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.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Blueprints, Doctrine, and Production

How starships get produced has been heavily abstracted so far – there’s a colony, and it spawns fleets made up of faction-appropriate ships, and that’s about all there was to it. To be fair, that’s all that needed to be there, since it was not something the player could interact with in more detail than attacking those fleets.

Now that the player can establish colonies and manage a faction of their own, we need more detail. Not so much that it’s a chore to manage, but enough to cover the things the player will naturally want to do.

If you’ve been keeping track of the backstory, most heavy manufacturing in the Sector is done using “blueprints” – precise specifications for building a ship or a weapon, that an automated factory can use to build the item. Copying these is difficult-to-impossible, and their dwindling supply contributes to the gradual decline of the Sector. This is the base we’ll use to develop the manufacturing mechanics, making adjustments to cover the demands of gameplay, as needed. That is to say, if blueprints have to work a certain way for the gameplay to come together, then hands will be waved.

Blueprints
A “blueprint” is an item the player can find and right-click to “learn”. For example, they might acquire the blueprint for a Medusa-class destroyer or a Heavy Mauler, a ballistic weapon. This works similarly to how players learn new hull-mods. After a blueprint has been learned, the player’s heavy industry becomes capable of producing the items in question – there are lots of details here, and we’ll get to those in a bit, but that’s the basic system.

blueprints

Read the rest of this entry »

Starsector 0.7.2a Release

3/3/16: Another hotfix up, please re-download using the links below. Fixes an infinite credit exploit and several minor bugs.

3/1/16: Hotfix is now up, please re-download using the links below. Includes several bugfixes, including one for starting bonus officer going MIA.

Starsector version 0.7.2a is now out! This is technically a second polish release for the 0.7a version, but it’s heavier on features and content than one might expect. Of particular note:

  • Reworked phase cloak mechanics (speeds up ship-time while phased, has cooldown)
  • Several new ships, ship systems, and weapons
  • Improved faction hostility mechanics
  • Improved smuggling/cargo scan mechanics
  • Reworked starting options
  • Numerous other tweaks and improvements

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!

 

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 »

Faction Relationships

Sometimes during development, you end up doing things you hadn’t initially planned on doing. Fleshing out player-faction relationships is one of those things. It was something I knew I’d have to look at eventually – the current system having two attitudes towards the player – “meh” and “shoot first and don’t ask questions”, with nothing in between, was definitely not going to hold up. Initially, though, it didn’t seem connected to the economy and events systems, which are the focus of the upcoming release. So, how did faction relationships get dragged into this?

With the introduction of trade and events, player actions carry more meaning than they did before. A successful trade run contributes to the stability of the markets involved; more so if the markets are small. Smuggling can be a hugely destabilizing force. A food shortage has long-term consequences, which depend on how severe it is, which in turn depends on whether the player got involved, and if so, how. Markets declare bounties when hostile fleets are doing damage to the economy, and so collecting on those bounties – by removing said fleets – has a real impact as well.

Not all of these are earth-shaking, and there’s still some work to do on making the consequences more pronounced and more clear. One way to do that that is to make other inhabitants of the world notice, and react to, your actions. It’s a clear way for the game to say “what you just did matters”. Provided that your standing with a faction has a tangible effect, it also increases how much it matters. We get improved clarity and increased impact – a win/win! Factions having more nuanced attitudes and responses to your actions also increases their believability.

This is all a long way of saying that if the player can do things that matter, it’s tough to separate that from NPCs having appropriate reactions, and if those reactions are limited to “attack” and “don’t attack”, that doesn’t provide enough expressiveness.  (Put like that, this seems rather obvious… ahem, moving on.)

faction_screenIf you’re going to have more detailed faction relationships, there has to be some way to see what they are. Darn it, more UI work.

Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Blog Media FAQ Features Digg it! Del.icio.us! Share this on Facebook Reddit Stumbleupon it! Technorati Tweet it! Download Starsector for Linux Download Starsector for Mac Download Starsector for Windows Preorder