This week we will be discussing custom species creation. Certainly this is an area in which many games follow a similar pattern of game design - a path that Lord of Rigel will also follow. While this may be a letdown for some, we hope players understand that custom species are difficult to implement and given that Lord of Rigel is an indie game, certain features would eat up too much time and resources for something that is really an add-on to the core game. But we haven't forgotten about some of the better custom species ideas such as a 3D character designer. This is something we are looking into for an expansion or sequel.
Let's dive into what Lord of Rigel does for custom species. Players can expect to see a large variety of traits such as population growth or whether their species starts with no homeworld but a small fleet. Many of the traits will be the same old friends of past strategy games. Players can create custom names for their species and leader and can give their representative a custom title. Flag icons and primary/secondary colors can be customized for custom species and for standard ones.
The custom species menu is pretty straight forward. Players will select one of the 10 playable species in Lord of Rigel and use that as a template for their custom species. Players will then be presented with a large custom traits menu that includes the number of traits points, the score percentage modifier and a seed code for the custom species.
The 10 playable species in Lord of Rigel are designed to utilize 10 points for positive modifiers. As you can see from the above picture, the humans have two positive modifiers (democracy and charisma) totaling 10 points. However, some species have modifiers that are negative (for instance that -75% population growth), thus giving them additional points that go toward positive traits. Players utilize this same concept when creating a custom species, choosing positive and negative traits that together add up to 10.
However, unlike the default species settings, the player is not confined to those 10 points. Players can give themselves an "edge" by utilizing more than the 10 points (thus having a negative in the "Picks" field) or they can create a bigger challenge by leaving some points on the table. Using more or less than the 10 points impacts the score percentage.
What is the score percentage, you ask? Like many classic games, Lord of Rigel will have player scores for each game played. At the end of each game, the player's score will be determined by a number of factors such as (but not limited to) difficulty, galaxy size, and conquered population size. The number of trait points used in customizing a species also influences the final player score. Using less than the 10 points results in the score percent being higher than 100%, giving the player's final score a boost. Using more than the 10 points results in the score percent being lower than 100%, reducing the player's final score. The point of this is to acknowledge that not all victories and custom species are equal, especially when you have a species that is using more than the basic trait point other species are.
Overall the custom species system, while fairly standard, provides a few new features for players to try out including some interesting species traits and more customizable information. Players can also use this mode to challenge themselves with species that are easier to play, but will lose out on a higher score.
Join us next week when we discuss the espionage system!