Squads are going away, as I know people weren’t fond of that.
Hopefully by 0.900, but not right away next week, we’ll have some replacement icons for ships.
There’s a bunch of new ship variants available right out of the gate.
There is a new concept of Fleets, which is… kind of Stellaris-like in a vague way as I understand it, but also just kind of its own new thing. It will lead to waaaay larger effective ship caps for you, way more varied battle groups and defensive groups, and in general also a lot less micromanagement.
You can read about some of the details here, but those details are at least somewhat out of date, now.
You can read the kind of stream-of-consciousness flow of what’s actually changing here, but bear in mind that so many things are half-done that certain things are out without their replacements being in place yet. So please refer to the first document to see what is in general planned, despite the fact that some plans have evolved a bit as implementation has been ongoing.
One TLDR problem that this new update addresses is basically I didn’t like how exploration felt in this game. The factions and whatnot are awesome, but the feeling of actual exploration was completely missing from me and it has nothing to do with the amount of content. Throw in more content and it would have just felt more cluttered. Instead it was a matter of how exploration plays out really being suboptimal. So scouting is one thing that is being completely redone, but that’s not the only aspect to exploration that needed work.
The other big TLDR problem that this new update addresses was that there were a lot of various things when it comes to managing your empire — in this sequel and the original — that either couldn’t be done very easily, or at all, because of the UI or general design. You had too much or too little control in various ways, a bunch of stuff that needed to be automated in the first game because it was a pain, and a bunch of interfaces that were painful or text-heavy because of the underlying design. There are actually a substantial number of further improvements in these areas that are being discussed by Puffin and Badger and I that aren’t in either of the documents above, but those will most likely come starting after 0.850 next week so that you can comment on those as we go.
Release notes here.
This is the last build before the 0.900x phase of the game’s development process, and it’s a big one!
First off, what’s new in this release?
- A bunch of changes have been made to balance, as usual.
- Several new ship mechanics have been added, such as a new “Bunker Buster” and “Charger” mechanics.
- Several new capturable units have been added, such as Zenith Matter Converters, Distribution Nodes, Advanced Factories, and Spire Archives.
- The AI has had a variety of upgrades that should make it properly more aggressive in a variety of circumstances where it was previously holding back. Consider yourself warned. 😉
- A bunch of bugfixes, including finally the fix for that “game command issued noise” sound effect playing when inappropriate.
- A bunch of changes to stacking of AI units to make it work better, and also feel more like a real game feature rather than just a performance optimization (it was always meant to be both).
- A huge raft of changes to various minor factions, generally keeping up the arms race that seems to be perpetual with all of them. Smarter, stronger, more interesting, you get the idea.
Next up… what’s that about a new phase?
- The new phase is called The Arrival of Fleets, which should give you some ideas on what is planned.
- The goal with it is to take the game from “that early access feel” to a true 1.0 game.
- As part of that, along with the goals of making the game feel more like the first game, we’re actually going to be diverging a bit more from the first one in a mechanical sense to converge on it in a “spirit of the beast” sense.
- Yes, that is vague.
- I want you to see it in practice before I try to explain it too much, because the document I wrote to outline my plans was 12,000 words long. Badger and Puffin and Eric have read it and commented quite a bit, and my hope is that we’ll have a version you can actually play within the next week.
- THAT said, I haven’t actually done a full hours analysis yet, so no promises, but we’re going to be working on it as fast as we can.
- No you can’t read the document yet, but I will have it for you to read as the release changes come out. The document is the result of your cumulative feedback over the last three months, and my musings on it as well as suggestions from a variety of you, and it’s enough of a change that I want you to be able to feel it in practice rather than us all armchairing it ad nauseum.
- If this absolutely hits the fan and is terrible, then we’ve only lost a week, but so far the guys I showed it to are really excited about it to their surprise (and mine), so my hope is that after it comes out we go into revision and refinement as part of the new phase, not a rollback. Fingers crossed, eh?
- But either way it’s just hard to have you read a 12k word document and digest that and try to form a big opinion when it isn’t something you’re treating like a job. Fifteen minutes of just playing in the new system will be so much more informative for you.
We’ll be back soon, but in the meantime you can watch this space in horror/fascination as you see things out of context and partially explained and implemented as we do the release notes. 😉
Problem With The Latest Build?
If you right-click the game in Steam and choose properties, then go to the Betas tab of the window that pops up, you’ll see a variety of options. You can always choose most_recent_stable from that build to get what is essentially one-build-back. Or two builds back if the last build had a known problem, etc. Essentially it’s a way to keep yourself off the very bleeding edge of updates, if you so desire.
The Usual Reminders
Quick reminder of our new Steam Developer Page. If you follow us there, you’ll be notified about any game releases we do.
Also: Would you mind leaving a Steam review for some/any of our games? It doesn’t have to be much more detailed than a thumbs up, but if you like a game we made and want more people to find it, that’s how you make it happen. Reviews make a material difference, and like most indies, we could really use the support.