Gameplay video details: HUD display

Thanks to the recent gameplay video, we now have a much better idea of what the various ingame HUD display elements are for. The three horizontal bars that I’ve speculated about turn out to be health (red), shield (yellow), and ammo (green). The one for ammo consists of two separate bars, a larger and a smaller one, showing the ammo for primary and secondary weapon, supposedly. As for the four hexagon shaped elements left of the portraits: In the video, we see the first one of those blink in a yellow color once the agents are “trespassing” in an area where they are not authorized to be. The other hexagons then might indicate higher levels of danger, or perhaps how strongly the agents are being looked after by the police (= stars in GTA?). The two small triangles next to the agents’ portrait show an antenna signal (left) and the equipped weapon (right). The smaller icons at the bottom, which I first thought were inventory slots, turn out to be abilities. In the video, we see demonstrations of three abilities: healing, world scan (with a really cool visual effect) and grenade.


What appears to be missing from the HUD, then, is an option to drug your agents. So that may not be in the game, or it may get added later, as the HUD is apparently not finalized yet. A couple of things that I noticed and that I suspect may not be final yet are the following: The HUD does not show which agent(s) are currently selected. That seems a bit odd. <update>: actually, it does, but the effect (highlighting) is very subtle and hard to see. </update> Another thing is that the agents have a small portrait over their head, which is probably supposed to help identify them at a quick glance. The small portrait adds quite a bit of visual clutter, though, and does not really appear to be needed as clicking on the large portrait at the bottom would presumably be the fastest way to select a specific agent anyway. It will be interesting to see how the HUD develops in future versions of the game. As 5LS have recently announced that they hired a dedicated UI artist, we can probably look forward to a number of changes, at least on the visual side.

New gameplay video

Some details from the recent UI screenshots

The newest dev diary (it is #10) contained a couple of screenshots which showed off some of the in-game User Interface (UI). At a closer look, the UI elements reveal a few details about the gameplay, and also raise some questions. First of, here is a closeup of the UI overlay seen ingame:


Each of the four agents from the team has one such UI element, presumably used primarily to select that agent. At the center is the agent’s portrait. To the left of it, there are four little hexagon-shaped elements. In one of the screenshots, one of the hexagon shapes is filled out with yellow color. My first guess was that this shows whether the agent is selected or not. However, on second thought it does not really make sense as an agent can only be selected or unselected, and there is no need for four elements. Could it perhaps indicate how many agents are grouped together at a time? If so, it could correspond to this element in Syndicate Wars: syndicate_wars_UI_element

This is just a guess, though, and it may be something totally different.

Below the portrait, there are three horizontal bars. They would appear to be status indicators, one for health, another one could be shield, the third perhaps for ammo? If so, this would raise the question where the UI elements for drugging the agents are – drugging being a prominent feature both in the original Syndicate and in Syndicate Wars. Another possibility is that my guess is wrong and the three bars are in fact for drugging? If so, this would mean a return “back to the roots”, that is to the three-ways drug system of the original Syndicate:


Further down, below the bars, you can see the inventory slots. They are mostly empty on the screenshots we have, but you can see a hand grenade icon (with three grenades?), a flashbang (?) and what appears to be a health kit.

More interesting info comes from the UI design, which is being done by Liz Ballantyne, as we learn in the dev diary. Besides showing off the WETWIRED V2 TERMINAL item, the screenshot appears to show off the resource system. We find three resource items in the top right corner:


These appear to be dollars (obviously), and then health supplies (?) and uranium/something nuclear? That those are in fact resources is indicated by the “Requirements” line on the WETWIRED item, which apparently requires 100$, 3 medical supplies, and one uranium (?):


How we gain those resources (besides money) is still unknown. Luckily, the release of the alpha version is nearing and we will soon know much more about it.

Dev Diary #10: Alpha approaching

A new dev diary, number #10, is up on the Satellite News website. New screenshots, coding update, information about alpha and beta releases, a first glimpse at the soundtrack, and more!

RPS piece on Satellite Reign

RPS has a new piece on Satellite Reign up on their website. Nothing new, but it is basically a summary of the news that we have been getting from 5 Lives Studios over the last few months. Overall the author is rather cautious but appears to be pleased with the visual style. Here is a quote on that:

I guess it screams Bladerunner more than it does Syndicate right now, but my eyes are pleased by it nevertheless.

The full article can be read here.

5LS developer interview at Dajmin

A new interview has gone up at Dajmin. In the interview, Chris and Dean answer some questions about the development of Satellite Reign. Topics include how the project came about, going indie and the Kickstarter campaign, among other things. Here’s a quote about the motivation to make the game:

[…] The Syndicate series was a game changer, we all loved the titles, Mike was fortunate enough to work on the series. But since the series ended there has been a real lack of similar titles, we all really wanted to play a game of that genre and setting but none were being developed so why not make it ourselves?

Regarding mission design, they emphasize their goal of giving the player a lot of freedom to explore:

Exploration and the freedom to choose your own path have been key elements from the initial inception of the game.

Backers may also like this tidbit of information:

Alpha and Beta backers are going to be given a version of the game much earlier than they may have expected actually. […]

Read the entire interview here.

5LS on weapon progression

There is an interesting thread going on over at the official forum on the topic of weapon progression. A backer has expressed concerns that the weapon progression might be too linear. 5LS developer Mitch has chimed in with the following comment:

We are trying to avoid the scenario where you stop wanting to use a particular weapon because there’s something which is better in every way. While we do have ballistic, laser and plasma, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example (and Chris can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is how it’s going), ballistic weapons are strong against flesh, average on shields, and weak against armour. Laser is strong against shields, average on armour, and weak against flesh. Plasma is strong against armour, average against flesh, and weak against shields.

So, really, the best gun for the job comes down to the enemy you’re fighting. So, one faction might favour armour, and so having a mix of plasma and ballistic weapons would be optimal, while a faction who likes to use shields would be better to take on with lasers, etc.

There will also be further variation on the other aspects you’ve mentioned (damage, fire rate, accuracy, etc) within each category, which you’d vary depending on your personal preference (shotguns and Uzis if you like to get up close and brutal, miniguns and assault rifles for suppression and flanking, sniper rifles for sneaky long-range shots, and so on). It’s going to take a lot of balancing to get right, but we feel this kind of approach helps to avoid feeling like you’ve wasted time acquiring a particular weapon or upgrade.

– 5LS-Mitch

The approach they are taking reminds me a bit of Starcraft, where there is a variety of units but they are all balanced to have both strong points and weak points, so that there is never one unit that is objectively “the best” and that would be the right choice in every situation. Players in Starcraft usually end up using a mixture of units, depending on the situation at hand. If the weapon situation in Satellite Reign ends up something like that, it would really add a lot of depth to the gameplay. It is perhaps no coincidence that MikeD previously mentioned that he is an avid player of Starcraft II? ;)

Metrocide: A Syndicate inspired indie game

Today’s news is not strictly speaking Satellite Reign related, but it is Syndicate related at least: There is a new indie game in the making that is (partially) Syndicate inspired. The game is called Metrocide, and it is being developed by the Australian developer team Flat Earth Games. According to their website, the action takes place in a “retro-futuristic and cyberpunk-inspired” city. The top-down perspective and gameplay are reminiscent of the original Syndicate and (even more so) GTA1/2. You can check out a video here:

Pre-Ordering at Humble Bundle started, Info on Price and Sys Requirements

Apparently, pre-ordering of Satellite Reign has started over at the Humble Bundle website. A storefront for the game has been set up, and besides showing a video (reveal trailer) and some general information about the game, it offers the possibility of pre-ordering. The Humble Bundle webstore furthermore reveals the price and the system requirements of the game. The currently listed prices are:

€20.99 (reduced from €22.99)
$26.99 (reduced from $29.99)

The system requirements is something that backers have frequently asked about. Well, now we know:


OS: Windowx 7/8
Processor: Dual Core 2Ghz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 1GB DX9 or equivalent OpenGL GPU

OS: Windowx 7/8
Processor: Dual Core 2Ghz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 1GB DX9 or equivalent OpenGL GPU

OS: Windowx 7/8
Processor: Dual Core 2Ghz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: 1GB DX9 or equivalent OpenGL GPU


Processor: Quad Core
Memory: 4 GB RAM

Processor: Quad Core
Memory: 4 GB RAM

Processor: Quad Core
Memory: 4 GB RAM

Update 14. August
Developer MikeD has left the following comment on the forum about these system requirements:

Hi, re minimum spec, the humble store details [posted above] are my best guess at this time.

If anything I expect the recommended spec may even drop a little, all though its hard to say as Brent is busy adding more and more detail to the worlds.

At alpha the game wont be fully optimised so with the alpha build you will need a better machine than at final game launch. (you might have to turn down a few settings)


Dev Diary #9: Info on preorder, alpha, recent videos and PAX

The ninth developer diary has gone up on the Satellite Reign homepage. It is mostly information that is already known (if you follow Satellite News, at least), but there are a few news bits. The biggest one is that they are now actively working towards an alpha release. As the Early Access release is scheduled for the end of this year, and there will be both an alpha and a beta release before that, it would appear that we can expect the alpha within the next couple of months.

Another new information is that the distribution for backers will be handled by Humble Bundle. Backers will be able to either download from there directly or redeem a Steam key. It seems to me that this is a good choice, as Humble Bundle is an established platform for smaller and medium games, they are experienced with cross-platform releases, and most of all it relieves 5LS of the burden to manage the key delivery themselves.

Finally, we get a few new animated gifs webm video snippets of a scene that was also seen in the recent Good Game video. Main highlight in that in-game scene is a small flying object, which I am guessing is a police drone. It is seen shooting blue laser beams and causing panic in the crowd:

police-drone2 police-drone3