This week I am finally feature, code and content complete for the Space Combat update. Now it's just play testing, bug fixing and once everything is stable and bug free, I'll get the update posted for everyone.
This week I worked on the Incursion mission system. Incursion missions take place randomly when you are exploring in space. Stations and AI ships in the system will offer you a reward if you can defeat hostile ships in a specific area. You get a cash reward, faction and of course loot when you defeat the incursion. These missions are temporary and if you dock or land on a planet, the incursion will not be there the next time you enter space. They do persist between save games - so if you have an active incursion and save your game while in space, they will be active the next time you load your save.
Of course, there will be more mission types for Alpha. Once Alpha is released the plan is to add more detailed mission types - an example would be:
You receive a distress signal from a ship orbiting a planet in the current system. You accept the mission and travel to the ship and defeat a group of ships attacking the AI that contacted you. You could then be given another mission to rescue the remaining crew on a nearby planet. Once that mission is resolved, the AI may send you to another sector to take another task.
The mission system is quite powerful and procedural missions like this will keep the game alive long after the main story is completed. In sandbox mode, these missions will be the backbone of exploration.
The other big task this week was Station AI. Stations now launch local ships that mine local asteroid fields. It's just the first of several AI tasks local systems will be performing that will make systems feel alive and populated.
That's all I have for this week. Now it's just a matter of crushing a list of bugs, play testing and making sure everything is stable for the update. Thanks for being patient everyone!