petak, 24. studenoga 2017.

Preview release v0.6.3

In September you got two releases so October ended up without a Stareater release but don't worry, more sweet stuff got in this month! The main feature of this release is the promised one, stareater brain and ability to control it.

Download Stareater v0.6.3-alpha

Stareater brain is located in a special star system, it's loosely a homeworld of native lifeforms and the player controlling the system can use stareater itself to influence the map. For now control consists of selecting which star to remove from the map. No joke. Once a star is out, players owning colonies there receive victory points depending on the population and turn number. People on those colonies as presumed to be successful at leaving confines of the Stareater and returning to normal universe. This is the canonical way to end the game and I hope a fun one since you'll have to balance between working toward victory condition and not weakening yourself too much in the process. In this version you can just park a single scout ship at stareater's brain and eject any star but in future it won't be so easy, natives will object to your presence, you'll need adequate equipment to control the brain, you'll have to master it or take chances and risk unpleasant accidents. And I will not skip a chance to make sabotage something to fear.

Also I hope to dispel the imperative that there can be only one winner. Anyone who manages to leave from stareater has achieved something, there is second and third place. Stareater is not the game about beating others into submission through various means. No, it's a game about both good and bad human sides. While there will be incentives to go for the first place alone, forming alliances and sharing victory points will be also have it's place.

That future has to come one step at the time and and few additional steps taken this time are tier 1 technologies, a group of development projects unlockable by researching first level of a research field. That's 18 more technologies that have at ingame effect. Adding more content proved to be more tricky then I've expected, as every other programmer I've underestimated the task thinking it would be no more then one day of work. For most items it was a simple data entry update but some technologies required adding a bit more code and all of that requires testing. There is nothing more embarrassing than game crashing due to misspelled or overlooked data entry. Having more content also uncovered some GUI issues like missing scrollbar in ship designer, no "shields" category in library and wrong list item overflowing behavior, also in library (it produced additional columns instead of becoming scrollable single column list). Writing descriptions also takes non-trivial amount of time and I've not even started to replace placeholder icons. Domed apple was supposed to be icond for hydroponic farms but I just used it everywhere.

The idea for v0.7 is to have 3 tiers of technologies (including 0th) polished as much as possible. This means development costs and levels could be considered real, technologies should give intended bonuses and unlock and level up respective pieces of equipment. Those pieces of equipment also should have real cost and effects. Exceptions are technologies which require game mechanics which are not yet implemented (fuel range, espionage, ...). So far doing this really made the game shape up, removing "test drive" which made map movement trivial was huge plus, ship designs now look more legitimate, early game space travel feels more like early game and it also uncovered an issue with natives. It was a known issue which I tried to postpone because solving it was a small feature rather than bugfix. Predefined designes for players which take into account player's technology levels had to be separated from predefined designs for native lifeforms which have to have particular equipment of particular level irregardless of native's "technology".

So anyway, have fun testing this new shinny release, please report any bugs you find and know that more cool stuff is coming down the road!