Welcome back for the eleventh Astra Exodus dev diary! I am Atomic Kaiser, the designer behind the game. Today I am going to talk about troops, ground battles and planet bombardment.
There are several Troops types in Astra Exodus, each of them with specific characteristics that might make them more desirable in a specific location or situation. Some are better suited at defense, others excel in certain terrain types and/or to flank the enemy. There are 4 main types: Infantry, Armour, Mechs and Airborne.
Infantry and Armour are pretty self explanatory: the first category consists of armed humanoid beings and the second of heavy combat land vehicles, typically tracked but sometimes with hover capabilities. Mechs in turn are relatively large, bipedal combat crewed robots with great mobility on the battlefield. Last but not least, Airborne troops consist of atmospheric strike-craft capable of striking quick and hard anywhere on a planet.
Even if each troop in the game has a set type, each is different from all others, both visually and mechanically. Speaking of stats, besides the obvious Hit Points, there are Soft, Hard and Air attacks, plus Defense and Initiative. Each troop type is more vulnerable against at least one type of attack: the most obvious example of this are Airborne units, which are most vulnerable to Air Attacks. Defense works as a chance to prevent damage and can be improved through different techs for each troop type. Ground battles are fought with an active time system which works like a fractioned RTS. The Initiative of a troop indicates how often it can move or attack, so the higher the Initiative; the more mobile and deadly the troop can be.
Finally, troops of course need to move across the galaxy, and you will need Transports / Freighters for this (the same which are used for moving resources, as covered in a previous dev diary). Thus logistically it is very important to manage their availability, to ensure both the resource pooling and the unimpeded movement of your armies.
Once all orbital defenses of a Colony are destroyed, if the fleet carries troops for the task, a planetary invasion can commence. Invasions are the main part of ground battles, as you will always be either attacking or defending a colony. The maximum number of attacking troops allowed per invasion depends on the garrison size, which in turn depends on the size of the planet involved.
First a Set Up Phase starts, which can last up to 30 seconds (this depends on difficulty), where you need to place your troops across the surface of the planet, which is divided in hexes. This hexagonal territory might be composed of land or some liquid like lava or water. Only Airborne troops can be placed on non land based hexagonal territories. The player can also use an Autodeploy function, that will automatically deploy the available troops.
Once both the player and AI deploy their troops, the proper Battle Phase will commence. On this phase, you order the troops to either move or assault any hexagonal territory. You can only do this once the troop’s Initiative bar has filled up and this, as explained in an earlier section depends on the troop’s stats. The side that is able to eliminate the opposing forces will win the battle.
A Fleet might choose to bomb the planet first or even after an invasion. In order to do this, it must have starships equipped with bombs and have enough ordnance stored to use them. It is important to point out though, that a fleet can only move, attack, bombard, invade, settle or build (depending on its abilities) once per turn.
There are many different bomb modules in the game, however they differ from each other not only in their strength and cost, but also in their efficiency versus troops, installations and populations. Some like the Xenophage Bomb, are ideal to destroy the population of a Colony, while a relatively more primitive Fusion Bomb is in contrast more useful against Installations and Troops. It all depends if you want to take the Colony with at least some infrastructure intact, or if you just want to remove the enemy from the planet.
Regardless of the case, the player must take into account the diplomatic ramifications of any planetary bombardment, as this will generate negative modifiers for all other factions in the galaxy. Only a historic rival of the victim faction will ignore such a clear case of attempted genocide in the galaxy.
We will be back next week on Monday 9th with a new dev diary on Diplomacy & Trade!