Alpha 3 covers a lot of ground. There have been fundamental gameplay changes, new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements. This is the most stable and complex version of Outlier so far. I think you'll like what I've been working on.
I want to point out that this version is not compatible with either the saves or config files from Alpha 2, the first thing you should do is delete the .outlier directory if you have one. Having an old version's files around would cause problems, it's safest just to delete the directory. This is located at
Almost every control is now remappable. This was requested by a real world friend of mine who pointed out that this is 2014, he should be able to remap controls. In Alpha 2 you could remap some aspects of your joystick. Now, you can remap almost every control by editing a config file. See the Controls.txt file in the download for details.
Improved Lead Indication
The indicator you've seen in the past wasn't really a lead indicator, it was a relative velocity indicator that showed you what direction and how fast something was moving relative to you. This is handy, but doesn't help you aim guns.
This marker has been rewritten into a proper lead indicator. It takes into account the average speed of your cannons and shows you about where to aim to hit the target. In case anyone is wondering, the indicator is calculated like so:
Vector3f targetLoc = target.getPhysicsLocation() .add((target.getLinearVelocity() .subtract(getLinearVelocity())) .mult((distanceTo(target) / speed))); return targetLoc;
Where speed is the muzzle velocity of the projectile being fired.
This new indicator works so well that I've given it to the NPCs too! They are a lot better at hitting things now, and surviving in an outnumbered fight may be difficult. If you're upset you can no longer take on several pirates at once in a light fighter, remember you wouldn't be able to take on several pirates at once in reality either.
To make up for the lost relative velocity indicator, a dedicated reticle has been added for it. This is a cyan circle, the lead indicator is a square.
Turrets (Watch Your Back)
What good is a really heavy fighter if it isn't bristling with independently targeting turrets? No good at all, in my opinion, which is why Alpha 3 has introduced this wonderful weapon system. When enabled, a turret will automatically attack the closest enemy (that it has a line of sight on) to the ship it is mounted on. Turrets use the same lead indication calculation as the main guns do, but they calculate it relative to themselves instead of the entire ship.
Right now, the Crow and Raven have received turrets. The Crow has a rear turret, for shooting at things while running away, and the Raven has a rear turret and 2 flank turrets. This makes the Raven a much better heavy fighter because it can lay down fire in multiple directions. Ravens are now quite dangerous.
In the future, the work done with turrets will allow for gunboats, destroyers, and carriers to be added. These all depend on turrets and could not exist before this point. But that is for a later release, for now the existing fighters have received some upgrades.
In High Albedo, you could talk to NPCs and, if they weren't hostile to you, you could get missions from them. These missions were very challenging and in no way scaled with your progress as a player. This same mission system now exists in Outlier.
To get a mission, find an NPC you are on at least mediocre terms with and hail it. You'll be able to ask for jobs, and will be sent an offer. The following kinds of missions are currently available.
- Bounty Hunt - The hardest, by far. You'll be told the last known location of an NPC the agent is hostile to somewhere in the universe, but that's it. You'll need to track this NPC down and destroy it to get paid. Note that this isn't a Freelancer style "go here, shoot this" and that you'll need to actually find the NPC.
- Ware Delivery - You need to deliver a bulk shipment of something. You have to deliver the entire shipment at once, so make sure it's possible to deliver before accepting.
- Station hit - You have to go destroy an enemy station. These are usually deep in hostile space. The bright side compared to a bounty hunt is stations don't move.
- Wingman - You have to stick with an NPC for a period of time and follow its movements, and keep it from dying if it is attacked. These are the easiest mission if you have the patience to stick around for the time required.
A cool thing about the mission system is it never spawns anything, all missions are against an NPC that already existed long before the mission was proposed. The dynamic universe's population affects the mission pool.
Get Rich or Die Mining
A classic income generator, especially in the early phase of space sandbox games, you can now go shoot asteroids and collect the ore they split off to sell. This is probably the lowest entry barrier profession in space sandbox games, and provides an income source even if you've hit rock bottom (hehe).
Simply find a suitable asteroid field and fire your weapons at one of the asteroids. It will split off units of ore that you can collect and sell. Collecting the ore is the hardest part, you'll have to maneuver your ship into the moving ore fragment. This is where that relative velocity indicator and a steady hand comes into play.
The user interface has been overhauled to make it easier to use. Firstly, you'll notice that it is now hover-to-focus instead of click to focus. This is handy, because you just have to move your mouse to something to start using it. It also makes using the UI easier in a combat situation since you don't have to click as much.
Secondly, you'll notice that ESC no longer quits the game. Now, quitting requires pressing F4 and clicking on an "Exit" button, so accidentally quitting the game is virtually impossible. ESC now dismisses all the center-screen windows allowing you to easily clear your field of view.
You can now use SHIFT when typing into an input box. Not every character is available, but you can do cool things like type a lower or upper case character (which I find handy). Scroll bars actually work now, they stopped working in the transition from High Albedo to Outlier. You can scroll through lists using the mouse by dragging the scroll bar.
A few other edge case UI bugs have been fixed too, which I don't find important enough to go into but I'm sure will help someone somewhere.
Cruise and Combat Mode
I've added a penalty for keeping weapons armed all the time. When a weapon is armed, a ship experiences a velocity penalty. When weapons are off, you can go much faster than you can now.
This solves the problem of balancing travel time against combat mechanics, because previously a ship could go just as fast fighting as it could traveling, and it made balancing mechanics hard. Now, ships that are traveling can travel fast and ships that are fighting can fight at manageable speeds.
AI ships have to observe the same restrictions you do, and they will turn their guns on and off based on what they are doing to optimize their travel times.
Bug Fixes, Balancing, and Performance Improvements
There have been lots of assorted bug fixes and performance improvements.
- Lists will stop scrolling if they lose focus or visibility.
- Hostile stations are no longer discovered without getting into sensor range of them, making finding hostile bases hard as intended.
- Ships will now take the planet safety radius into account when flying to planets.
- Fitting and unfitting modules now requires being docked.
- God script will no longer spawn way too many NPCs (which eventually caused serious performance problems as the population ballooned out of control).
- Patrols are no longer omniscient. They don't magically know the location of enemy stations, and have to actually happen by them to find and attack them.
- Traders no longer get stuck if a station won't accept their sale. If
a station became 100% full of a good the trader was trying to sell, the
station would refuse delivery, and the trader would get stuck in a try
to sell loop. Eventually it might succeed, but not necessarily. Now
traders will move on in this case.
- Stations have had their health multiplied 10x.
- Projectile sizes for cannons decreased on average.
- Number of Rogers NPCs increased.
- Number of Frontier NPCs increased.
- Frontier NPCs will now longer populate out of control.
- Frontier can now have bases in NC, SC, and Commonwealth space.
- Various fixes preventing long term performance drop with old saves.
- You no longer start with a jumpdrive.
With all these mechanics working properly, I want the Alpha 4 release to focus more on world building (new ships, new stations, new factions, overhauls of existing game assets, new wares, new missions, rumors, etc). This was pointless with so few mechanics in place, but since Outlier is becoming a proper space combat and trading game, it is time to revisit this.
When adding new ships, I want to add carriers and transport ships that you can dock large numbers of fighters to, as well as wing command mechanics to make commanding fighters easier. This goes along with adding capital ships, freighters, and other ship types currently missing from the universe.
I am always open to feedback! Feel free to leave comments here or email me at email@example.com. I really appreciate it. Fly safe!