May 1, 2014

Star Command is One Year Old!

A year ago today Star Command was release for iOS on the iTunes store. We think this is a great time to do a retrospective, talking about our successes, our failures and most importantly the future of Star Command.

WHAT WE HAVE DONE RIGHT


In the last year we have sold over 615,000 copies of Star Command. The game was released initially on iOS and we were chosen as "Editor's Choice." Over the next 5 months we converted Star Command to Android and added 5 new missions, growing the game by 30%. We have been featured on Google Play and currently have an average 4.3 rating from our user reviews. We were also featured on the Humble Indie Bundle with over 175,000 units downloaded.

We were covered on IGN, Joystiq, Gamespot, TouchArcade and dozens of other sites - sites we have read for as long as we can remember. Seeing Star Command featured on sites that we never even considered having a chance of being on was (and still is) an amazing experience.

We are supremely proud of Star Command and the success it has seen on mobile devices. It's remarkable how much it has changed all of our lives and allowed us to become full time developers. And that is an accomplishment in itself. We have been to Steam Dev Days and people talk to us as developers and actually recognize our game. That is a very surreal experience - believe us.

We doubled our team size and expanded our desktop release to something that we know will be worth the undoubtedly long wait our fans of endured. Which brings us to...

WHAT WE COULD IMPROVE ON


We have our share of critics and often times we agree with them. One of our biggest mistakes has been advertising features too early. We would move into a polish mode, it would take far longer than expected and our release windows would have to shift. A lot of the reason for our silence in recent months is from this lesson - we want to have firm release dates for our features.

Overall release dates are pretty much shit for us track record wise. It's something we see, we acknowledge and do our best with. We have always said quality is most important and that will always be the case. We want to show features when they're actually close to release and we feel confident about the date - not before.

Another thing that has been a huge improvement is new blood - our new team members at Warballoon have injected new life, new ideas and new sense of excitement that was long overdue for Star Command.

WHAT'S NEXT?


First, let's cover Star Command Mobile.

We have been working hard on really expanding the game and giving ourselves a canvas to create content quicker while also addressing some requests from the community. Our next release will have quite a few new features.

First and foremost is Free Roam mode. You will now be able to freely explore the galaxy, taking on new enemies, collecting kits and new rooms for your crew. One of the problems with mobile is that custom written story-driven content takes a long time to create, bug test and bring to life. We have focused more on the random combat and expanded resource collecting (rooms, new uniforms, crew members, kits, etc).

The prologue mode will continue to exist in the game, unchanged, but a another big reason for Free Roam mode is balance: Star Command had a clear progression system, with enemies introduced at appropriate times with appropriate equipment. In Free Roam players can fight ships that are a quick kill and enemies that are epically difficult (with some good gear to collect). We will still have story driven content in the future, but the focus will be far more on in-game content.

Another big improvement in Free Roam is a reimagined combat system. We have removed all mini-games and made weapons all real time touch based. Your ship now has energy that is produced from engineering and drained from shields, weapons and other systems on board. Enemies are also much more intelligent with equivalent systems that can be targeted. They have a brand new logic system and should present much more of a challenge to seasoned Captains. Mini-games will still exist in the Prologue, just not in Free Roam.

The new targeting system in action.

Contraband will finally be making its debut with equippable items for crew members. The first two collectible kits will be in the form of flamethrowers and gravity boots. Flamethrowers will give your tactical crew members the ability to spray enemies with fire - while also setting your own ship ablaze. Also, there might be a bit of a liability to friendly crew members if they are killed in action. Gravity boots will give your engineers the ability to make repairs to your damaged hull without fear of being sucked into the vacuum of the space. Clearly more items like Dogs and some other goodies will be coming as well.

Burn em or just don't get sucked into space. The choice is yours.


With new player abilities come new enemies. The next race players will be fighting won't be a race at all - it will be collection of the wretched scum and villainy from across the galaxy - Space Pirates. The goal with the Space Pirates is to give a race equivalent powers of your own - healing, repair (damage in this case), grenades and rapid fire along with improved tactics.

The pirates are coming!

Eventually we will move into offering new zones that can be unlocked with a small IAP. Each of these zones will contain new enemies, new kits and contraband, new ships and rooms and other surprises.

Finally, for all of our Kickstarter backers we will be rolling out dogs as well as Dr. Klebaticus chamber - which you can see a snippet of below. Don't want to ruin all the mystery.

The good Doctor is in.

It's been a great year and we're very excited about this upcoming one. The PC version of our game is going to have so many new features your eyes will likely bleed and we will be covering in future posts as we get closer to rolling the game out.

Thank you to all our kickstarters, fans, bloggers, reviewers, critics and everyone else that has made the last year so amazing. You are infinitely important to us and we work hard everyday to make sure your faith is well placed.

Cheers,
Jordan@Warballoon