2019-07-15 00:15:02 (edited by vga 2019-07-15 00:42:38)

Valiant Galaxy Associates is proud to announce the release of Expanding Known Space, the third title in our flagship line of science fiction games.  The year is 2850 and the freedom-loving frontier planets of the interstellar Union are about to launch a pre-emptive strike against the encroachments of the authoritarian Solarian Federation.  The First Interstellar Wars are beginning, and it is up to you to win the war quickly and with as little loss of life as possible. 

Expanding Known Space is self-voicing and uses recorded human speech.  The game, like many of our other titles, features both map and menu modes.  The map is 20 by 20 and features 40 planets and 40 static hazards.  The map is different for each game.  Over 50 hot keys have been added to aid in navigation and information gathering.  However, most players use about a dozen regularly.

The game features five difficulty modes, four victory conditions which can be customized, five AI modes, and allows for manual or automatic selection of the player’s initial planets.  Besides these options, nine missions have been included which change starting conditions or victory conditions during  the game.  These include such options as starting with only your capital planet and no ships, a lightning mode which allows for a quick game focused on colonization and is used for the free demonstration, and a total war mode where all planets begin play colonized and garrisoned and the player must win through a military victory. 

The game play uses a phase system similar to many board games to handle game play.  Purchase phase allows the player to build units to replace those that might be lost in the coming turn.  At this time random events occur that help or hinder the player’s war effort.  Movement phase is a map phase and allows the player to survey the situation and move forces to accomplish goals.  Combat phase resolves any combats resulting from the movement phase.  Placement phase allows the player to use map mode or menus to select where and how much to place on his planets.  Several automatic routines have been added to aid players including an auto damage routine and an automatic placement routine that places ships as evenly as possible on all planets.  The game features other innovations such as an autonav option, the ability to group ships in fleets, and the ability to send ships on an automated scouting routine to find undiscovered portions of the map.  Further, the game can be saved and loaded later. 

If you wish to try the game, the mission lightning mode which allows a ten turn game where you race to outcolonize the computer is available.  Simply hit escape once the game tells you you are not logged into guidedog once you have started a new game.  If you wish to purchase the game, you can use the links below.  The game retails for $19.99 U.S.

To read the documentation visit
https://www.valiantgalaxy.com/eks/documentation.html
To download the game visit
https://www.valiantgalaxy.com/eks/Expan … taller.exe
To purchase the game, visit
https://guidedoggames.com:7081/games/5

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

2019-07-15 00:19:44

As a beta tester for the game, I have to say it is one of the better games I have played. The replay value is high, and it is definitely addicting. Definitely worth the $20.

thanks,
Michael

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2019-07-15 02:03:14

Seems like a really cool concept, unfortunately this self voiced voice is incredibly irritating to me, and I’m wondering if it would be possible for you to create a mode where we could use SAPI instead

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2019-07-15 02:15:03

Congrats on your new release smile

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2019-07-15 02:34:56

First off as some people might have noticed, we accidentally left an extra t in one of the web links:

the correct address for purchasing the game is

https://guidedoggames.com:7081/games/5

Neither of us caught it when we proofread. Bad bad game developers.

As to the voicing, we use the self voicing for various reasons.  If you're interested in why, you can look at our FAQ on our website at www.valiantgalaxy.com.

Thanks for the interest, and we appreciate the feedback.

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

2019-07-15 02:41:27

That’s fair, although it does kind of suck that you have the ability to use sappy for certain things, just not everything.  And to be clear, I have an issue with all self voice  games, not  specifically the fact that you did it. I just think that you user  choice is great.

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2019-07-15 07:17:15

the problem could be,  this is an audio game, but not like  soundrts, don't have each background sounds and even battle and purchase don't have any sounds, just speech

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2019-07-15 07:21:26

No. There aren't a lot of sounds, but there are a couple for menus, hazards and the like. It would get too cluttered later on in the game when you have fleets with hundreds of ships if there were sounds for everything.

thanks,
Michael

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2019-07-15 08:03:04

you can side by side, like i have  three battle   on this turn, , and play it one by one, and sound, like in manual what weapon is equip and get some sounds, because audio game with no sounds would be like text base.

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2019-07-15 08:25:16

Really awesome and congrats on the release, I'll look forward to trying this one later today.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2019-07-15 12:35:21

Snow,

As Michael suggested in his post, this was a conscious decision, primarily to limit needless input to the player.  My largest game of EKs involved over 5,000 ships, and I was having usually a dozen battles a combat phase in that one. 

We could have handled it in the way you suggested, however, we consciously chose to go with a sparser sound environment.

A second reason to have used this method was just to improve performance.  The more sounds you add, the more ships you add, the more calculations you add, the slower and less responsive the game grows.  One of our concerns was to make sure the game was as responsive at the beginning as it was near the end of a long and large game.

Third, you say it might as well be a text game as if that is a bad thing.  All computer games in the world started with a text game, and that game is still fun and playable 45 years later.  My favorite rpg game of all time Fallthru was a text game and had 0 graphics.

That said, I get why people are disappointed in the sound scape, but with strategy games, my focus is on the decisions the player has to make, not the bells and whistles.  In a long game of EKS as noted earlier you can be managing upward of 40 or 50 fleets, watching 20 planets to make sure they don't get overwhelmed, and trying to find or destroy a capital planet.  In a situation like that, some players find extraneous noise a distraction and a bother.  Rather than fool with having to make a lot of optional switches and other things to avoid that for those players, we chose a sparse audio environment.

We had considered adding more sound, and when we release an update to the game, it would not be difficult to add in sounds, probably with toggles.  I don't promise this, but it would be possible.

Keep the comments coming, we like constructive feedback.  Take care,

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

2019-07-15 13:51:42 (edited by snow 2019-07-15 14:08:54)

ok, this answer is understandable  and good,  i'm saying this because consider the sound you using  in other games,  it is very good,  for example, Interceptor, bringing a  battle   , the  sounds can tell us what the rocket and cannon, engine really looks like. so have this question.
another point is  even it no sounds, but  some voice need a speed up, like battle report, i guess this is the reason why someone need  a sapi output.

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2019-07-15 15:22:37 (edited by Dark 2019-07-15 15:23:13)

Hi.

I'm afraid the game is not working at all for me.

Whenever I launch the game, either with the launch shortcut in the start menu or the .exe file in the program folder, a terminal window appears telling me "Checking 617 files, one file to update"
The file is then updated, the window closes and  that is that, then when I hit the launche again, exactly the same thing.

What is worse, is I tried the other VGA titles and am getting absolutely the same, thing. They were certainly working a couple of weeks ago when I was playing the games, so I assume whatever update has been made to either the BGT games or the guidedog client is not playing nicely with windows 10, either that or windows defender is playing silly beggars.

This is disappointing but hopefullly its fixable, for both expanding known space, and getting the rest of the VGA games to run properly.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2019-07-15 15:27:53

Dark,

Yes, it is fixable, and Dennis is going to try and knock it out tonight.  He found a bug in the GDG client this morning and tried to fix it temporarily.  I'm sorry that you're having the issue.  It should be cleared up asap.  Thanks for the report.

Jeremy

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

2019-07-15 15:27:53

I just ran it to see, and I got the update, clicked the button to allow it and it opened right up. I am still logged into the guidedog client though so that could be the difference.

thanks,
Michael

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2019-07-15 15:28:58

@13, i think your guide dog client not setting correctly, try remove the game and  delete the file completely and reinstall  the game.
maybe it's because of your windows anti virous, but i don't know what is your  sistem looks like.

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2019-07-15 15:34:07 (edited by Dark 2019-07-15 15:39:21)

None of the games are working right now. When I tried interceptor the terminal window told me "Temporary file unwriteable" which I assume is the problem.

Its not windows defender since I've just made the VGA folder an exception.

I will try logging in via the web version of guidedog and see if that makes a difference.

Glad the problem is being fixed though, whilst obviously new releases have their teething problems this is still a trifle irritating as I'd really like to try the game out.

Edit: okay, went to guide dog games homepage over at https://www.guidedoggames.com and signed in with my account details.

The good news is, this made Yellow bonnet work. The bad news is, this didn't make any of the other VGA games work, including expanding known space.

Grrrrrrrr!

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

Thumbs up

2019-07-15 16:14:06

Hi.
I have just given the game a try, and here is some feedback:
Normally I like self voiced games, but the way all the spoken messages are being played together in this game confuses me so much that I'm not able to play the game at all. It's just like bla bla bla bla bla bla without any pauses at all to think about what just happened, and then it's your turn.
Is there any ways to review, slowly, action by action what happened?
My recommendation would be to make some natural pauses in the messages from the game.
I'm confused regarding the movement on the map. Are you moving all your ships at the same time? Are you only moving one square in one turn?
I find the game very confusing, but maybe I should just give it an other try.

Best regards SLJ.
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Happy gaming... :D

2019-07-15 16:24:29

i just finish a game, for now, it is  good  for fun and i start to know what to do, it is playable, maybe i  need to buy this game and try the mode differences.
@18, maybe you just need to read the help file  from website

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2019-07-15 16:36:08

Dark, when you looked in your program files folder and tried running the .exe file from there. Did you only have launch_eks.exe? You also need expandingKnownSpace.exe. If it's not there in the same place, then it's being deleted. The one file to update may be that one.

If you don't have it even after you run launch_eks.exe after having allowed the vga folder in Windows Defender, perhaps running the game's installer again will help. It includes that file, so if it's gone right after installing, something is still being delete happy.

I was having trouble with this too until I checked windows updates and defender got a new definition file. I get a windows notification though when the file is deleted by Defender, so I just basically hit enter on VGA Expanding Known Space on the desktop and then got a notice about the main executable being missing or damaged, which does not sound like the same thing you got.

Aaron

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

2019-07-15 16:40:03

There is, let me think. The d key shows recent detections and hazards, and you can review them in a list. The n key also does a nearby scan if you are over a ship or planet. That will allow you to see two units in all directions.

In movement phase, you can move as many ships or fleets as you want so long as it does not exceed the number of coordinates that that particular unit can move in any single round. Your fleet will move as quickly as its slowest unit, and their speeds are as follows.

Interceptor, 2 units per turn.
Destroyer: 3 units per turn.
Frigate: 2 units per turn
Cruiser: 2 units per turn
Battleship: 1 unit per turn
colony ship: 1 unit per turn.

minor spoilers:

Fleets are your friend. Make fleets by moving to a concentration of ships and hitting e. Hit enter on create new fleet, then either add all or select the ships you want in that particular fleet. Then instead of it saying, "Planet earth, (4, 18) three interceptors, destroyer 1, and Frigate 1," it will say, "Planet Earth (4, 18), 1 friendly fleet."

You can also split fleets if say you got to your destination and wanted to start heading somewhere else without leaving that planet undefended, or you can merge fleets, say you had two fleets heading to the same place to catch the enemy in a pincer. Surprise surprise, both survived, so now what? You can combine them and have one super fleet defending that world.

An early game for me typical round goes something like this.

placement phase, you have 1 frigate, two destroyers, a colony ship, and two interceptors.
I place those ships on Earth. purchase phase, you make 87 credits, and you can buy things. Movement phase I create a fleet from the ships I just bought or add them to an existing one. I set any autopilots that I need to set and I watch more vulnerable fleets/ships. Combat phase resolves any combats/navigational hazards etc that you still
end spoilers:

Hopefully that helped!

thanks,
Michael

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2019-07-15 17:03:42

Okay this is slightly bonkers!

I tried several times to install expanding known space in the VGA folder in program filesX86/VGA, however even though I had made that folder an exception from Windows defender scans, it would not work, the programs .exe file was entirely missing.

I then tried installing the game in a folder I have on my C drive called audiogames, which I use for such things and which is a scanning exception, and it now seems to be working .

The same thing seems to have happened to the other VGA titles, at least to Traders of known space and interceptor, though apparently not Yellow bonnet which is very odd.

I can only assume that for some odd reason Windows defender does not take any notice when you make a folder in program files an exception from scanning.

It is mildly irritating that I will also now need to uninstall interceptor and TKS and put those in my audiogames folder too, though at least with the Guide dog client I won't have to mess with license keys with interceptor which will make life slightly easier, ditto with Expantion of known space if I decide to buy it, which I suspect I will.

Now I have strategies to plan big_smile.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

Thumbs up

2019-07-15 17:15:00

Aaron here.

Very pleased to hear you got a solution. We definitely wanted you to be able to give it a go. No idea why the normal VGA folder didn't work out, especially with Defender set not to scan it. Could it be the exception didn't stick?

The other strange thing though is that I'm not losing any of the other games while also using defender, and I don't set it to not scan my folders because I won't know if people are going to be losing it if I do that. Latest defender definitions running Windows 10 1903.

Valiant Galaxy Associates Company, owned by Aaron Spears and Jeremy Brown develops and markets audiogames for the Blind and Low Vision markets.

2019-07-15 17:36:32

Nope, I  double checked and the exception was still  listed in windows defender so it definitely stuck, I suspect its more the issue that Windows defender doesn't like exceptions inside a program files folder, ---- I seem to remember Phil Vlasac once mentioning that Shades of doom had a similar issue, though as I haven't installed that on Windows 10 i can't confirm.
Either way,  it'll be good to try the game out.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

Thumbs up

2019-07-15 18:39:51 (edited by Dark 2019-07-15 18:45:16)

Okay the game is working and I've tried it, however the guide dog games client is not.
That is to say, when I finished the game I hit enter and was told "log in to guide dog games in a separate window" however no window appeared.
Even when I pulled up Chrome and logged in directly, I had no luck.

I wonder if this is a firewall issue, though I don't believe I got any notifications to track or requests to let the game through a firewall, either way I like the game however there are a few things which it would be nice to have.

The first, is its difficult to remember which ships you've given orders to and which you haven't and which is doing what, so it'd be nice if once you'd ordered a ship or flee to do something, the s or f menus respectively would not show that ship.
Alternatively, perhaps o and shift o could be used to get you a list of what was awaiting your orders?

It would also be nice to be able to set a rallying point, or rendezvous quickly so that when you have a fleet scattered or when you want to put several ships together for a major strike, you could automatically get somewhere for them to congrigate and be told how far away it is.
For example, if you could hit r on a ship or on a square, and then be told when looking at the nav menus for other ships how far away that point was, that way it'd be easier to put scattered ships together, since right now once a fleet gets scattered I'm finding it difficult to keep track of where all the ships are.

Other than that, I like so far.
I do agree with Snow that a few more sound effects for specific events would be nice for atmosphere, since while I'm always into text games, this is in the end an audiogame so why not take advantage? and a few explosions, blarring ship sirens or fan fares when planets are colonized would be appreciated.

One rather odd mistake I did make, is I didn't quite get how income worked, EG I wondered if you needed to have one of your own ships at a colonised planet to get tribute, particularly with the business of placing ships at the start of each turn, though I see how that works now.

I'll be interested to get further into the game as in the game I tried there was barely any combat, and mostly it was a case of grab as many planets as I could big_smile.

Game Statistics for Playthrough of VGA Expanding Known Space, Version (21).

The player beat the game! woohoo!

The game lasted 48 minutes 19 seconds  and ended on Monday, July 15, 2019 at 5:27 PM.

The war between you (the solarian federation) and the enemy (the interstellar union) started in 2850 and ended in 2852 (10 turns, with the solarian federation victorious.
Game was in normal difficulty. Mission lightning game was enabled.
The enemy was in normal mode.
the solarian federation finished with 6 colonies (15%) with the most ever held  being 6. the interstellar union finished with 3 colonies (7%) with the most ever held being 3.
the solarian federation colonized 1 of 1 asteroid belts, 1 of 7 space stations, 1 of 3 ice planets, 1 of 7 volcanic planets, 1 of 4 ocean planets and 1 of 18 earth type planets.
the interstellar union colonized 0 of 1 asteroid belts, 0 of 7 space stations, 0 of 3 ice planets, 1 of 7 volcanic planets, 1 of 4 ocean planets and 1 of 18 earth type planets.
At the end, the solarian federation was making 36 credits for 9% of the total income, the interstellar union was making 30 credits for 8% of the total income.
the solarian federation made a total of 283 credits, the interstellar union made a total of 302.
the solarian federation spent 0 on intelligence gathering, the interstellar union spent 20.
the solarian federation purchased 8 interceptors, 6 destroyers, 3 frigates, 0 cruisers, 3 battle ships and 7 colony ships for a total of 27.
the interstellar union purchased 26 interceptors, 25 destroyers, 0 frigates, 2 cruisers, 0 battle ships and 1 colony ships for a total of 54.
the solarian federation lost 7 interceptors, 1 destroyers, 0 frigates, 0 cruisers, 1 battle ships and 1 colony ships for a total of 10 (4 lost in combat, 6 lost to hazards).
the interstellar union lost 5 interceptors, 1 destroyers, 0 frigates, 0 cruisers, 0 battle ships and 0 colony ships for a total of 6 (6 lost in combat, 0 lost to hazards).
the solarian federation lost 0 ships to changing loyalties, the interstellar union lost 0.
you have won 0 military, 0 colonization, 0 economic, 0 capital control and 0 mission victories and you have lost 0 military, 0 colonization, 0 economic, 0 capital control and 0 missions for a total of 0 wins, 0 losses.
Edit: Okay none of the Valient galaxy games are opening the guide dog client when I go to activation!

This is very annoying!

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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