Hi there !
Apologies for the lack of updates since the 1.15 release. The main reason is that what I am currently doing related to Unending Galaxy isn’t exactly great reading material for an in-depth article. With the game being released on Steam very soon, most of my time is spent proof reading and optimizing the code.
Anyway, yes, Unending Galaxy will be available on Steam very soon. The initial release won’t integrate all the bells and whistles, but I plan on gradually adding achievements and steam workshop support once the dust has settled a bit.
New Military AI
This is probably the biggest change in this future release, and it paves the way for the 1.2 update. Simply put, I have rewritten how the factions use their military fleets. The previous system, while serviceable, was easy to fool and it completely broke down when it had to defend assets that are out of a faction’s official territory.
The new system uses what I would call a heat map. Each faction keeps a record of the map, and for each sector it has assets in or which is under its control, it calculates how strong is the enemy menace, how valuable is this sector and how well it’s currently defended.
When done, the faction retrieve a list of all the available military ships. Then, available ships are sent to defend sectors where the threat is higher than the current defenses while making sure the most valuable sectors / those with the higher priority get their share of ships first.
In time of peace or when a faction’s military fleet is large enough to deal with all the threats, ships will be send to patrol important locations like colonies, gates, ore belts, out of territory docks, and so on.
What’s interesting with the new system is it’s territory agnostic. In next updates, it will be extremely easy to make it so two (or more) allied factions can patrol each other territory. Which, in turn, means that we’ll have to consider adding new diplomatic options regarding this feature.
So far, during testing, the military has been more responsive both against hostile factions and to lesser threats (swarm incursions, pirate raids). On the other hand, it’s a new system, and it’s bound to have a few quirks that I will have to deal with as they appear.
There are plenty of minor improvements and optimizations. Detailing everything would take a while and you probably won’t notice most of it. I added a new “explosion” animation for variety sake. I also added an small animation under your cursor when you’re sending an order to your ships for visual feedback in addition to the usual sound effect.
Content / data wise, there are also a couple of new ships and planets, and I made some changes to the two maps that have recently been added in 1.15. Some weapons and shields have been tweaked too, nothing major.
And there are a bunch of UI tweaks, performance improvements, individual AI tweaks, and bug fixes of all size. The general idea with this release is to ’round the edges’, not to add anything new or revolutionary, because that would likely be a terrible idea just a few days before the official release.
Of course, there are tons of things that I would still want to add or fix before the Steam release. The mission system is cumbersome (code-wise) and I suspect it to be the reason for 90% of the, thankfully rare, unexplained crashes, but rewriting it from scratch would take too long. I would like the game to have more short mission chains, but these take a very long time to put in place and beta test. The tutorial need to be updated. The wiki too. The list could go on.
But I am already way behind schedule compared to the planned release date. There’s no real point in delaying any further. The game is solid enough on its own, and I will keep improving it as the time goes on.
In any case, expect more articles in the coming days 🙂