I usually name these updates both before and after making them. Before making them I have an idea of what I intend to make, and then afterwards they are nothing like what I intended so I need a new name. This one started off as update 0.5.2.00 and will be released as 0.6.0.00. Oops.
To say that we got carried away might cover it. I think it went down something like this:
This patch adds more dialogue than had existed in the game prior to this patch. The bugs fixed in this patch make me a bit embarrassed to think that you have been playing on the previous patch.
Or summarized another way, this patch brings the red zone of the map into the shoddy, half-finished state that the orange zone was in before, while the orange zone is now feeling very polished and streamlined.
Everything from the ability to see the armor you have equipped to new shader effects for taking shield hits and new health bars, the crew visuals are now up to date and not using placeholder art. We also made monster movement 20% less buggy and added new art for crystals and remapped the home station interior yet again…that sort of stuff. Also interior explosions.
Having crew on your team should stop being a liability and start being something you actually want. Crew serve as extra lives now, allowing you to respawn by taking their place when you die, but they also have new abilities that will make you want to keep them alive. Crew will now actually follow you when you toggle following mode, which means you can take them on adventures, and they have learned new tricks from the gunnery screen as well. Their aim has been improved by better first order intercept math, and they can actually shoot down incoming missiles if you give them a point defense weapon. Oh, and the game now has more than one crew member, and crew sometimes comment on quest dialogues, you know…there’s a lot of crew stuff in this update.
This gets its own section because of the amount of work that went into things which are hard to summarize under a single note. I played the entire beginning of the game, fixed everything that bugged me, and repeated over and over again until I hated my life and never wanted to touch this project again. Nearly everything changed a little. New prices for shop items, new values for trade goods, new station types, new map generation layouts, new system for discovering trade routes, did I mention that exploration is a thing now because the map doesn’t start as explored? I added repair stations that let you re-arm the missiles in your ship and I made the phase 1 end quest not suck and the list is actually pretty big you will see the full patch notes on release.
I made a lot of scripted events. I call them quests, but you should know they don’t work like typical quests. These are self-contained logical events that trigger themselves based on conditions in the game in order to mess with the player in interesting ways. Many of the quests I created are simply a way for One to pop in and give you guidance and rewards for advancing the plot of the game, however some of them are surprises for you to find out in the world. Also I designed a system for log entries that allows the reading and storing of long-form text entries. You might find some story in the game in the form of a captain’s log, and now you can keep that forever and read it when you like.
There were some big ones. Like, systemic bugs that made the entire play experience feel less smooth and prevented delivery of existing content. Did you know that sectors were never loading half of their content if an AI ship was the first to explore it? I learned that this patch and the result is that the game world now generates the way I had intended. For the first time, as a developer, I can fly a ship around in the game and what I see matches what I think I ought to see based on how it was programmed. To imagine that people have been enjoying the game before this was true gives me great hope for the future, and also a great desire to hide under my bed because nothing makes sense any more.
You can target things now! yay! or maybe I should say you have to target things now. <sadface>. What matters is that the little target lead UI widget, as well as launching missiles now requires a target lock, and that requires having working sensors. There are also added benefits, such as now you can see exactly who your crew is shooting at from the other consoles, and you can even toggle their aggression on a faction by faction basis. Using the crew order button you can now flag an entire faction for Marv to shoot at, or unflag them if he is getting you in trouble at a trade port. If no factions are flagged your crew will just sit there looking for missiles to shoot down instead of fighting.
We added an entire zone effectively. It has space dungeons, a few quests, some new shops, and a lot of new tech that you can unlock. It also offers access to a few new ship hulls including an entire new size category of ships for you to play with. I had plans to make the entire red zone into a streamlined story driven experience but I can only write so much dialogue without releasing an update so that content will just have to come in the next few updates. To be clear the world content is in this update, the helpful dialogue and scripted harassment that tells you what to do isn’t, so you will need to wander around and look under some rocks in order to find new stuff.
I want to say this will release right before the weekend on May 5th, so that’s what I’m going to say. Reality is it will release when it is done, and right now we are still debugging content in the red zone which should be finished before may 5th. So there it is: may 5th…probably.
There will likely be one or two more update going out to the internal tester branch between now and the 5th. Hopefully everything will go smooth and neither me nor Jan will decide to add one last thing at the last minute that will break everything.