Post news RSS Weekly Update #85: A Big One :D

Massive update this week! We've reached a significant milestone, and have tasted what hundreds of players involved in a space battle can look like. Major patch released over the last weekend, 0.2.0.0, and great community response as we push toward our future milestones, Alpha Weekends, Alpha, Beta, and full release.

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Update85_Header


Hi everybody, this is Flavien. First I would like to congratulate Keith on becoming a father ! Of course, he’s been pretty busy ( what an understatement ) this week with the arrival of his child. But although the timing was pretty bad, I’m happy to report that we successully released the pre-alpha patch 0.2 as we announced last week. So far the feedback from dev-tier backers has been very good and they seem to have a lot of fun with the new build. That being said, let’s have a look at the main features of the new version. A fan-made video is also available, thanks to SpaceJay:


Patch 0.2 main features:

  • Scalable network refactoring: we do now support hundreds of ships / potential players in a single battle. This is no longer a far-distance dream; this has already been tested with our US-East server and seems to be working well, even with larger battles and no instancing.
  • AI / bots: the server is now populated by dozens of bots that fly around and hunt each other ( or hunt players ), around points of interests such as space stations. Bots are still experimental and not guaranteed for the release, but we feel like they add a lot to the game experience so we’ll do our best to integrate them into the final game. There’s also an AI commander that controls the flow of the battle and spends team credits to calls for reinforcements on hot battle spots.
  • Improved HUD / UI: while those are still placeholders for the most part, we’ve introduced a number of enhancements such as a chat, mission objectives, warnings, new target indicators and more. We’re aware that battle / teammates awareness is an issue, but we have a lot of ideas to improve it in the future. Placeholder voice commands have been introduced, as well as wheel-based radial menus for various ship systems.
  • New content: a brand new icy planet is now available. Check out the pictures or the video stream below to have a taste of how it looks like. It’s personally become my new favorite planet :). There’s also a giant asteroid ( almost a miniature moon ) available around the gas giant.
  • Capital ships are now available: again, they’re mostly placeholders ( don’t forget ships are mostly unfinished and untextured )… but for the first time, players can experience them, and even try to fly them on a planet’s surface… which can lead to some pretty hilarious moments.

I streamed a presentation of the new patch last monday; if you haven’t seen it yet, you can see the game in action here:


Next steps:

Now that this pre-alpha patch is out of the door, which has sorted out most of the technical / refactoring issues, iterating on gameplay is going much faster. However, before we can deliver the alpha ( probably around Q1 next year ), we still need to add more content and gameplay:

  • Functionnal factories and land bases, so that players can attack / destroy / protect them. Those will generate credits for your team which then gets redistributed. The art for those is almost ready.
  • New weapons and missiles, as there’s only one weapon implemented in game at the moment ( generic blasters ). Also, auto-aiming turrets, which will make capital ships playable. At the moment they fire in a straight line, and they’re so slow that aiming smaller ships is impossible. But this will get fixed before the alpha is out.
  • A star-system map, showing the various objectives and hot spots, allowing players to coordinate with each others.
  • And of course, there will be a lot of bug fixing and polishing before we can deliver this alpha. More work on the atmospheric flight model ( which is pretty basic right in the current version ), more work on warping, shields, controllers, interface etc.

If you want to see more, you can head on to our forums where you can find more screenshots and videos of the latest patch.


screenshot14
Cruiser controlled by a player, flying over the new icy moon


Comments
ddeo
ddeo

Looks cool

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TheVidmaster
TheVidmaster

If you keep developing the Bots, I might purchase the game after all. Here are some arguments:

* good Bots that can do everything a human player enable you to test (even automatically test) your game way better
* good Bots that can do everything a human player ensure longevity of the product and that players on a non-full server have a good experience too
* good Bots create a viable single player experience, widening your potential audience to include more players (including yours truly)

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InfinityDevs Author
InfinityDevs

AI bots weren't originally part of our plan for the game, however we decided to include them in order to stress test the system. Hundreds of AI all firing weapons at the same time gives us something rather spectacular to work with ;)

Improving the AI for actual gameplay purposes is something we've begun to explore, but we haven't yet decided how far the AI should be developed. There are still a lot of core gameplay features that need to be addressed before we can really polish a decent "AI" framework :)

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Juris3D
Juris3D

First, Thank You for update!
Second, points about bots (and kinda-singleplayer) are valid and very much important. If game is multiplayer-only (human opponents), and for one reason or another looses user base - game is dead and quickly forgotten, even if it has great features and stuff. If game is playable "no matter what" (no Net, no human opponents), it can live, AND eventually attract human competitive players.

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InfinityDevs Author
InfinityDevs

You're most welcome :)

The bots have definitely given life to the current build of the game. We may continue to develop them in the future, but want to ensure our core features are developed first. The current bots are pretty simple at the moment.

At the very least, it gives our low population server something to shoot at (since so few of our backers have access at the moment)

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