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A freeform space-based realtime strategy game where the player controls groups of starships and fighters. The game is built around a randomly generated starmap which the player must rid of all enemy ships. During this quest, stations around the map can be used to purchase ships, weapons and modules. The enemy will be trying to seize control of your stations, and take the sector for themselves. Through a variety of mission types, you must capture stations and push forward until the Dust Zone is safe once again.

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Looking back on 2018, I'm really pleased with the progress on Dust Fleet. I didn't get it finished by the end of the year, despite my bold announcement in the last dev blog - sorry about that. I'll touch on reasons for the delay further into this update.

Missions and Custom Campaigns

This was a big announcement in the last dev blog, and I'm pleased to say that I've been able to seriously deliver on this one. While the JSON format remains, a whole front-end has been created to allow missions to be produced much more quickly. The centerpiece of this is the mission editor, which lets you specify events, victory conditions, commands, mission rewards and AI directives. It even includes error checking so you can be sure you've got all the basics in place. Building this took a good chunk out of the middle of the year, and is the main cause for the delay, but has paid off. It's now much quicker and easier to build missions. These editors will be shipping with the game, so anyone can add campaigns of their own, using the same tools as I use.

Mission Editor

Campaign Editor

Additionally, a campaign selector has been added to the main game menu, so you can easily choose third-party campaigns.


As I began building missions, I wanted to add a ship that could act as a drop-off point for your mining ships. And here it is, the refinery.


Refinery with mining ship docking


I refitted the existing cruiser into two new designs - the heavy and light cruisers. The heavy cruiser is geared towards using heavy weaponry, and the light cruiser features a small hangar.

Heavy Cruiser

Light Cruiser

There's a lot more detail about these changes in this Twitter thread.

The rest

This would be a very long update if I covered all the new features, so here's a quick summary of some of the rest.

Bombers: new fighters that can specifically target hulls


Fighter management: players can now swap between a carrier's fighter types during a mission, as well as retiring and repairing existing squadrons.

Loadouts: Edit and save turret sets and apply them to new ships quickly.

Guard: Ships can now be set to follow and defend other ships.

Repair: Repair turrets can be fitted to any ship, and they can be set to passively or actively repair nearby damanged ships.

New weapons: Anti frigate, anti cruiser and rapid-fire missile launchers.

New damage and explosion FX: Ships with damaged hulls catch fire, and explosions have been improved to be more energetic and visually interesting.

Campaign save/load: Game progress can at last be saved and loaded in later! This is a key part of making the game actually long-term playable and testable, so very pleased to get this in.

Starmap is now turn-based: Keeping track of everything on the starmap in realtime was overwhelming for the player and not much fun. Now strategic moves are turn based, allowing the player thinking time, and allowing me to add quite a number of gameplay improvements. Note that this change doesn't apply to the in-game 3d battles, which are still realtime!

Campaign AI: In tandem with the turn-based change, there is now functioning AI at the campaign-level. It builds fleets and makes moves right alongside the player.

Usability improvements: Creating groups, double (and triple) clicking to select ships with the same hull and the same loadout. A small change but a huge increase in usability. I'm concentrating on a lot of these kinds of improvements so that the player feels as empowered as possible.

A more exciting wormhole animation: Okay, not vital to gameplay, but ships really make an entrance now!

Ships exiting hyperspace

With all these changes, the main gameplay elements are basically done. I'm now adding content such as missions and more ships, as well as continually improving the gameplay experience. With everything achieved in 2018, I'm delighted to say that at last, the bulk of the work is behind me. I'm not yet going to set another release target yet, but let's just say that I'd expect to be finished before the end of Q2 2019. Hmm. That did sort of sound like a target, didn't it?

Until next time, spacers!

Dev Blog #16: Big Announcements!

Dev Blog #16: Big Announcements!

News 8 comments

The latest news on Dust Fleet's development, including some big improvements to the game structure, some new ships and some new gameplay elements. A final...

Dev Blog #15: Attack Ships on Fire Off the Shoulder of Orion

Dev Blog #15: Attack Ships on Fire Off the Shoulder of Orion

News 5 comments

Dust Fleet has been maintaining radio silence for a while, but it's time for an update. The past few months has been extremely busy, and the game is looking...

Dev Blog #14: Bring The Rain

Dev Blog #14: Bring The Rain

News 4 comments

Sometimes you just want that cruiser out of your sky, and you want that to happen yesterday. Dust Fleet is here to help you out.

Dev Blog #13: Dust Fleet

Dev Blog #13: Dust Fleet

News 7 comments

In this update: a new name, a new UI and the path to the finish line. It's time to focus on the details that make the game feel fun, and the mechanics...

Comments  (0 - 10 of 33)

Been watching closely for about 6 months, just wanna say the game is looking great and I look forward to playing on Steam. :)

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your game is on Steam or Steam Greenlight ?

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DiscoJustice Creator

It sure is! Find it here: Steamcommunity.com

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I just found this game and it looks awesome! Definetly tracking.

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I like this game's style , it feels a bit like Homeworld 2 where you can target and hit individual enemy ship systems

I'll definitely wanna try it once it comes out and randomly generated maps is a good idea that surely will offer replayability

I'll vote you max once i can and i'm tracking it

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I completely agree with @⧊⋂≬∩⧊ this game looks epic.. You proof very well that even indie devs can release AAA titles. I will definitely buy this when it comes out. How ever I do hope there will also be a single player campaign at some point. Sand box alone makes it nice but not perfect. Also don't forget about a research tree or some space wreckage that you can salvage to gain resources or some new unique technologies or units.

Should the need arise: You can hire professional voice actors for free or for some money even. They're kinda good folks over there. Just promote your project accordingly and they will flood you with offers to do voice acting and sound effects for you.


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DiscoJustice Creator

I'd really like to do a single-player campaign, but writing a story isn't something I'm very good at. Having said that, the version of this game that comes out for release won't necessarily be where the updates stop. Once the game meets the design criteria, I'll be looking to see what else I can add.

I'm definitely going to need a bit of voice acting just for unit responses, so thanks for that link!

Reply Good karma+2 votes
DiscoJustice Creator

Thanks! Still working hard on it, hoping to show off some new stuff real soon.

Reply Good karma+2 votes

Thanks DiscoJustice

Cannot help to point out that you're really cute

Take your time , your progress is great already

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Glad to see a bit of activity

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Latest tweets from @dustfleet

I just can't with Lightwave anymore. Learning Houdini. It's very interesting. Learning curve is more like a learnin… T.co

Feb 20 2020

The good news is that ships are now much better at using wormholes as a team instead of forming a queue. #GameDev T.co

Feb 10 2020

Next thing on my to-do list is to fix this jostling nonsense once and for all. #GameDev T.co

Feb 10 2020

RT @gambrinous: It's been so hard to get press attention for Cardpocalypse & it's gotten me a bit down. Compare our last game Guild… T.co

Jan 16 2020

RT @gambrinous: One factor is I think games press themselves have become *much* more stretched in the last 5 years.

Jan 16 2020


Dec 17 2019

RT @GlennBurgess: Nice to see Steam borrowing the imagery of a retail experience they've been slowly crushing to death for 15 years. T.co

Nov 27 2019

Decided to tighten up the process for triggering new missions when previous ones are completed, and things GOT REAL… T.co

Nov 23 2019

RT @spaceshipsporn: Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (2016): UNSA SWC-141 Retribution, Admiral-class Space Warfare Carrier, by Mike Hill. T.co

Oct 26 2019

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