It has been a few weeks since High Albedo v1.3 was released, and I haven't been wasting time. I have begun work on the framework for adding custom campaigns...
After decades of tension, the Orin and Ageiran Federations are once again at war with the ITC and Caina Conglemerate. Border skirmishes are getting more and more common, all while a mysterious and powerful alien entity systematically destroys all installations and vessels in its path. In the frontier various corporations fight powerful pirate syndicates for power and control of the last remaining raw resources within reach, the empires rapidly exhausting the asteroids in their domains. Where do you fit in?
The journey from taxie driver to NGO superpower begins with a single step. You are a disgruntled employee of Skybus Interstellar, the world's premier taxie service, who has stolen their company issued ship and has big plans for the universe.
After taking some paid time off I was able to complete the campaign for High Albedo! This optional campaign will have a big impact on the world and your faction standings. But that isn't the only reason to play v1.4 . This release carries bug fixes and performance improvements that improve the game even if you decide not to play the campaign.
The Campaign System
I say the system because it doesn't only allow for one campaign but for an arbitrary number of them. Although only one is included in v1.4, it is possible to write many more and even have some campaigns be required to be finished before others. Campaigns are started by hailing special NPCs who will offer a campaign for their faction. These campaigns can only be completed once, and failing them is permanent (unless you reload from a saved game of course). Maybe Nightmare will pay a visit during a mission?
ITC Police Z18GT was destroyed in Leslie's Hunt by Nightmare IKNFD Sidewinder Launcher  was destroyed in Leslie's Hunt by Nightmare IKNFD
The campaign added in this release isn't terribly difficult, and is designed to be completed early in the game. You'll have NPC escorts for many missions, and you should be able to complete it in a Crow. This campaign has multiple endings depending on the choices you make, and on how well you play. There are 4 main endings, one of which is very very bad for you. Note that your v1.3 and older saved games are no longer playable due to many changes made to the game.
To play this new campaign, you need to find an NPC called 'Ageiran Agent'. These NPCs are found in Ageiran space and you should be able to stumble upon one eventually. Just hail one and you will be offered this campaign. Be warned that, although I have played through the entire campaign to make sure it isn't bugged, this is a brand new game mechanic and should be treated as if it is incredibly delicate. Save often.
Also, be aware that the dynamic universe continues to run even if a campaign is active. This is intentional, I want the dynamic universe to potentially affect the outcome. One particular mission involving attacking a certain solar system might be very easy or very hard depending on what the dynamic universe currently looks like. Finally, be aware that this campaign has built in pauses of an hour or so between some missions. This is a freelancing segment and should be used to upgrade your ship and explore.
Adding new campaigns is easy, writing them is time consuming. In v1.5 I will be adding 1 or 2 new campaigns. One of these campaigns will be combat related, and the other would be logistics related. Now that the framework is in place, adding more stories is just sitting down and scripting them in.
Any issues you find in the current campaign you should report. If there are any that are truly game breaking, I can release a v1.41 that fixes them.
Performance and Bug Fixes
I caught a minor bug testing the campaign, one of the enemy fighters bailed on me and I realized I could claim it without salvage software. This has been fixed, and salvage software is now always required to claim a bailed ship. I have also fixed a bug where NPCs were being updated too often, a solar system was updating itself once for every NPC it contained! This has been fixed and there is a noticeable smoothness improvement. I have also reworked the function NPCs use to target their nearest enemy, this function was called all the time so optimizing it proved useful.
I am always open to feedback. This release has been challenging because I've never written a system for scripting campaigns before. Any questions, comments, or concerns should be sent to me here or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org . Getting feedback can be like pulling teeth, but it really is useful.
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