Hello everyone and thanks for joining us for the February Dev Blog! We’ve got some interesting things in store for you including several new ships, brand new media for the website, and a new game launcher. We’ve started 2016 with a focus on pushing as much new content into the game as possible, and with the systems we spent most of last year developing and refining we’re making great progress.
Updating all the media on the website has been on the to-do list for some time, but this month we’ve finally set aside some time to take all new screenshots and gameplay footage. We’ve already updated all our screenshots on the Media page and throughout the site, and we hope to have an updated gameplay video in the coming weeks.
Here’s a few of our favorites from the new collection!
Besides the new launcher the programming team has been working on several other tasks this past month. As we mentioned in our previous dev blog we’re redesigning and replacing all our existing menus. We’re still working toward this goal and have not encountered any major roadblocks so far.
This month has also been a catch up period for bug fixing. The list of bugs is ever growing, you’re almost guaranteed to see several pop up whenever you add a new feature or rewrite an old one. With dedicated QA testing we’ve managed to reduce that list to just a few minor issues.
One of the things we are happy to finally say we’ve completed is the removal of all legacy HUD and UI from the project. This old code used an incredibly inefficient method of drawing 2D elements and was causing significant memory and garbage collection issues throughout the game. With the last of this code replaced with the newer and more efficient UI things are running smoother than ever.
The art team has just wrapped up not one, or two, but three new ships for the game! We wont be boasting about the armor or weaponry on these ships however: they belong to the civilian fleet.
A newer model of passenger liner, this ship is designed to provide comfortable and relaxing voyages, for those who can afford it. Built to run fast and smooth it’s become a symbol of power and luxury in the Federation.
A heavy cargo freighter, this ship specializes in transporting raw resources throughout the Federation. Designed to maximize cargo space and operate with a minimal crew it excels at its job. Often a target for pirates in unstable systems it’s not unusual to see these ships escorted by mercenaries hired by corporations to protect their investment.
Formerly an official Federation colonization ship, this transport vessel was sold used to the civilian market by the hundreds after it was replaced by a newer model. It’s become one of the many former government ships that make up the huge network of passenger liners that make interstellar travel both affordable and possible within the Federation.
Launching and Updating
During our first round of (very) early Alpha testing we distributed new builds individually, requiring testers to download the entire game every time we released an update. This worked because builds were fairly small and they were going to just a few people. It did highlight an issue we were going to have to solve before we released, and rather than leave it to the end of development we decided to tackle it head on!
What you’re looking at is more than just a UI mockup, its a fully functional prototype of the new Project Orion launcher! It can currently display news, patch notes, and patch an existing install of the game. However, we plan on expanding the functionality to support all features that are standard in a game launcher including installation, install repair, and full control over the patching process.
We will be deploying this launcher in our next Alpha test to ensure everything is working well and to make it easy for testers to stay up to date with the latest fixes and features. We are also exploring the possibility of deploying Alpha and Beta builds via Steam to make it as convenient as possible for testers to jump in and play.
This month our focus is on getting our missions closer to completion, finishing off the menu overhaul, and getting our first round of voice acting edited and in game. With the first 30 days of 2016 behind us things are looking good heading into the coming months. If all goes as planned we’ll have plenty of new content and gameplay to show you next month!