So I have been coding non-stop basically for the past two weeks, which is in continuation from the non-stop coding from the previous post haha! I did also manage to get sick, but all better now!
The main two things I have been continuing working on is content (story, events, station modules, unlockables) and balancing, optimisation, and general upgrades. After drastically improving the event system last time, I’ve been able to have a lot more control over how events play out. From this, what was once just a series of random events has become… a slightly more structured series of random events! But with a semi-consistent story, of course it requires a lot of work and unlocking to get through it all. I’ve also been producing as many station modules as possible (a station module is an attachable part to upgrade your station). These are the back-bone of the game, allowing players to try different paths and focus on alternate strategies, maybe even ones I didn’t even intend. Of course, a lot of these modules will be locked from the start of the game, and the only way to unlock them will be to play the game and complete missions! Some require luck, some skill, and others just need some perseverance.
The balancing and optimisation has made significant improvements. I’ve drastically improved ship handling in the engine for a more realistic approach, and also added a whole new game mechanic; missile warfare! Entities spawning other entities (eg: larger ships releasing small fighters) was always included, though now drastically improved and automated, but ships are now able to dispatch missiles and utilise other slower-moving attacks. Station weapons have been re-worked to include point-defence to stop incoming attacks, and to retaliate with your own, now being able to release missiles (and other entities) hunt down enemies. It took a bit of work at the core level of the game’s engine, but it’s all working now and adds a whole new dimension to the game which is amazing. This, in combination with being able to assemble drones and summon allies, provides many different options to the player.
I also reworked all the generic ships so that they have a standardised and more balanced strength, though with different factions having different pros and cons. This, in combination with the reworking to the event system, has thus-far proved to not only make the game more enjoyable without sacrificing challenge, but also allowed for more consistent gameplay. We’re getting closer to the point where, if you die, it was more likely due to a failure in strategy or management, and less because the game decided that “you should lose now”. Although, real-quick, would like to point out that this is, at it’s core, an arcade game. You play for points and time, and for the glory of surviving and accomplishing as much as possible on your run. While there is an ‘end-game’, the game itself is built to make that end-game as hard as possible to achieve, but even if you do achieve it, you can keep playing forever to get that sweet high-score. Due to the nature of how station modules interact and support each-other, I don’t doubt it is entirely possible to break this game, and honestly, I’m looking forward to watching people do it and discover crazy strategies and synergies. Something that I have always enjoyed from games that employ a similar style (eg: Binding of Isaac) is when you get that sweet run and you have a winning combination of upgrades that allow you to pull off insane strategies. That’s the feel I’m trying to go for here; fighting for that success by making the most of what you have discovered throughout your journey, trying new things, sometimes failing and sometimes becoming amazingly powerful!
With that all being said, I’m going to be tying up a lot of the ‘to-do list’ over the next week and start-up closed local testing, predominantly with other devs I know and a handful of friends. The game is currently in this weird grey area between alpha and beta; the engine and basically all the features are there and the game is very playable from start to finish, minus a handful of bugs, but there is also good amount of extra non-crucial content not present that I believe is still valuable to the game experience, plus it is missing a massive amount of art and some audio. While I can’t be certain when this game will release, especially with the demand of the holidays coming up, I do hope it can be finished sometime in the start of the new year. I guess we’ll see!
Oh wells! That’s it from me for now! Till next time, all the best~!