0.5.0.00

Posted On 5 Nov, 2016

Here it is in its full glory. Patch is live, notes are inside.

First of all, the version number is now 0.5.0.00 which to us, means that the game is half done. “Half done” is a hell of a claim, so I am going to immediately justify my logic with some explanation, and you can make up your own mind about how close we are to being done. My reasoning is that it’s nearly impossible to quantify progress with a number when the number was being recorded before the scope was finalized. Seeing as it’s nearly impossible to quantify in any objective sort of way, I’ve decided to just make stuff up! I figured well, we’re about 80% done with the engine, but only about 20% of the content has been released so clearly we need to reach a compromise here. On the one hand the time required to get from 0 to 0.5 was much longer than 0.5 t0 1.0 will take but on the other hand the value added to the customer will be much greater from 0.5 to 1.0 so if you think about it, why would you even care?

Great, so we all agree on the version number, lets move on to the interesting bits.

Patch contents

This patch mostly adds structure, guidance, GUI, and quality of life to an existing game, while fixing that existing game so that it actually runs a little longer between crashing. We have extensively tested this one and we are mostly confident that you won’t find it crashing all the time. In fact, in most of our internal full play through tests we never saw a crash at all, and the ones we did find were caused by the careless addition of last-minute content and not due to core engine issues. If you have some sort of insane hardware of operating system setup that you think will instantly prove me wrong, please feel free to immediately ruin all of my plans.

We’ve tested this one a lot to make sure you can actually play it, and if you have been holding back and waiting for Zero Falls to have a more stable experience I am finally confident in saying that this may be the version you want to try.

The contents of this patch represent the story content of phase 1 and the loot content of phase 1 and phase 2. You can progress through the first part of the story, and you will find some new ships and items. Mostly however this is a polishing update with the new content coming in the form of new systems that are needed for gameplay + story implementation instead of new ships and module unlocks. When we are satisfied with the release state of this patch we will begin work on phase 2 and 3 of the content and story with the intention that you should be able to carry your save game over from phase 1 + 2. If by some miracle our plan works out flawlessly on the first try you might be able to carry this save game all the way to the end of the singleplayer story as we release many future phases of content.

New systems summary

  • Pilot mastery adds talent trees for improving your skills with different systems types and different hull types. We have invested a lot of time and programmed mastery points which won’t be available until future updates are released because it was a necessary part of implementing our long term plans. Some mastery points will still be added in the future but our system now allows us to do that without breaking saves.
  • Interior combat overhaul including animated monsters, flow field pathfinding, and totally overhauled crew weapon effects
  • Story progression now a fundamental part of the save format allowing us to make some more interesting quests and design proper loot progression
  • A lot of new quests and dialogue events
  • A ton of visual and UI enhancements and additions
  • A massive amount of bug fixes and optimizations and quality of life improvements. The game runs much faster now and is generally more stable.

Full patch notes

  • Added a full mastery tree for ammo using weapons including 10 different talents
  • Added a full mastery tree for energy weapons including 10 talents
  • Added a partial mastery tree for beam weapons including 7 talents
  • Added neat looking background artwork for the lonely and intentionally neglected missile mastery tree
  • Added a full mastery tree for construction mastery including 9 different talents
  • on entering a ship from EVA there is now a 3 second grace period before you can fall out of the ship again
  • fixed a bug where resizing the screen when looking at the ship interior could cause a crash
  • crew weapons now use hitscan based damage instead of bullet based damage by default. Hitscan damage can penetrate multiple enemies and prevents friendly fire.
  • crew gun save format was upgraded non-destructively. but who cares since save files were corrupted by future patch notes, keep reading to learn how!
  • all crew weapon types were given a penetration stat
  • all crew weapon types were given a range stat
  • crew weapons now remember their quality in save files so it is easier for me to mess with their values without breaking save formats
  • fixed inaccuracy of 3d picking when using your mouse to select economy nodes in the universe screen
  • implemented flow fields for monsters in the player’s current ship. This means the pathfinding cost no longer scales with the number of enemies.
  • tweaked health, damage, and move speed of monsters
  • lots of improvements to monster AI
  • added a tier 1 style airlock module for future use
  • added art for a secret doom weapon for future use
  • added a reactor for future use
  • added 3 capacitors for future use
  • added energy turret mounts for future use
  • fixed many bugs with the drillbore
  • reenabled the drillbore, however please note that asteroid interiors are unfinished and somewhat pointless at the moment. mining is next on the todo list
  • fixed a bug that could cause deleted asteroids to reappear after loading the game. still hunting one more bug that might cause this.
  • crew weapons given all new firing animations
  • crew weapons now fire from the barrel instead of your player’s face
  • crew weapons now create light on muzzle flash and impact
  • added an animation framework for monsters
  • added a new monster with proper animations
  • added a monster spawner
  • monsters in stations replaced with monster spawners
  • added some missing content files that made the green biome not work
  • finally fixed that bug with station capacity upgrade amount and cost.
  • fixed a floating point precision bug that made it hard to hover the mouse over some station icons on the map screen
  • nerfed the base dodge chance of the buff supplied by emergency displacement orbs, addded heavier weight to the quality scaling value so the range of values will now be bigger
  • removed the arbitrary cap on how high the dodge chance can roll on emergency displacement orbs, since it is charge based values over 100% can be a guaranteed dodge now so long as you have a charge available
  • fixed a bug with cluster turrets using the wrong data type that caused ships to change turrets when saving and loading
  • fixed a bug with the scale of some ship images inside the research screen
  • respawning now cancels any time compression effects
  • added 4 new placeholder crew members. They will auto-join your team if you talk to them, you just need to find them. They all have nano-auras
  • nerfed the default refine values for dirt and lead ore
  • added the ability for the intensity of bullet damage to be scaled on a ship by ship basis
  • improved scaling of icons on the universe map
  • reduced the density of economic station spawns
  • moved the home sector
  • remapped the home sector to be much bigger
  • fixed a crash that could happen if you enter a station inside a sector with no economy
  • added T1 engines and bridge modules to the starting research lineup
  • added a catch that should make AI undock from the player after boarding less easily/frequently
  • fixed a bug that caused some bullets to have the wrong size after firing
  • added a new type of nano-aura to the loot tables
  • changed the locations where bar agents spawn to reside in the new world map zones
  • changed the origin location of the agent controller to surround the new home system
  • fixed a bug that prevented lateral thrust from benefiting from more than a single thruster
  • lowered base top speed that all ships get without any engines attached
  • reduced turret range multiplier from 0.8 to 0.5
  • disabled the default bonus to movement parameters assigned to the player’s ship
  • balanced the output of some thrusters to have more consistent thrust/tile within the same tier
  • vixed a bug that caused volley shooting to always fire at the same rate
  • made volley shooting play nice with double shot chance
  • dodge chance is now an attribute of ships and it applies to bullet beams in addition to regular bullets
  • the player now starts the game with a repair gun in case they break their airlock during the tutorial
  • there is a new scripted event which explains airlocks to players when they first break theirs
  • lots of new biomes created to support planets of various types and planets inside various backdrops
  • music type for every planet and every biome has been fixed and organized
  • added a system for rendering planet icons on the universe map
  • icons added for planets inside nebulae and planets by themselves
  • planets of all types re-added to world generation. They are now more diverse than they were before the world overhaul when they went away
  • there is now a scripted event which informs the player about cloning vats and suggests where you might get one
  • changed the default text color
  • upgraded the artwork and animations for the hacking screen
  • fixed a bug where a new ship hull would not calculate its file offset size until after the game had been saved and loaded causing some designs to be overwritten if they were cloned before the game was loaded
  • improved the algorithm that unlocks new ship designs so that it can test to see if the design you are scrapping is an exact copy of one you already have
  • added error handling to extension loading to prepare for the future if we release the mod API
  • beam weapon damage output is now subject to modification by shipwide stats
  • manually added planets to the home system
  • added a map area for a new event
  • since travel drive top speed was replaced by time acceleration, the time to charge travel drive accidentally got cut drastically. This was unintended and it has been fixed.
  • taking damage while charging your travel drive now causes pushback on the boost charging
  • data cores now only return junk data if there is no real data left in the loot tables
  • updated the tool tip for data cores to indicate that junk data means you have all the blueprints
  • added story phase specific data to the save game format
  • updated all loot for low spec pirate ships
  • updated all loot for low spec SSC ships
  • station shops can now have different loot depending on what stage the game’s story progression is in
  • created station loot tables for phase 1 of the story
  • trimmed some excess from the starting module loadout and moved the interesting blueprints to stores and drops
  • updated some tool tips
  • fixed some stats on many reactors
  • many T2 module unlocks added to loot tables
  • single player design screen made compatible with adding shield tiles
  • remapped the interiors of the first 2 tech 2 pirate ships
  • upgraded spawn locations of pirate faction
  • modified spawning densities of pirate faction
  • upgraded faction code to support different activities in different gameplay phases
  • trade ships now spawn from shipyards if their population is getting too low
  • rebalanced trade ship population density
  • modified all SSC ship spawns
  • added 4 new SSC cruiser designs
  • removed 2 outdated SSC cruiser designs
  • changed SSC initial faction alliances
  • changed SSC spawning behavior to spawn from shipyards
  • added more SSC fighter escorts
  • trade ships now spawn from shipyards
  • spawn timers made into reasonable values for all factions
  • added a new quest at the end of the tutorial the guides the player to their next task
  • added a number of new dialogues
  • made quest code a bit more fault tolerant
  • re-added some old debugging code that would allow teleporting around the universe. it got removed when we rewrote the universe.
  • ammo conservation is now off by default
  • optimized bullet bounding volume calculation
  • improved bullet collision to prevent fast bullets from skipping over targets that are too small
  • missiles now have an acceleration stat
  • added a new missile type
  • added a new ship effect
  • crew teams have been given a new stat: aggro radius, which determines their behavior patrolling for enemies in a ship
  • factions have gained the ability to force despawn their ships
  • added AI routines for hunting a specific ship across the universe
  • SSC has gained the ability to directly attack the player
  • factions can now control the speed that their ships move on the mini-map
  • quest waypoints now show on the universe map
  • quest waypoints on the universe map show the quest tooltip when you hover your mouse
  • there can now be more than one waypoint at a time
  • you can now add a waypoint to a station by right clicking it
  • the main menu and the ingame menu now clear tool tips that were on the screen when you switched to them
  • built an event tracking system back-end which can be used by quests to respond to ingame events
  • built events for some common ingame activities
  • added a new shader for missile trails and upgraded existing missile trails to use the new GPU particle effect. They are better looking and easier on the CPU at the same time.
  • added a new shader for procedural GPU lightning arcs in 3d which will allow for the creation of all sorts of fun lightning based animations
  • enhanced the mouse cursor in ship interiors with an animation to indicate when aiming your weapon
  • ship interior mouse cursor now indicates the accuracy of your weapon when firing
  • being able to see the results of our own code has allowed all crew weapon accuracy values to be tweaked a little
  • fixed a bug where fire animations could continue burning on portions of ships which had been removed
  • fixed a bug where some dialogues were popping up while the game was paused
  • fixed a bug where a quest dialogue could replace another existing quest dialogue
  • fixed a bug where scrapping a ship was causing the airlock to remain blocked
  • fixed a bug with the final dialogue in the introduction quest that was preventing it from saying the correct…junk
  • fixed a bug where agents were added to the home statiod bar id before the home station bar id was set causing them to not be there
  • fixed a bug with robot barkeeper dialogue, a common bug that is always caused by the same thing…hmm
  • developed a new way to generate dialogue trees so I stop generating that same damn bug every single time
  • fixed a bug where you could sell trade goods to shops which were not meant to buy trade goods such as armor vendors
  • optimized turret reload sound memory use
  • optimized turret energy calculation memory use and speed
  • fixed a very minor bug that could allow turrets to miscalculate their available energy for one animation frame
  • added logic that makes energy turrets work differently from ammo based turrets while optimizing both in the process
  • implemented dual magazine ammo based reloading. Ammo based turrets can now begin recharging their reserve magazine as soon as they are loaded, but the time required to swap magazines is now fixed based on mount size
  • added a visual animation to indicate the progress of an ammo based turret reloading
  • added the ability to manually reload ammo based turrets (default key: R) this simply empties the current magazine of all ammo based turrets on the ship so they are forced to reload to full energy
  • rebalanced energy transfer rates of ammo based turret mounts
  • made double shot mechanics more specific to different turret types such that ammo based turrets reset their timer and energy based turrets refund energy
  • AI now manually chooses ammo conservation mode when firing because it is not the default but it is still better for them
  • moved a bunch of code from dumb locations to less dumb locations
  • deleted a ton of unecessary self references caused by code being in dumb locations
  • the research screen has been updated to use modern key bindings instead of the old “press space to exit screen”
  • the map screen keybind now works from the ship interior view
  • minor text fixes
  • reactor explosions no longer drop exotic matter. Sorry about that, but exotic matter was a lame mechanic designed to make blowing up ships into a profitable activity before the economy existed. It is no longer needed.
  • Exotic matter can now be found inside abandoned stations and is still very profitable.
  • the location of your home base is now always visible on the universe map
  • added a new icon for quest waypoints on the universe map
  • fixed a bug where economy nodes were loading data inproperly and it was screwing up their production values and preventing them from producing any goods
  • added a dialogue that reminds you to get a cloning vat before you can recruit marv
  • reduced the price of low quality crew weapons and armor
  • research will no longer reduce you below 1000 credits so you can’t bankrupt yourself and you always have a little left for trade
  • you can now more consistently exit screens with the exit console keybind, many screens had not gotten the memo until now
  • optimized damage calculations by reducing heap allocations
  • built yet another solution for decoupling the player ship interior update process so it can be done in another thread. This is a massive FPS boost, but it might also introduce bugs so need to keep an eye on it
  • fixed a small memory leak associated with viewing the artwork for NPC avatars in dialogues
  • trade ships now spawn with their trade cargo already collected. this solves a problem where early game piracy sucks because every ship in the universe is on their way to pick up loot instead of carrying something worth stealing. It also makes load times much faster because we only calculate half of the trade routes.
  • rewrote the code for economy node icons to be less stupid so it is easier to put them in other places like the mini map
  • put economy node icons in the mini map
  • put ship size based icons into the mini map
  • made the player ship icon easier to see in many places
  • added a fancy shader based system to render the sector boundaries inside the mini map
  • since exotic matter is still found inside the cargo holds of places to explore and things to fight its price was nerfed to bring it into the same realm of sanity as other comodity prices
  • added an override to the toString() function on keybind tips so I can more easily use my own code without understanding how it works
  • removed the outdated station energy UI element from the minimap data rollout
  • added a new element in the place of the station energy widget: mastery widget, for tracking mastery points
  • added keybinds for entering the mastery screen
  • pilots found it hard to eat or play on their cellphones while traveling at super-luminal velocities through dense asteroid fields so we made life easier by adding a new optional control scheme: control travel drive with only one hand by holding the left mouse button and dragging in the direction of adventure!
  • added a setting to toggle one handed travel drive mode in case you really prefer the old system
  • added a new UI element: a check box…why didn’t we have this before?
  • made the settings screen look a lot less terrible using the power of check boxes
  • changed default settings to use fancy graphics
  • changed airlock breaking to require the player to be flying the ship so that AI can’t break airlocks as soon as the player enters their ship
  • npc agents will no longer be found hanging out and casually having a drink in the bars of abandoned monster filled station wrecks unless they are meant to be there
  • npc agents who are looking for work will no longer randomly show up in the player’s own bar…that’s cheating
  • added a missile type value to ship interiors which determines what type of missiles get loaded when the ammo gets restocked by a station
  • fixed a bug where the buff supplied by dodge nano auras didn’t show the correct tool tip
  • crew item shops now have a lot more inventory for sale
  • raised the lower end on crew weapon upgrades
  • the trade inventory should now allow you to fill your character inventory with trade goods as well as ship inventory
  • many of the boring T1 modules were made to be unlocked by default. No need to research them anymore. This means mostly halls and doors and rooms.
  • updated the internals of the welder to be an excellent T1 hauler instead of being a crummy T1 mining ship
  • added a new ship hull that will be a significant damage upgrade during phase 1
  • added a new ship hull that will be a significant general purpose upgrade during phase 1
  • there is no longer any ship available as part of the default research queue
  • blueprint research shops now always offer at least one ship blueprint in addition to random module and weapon research
  • added a description to the boulder research tool tip
  • tool tips for questlogs were moved down a little so you can read them without overlapping the icons
  • graphs will no longer go insane when using travel drive
  • fixed a bug that could potentially allow points of interest from one sector to carry over into another sector
  • fixed a bug where using a comoddity trade hub in a sector without any economic stations could cause a crashs
  • AI are now a little more generous with their use of missiles
  • fixed a bug with ai where patrolling ships with a large aggro radius would ignore ships that they had noticed and return to patrolling due to detection range and combat range being different
  • fixed a bug where airlocks could dock with already docked airlocks
  • fixed some T2 ship weapon assignments for AI
  • more minor text fixes
  • balanced some more reactor stats
  • added all sorts of fun methods to pirate and SSC factions for making NPC ships do things in response to quest events
  • missile magazine pulling code rewritten to use omnidirectional depth first recursion…junk. Magazine directionality is now meaningless and launchers will always use the missile farthest from them in the local chain of magazines…which can also be a blob of magazines because the code doesn’t care anymore about magazine directionality.
  • broken magazines will now break the chain and prevent loading/unloading of connected magazines through the broken magazine
  • missile magazines now have a small chance to explode if they are destroyed when they still have missiles in them
  • empty abandoned ships will now be ejected from stations violently
  • added an extremely fancy new animation system for conduits which generates light and shows varying degrees of brightness depending on how much energy is moving through them
  • capacitors received an animation update as well and now all capacitor types properly glow based on how much energy they are holding
  • removed old style animations from capacitors which no longer need them, these animations were slower than the new system and prone to visual errors
  • balanced many gun types to add more magazine capacity
  • fixed a bug where ships with more than 10 cargo bays would crash the trade screen, we still don’t have a solution for drawing more than 10 cargo bay tabs, but at least now it won’t crash
  • nerfed all research times to be practically instant. Earning sufficient credits to research some tech should be enough, you no longer also have to wait 6 minutes