APRIL

The Stuff of April 2016
Welp, here is the next monthly update. This month 301 changelists, and the interesting stuff picked out of those lists are below. There is some important stuff near the bottom, but not the release date just yet.

merged the hint systems for the inventory level and building training.

Added some more punch to the sniper cannon and pulse cannon audio

All powerup crates are now unique and easy to identify by color and silhouette.

Fix for bendy parts. If you manage to snap them in place, we consider it legal.

Bunch of work on end dialogue and ending level FX

Fixed a super old bug where parts could get duped. NO DUPES!

War, Peace and Alliance callouts

Mass driver FX upgrade

Tool tips work properly with the controller

Added hide equipped parts button to the trade screen. Life is so much better now

Province features required for part size increases now 1, 2, 4, more big stuff can spawn now.

And so, now bigger parts are more expensive

Starbase upgrade levels counted toward the war meter. 

Relations for peace and alliance's now leader to leader based to make moving them less ponderous.

Infection now lowers the max possible health pool on a ship. Makes the ship sick.

Infection health damage updates on hud too.

Shut down zombie roids on mission complete so they don't spew annoying ships to chase down once they don't matter anymore.

Zombie ships carry more rez since they are made out of the stuff

Infected parts not worth as much

Tuning Tuning reverted tuning and more tuning.

Zombies spread more fairly now and can be beaten with strategy instead of just speed.

Made it harder to get captains to join the player faction, especially if you grab them from another faction.

Zombies do a better job of determining who should roam and who should defend territory.

Zombie infector bombs now damage shields. Nasty.

Battle wagon mode can now target eggs, zombie roids, and fail gates.

Bunch of work on starbase explosions

Faction leader does not get to double tax at their bases. Promotes using governors.

Upkeep fee on player bases if not the capital. Also promotes governors.

Dispatch system for capital transports to bring the booty home.

Bandit hives now give reward XP for killing them

Added multiple sort modes to the faction member lookup menu

Faction leaders now get angry if you poach their members for your faction.

To get someone to join your faction, you must be touching them. 

Can't demand surrender on your own faction members. 

Building incentives were refunding themselves to the player. No wonder I was rich.

Zombie starbase cores!

Damage number system. Numbers everywhere.

Difficulty levels.

Range finder for target painted ships.

New braking/reverse hybrid control

Non screen relative control scheme added. 

Added callout for when a province is lost.

Faction members like it when you kill zombie bases and the neighbors love it.

New final mission battle that also works contextually for sandbox mode. Very tough.

Added a starmap detail slider. 

Lots of text updates

Added some tutorials due to tester feedback.

Added a “You Win” message on game complete so people know they can keep playing, but they did actually just win. 

Added main cast dialogue to game start so players can decide if they want to switch off the synth voices or not before the game starts. 

Battle wagon knows to not fire mass drivers at shields.

Better starmap zooming controls for looking around the big wide galaxy.

Captain info page now shows the cumulative value of all perks.

Upgraded the main menu battle cinematic camera to like watching explosions.

Parts sometimes break when being used as a flail with the tractor. 

5 new arena ships

Made the tractor cool down after part attach to prevent instantly breaking off the recently connected part if you don't have fast fingers.

Heavy warp out beacons to prevent them being flung with tractors (sneaky testers)

Added achievement system.

Added cloud saves

Added 32Bit and 64Bit depots for different game versions

Code gets locked down... After this no more new systems until after Early Access. We just fix text, important bugs or tuning. So there are lots of little checkins in after this but not worth mentioning in this post. 

Work also begins on the release trailer.

The Science is now leaking out.


MARCH

Hi All, 

377 checkins this month, and here are the highlights. Also some interesting news at the end.


Hooked up Steam to the build and now have a test version running on Steam.

Hooked up Steam functionality to the game. Grabbing your profile name for example.

Lots of work on keeping the cinematic camera from being messed up if the player decides to rub their face on the keyboard at the wrong time.

Lots of work optimizing the game allocations to limit how much garbage collection has to be done (causes hitches) Managed about a 40% speed improvement on the Starmap (yay) Many many change lists about this.

Fixes for Captains repeating themselves. 

Bandit hive starmap effects when attacked.

Lots of dialogue work, but the real meat came later in the month. 

Updated the faction member explorer menu

More Optimization, saved about 15% CPU in Battle.

Revised the Store stocking algorithm yet again, so there are some basic parts to buy if you are poor.

Assemble ship screen given a hint on the button (turns yellow) that detects when you can make your ship better by adding a core.

Zombie fetuses float properly again (this must sound strange to you all)

Contextual action system no longer fights with Battle Wagon mode.

Battle Wagon mode allows targeting of props if there are no hostiles present. 

Taught fighters how to dock and rearm better.

Fixed a weird bug where you could reattach broken parts in battle and get a horrific mess of a ship.

Made shields a wee bit bigger. Some designs were poking slightly through their shields, giving them weak spots, while cool is still a bug.

Fixed a bug where starbases were restocking themselves forever and wasting vast amounts of scrap.

Building Starbases for a faction now makes the whole faction like you more

Also, all members of a faction get angry when you destroy one of their starbases, not just the owner.

Also Also, faction leaders and members detect the destruction of enemy bases and that makes them happy.

Worked on turning Bandit Hive combat for all three levels.

Locked out the quicksave button in a lot of bad cases.

Bounty menu got an update

Starbase menus got a bunch of reordering to try to get the important options at the top and to make it less confusing.

No putting bounties on your own transports!

Bounty retraction working is you pay reparations to the Captain that hates you.

If you don't want to pay reparations, you can now challenge other captains to a DUEL!

Caption info screen now lets you track bounties and target the bounty creator.

Faction member viewer now shows everyone's' relations at a glance. 

AI Captains now remember to fix their Strike Craft after battles.

Strike Craft autofix button added for player.

Faction member viewer now shows semi accurate distance in light years since Richard is a nerd.

Massive captain chatter push.

Resolved a silly bug where the AI Captains seemed to be picking on the player, but they were just getting fixated on their first target in combat (which tended to be the player)

Trade menu got a face lift to make the buttons more understandable. There is a lot of info to convey in a small space.

Battles spawn more powerups now, but not resource crates, since you get the resources after the battle and no one wants to feel like they have to hang around popping them.

Removed Weapons unlocks from the perk tree, instead they are unlocked on their parent part size now. Provides a lot more variety in tactics.

Work to make the zombie spread more effective again, but not too effective. 

Once you invest in scavenging perks, your salvaging rate is based on the size of the salvage pool. So you can scoop a lot really fast, before the other captains get there.

New Starbase investment system. Pay to upgrade any base strategically. The owners will like it too.

Starbase stockpile converted to a loot pile that you can grab when you dock (if you own it) Spend it on upgrades or on yourself. 

Added a player stash to player owned Starbases so you can horde stuff without it slowing you down.

Lots and Lots of Dialogue rework. Early story got some major editing. 

Zombie ambush system to give them more presence in the early game. There are good XP rewards for winning, and they can be used to kill enemies since zombies hate everyone equally.

Literally a dozen back to back massive dialogue checkins.

Entirely new game intro level. Old one was confusing story wise.

The “open port” checker for reminding players that their ship could be improved. It is a very useful little reminder system that triggers if the computer finds a spot on your ship where you can add something.

Next check in... I hate you open port checker...

Then... Open port checker required a sacrifice, it works now.

Some work to make using the controller to assemble ships a little less painful. Hard to aim accurately with thumb sticks. 

Added a part lasso to the inventory level so you don't accidentally throw your parts across the level.

Battle wagon mode got another upgrade to deal with exploding ships (and ignore them) more quickly.

Bandits spawn based on construction time since the previous bandit death instead of on a ticker. This prevents bad cases of them respawning just as you try to destroy their base.

As a faction leader detects their faction destroying enemy starbases, the leader destroying the bases will slowly lose their hate for the other faction so peace can happen. Blootlust sated.

Prevented re-bounties right after duels. 

Input config menu get all kinds of broken over the years, fixed now. We never noticed because our config was naturally the default config :)

Battle wagon (ship's computer) can now taunt in battle (rarely)

Offering tribute to other captains was way too lucrative, toned down.

Rewrote the AI captain part purchase algorithm for when they dock at starbases. Was a big job but had to be done. 

Captains now know to invest in their starbases to upgrade them. The faction leader will also invest in faction bases as will rich faction members if they have a lot of spare scrap.

AI forgot how to buy strike craft, fixed that.

Build starbase menu got an upgrade

Added trade lane visualization so people understand how neighboring faction starbases interact

Go the part drops from battle under control. Was way too high in some cases. Looking at you corrosive missile.

AI captains much more likely to join factions now, especially if there is a lot of free space (easier to get promotions)

Made the AI captains a little smarter about not flocking toward rez when it is running low. The entire galaxy chasing 1 rez looks bad.

AI captains don't collect bounties on their friends, its mean.

And that is it for another month. The big news this month though is not so much the “what we did list,” but more, the “why we did list.” We now have 4 beta testers. These are friends and family members and they have found a LOT of clarity/story/gameplay issues that we needed to fix, which of course led to the changes above. We are not yet ready for Early Access, but this is obviously the first step in getting it ready for you all to play as well. 

Note: For the security of the game, for the time being, the beta team will remain very limited and only to people we know personally. We just felt it important to call that out before the emails start pouring in. Things are happening! 


FEBRUARY

 
 
Hi All, 

Here's the monthly update. We have been busy and can't believe the month has already passed! This list goes from Jan 26 to March 1 2016. In that time there have been 439 checkins and here are the interesting/funny ones.

-The Big List of February (Jan26-Mar1)
-Battle wagon upgraded to prevent misfires at things that aren't hostile.
-Infection impact fx
-The infector weapon got some art love
-Transports no longer broadcast “imma kill you!” signals, scaring everyone
-Fixed warbling doppler effect for starmap ship engines
-Lots of work on the ending. Cameras, dialogue etc.
-Smoothing out the starmap camera
-Added some controller deadzones to prevent random drift
-Added shake to the cinematic camera for those Star Trek moments.
-Starmap scan camera shows how many times you have killed each Captain
-Work on the perk hierarchy to give them a bit more flow.
-Fixed the ion and leech beams firing erratically. 
-Optimized a bunch of starmap icons and shrank the build considerably.
-Fixed some special bounty payout cases that were missed.
-Sound suppression system. Prevents popping. Slowly mutes sound on pause.
-Many menus got a final once over.
-AI no longer retreats by accident. 
-Track Restocked and Traded events on the starmap to make window shopping easier.
-Can't offer tribute if it won't increase relations anymore. (prevent wasted resources)
-Fixed some AI infinite shopping loops.
-Fixed silly case where both sides die in a battle simultaneously
-On galaxy start, each faction has an enemy so there is a little extra hate to go around.
-Ending comic got some love. 
-AI factions better at managing their bounties, and manage multiple bounties.
-War is declared if the player attacks and kills a base.
-Starbase bounties mature over time and get worth more and more. More attractive
-Starbases repair over time
-AI captains better at monitoring the starbases they own.
-New sounds for different starmap engine types
-Disinfecting ships has an effect and sound on starmap
-AI captains also use the stash in the starbases now
-Zombies get less distracted by transports
-Attack bounties and Captains understand hurting bases instead of just killing em.
-No bounty takebacks while a battle is warming up.
-On Peace and Alliance all hostile bounties refunded.
-Lots of tutorial images went in.
-Battle communications audio work. Death, retreating, etc.
-Keeping chatter from talking over important dialogue
-AI captains better at managing goon population.
-Fighters target all over the enemy ship body, looks good.
-Lore page cleanup.
-Lots of work on the zombie infection spreading. Better balance of expansion vs breeding.
-Managing flocking a little better when resources dwindle.
-Zombies know how to clone starbase parts for their bases (if enough rez)
-Zombies separated into guards and travelers on starmap.
-AI captains now actively defend their territories and borders from zombies.
-All zombies respawn at capital to lower long distance spread rate.
-Lots of dialogue edits
-Faction resurrection works. 
-Nice warp out and retreat fades
-Mouse over starbases to see the max part size they can build
-Clickstack upgraded to show faction and fight states
-Join fight buttons given more information on what that will mean.
-Detection of faction destroyed added (with callout!)
-Bounty reparations working (pay off your own bounty at a premium)
-Faction explorer lets us see the filthy neutrals as well.
-Arena intro got its own high tech wipe shader.
-More and more weapon tuning
-Brand new missile target locking system lead to some cool stuff.
-Battlewagon now uses missile lock as a firing logic hint.
-Battlewagon knows how to taunt enemy if it is doing well, cuz why not.
-Booty theft makes the AI angrier. Don't touch that booty!
-Added a quit to the arena so you don't need to wait to die when you know you'll lose.
-Added more sliders to the sandbox relating to zombie horde strength
-Spoiler proofed some of the Sandbox
-Re-balanced some of the starbase part restocking
-Made skirmishes a bit more lucrative
-Fixed the floating zombie fetuses (this is a weird game)
-Faction leaders like it when you kill their faction enemies
-Governors like it when you kill enemies in their provinces
-Minigun has its own power source now, so can shoot missiles while you reload.
-Fixed a lot of bugs with the secret weapon. Ok its a giant Glave...


JANUARY

Hi All, 

Here is our latest monthly update. There were 229 checkins and here were the highlights. Note: We took a couple weeks off over Christmas so the checkin numbers were lower than usual, BUT the break recharged our batteries too so as you will see below, we got a lot done.


Bunch of final mission work, can't spoil with details

Added more story character portraits. 

Dialogue editing/additions.

Added feature levels to the perk system where you auto unlock a major gameplay changing awards.

Lots and lots of user experience work (on going more and more since most things are working now)

Tuning perk level part boost values.

Added the ARENA! Each starbase has its own. Good way to practice fighting and to try out high end weapons before investing and spending perks on them. 

Arena relations rewards with station owner, also very diminished returns for winning a battle you have already won (to prevent exploiting) 

Arenas using pre-designed ships to showcase weapon types and large ship sizes. Enemies are randomly generated for each starbase, but are also persistent once generated. So you can keep battling the same enemy until you beat it.

Physics bug resolved where shields were causing the ships to turn more slowly. (Had been bothering us since Unity 5 upgrade)

Silly tractor beam was pushing parts vertically out of the play field. Was source of weird non attaching parts bug. Dead now.

Started designing arena ships. I won't list them yet since some may be cut and others added. Converted a terrible fighter carrier into an awesome one today. It's staying :)

Mousing over parts on ships in builder mode gives info on those parts in a readout similar to non attached parts, so you can inspect your ship and pick what to add and remove better.

Part spawning position system for the builder, similar to what was done with the inventory level. Put the parts in the same place each time to cut down on having to hunt for them in random space. 

Fixed silly coroutine bug where ships scheduled for battling in the front end would sometimes spawn in the starmap! Took a while to find that one. 

Upgraded controller input for menu sliders. Gave it a deadzone and added a lot of slide precision to the stick movement (cubed the input)

Dialogue continues to pour in daily. 

Work on the ending cinematic. Yes we have an ending! (Note: game continues as sandbox after end)

The faction member inspector menu upgraded with faction relations and colorized names to faction colors.

Got the zombie faction to work with the faction inspector. Can look up old friends and enemies who have turned and keep an eye on the zombie war.

Gave the arenas a real menu of their own.

New part billboard system that shows part rarity live in battle and in the inventory level. Shader magic that I don't understand. 

Pre warp in sound fx, so you know the direction something is about to warp in before it appears with a big Kaboom!

Diplomatic communication system! War, Peace, Alliances, Broken alliances. All the good stuff. Hooked up the the messaging system as well so when the AI does it, they leave a mail instead of suddenly taking over the whole screen. Player can trigger diplomacy when communicating with another faction leader.

Added ability to disable tutorials from the gameplay menu. We have a lot of tutorials. 

Capital Starbases also work for diplomacy now, in case you cannot find the leader.

Doodad flags on ships finally aware of their parent ship. Only took 3 years.

Reworked infection system. All infection is now active, meaning all infection grows. When a part is fully infected, it spreads to another part. Infection consumes people over time. Infection is also repaired with people (it may involve some venting into space)

Infection is now updated live in battle and not calculated afterwards. This mean that if you evade the zombie cloud that causes the infection well enough or keep your shields up, your ship can remain clean. As a ship becomes infected in battle, you can see the infection spreading over the ship. Each part tracks its own infection levels. Don't hang around in purple clouds.

Infection cleaning done on the starmap the same as ship repairs. Starbases will not clear infection, but they will repair the ship. Infected ships have low crew (since they die off) this means the ship takes damage over time and requires more crew to clear and repair. Goons become super important late game. 

Infected parts thrown into inventory will not spread to other parts since they have no people and are not powered. 

Infected parts worth less when selling and buying. Usually about double the cost of clearing the infection, so purchasing an infected parts isn't a terrible idea if you have the people to sacrifice to clear it. But that is a bit evil.

Cinematic camera upgraded to allow for camera cutscenes for final mission polish. 

AI captains know how to clear their infected ships as well now. 

Real time dialogue system. For when we want crew members talking to us during a battle, and not when paused. 

Added the zombie warhead. Special infection spreading missile.

Starbases know how to heal infection, if it happens to them.

Zombie ships carry a minimum supply of rez with them that they pick up from their hives (stations) Bigger zombies get more rez. Makes attacking them worthwhile (if you have the goons to clear the infection after the battle)

Updated the zombie part breeding algorithm. Zombies “breed” at hives using Rez and leave clones of their best parts behind. Other zombies arrive and do the same. Over time they cross breed with each other, passing around the best stuff.

Can no longer max relations through bribes and trade. You need to take actual action to max it, like rescuing them in a battle or helping them with a bounty etc.

Rejiggered the interface so Battle Wagon mode is now weapon group 1. Using tilde was weird.

Added hook for retreat dialogue to signal that an enemy, or friend, has decided to try to bug out of the battle instance. Gives time for player to do something about it. 

Added a Nemesis tag to better keep track of AI captains that REALLY hate you. 

Early work on a system to track player kills and deaths vs another captain on their portrait. So you can remember just WHY you are their Nemesis. Works like those bombing icons on the side of WWII bombers.

Built a universal icon legend for the menus

New weapon firing algorithm to spread out the shot timing slightly to make it sound better and look more natural. Takes each weapon team a slightly different amount of time to reload. 

Player can now be kicked from a faction (they don't run) for extended bad behavior.

War is automatically declared if you as faction leader destroy another faction's starbase.

Leaders now get angry as you pick on their faction members.

Player faction starbases get the faction bonuses of the faction that they are mimicking.

AI captains are much more picky about joining factions. Also takes their personality traits into account now. Toadies love being in factions, even if they don't much like you. 

Added many new captain dialogue categories/sounds. Matches the voices to the faces you are seeing when communicating.

Shield recharge upgrade. Damage now doesn't reset charging, instead it diminishes charging based on the severity of the hit. This makes hiding behind roids/evading and trying to get the shields back up much more viable and rewarding. 

In sandbox mode, the zombie arrival bar now progresses and colors to warn you of impending death. Also added regular callouts reminding you of the infection progress. It is easy to get lulled into building an empire and forgetting that something very bad will eventually happen. We call this the “chronological inevitability warning.” Note: in sandbox you have control of how long this takes and if it even ever happens at all. In story mode, the zombie arrival is story flow based. 

Taught point defense guns to not shoot my friends' missiles and fighters.

Parts that are locked out of being used on a ship properly tell the player why they are locked out. Too big, can't use weapon, or both.

Inform the player if their scavenging is aborted by some other scurvy dog stealing their loot under their nose. 

The great sound crackle hunt begins... Any time an audio file goes from playing, to stopping, there is a pop produced as the speakers physically reset their position. This makes Richard and I insane. The problem was looping sounds (mostly) since we can't tailor the sound file to gently start and end at 0. The end result was a system that identifies loopers and only virtually stops them. Think of a monkey with its hand on a volume knob. Each time we say STOP. The monkey slowly turns the knob to 0 and THEN pressed stop. 

So that sorted out the laser noises. Now we had more to deal with. Every time we pause the game or story dialogue came up, we would pause (some of) the current audio. Pausing was just like a stop, so crackle in and crackle out. We created a virtual pause that both turns down and pauses the selected audio channels and then unpauses and turns them back up. It sounds really nice now. 

FINALLY there was one last crackle issue. When firing many many weapons we overloaded the number of channels Unity wanted to play. It took some digging, but the default was 32. We upped it to 255. Now battles sound fantastic and you can hear everything, crackle free.

Bunch of work ensuring menus and galaxy map ultra wide compliant. (actually all resolution compliant)

Building starbases and setting bounties are now feature perks that you unlock at certain levels. Makes you work to get that first base.

Did a weapon damage and energy consumption pass to make the larger more rare weapons more devastating, but much harder to power. 

Added tutorials for the Arena and what we call Fail Gates (how we warp out of battle instances)

Added a gfx option to set the blur levels beyond just on and off. 

When using the controller, if dealing with a long scroll box, the scroller will speed up over time.

New ship spine variations for extra large ships. Fully randomized spines were leading to underpowered ship designs where the largest parts would not fit. New spines fix this and look deadly too. A spine is a series of subcores that we attach wings, engines and noses to.




Well, that is it for another month. 

We announced almost 2 years ago now which seems insane. The time is just flying. I am now spending my days hunting for bugs in the single player or tuning. Richard is ultra busy with adding final content since all the systems are finally in place for him. SPAZ 2 is really coming together now. 

I had an arena battle that lasted 15 minutes a few days ago. I was majorly outclassed, but was patient and wore the other ship down. It was amazing to see the battles coming together like that. The last time I had that experience was playing Mechwarrior Mercenaries 13 years ago. 

Thanks again everyone. We check here every day and can't believe you all have stuck with us so long!



DECEMBER

Hi Everyone,

Well another month has come and gone. Lots and lots of bug fixing and tuning happening now. There were 281 checkins and here are the highlights. As expected, these are getting less exciting since we are now tuning and fixing instead of implementing the newest sexiest ideas. Its a good thing!

- Lots of work to make the controller mimic the mouse feel on the Starmap.
- Many dialogue adds/edits 
- User experience upgrades for the menu system. Streamlining flow.
-Did a pass on controller mapping. Had just enough buttons. Phew.
-Added sensitivity settings for 3rd person and top down as well as controller vs mouse.
-Fighting with collisions vs ship warp in system.
-Combat tuning and getting the ships to be fun to fly, even the big ones...
-Warp in system given a presentation pass. Build's initial tension.
-Dialogue and more Dialogue adds/edits/etc.
-Battle warmup system shows how full a battle is using the shader.
-Tuning relations changes for detected relations actions. (about 80 of them)
-Better ship threat calculations to determine what will likely kill what.
-Player difficulty slider hooked up. Yay, I can win now!
-Lots of menus getting their localization hookup to the XML files. 
-More Starmap presentation for actions like repairing ship, dumping junk etc... 
-Made all the cameras more responsive to zooming.
-Physics optimization.
-Tuning empire building starbase cost progression.
-The word menu comes up in the changelists eleventy billion times
-Captains leave factions if they hate the leader now
-Message system from allied captains who are converted to zombies
-AI less likely to help in a fight they think you will win, so they don't steal your xp.
-AI Strike Craft won't kite once their mothership destroyed. No one wants to chase them forever.
-If an AI captain is kicked from a faction, they won't keep trying to rejoin like a stalker.
-Faction Explorer and My Starbases menus added.
-Battle scavenge nodes are now owned by the battle winner, not the Province owner.
-Converting controller inputs to something human readable. Joystick1Axis5 is not... :)
-Added quicksave to the pause menu. Controller people can have quicksaves too.
-Bonus crates spawn in missions based on province demographics, not RNG magic.
-Added dynamic controller visual reference page that uses input configuration.
-Teaching AI captains when it is a good time to repair, and when to sell parts to stay healthy.
-Absolute tonnes of radio chatter. Richard broke his voice.
-Better procedural ship design algorithm. 
-AI detects incoming missile collisions and boost shields accordingly.
-AI captains have a better understanding of what they can fit on their ships based on number of cores and are less likely to overbuy parts they can't find room for.
-Captains better at keeping a decent Rez supply on their ships. Less getting stranded.
-Captains with starbases know to raid the local tax inventory if they need a quick resource infusion.
-AI captains don't collect bounties on good friends, and instead help defend them.
-Battle chatter hookup from other captains based on battle progress/alliances

Happy Holidays everyone!


NOVEMBER

Hi everyone. 

It has been another busy month. This month there were 354 checkins, and here are the highlights. 

- Making the loot menu more presentable, shows part overlay as well. Presentable treasure!
- Fixing code rot in multiplayer code. Big game + time = broken stuff
- Animated levelup bar so you can delta xp when you kill something
- Color setting on ships propagating properly in multiplayer, so you can see their pink and purple monstrosities
- Added a computerized ship voice to tell player whats going on, reloading, target locked etc...
- Fixed the sneaky trixy fighters in multiplayer. Die when you are told!
- Moved Strike Craft to a flight path above the motherships but still on a plane. They feel like fighters now and the motherships like battleships.
- Tonnes of chatter work
- Collision avoidance work for Strike craft and for battleships. Also when to use the shields as a battering ram and not evade.
- Dialog Dialog Dialog, Music Music Music
- New shield mechanic. You can boost their regen speed and damage mitigation at the cost of capacitor and weapons being able to fire (All power to shields sort of thing) 
- New afterburner power reservoir and super Rockford 5000 system. Engine boost now increases maneuverability as well as speed. Its very nice.
- Re-tuned all strike craft
- Relations system on starmap now uses faces to indicate that captains saw something they liked or didn't like, live. (6 faces)
- Multiplayer allows setting a perk preset so can play with technologically superior or inferior ships as desired (great for testing)
- Captain's log converted to more readable text, not just enumerations anymore
- THE BATTLEWAGON! Special combat mode where the AI takes control of all weapons and you fly. Less efficient than doing it yourself, but great for hitting multiple small targets.
- Upgraded battlewagon to still accept player input
- Teaching battle wagon not to do dumb things, like shoot at exploding ships, or shoot through friends.
- Battle wagon fully definable in the weapon config menu (can set which weapons can become automated)
- Ion weapons made smarter. Will not fire at rocks or ships without shields up. 
- Starmap warning system when you are going to do something that makes the owner of that something mad
- Converted the tractor beam to a single contextual button.
- Objective reminder system. Will ping the starmap every so often as a reminder of the next target location
- Inventory level layout system. All parts from inventory spawn in a matrix to make snapping them on and finding them easier. Sorted by value as well.
- Main menu fight system. Huge ships killing each other during the main menu, fun to watch, great for testing.
- New resource and powerup crates that show whats in them so they can be strategically used in combat. 
- Logic upgrades for the starmap objective helper arrow. Points to the best thing to go after if you need some help.
- AI ships get mad when you are friendly in combat then start shooting them. AKA Combat douchery checker.
- Scaled XP rewards based on threat assessment and your contribution to the fight. So if a level 100 and level 100 are fighting and you join at level 1, you don't get a lot of XP since you contributed very little to the fight.
- Combat comms system. So other captains can talk about what's up during the battle and how they are feeling about it
- Lots of combat/weapon turning
- Ships now require a minimum number of crew to keep the ship working, else they take damage over time on starmap. Makes goon resource much more meaningful, but watch out, goons consume rez too...
- Big presentation pass. All starmap entities get interaction fx and sounds to indicate when they are in use.
- Threat tuning for AI ships to evaluate each other. Trying to make simulated battles as close to the same outcome as possible to real player battles.
- More difficulty sliders for sandbox mode.
- Game speed slider for sandbox mode
- Taught AI when to boost shields and engines (a little better at least)
- Leech beams only fire at ships with active capacitors (not reloading)
- Fighters now have an internal ammo count and must return to their hangar every so often to resupply. 
- Gui scale system. Set the size of the Gui on a slider. 
- AI captain messaging system. They send mail instead of interrupting you with comms when you aren't expecting it.
- Ship warp in presentation. Cuz its sexy.
- New Depth of Field system. 
- The word tweak appears many many times. ...tweak.
- Missile intercepting a moving target logic upgrade for when there is a miss and they need to retarget at enough range to make a sensible second pass. 
- Starbase stores stock themselves better at the beginning of the game. 
- Strike craft spaw in in formation on warp in, cuz its even sexier.
It had been a great month. We are changing fewer and fewer systems and now are much more into the presentation and tuning mindset. SPAZ 2 is starting to really take shape and we like its shape :) 

Thanks for sticking with us everyone!



OCTOBER

Hi All,

So this month 393 Checkins, and here are the highlights.

Sorry for being a bit late with this update. The month went really fast. Time seems to be accelerating somehow. Anyhow I digress.

- Faction leaders now placing starbase construction bounties using their own tax money and budgeting.

- Bounty refund system for non completable bounties. If you refund yourself it is only 50% back to prevent abuse.

- Added a funding factor to bounties (especially for bases) so over time the bounty increases until it is rich enough for someone to take the bait.

- Part purchases now taxed locally and faction wide. Good earners are some large bases.

- Scanview system merged into one uber system to show all thing green and scanable (this is how we show you the parts and ships in menus as real 3d objects built with the proper stats)

- AI logic for joining factions improved. Factions also have lower requirements if really need people badly and are more apt to take you if you are strong. 

- Player can ask people to join, and boot people from faction

- New Starmap entity framing system for menus. So the menu frames what you are interacting with.

- Player assigning Starbases to faction members.

- Controller vs Keyboard auto control switcher (press controller button to be in controller mode, press keyboard button to jump to mouse and keys)

- Ability to change the capital province of a faction (for a price) Capital transports adjust their routes accordingly. 

- Each captain got a short personalized description

- Brand new perk system. Every levelup you can pick 1 of N perks (decided by difficulty) and you have to make due. Perks still unlock via a hierarchy but all branches not always available. This better fits the game theme of scavenging and adapting. We also unlock weapons, cores and part sizes though the perk tree now. Lots and lots to buy and much better for progression.

- Added infinite levelup system. Some perks are repeatable so no level ceiling

- Super Asteroids rework to make break much more naturally.

- AI levelup perk picker. Since the AI can level up too, they need to pick their perks smartly.

- Perk system saves next available perks to prevent save scumming to roll the perks you want. 

- Tech-O-Pedia. So you can see all the perks you own, and get an idea of what will someday be available (without spoilers) Also shows accumulated bonuses of current perks. 

- The Core Dump. Our new combat mechanic went in. During battle to prevent simply holding down the trigger and spamming forever we added a reload to the ships. It added a ton of tactical opportunities in battle because battle is now broken into short shooting and then evading and reloading sections. Having limited ammo per reload also forces the player to use the right weapons at the right time, else they are using power better spent on firing the right weapon more. You can see the enemy ship's capacitor state as well so you know when they can fire and when they can not. Works for first person shooters, and works for starships (it also looks cool)

- Lots of tutorial work and weapons tuning checkins

- Attach helper system. Now when you grab something, little arrows will show you where it can be attached. 

- AI wont trade their equipped parts or strike craft anymore. To easy to buy their guns and then kill them (was funny though)

- Player has their own starmap mouse over (been on the todo list for a year) shows more advanced info on the player like rez consumption per second also ship damage.

- Showing restocking times on starbases, so you know when it is a good time to shop and the stores aren't all picked over.

- The Markup system ( posted about this one because it was really exciting ) 
 http://steamcommunity.com/app/252470/discussions/0/490121928348193308/

- Killing a Starbase causes it to dump all goods. This may be exploity, remains to be seen.

- Damage type icon system in the scan viewer. So you can know at a glance what weapons are good at what. 

- Added a loot menu so you can see exactly what you got from a successful salvage operation.

- Used the loot menu for bounty payouts too, since it is nice to see rewards.

- The great yellow hunt of 2015. Removed all 77 warnings from the build. 

- Lots of early flow tuning. Richard and I sit down now and actually play together a bit and subsequently take a week worth of notes on things to fix.

- Lots of contextual helper work. Buttons yellowing that need to be looked at, extra advisory updates for when there is a problem needing fixing. Nothing that gets in the way, but definitely good to have reminders. A lot to keep track of at once. 

- Perk dialogue. My favorite thing from this month. Some perk levels have unique dialogue and it can be pretty funny. Since Richard wrote it all, it is a joy for me to level up and hear new stuff. 

- Bandit bases are now drone focused. They can be deadly without some kind of point defense weapons to thin the drones out.

- AI knows how to avoid ships in the act of exploding. They try to get out of the way before the big pop and subsequent shockwave of death.

- Added local feature icons to the starbases, so you can see at a glance what a starbase is good at. 

- Lots of relations change tuning for different actions in game (Each AI captain watches for about 80 different things, so lots to tune) 

- Got a video working within a tutorial window. Moving pictures!

- Bandit hives much stronger and therefore AI attacks them less. This leads to less bandit genocide in the game. AI captains were too efficient at wiping them out.

- New Popup help system for buttons. Lessens the requirement for smaller tutorials. Some things can just be learned by hovering the mouse now. 

- New single shader based Starmap entity art system. (instead of massive compound objects) Stuff looks better and costs less.

- New Campaign and Sandbox menus are now isolated from each other. Story has pre set sliders that cannot be adjusted, whereas the sandbox is wild west do whatever.

- Zombie appearance slider for sandbox, early...never.

- New smart missile locking system. It manages to hold lock for a while after mousing off an object, and also has a locking bleed so locking smaller ships is much easier. 

- Objective arrow system made smarter. So if you mouse over an objective it will tell you where to go if it can. Removed red herrings, like pointing to a starbase to buy a part, but that part is not currently in stock, or pointing to a raid that is already being attacked etc... 

- Starmap dragging system so you can move the camera wherever you want.

- Lots of new dialogue/tutorial checkins

- Fixed the smart fire system, so only guns that are in range will shoot (saves power) 

- High level bandits made bigger and nastier. 

- Mouse over bandits and transports to see what they are carrying (so you know if it is worth taking)

It has been a busy month. Our additions are getting smaller and smaller which means the end is getting closer. There has definitely been a shift from building to fixing this month!


SEPTEMBER

August 14 - September 16 2015

Hi Everyone, 270 changes were checked in this month, and here are the interesting highlights. 

- Builder mode (design/combat testing of ships for multiplayer or singleplayer) BIG TASK

- Work on the Objective viewer for Starmap

- Large scale weapon mount rework. Both code and art. 

- Converted all code to use a unified ship building system (multiplayer and singleplayer build ships the same way) pre-emptive bug squish

- Special Strike Craft weapons for smaller ships

- Strike Craft and Stations can be called into the multiplayer level for testing

- Mount spawn rarities hooked up, so unusual weapons come up less often and are much more expensive.

- Sapper SRMS, swarms of tiny missiles that kill shields. 

- Shader work and optimization. 

- Booster count is now are more dynamic and based on territory demographics, so some uber rare and powerful stuff can spawn if you have enough of the right provinces and are very lucky, and you better be rich to buy em.

- Starbase stores now stock their items better based on local province features.

- Each province now gets a subsystem feature AND a part feature. Makes strategy at a glance a lot easier (also good for shopping)

- New multi threaded save game system because hitches suck.

- Added Quick save system (Good ol' f5,f9)

- Added Autosave system (timed and on quit)

- Added feature mission saves (in case you want to backtrack and didn't save on your own)

- Bunch of work giving the strike craft their shiny new weapons.

- Cleaned up shutdown and exiting back to the main menu

- The Raid system added (Starbases can project their power into a neighbor province and leech over time, crippling the neighbor. (BIG TASK)

- AI ships understand what Raids are and decide if they care to stop them

- Lots and Lots of textbible work (localization hookup)

- Raids good at triggering war states over time. Neighbors start to really hate each other now.

- Massive UI facelift. Very clean now. (BIG TASK)

- Raid menu work so the player can do what the AI do.

- Added missions to early tutorial flow to add more combat and teach early systems like the Raid. 

- Bit the bullet and built a mission manager. Fixed some well hidden bugs in the process. Side effect loading is clean from any game state now, no left over data dangling. (BIG TASK)

- Rejiggered all missions to work in the mission manager.

- Moved all combat to the mission manager's loading/cleanup systems because it is our new best friend. This unified combat presentation too. 

- Got whole game flow back in place, can play from start to finish, though some missions and dialogue still place holder. Mission manager makes upgrading missions much simpler now

- Agent focus system for the starmap so menus frame the thing they are menuing

- Bounty system upgrade. Bounty all the things! (Raids, Bandit Hives, Starbases, 
Transports, Bandits, Captains)

- Starbases, Transports, and Strike Craft all inherit their owner's perks.

- AI logic upgrades for determining when a fight is worth fighting. Like don't fight two enemies, instead, wait and fight whoever wins but is wounded from that previous fight.

- Base building bounties work. Telling people to build stuff for you. Cooperative building where the faction leader puts up some of the cost but the builder puts up the rest with the promise of a base of their own to run at the end. 

- Started opportunity cost AI calculations, so AI factors its expected damage and repair cost into decisions about taking on bounties.

Thanks everyone for your continued patience and support! Questions are welcome as always. I have been less active on the forums this last month just due to the work load. All the posts are still being read multiple times a day though (usually while compiling)