Beta 2.1 features various fixes, improves engine stability, adds general gameplay enhancements and some minor rule changes. BETA CAMPAIGN DEMO! Fully...
Ultimate Space Commando (USC) is an old-school turn-based strategy game that focuses on actual field tactics as a small group of elite commandos become engaged in a deadly conflict with a yet unknown, but rather ravenous species of aliens. Make relevant strategic choices, develop tactics and equip your soldiers as you see fit, try to survive and give the aliens hell in the single-player Campaign. Build and customize 4-man squads to play various 'Single Missions', Scenarios and 'Defend the Base!' actions alone or in a hot-seat or TCP/IP multiplayer session with up to four players, either man vs. aliens, man vs. man or even mixed, with various objectives, official scoring system, and much more. A full-fledged and truly Random Map Generator makes every mission you play unique and challenging.
USC is currently in its Beta stage, but most of the gameplay elements are already functional and very well balanced. Customized squads can even make progress by collecting crafting materials, prototype blueprints, and completing very challenging Defend the Base! sessions (a long-term undertaking, with trouble exponentially rising after the first 2-3 missions). The Campaign (and a few special scenarios) are the only elements missing, these will make USC complete in its final release (Q2 2014). Until then, patches and updates are being frequently released, fixing bugs, improving functionality, adding new features, and balancing things furthermore here-and-there.
USC is a difficult game. Once you familiarize yourself with the controls and all the little things that different weapons, gadgets, map elements, aliens, etc. can do, you might try to complete a mission on a harder difficulty setting. There are seven, plus other settings that can alter difficulty. All 7 were carefully balanced, with Easy being a jump-in for starters, and 'ULTIMATE' and 'Cataclysm' being only beatable--but beatable!--with top-notch gear AND tactics. No gear is useful unless you know how to use it to your advantage. You'll need all your brain cells, tactical routine and instincts to drive the Horde back on the game's true difficulty settings!
It has been a while since the last update. I'll try to make up for it in both information and content now. First of all, let me reassure you that USC is still under development, and as it is like my own child, I would never abandon the project. That being said, please kindly note that I'm the sole programmer/game designer/tester/graphic artist/etc. in USC (except for a few random assets, see Credits in-game), and unfortunately I have other worldy obligations that I must attend to. The release date I once set up had to be delayed, it is now Q4 2014. I'll continue to release minor fix and content patches as soon as they are shipshape, but the main focus is on the final, tremendous task now: the Campaign itself.
Development status update
USC Beta 1 was released with the full Single Mission and Defend the Base! game modes (which were actually improved in later patches). The philosophy behind this was of pragmatic nature: as I want to create a truly balanced, challenging, interesting and engaging Campaign experience, I needed the core game mechanics (i.e. weapons, items, enemies, combat rules, environments, etc.) to be up and running in order to be able to experiment with various mission setups, gear options, horde compositions (and so on) for the Campaign. But even so, there are exclusive Campaign mechanics to be made, the whole story and scripts to be written, and also the Campaign must be tested for bugs and balance, both mission by mission and as a whole! Now, after the past couple of months, I can say that exclusive Campaign mechanics (roster, research, event/script system, etc.) are 90% complete. What still needs to be done is:
-- most of the actual missions with story, testing and balancing;
-- 13 additional unit portraits (3 are ready);
-- additional cutscenes with new graphics for victory cases/defeat/new act/etc.;
-- a few other minor assets (for example more circuits).
The story as a whole is already set, but it needs to be told in missions with dialogues and log entries, collectible data. I also want to make sure that while it is something interesting and gives gravity to the game, it does not feel too compelling or too much if you want to focus purely on strategy and tactics. While a few plot mission will surely have script-based events, I intend to make these majorly based on your previous decisions or tactical actions. (More about it a bit later!) So this is no simple task at all, while I still have to improve other aspects of the game, including the engine. I'll try my best to make USC ready as soon as possible, but I'll never hasten the project at the sake of quality!
I'm also doing arrangements with some very talented people about an extended, original sci-fi vibe soundtrack for USC. Keep your eyes peeled for details, we'll soon make an announcement!
Beta 2.1 enables a Beta/Demo version of the Campaign for those who are interested enough to try it out. This contains the intro, the full interactive tutorial/introduction mission, an optional side mission with USC lore, and "Protocol Tight Shield", a threefold primary mission. At the apex of this, you'll have the opportunity to deploy two squads at once (if you want to), and will have the first really terrifying encounter with the alien horde. You'll also have full access to all Campaign mechanics, including the roster and research panels. Three unit portraits have been also added to the game as a demo of what to expect in the final release. It is absolutely understandable if you'd rather wait until the Campaign is ready, though. But those who'd like to try it out are free to do so, and any feedback is more than welcome!
The USC Campaign features a "no critical failure" approach. All mission data are saved. If you "fail" a mission (i.e. get wiped out or fail to complete it), you will (almost) always have the option to retry the mission. Items you previously picked up will not be there. Aliens you killed will not be there. Walls you destroyed will not be there. Doors you opened will be opened. This means that in most cases you may fall back if you find the resistance too overwhelming, re-gear, maybe do a side mission for additional Credits, XP and gear, and then return to the area in hope of success. You can only fail the game if all 16 of your units are dead or you do something with a critical outcome (e.g. set off a nuclear bomb). As previously said in other posts, the outcome of the Campaign will be based on many factors, and there will be several distinct "victory" and "failure" scenarios.
Saving in the Campaign is done automatically when you are in strategic mode. There are no individual saves, you have to live with the consequences of your actions (i.e. "Iron Man" mode). (If you find this too hard, there is an "Easy" difficulty level that will make tactical battles easier--but remember, you can fall back and retry a mission, you don't need to let all your men get slaughtered!) In tactical combat there is still only one save, but you decide when to use it (apart from the auto-save at the start). This means that if you chose not to save for a couple of turns, you would have the option to reload that last save, possibly going back in time to a point before a critical mistake, etc. Note that random rolls are pre-determined in missions, so you can't abuse this system by repeatedly reloading until you have that critical shot. You'll have to do something different to have a different outcome!
The Roster in the Campaign lets you to freely organize your four squads of four units. You can swap units between squads and change their order inside a squad. You can rename the squads, choose squad color and give custom callsigns to your units. In the final release, you'll be also able to select/import custom squad logos. Your units won't automatically heal to maximum after a mission, it takes time based on your crew's proficiency in healing. You'll also need to make sure there is always enough ammo. New weapons, ammo mods, items and even prototypes become available as you find blueprints on the missions. A few mods can also be researched. A smaller amount of Credits are earned after successful missions, but your main source will be salvaging! (You can either find raw Credits, or sell items that you found and don't need.)
Research plays an important part in your grand strategy and in the story. You can also access the Mission log, where you'll find entries from various members of the crew after each mission. These entries can shed light on mysteries, help you in tactics, or just give you an insight about how your men feel.
Other aspects of Beta 2.1
The patch also fixes various minor bugs and glitches, introduces a few lesser combat system changes, and adds a couple of new functions. One of these is the Single Mission preset system. The game will now remember your last settings for Single Mission mode. You can also manually create presets and set up a Single Mission in a matter of seconds using them.
The general stability of the engine has been also improved, it can finally handle video memory flushes (mostly happens if you press Ctrl+Alt+Del or another program aggressively takes over the display). See the downloads section for details. Even if you don't want to try the Campaign Demo, it is strongly advised to apply the patch as it improves various general aspects of the game!
Thank you for reading. The development continues on. Have a good day and happy hunting!
Latest tweets from @creatio49
USC Beta 2.1 is now available with exclusive demo Campaign content! Also a lot of fixes and enhancements. Get it on IndieDB, Desura or IGS!
Jul 28 2014, 12:18pm
This also means that Beta 2.1 might even feature some Campaign-related content (portraits, etc.), and will contain additional improvements!
Jul 4 2014, 2:14am
USC dev. progress is speeding up with all kinds of Campaign stuff. Beta 2.1 may be delayed a little, but the overall project is on schedule!
Jul 4 2014, 2:10am
Beta 2.1 is close! It will mostly feature engine stability improvements and a few minor rule tweaks. Dev. progress on the Campaign going on.
Jun 18 2014, 6:59am
Got a new keyboard after 7 years, enjoying typing once again! XD
May 21 2014, 1:02am
USC Beta 2.1 Update coming up in a few weeks, Campaign coming by the end of summer! Keep your eyes peeled, marine!
May 20 2014, 12:51am
Mar 26 2014, 3:29am
Ultimate Space Commando Beta 2 Update (v0.9.1.0) is scheduled for next week! This is probably the last "core" patch before Scenarios arrive!
Mar 21 2014, 5:16am
Got a virtualized Windows XP today to properly emulate Direct3D acceleration and I can confirm that even this way, USC runs just fine! ;-)
Mar 18 2014, 10:09am