The new PC demo of Auralux is out now! It includes a couple of old levels and a bunch of new ones, as well as some special multiplayer maps. We wanted to show off some of the new features in Auralux: Constellations, so we included a sampling of three new mechanics. One of those is the Supernovas, which we’ve described earlier on this blog. The other two new mechanics that you’ll find in the demo are Orbits and Speed Terrain.
The Orbit constellation showcases one of our oldest ideas: moving suns! In each Orbit level, some of the suns on the map will constantly drift along a circular path.
In some levels, lots of suns are orbiting at once, revolving in opposite directions, creating a chaotic battlefield. You might colonize a sun when it’s close to your base, then find that it’s isolated or surrounded by enemies a moment later. Or, you might see an enemy sun orbiting toward your forces, and set a trap. These levels are more unpredictable, requiring skilled improvisation and finely honed sense of how the battle is progressing.
On other Orbit levels, only a few suns will be moving, but they’ll often be the most important suns on the map. Sometimes, they’ll separate and converge on a valuable point, setting up a reliable cycle of conflict. Other times, they’ll pass from player to player, allowing an opportunity for an easy ambush or surprise attack.
The Orbit constellation is full of new levels that explore this mechanic in different ways. We’re happy with how they turned out, and it should be a nice change of pace for novice and expert players alike!
The third twist that’s featured in the demo is Speed Terrain. This is conceptually similar to the Minefield Terrain, but instead of destroying the units that travel over it, the terrain merely speeds them up or slows them down. Fast terrain is shown as a green nebula, while slow terrain is shown in red.
Because you can adjust the gameplay speed of Auralux: Constellations, the effect of Speed Terrain isn’t about having more or less time to think. You’re free to adjust to a comfortable speed! Instead, it’s more about changing the topography of a level. Two suns that are connected by fast terrain are conceptually “closer” (since it takes less time for units to travel between them) while a sun that’s surrounded by slow terrain is conceptually more distant. Speed Terrain allows us to change the “shape” of a level in ways that can’t be done otherwise.
The demo features one Speed Terrain level that features a few moving suns, partially borrowing a mechanic from the Orbit maps. With Speed Terrain (as well as Minefields and other terrain-type constellations), a portion of levels include suns that oscillate back-and-forth between two points. This allows for some unique and interesting gameplay scenarios. In Speed Terrain maps, these suns pass over slow terrain, allowing your units to hitch a ride across.
Of course, reading about these mechanics is not nearly as fun as seeing them in action, so give the demo a try if you have a PC available, and don’t forget to vote for the game on Steam Greenlight so that we can launch it properly!