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February Fading Suns Design Diary & Town Criers Report

The new Fading Suns design diary is up, folks — complete with a link to a new Town Criers Guild report. Check it out here:

Fading Suns RPG Designer Diaries

Hey, in case you’ve missed them, Ulisses is running monthly designer diaries for the relaunch of the Fading Suns RPG. Check them out here:, and then check out the Ulisses forums for ongoing discussion among the fan community. And then come back here for Andrew’s updates on the Fading Suns Noble Armada computer game!

Kickstarting the Suns

Developer Diary 3

Using the FSNA Campaign Editor

We are debating running a Kickstarter for Fading Suns: Noble Armada. While we self-funded the game (read: I worked on it in my spare time rather than pay myself), there are a few things that would benefit from funding. These include:

  1. Hiring a programmer to port it to other platforms (right now it is only set for PC).
  2. Hiring an artist to make any necessary UI adjustments for those platforms.
  3. Developing and testing a campaign editor that is usable by anyone, and not just the game developers.
  4. Hiring both a programmer and artist to implement more spaceships and factions.

There are other things we could do with more financing, but those are the main ones. The main goal of the Kickstarter would be to finance those ports, so the game is playable on other platforms. That probably would not require much money. I am thinking it would run around $3,000. The secondary goal would be to create a user-friendly campaign editor, so players can create and share their own campaigns. You can follow me on Kickstarter as HDIAndrew,

What do you think of Kickstarter campaigns? Is this something you might support?

FSNA Developer Diary 2

by Andrew Greenberg

Holistic Design Inc. first released the Fading Suns universe in the role playing game of the same name (Check out Ulisses Spiele’s plans for the tabletop game). Emperor of the Fading Suns was our first computer game set in the universe. A few years later we began work on the Noble Armada computer game, to be published by Panasonic Interactive Media.

Designed as a mix of RPG and strategy game, Noble Armada had a single-player storyline designed for at least 40 hours of game time. Players would build a massive fleet, enjoy a multiplayer mode, undertake quests, sell and trade as part of a robust economy, and much more.

Start screen for original Noble Armada computer game

Unfortunately, Panasonic Interactive proved a short-lived venture, as was the next publisher to whom we took the game. We shelved the computer game and instead released the Noble Armada miniatures game.

Fast forward more than a decade, when I met Chris Carson as he developed Vincere Totus Astrum. While we had no publisher to fund development on a new Noble Armada game, he was helping improve the Fusion engine. We discussed a much less ambitious project, one that focused on recreating the miniatures game.

For this we focused on the movement and combat engines rather than an epic campaign. Rather than 40+ hours of game play, we envisioned five-minute play experiences that could occur on PC or mobile devices.

We still wanted story and fleet building, but not nearly on the scale of the other game. Now FSNA follows a quick story arc, with some fun ways to modify a ship, and a focus on quick thinking and good tactics.

I have always been delighted by the Venn diagram that is the Fading Suns community. Some prefer roleplaying, some strategy games, some live action, some the fiction, but there is a wonderful overlap between them. Do multiple aspects of the Fading Suns universe appeal to you?

Andrew’s Noble Armada Developer Diary

Live FSNA Playtest

It’s always scary to debut your game to new eyes. We want the feedback and criticism, yet are afraid of it at the same time. What if there really is a bug?

Time to turn on the anti-negativity shields, don the rose-colored spectacles, and rush into the fray … or at least turn the game over to testers. On Nov. 14, the Georgia Game Developers Association hosted a playtest of games made by its members. Attendees got to try out Brush Up, Elemensional Rift, Super Seducer … and Fading Suns: Noble Armada.

You can check out our demo of the game here:

We got some great feedback. While we feel our UI is intuitive, we know it is not the industry standard. In most RTS games, you select a unit, select a space on the board, and your unit moves there. Select an enemy unit, and yours attacks it.

In FSNA, however, our movement system precludes this. The delicate dance of thrust and counter thrust is integral to the miniatures game, and we have recreated it here. That means players have to carefully control their facing and momentum. Simply selecting and moving would be easier, but lose what we feel is fun about the game.

Every player first tried the traditional RTS movement/attack interface. Testing showed us that we need a good tutorial to explain how it works in FSNA, but also that players liked ours once they understood it. Now we need to determine if that learning curve is too steep …