Author Archives: Chris

Legends of Amberland II platforms and date decided

The next instalment of the Amberland series comes to Steam, GOG and Nintendo Switch in 2023!

In the last month I was signing papers, negotiating, discussing schedules and planning stuff. So, here it is, the release plan of Legends of Amberland II: The Song of Trees.

– The game comes to Steam (PC). Store link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2110840/Legends_of_Amberland_II_The_Song_of_Trees/
– The game comes to GOG (PC). Store link: https://www.gog.com/game/legends_of_amberland_ii_the_song_of_trees
– The game is basically guaranteed to come to Nintendo Switch (console). I have signed the letter of intent with Pineapple Works, the guys behind the excellent port of the prequel, to port and publish the game on Nintendo Switch. So, based on my prior experience with them, I would say there will be no problems.
– The game might be ported to other consoles as well. It’s being examined if it’s feasible technically and financially, so maybe. In case the game were to be ported to additional consoles it would be done after the release.

The planned date of the release is 2023. It’s not decided yet if this will be a simultaneous launch on all platforms or maybe PC version would be done first. Not sure yet. Similarly, it’s not decided yet to which languages the game will be localized yet (but English, German and French localizations are guaranteed) and if the localization will be ready upon release or as a patch later. Still, all of those (Steam, GOG, Nintendo Switch in at least 3 languages) are planned to be concluded by the end of 2023.

If you want to know more, here is the presskit.

Dropping support for Windows 8 and 8.1

Windows 8 and 8.1 is no longer officially supported (all games)

Historically, most technical problems reported were related to Win 8/8.1. By this I mean like more than 50% reports total among all games, ever reported. I would say, it’s the most troublesome system ever released. In addition a very minuscule number of people use it nowadays, and even those who do, seem to have a second OS on another machine anyway. Which also means, I have harder and harder time to find testers to test it on that machine. The last thing is, I use various third party software for the engine and, well, let’s say that the maintainers of this software do not treat Win 8/8.1 support as a priority. All this combined lead me to decide it’s time to stop supporting this OS.

Note that Windows XP is still supported (at least for now).

Currently supported:
Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows XP.
Linux (flawless emulation on Linux via any compatibility layer, especially Proton, regularly tested).
Mac (unconfirmed, but I got reports it runs without problems on M1 Mac via emulation).

Stellar Monarch 2 version 1.11

Version 1.11 released

This version is intended to address various points raised in the “What do you find confusing” forum topic. While I tried to explain various concepts, I got a few times an idea how to better implement the thing that was confusing. For example governors’ statistics were adjusted heavily (instead of an unintuitive security rating boost now competence of governors simply adds a bonus to cities output and infrastructure points generation). There are now more descriptive tooltips and extended manual with more details. In addition, several changes were made which were at the border between a feature and a fix (mostly related to aliens). The last thing is an improvement of the interface, mostly aimed at better visibility on high resolutions (bigger fonts and dynamic sized fonts where possible). Overall, there is a bunch of changes but all those are very intuitive.

– [feature] Mechatrons implemented (can activate at an unspecified turn).

– [misc] Updated in-game help (added Rebellion chapter and listed all effects of all statistics of personnel).
– [misc] Arachnians will no longer wake up if their homeworld is lost, they will also instantly hibernate in such case.
– [misc] CyberMarch will become inactive (no more offensive operations) if their capital is lost.
– [misc] Governor’s Competence grants a bonus to cities output and infrastructure points generation. Governor’s Competence no longer affects Security rating of the planet.
– [misc] Fleets Loyalty affects SpecOps during rebellion.

– [balance] Extra defenses for CyberMarch near their capital. Also increased their power.

– [interface] Help improved (back buttons on all pages, bigger default font size).
– [interface] Ministry expansion naming unified (in some tooltips it was called level, in some called expansion and in some extension). Also added a better explanation that it increases effective Competence of the minister.
– [interface] Improved Aliens overview (list peace/war status, bigger fonts, more colors, etc).
– [interface] Bigger font size on Aliens description screen (will auto shrink to a smaller one if does not fit on the screen).
– [interface] Bigger font size on aliens portrait name (will auto shrink to a smaller one if does not fit).
– [interface] Bigger font size on Resources and Astronomy minimap planet highlight.
– [interface] Governor’s tooltip lists all effects of all statistics.

– [fix] Charisma of governors had no effect whatsoever. Now it’s added properly as a source of happiness from government. For clarity, the happiness from government on the happiness tooltip was split into two sources, one for Court and one for Governors.
– [fix] CyberMarch marking all planets as ready for conquest after losing their capital.
– [fix] Incorrect display of research points from blue sun on the Astronomy minimap tooltip.

Stellar Monarch 2 version 1.10

Version 1.10 released

This version is intended to address the early v1.00 feedback, mostly related to things which are confusing when playing the first time and some minor features. In addition AI was fine-tuned and it contains one fix which altogether will make Admirals and Imperial High Command react to your orders better. There was also reset modernizations button added.

– [feature] Reset modernizations option (on ships screen) to let experiment freely with ships setup.

– [misc] Emergency reinforcements for planets under invasion made a higher priority than conquest/retake lost planet orders.
– [misc] Improved Admirals & High Command AI to better prioritize targets.

– [interface] Made granting honorary titles more intuitive (now all noble born have “Grant honorary title” button, but greyed out if ineligible, also with a tooltip explaining who and why).
– [interface] Rename noble house option (on houses screen).
– [interface] Help supports colored “bold” text.

– [fix] Admirals AI not sending emergency reinforcements to planets under ground invasion.
– [fix] Small spelling fixes.

Reminders
You can follow my Steam Developer Page if you wish to be notified each time a new game or expansions is being released.

Also, if you have a moment to leave a Steam review of the game it would be appreciated. It makes a big difference to an indie developer like me. Thanks!

Stellar Monarch 2 version 1.00

Version 1.00 released

Finally, the day has come. The final version 1.00 is out! It does not mean the development has ended, but from now on the focus will be different. No more experimental drastic changes and crazy ideas, but more polish, balance adjustments, interface improvements and so on. This version has very few changes compared to the v0.90 since almost no bugs were reported in the meantime.

I would like to thank the early access community, all the people who provided comments, saves, bug reports, etc. It was a pleasure making this game with you all! Thanks!

– [feature] In-game manual (replacing the old encyclopedia).

– [balance] Event with 10’000 administrative points cost adjusted to make it cost less.

– [fix] Rare Absolute Monarchy bug not removing “red” agendas when those triggered the same turn the Absolute Monarchy went into effect.

Compatibility note: All savefiles from Early Access are incompatible with the full release version. Note that all E.A. beta branches will stay for around a month to let you finish any potential game in progress and then those E.A. betas will be deleted. From this point on saves compatibility is considered a high priority and it’s very likely those will never change.

Stellar Monarch 2 version 0.90

Version 0.90 released

The long, long adventure of Early Access is coming to an end. Unless something drastic happens this will be the last Early Access version. This version focus was on finishing various unfinished parts, redesign of planetary orders, redesign of strategic weapons and command and control redesign. Overall, a lot of smaller but interesting tweaks were introduced.

Early Access is planned to conclude at the beginning of the next month with release of v1.00. This, of course, does not mean the end of the development. It’s more like from now on the priority would be on content, balance and interface improvements rather than addition of major features and experimenting with what would be most fun. Just like with my previous games.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all participants of the Early Access adventure. For all the posts, feedback, sending me saves, testing, etc. It was a pleasure!

– [feature] Planetary orders redesign. No more “Conquest” orders, now you just “Claim” the planet and the military will do the rest. With additional prioritization options, withdrawal orders, etc.
– [feature] Strategic weapons redesign (chemical and biological weapons merged into bio-chemical weapons, heavy radiation effect reduced, no need for orbit control to drop bombs now just space forces presence suffices, made strategic weapons cheaper). Overall, those are now less potent but can be used in many more situations.
– [feature] Encyclopedia (basic but functional, contains essential information and beginner tips).
– [feature] New event “Absolute Monarchy” triggered at Centralization 11 which adjusts some game rules (Votes counting procedure, Reasonable political agendas, Fiefs supervision). You will be presented an option to take those or not.

– [remove] Removed context help, instead Encyclopedia is used (hotkey “H”).

– [misc] New effect for Centralization, now it decreases slightly Opinion of noble houses.
– [misc] Authority and Monarchism can never fall below 1 (to avoid negative voting power and other strange side effects).
– [misc] Glorious achievement “Crush rebellion at least once” and “No rebel worlds” replaced with “Never let any rebellion to happen” and “Do not let rebellion to happen more than once” (in order to reward preventing the rebellion in the first place).
– [misc] Final score now also takes Centralization into account (not that anyone actually cares about score).
– [misc] Redesigned Command & Control (max active squadrons). Now houses provide squadrons command directly to their fleets and Border Guard and Strategic Reserves use separate Commands with separate pool of C&C. This makes it a bit more complex but more intuitive and easier to explain.

– [balance] Adjusted honorary titles generation chance to make the higher titles more likely to be generated.
– [balance] AI technological level now have a cap (useful for very long games at high difficulty levels).

– [content] All science perks implemented.
– [content] Added 3 new glorious achievements related to noble houses.
– [content] Additional mid and late game events.

– [interface] Military section of planet screen redesigned.
– [interface] Combat starmap markers redesigned.
– [interface] Improved crew skill tooltip to make it more intuitive.

– [fix] Various small fixes.

Compatibility note: NO CHANGE, this version works with v0.84+ savefiles (note that each time a savefile compatibility is broken a new Beta branch with the old version is created so you can always finish your game in progress).

Stellar Monarch 2 version 0.84

Version 0.84 released

Finally, the game is feature complete. Every mechanic that was meant to be implemented before v1.00 is there. It does not mean that there won’t be new mechanics in future, but those would be done as regular updates after full release, if needed. Although I would rather resist making completely new mechanics after this point and rather focus on content, balance and possible tweaks of existing mechanics (for example secrets could use a redesign). There is still a bit of content still missing (like science perks) but overall it’s quite similar to what there will be in v1.00.

If everything goes according to plan there will be also v0.90 version and after that the full release somewhere next month.

– [feature] New game dynasty customization (house name, crest and color).
– [feature] All diplomatic stances implemented (some were removed in order to simplify).

– [misc] Experimental feature (needs to be enabled via options): ethnic customization (for now it supports only commoners).

– [balance] Rebalanced technologies levels.
– [balance] Rebel points generation rebalanced (to make rebellion more likely to happen).
– [balance] If rebellion was crushed at least once all future rebellions require double number of rebel points to prepare.
– [balance] Starting at difficulty 6+ additional rebel points are generated per turn, also difficulty affects rebel suppression points.

– [content] Most science perks implemented (all except two).
– [content] Additional technologies (usually two per tier).

– [interface] Assured that ships stats and squadron statistics always fit on the screen (auto resize fonts if needed, etc).
– [interface] Many tiny interface tweaks and improvements.

Compatibility note: INCOMPATIBLE, this version will not work with old saves (note that each time a savefile compatibility is broken a new Beta branch with the old version is created so you can always finish your game in progress).

Stellar Monarch 2 version 0.83

Version 0.83 released

Another step on the quest to the feature complete version. We are almost there. Civilized races can declare war or ask for peace, scenarios enabled, etc. The big change is redesign of planetary infrastructure, which now makes infrastructure points quite valuable and useful even at the late game. A lot of changes aimed at rebalancing the game on a more fundamental level (like no more free Opinion of noble houses from taxes, tools to fight off bureaucracy via courtiers traits, etc). Note that due to mechanics redesign this version might have wrecked the existing balance and it most likely will need to be readjusted in the next version. Same for civilized races which might declare wars quite chaotically since it’s the first version which introduced this feature for them.

As usual, I count on your comments and feedback on Steam forums or Discord.

– [feature] Game Scenarios (Conqueror of Stars and Unifier of the Empire) for people to control if they prefer to focus on external or internal threats.
– [feature] Planetary development level and infrastructure redesigned. Now infrastructure of a certain level is constructed using infrastructure points (maximum level can be increased by researching infrastructure technologies). Infrastructure is then used to calculate planetary development level. Strategic weapons and xenos devastate infrastructure instead of development level. This change made infrastructure points relevant through the whole game (since you will be gradually unlocking new infrastructure levels which need to be constructed) and therefore made infrastructure bonuses/penalties from tax/budget quite important.
– [feature] Civilized races declare war/ask for peace.

– [remove] Removed Public Works since it made no sense with the new infrastructure system (plus, I never liked it in the first place).

– [balance] Slightly fewer sources of rare resources.
– [balance] Tax effects flattened slightly (lower tax giving decent income), also overall base tax increased.
– [balance] Tax effects rescaled, now “Low” is considered neutral and “Average” starts to give penalties.
– [balance] Aristocracy Tax effect on opinion adjusted, now it is a “percent chance of Opinion -1” (so it has a much smaller impact and can not be used to improve opinion anymore). Previous numbers very way too high here so using anything below Very low was unsustainable.
– [balance] Totally changed how infrastructure points are being generated (flattened greatly, now huge population does give a boost but is not enough, so tax setting affecting infrastructure points is important).
– [balance] Trait: Professional bureaucrat impact increased drastically, also made the trait more common (to give you more tools to fight off bureaucracy upkeep).
– [balance] Banquet cost is now based on the average income of noble houses.
– [balance] Noble Houses impact on legislation points gain (positive and negative) halved.
– [balance] Laws cost is no longer affected by in which row the law is (all laws now have the same cost, increased only by the number of laws passed and not by their position).

– [content] Additional technologies to unlock maximum infrastructure levels (8 technologies total).

– [fix] Rare resources availability was not cleared between games (so if you started a new game several times you could have extreme rare resources abundance).
– [fix] Fixed slightly incorrect taxes display.
– [fix] Rebel points gain using illogical modifiers when rebel points are negative (now modifiers get reversed in such situation to make it work as intended. Note it still displays the usual non reversed % values in a tooltip for simplicity).

Compatibility note: NO CHANGE, this version works with v0.80+ savefiles (note that each time a savefile compatibility is broken a new Beta branch with the old version is created so you can always finish your game in progress).

Stellar Monarch 2 version 0.82

Version 0.82 released

This version is one big rebalance. Overall, now economy is easier to handle at the beginning and more tricky later. When you load an old save with a well established Empire expect to immediately adjust your finances (bankruptcy danger). The overall goal was to get rid of mid-late game excess money and manufacturing. There is also a new feature some of you requested a lot. Now you can give a directive to the Imperial High Command to retake lost planets. This is done by marking a planet as claimed by the Empire. In addition more forces were allocated to strategic reserves, which combined with shipyards output rebalance, makes the imperial forces being utilized at a much higher pace. The last thing is experimental orders priority which let you control which planets should be conquered first.

– [feature] Claim/Unclaim planet button on planet screen. It marks the planet as target for auto conquest/reconquest/outpost construction. It can be set/unset manually or automatically (if such directive is given to the Imperial High Command). Withdraw order overrides claims. Claims on non owned planets are shown on the starmap (similarly to orders).
– [feature] Experimental feature (first needs to be enabled via Options) High Priority conquest order. It allows you to control which planets should be conquered first. Note that it does not fit well with interface (that’s why it’s marked as experimental feature), so if you have ideas how to rearrange that part of UI let me know.

– [balance] Homeworld gets +100% to cities output for being Capital of the Empire and additional +30 max cities.
– [balance] Salaries doubled.
– [balance] Trade value halved.
– [balance] Bureaucracy upkeep adjusted.
– [balance] Taxable economy points are now non linear (which means relatively higher taxes per economy point when fewer economy points but still it’s better to have more economy points). Also increased base taxes.
– [balance] Shipyards output is now non linear (effective manufacturing output being lower than nominal value). Made to reduce massive stockpiles of squadrons in storage for very economically potent Empires.
– [balance] Forces allocation percentages adjusted (more forces allocated for strategic reserves at the expense of fleets forces).
– [balance] Space combat made faster (especially vs weaker enemy).

– [misc] Noble fiefs income simplified (now just a % of total economy, not just from core worlds). It’s a minor thing, intended more to make it simpler to explain, since most economy comes from core planets anyway.
– [misc] “Bureaucracy” renamed to “Bureaucracy upkeep” for clarity.
– [misc] “Squadrons in reserve” renamed to “Squadrons in storage” to make it more distinctive from strategic reserves.

– [fix] Missing level 8 electronics technology on Total Control ruleset.

Compatibility note: NO CHANGE, this version works with v0.80+ savefiles (note that each time a savefile compatibility is broken a new Beta branch with the old version is created so you can always finish your game in progress).