Emperor of the Fading Suns Timeline

We released a free demo of Emperor of the Fading Suns Enhanced on Steam and GOG (please wishlist us on Steam and it generated a number of questions. I posted this timeline in hopes of clearing up some of the confusion.

1997: HDI released the original Emperor of the Fading Suns (EFS) 4x game, part of the Fading Suns universe. You can still get a patched version of that original strategy game on GOG.

2022: Working with a team of modders, HDI released Emperor of the Fading Suns Enhanced (EFSe), a revised version of the original game with hundreds of changes. This is actually available today as a Deal of the Day on GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/emperor_of_the_fading_suns

2022-2023: We continued working on the Enhanced version, and released some more patches that focused on improving the modding tools while also making fixes players had requested.

2024: We began working on a version that would work on Steam and with the Steam APIs.

April 19, 2024: We released a demo for the Enhanced version on Steam and GOG. This demo does not include any special Steam functionality.

Now: We are still working on the Steam version, and plan to incorporate any changes we make for that one into the GOG version. There are a number of great mods like Emperor Wars available for the game, and the modding tools are included with the paid versions of the game.

If you want to see the original changelog between the patched version of the original game and the first Enhanced version, that is here: https://items.gog.com/emperor_of_the_fading_suns/emperor_of_the_fading_suns_changelog.pdf

What Gaming Achievements Do You Like?

Gaming Achievements

The main point of this post is for me to ask you, “What gaming achievements do you like?” Feel free to skip the rest of this blog and just put your comments down below.

Even before video games tracked achievements for us, we often devised our own, unofficial ones. Win Space Invaders after shooting up all your defensive structures. Avoid activating any huts in Civilization. Keep Dogmeat alive all the way through Fallout 1.

The success of achievements on Steam has now made the concept ubiquitous in video games, and you can find them in tabletop games. I even know RPG GMs who come up with their own achievements for players who do something in especially spectacular fashion. This is one of the reasons games like the current edition of Fading Suns give players rewards when their characters do something especially cool or move the story forward on their own initiative.

Proponents of gamification point to achievements as one way to drive user behavior the developers want to see. In video games, achievements primarily stimulate replayability. In other apps, they might reward social interaction between members of a team, employees to comment on corporate wikis, encourage fitness app users to reach new health milestones, and so on.

Achievements also have a competitive aspect. Many players like to be the first to unlock or discover achievements, and there are entire web sites devoted to recognizing people who have unlocked all the achievements in certain games. 

However, I have never seen a list of what kinds of achievements players prefer. As a designer, I want them to try playing my games in the way I consider fun, which is why I give achievements for winning the game, and then more achievements for winning multiple times. I also want them to try different aspects of the game, which is why I give achievements for winning in different ways or as a different faction. I also want them to play my games in nontraditional ways, so they even get rewards for losing or trying paths that do not clearly lead to victory.

There are certainly achievements that have left me shaking my head. I remember earning an achievement in Tabletop Simulator for having played my first hour without flipping the table – something which I had no interest in doing and which I still have not done.

So, I ask again, what kind of achievements in games do you like?

Here are the achievements we included in Noble Armada: Lost Worlds:

  1. Knight – Win one mission (other than tutorial)
  2. Baronett – WIn three unique missions (other than tutorial)
  3. Baroness/Baron – Win eight unique missions (other than tutorial)
  4. Earl – Win 15 unique missions (other than tutorial)
  5. Countess/Count – Win 25 unique missions (other than tutorial)
  6. Duchess/Duke – Win 50 unique missions (other than tutorial)
  7. Lion Rampant – Win 10 unique missions as Hawkwood
  8. Mantis Warrior – Win 10 unique missions as Decados
  9. Defender of the Faith – Win 10 unique missions as Li Halan
  10. Tahir’s Path – Win 10 unique missions as al-Malik
  11. Estancia – Win 10 unique missions as Hazat
  12. Inquisitor – Win 10 unique missions as Church
  13. Skirmisher – Win 3 skirmishes
  14. Pious – Win the Church Campaign
  15. Conqueror – Succeed in Seize Station Mode
  16. Bold – Engage four enemy ships with just one Explorer in Skirmish mode
  17. Mammonist – Win a mission with more than 3000 firebirds
  18. Impetuous – Win a mission with exactly 0 firebirds left
  19. Varlet – Lost one mission (other than tutorial)
  20. Neer-do-well – Lost three missions (other than tutorial)
  21. Blackguard – Lose 25 missions
  22. Delusional – Lost a skirmish with one Explorer against four enemy ships
  23. Possessive – Own 10 weapons not assigned to ships
  24. Grease Monkey – have four ships and all four crews at full experience
  25. Drill Master – have four ships and all four marines at full experience
  26. Unyielding – Kill 10 ships in one session of Onslaught Mode
  27. Boarder – Capture five enemy ships by boarding
  28. Marksman – Destroy 10 enemy ships at range

Game Dev in DeKalb

I had a lot of fun talking with James Tsismanakis of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau about Dragoncon, AI, and game dev in the county. I hope you have fun listening to it. In addition, at noon Saturday I will be talking about game dev to the Infinite Realities Kids Club. Come out and check out one of DeKalb’s great comic and game stores.

Dragoncon2023 Schedule

The AI have taken over Dragoncon!

Title: Video Games in 2023 – A Discussion
Description: Our panel of pundits will share their opinions on some of the big topics in video games over the last year.
Panelists: Mike Capps, Andrew Greenberg
Time: Fri 10:00 am
Location: Augusta A-B Westin (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: ChatGPT: This Changes Everything?
Description: The advance of Artificial Intelligence and Large Language Models suddenly seems like both a great opportunity for and a great threat to the way that we work today. Are concerns overblown, or is preemptive regulation warranted?
Panelists: Andrew Greenberg, Tiago Balgan Henriques, Meredith Filak Rose, James Nettles, Bill Budington, Amie Stepanovich
Time: Fri 01:00 pm
Location: 313-314 Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Accessibility for People with Disabilities in VR and Virtual Worlds
Description: Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality worlds can be freeing for those with disabilities and other restrictions, but they also can present unique challenges. What accommodations need to be made in virtual worlds, and what is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Panelists: Amie Stepanovich, Andrew Greenberg
Time: Fri 05:30 pm
Location: 313-314 Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Social Media Marketing for Entrepreneurs, Authors, and Content Creators
Description: Tips, tricks, and advice for entrepreneurs, authors, and independent content creators to navigate Twitter, Threads, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. We will take a brief look at the various platforms for project promotion, and examine the common themes for maximizing engagement.
Panelists: James Nettles, Gail Z. Martin, Andrew Greenberg
Time: Sat 11:30 am
Location: 313-314 Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: A.I. and What it Means for Writers
Description: Hearing a lot about the “takeover” of A. I.? Let’s dispel some of the myths–and confirm some of the truths.
Panelists: Anthony Francis, Rich Gatz, Andrew Greenberg, Amie Stepanovich, D.J. Bodden, Phillip Pournelle
Time: Sun 11:30 am
Location: Embassy EF Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Starting Your Own Game Studio
Description: Sit down with Andrew Greenberg (Executive Director at the Georgia Game Developers Association) to hear what he has to say about starting your own game studio. Includes Q&A.
Panelists: Andrew Greenberg ([[mem]]Andrew Greenberg)
Time: Sun 01:00 pm
Location: Augusta A-B Westin (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: Using LLM’s and Generative AI’s for Gaming and Creative Works
Description: Far from being a threat, Large Language Models and Generative AI can be a new wellspring of creative output if used reasonably and responsibly. How can these new tools be used to create value, and what safeguards need to be in place?
Panelists: James Nettles, James Ashley, Andrew Greenberg, Michelle Davis
Time: Sun 08:30 pm
Location: 313-314 Hilton (Length: 1 Hour)