Hyperspace Terrain

In an earlier post, I’d talked about terrain. An astute observer might have noticed that the terrain discussed there is all more or less normal stuff – nebluas, asteroids, etc. Nothing that’s a good fit for hyperspace, which has more of a “weird” feel.

hyperspace

The first question is, what’s the goal of adding terrain to hyperspace? Obviously not having any terrain there would be a bit boring; spicing things up with some variety is not a bad goal, but something more specific would help guide the design better. So: “make hyperspace travel something that can be done well or poorly by the player”. This fits with the overarching goal of terrain making travel more interesting. Unlike normal terrain – which generally makes things interesting by impacting your interactions with other fleets, i.e. hiding from someone inside a nebula – the goal for hyperspace terrain is to be interesting by itself. This fits nicely with the primary role of hyperspace as a travel medium. Read the rest of this entry »

Starsector 0.6a Release

Update: Hotfix for crashes from picking up a ship in your fleet under some circumstances and from showing the tooltip for an over-capacity crew bar is up. Please re-download the game using the links below – make sure the file you get ends with RC4.

Starsector version 0.6a is now out! You can get it here:

(Alternate download links: Windows Mac Linux)

While that’s downloading, let’s take a look at what’s new in this release:

  • Hyperspace, a new star system, and a new faction
  • Complete combat sound overhaul
  • New campaign battle mechanics – use of travel drive to enter the battle space, a new battle type for chasing down escaping ships
  • Reworked logistics system
    • “Combat readiness” used to deploy ships into combat
    • “Logistics rating” combines fleet points and other supply-consuming expenses
  • New logistical support ships – Construction Rig, Ox-class Tug
  • Campaign UI overhaul – takes advantage of higher screen resolutions, displays more pertinent information while traveling
  • Improved fighter mechanics
  • Adjustable battle size
  • A ton of modability improvements

The above is a rough outline; if you’re interested, the full list of changes is here, and it’s… sizable.

I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about why 0.6a took until now to get out the door. It’s been a little over 8 months, certainly much longer than I’d like a release cycle to take. The reason for this is that almost all of the features in this release are interrelated, and so 1) are difficult to separate and 2) are dependent on each other to work well.

Except for the addition of hyperspace and a new star system, this release is dedicated to reworking how the combat and the campaign layers interact. Combat readiness is central to that, as discussed in a prior post.  The new battle mechanics are inseparable from it. The logistics rating and the new fighter mechanics are, if you will, its tendrils, reaching both into the combat and the campaign.

Would it have been possible to separate out some of these? Sure. But, I don’t think introducing a feature without related mechanics that actually make it work is a good idea. Given that, the best approach was to wait until enough features were ready to make a coherent whole, which is where we are now. On the bright side, this makes the development process more efficient – the amount of placeholders, temporary UI elements, and the like is reduced significantly.  So, yes, it did take a while to get here – but would have actually taken a good bit longer if I tried to force out a couple of releases along the way.

With that said, thank you for your continued support, and I hope you enjoy this release!

Comment thread here.

Hyperspace

A little while ago, an update to the patch notes revealed hyperspace and multiple star systems as some of the features that will be in the next release. Patch notes being what they are, there wasn’t much detail, so I thought I’d write a post about how hyperspace works.

First, perhaps obviously, hyperspace is a means of moving from one star system to another.

The way it works is a ship transitions to hyperspace using a jump point, travels to its destination (another jump point, whether it’s naturally-occurring one or artifical), and then transitions back to normal space. Movement and combat in hyperspace work just the same way they do inside a star system.

The Corvus system, as seen from hyperspace (the background is a bit of a placeholder)

Well, not exactly the same. Movement in hyperspace also consumes fuel, based on the ships in the player’s fleet. For now, in the absence of an economy and only having two star systems, fuel is plentiful and cheap. Ultimately, it should become a significant limitation. For example, to explore distant star systems, the player might go out and create an outpost to stash fuel and supplies. They could then use a smaller, fuel-efficient fleet to poke around in the nearby star systems, resupplying as needed.
Read the rest of this entry »

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