least, we are approaching the first social stretch goal milestone and we are just 50 Facebook shares shy of releasing a batch of awesome wallpapers in full HD resolution. Please goto The Mandate Kickstarter and click the link below the main video right at the top of the page to share it.
Saturday - October 19, 2013
The Mandate - Update #7, Social Stretch Goals & Crew Part Deux
Perihelion Interactive has a new update for The Mandate with news about stretch goals, a crew update, and a big announcement.
Social Stretch Goals, A Big Announcement, and Crew Part Deux
We were invited to Podcast with SpaceGameJunkie.com a few days ago. It runs for 1 hour and 40 minutes, so whilst a little long, you’ll get to listen to an in depth Q&A with our executive producer, Ole, and Art Director, Garret. We had a lot of fun recording it and hope you enjoy listening.
Next up, part deux of the design article “Your Crew” is up, and it goes into more depth about the crew on your ship. There are some juicy details in it. Also, a new concept of a female officer we haven’t unveiled officially yet.
Steam Greenlight is going very well. We are currently in the top 40, but we still need your votes. With your help Valve might show an interest in us very soon. Please go and vote for The Mandate.
Several backers have asked about stretch goals. Yes, we have stretch goals; no we are not ready to talk about them quite yet. We believe it is a little premature to discuss stretch goals at this point in time, considering it’s a 60 day campaign. Secondly, we are reviewing our stretch goals based on input from the forums. We may run a community poll or survey soon to gauge interest in different stretch goals. However, to compensate a bit for lack of stretch goals we will launch our “Social Stretch Goals”. Basically, we will give out free stuff to our backers once we hit a certain amount of Facebook shares of our Kickstarter page (not Facebook likes). You can share The Mandate by clicking the link right below the main video at the top of our Kickstarter page. We are currently at #770 and the first goal is at #1000!
World Premiere of The Mandate Gameplay Footage
We put out a press release earlier today stating that we will debut the gameplay trailer at MCM (London Comic Con) on 27th October. The gameplay trailer will be uploaded to Kickstarter a few hours later. Three guys from our development team will be at MCM on Sunday the 27th, and will be available for questions and a meet and greet. It has been confirmed that The Mandate is the first Kickstarter project to take to the stage at MCM.
The same press release also mentions “him”, one of our three characters. We have not shared his backstory, but more excitingly if everything goes according to plan we will announce which actor will voice this character at MCM on the 27th. Many of you have seen this actor in movies, and a very famous TV-series, and we are sure you will agree that he fits the role perfectly...
That's all for now, and thanks for all the well-wishes we got for passing 100,000!
Wednesday - October 16, 2013
The Mandate - Update #6, Court Martials & Rewards
A new Kickstarter update for The Mandate has been posted were we get a look how court martials work, and gives more infomation on tier rewards.
Court martial is in session! Click HERE to check out the interactive Character Prologue Creator, through the Unity web pug-in. Bring a pack of smokes, they're good prison currency!
Remember to check the roadmap, as this is just the tip of the iceberg - for example we will replace the 2D concepts with fully fledged 3D character customization in a future update.
A note on reward tiers, $150 and up grant extra copies. Extra copies receive all the benefits of the Cossack Captain ($75 tier) including: season pass, alpha, beta, etc. This is our way of compensating for lack of physical rewards (these will be added after the Kickstarter campaign, and you only pay production cost + shipping). If you have two friends and you both pitch in for the $150 War Commissioner tier, you each pay $50 and get to design an officer + you get the Cossack Captain $75 benefits. Likewise, for the General of Fortification tier at $1000, you will receive a total of 12 copies and get to design multiple ships, captains, officers etc, at a price of $83 per copy. Isn’t this “gaming the system”? Yes! But this is by design, we planned for this in advance! Consider coupling up on a higher tier for better value rewards.
The reward sub-forums have launched on the forums. They will remain open to all forum users, but we will lock these down after 2nd December when we receive final lists from Kickstarter containing information on who backed and at which pledge tier.
In other news we have broken into the top 100 on Steam Greenlight, and are within the top 7% of all projects on Steam. We still need your votes, though, so please vote for us!
So what is next? Well, we don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say that we are focusing on something that starts with “gameplay”, and ends with “videos”. Expect a host of other exciting tools and interactive demos over the coming weeks, too.
Monday - October 14, 2013
The Mandate - Update #5, You Asked for PR
A new Kickstarter update for The Mandate has been posted, and we get a look at how the developer will be handling PR in the future.
What are we doing on the PR front?
Before you jump the gun, we are not saying that this is an easy ride. We’re working 24 hours a day, non stop, monitoring the situation. A lot of you have started saying “look, guys, you need to get the PR to back up the concept right now.” Although we haven’t talked about this yet, we have been looking into our options since day 1 of the campaign.
In short, it isn’t much use spending resources on press release distribution for day 1 of the campaign. The press have Kickstarter apathy. They aren’t interested in a project that hasn’t got any funding, or any backers. When you are asking for $500,000, if there isn’t any indication that anyone is interested, the press will not discuss your project regardless of who sends out the press release.
One week later, we absolutely have the statistics, community, concept, content, ideas, people, and smarts to start pushing the PR card hard. Now is the time to launch the PR campaign, and that’s why last week was spent in meetings with various top PR companies. Every conversation we had was about you, and how any PR and marketing strategy will affect you. “Do you understand our demographic?” we repeated regularly.
Who we picked, and why
Starting from Tuesday, we are working with Dead Good Media (but we’re still in talks with other people), a UK based PR company who specializes in some of the more niche titles. We’ve been grinding their agent through and through; testing his knowledge on games like Mount & Blade (a game that some PR companies had never even heard of!), and ensuring he knows the right sites to hit, and the right regions.
Some PR companies would point us towards the US demographic, demanding changes in our approach to make the game more appealing to the US. We simply said “we are not making a game for a nation, we’re making a game for a generation.”
It has been a rather difficult road finding the right PR guys for the job, but Dead Good Media know we’re a Euro-centric developer, and they’ve got a good handle on the European and US markets. We want US players, and we love hearing from US players, but we really don’t think altering the game to maximise exposure in US markets is the right creative decision, when the European markets have so warmly greeted us with open arms. “Are you alienating the US markets?!” some PR people reading this might cry. No, we’re simply saying: “If you want to play The Mandate, come and play it. Welcome to the community.” It’s an RPG. It has influences from major American television shows. We do not feel as though US gamers will feel alienated.
However, some of the lore and historical references in The Mandate predate the founding of the US, or draws inspiration from another continent… Rather that is incorrect, Alaska was part of Imperial Russia until 1867 - two years after the end of the American Civil War.
Of course, we want The Mandate to sell, but we want it to sell on its merits, without compromising on either vision or depth.
Wrapping it all up
Backers, we appreciate your support, and we sincerely mean that. However, we can assure you that we’re organized enough to get us to the $500,000 we’re asking for. Week one was a bit of a test, and everything we’ve achieved so far, we’ve achieved with barely any media attention. We’re gunning for that media attention now. If a single article on The Escapist can get us $6,000, then what about all the other sites? There’s a lake of untapped potential out there, and that’s what we’re heading towards. We are in safe hands. You are in safe hands.
Friday - October 11, 2013
The Mandate - Update #4, PayPal & Freebies
In the next Kickstarter update for The Mandate we get more information about PayPal, freebies, the dynamics of crewmanship, and the forums.
Today we're going to cover three main developments. Firstly, based on feedback, we have created a sub-domain detailing how you control your men both in battle and the RPG universe. The Dynamics of Crewmanship has been written to give you an insight into what to expect regarding The Mandate's combat and crew management. This was written in part to clarify exactly how similar (or dissimilar) The Mandate is to FTL, another popular indie game with rogue-like elements.
The document will give you examples of fleet formations, player and unit ranks, and the chain of command.We won't go into detail in this update, because we have to move onto other topics, but make sure you read it.
Our second important announcement is that the official forums are now up and running. To get you started, there are a few active threads at the moment: Press Coverage is a thread dedicated to showcasing some The Mandate press coverage so far. Posting any coverage you find here really helps us out, since we don't have huge PR teams running around for us. You can discuss the content, and list what you find there. Two threads in the Kickstarter discussion are currently active, talking about Stretch Goals and Localization, so give your ideas regarding both of those topics in their respective threads.
There is also a Steam Greenlight dedicated thread, because we've gotten feedback from many people who aren't able to support us on Kickstarter. We don't want to exclude you, so come join in on the conversation with Kickstarter backers, and anyone else who wants to support the game any way they can. On Greenlight itself, make sure you give us a vote because we're 70% of the way to the Top 100.
Read this link for the rest.
Monday - October 07, 2013
The Mandate - Update #3, Developer Blog and Updates
In their Kickstarter update for The Mandate the team shares some updates on the campaign, that the first 3000 backers will receive an extra bonus and their first developer blog featuring Art Director Garret.
One of the things they are addressing is the much asked question "How are you going to make a game like this for $500,000?"
The video does not provide a full answer but we were sent a press release that does:
The Five-hundred Thousand Dollar Question
"How are you going to pull this off?"
October 7, 2013 Perihelion Interactive has had a busy week following coverage from RockPaperShotgun and The Escapist, who said that "there are still many [Kickstarter] ideas we'd love to see completed. One example is The Mandate".
In three days, the team managed to raise $43,000, with more than 1,200 backers. On Steam Greenlight, The Mandate is 54% of the way to the Top 100, with over 14,400 unique visitors to the game's page.
On the content side, the team has released a featurette introducing the composer to the game's magnificent theme, which can be viewed on the Kickstarter update page or on YouTube. Update number 2 also included a role-play Twitter account for one of the games leading characters, the Empress. The Twitter page, found here, introducers players to the life of The Empress, and the unique lore of The Mandate. Written by the lead story writer, Tweets will be posted daily throughout the campaign and offer insight into the Empress, her tragic past and rise to power.
"The burden of the Mandate is the burden of history - we take the burden from our ancestors and pass on to our children." - Anastasia Romanova.
Perihelion Interactive has rolled out a new 'Imperial Propaganda Machine', which allows people to deface various concept art posters with their own propaganda messages, acting as a meme generator for the game. These are then uploaded to our imgur account and can be linked to Facebook. There are plans to create competitions for the most inventive, or those which use the lore in the most unique way -- that will be announced officially in the coming weeks.
Most importantly of all, Perihelion Interactive has addressed the most pressing question being asked: "how can you deliver all of your promises on $500,000?" The official statement can be read, and published, below:
"We are taking the pre-production process very seriously indeed. The combat prototype has been in development for almost a year, and only a subset of it is shown in the ship designer. We will get back to this in more detail later in the campaign.
Pre-production features a skeleton size unit of full-time staff. Other staff are kept informed of creative decisions and when their roles will be needed once production starts. This saves time, money and allows the skeleton team to focus their efforts. Once the production tools are ready, we will ramp up and assign additional full-time staff to their positions. Additionally, we have no big corporate HQ and minimal expenses. Our producer does not have a driving license and as such expenses for company cars will be minimal... (but we might buy him a bicycle).
Our staff understands our budget limitations and the implications for roadmaps and scheduling. We will only hire for position X when it is necessary -not before, and since we have access to a large network of game industry professionals this simplifies the recruitment process. Because we have a clear focus we do not need to give people a task to do merely because they are sitting around. This would be inefficient and wasteful. We will not have Day1 DLCs for the Mandate, and our focus is on delivering the best possible experience at launch to everybody who buys the game. Proper content updates and expansion packs will be planned before launch but developed after based on input from the community, particularly the Kickstarter donors who are our bosses.
On the technological side, Unity3D (the game's engine) comes with a working world editor, a build system for creating versions of the game, and the ability to deploy to multiple platforms including Windows, Linux, and Mac. In addition we have licenses to a stable, tried and tested network engine which we have already gained valuable experience with. This greatly reduces the time and effort needed beyond integration, bugfixing and maintenance.
Our team has half a century of game development experience between us, including major MMOs. This is a much smaller project than an MMO, which traditionally demands very capable content production tools. We are taking our combined knowledge and experience to setup and structure efficient workflows and production pipelines. This includes decoupling dependencies between art, code and design to minimize the amount of wait-time and avoid blockers.
Middleware is the key and we would prefer to license something which has been tried and tested rather than reinventing the wheel. This frees us up to focus on the game and avoid unnecessary distractions. At the moment, we are evaluating several character creation middleware tools which will make the process of setting up characters a breeze for the artists. At the same time players will have access to extensive character customization options. A common theme for both art and game design is to apply a modular and reusable approach. On the art side the procedural textures are an excellent example and if you have tested our ship designer, you will appreciate the versatility it provides even at this early stage. On the design side we are heavily data-driven: our tools must support major changes to content without requiring the involvement of programmers, which would create unwanted dependencies and blockers.
One final point to make, if you inspect our reward tiers you will see that we do not have any physical rewards. This means we do not divert Kickstarter funds to produce physical goods and instead we can use the funds to fully realize the actual game. To compensate for this we are providing what we believe are fair reward tiers where backers even at lower tiers get to put their mark on the game. Higher tier rewards are bundled with additional copies of the game so backers can split the cost among friends.
Still, we understand that some backers would prefer physical copies and merchandise and here is a promise:
Once our funding goals are reached, we will add physical reward tiers and outsource the production and shipping to our backers who will pay for only production and shipping. If people want t-shirts made we will supply the graphics to make your own t-shirts or other merchandise. We will not make a dime off of you ordering any merchandise. We are game developers - not Manchester United!
To summarize: we have the necessary know-how, experience and technology, and our overhead is minimal. The Mandate is the love child of some very experienced game developers who all want to see this project succeed. We are doing smart things with smart technology and will pick the right tools for the job to optimize the work-load and streamline our production pipelines and workflows. This allows us to produce content in modular blocks which is more efficient and allows us to reuse, thereby saving time.
So could everyone and their grandma make The Mandate for $500,000? Probably not. Can we? Hell yes we can."
Saturday - October 05, 2013
The Mandate - Update #2, The Empress, Composing and Feedback
In this update the developers of The Mandate want to talk about Anastasia Romanova, the future Empress of the Mandate, Lubica Cekovska, theurvery own composer, and also they address some feedback from the community.
We've said the game has 1500 years of rich lore. Now, much of this has been written. There have been many battles, many deaths, and many characters in the story thus far, but we can't give you all that information in one chunk (as much as some of you would love it!). Certain exposition bonuses are reserved for reward tiers, which is one reason why we can't give you the whole thing, but more importantly, we want to introduce you to the characters in our own time. This week, we're introducing The Empress herself, Anastasia Romanova.
From her own sub-domain, you'll be able to read her background today and follow her journey from young woman to Anastasia Romanova by the Grace of God Holder of the Mandate, Empress of the United Colonies, Captain-Queen of the Romanov, written by our lead writer, posted on Twitter. Anastasia's Twitter feed will offer you insight into the rise of The Mandate, and what came before it as well as the complex political world that you, the player, will enter.
Moving on, we would like to introduce our composer, Lubica Cekovska and her orchestra. Based on the fantastic feedback on our orchestral theme we've created a feature which introduces Lubica Cekovska. A theater and film composer, we're thrilled to have her aboard (and anyone who says otherwise is vented out of the nearest airlock!). Check out rehearsals and music here!
Friday - October 04, 2013
The Mandate - Update #1, Early Feedback
Perihelion Interactive has a new update for The Mandate saying thanks for the support, and going over some feedback.
Firstly, thank you to everyone who has pledged, and everyone who's taken the time to watch the trailer, read the page, and blow up their very own ship.
We've just reached $5000, which is astonishing given we launched today. Already, Rock Paper Shotgun have taken up the Tsarist cause in this article, and RPG Codex are eagerly placing their watchful eye on what we do with the RPG genre (no surprises there! Hi guys!).
This is a very early update where I'm just going to talk about today, and the next few days. We've spent the day writing a general FAQ which you read at the bottom of the Kickstarter page, which answers many of your questions. As we predicted, most of them are about DRM. Some confusion remains regarding whether or not Steam counts as DRM, but that's not a discussion for here. What we can say is that The Mandate will not have any added DRM on top of whatever you consider Steam DRM (the game being tied to your account). Of course, we'll be looking into GoG.com and other DRM free platforms to release on too, but that's really a discussion for another day. Rest assured, we aren't fans of cumbersome DRM, and we're not going to punish you with it. We sorta love you too much.
The next job is to better explain the game. It's a complex game, and it's a huge RPG. Yes, there are isometric gameplay elements. Yes, there's exploration, questing, and even the ability to walk around your own ship and role-play. Sure, it's coop, but it's also designed for old-school, single player gamers, too. There's a lot to mix and match, but here in the office, it's all coming together quite plainly. We're using the analogy: plenty of simple cogs creates a complex mechanism.
Thursday - October 03, 2013
RPGWatch Feature: - The Mandate What's It About?
Perihelion Interactive is the new kid on the block, staffed with developers who have worked for EA, Ubisoft, Funcom and 2K Games, on games such as; Assassin's Creed 1&2, Far Cry 2&3, Mafia 2, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and I. They have come together to create a new came mixing RPG and RTS elements in space named The Mandate.