Digidiced

Digidiced Digidiced is a studio based in Berlin specialized in developing digital board games. We are a German studio based in Berlin that specializes in developing digital versions of well-known board game licenses.

The studio’s goal is to deliver high-quality apps of the board games we all know and love. All licensed games have cross-platform multiplayer and can be played on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms. The team includes: Felix Dreyfus, lord of the business stuff and game programmer extraordinaire; Simon Gratwohl, “arch tech wizard” and server architecture keeper; Alexander Ommer, social peacek

The studio’s goal is to deliver high-quality apps of the board games we all know and love. All licensed games have cross-platform multiplayer and can be played on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone platforms. The team includes: Felix Dreyfus, lord of the business stuff and game programmer extraordinaire; Simon Gratwohl, “arch tech wizard” and server architecture keeper; Alexander Ommer, social peacek

Wie gewohnt öffnen

Hello everybody! We are about to ignit our thrusters and bring our digitial version of Gaia Project to your mobile devic...
16/11/2021

Hello everybody! We are about to ignit our thrusters and bring our digitial version of Gaia Project to your mobile devices! On thursday the 18th we will hit playstore and appstore.
Follow this link to get more information on where to find the game and what is planned next.
https://digidiced.com/gaiaproject/

Hello everybody! We are about to ignit our thrusters and bring our digitial version of Gaia Project to your mobile devices! On thursday the 18th we will hit playstore and appstore.
Follow this link to get more information on where to find the game and what is planned next.
https://digidiced.com/gaiaproject/

For those who have an eye on Gaia Project the Steam Board Game Event on October 21-25 is a great opportunity to grab the...
06/10/2021

For those who have an eye on Gaia Project the Steam Board Game Event on October 21-25 is a great opportunity to grab the game. There are also new feature updates coming up as we have the chat lobby working in our intern test already. The mobile version of Gaia also leaves the beta soon!
Btw, for those who are interested into Viticulture... there are great news coming up for that game as well. We finished migrating the game to our new server to join Gaia Project. And we are having a redesign in progress. Stay tuned for more news...

For those who have an eye on Gaia Project the Steam Board Game Event on October 21-25 is a great opportunity to grab the game. There are also new feature updates coming up as we have the chat lobby working in our intern test already. The mobile version of Gaia also leaves the beta soon!
Btw, for those who are interested into Viticulture... there are great news coming up for that game as well. We finished migrating the game to our new server to join Gaia Project. And we are having a redesign in progress. Stay tuned for more news...

Hello dear DIGIDICED community. We have another project update for you and this time Frank Heeren asks Tysen Streib (our...
18/02/2021

Hello dear DIGIDICED community. We have another project update for you and this time Frank Heeren asks Tysen Streib (our AI/Logic Developer) a few questions. We accomplished the 2nd phase of our roadmap and also nearly have phase 3 done. We have the game running already on the new server and are preparing everything to have a start tester group snooping in already. :)
Cheers and happy reading, your DIGIDICED team.

Frank: Hello, Tysen. I’m glad we finally have a chance to talk. Can you tell me a bit about what your responsibilities are in Gaia Project?

Tysen: Sure. I’m in charge of creating all of the rules logic for playing the game, as well as designing all of the AI players. I’m also designing the challenges that we’re planning on including in the game and a new tournament feature.

Frank: Tell me a bit about how the AI works and how it’s coming along.

Tysen: Well… there isn’t an easy answer to give there. Gaia Project is one of the more complex games out there and creating a strong AI is not easy. I’m actually trying out two different methods simultaneously – a more traditional AI based on Monte Carlo methods and another one based on a neural network, like AlphaGo. So far the neural network one has not become strong enough to be better than the traditional AI, but I’m still trying out new things and it may still surprise me. I saw the same sort of difficulty when I tried to make a neural network for Terra Mystica. But I’ve learned a few things since then and trying out a couple of different tactics.
The Monte Carlo AI works by trying to simulate a lot of games as quickly as possible and seeing which moves turn out best. I add a couple bells and whistles on top of that, including some of my own strategic direction, but it’s still a challenge. One of the main difficulties is that Gaia Project is a game where it’s beneficial to come up with a long-term plan and AI’s aren’t that good at long-term plans. Planning the layout of federations is especially difficult. Human players can map out likely planets they will get and the best organization of their satellites. That’s really tough for an AI. The other difficulty is that the federation forming rules are so complicated that it eats up a lot of computational resources just to check if a federation is legal or not. When you’re trying to simulate thousands of games, each microsecond added to the computation of a federation brings the whole thing to a crawl.

Frank: That does sound like a challenge. So how well does it play now?

Tysen: I’m still working on it and improving it, but it’s about as good as someone who’s played a dozen games or so. It will be a very strong challenge for players learning the game, but naturally we’ll have easier versions for beginners to play against.

Frank: What about more experienced players?

Tysen: That’s where the challenges come in. We’re currently setting a series of fourteen challenges – one for each faction – where the map and opposition are predetermined and there’s a special goal to the game. So each game will require the player to not only win the game, but complete the additional objective as well. Some of the challenges are also going to break the rules of the game, add a unique twist, or introduce new technologies or actions. We’ll add difficulty levels to the challenges, probably by giving the AI a handicap of extra resources, just to give an extra challenge to those who want it. It will be similar to the official Automa levels where the more difficult levels give free stuff to the Automa.

Frank: Speaking of the Automa, is that going to be included in the game?
Tysen: We’re still deciding. Maybe. We know some players are looking for the official version to play against as a puzzle, even though we’ll have other “thinking” AI opponents as well.
We probably will have some kind of survey during the beta testing in order to see if the resonance would justify the investment.

Frank: You mentioned tournaments earlier. What do you have in mind there?

Tysen: We’re working on official tournament support within the app. Not everything is finalized, but we’ve got a vision for hosting official worldwide tournaments with potentially hundreds of players. We really want more engagement with our players, and we plan on hosting two or three tournaments a year. We’re thinking about creating a system where players can create their own smaller tournaments as well. The feature will be set on beta so Gaia Project will be also a testing ground to gather feedback as we plan to establish this as a feature throughout our entire portfolio.

Frank: This is a very interesting feature. What is coming up next?

Tysen: Currently Gaia is being linked to our new server structure and we prepare everything for a beta test. Next step will be to set up a test group on steam.

Frank: Awesome. Thanks for your time, Tysen.

Tysen: Sure thing.

Hello dear Gaia Project community. It is time for another project update. We accomplished the 1st phase of our roadmap a...
09/11/2020

Hello dear Gaia Project community. It is time for another project update. We accomplished the 1st phase of our roadmap and also tackled major parts of phase 2 already. This time Frank Heeren (Feuerland Verlag) and Colin Doemer (UI developer at DIGIDIDCED) will shed some light on our latest progress, providing you with a short dialogue. Enjoy the read!

Frank:
Hello Colin, I think we have not meet yet. Can you tell me about your responsibilities in this project?

Colin:
Hello Frank, yes sure. I am working as UI developer and I am responsible for the implementation of the User Interface. This starts with the visible aspects that start with transferring the UI concepts into the project, adding transitions and animations… which are followed by allocating SFX and ending with the connection with the game logic and server structure. As it is quite often the case in indie studios, my responsibilities do not end there. I am also involved in the conceptional work and finding workarounds for special gameplay issues. An essential work of mine is also bug fixing and stuff like that.

Frank:
Ok, concerning such a heavy weight board game it sounds like it is not a trivial task. Have you had a special challenge so far that was generating some headache? Or maybe a part that was especially enjoyable?

Colin:
I am sure that some difficult sections still lie ahead of us, for sure. For now, we focused on the new main menu features and the overhaul of our project architecture. Since we won´t have mobile ports for PC anymore, we adapted our project structure in order to supplement the parallel development of a PC UI and mobile device UI.

Frank:
I see, can you tell me what is new now in the main menu? And how will the PC UI differ from the mobile device UI?

Colin:
DIGIDICED initially started as a studio that specialized in digitizing board games into versions for mobile platforms. The former assumption concerning the PC version was that our games would be played alongside other stuff the user would do on a PC. Hence a windowed version was held for being sufficient. This turned out to be fitting for only a very small portion of the gamers, though. Also, our approach with the extended view of our games that would fill the potential space around a smart phone display with additional panels that only held info panels without interaction, was not received positively as well. As the PC market grew more important, the community was not happy about simple mobile ports, so we decided to offer a separate PC UI.

Frank:
Does this mean that you won´t just use the extra space on a PC screen for chat and game phase info? I admit that I was not that keen about that as well…

Colin:
Yes, this will not be the case anymore. From now on, we will provide a UI that makes complete use of a PC monitor and this will be the case for all future projects since we implemented this in our project structure. Unity 3D, our development client, provides a lot of features that support this approach and we will make use of it.

Frank:
Ok, I am curious to see how it will turn out. So, can you tell me something about the new main menu features?

Colin:
We collected lots of feature requests over the years and also lots of feedback on the existing main menu. Following this feedback, we enhanced the section of the profile. Viewing information and navigating friends is now way easier as we altered the layout of the panels. We also included more statistical information that will also allow you to see the stats of the whole portfolio of games a player owns. We also added a new way to display a certain degree of achievements. For now, it is linked to the actual game, but we are also thinking of linking this to an overall achievement level throughout the whole range of games a player owns.

Frank:
Well that is good to hear. I was having problems myself scrolling through the search results or friend list since it is so tiny and would only display a few results at once. Talking about that, I also remember that it was not too user friendly with how your running games were displayed. Any change there, too?

Colin:
Yes, the running games can now be sorted by type. We also altered the way how they are structured so that they will not be too large anymore. Another new feature was added to the matchmaker. We added a tournament function and also prepared some new possibilities entering ranked games. Btw, we still are discussing the exact way on how the tournaments should function. Tysen Streib has a thread running on BGG. So, for those who want to add some thoughts to that topic feel free to have a look. (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2531734)

Frank:
Interesting! I see that you also included some screenshots. What is next on your scope?

Colin:
At the moment, I am working to reach the early alpha state. That means that we implement all existing functions of the game with a proxy UI. Afterwards, we start with the first UI approach, which follows the UI concepts we plan to use for the final version.

Frank:
So, the next update will have screenshots of the game already?

Colin:
I think your next dialogue partner will be Tysen. He will provide the latest status of the AI and tournament structure. I believe we will have more screenshots at that time, yes.

Frank:
Thanks so far, Colin. I am looking forward to the next update with Tysen!

Hello everybody, we are close to another update for our Gaia Project progress. For the meantime, get your caffeine fix o...
13/10/2020

Hello everybody, we are close to another update for our Gaia Project progress. For the meantime, get your caffeine fix of Chai: High Tea at chaiboardgame.com
We will introduce more information in a spotlight about this game soon! :) Steeped Games

Hello everybody, we are close to another update for our Gaia Project progress. For the meantime, get your caffeine fix of Chai: High Tea at chaiboardgame.com
We will introduce more information in a spotlight about this game soon! :) Steeped Games

Englische Version:Greetings and Grüße to all "Gaia Project" gamers. The publisher Feuerland and the developer studio DIG...
19/08/2020

Englische Version:
Greetings and Grüße to all "Gaia Project" gamers. The publisher Feuerland and the developer studio DIGIDICED want to keep you updated in the coming months about the progress of the development of the digital adaptation of "Gaia Project". This is the first of a series of statements covering the project. We hope, we can meet the demand of news about this project in a suitable way.

The news will be accompanied by questions that Frank Heeren ( Feuerland Verlag ) and Patrick Soeder (Co-Founder DIGIDICED) ask each other and their answers. Enjoy reading!

Patrick:
Hello Frank, thank you for joining this info-dialogue about our project "Gaia Project" Already more than 4 years ago we started working together on Terra Mystica. I can still remember well how we all met the first time in Dortmund. During those days our portfolio comprised of just three games and all of them were 2 players only. Terra Mystica was about to become our first game with 5 players.
Did you have any experience in the digital market at that time and what were your thoughts about the impact it would have for the distribution of the printed version?

Frank:
Concerning digital adaptations, "Terra Mystica" was our first experience to make. So, at that point we did not have any clues that would have allowed us to make any reliable conclusions of how it would affect selling the printed version. So sure, we were wondering if a digital version of our game in the market would actually help or harm the sales of the printed version.

Patrick:
I see, I mentioned this because it was quite common in those days that when we would ask for licenses the answer was a skeptical one as a lot of possible licensors feared it would harm their own sales.
At that time, we already got the impression the opposite could be the case, since a lot of our users had asked if there were printed versions of the games available. It appeared that a lot of our users got aware of the printed version through playing the digital one.

Frank:
Yes, I am pretty sure it clearly helped Terra Mystica. Anyways, if someone is really into board games, they would not drop their interest in buying a printed version just because it is available as a digital adaptation.

Patrick:
So back then, were there any thoughts about "Project Gaia" already or did you even have a prototype ready somewhere? Or did it start much later?

Frank:
Concerning "Gaia Project", we were already in the midst of it. One year later we published it. At that time, I was really eager to have a sci-fi/space theme game done since I like that a lot myself.

Patrick:
If you would take the time to describe the process of how a boardgame like "Project Gaia" is being developed... how much time is involved and how many people have a hand in it till the game is in print? Does it have to ripen like a wine or is it more like routine work on a conveyor belt?

Frank:
We worked about two years on "Gaia Project". We were involved pretty early in the process for "Terra Mystica" and "Gaia Project", because the authors were living in our vicinity. This was different with the smaller game "New York Zoo" which was way faster since we got it in a nearly finished state from Uwe Rosenberg. Finalizing a Project needs a lot of people to work on it: First of all, of course, the authors and an editor of ours. If a boardgame performs well enough, it is given to test players in order to get some feedback from outsiders. Afterwards we will include an illustrator and a graphic designer who will layout the rulebook and the printing files. Sometimes the cover will be done by another person. Then we need a translator for the English version. After that, one of us will address our international partners and present the game to them. In our case, this is also the person who is responsible for the production later on. In the finalization we also have some proofreaders on board. All in all, we have about 10 people involved in the process, most of them are freelancers (not to forget all the test players of course which are not in the count, yet).

Patrick:
A lot of work that lots of people might not be aware of, I guess. Quite a challenge also from an economic point of view if it is not done in a hobby mode and you have your expenses on a professional level. This applies for us as well. What bothers me concerning the digital adaption of boardgames is that some in the community around boardgames are acting quite hostile when it comes to publishing of digital boardgames, and they see their "favorite" printed boardgame endangered. So sometimes you can read that one would exploit the hard work of other people or one would use the idea of someone else’s to rip off a fortune. During the time of the development of "Terra Mystica" this was even more the case as even potential licensors would not be sure if licensing a digital version is a good idea.
Of course, we sometimes feel there is need to clarify this. While on this topic already .... what are your thoughts concerning our cooperation in the last years in context of your description of how you develop a boardgame? Do you see the production or further development of future "favorite" boardgames of gamers endangered/badly influenced by digital adaptations? Also, would you "sacrifice" or simplify interesting game mechanics just to back a possible digital production?

Frank:
Our cooperation with DIGIDICED is definitely beneficial for us, otherwise we wouldn´t have done it. And it does not harm the board gaming at all. What can be criticized for sure is when someone digitally adapts our boardgames unasked. We have contracts with you through, which we are involved in the revenue, so that is something completely different. And in these days where you cannot meet up in person to have a game, it is surely helpful to be able to play online as well. Actually, these days it also means a certain financial security. Concerning the individual decision if we go for a boardgame development it does not matter though if it is optimized to have it digitally adapted. Digitizing therefore plays no role on our choice which project to pick next. We only consider if we like a game or not. Financing is not a decisive part of our decision taking. Dropping an interesting game mechanic in order to back a easier digital adaptation is not an option for us. Boardgame enthusiasts shouldn´t worry about that.

Patrick:
Good to hear, I hope this statement gets noticed!

Frank:
Hope so, too. So, how is "Gaia Project" going on? Any news on that side?

Patrick:
We are working on an update of our main menu which also includes enhancements of our framework. "Gaia Project" will be the first game that will benefit from this new update. There are two reasons to have this done in this project.
"Project Gaia" will be the first game in which we approach the PC version differently than before. In this way we meet the newly grown importance of PC builds of our games, but also our ambitions to enter the console market as well. We also wanted to address the feedback we collected over the years concerning the features on our main menu. We put a special focus on the areas of player profiles and the matchmaking.

Frank:
That sounds good. Is there already something we can see concerning Gaia? Did you tackle any special milestones?

Patrick:
We are still on the generic settings of our work on the main menu and framework because our whole portfolio of games as well as future productions will benefit from this. It shouldn´t take too long though, to have visuals ready. But we made great progress with the game logic of Gaia. As I heard we are near to have it ready for internal testing.

Frank:
Great, then there will be more stuff to read from your side soon.

Patrick:
Definitely!

Englische Version:
Greetings and Grüße to all "Gaia Project" gamers. The publisher Feuerland and the developer studio DIGIDICED want to keep you updated in the coming months about the progress of the development of the digital adaptation of "Gaia Project". This is the first of a series of statements covering the project. We hope, we can meet the demand of news about this project in a suitable way.

The news will be accompanied by questions that Frank Heeren ( Feuerland Verlag ) and Patrick Soeder (Co-Founder DIGIDICED) ask each other and their answers. Enjoy reading!

Patrick:
Hello Frank, thank you for joining this info-dialogue about our project "Gaia Project" Already more than 4 years ago we started working together on Terra Mystica. I can still remember well how we all met the first time in Dortmund. During those days our portfolio comprised of just three games and all of them were 2 players only. Terra Mystica was about to become our first game with 5 players.
Did you have any experience in the digital market at that time and what were your thoughts about the impact it would have for the distribution of the printed version?

Frank:
Concerning digital adaptations, "Terra Mystica" was our first experience to make. So, at that point we did not have any clues that would have allowed us to make any reliable conclusions of how it would affect selling the printed version. So sure, we were wondering if a digital version of our game in the market would actually help or harm the sales of the printed version.

Patrick:
I see, I mentioned this because it was quite common in those days that when we would ask for licenses the answer was a skeptical one as a lot of possible licensors feared it would harm their own sales.
At that time, we already got the impression the opposite could be the case, since a lot of our users had asked if there were printed versions of the games available. It appeared that a lot of our users got aware of the printed version through playing the digital one.

Frank:
Yes, I am pretty sure it clearly helped Terra Mystica. Anyways, if someone is really into board games, they would not drop their interest in buying a printed version just because it is available as a digital adaptation.

Patrick:
So back then, were there any thoughts about "Project Gaia" already or did you even have a prototype ready somewhere? Or did it start much later?

Frank:
Concerning "Gaia Project", we were already in the midst of it. One year later we published it. At that time, I was really eager to have a sci-fi/space theme game done since I like that a lot myself.

Patrick:
If you would take the time to describe the process of how a boardgame like "Project Gaia" is being developed... how much time is involved and how many people have a hand in it till the game is in print? Does it have to ripen like a wine or is it more like routine work on a conveyor belt?

Frank:
We worked about two years on "Gaia Project". We were involved pretty early in the process for "Terra Mystica" and "Gaia Project", because the authors were living in our vicinity. This was different with the smaller game "New York Zoo" which was way faster since we got it in a nearly finished state from Uwe Rosenberg. Finalizing a Project needs a lot of people to work on it: First of all, of course, the authors and an editor of ours. If a boardgame performs well enough, it is given to test players in order to get some feedback from outsiders. Afterwards we will include an illustrator and a graphic designer who will layout the rulebook and the printing files. Sometimes the cover will be done by another person. Then we need a translator for the English version. After that, one of us will address our international partners and present the game to them. In our case, this is also the person who is responsible for the production later on. In the finalization we also have some proofreaders on board. All in all, we have about 10 people involved in the process, most of them are freelancers (not to forget all the test players of course which are not in the count, yet).

Patrick:
A lot of work that lots of people might not be aware of, I guess. Quite a challenge also from an economic point of view if it is not done in a hobby mode and you have your expenses on a professional level. This applies for us as well. What bothers me concerning the digital adaption of boardgames is that some in the community around boardgames are acting quite hostile when it comes to publishing of digital boardgames, and they see their "favorite" printed boardgame endangered. So sometimes you can read that one would exploit the hard work of other people or one would use the idea of someone else’s to rip off a fortune. During the time of the development of "Terra Mystica" this was even more the case as even potential licensors would not be sure if licensing a digital version is a good idea.
Of course, we sometimes feel there is need to clarify this. While on this topic already .... what are your thoughts concerning our cooperation in the last years in context of your description of how you develop a boardgame? Do you see the production or further development of future "favorite" boardgames of gamers endangered/badly influenced by digital adaptations? Also, would you "sacrifice" or simplify interesting game mechanics just to back a possible digital production?

Frank:
Our cooperation with DIGIDICED is definitely beneficial for us, otherwise we wouldn´t have done it. And it does not harm the board gaming at all. What can be criticized for sure is when someone digitally adapts our boardgames unasked. We have contracts with you through, which we are involved in the revenue, so that is something completely different. And in these days where you cannot meet up in person to have a game, it is surely helpful to be able to play online as well. Actually, these days it also means a certain financial security. Concerning the individual decision if we go for a boardgame development it does not matter though if it is optimized to have it digitally adapted. Digitizing therefore plays no role on our choice which project to pick next. We only consider if we like a game or not. Financing is not a decisive part of our decision taking. Dropping an interesting game mechanic in order to back a easier digital adaptation is not an option for us. Boardgame enthusiasts shouldn´t worry about that.

Patrick:
Good to hear, I hope this statement gets noticed!

Frank:
Hope so, too. So, how is "Gaia Project" going on? Any news on that side?

Patrick:
We are working on an update of our main menu which also includes enhancements of our framework. "Gaia Project" will be the first game that will benefit from this new update. There are two reasons to have this done in this project.
"Project Gaia" will be the first game in which we approach the PC version differently than before. In this way we meet the newly grown importance of PC builds of our games, but also our ambitions to enter the console market as well. We also wanted to address the feedback we collected over the years concerning the features on our main menu. We put a special focus on the areas of player profiles and the matchmaking.

Frank:
That sounds good. Is there already something we can see concerning Gaia? Did you tackle any special milestones?

Patrick:
We are still on the generic settings of our work on the main menu and framework because our whole portfolio of games as well as future productions will benefit from this. It shouldn´t take too long though, to have visuals ready. But we made great progress with the game logic of Gaia. As I heard we are near to have it ready for internal testing.

Frank:
Great, then there will be more stuff to read from your side soon.

Patrick:
Definitely!

Adresse

Pettenkoferstraße 16-18
Berlin
10247

Öffnungszeiten

Montag 10:00 - 18:00
Dienstag 10:00 - 18:00
Mittwoch 10:00 - 18:00
Donnerstag 10:00 - 18:00
Freitag 10:00 - 17:00

Produkte

Le Havre: The Inland Port
Patchwork
Agricola: All Creatures
Terra Mystica
Bohnanza: Duel
Cottage Garden
TM: Fire & Ice
Isle of Skye
Stockpile
Indian Summer

Benachrichtigungen

Lassen Sie sich von uns eine E-Mail senden und seien Sie der erste der Neuigkeiten und Aktionen von Digidiced erfährt. Ihre E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht für andere Zwecke verwendet und Sie können sich jederzeit abmelden.

Service Kontaktieren

Nachricht an Digidiced senden:

Kategorie

Kunst & Unterhaltung in der Nähe


Andere Videospiele in Berlin

Alles Anzeigen

Bemerkungen

Hello everybody! We are about to ignit our thrusters and bring our digitial version of Gaia Project to your mobile devices! On thursday the 18th we will hit playstore and appstore. Follow this link to get more information on where to find the game and what is planned next. https://digidiced.com/gaiaproject/
For those who have an eye on Gaia Project the Steam Board Game Event on October 21-25 is a great opportunity to grab the game. There are also new feature updates coming up as we have the chat lobby working in our intern test already. The mobile version of Gaia also leaves the beta soon! Btw, for those who are interested into Viticulture... there are great news coming up for that game as well. We finished migrating the game to our new server to join Gaia Project. And we are having a redesign in progress. Stay tuned for more news...
Gaia Project ist auf Steam ab sofort erhältlich. Für 7 Tage kann man es dort mit einem Einführungsrabatt von 25% erstehen. Greift zu^^ Gaia Project is available on Steam! Make sure you use the Launch Discount (it is 25% off only 7 days from now)! https://store.steampowered.com/app/1516400/Gaia_Project/
Hello dear DIGIDICED community. We have another project update for you and this time Frank Heeren asks Tysen Streib (our AI/Logic Developer) a few questions. We accomplished the 2nd phase of our roadmap and also nearly have phase 3 done. We have the game running already on the new server and are preparing everything to have a start tester group snooping in already. :) Cheers and happy reading, your DIGIDICED team. Frank: Hello, Tysen. I’m glad we finally have a chance to talk. Can you tell me a bit about what your responsibilities are in Gaia Project? Tysen: Sure. I’m in charge of creating all of the rules logic for playing the game, as well as designing all of the AI players. I’m also designing the challenges that we’re planning on including in the game and a new tournament feature. Frank: Tell me a bit about how the AI works and how it’s coming along. Tysen: Well… there isn’t an easy answer to give there. Gaia Project is one of the more complex games out there and creating a strong AI is not easy. I’m actually trying out two different methods simultaneously – a more traditional AI based on Monte Carlo methods and another one based on a neural network, like AlphaGo. So far the neural network one has not become strong enough to be better than the traditional AI, but I’m still trying out new things and it may still surprise me. I saw the same sort of difficulty when I tried to make a neural network for Terra Mystica. But I’ve learned a few things since then and trying out a couple of different tactics. The Monte Carlo AI works by trying to simulate a lot of games as quickly as possible and seeing which moves turn out best. I add a couple bells and whistles on top of that, including some of my own strategic direction, but it’s still a challenge. One of the main difficulties is that Gaia Project is a game where it’s beneficial to come up with a long-term plan and AI’s aren’t that good at long-term plans. Planning the layout of federations is especially difficult. Human players can map out likely planets they will get and the best organization of their satellites. That’s really tough for an AI. The other difficulty is that the federation forming rules are so complicated that it eats up a lot of computational resources just to check if a federation is legal or not. When you’re trying to simulate thousands of games, each microsecond added to the computation of a federation brings the whole thing to a crawl. Frank: That does sound like a challenge. So how well does it play now? Tysen: I’m still working on it and improving it, but it’s about as good as someone who’s played a dozen games or so. It will be a very strong challenge for players learning the game, but naturally we’ll have easier versions for beginners to play against. Frank: What about more experienced players? Tysen: That’s where the challenges come in. We’re currently setting a series of fourteen challenges – one for each faction – where the map and opposition are predetermined and there’s a special goal to the game. So each game will require the player to not only win the game, but complete the additional objective as well. Some of the challenges are also going to break the rules of the game, add a unique twist, or introduce new technologies or actions. We’ll add difficulty levels to the challenges, probably by giving the AI a handicap of extra resources, just to give an extra challenge to those who want it. It will be similar to the official Automa levels where the more difficult levels give free stuff to the Automa. Frank: Speaking of the Automa, is that going to be included in the game? Tysen: We’re still deciding. Maybe. We know some players are looking for the official version to play against as a puzzle, even though we’ll have other “thinking” AI opponents as well. We probably will have some kind of survey during the beta testing in order to see if the resonance would justify the investment. Frank: You mentioned tournaments earlier. What do you have in mind there? Tysen: We’re working on official tournament support within the app. Not everything is finalized, but we’ve got a vision for hosting official worldwide tournaments with potentially hundreds of players. We really want more engagement with our players, and we plan on hosting two or three tournaments a year. We’re thinking about creating a system where players can create their own smaller tournaments as well. The feature will be set on beta so Gaia Project will be also a testing ground to gather feedback as we plan to establish this as a feature throughout our entire portfolio. Frank: This is a very interesting feature. What is coming up next? Tysen: Currently Gaia is being linked to our new server structure and we prepare everything for a beta test. Next step will be to set up a test group on steam. Frank: Awesome. Thanks for your time, Tysen. Tysen: Sure thing.
Hello dear Gaia Project community. It is time for another project update. We accomplished the 1st phase of our roadmap and also tackled major parts of phase 2 already. This time Frank Heeren (Feuerland Verlag) and Colin Doemer (UI developer at DIGIDIDCED) will shed some light on our latest progress, providing you with a short dialogue. Enjoy the read! Frank: Hello Colin, I think we have not meet yet. Can you tell me about your responsibilities in this project? Colin: Hello Frank, yes sure. I am working as UI developer and I am responsible for the implementation of the User Interface. This starts with the visible aspects that start with transferring the UI concepts into the project, adding transitions and animations… which are followed by allocating SFX and ending with the connection with the game logic and server structure. As it is quite often the case in indie studios, my responsibilities do not end there. I am also involved in the conceptional work and finding workarounds for special gameplay issues. An essential work of mine is also bug fixing and stuff like that. Frank: Ok, concerning such a heavy weight board game it sounds like it is not a trivial task. Have you had a special challenge so far that was generating some headache? Or maybe a part that was especially enjoyable? Colin: I am sure that some difficult sections still lie ahead of us, for sure. For now, we focused on the new main menu features and the overhaul of our project architecture. Since we won´t have mobile ports for PC anymore, we adapted our project structure in order to supplement the parallel development of a PC UI and mobile device UI. Frank: I see, can you tell me what is new now in the main menu? And how will the PC UI differ from the mobile device UI? Colin: DIGIDICED initially started as a studio that specialized in digitizing board games into versions for mobile platforms. The former assumption concerning the PC version was that our games would be played alongside other stuff the user would do on a PC. Hence a windowed version was held for being sufficient. This turned out to be fitting for only a very small portion of the gamers, though. Also, our approach with the extended view of our games that would fill the potential space around a smart phone display with additional panels that only held info panels without interaction, was not received positively as well. As the PC market grew more important, the community was not happy about simple mobile ports, so we decided to offer a separate PC UI. Frank: Does this mean that you won´t just use the extra space on a PC screen for chat and game phase info? I admit that I was not that keen about that as well… Colin: Yes, this will not be the case anymore. From now on, we will provide a UI that makes complete use of a PC monitor and this will be the case for all future projects since we implemented this in our project structure. Unity 3D, our development client, provides a lot of features that support this approach and we will make use of it. Frank: Ok, I am curious to see how it will turn out. So, can you tell me something about the new main menu features? Colin: We collected lots of feature requests over the years and also lots of feedback on the existing main menu. Following this feedback, we enhanced the section of the profile. Viewing information and navigating friends is now way easier as we altered the layout of the panels. We also included more statistical information that will also allow you to see the stats of the whole portfolio of games a player owns. We also added a new way to display a certain degree of achievements. For now, it is linked to the actual game, but we are also thinking of linking this to an overall achievement level throughout the whole range of games a player owns. Frank: Well that is good to hear. I was having problems myself scrolling through the search results or friend list since it is so tiny and would only display a few results at once. Talking about that, I also remember that it was not too user friendly with how your running games were displayed. Any change there, too? Colin: Yes, the running games can now be sorted by type. We also altered the way how they are structured so that they will not be too large anymore. Another new feature was added to the matchmaker. We added a tournament function and also prepared some new possibilities entering ranked games. Btw, we still are discussing the exact way on how the tournaments should function. Tysen Streib has a thread running on BGG. So, for those who want to add some thoughts to that topic feel free to have a look. (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2531734) Frank: Interesting! I see that you also included some screenshots. What is next on your scope? Colin: At the moment, I am working to reach the early alpha state. That means that we implement all existing functions of the game with a proxy UI. Afterwards, we start with the first UI approach, which follows the UI concepts we plan to use for the final version. Frank: So, the next update will have screenshots of the game already? Colin: I think your next dialogue partner will be Tysen. He will provide the latest status of the AI and tournament structure. I believe we will have more screenshots at that time, yes. Frank: Thanks so far, Colin. I am looking forward to the next update with Tysen!