Starsector 0.95.1a Release

Update (12/20/21, 5:30pm EST): a hotfix for a late game hang while visiting a bar, along with a number of other fixes and balance adjustments (full list of changes here); please re-download the game using the links below.

Update (12/11/21, 9:20pm EST): a hotfix for a crash caused by defeating a [REDACTED] station and then a fleet in the same system is out.

Update (12/11/21, 4:00pm EST): a hotfix for an audio issue, background flickering during new game creation, cleanup of some dev options left in a dialog, and a few other issues is out.

Starsector version 0.95.1a is now out! This is a .1 release, meaning it’s focused on polish, bugfixing, and quality-of-life improvements – but more than the normal share of new features and sweeping changes have found their way into this one, as well!

  • Skill system changed for more flexible builds with more options
  • Several new game-changing top-tier skills, and other new skills
  • All skills can be re-specced, no more “permanent” skills
  • New ships: Eradicator-class Fast Cruiser, Manticore-class Destroyer, Vanguard-class Frigate
  • Missions show the mission target location prior being accepted
  • Dynamic slipstreams that enable quick and efficient travel in hyperspace
  • Sensor ghosts in hyperspace!
  • Improved early access to ships and weapons through arms dealers
  • Phase cloak changes to make phase ships easier to deal with if they’re outmatched
  • Ship AI improvements; ability to issue a “defend” order targeting a friendly ship
  • Various balance changes to improve variety
  • Modding improvements
  • Assorted bugfixing, polish, and numerous quality-of-life improvements

There are many more changes; the full patch notes, and the comment thread, are here. This new release should be save-compatible. Due to the skill system changes, skill points and story points invested into any elite skills will be refunded, and the skills will be reset when a save from the previous release is loaded.

You can download the new version here:

(Alternate download links, please try the above first: Windows Mac Linux)

As always, thank you for your support! I deeply appreciate it.

screenshot_release0951a

 

Hostile Activity

One of the design goals for the campaign layer of the game is that it should present the player with opportunities for combat. This doesn’t mean that everything you do in the campaign has to lead to it, but it’s a good thing to always keep in mind, regardless – how does a feature of a mechanic give context (and meaning) to combat, or lead into it directly?

If you’ve been following the game, this is something you’ve probably read before. So, in brief: this post is going to talk about some aspects of how establishing colonies leads the player towards combat. This already happens in the currently-released version of the game, and the changes I’ll talk about here are about three things: cleaning up some of the rough edges of the current approach, creating a system that makes it easy to add a variety of encounters, and building some infrastructure that can be used for other purposes, in particular implementing the endgame.

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The Pilgrim’s Path

So you’ve already heard the Good News? Blessed are you in the eyes of Ludd, already and truly. Do you count yourself among the Faithful, or has a sense of spiritual longing brought you to this shrine? Perhaps you’ve visited Beholder Station before? Have you contemplated the clouds of Kumari Aru, that sacred cradle of xenolife, which may be observed from the inner shrine? Many pilgrims speak of feeling a spark of the divine when contemplating the multitudes of Creation…

This is a sort-of a part 3 in the faction series but with more of a David-style focus, that is, on the writing, world-building, and implementation of a new set of missions, though I admit that the word “quest” in this case might have the right feel.

(I would carry on Alex’s blog title series but I simply can’t bring myself to write the word “uniquifying” more than this once. It’s just, *shudder*, one of those words.)

ALL HE EVER GIVES US IS PAIN

All of which is to say: I’m going to be writing about some new content for Starsector which involve the various Luddic factions: the Church, the Knights, and a touch of the Path. In particular, this is a new mission which involves visiting a series of Luddic shrines, having some encounters along the way, and taking a stance on Luddism in general.

There will be spoilers herein, but worry not, Citizen! There’s no SUPER ALABASTER REDACTED to bring the fury of COMSEC down upon us. That said, if you want everything to be a surprise, then you won’t want to read this post. But if you’d like a peek into the design and creation of some of the introductory content for the Luddic factions, then read on. We’ll start with some general background, design, and process discussion then actually show off new content as the last section. You’ll get another warning before that starts up.

Let us begin in the beginning, with first principles that flow from the essential question: What the heck is Luddism?

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Uniquifying the Factions, Part 2

Part 1 of this blog post series is here. Here in part 2, we’ll dive into making the remaining factions more memorable!

Persean League

“An alliance formed to counter Hegemony domination of the Sector. Members of the League don’t necessarily agree on all issues, domestic or otherwise, and may even come into armed conflict with one another. But the League is united when it comes to the Hegemony who they consider to be illegitimately enforcing martial law in the name of the Domain, a dead political entity. The League, by its laws, unites against other external threats such as particularly meddlesome megacorporations, warlords, and the Luddic Path.”

The League’s core identity is going to be that of using midline ships. However, because those are going to be sprinkled in throughout the other factions, the League will also have access to a brand-new missile weapon lineup: directed energy munitions, or, put more simply, missiles that fire lasers when they get close enough to their target. In addition, it’ll get a new battleship (to go along with the already-existing Conquest-class, which is a midline battlecruiser.)

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Uniquifying the Factions, Part 1

(First off: “uniquifying” is a real word! It doesn’t quite fit how I’m using it here, perhaps – more strictly, it’s about removing duplicates – but it’s close enough.)

With that important note out of the way: some factions in the game have a stronger identity than others. If you’ve played the game at least a bit, you have a pretty fair idea of what to expect of a Hegemony fleet, for example – large chunks of metal with a lot of firepower. In contrast, something like the Luddic Church is more muzzy. It’s got the same kinds of ships as the Hegemony, more or less, but they also tend to mount converted hangars with Perdition-class bomber wings, and some numbers – officer quality, ship quality, the exact mix of ship types – are adjusted. The two factions are different, but it’s not the kind of different that easily sticks in your mind – without checking, I couldn’t tell you exactly how those numbers differ, for example.

So, some factions are more unique than others; this isn’t necessarily a problem – in fact, it’ll be the case no matter what, to some degree – but it would still be very nice if each faction was memorable.
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Writing Starsector 2: Westernesse Boondoggle

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was happy to answer random questions about my game dev practice (offer still stands!), and in the following discussion I said something about having cut a bunch of text from “the anarchist art collective” portion of the Starsector missions. There was at least one person interested in hearing more, so who am I to deny this request?

It turns out that getting to that anarchist art collective involves – for the purposes of context, of course – a meandering path through the entire process of writing narrative for Starsector. Therefore, my friends, that’s what we’re going to do today.

There will be spoilers in this post for content that was released in Starsector 0.95, the March of 2021 vintage. I won’t talk about any upcoming content ( … unless?). So if you haven’t done the so-called “main quest” of the game starting at the Galatia Academy, both myself and Hegemony COMSEC recommend you hold off on reading further.

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