We've officially finished all of the content we had planned for the beta (we're going to call it 0.9 from now on). For those who don't remember what that is, it includes the New Republic and Imperial Remnant fully playable with all-new ships, structures and research trees. It also includes all of the non-factional new mechanics we've explained so far in news posts like ship performance that degrades with damage, migration, escape pods. With the release itself we'll provide full documentation on the changes and how everything works. All that's left for us to do is to clean up some UI and text components, do some balance adjustments and finalize a few assets. This means we can finally move on from estimates and give a solid release date for 0.9.
Unless something goes very wrong, 0.9 will be uploaded on:
Keep in mind that this is a beta (technically alpha, really), and therefore there are still many things that are still not done yet or unbalanced to some degree. The primary goal with it is to give everything to a larger audience to help generate new ideas, have more data to help balance, and get feedback on systems so we can weed out or change them before they get too entrenched. The primary focus of this news post is going to be to discuss several of the features and content we've still got on the backburner for the full release and beyond, some more specific than others.
1.0 will essentially be used to finalize existing content and polish what's already there. The first priority of 1.0 will be to finish fleshing out any incomplete areas of the Remnant and New Republic. On 0.9 they have about 90-100 techs each, for example, but there's still room where we feel there could be more, which we'll use to fill out any gaps in their existing trees. We also plan to add one or two new ships. Secondly, this is when the bulk of unit VOs will be added and we'll make a final decision on music. You might be saying "well why don't you just throw in regular Star Wars music," but there are potential issues with that. We'll also finish off planet textures, backgrounds and begin to redo some of the models and skins that need it (something you'll know we do quite often, if you've followed our work on Thrawn's Revenge). Also more maps. Always more maps.
Beyond that, though, there are still many things we want to add and change, but did not want to overpack the first release with a mess of changes, or delay it longer. We've started a lot of our military changes with 0.9, and that will always be a focus, however there are several systems we're looking to implement and change in the economic, diplomatic and cultural components of the game to help it live up the the 4X genre. We'll talk about these more in future updates after the release of 0.9.Another area we've talked about before is trying to make the game feel like a more "living galaxy." There are a few primary ways we intend to do this that we haven't implemented for 0.9. The first is to give planets more unique characteristics; Kuat ideally shouldn't feel the same as every Tier 3 Terran planet, and Coruscant shouldn't be the same as every Ecumenopolis. One way we aim to change this is through specific planet bonuses and artifacts. Another is through unique (functional) structures and landmarks, like Centerpoint at Corellia. We also intend to use random events.
Finally, and I'm sure for many people most importantly, we still have several factions to go now that the first two are essentially finished. First off, we have the Empire of the Hand, which is itself sitting pretty close to completion and will either be in 1.0 or 1.1. Secondly, we have the Ssi-Ruuvi Imperium. Thirdly, the Yuuzhan Vong, which we haven't officially mentioned before but which we have hinted at and everyone picked up on, and even hidden some Vong fleets in a few screenshots which I don't think anyone's found. Finally, we've been talking internally about what to do with the Hapans. Initially we planned to make them one of the playable factions but leave them relatively underdeveloped, which none of us were very happy with. The other option was to do what we did with the Empire of the Hand and further fleshing them out on our own; they're a faction that canonically has a pretty significant chunk of territory and although they're most famous for the Battle Dragon, Miy'tils and Nova Cruisers, they are mentioned as having multiple other classes (Hetrinar bombers, Beta Cruisers) so it's a bit of a grey zone for us, especially since with the whole Legends canon thing they're unlikely to ever get fleshed out more. Alternatively, if nobody is happy with either of those options they'll be subsumed as a branch of the New Republic's diplomatic tree and left as militia-style forces.
If you want to join the team while we work on this stuff, we have a thread where we describe the kinds of positions we could always use more help in on our forums, so click here if you're interested.
Finally, here's the second part of our second Let's Play of the mod, in which I crush Palpatine and Daala starts to become a problem for the other 3.
That's all for now. The next news post that doesn't have a Let's Play will have a download link for 0.9