Normally there’s some rhyme or reason to a release. In this case it was just time for these changes to escape. It’s pretty quiet at the end of a year and we’re mostly occupied with celebrations and other non-professional-work stuff, but there’s still been some progress.
The credits for this release don’t reflect community member BadgerBadger’s contributions as much as previous releases, since Badger is now largely writing the release notes for said contributions. Suffice it to say, we could just write a big “Thanks, Badger!” somewhere in every set of release notes and that would be pretty accurate.
One specific change that may help playability significantly is that the unit mouseovers are now not nearly as “sticky” (since you no longer need to be able to mouseover the mouseovers).
But there’s also a bunch of other stuff like another graphics pipeline shift (bloom is gone) and the ability to pick between the two Ark types currently defined (the normal one and the one the dolphins used to get out of Dodge).
It’s been a while since the last release, largely because there’s a lot in this one.
The AI has undergone a bit of an overhaul. On the broad scale there’s the implementation of the Hunter Fleet (in AIWC we called it the Threatfleet) and refinement of the Warden Fleet (called the Special Forces in AIWC and AIW2 until now). On the small scale there’s a bunch of changes to how the AI handles being locally outmatched. Overall, your opponent is much more threatening now.
On the other side, you now have a lot more capacity to build defensive depth. I’ve gone back and forth on a bunch of models of how to make turrets make sense with the per-planet power resource and the per-planet caps AND the need to unlock the turret techs. In the end I’ve decided to just try not having them cost power. Other stuff still costs power, so you have to decide on what mix of shields, tractors, tachyon, gravity, etc to put on each planet, but in general the main limitation on how many turrets you put down is how much metal you have on hand to build them and how much science you want to spend unlocking more turrets (and thus increasing your cap).
Speaking of things getting smarter, the Devourer saw some AI improvements. Your turrets won’t help you with that.
There’s several improvements to the user interface that are small but important (escape closing settings window, save menu not passing keyboard input through to the game, etc), the new-game experience no longer has the possibility of dropping hapless new players straight into combat. Finally, I hope you like the new set of faction colors to choose from.
Exciting news! You may have heard of the upcoming paid expansion for Starward Rogue, AuGMENTED. Well, we’ve decided to push the free content part of that a month earlier, as in… today!
Merry Christmas! 🙂
So, in today’s update, as well as containing a bunch of improvements and fixes we are also introducing two new mechs created in collaboration with community modder Logorouge: Penumbra and Alpha.
One is a glass cannon ninja (or Glassassin if you like) and the other is a roulette mech with completely randomized perks. Both mechs provide a vastly different play experience. Playing as the Penumbra (shown above) can be challenging but very rewarding. With high damage output and a variety of special abilities at its disposal, it’s actually possible to feel like a ninja as you use the evasion unit to dash through dangers, and smoke bombs to hide when things get too hectic.
The Alpha (shown below) is the ultimate RNG mech where you could get a level 15 perk at level 1… or vice versa! Both mechs come with completely new weapons such as the Shuriken Shot and the Alpha Slugger.
Other improvements include an extended tutorial, a new condemned boss, extra particle work on weapons (smoke effects, muzzle flashes, bullet death particles), lots of balance work, improvements to perks (plus one entirely new perk), big performance boosts, and more. This build also contains an important fix for certain achievements that was preventing a 100% clear, many apologies for anyone previously frustrated by that problem.
As for AuGMENTED, we’re pleased to announce the launch date for that is January 24th. You can watch the trailer for that over on the store page. If you want to be informed when the expansion is available, you can add it to your wishlist so that once it launches you will receive a notification.
We’d encourage anyone considering purchasing Starward Rogue to hold off until our next discount period later this month (*cough cough*). Thanks for your support, and Merry Christmas from the whole Starward Rogue team. 🙂
This one had a lot of under-the-hood work to further the architecture goal of building the “Major” factions (human player, The AI) with mostly the same toolbox used for the “Minor” factions (Dyson, Devourer, Nanocaust, etc). This implicitly makes them all much more moddable and flexible.
But the result that stands out is that the Special Forces mechanic now stands out. Or rather, it used to be a mechanic, but now it’s a faction in its own right. The main AI makes donations to the SF, but the SF decides what to build and where to go. As in AIWC it acts to defend the AI’s planets against attack. Unlike AIWC, this behavior is more emergent (it should defend the AI against attacks from factions other than you, for instance) and is entirely moddable. If you want to make a SF sub-type that only builds long-range ships and only does sneaky drive-by attacks against the player, that can be done by modding. Or if you want a sub-type that only builds Etherjet Tractors and Widow Guardians and tries to tow the player’s fleet to its destruction, that can be done too.
This one is an assortment of changes, including another graphics pipeline shift from Chris and some neat stuff from community member BadgerBadger (if you notice a wormhole name glowing red to tell you where a wave is coming from, that’s who to thank).
There are also some further efforts to limit shots being wasted on overkill, so that units on all sides fight “smarter”. In the process of doing that, I might have transformed the Devourer from an imposing menace to an unstoppable killing machine.
One long-anticipated change was support for variable-intensity minor factions. Only the Dyson has it right now, but it can be added to other factions easily now.
Oh, and the game will actually tell you if you’ve won or lost now.
The above is a tutorial for Blue, our artist, though if any modders who are creating custom models are also using substance painter, this shows you how to set up your setup, too. You can also infer pretty easily how to do combinations manually using Photoshop channels to create packed maps, too.
Anyhow, we’re moving away from the Alloy Shader Framework to instead use custom shaders that give us an equivalent look with a vastly reduced workload and with definite compatibility with future unity versions, and this tutorial covers Blue’s side of what needs to change.
The above is a tutorial for Cinth, but this also is useful for any modders who are creating custom graphics for the game.
As noted in this video, this saves us a ton of manual work. A ton.
Also in this video I randomly stumbled across a visual improvement to the custom player ark Rorqual Hegira, so you can see how that evolved a bit thanks to the extra flexibility of this new shader set.