Starsector 0.9.1a Release

Update (05/20/19): a hotfix for an issue causing no salvage to be generated after some fights and a few other issues is out, please re-download using the links below.

Update (05/17/19): a new release fixing a few relatively minor issues is out, please re-download using the links below.

Starsector version 0.9.1a is now out! This is mostly a bugfixing-and-polish release, though there is also some new content and a few new mechanics.

  • Rebalanced colony progression so it’s both not as demanding of constant attention and doesn’t immediately catapult the player into the endgame
  • Improvements to ship AI, in particular escort behavior is much better (see here) and carrier survivability is much greater
  • Two new capital ships, used by the pirate and Pather factions, and a new pirate skin for the Shrike
  • A “randomized start” option
  • Various quality-of-life improvments (can set speed-up time to be a toggle, etc)
  • Reworked high-end fleet spawning – generates more large ships, and fewer ships overall, instead of just a larger number of ships
  • Large fleets can now disengage without being pursued if they can deal enough damage in a pitched battle first, even if they lose it
  • Added ambient sound track when visiting a portside bar
  • Assorted combat balance tweaks
  • Many bugfixes and modding-related improvements

The new version should be save-compatible, although some mods may require a few adjustments to work.

The full patch notes, and the comment thread, are here. You can download the new version here:

(Alternate download links: Windows Mac Linux)

As always, thank you for your support!

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GIF Roundup

I’ve been working on a lot of content recently – some hand-crafted missions, new weapons (and ships), some endgame material, and so on. While that’s all terribly exciting, it unfortunately doesn’t leave me with a whole lot I can talk about without spoiling things. There is another feature I’m working up to – somewhere at the intersection of “mechanics” and “content”, a bit more the latter – that I’ll be able to talk about (at least, if it pans out), but that’s still a little ways off.

In the meantime, I thought I’d revisit some of the gifs I posted on twitter while working on a new set of weapons. (There are also ships that go with these weapons, but those are not to be talked about, I’m afraid. Hegemony COMSEC was quite clear on the subject.) I’ll also talk a bit more about the effects, so even if you’ve seen these already, there’ll be something new – and there may be one or two you might have missed, even if you’ve been following along!

First, a picture of the glorious mess these can produce when employed against a hapless Paragon. This is a bit over the top; I wouldn’t imagine things would look quite this extreme very often.

(Lest you think I hate Paragons, since they seem to be commonly used for target practice: it’s only because they’re the only thing sturdy enough, I swear.)

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Painting the Stars

You may have seen this post by Alex come up on your TriPad™ last month – click to visit the lovely original video.

See also a related TriMedia Experience here.

Clearly, something’s up with at least one star or Domain-era tech definitely-safe star-like object. I’m not here to say what’s precisely what or how you players will inevitably try (and succeed) to exploit the mechanics of it, but more to speak about the artistic method to in portraying said star-adjacent objects and/or activities.

Well. I’ll have to spoil a little bit to explain how I’m approaching artistic these problems, so buckle up and be on alert for a COMSEC lockdown. This is the deep-dive digital painting post the Hegemony doesn’t want you to know about!

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Raiding for Fun and Profit

I’d started out trying to add a story point option that would, to quote my TODO list, “make ground raids more of an early-game activity the player can engage in”. Some time later, I ended up with a total revamp of the ground-raid system, and no story point option. I promise, I can explain!

(If you’re unfamiliar with story points, see this blog post. In brief, they’re limited “do cool things” points that you’ll gain as you level up. Both the points and the cool things to spend them on will be in the next release.)

Now then, back to how this happened. Story points are not an end unto themselves – the goal of the TODO item was, after all, entirely about ground raids in the early game; story points were just a possible way to do it. So, the first thing I’d tried was letting the player use a story point to stage a “surprise” raid, with higher effectiveness. This means you don’t need as many marines to accomplish something useful, which in turn means you can do it earlier in the game. Technically correct (the best kind!), but also, doesn’t hold up.
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Skills and Story Points

I’ve wanted to update the skill system for a while, but that’s part of the challenge with early-access style development – if you update something too early, you might have to update it again, when yet more things change and make that part not-quite-fit once more. With how many parts of the game the skill systems has tendrils into, it wasn’t something I wanted to do more than once.

Now, finally, the game is in a place where I can do that – I’ve got a good overview of what I actually want from the skill system, the number of unknowns is low, and most of the unknowns are probably known.

(Please note – some of the graphics and text in the screenshots to follow are placeholders.)

So, what are the goals of the skill overhaul? First and foremost, the skill system should increase the replay value of the game – that is, depending on what skills are picked, the player should be able to explore new ways to play the game.
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