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:
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.