Starfarer 0.53.1a Release

Update: … and that’s what I get for talking about hotfixes. New version is up – there was a bug having to do with built-in weapons – using “strip” from the refit screen or loading a variant would permanently remove them. This is now fixed, please re-download the new version if you got it already (links below updated, new build is RC5).

Original post below.


This release is essentially a hotfix for 0.53a, though a couple of new features have also snuck in. Not exactly a “hotfix” because there’s nothing urgent, but nonetheless, lots of things merited short-term improvement. Ah, terminology – the bane of every developer.

What’s new:

  • Lots of AI improvements (in particular, phase cloak use, and overall AI aggressiveness)
  • Built-in weapons on the Onslaught (“Thermal Pulse Cannon”), new system (“Terminator Drone”) for the Tempest
  • Balance changes and bugfixes
  • Various modability improvements
  • Fixed issue where the game wouldn’t run on OS X 10.8 with certain Gatekeeper settings (thanks to everyone that helped get this resolved!)

The full patch notes are 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.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2012 at 12:29 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.


  1. Sweet! Gonna go play some Onslaught missions now. Thanks Alex!

    by Trylobot
  2. Thanks guys!

    @Misterjscape: To me, “beta” means feature complete and needing mostly testing, balancing, bugfixing, and polish. Given that there’s a lot left to go in the campaign, I wouldn’t say it’s close.

    by Alex
  3. That was fast! Now I just have to wait for Ascendency to update (possible my favorite mod for this game).

    by Misterjscape
  4. By the way. Where would you say Starfarer is in development? Is it close to reaching beta status?

    by Misterjscape
  5. Thanks for another great update even if it is a small one.

    by Farlarzia
  6. Thanks for this. It is very good indeed!

    by Someone.
  7. oh, Thermal Pulse Cannon, 1250DPS!
    I am going to try it out now. 😀

    by xyz
  8. New guns for my favorite ships grants you with a (bear) hug. Thanks for continuing to enhance the game. I dodn’t expect new stuff along with the fix.

    by Troll
  9. I tried a few battles with the Onslaught and it really does change the way to fight with it. Now taht we get a damage bonus with flux, keeping a mild flux level is a good thing, and the fact that the thermal pulse cannons do not move make the main canons more of large ship shooter. Adding auxiliary thrusters to the ship really adds more assault flexibilty coupled with the burn drive, and allows somewhat of a “spray’n’pray” with the new weapons which seem to work quite well at a range agains small ships and fighters due to the high fire rate.

    by Troll
  10. Hyperion costs 15FP?!
    ..Yeah, I guess it should, eh.. God I love that ship.
    The terminator drone is a great little add-on too.

    Mmm, drones as hull-mods…….

    by chevbob
  11. Love it! I was just thinking that when is the next patch coming, and then, Puff: 0.53.1a has been released! I was so excited. Nice bugfixes and little add ons. Lets hope 0.54 is coming soon.


    by Random409
  12. This game is getting better and better all the time. I can’t wait for the final release, with player made bases and extra systems. 10 pounds well bloody spent!!!!! Thanks guys!

    by Sam
  13. By the way, I hope you liked my suggestions regarding the scoop ships lol, <3

    by Sam
  14. When I got to solutions, I realized there’s only one, and I doubt you’ll go for it.

    Scale both phase costs with flux. (Or something functionally identical.)

    The problem is that the phase ship is invulnerable to anything it is faster than, but a phase ship that can’t pick its fights guts the mechanic, and will soon die in any case. So, engaging has to slow it down. There’s already a mechanic for this, the zero flux boost.

    This has additional benefits. First, eternal cloak as long as you don’t shoot at anything, which is fun and handy. Second, after about half or 2/3rds flux, the ship becomes committed, where each shot spent only slightly reduces its getaway time, and dodging shots becomes less and less appealing; there would be a tradeoff between harassment and going for the kill.

    It would result in phase ships sometimes venting in range, instead of out of range, which means they don’t have to be made of tissue paper. Similarly, small mistakes won’t be as rare and so don’t have to be punished so hard. Players faced with a frustrating phase kiter can win by outplaying them, by grinding them down, instead of only by being faster/having a laser/etc. Phase ships would still be able to escape, but they would have to vent first, creating an opening.

    I don’t have a problem with the player causing stalemates, because the player can decide to give up.

    Though I suppose the autobattle can always get the player out if the AI forces them into a stalemate.

    Nice work on the phase AI. Ambush is suddenly much less frustrating.

    But, my theoretical strategy works. The Doom’s burst lasers absorbs the pilums so they don’t shoot down the frigates, and once the pilums are gone the frigates basically don’t die.

    (If it will help my case, I’ll do the boring five minute runaround in Ambush and then make the Doom flee, then time how long it takes for the frigates to die.)

    A player could deplete pilums with a shield frigate fleet, but they aren’t rewarded with invulnerability. They’re still subject to forced overloads, for example.

    So let’s talk about swing.

    I also don’t have a problem with flawless victories by themselves, but rather with the swing. At present, a burst laser or +20 speed can be the difference between flawless victory (or stalemate) and embarrassing failure. A few capacitors is the difference between stalemate and a lethal overload.

    That kind of swing basically isn’t balanceable. If the phase cloak is weak enough that it can be killed without anti-phase, it will be utterly crushed with anti-phase. If it’s worthwhile in the face of moderate anti-phase, then there’s the potential for stalemate.

    And the phase victory is fairly easy, whereas the shield victory is hard. Yes, it’s possible to beat an Enforcer without damage in a Tempest. Executing the optimal strategy is not easy. It takes concentration, you have to watch your flux, you have to watch for flankers, you can’t be late on raising the shield, you can miss with the shield. In a phase ship, you can plan for how many times you can fire. If the first time you notice a flanker is when it starts to shoot, it just means cloaking early and re-positioning.

    There’s also issues balancing the AI. Either the player is frustrated with their phase ships, or they’ll be frustrated by enemy phase ships.

    The Afflictor can flawlessly win against the Assault Enforcer. The AI dies ignominiously. Frustrates player. (Less easy with the antimatter bug fix – I have to pull fancy tricks, I would expect an AI to stalemate. The Enforcer reacts instantly to surfacing, the Afflictor doesn’t react instantly to the shots.)

    Or, balance the Afflictor around unnecessary risks/unnecessary damage, and it will become an uber death machine in the player’s hands.

    Fix this issue, and then a player piloted Enforcer will be frustrated by the Afflictor. Sure, Enforcer vs. Afflictor isn’t realistically likely, but an Enforcer plus a couple Lashers vs. some phase frigates will go into the same dynamic.

    It’s pretty hard to fix without removing the fun part – the dodging in and out. The swing comes from the fact that phase is all or nothing, and changing that basically makes it not phasing anymore.

    You’ve convinced me that damage through phase doesn’t work. It would have be be pitifully small anyway, so it would take forever, and in any case beams basically do this already.

    by Alrenous
  15. Norton thinks this is a virus >.>
    I don’t know how to tell Norton that it isn’t.

    Any halp would be appreciated.

    by Sweetraveparty
  16. Hi! Take a look at this thread, 2nd post down:

    by Alex
  17. This isn’t really anything about the game but… I just wanted to say you are really dedicated Alex! It’s hard to believe how much you are putting into this game. It makes me glad I brought it. Looking forward to more….

    by Adam
  18. @Alrenous how do you arm Doom in the Ambush mission, so it can shoot down all pilums without dying?
    I can’t get Doom to survive missiles, and flanking by faster ships/fighters ,alone no matter how many point defense I put on it.

    by xyz
  19. I cannot wait for more campaign updates, I would like to see the ability to mine asteroids for ores that can then be smelted, and you can salvage refined metal from wrecks, these can then be turned into ships, supplies, and weapons. Oh yeah, and the Hyperion needs house-training. Dammitt HMSS(I’m British) Now Overpowered, leave the fighters alone!

    by llamatoes
  20. @xyz

    I use the default loadout on the Doom.

    The deal with the Doom is that it has enough armour to ignore the fighters while it vents some flux, but it doesn’t have enough capacity to use the pulse lasers much. When I see pilums, I fly backward, keeping the missiles in the overlap on the burst PD, and only phase when they’re about to hit me, and then unphase immediately to keep shooting them down. I only use the pulse lasers when I have lots of space and I’m confident of a kill. I don’t go over half flux unless I have to.

    It is important the frigates stay alive to distract the enemy fleet, so I suggest a load of swarmers and PD on the frigates, so A: they don’t spend flux on shooting and B: you can pack on more capacitors C: anyway, you know their main enemies are fighters and pilums.

    by Alrenous
  21. Hey Alex, Steam Greenlight is up, you should really get a look and add Starfarer, I’m pretty sure the game will get a very nice rating.

    by Troll
  22. I completely agree with the Steam Greenlight suggestion. This being on steam will probably get more people interested in it.

    I absolutely love it and only found it because of TotalBiscuit doing a couple “WTF is” videos of it. After watching those, I just HAD to jump in and I’ve enjoyed it since. Tried to get a friend to try it out as well but he’s being rather reluctant.

    Anyway, great game so far. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for it in the coming months.

    by Sequence
  23. We are STILL waiting for new version!

    Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme!

    Gimme pls? 😀

    by Qlko
  24. @alex
    Greenlight has gone online on steam and I recommend that you put starfarer there. you can earn alot of money on it and more people will be able to try out this awesome game! 🙂

    by Sebastian
  25. Re: Greenlight – thanks, guys, I’m aware of it. Don’t want to put Starfarer there until I feel it’s ready, though.

    @Qlko: … seriously? The last release was 2 weeks ago.

    by Alex
  26. Understandable, we do see some games in pre-alpha stage that get negative reactions because they only have mechanics to show and temporary templates.
    I’mm pretty sure Starfarer has enough to show right now, but a full game would surely impress mire.

    by Troll
  27. @Alex
    It was 2 weeks ago… so I’m waiting 2 weeks for new pwning version of this awesome game 🙂

    Gimme pls? -.-‘

    by Qlko
  28. C’mon guys give Alex a break, it’s going to be at least a couple months before a new content version is released most likely. Patience.

    by Psigun
  29. Not on topic but, anyone else having a great time at PAX Prime?

    by Misterjscape