The only changes in this edition are to do with making the game play a little nicer with some people’s systems. If you’re computer supports 320×200 resolution in fullscreen, and is 32 bit, you should find very little difference between the previous release and this one. If however you have a 64 bit operating system, would rather run the game in a window, or can’t support small resolutions in fullscreen, you should download this 800×600 resolution version:
There are no gameplay or balance fixes, as I am saving game updates for post competition.
The biggest problem people are finding with the game is with the control. I did conciously choose to use sim-based controls rather than arcade, as I find them much more interesting. Unfortunately they seem to be harder to pick up than I realized. As for future versions, I’m not sure how much I am willing to dumb the controls down, but I’ll admit they might be a little excessive at this point. One thing I had been planning to add at some point were better ships that had more engines (perhaps a reverse thruster) or better engines (easier turning).
Personally I do find the control a little hard, but also a lot more fun than it would be if there were velocity or angular speed limits. You can’t just hold your thrusters down, because you will continually accelerate (both in turning or moving forward). Just a little bit of force is enough to get you turning. If you want to turn faster, hold it down more. If you want to turn slower, hold the opposite key slightly. I am really glad I tweaked turning before release (It was twice as fast before one of the final changes I made), but apparently I didn’t tweak it enough.
Game balance in general is pretty random I admit. I spent the majority of my time on physics, particle effects, and ai, saving the very last few hours to actually balance the game. Not only are the trade runs rife with exploits or the planet names rediculous, but the random spawns are far too random, and most enemies shoot too fast to put up with them. For the immediate future, I hope to have some variety with enemies, and keep most of the starting areas much safer. I also want the game to be less random in general, with more simulation behind the scenes. I just didn’t have time for this before. The game would be more satisfying if you could go toe to toe with some enemies more often, instead of having to constantly run away :) I have had a few fights that were very exciting and winnable, but they are very rare. It’s also possible to be killed 3 seconds into the game, which is just dumb.
There is also a bug with the planet police. If a pirate attacks you and manages to hit a civillian ship, the police will come out and think you are the culprit! The police were invented to protect the exploit of camping the civilian ships for all of their cargo. (If you haven’t ever won a fight, you may not know that ships drop cargo when they die) So I made the police extremely tough. As a result of the bug and the strong police, any fight near a planet will quickly result in destruction, as a stray bullet from the fight hits a civilian ship
I also received several comments to this effect: “This game is so tiny! But how does it fit the minimal theme?” This may have not been communicated adequately, but I went for minimal window size and minimal code size. I also went for a minimal space sim, and there weren’t any features that I felt I could take away. But the screen size was the main source of minimal. This fixed release kind of takes that away, but I suppose it had to be done.
I will be improving this game once voting is over. First I will tackle the bugs, and then I will tackle the spawn system. I plan on adding some semblance of story or an overall goal too, with trading being a means of completing that goal; and numerous interesting events and things to see throughout the system. I don’t plan on adding any form of hyperspace, and I probably wont add quests like they are usually implemented. Oh yeah, and there will be a way to save your game! I’m real sorry I didn’t have time for that one