[devlog] Misc Improvements

Snap1612Hi there !

Thank you for your kind words regarding my injuries, I am more or less back to coding. Still condemned to eat mostly liquid food for a while. As a result, I am making a list of all the different food stuff I am going to eat when I am done :).

Anyway, this week hasn’t been focused in anything in particular. I addressed the bugs that have been reported so far, improved things left and right in the user interface, changed a few rules, finished work on the camera system, implemented a few ideas from the community, and so on. Let’s call it a general maintenance week. It’s going to be slightly difficult to make a coherent post out of all that, but let’s try nonetheless.

Enjoy ! 🙂

Shield Systems

First there’s a semi-major change in how shields are handled. Until now each shield slots was handled individually. You had to empty the first slot to damage the second, and so on. Only the “damaged” shields contributed to recharge rate/speed and energy consumption. And that made shields a bit over complicated from a balancing standpoint. To simplify things a bit, shield slots are merged into “one big shield” with stats equal to the sum of all the slots. Which mean that shield energy consumption and recharge rate is consistent no matter the amount of shield damage you have. It should also consume less CPU power than before, but it’s marginal. Shields weren’t exactly performance killing components anyway.

If you’re wondering what happens when mixing shields with different damage resistances on the same ship, here’s how it works. A slot will be picked at random each time the ship is getting shot, and the damage resistance (if any) from selected slot will be applied.

And of course, I rebalanced shield data accordingly. Energy management should be something to take into account when customizing your ships now.

User Interface

Plenty of small changes to the game’s menus. I added some colors to the ship scanner, and right clicking a weapon or shield in that menu will show its stats like in all the other menus. Double clicking a faction in the diplomatic treaty menu will switch to the faction you’ve clicked on. Oh, and double tapping a fleet shortcut key will center the camera on said fleet, like in any good RTS 🙂Snap1609The various “settings” menus have been unified into one single window with a few tabs as shown in the screenshots below. As you can see, an option to save the game at regular interval has been added. It’s also possible to set how detailed ship and bullet rotations are, which has a big influence on the game’s initial loading speed and memory consumption. More options and settings will likely be added either in this version or further down the road.

Last but not least, ships running AI modules can show more useful orders than the default ‘moving to’, ‘standby’, and so on in the relevant menus (asset list for instance). For instance, free traders will tell you when they can’t find a profitable deal in their designated area, ships getting an escort will say so, etc.


Snap1608Oh don’t get too excited, nothing major, but I replaced the two ugliest stars by much better looking ones.

Also, when big asteroids get blown up by weaponry or mining lasers, it will explode into a few smaller debris that will fly away at random and disappear. It’s a pretty minor effect but it makes mining areas less statics.

I may reuse this kind of effect for other things later on.

Misc Improvements and Bug Fixes

Snap1613And finally the usual list of random improvements.

I make it so free traders will sell cargo at a loss if they haven’t been able to find a better deal for a long time. They will also send a message to you if for some reason they can’t sell a product at all anymore. It may be added to there setup menu. Ships with no weapon systems (or no weapon equipped) will continue course when under attack.

I also added something that has been requested quite a few times: taking control of a ship will no longer cancel current orders and automation modules. Instead they get paused, and will be resumed the moment you exit the ship.

Regarding bug fixes. Too many sound effects being played at the same time won’t corrupt the sound output anymore. The error message you got in the trade menu if you click multiple times quickly on the buy/sell buttons is no more. A bug preventing the shield editor from saving its data correctly has been fixed as well. It’s no longer possible to fire missiles at your own ships by accident. It’s no longer possible to order a ship to protect/follow/attack itself, which incidentally fixes a possible bug/crash when you do that. There are still a few bugs left, but the list is shrinking quickly.