Phase Cloaking – a Deep Dive

As usual, after a major release there’s some time to polish up some things that there just hasn’t been time for up to that point. In fact, a lot of the upcoming 0.7.2a is turning out to be about “paying off” technical and design debt – things that are “good enough for now”, but do have to be addressed at some point.

doom_vs_enforcer

One such is phase cloaking. There’s a post from a while back on how the current mechanics came to be if you’re interested in the details, but let’s summarize:

Way, way back, the original idea for phase ships was something submarine-like, being able to hide on the battlefield and deliver surprise attacks. That sounds like fun but didn’t turn out to be practical, so phase cloaking changed to become a way to avoid damage instead – shift to another dimension, let enemy fire pass through/over your ship, uncloak, and fire back. That essential concept remains unchanged in this new iteration; the changes are looking to address some specific issues with the implementation.

What, then, are the issues? Read the rest of this entry »

The Ion Pulser & Development Process

Or, if you like, “A Charged Subject”.

Or “David gets Alex to basically write half the blog post by quoting his emails”.

Right, so let’s take a peek into the process of back and forth commentary and iteration Alex and I  go through when adding a new weapon to Starsector. I think this may give some insight into how this game gets made and how working on one small piece of it rolls odds and ends off into other areas of development.

Our story begins with a simple request for a new weapon asset.

pulser1

Just spray & pray!

Read the rest of this entry »

Starsector 0.7.1a Release

Update (12/05/15, 2:10pm EST): another hotfix up! A few more assorted issues.

Update (12/04/15, 10:40pm EST): another hotfix is up; more fixes related to procurement missions.

Update: a hotfix for the mission destination issue is now up. Please re-download using the links below.

Starsector version 0.7.1a is now out! This is mostly a bugfixing and polish release, but there are some new features making their way in as well.

  • Faction commissions – align with a faction to fight their enemies and gain access to their technology
  • Faction hostilities – take advantage of opportunities presented by temporary hostilities between major factions
  • A much easier easy difficulty
  • Higher sensor ranges during the early game
  • Lots of bugfixes and a few balance adjustments

The full patch notes are here. You can download the new version here:

(Alternate download links: Windows Mac Linux)

As always, thank you for your support!

 

Starsector 0.7a Release

Update: a hotfix for an occasional after-battle crash is now up. For detailed notes clickhere.

You can use the download links below to get the hotfix.


Starsector version 0.7a is now out! We’ve also got a shiny trailer for you to watch while the new version is downloading.

 

New features in this version:

  • Expanded battles – come to the aid of beleaguered allies, or be swarmed by enemies
  • Campaign terrain – nebulas, stellar coronas, hyperspace storms, and more
  • Sensors – play cat and mouse games with enemy fleets or patrols seeking to ruin your smuggling run
  • Abilities – “go dark” to hide in a ring system, or use “emergency burn” to chase down a pirate
  • Combat officers – hire and level up officers to power up the ships you assign them to
  • Campaign missions to take on for profit
  • Faction and reputation-specific music
  • Six new star systems, five new ships, and three new weapons

There are a lot more changes – 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!

 

Expanded Battles

First, a brief summary of what this post is about – a new campaign feature that allows nearby fleets – naturally, including yours – to join ongoing battles.

If you’ve been following the development of this release, you’re probably aware that things are in the “polish things and make it fun to play” phase more so than in the “add more features” phase. Why, then, add a significant new feature at this stage? The answer is that it’s a direct response to playtesting, rather than a specifically planned-for feature on the roadmap – it’s meant to help address several important gameplay issues, some quite long-standing. Now was a good opportunity to do it, and here we are. Looking back, I’m glad I ended up taking this on now rather than later – with how many different pieces of the code this change touches, it would only get more difficult with time.

battle_join

Let’s take a brief look at what the design goals are, and then we’ll dive into the specifics of how it works. Read the rest of this entry »

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