Gameplay Features

What makes gr4Xity different from traditional space-themed strategy games?

This initial list is incomplete and will be expanded as designs and gameplay prototypes come together. A goal is to accompany each feature with one or more dev blogs.

The Game Is in the Name

Physics Simulation

Economic Simulation

Space Is the Interface

  • Hex Grid in isometric 2.5D perspective. Each hexagonal “tile” on the 2D map represents a 3D cube of space–some with star systems. Inspired by Q*bert (1982), which also used gravity as a gameplay mechanic.
  • Vector Graphics. So retro, it’s almost futuristic! Minimalist visuals accentuate the stark emptiness of space and loneliness of time. Animations clearly highlight where attention is due.

Manageable Management

Instead of role-playing some immortal and omniscient leader, micromanaging the social dynamics of a dynasty, or lampshading the whole thing, in gr4Xity you and the passengers and crew of your Arkship age more slowly than the planet-bound due to the relativistic effects of space travel. Over many jumps, you can observe thousands of years of intergalactic development within your lifetime–in campaigns that play over hours instead of days or weeks.

As a Lord of Light, your vast power is limited by the speed of light itself. You can only be in one place at a time, so choose your moments wisely!

  • You only directly control one ship or govern one star system at a time.
  • Issue orders for coordinated action, but communication takes time.
  • Information about the galaxy is limited to your perspective in space and time.

Deep Diplomacy

Robust diplomatic tools are critical not just for interfacing with other factions. In gr4Xity, diplomacy is used to influence the independent Arkship captains, colonial governors, and outpost commanders of your own empire. Diplomacy is conducted via minigames drawn from strategic game theory.

  • Make and enforce alliances and mutual defense pacts.
  • Trade resources, currencies, information, and technology.
  • Arrange migration of distinct groups of colonists.
  • Influence others’ operational priorities.
  • Threaten, bribe, bluff, or lie–but be prepared to face consequences!

Sandbox Economic Growth & Warfare

Supply and demand are dynamically modeled not only for resources and trade goods, but also for savings and capital investment, faction currencies used to mediate trade and store value, and even diverse classes of human labor–derived from a powerful demographic model tied to the expansion of your empire.

  • Explore and expand your economy with logistic support in mind.
  • Exploit and manipulate interstellar interest rates and currency markets to grow your empire, sustain alliances, and destabilize your rivals.
  • Apply tariffs, subsidies, capital controls, trade pacts, currency unions, and other mechanisms in pursuit of your economic strategy.
  • Dump products below cost on foreign markets to attack your rivals’ manufacturing bases and cause social as well as economic instability.
  • Blockade and starve rival colonies into economic collapse and surrender.

Memorable Encounters

Opportunities for cooperation or conflict between players are identified and resolved by an encounter system that connects light RPG and story elements with other game mechanics.

  • gr4Xity is turn-based, but unlike a traditional 4X turns are played simultaneously rather that sequentially.
  • When plans intersect, the player with the highest initiative (determined by progression, circumstance, and luck) chooses the relevant diplomatic or combat minigame in-line with their goals.
  • Players make their moves simultaneously, so be sure to account for how you expect the other party to behave in the encounter.
  • Build a reputation and relationships over time. By the time you return to a planet, the governor you knew may have handed off a hereditary dynasty to child then grandchild–with tales of your last visit growing in the telling.

Cunning Artificial Intelligence

As most of the ships and star systems in the game are computer-controlled, competent AI that challenges and surprises the human player is crucial.

  • Agent-based reinforcement-learning techniques school AI systems in both cooperative and competitive gameplay.
  • Each faction’s AI is tuned and trained to its goals and unique mechanics.
  • Your faction’s AI is available via your ship’s computer–available as a tutorial or recommendation system, or turn on autopilot and sit back and watch.

Procedural Generation

gr4Xity makes extensive use of generative algorithms that combine rules, data, and randomness to manage game systems, create content, and give each playthrough unique character.

  • Customizable random galaxy generator.
  • Markov chain text generator initializes place and character names.
  • Evolutionary language model develops unique naming patterns on disparate planets separated by space and time, in response to how you expand.
  • Demography is destiny! Population dynamics feed your expansion and shape your culture over time.
  • Economic growth model driven by trade and capital investment.

Build the Future of an Alternate History

  • All players are human, starting at the same time in the same solar system.
  • Distinct factions pursue unique economic and social strategies.
  • Space is vast and silent–competition at home drives interstellar colonialism.