Zenith:Unknown development diary 2: Nope, no gameplay here either. What about there?

Pornstache Productions
3 min readApr 6, 2016

TL;DR changes I talked about in my first dev diary did not produce expected results. New approach adopted.

The concept of having resource-based sector functionality seemed so appropriate and logical on paper, I immediately rolled up my sleeves…

… and rushed headlong into the odious task of creating math equation matrix for the total production and consumption of megawatts and exaflops:

And it was all so glorious until I came down to the board and tried to play the game with this new concept. It was then when I realized once more this can’t and won’t work. For many reasons I missed once again at concept level and had to go all the way through to find out.

Slightly discouraged by the fact, but not at all broken-hearted, I decided the idea of having resources is still viable and I need to utilize it somehow, just this time without any calculations involved. It needed to be clear at the first sight. Problem was the proper new path to take did not manifest to me for some time and I eventually went “Okay, screw it, I will get back to it whenever I clear this out”, because I know pushing stuff hard just to make it work usually does not end well for me. More like never.

And so it happened couple of weeks later I was eating my breakfast, totally careless about the game, when it struck me:

I had to combine both resources and crew members as factors in sector functionality and core game mechanics, but this time without any calculations and math and whatever else crap may cross my overly complicating mind. Everything needs to be plain, self-explanatory and obvious this time.

I admit I could have possibly come up with this much earlier, yet sometimes things aren’t as apparent to us as we like. Besides, I don’t have a deadline or expectations to meet. My attitude towards this project is still completely Duke Nukem Forever-ish:

When it’s done.

And before you start huffing and puffing, here is what I changed.

First of all I fell back to the concept that the number of crew members in each sector will determine its state. It feels much more logical when you are doing a board game. Basing it on resource numbers would have been viable if it was a PC game and once again I got fooled by my legacy.

Therefore core and mainframe output will no longer be measured in numbers. In fact, there will be no output measure per se. These sectors will follow the logic of the others — crew members will determine their state, however with a new twist that kind of replaces output numbers.

Ship sectors are now divided into two circuits— energy and data dependent, whereas core and mainframe states determine each circuit efficiency.

Reinforced sector state is removed from the game. To be honest, I was struggling to find usage for it in half the sectors, so I figured it’s better to remove it rather than trying to come up with unwanted gameplay complexity just to make it work (somehow).

Instead, the partial state is now divided into two possible sub-states which are up to the player to choose. Each sector now has Energy priority and Data priority mode when in partial state. These will let player operate sectors with limited personnel in a more flexible manner and up to their momentary needs, often offsetting crew deficiencies just by playing it smart.

The way I see it, I finally have a proper working concept. On to testing.

a proper sci-fi board game



Pornstache Productions

Solo-dev-obscene-mothefucker-one-man-army. Creator of Deep Space Noir adventure game, Zenith:Unknown board game and a metric shitton of popular media.