Sam Minnis
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Gamer Friends,

Hello! My name is Sam, I am an independent game developer representing a project I’ve been working on for about a year now. It is a game/website called Galactic Council, a science fiction themed deck building game wrapped within an outer-shell progression/rpg type system. I have completed a working prototype of the deck building portion of the game that plays quite nicely. My plan is to put this project on Kickstarter, utilizing the prototype to demonstrate my commitment to the overall goals for the website. While the prototype is certainly fun to play and a full deck building game in its own right, what I think makes Galactic Council news worthy is my vision for the project: an active, ongoing, community-developed game environment.

The Vision
Galactic Council sports several features that set it apart:

Player Choice - I worship at the altar of player choice. Galactic Council will bring unprecedented amounts of player choice to the gaming community by allowing users to provide game content in the form of game rules, card abilities, and cards themselves. The reorganizing of these 3 key game elements will allow for virtually unlimited game types, keeping a fresh vibe to the game as long as there are content contributors.

Ultimate Portability - Galactic Council’s game code was written for and designed around web technologies and languages. What this means ultimately is that if your device can run an up-to-date web browser, you will be able to play Galactic Council. It is not flash based. Access the game and housing website anywhere!

Comprehensive Lore - In the lore of the game, the Galactic Council is a ruling body who collectively write the rules for conflicts over the universe’s most powerful and precious resource: sentient nanomachines (or “Nanons” for short). The relationship between Nanon “harvesting” and the Galactic Council is crucial. 50,000 years before the current setting of the universe, Nanon collectors/Galactic Council members stopped adhering to the agreed upon rules of combat and all hell broke loose.
-A massive intergalactic war was fought, infrastructure crumbled, entire civilizations vanished. The results of the war were such that Nanon’s were no longer active within the universe, and no one really remembers why. Fast forward the current setting, and Nanons have just begun to reawaken. The Galactic Council needs to convene once more and make decisions on how upcoming conflicts over Nanons will be fought, or else find the universe plunged back into another vicious power struggle followed by yet more dark ages.
-Nanons form a symbiotic relationship with a host and augment their natural abilities in surprising and unique ways. No one knows the exact reasons why a colony of Nanons chooses a particular host, but a popular theory is that the host has mental attributes the Nanons “sense” they can enhance. The powers granted by Nanons to their hosts are varied an unpredictable, but it would appear that personality and intellect play a large role in power manifestation. Nanon hosts are bound to seek out more Nanon Colonies to augment their already considerable powers. Those who maintain the greatest amount of Nanons sit on the Galactic Council and wield inscrutable influence. 8 members within the game’s community will fill these seats, and they will be powerful!
-In summary, the lore justifies the rule making mechanic outside of the core deck building game. The player is cast in the role of a Nanon Host, traveling to the corners of the universe to harvest more Nanons. As members of the Galactic Council, players will have the power to impact how conflicts are fought and resolved via cards, rules, and abilities that are voted on by the community.

A Community Driven Game - Each month, I will release a new build of Galactic Council. For each build, I will visit the community brainstorming page and pick a handful of the highest rated concepts for new features. I will begin implementing them and release them to the general public when they are bug-free and balanced within the existing framework. This means a steady stream of new “building blocks” for the community to work with when deriving new content. The more active the community, the more content you’ll find on the site. It will be my job to facilitate this content creation, making it fast, intuitive and rewarding. I have great plans for this.

Web Technology - Web technology (hooray for HTML5!) is advancing at such a fast pace, it is beginning to offer an unprecedented interaction level between websites and their users. I intend on utilizing the technology to really push the boundaries of what a game can do.

Who am I?
I have spent a considerable amount of time and education to become who I am professionally today, and Galactic Council is the project that leverages my skills and abilities.

Emerging Webmaster - I’ve been getting paid to work on websites for about 3 years now, but have been programming for 10+ years. I stopped freelancing for others and began working on this very project, a website designed to push the limits of gaming systems and player interactions. Everything you see on the Galactic Council website it self taught. That’s presentation, content, and logic, so I want interested parties to know that I’m resourceful and fully capable of delivering this project in all its scope - efficiently. In fact, much of the prototype was constructed with reusable code, meaning that, given a successful funding campaign, I will hit the ground running.
Avid Gamer - I have been playing video games for 25 years now. I play all kinds. I have a special affinity for RPGs, tabletop/board games, and strategy type games. I have always dreamed of working in the industry, making my contribution back to the community that has given so much. I know I’m not alone in this regard which I why my “dream product” is a community driven game, allowing others the chance to collaborate and design.
Psychology Dude - I have extensive knowledge of psychology. I have an undergrad degree and two years of graduate work. My areas of expertise are learning, motivation, human factors, human to computer interface, and statistics. The Galactic Council project benefits greatly from my knowledge in these areas and the unique ways they will interplay.
Statistically Competent - Statistics is an integral part of psychology, and I am no statistics slouch. It is the fundamental foundation upon which information about people is collected and synthesized. I plan on taking these techniques and practices into the design of the Galactic Council system. For instance: there are mathematical techniques to suss out “lurking variables,” like relationships between cards that enhance gameplay. Basically, I have a structured toolset that allows me to analyze collected data and improve the game in real quantitative ways. Some of these processes can even be automated, further streamlining the product into a lean, mean, gaming machine.
The Creative Type - Being creative isn’t something one just declares, its something one demonstrates. I would hope that my work to date does just that. However, I don’t want to be creative in a vacuum, I want to create with the rest of you. I want to construct an environment where my creative efforts are reflected within a community of co-creators, and my content ranked right alongside other contributing members.

That’s everything! I hope it’s all clear, if not feel free to email me with any specific questions. I’ll put a few links here:

Link to the “About” page, rehashing a bit of what was covered in this email.
http://www.samthewebsiteguy.com/galacticcouncil/promo_conten...

A link to an interactive game tutorial:
http://www.samthewebsiteguy.com/galacticcouncil/onepage/tuto...

A link to the game’s lobby, where one can generate a link for a game. This link can either be copied and pasted to a friend, or it can be posted in the lobby for others to find.
http://www.samthewebsiteguy.com/galacticcouncil/onepage/lobb...

A contact page with my e-mail, twitter, and facebook information:
http://www.samthewebsiteguy.com/galacticcouncil/contact_page...

Sam Minnis
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Dallas Tucker
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The artwork looks really nice. It is a pretty cool idea, and I like the similarities to Dominion (I love the game [even though I have only played the base game], and despite the fact that I think I am worse at it than any other game). I will keep this project on my radar. There are some improvements to the game interface that could be made. I would like it if the card popups were larger. I don't know if it is me, but the cards are somewhat hard to read. Maybe a different font would help. Also, I think that a lot of the words on the right side of the screen, and the collector tech upgrades, could be made smaller/turned to symbols so that the sizes of the purchasable cards could be larger.

That may seem like a lot of criticism, but really I think that you have something good here.

Edit: Welcome to BGG!
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Sam Minnis
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Thank you for your input! I didn't think it was too much, that's exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. I did manage to address a few of these issues today:

I changed the font to something I assume is more legible, and I also tried to max out the font size wherever I could. I'm hoping for more card legibility now.

I really like your ideas on turning words into icons, I just need someone who's actually talented at making icons.
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Dallas Tucker
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I can read the card text much better now, though I still can't make out the card names very well, and the costs are somewhat difficult to make out. Additionally, the "CollectorTech Upgrades" bit doesn't fit in its box any more. However, it is definitely a big improvement, as the most important parts are now pretty easy to read.

I understand the need for someone to make icons, as I am unskilled at that myself.
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Sam Minnis
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Thanks again Whoshim. I made adjustments to the card titles, they should appear a bit larger I hope (it depends on the size of your display.) The cost should definitely be bigger. Could you tell me what your browser/display combo is? You can PM me it if you prefer. I need to find the combo where "CollectorTech Upgrades" doesn't fit into its box.

Also, I asked one of my contributing artists to take a stab at a few icons, we'll see what he says BTW - if anyone wants try their hand at icon creation I'll happily feature your work and give you a profile page just like the other artists get. I agree with Whoshim here, if I could get an icon for influence/transmission points I could make the purchasable cards bigger!

How is the gameplay? Has anyone had a chance to give the game a go? Any suggestions on that front?
 
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