So tonight I made my 300th commit to High Albedo. As you may know, I use GitHub as my version control system and my repository can be found here. Since I released v1.2 I've gotten some good feedback and have been making sweeping improvements to the game! To celebrate my 300th commit, I want to show you what you can look forward to in the next release.
This is a feature I've wanted to do since day 1, but never got around to doing. When an NPC's situation gets dire, it might choose to jump ship and escape. This leaves their ship floating in space for you to claim! This gives you a more pirate route of acquiring new ships!
But it isn't as easy as you might expect. NPCs don't just bail at the drop of the hat, some will bail rarely and even the most cowardly only bail 25% of the time. This is for balance purposes, and could be adjusted in the LOADOUTS file. A loadout defines a ship with cargo and equipment that an NPC could spawn with. Loadouts are now linked to courage levels.
name=RS Bounty Hunter
install=Thorn A/Thorn A
When the NPC is spawned, it will pick a courage between those min and max values. If these values are not defined for a loadout, then the game assumes the ship has 100% courage which means the NPC will never bail.
To capture a bailed ship, you'll need Salvage Software. This will be purchasable from pirate bases, and will be dropped by killing The Archers. I wanted you to have to work for this software, but it's well worth it in the long run.
Something cool to note is that an NPC can make another NPC bail. Just saying!
The only way to repair a ship in previous versions was to use another ship to fire a repair beam at it. I thought this was kind of dumb, so I've added Repair Paste. This commodity can be bought at shipyards and corporate HQs and will repair the hull of the ship you use it on. It comes in a capital variant for repairing big ships. Note that it might take a lot of paste to fix extensive damage.
Here are the descriptions for the repair pastes, if you have a better idea I'd love to use it!
A tube of paste with a plastic applicator intended to repair damage to the hull of a ship. The label states that exposure to vacuum conditions voids warranty.
A really big vat of paste with an impressively large plastic applicator designed to repair the hull of capital ships. The label states that the manufacturer is not liable for injuries caused by swimming in the vat of paste.
I originally had really technical explanations for repair paste, but decided to go with some humor instead since, in these kinds of games, repairing your ship is usually glossed over or hand waved anyway.
Screen Resolution Changes
In previous versions the game was missing a feature that was embarrassingly missing: The ability to save screen resolutions between sessions. This was pointed out to me when 1.2 was released, so in 1.3 this will be added.
I've restructured the .highalbedo folder the saved games are in to include a settings file that will store your choices for display settings between sessions, so you won't have to input your resolution settings every time you play the game.
You all have been shockingly patient and quiet about that missing feature.
New Nebula Backdrops
In previous versions of High Albedo, there were 8 backdrops a solar system could use. That's 8 backdrops spread over a lot of solar systems, so there was a lot of repetition. In 1.3, there will be 54 backdrops! This means that there will be a lot less repetition in backgrounds when moving through the universe. To make this even better, the new backdrops are of a higher resolution than the old ones, the widescreen ones are 1080p.
Here are some of the new backplates for you to enjoy!
Aren't they pretty? I've gone with a lot of darker plates too, it really adds to the mood of some of the more dangerous systems.
Improved Collision Avoidance Algorithm
The NPCs in High Albedo run an algorithm that sends out a line in front of their ship. This line is used as a feeler to detect when something is in the way, and the NPC then uses strafing to negotiate the obstacle until it has a clear path again.
Unfortunately, my algorithm was failing when the NPC was facing almost directly up, almost directly down, almost directly left, or almost directly right. It worked fine for all other orientations, however. The problem was that the feeler was getting too thin as those singularities were approached. At any of those orientations, the line would become a mere pixel thick and the ship would be basically blind.
I rewrote the algorithm to handle these edge cases properly, so the AI is far better at avoiding collisions and navigating around obstacles! If you're a nerd and want to review the new algorithm, click here!
High Albedo 1.3 is shaping up nicely! I will be releasing 1.3 late in January or very early February. However, there is still work to do to keep polishing this game. I need your feedback! A lot of these changes have been made due to player feedback, so I do listen to you. What would you like to see in the game? Even if it doesn't make it into 1.3, it could appear later.
If you want to play the latest development version (it might be buggy, it isn't a release version and it is under constant revision) you can grab the source from GitHub, you'll need NetBeans and the JDK to compile it. Fly safe!