Airships v7 has been out for a few days now, and has been received very positively by old hands and new players alike.
As usual, before we move on to the next major release, there are going to be a few minor releases to correct problems and put in minor features that didn't make the cut. The first such release, v7.1, is going to concentrate on fixing bugs players have reported, which are as follows:
- Fast-moving/light legged landships can "fly".
- Add ship/landship/building buttons in multiplayer setup lack translations.
- In-combat multiplayer chat messages are misaligned.
- Ship grounding is too rapid.
- Landship legs should be reset more aggressively in the editor and when being placed by the AI.
- Ship spy actions don't work.
- AI doesn't know how to use reserve.
- Landships can't intercept each other.
- Spider charge is weak.
- Boarding sometimes doesn't work with simple cases like a straight jump down.
- Landships' feet sometimes do a lot of collision damage, and sometimes none.
After that, 7.2 is going to include some convenience features, performance gains and cosmetic improvements. In particular, large numbers of ground troops currently make the game grind to a halt because of the cost of calculating individual pathing.
And then, the development of dev 8, the penultimate major feature release, will begin. As you can see from the plan page, the major items are monsters and better modding support. Diesel engines were also planned, but I will probably leave those out because I don't think they would add much to players' options for different ship designs.
Getting added for two major reasons: they're cool, and they add variety. Airships, landships and buildings are constrained in what they can do by a need for symmetry. Anything the enemy can do with them, you can do too. With monsters on the other hand, no such symmetry applies. They can have qualities, abilities, attacks, weaknesses that wouldn't work in a player vs player environment but are fun to contend against.
Implementation-wise, monsters will actually be constructions composed of a single module. A dragon is basically a flamethrower that also has lift and propulsion...
Airships has been getting modded for many months now, initially in an ad-hoc reverse-engineered fashion, then with "official support" in the form of access to the game source code and tutorials. Until version 5.2, the game also had a convenient way to load in mods, but that broke when it started bundling its own Java Virtual Machine for stability purposes.
In dev 8, I want to improve support for modding by reintroducing a mod loading system, restructuring the code to be more modular, and making the game more data-driven, allowing simple mods to be created without changes to the code.
This goes hand in hand with Steam Workshop support, allowing you to share your ship designs and mods. The main difficulty here is that the library the game uses for Steam integration doesn't have Workshop support, which means I'll need to switch it out for something else, enhance it myself, or find some work-around.
So that's the plan! Let me know if you have questions, and especially let me know if you've found a bug or balance issue in dev 7 so it can be fixed promptly.