Starfarer 0.54a Release

Update: Hotfix for the tutorial crash is now up. Please re-download the game using the links below.

The 0.54a version of Starfarer is now out! The main features in this release are:

  • Character skills and aptitudes (19 skills and 4 aptitudes to choose from)
  • Redesigned fleet command interface
  • A slew of new features available to modders

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.

 

Alternate download links: Windows Mac Linux

Captain Personalities, Fleet Control Update

Ship captains (and wing leaders) can now have their own personalities. What exactly is a personality, in game terms? I’m so glad you asked!

For now, we’re concerned with combat-related aspects, so a captain being greedy or corrupt isn’t important – although it will be once you assign him (or her) to run an outpost for you. A personality consists of two parts – an overall bravery rating, and a desire to perform certain types of assignments (if you haven’t yet, check out this post to see what those are).

The following baseline personalities are in the game now:

  • cowardly
  • cautious
  • steady
  • aggressive
  • suicidal
  • fearless

It’s better to think of these as character traits that will later be combined with non-combat traits to make up a complete personality.

So, what do these *really* do?

Bravery
A captain’s bravery affects the immediate combat performance of their ship. A cowardly captain will hang back unless his side greatly outnumbers the enemy – and will be extremely careful to avoid enemy fire. A fearless captain doesn’t care much about being outnumbered (never tell him the odds), and is willing to face down the guns of the biggest battleship in the Sector if that means performing his duty.

In gameplay testing, a brave captain does much better against tough odds than a cowardly one – they’re able to commit to a a particular maneuver and not interrupt it out of fear, which, ironically, often keeps them safer. However, if the odds are too stacked against them, a brave captain’s ship is almost certainly doomed.

A cautious captain is much more likely to keep their ship safe when the odds are bad, but isn’t as useful in an even fight – unless their ship is armed with long-range support weapons, which they can use effectively while feeling safe. A cautious captain is also quite good at harassment, as he won’t force the issue and can keep an enemy tied down in a game of cat and mouse for a long time.

Assignment Affinity
As the fleet commander, you give general assignments to your fleet. For example, you can order your fleet to assault a particular objective, form a carrier group behind your lines, and patrol an area for enemy presence. The ship captains themselves organize to carry these tasks out, and their personality plays an important role in who does what.

An aggressive captain scoffs at the idea of staying out of direct contact with the enemy. They’re likely to join assaults, capture objectives, perform strikes on enemy battleships – but not hang back wih fire support ships, escort a carrier deep in friendly territory, or (gasp) lead a civilian craft to safety. Suicidal ones will outright refuse to perform some of these duties, finding any excuse to attack the enemy.

Cautious and cowardly captains are naturally the opposite. They’ll look for any excuse to avoid joining a direct assault, and will prefer sitting back in support roles whenever possible – and even retreat against your orders, when it’s not.

Thus, knowing their personalities and managing the assignments you create is important to your fleet’s performance. For example, you might want to keep an overly aggressive captain from going off on their own and getting killed – but telling them to defend a location won’t do. Instead, you might assign them to more dangerous-sounding patrol duty… in a safe location. Read the rest of this entry »

Mod Roundup

Starfarer is still fresh out of the gate – but there are already several playable and very promising looking modding efforts under way.

I hope you give these a try, they’re a lot of fun already. Installing a mod is easy – here is a quick guide.

Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters
One of several mods by forum member Trylobot. Thread & download link here.

The combat has a vastly different feel to vanilla Starfarer, with some striking similarities to Star Control in how it plays out. It’s till in the early stages, but there are already three ships – the Earthling Cruiser, the Ur-Quan Dreadnought, and the Orz Nemesis.

I’m absolutely loving how this mod is coming together. Being a huge SC2 fan I’m a bit biased, though – so here are a few screenshots so you can see for yourself:

Junk Pirates
A mod by mendonca, thread and download link here.  Features an entirely new faction with 6 new ships and fighters, showcased in a series of 4 missions.

My personal favorite is the Dugong-class destroyer, pictured below. It’s got an amazing amount of firepower concentrated in a broadside, and is fast enough to run circles around anything it can’t flat-out outgun.

More mods in the rest of the post…

Read the rest of this entry »

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)

Starfarer Alpha Released!

If you’ve pre-ordered, you can download the game using one of the links below. To run the Linux version, unzip, cd starfarer, and then run ./starfarer.sh. 

Thank you for your support! If you have any trouble with the game, don’t hesitate to send me an email (the contact into is on the right sidebar). Read on after the break for some notes about the alpha.

Download the alpha for your OS from a link on this page.

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