January 28, 2015

Star Command Galaxies: Alpha 2 - "A Day in the Life"




NOTE: Alpha 2 is out now, but ONLY for WINDOWS. Our MAC version is crashing, so we will get that up when it is fixed. APOLOGIES!

If you aren't already in the Alpha, you can join up today at our new website!

THE BIG BUGS (lots of little ones as well): 
- After the 2nd or 3rd trip down to a planet the game can crash (memory load issue)
- Red thought bubbles will not disappear consistently
- Beds use state is buggy
- Characters will use objects in non-use spots
- Combat: Crew accuracy not being ignored (super bad shots right now)

We titled this update after the day to day actions that your crew takes during their adventures. In terms of development we wanted to establish the core "needs" of your crew before jumping into exploring the galaxy, battling alien vessels and visiting all the worlds of the Galaxies. We feel like it's coming along. You can watch the video above to watch a playthrough of the game and read below to find some more details about each of the new additions to Galaxies.




The first new feature you will notice is your crew needs. Crew now require food and sleep (energy) and, depending on how well those needs are being met, a crewmembers' respective mood will go up or down. Eventually there will be appropriate rewards and penalties applied for good and bad moods but for the time being there are no effects.

To be clear, Galaxies will not be a micro manage my crew game - and you can see this with the addition of automation. Crew will take care of their needs from sleeping to eating. The only time these things are a problem is when there is an absence of these resources. All your food get sucked out of the hull during your last battle? Now you have a problem. Bed's caught on fire and now you only have on left? Gonna have some grumpy crew on board.



The next level of each crew member is their "Desires." This represents their hopes, dreams and 
aspirations and are derived from their personalities. Desires will, in turn, guide the gameplay. The "missions" in Star Command Galaxies are the desires of other characters in the game - your crew, traders, other Captain's, villagers, Star Command admirals - you name it. Your goal is to fulfill these desires. Some may want you to visit a planet. Others may want you to capture the Captain of a trade ship. All of these things will be relayed to you in the form of a desire.

What happens when you fulfill a desire? Two things - first the character's mood goes up. But, more importantly, you earn loyalty. Loyalty is one of the primary metrics for victory. The more loyal your crew the more you will be able to accomplish in the galaxy since spreading your Captain's desires is dependant a loyalty. Ignoring your crew's desires? You might have a mutiny on your hands. Kill a Captain instead of capturing them for Star Command? There could be repercussions with one of your officers trying to take over your command.

Loyalty will continue to expand in the upcoming updates and become more and more central to victory for the player.




Toilets, TV's, beds - all these things and more are now available for your crew to meet their needs and waste their time to help pass the hours of staying on a starship. We have also added object animations! Awesome!




The biggest change (and what you will hopefully see the least of) is on our crew action and cursor manager system. For you, the player, the result will be filters when you commit to actions like repair and heal. But overall the game is way more stable and, for us, ready for some serious implementation of features. Our cursor manager was a huge undertaking and has cleared the way for ship combat, crew conversations, fixing some SCIENCE bugs and lots of other advanced features that just couldn't be completed until the foundation was ready.




Teleporters are two fold. First, they are just simply easier to use than the previous build - which was somewhat unintuitive. Secondly, teleporters have the groundwork for implementation of ship systems (shields, weapons, engines, etc). A ship system won't work until a crew is working at the proper console and, in turn, that console will drain power from your master generator. What that means is we can quickly add things like lasers that drain every time you use them, bars that draw from your food resource, shields that can be destroyed and repaired - basically every core system we need for ship combat.




You also have a brand new ship so that you can see your cargo hold full of food, your kitchen area, crew quarters and other areas that give you more of a window into the experience of running a ship.



CAPTAIN

The Captain is also in, although not with any real functionality. Eventually you will be able to "craft" desires to spread to your crew and other NPC's around the galaxy, use exclusive Captain equipment and some other surprises.

OVERALL STABILITY

Along with the new cursor manager mentioned above we have revised map generation. Our map generator was creating many erroneous game objects compromising the stability of the game. This has been much improved. We will continue to refine asset loading and unloading along with game object generation, but for now you should see a pronounced improvement in overall game stability.

REMOVAL OF INVENTORY (FOR NOW)

Inventory has been removed while we reimagine it. Our initial implementation of inventories existing in the game world was good on paper but not as intuitive as we had hoped. Rather than continuing to try and polish the way your characters use that inventory system we have taken it back to the drawing board. It will likely be a much more traditional "item in a box" system so you can quickly see what your character is carrying.

SCIENCE DELAYED

Because of all the cursor state manager changes we had to push the SCIENCE update off a bit until the SCIENCE cursor states are all revised to match the new system. We are hoping to get SCIENCE revised and out sometime in the next two weeks.

Hope you all enjoy the new update. This update is huge for us as we have a very solid, stable foundation to quickly add content. We still have some big things to tackle like the fact that we are currently topping out Unity's memory management with our asset textures and we will have to address that sooner rather than later, but for now we feel really good about where the game is heading. Tell us what you think!


Next update: SHIP TO SHIP COMBAT!

Cheers,
Warballoon