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Helium Rain's combat system is now finished ! We're moving on to implementing quests, exploration, and technology progress.

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It's IOTY 2016, and we've got some heavy news for you ! Let's start with our latest trailer...

We've been working on the game like never before - we did hundreds of source code changes in the last month, added many new content assets, fixed dozens of bugs. The main focus was on combat, here is what we've been up to.

Combat system

The combat gameplay is all but done. We've made it challenging and realistic, here are some highlights.

  • Fully Newtonian model : if you want to brake, you need to turn around and accelerate.
  • Localized damage : you can disable a ship's propulsion by shooting the engine, or cut off the ship's power by destroying reactors. You can disarm it, strand it, disable it, or plainly destroy it.
  • There is no speed limit, and speed had an effect on your weapon's efficiency - your gun shells will have more energy when fired from a ship flying at 400m/s !
  • Artillery shells implement complex behavior, like minimum-distance detection, or shrapnel ammunition. This technology makes our capital ships extremely lethal
  • Bombs are a great way to attack stations or large, slow ships. They are just bombs, without any guidance, so successful bombing is an art :)

You have various ships at your disposal in Helium Rain, from the small shuttle to heavy battleships.

Capital ships

Capital ships default to automatic fighting. Gun turrets will automatically pick up targets and shoot them down. But the dedicated ship-destroyer can also enter the fire director mode, where a group of turrets will fire at your command, leaving the ship's piloting to AI.

AI ships

Of course, this brings us to our AI enemies. Our AI is particularly capable : it can navigate asteroid fields at the speed of sound while hurling gun shells at your predicted, future location. We're pretty proud of it. It's also quite good at swarm fighting - just watch our collision avoidance demo !

AI ships can also fight alongside you, and they can of course be neutrals as well. Seing freighters flee like a flock of birds is especially amusing !

Strategic AI

This is a more obscure, but extremely important item. In helium Rain, you play as a company, and other companies exist as well - all of them bigger than you. The strategic AI is what makes those companies trade resources, plan diplomatic ties or military actions. They also act as the bones of the game's economy, so we want to make sure AI companies are initially helpful to the player, and increasingly hostile if you don't play nice.

Our economic model is even more realistic than our combat system, and part of our latest work was focused on making this a reality. We wrote a complete devblog entry on this. Here's an excerpt from the article :

  • There is no magical creation of resources. Even AI competitors actually need to mine, forge, assemble their products. AI factions play with the same rules and you can take their place in the world economy.
  • The game simulates an actual population that buys food, fuel, tools or technological products. Population growths drives increased demand.
  • Any faction can produce ammunition or repair supplies and sell them to competitors, so you might end up getting fire at with ammunition you made.
  • You can get in a bomber and attack a competitor’s factories. Other companies will have to buy resources from you instead. You can also win a war by cutting off your opponent’s supplies.
  • Destroying all production for a resource imperils the entire economy. There are no safeguards for this, so you can break the game and drive yourself into financial crisis.

What's next ?

Now that the combat systems are finished, we're moving on to player progression. We'll now be working on a dynamic quest system that generate profitable tasks for you. The two other big features we're planning are exploration - you'll be able to discover new places - and technology progress, enabling you to build more ships, have better weapons, etc.

In the meantime, thanks for reading - and please vote for us if you're into this game !


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