Starfarer 0.53a Release

The 0.53a version of Starfarer is now out! This update is focused on fleshing out the combat gameplay, and future releases will focus on campaign features. That’s not to say that combat won’t receive any more attention – but this release does wrap up all of the major planned combat features.

What’s new:

  • Ship systems – each ship gets an active ability – flares, burn drive, a combat teleporter – and many more
  • Phase cloaking – three new ships that use the cloak as a primary defensive system
  • New mission featuring phase ships
  • Tons of AI improvements, new modding features, and bugfixes

You can see the full patch notes here.

Download the new version using the buttons below – you’ll need to reinstall the game, but shouldn’t have to enter the activation code again.

If you’re using OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and are having trouble running the game, use this version instead.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 at 3:45 pm and is filed under Releases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

77 Comments:

  1. YES! Wohooo!

    by Upgradecap
  2. win. Win. WIN.

    by Someone.
  3. What’s the plan after this? Anything brief. Or a pointer for clueless old me to where this info can be obtained. Thank you!

    by Someone.
  4. Don’t forget for those that are unhappy about losing their “progress” from the prior build, it’s likely the post from Sebastian still applies: To dose that want to cheat or just maby try the bigger ships witout having to earn the money here are a few simple step how to get much cash fast. Thise only work on new game what I know and I have tested it myself and nothing wrong have happend to me but be sure to make a backup just incase.

    1. Make a new game and then you just press exit when you are in game. (OBS!!! dont press save & exit)

    2. Open instalation folder and then go to “saves” folder.

    3. Open the folder with the new game and open the campaign with wordpad.

    4. Press CTRL+F and search for “Credits” and the first hit under it it will say ” 5000.0? Change that amount to the amount of cash you want the exit and save.

    5. Load the game and there you go.

    I love the game and I only recommend you doing thise if you want to try som of the bigger ships fast or wanna try new ships from mod.

    by Nick
  5. Woooooooooo!

    by Trylobot
  6. Goddamn Noroton 360- it keeps deleting it :(

    by Pataroo1
  7. For some reason it wont let me download this version of starfarer.

    by 603bill
  8. Well, so much for me getting any work done today. :D

    [tarkin]
    You may fire when ready…
    [/tarkin]

    by Archduke Astro
  9. Whats next for me in this update I wonder…

    Burn Drive + Onslaught = WHOOAAAAAHHH

    by Bribe Guntails
  10. @603bill: Can you tell me exactly what’s happening?

    @Pataroo1: Norton is basically worse than any virus. Not much I can do about this, unfortunately.

    @Nick: I think this update might actually be save-compatible, for once. Though I’m not 100% sure.

    @Someone: Campaign stuff. No more detail on that until a bit later :)

    by Alex
  11. Nevermind my comment I got it to work.

    by 603bill
  12. Huzzah! Thank you!

    by y-aji
  13. YEY ^^ alex didn’t run with our money to bahamas ^^
    …or did he ?! dont care ^^

    PS: ::) the flux button… i miss him v_v

    by theSONY
  14. @Alex

    Aw, come on! I’m running out of nails to chew on! :-D

    by Someone.
  15. does attacking “independent”(mercs, traders make them aggressive) except the ones i’m attacking?

    like i may attack a trade fleet and succeed. would then the next trade fleet be aggressive towards me. i mean since they’re “independent” is that their faction or are they really singular npc’s

    by Andy
  16. I’ve been checking for this daily. I figured you update roughly every two months, and this was a but overdue. Can’t wait to try it! (Also, I can’t wait for the patch in a few days including whatever you accidentally forgot ;) )

    by DelicateTask
  17. “Independent” is its own faction, so if you attack any one of them the rest become hostile to you.

    by Minno
  18. at last!

    by xyz
  19. Yay now I have a very good reason to get back to it.

    by Troll
  20. The Phase system is great, but it seems somewhat underpowered to me, considering it is balanced by the high price, low hull integrity and lack of shields. Especially in situations where there is constant light to medium pressure (f.e. doom vs 2 frigates)phase ships seem to perform much worse than shield ships. Maybe if you could decrease the flux build up it would help?

    Btw the sound muzzling while phasing is really atmospheric, great idea :)

    by Gothars
  21. Being a fan of energy weapons, the loss of the flux-increase button entirely is a definite let-down.

    I can also only imagine with the new ship systems and AI improvements, it’s only going to make fighting even MORE annoying. My missiles already rarely hit. >_<

    Other than that though, everything else looks intriguing. Can't wait to fiddle with the new stuff. :P

    by Sin
  22. @theSONY: flux button is V for me

    by Trylobot
  23. Is it possible to have the AI sell/buy ships they don’t need or need and have them refit ships they capture so they don’t fly around with hulls? And would this concept be considered to be OP? –> Projectile oriented weapons will ricochet on armor if its hit in a high angle, dealing no damage but sending the shell in a different direction (could still hit if it ricochets into another part of the ship).

    by ValkyriaL
  24. And here I was starting to wonder what I was going to do with my long weekend… :) :) :)

    by RaveBomb
  25. In 1v1 frigate combat, the hypirion is immensely overpowered with its warp ability

    by spud
  26. It seems the mac version has errors. I haven’t been able to launch the game on my new mbp. The previous version was fine. Any ideas?

    by skyscrab
  27. Thanks for keeping up the good work Alex. The features in the new version are really enjoyable, and more importantly, show in which direction starfarer is headed combat-wise.

    I wonder if the next update will focus more on the strategic side of Starfarer.

    Either way, good job !!

    by Dimitar
  28. @DelicateTask: Ah, you know me well :)

    @Gothars: Hmm. Well, phase ships are generally going to do well vs something slower than themselves, but be overwhelmed if outnumbered by faster ships. That’s just how they work due to the phase cloak. Glad you like that sound filter – I’m a fan of it too. Stian (who’s been working on sound and music since before the previous release) suggested that idea. Also: recommend trying the Fortress Shield

    @skyscrab: Send you an email.

    @spud: Well, yes. Think of it more as a cruiser in terms of overall power and impact on the battlefield.

    @ValkyriaL: We’ll take a look at this sort of thing when the campaign is further along. Doesn’t make sense to do it now. As for the richochet, that’s a neat idea, but… well, there are lots of neat ideas, and one has to draw the line somewhere. Especially for things that wouldn’t be trivial to even try :)

    by Alex
  29. Chrome thinks this download is malicious and Firefox wont even open the link. When I say download anyway in Chrome it sends me to an xml file.

    by MileHighGuy
  30. Oh nevermind Chrome suddenly started working!

    by MileHighGuy
  31. @MileHighGuy: Do you have a Norton plugin for Chrome by chance?

    by Alex
  32. But would ricochet by trivial to try hmm? ;) do i smell my ideas coming to life?

    by ValkyriaL
  33. Wow Hounds are even more of a pain to solo in a lasher with thei flares now. It’s a good thing though. And seeing a Dominator sprinting to a near 300 was hilarious, perfect to catch up pesky fighter / bombers and other fast fodder.

    by Troll
  34. I want to add taht I tried the Afflictor frigate and it works really well. I fitted it with Atropos racks, and while my dominators were distracting all cruisers on map, I lurked to their engine and launched torpedo volleys. I downed 3 eagles taht way on the same map, phase ships are realy interesting as support, or as a way to make a ship fire a high flux weapon at you to get ot to overload more easily.

    by Troll
  35. by a
  36. Ive got another few ideas for you with low tech ships. seeing as they are well *low tech* cheap and hastily manufactured. you would expect technical problems. such as minor engine breakdowns or radar malfunction, or would this be considered not so suitable? and does it sound logical that the Hegemony would build their own low tech version of the Astral carrier, since the astral itself is to expensive and complex for them to manufacture? Because even the hegemony would know that a carrier is the ultimate solution for naval warfare since a battleship can only do so much, limited by the range of its batteries, while a carrier can attack something from afar with its bombers/fighters. Man i need to get a profile on that forum >.> i type to much here.

    by ValkyriaL
  37. I made a profile! YAY for me!

    by ValkyriaL
  38. does starfarer work for mac osx 1.8 (mountain lion). It dosen’t work for me. Just says Starfarer is damage and should be moved to trash :(

    by Adam
  39. There’s an issue – I’m working on it. Take a look at this thread for more info.

    by Alex
  40. The Omen imo is quite OP, the recharge time for the EMP is too small. I can keep my finger down on F for as long as I want and take virtually no damage, the only thing that i know of that can combat it is the Hyperion with the teleport.

    by Ben
  41. A little off topic, but is there anywhere to recover the activation code from an existing installation? I no longer have access to the email account the code was sent to.

    by Ricky
  42. @Ben: Quite possibly – although I’d say the great shields combined with the EMP, rather than just the EMP, is what make it so good. But it deserves a turn in the sun after where it was in all the previous versions :)

    @Ricky: Send me an email (address on right sidebar) with the full name you used to preorder and the mailing address,

    by Alex
  43. I was wondering, when do you guys think this game will be released? You dont have to give me an exact date, just a rough estimate or something. I would appreciate it and I love the game so far and keep up the good work.

    by UprightMan
  44. IS it good that in my fleet I have 2 paragon with all weapons and fully optimized ship with elete crew and thegiant carrier 4 of the ships that teleport and 3 xyphos fighter wings? By the way I wasnt sure about fortess sheild before but using I find it is very good. For example if you have lots of missles or bombs about to hit you can deploy it and save aload of flux. And alx I agree with you. For example now you can get it helps it . Doing several tests with it its very eccefitve agains smaller ship but when I come upon lots of small enemies or 1 or 2 large enemies it isnt as effective.

    by Farlarzia
  45. This game makes *edited for content*

    by ArthropodOfDoom
  46. @UprightMan: Ohh, easy question – I like those! The game will be released just as soon as it’s ready :)

    Seriously, that’s as specific as I’m willing to get. Naming dates, even vague ones – and even when you have a pretty good idea of what they are – is a bad, bad idea.

    by Alex
  47. Rofl?

    by Farlarzia
  48. I want to see a ship that can just self-destruct. Like you just fly it in the general direction of the enemy when it’s about to die and it creates a giant explosion that does super damage. And like the amount of ordinance you have on it can make it blow up even bigger. But at the same time the ship isn’t cheap so you really have to think about when/ if to blow it up. That would be a sick ship system. Oh and amazing update by the way! Have not had a whole lot of time to play it yet but the lower level stuff has a lot more variety now.

    by Ironcode
  49. Will the next patch be character and/or officer and/or more solarsystems?

    by Sebastian
  50. The next patch will be 0.53.1a – a hotfix release addressing various issues and making improvements based on player feedback to 0.53a. It should come out… let’s say, Sooner(tm). If you look back at the last couple of releases, that should give you a general idea for the timing of minor version releases.

    After that, yeah, campaign stuff. Exactly what stuff, you’ll have to wait and see :)

    by Alex
  51. Is the Mac OS build fixed for Mountain Lion yet? It fails to launch if App Signing is enabled. There’s a forum post about here:

    http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=3627.0

    by Brian
  52. the AI for phase ship looks very stupid and keeps phasing in and out under constant fire, wasting flux and giving enemy room to “breath”.

    by xyz
  53. it happened in a Doom vs Doom battle

    by xyz
  54. @Brian: Replied in forum thread.

    @xyz: The phase cloak AI definitely has some shortcomings, yes :) The good news is it’s already *much* better in the dev version. I’m a little surprised that you’d point to the Doom vs Doom matchup, though. Generally, an AI vs AI matchup where one side dies unnecessarily is much more important to address than one where the AI is overly cautious and doesn’t press an advantage. In the first case, there’s potential for the player to lose a hard-earned ship. In the latter case, the longer fight actually gives the player more opportunity to influence the outcome of the battle. At least IIRC, the Doom vs Doom matchup falls in the 2nd category in the version that’s out right now.

    by Alex
  55. AI hyperions used to die easily, now they kick a lot of ass (literally). I put rockets on it and it would launch those then teleport to attack from a second direction, very epic.

    The wolf has started eating the coward hounds now with the mini jump. It feels like it has usurped the tempest, who is sadly much less survivable now due to getting chased down easily by all the wolf/medusa/hyperions. The flares are sort of useless on the tempest since it alredy outruns most missiles. I think wolf/tempest should switch ability.

    I like that the Eagle/Falcon are much better now with the maneuvering jets, it makes the forward guns and shield design a lot more practical.

    Overall I think the abilities worked out really well to give the ships different character.

    by asdfg
  56. Hyperions would probably be a lot better at capturing objectives, if they weren’t so prone to teleporting a screen away to intercept fighters, rather than saying put on an objective that is 90% captured already.

    “Just 2 more second. 1 second more… Noooo… leave the danged talons alone.”

    by Rex
  57. My Apogee cruiser is not dissipating flux with its shields up at all at any flux level. Tried more vents, didn’t help. Am I missing something?

    Also ‘Intercept’ command says ships won’t get distracted by other targets than the intercept target. Still, they’re trying to bring down nearby Hounds while at it (unsuccessfully).

    by axicup
  58. Hi! As far as flux – see the little tick mark on the flux bar? That’s your “hard flux” level, and it can only be dissipated when your shields are down. Flux generated by shields absorbing damage is “hard”. (One exception: beams always deal “soft” flux damage to shields, so it can be dissipated away with the shields still up.)

    As far as the intercept command: yeah, you’re right. It should be more single-minded, that’s something I’ll have to take a look at.

    by Alex
  59. Oh, finally, I get the flux system now. Thanks a lot, Alex.

    You already know about the phase ship AI problems, I guess. It’s just that my Afflictor is incredibly passive and is afraid of switching back to real life even if there’s no one firing at it. But then the flux forces him out and it eats a missile in the face. Every battle is now a ‘save the Afflictor’ mission, lol.

    by axicup
  60. Love the new gameplay, and the AI is much more challenging with the new features than I found it before. Can’t wait for more campaign material.

    Keep up the fabulous work!

    by Jerry
  61. As i expected phase ships suck :D

    by Snukey
  62. No offence though alex

    by Snukey
  63. @axicup: Yeah, phase AI will be much better in the 0.53.1a release.

    @Jerry: Thank you!

    @Snukey: Well, you’re welcome to think that – but my considered opinion is that you haven’t figured out how to use them well :) They’re definitely very different, but flexible in loadout and highly effective.

    by Alex
  64. I expect you think they suck as they are not invisible and I costs alot of flux to make and keep them pahseed. But with thw alliterator you can with the low flux cost for using it dodge missles and weapon fire or make them missuse valuable low ammo weapons. also if they are already engaged you can go behind them without taking anydamage and then unload missles emp there ship so they cant move or fire weapons or just unlease a volley of friepower of your choice. theres ots of ways to use it and requires more skill to use. How ever you really needto some soemthing about the AI with it alex. Also could you make it so they mave a reduced cost for improved armour and health? or a hull mod that reduced flux use when there cloaked. thanks.

    by Farlarzia
  65. Is there any plan to add new ships in the future? not near future just at some point? thanks again.

    by Farlarzia
  66. Personnaly I find the phase shipsvery viable as submarine style torpedo ships, especially for aiming behind the shields at the engines.

    by Troll
  67. There is nothing to prevent the ai (and theoretically the player) from always turning off phase cloak the frame before it overloads right? So overloading from phase cloak is only due to mistakte.

    It might be a good idea to shift the flux cost of the cloak to the uncloaking action. This way opens up a choice to overload on purpose to avoid say a torpedo, similar to how you might choose to overload the shield from a torp or ship explosions.

    by asdfg
  68. From testing so far…

    Luckily, anti-phase weapons exist anyway, in the form of pilums, beams, and especially the tachyon lance.

    However, as I predicted, optimal piloting means the phase ship either stalemates or wins flawlessly 1v1 against anything without these countermeasures. With the short duration of the submersion, usually stalemate. Against the countermeasures, they get wrecked – their options are shoot pointlessly at the shield, or wait a bit and die anyway.

    Since playing, I’d like to see special pro-phase weapons that can be fired while phased. Especially if the FP/OP ratios are where you want them.

    -

    I find the burn drive suitably handy and suitably intimidating on the receiving end.

    The manoeuvring thrusters feel great, and well-matched to hulls. Seems almost strictly better than the burn drive, though.

    Fortress shield is shockingly powerful. Especially tanking the AI with support, I feel like I’m using an exploit.

    Teleporter: it was obviously going to be this powerful.

    Phase cloak feel great too. Love the dodging and risk/reward stuff. Shame the ships are so weak.

    -

    So, fleets with phase. It discourages targeting the phase ships first, as the way to beat phase is patience. However, since the phase ships take a hit on weaponry, I would target them last anyway.

    Once it is time to attack the phase ship, I can use the 1v1 strategy. Which means either I can crush it or it can get away unscathed, depending on whether the AI is having a good day and whether I have pilums/etc.

    by Alrenous
  69. There are alredy pro-phase weapons, most obviously torpedoes. More broadly any strike weapons or burst damage weapons (burst lasers are also the perfect anti phase weapon, while useful on phase ships as well). You can cloak, maneuver into a favorable position, uncloak, fire, recloak and retreat, leaving only a small window of return fire.

    Torpedoes and rockets are perfect since they don’t use flux, leaving more for the cloak, and deliver maximum burst damage if you can hit reliably as when fireing from point blank. They run out of ammo, but phase ships are not good for prolonged attrition fights anyway since they will almost always have to take some damage on armor.

    by asdfg
  70. @asdfg: Interesting idea, that. There is something that can force an overload – being on top of a ship or asteroid and being unable to phase back in – but that’s an interesting concept. Still, since neither the AI nor the player can do this perfectly… well, I’ll give it some more thought – at first glance, I really do like the idea.

    @Alrenous: I’m not sure I see the “stalemate” point. Any faster ship can keep away from a slower one indefinitely, so a faster phase ship is not unique at all in this regard. On the other hand, a phase ship faced with a faster opponent can be pressured effectively, so a slower phase ship can’t force a stalemate, either. Really, though, there are significant AI improvements coming up in 0.53.1a (both for phase cloak use, and for the ability of ships to keep on pressure – not just vs phase ships, but in general), so it probably doesn’t make sense to analyse what’s in 0.53a right now too deeply.

    by Alex
  71. Try for example an afflictor with 4 reapers, augmentet and auxiliary engines and maxed capacitors. It can backstab dominators in one hit with almost no chance of retaliation or evasion, or put an onslaught at 25% health.

    by asdfg
  72. @Alex, I think I was a bit unclear, the idea is to put the activation cost at the uncloaking moment. A bit counter intuitive, but lets the player choose to run the cloak just a little longer at the cost of overloading in desperate situations. Also makes it slightly harder for the player to judge when to deactivate cloak at the last moment withouth overload. The ai could choose to overload while under threat withouth looking dumb too as if it’s just failing a % chance to not stop cloak in the last frame.

    by asdfg
  73. @asdfg: It was perfectly clear :) It’s a neat idea – what I’m concerned about is being able to explain that mechanic to the player, since, as you say, it’s not intuitive.

    by Alex
  74. @asdfg, I am not afraid of a phase ship only firing missiles or torpedoes at me.

    That said, I checked and apparently I shouldn’t fly low tech against phase. You can overload the Assault Enforcer with the Afflictor, and it won’t get out of overload before the antimatter is cooled down and shooting again.

    So, flawless victory. Of course, even a couple capacitors fixes that. The burst is ~3800 and the Enforcer has 4000 capacity.

    -

    @ Alex, I think the problem I’m intuiting is with AI.

    There’s no way for a shield ship to sneak in shots without risk. It either engages and wins/loses or runs away.

    A phase ship can easily eliminate all risk. (More detail a couple paragraphs down.)

    In terms of AI, e.g. a Wolf will either engage a Medusa and die, or run away – you’d have to deliberately program it to troll the player to force a stalemate. Whereas an Afflictor with better AI can survive indefinitely after it tries to engage, trapping the player. Sure, fighters etc, mean it isn’t likely, but if it is possible, it will happen eventually. Unless you deliberately make its AI detect the situation and surrender.

    Similarly, the player can exploit these properties against the AI. A fleet entirely of phase ships should be able to clear out anti-phase factors and then survive indefinitely while the player has their way with the enemy fleet. It would be extremely repetitive, extremely effective, and extremely difficult to program an AI to strategize against.

    (For example, part is depleting pilums at range, which means a battle might start with one Doom and maybe escort avoiding contact until at least minute three. After that, it can defeat almost any size of fleet.)

    With a shield, I have to deal with unexpected overloads, missing the shield/misjuding raising time, misjudging how fast the other ship causes flux damage. In fleet situations, getting hit from another angle.

    The phase cloak is instant, 360 degrees, lasts exactly as long as I think it will, and I am the sole determinant of when it overloads.

    Have you changed any of these properties in the dev version?

    If I do damage, flawless victory, like vs. Assault Enforcer.

    If I don’t have enough flux efficiency to break the shield in question, then the larger ship can vent when the phase ship goes to vent. The Medusa AI already does this very effectively.

    The Medusa can only hit me if I let it – if I deliberately spend some of the flux I had reserved for running away again.

    In turn, I can’t hurt the Medusa.

    These factors affect fleet actions more or less the same way. If I’m in a supporting Wolf who the Medusa isn’t shooting, I can misjudge how much flux I need if it suddenly decides to pay me attention. The threat of unexpected overload is always there. Not to mention whittling damage from flankers.

    In an Afflictor, I do exactly what I do 1v1. Maybe I save slightly more flux in case a flanker makes me travel slightly farther…which saving is indeed easier, since I don’t have to break its shield with my flux capacity alone.

    -

    I also tested against an AI Hammerhead, more or less did what I expected.

    by Alrenous
  75. Stalemates will always happen due to faster+longer ranged ship, shield or phase or no defense, like the “coward hound” that happens all the time.

    I don’t see how phase ships are much different from normal ships in this respect.

    by asfdg
  76. @Alrenous: A frigate fleet could also be programmed to keep away until all Pilums are exhausted. Of course, the counter to that would be not to fire off Pilums until there’s an actual engagement they would support – the end result is about the same if you do neither or both. Any kind of fleet-wide tactic like that is kind of a moot point, anyway, since it’s not actually going to happen. You’re basically saying that a fleet of player-controlled ships could abuse a fleet of AI-controlled ships, to which I say: why yes, it could :)

    Non-phase-ships ships can already get a flawless win against other ships if they can power through the enemy shields without dropping theirs. For example, you can easily beat an Enforcer with a Tempest and not take any damage. Likewise, a Tempest won’t beat, say, a Paragon, but if piloted by the player, it could cause a stalemate. I don’t understand how this is specific to phase ships at all. If anything, a Tempest has a larger range of ships it can beat.

    by Alex
  77. I’m loving the new patch, but an age of empires style skirmish mode would be nice, as the simulator mode isn’t very flexible.

    by llamatoes