Starfarer Roadmap – What’s Next?

Now that the alpha has been out for a couple of weeks, you might be wondering what new features and changes are coming in the near future.

We’re aiming to release the next version, 0.34a, sometime around the end of this month. The main goals of 0.34a are to add some new content, enable the sharing of mods, and apply some polish/fix bugs.

Content
We’ll be adding a couple of new missions, both to show off some new ships and to even out the difficulty curve. The “medium” difficulty Hornet’s Nest will be re-labeled as hard, with a new, easier mission to take its place. The Onslaught, I’m sad to say, made a sorry showing in the missions that it’s in, due to how it was outfitted – so you can expect to see a mission where it unleashes its full power on you, the unsuspecting player.

Modding
In the 0.34a release, you’ll be able to easily share mods (download and unzip in a directory, then enable which mods you want to run with from the launcher). Mods can contain new missions, weapons, and ships. If you haven’t seen the player-created ships, you might want to check them out – they’re the motivating factor for modding functionality being in this release.

Bugfixing & Polish
Thanks in large part to your reports and feedback, quite a few bugs have been squashed. We’re also making various usability improvements, ranging from the launcher remembering your settings to tweaking the AI and UI.

For a detailed list of the changes that’s already been made, take a look at the live patch notes.

Looking Ahead
Beyond 0.34a, there are two arcs – adding features to combat, and working on the campaign layer (that’s where you travel, build up your fleet/character, etc). It seems important to get a functioning campaign layer implemented soon, so combat improvements will take a back seat. They won’t be completely ignored, though – perhaps a 25%/75% split.  (Continued after the break)
The refit screen is the big feature planned for 0.35a, and it sits between the combat and campaign layers – it affects combat,  but the inputs to it (weapons and hull mods) will ultimately come from the campaign.
A general outline of the features for 0.35a:
  • Implement refit screen, accessible from the mission detail screen
    • Each hull has a number of ordnance points (OPs), used to fit it with weapons and hull mods
    • Hull mods provide passive bonuses such as “Heavy Armor” and “Additional Thrusters”
    • Weapons must be fitted into slots of the appropriate type (energy, ballistic, missile) and size (small, medium large). A small weapon can be fitted into a larger slot – useful to save OPs for use on hull mods instead.
    • Flux Capacitors (+max flux) and Flux Vents (+flux dissipation) cost 1 OP each and can be taken to round out a design and use up all OPs
  • Update all hull variants to be valid under this system, add hull mods where appropriate, etc
Campaign Layer
The next step is to get a basic campaign layer up and running. It won’t be quite like the final game – the idea is to create something that works well with what’s already done, and then be able to mold it into final shape.
A rough outline of the features for the initial implementation of the campaign layer, tentatively slated for 0.36a:
  • Select a character (perhaps just one choice to begin with) which determines your starting fleet points and later possibly skills
  • Use the starting fleet points to create your fleet. Pool of available ships possibly influenced by character.
  • Travel around a single star system, engage hostile fleets
  • Capture enemy ships and salvage weapons to upgrade your fleet

Subsequent versions will augment it with features like:

  • A full character creation system and skills
  • Officers & crew
  • Establishing outposts on planets
  • Blueprints and ship/weapon manufacture
  • Trade & exploration
  • Faction relations
  • Raiding core worlds and outposts
Combat Improvements
Mixed in along the way will be various combat tweaks and improvements. Some of the larger items on the list now are:
  • Ship systems
  • Phase cloaking
  • Improved warroom UI (add fine-grained standing orders to govern use of weapons/systems, reduce amount of micromanagement possible)
  • Construction Rig, Repair Drones – repair ships mid-battle and build temporary weapon platforms around captured objectives
  • Munitions Ships/Drones – rearm you ships mid-battle
  • Mines!

The list is by no means complete, but I think it covers the major points. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments or in the forum!

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 at 7:25 pm and is filed under Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

22 Comments:

  1. Great to hear all the cool things planned! I’m surprised at how early a lot of the things are coming along actually!

    How does character selection work? Is it going to be superceded by character creation? Or will it act as a pre-created (ie, default choices) alternative to character creation?

    by Avan
  2. Yep, character selection will be superseded by the creation process – it’s a placeholder to let us jump into some campaign mechanics a bit sooner in the development process.

    Depending on how the pre-created characters work out, we might keep them around for a while, though. They might make a handy starting point if a new version invalidates save files or some such.

    by Alex
  3. Exciting news! I’m especially excited about the trading aspects of the game, and I’m hoping to see some interesting cargo specific ship designs coming out soon. While combat is awesome and I love the engine that this game is running on currently, I love a game that has really good trade mechanics and allows playing from a trade heavy angle. Keep up the good work!

    by Sambo
  4. I’ll second what Sambo says… REALLY looking forward to the trade/exploration side of this. Whilst the combat is fun, it isn’t necessarily what I most desire from this game. As mentioned though – good work so far.

    by DivingDuck
  5. Thanks guys! Yeah, the campaign layer should add a lot of depth – in its own right, and also by adding context to the combat. I imagine it’ll be a lot more exciting when your hard-earned ships are at stake.

    by Alex
  6. How are the updates recieved?

    by Glen
  7. For now, you’ll need to download and install the new version when it’s released.

    by Alex
  8. Why would you not enable Settings in Alpha? That’s just ridiculous. Right now it’s pretty much unplayable for anyone using a keyboard other than Azerty.

    by Fishstick
  9. Correction: other than qwerty.

    I’m on azert and since the ‘Settings’ menu is unavailable, i’m left with awkward keys for vital movement.

    For those on qwerty:
    Imagine moving with A for leftstrafe and Z for forward. Yeah.

    by Fishstick
  10. Because it’s a placeholder button for when the settings screen is actually implemented.

    Working on the very thing now, as a matter of fact – you’ll see it in the next version, which should be soon.

    My apologies for the trouble. In the meantime, I believe you could temporarily switch your keyboard to QWERTY mode as a (less than ideal) workaround.

    by Alex
  11. Yes, switching keyboard layout does alleviate the most immediate problem for us azerty users. Nonetheless, still eagerly awaiting 0.34a ^^)

    Great job sofar!

    by PyckenZot
  12. I found this game by a review from DIY gamer and ever since, have been super psyched for it, but I’ve been wondering for a little while now. Will there ever be a online mode?
    Like not a match with 16+ players but a simple 1v1, each telling there fleet what to do while piloting one of their many ships,
    Just like in single player.

    by misterjscape
  13. Glad you like it! About multiplayer – honestly, I don’t think so. It’s a *lot* of work – even something as “simple” as you describe – and any effort spent on multiplayer is effort not spent improving the single player experience. Being an indie developer, we just don’t have the resources to do both – and I’d much rather do one of the two well than try to do both and end up with subpar results in each.

    @PyckenZot You’ll be happy to know key configuration works in the dev 0.34a build, then :)

    by Alex
  14. Perhaps any kind of multiplayer could be planned for a hypothetical starfarer sequel or add on content after the game is released.

    also, will the campaign take place in one system, or will there be multiple systems that you can travel between in in other space games, such as escape velocity?

    by Pearce Michal
  15. Bought it, it’s a lot of fun but I do have a single complaint.

    This game is -really- hard. A difficult setting or more indepth tutorial is heavily advised! (of course, it is alpha so, grain of salt!)

    And as far as multiplayer goes? I’d hate to say it, but unless you plan to make some super stellar singeplayer (long standing campaign, upgradable/customizable ships. Maybe a free…mercanary mode!? That’s be pretty boss) I would almost say keep singleplayer as is and go for multiplayer :P ! But no, another solution might be to make the great singleplayer and then an ‘expansion’/DLC that could add multiplayer for a second price?

    Just an idea! I love the game, what’s here so far is really slick and well created.

    by Adam Ca
  16. Silly me! Everything I want in singleplayer is already on the way! I could not be happier with this purchase.

    by Adam Ca
  17. @Pearce Michal: Multiple systems. Highly multiple :)

    @Adam Ca: Happy to hear that! And yep, some way to adjust difficulty is in order.

    by Alex
  18. I would pay ALL my money for a multiplayer DLC/expansion.

    Really loving the alpha, but the difficulty is pretty outrageous. (:

    by Towercap
  19. When i saw the video.. i just had to have this game.
    So i pre-purchased about 6 hours ago, but still haven’t got the key.
    Just wondering how long the process normally takes, whether it is different on the weekends ?

    Thanks!

    by wuhu
  20. @Towercap: Thanks :) No MP in the plan, but we will have adjustable difficulty. Plus, in the sandbox you’ll be able to pick your own battles.

    @wuhu It can take a little bit for the order to be processed – seems to be about the same on weekends as any other time. Looks like you’ve gotten it by now though – I don’t see a pending order.

    Sorry for the delay, and thank you for your support!

    by Alex
  21. Yes, the key has arrived :)
    Thanks!

    by wuhu
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