We've received a lot of positive feedback from players. We're happy so many people liked Blue Libra. The most common feature mentioned by players that they would like to see in the game was multiplayer variant. We've promised to deliver it with the new game.
But let's go through this step by step.
First off - to those who don't know - what is Blue Libra?
Background : BL is a multiplatform real time space strategy, originally made for Apple's iPhone/iPod/iPad devices in mind, but it proved to be just as fun when played on regular stationary computers (both Windows and MacOS). Soon after the initial release we launched Linux version, and some time after an Android followed.
Each mission starts with a huge space carrier (named "Libra"), last remaining ship of your civilization that escaped being destroyed by the invading aliens, called Garians. Garians took over your home world and started expanding in this part of the galaxy. Player's task, as the commander, was to slowly regain control of the sector by completing missions of the campaign.
You can try it out here: Indiedb.com
Gameplay mechanics in BL 1: Your starting carrier is capable of producing smaller ships. Sending them to planets or space stations allows you to capture those. Captured planets produce additional ships and increase your maximal command pool. Battle commences once you encounter an enemy fleet. There is a variety of ships designed for different roles. In the end, the side standing last wins. Maps are small and the game is pretty fast, most missions can be completed just in a couple of minutes. The bigger ones may need up to half an hour.
What BL 2 brings to the fun: We'll cover new features in more than one news post, as not everything is ready right now. The general principle here is to improve rather than change everything completely. The most important feature that we saw players wanted was multiplayer mode. And dear players, you are right! It's a fast paced game and multiplayer just seems right for it. Early multiplayer is being tested as we speak.
We've decided to improve production and economy as well. We've removed the option to simultaneously produce 3 ships. It didn't meet our design expectations. The initial goal of the "3 ships at one time" was to simplify fleet managing by producing for example 50% fighters, 30% bombers and 20% destroyers. But what it did in practice was it lowered the tactical decision making for picking ships. It was enough for the player to randomly select a few ships and even if this set up wasn't optimal - it was good enough against AI in most cases (at least in difficulty levels lower than "hard" :).
Now the player's attention will be focused on producing what he really needs. Oh, and we redesigned ships, but more on that in the future.
To make decision making even more meaningful we've made the economic system a bit more complex. It's still easy to learn and use, but you'll have more fun mastering it to its full potential. We've added resource managing. Previously each ship required some time to produce and took a certain amount of command points. Now, it also requires minerals. Each planet will have a certain mining ratio. In addition there will be capturable asteroids that will be used for mining. This adds a lot of variety to how you can proceed with your strategy: you can start by capturing planets high in mineral resources but with poor ship production capabilities or the opposite (since there are different planet sizes affecting various things and space stations have their own properties, there are actually more options to choose from).
Some ships require less minerals compared to their production time than others. So depending on your economical situation you may prefer to build cheaper ships in bigger numbers or go for the expensive ones if your economy can support that. Now, the thing we really like about this new feature is.... convoy system! I'll be honest, I always loved games that implemented any, even the simplest, convoy system. Having an option to attack enemy forces directly or by cutting off their convoy supplies, at the same time protecting my own - it always felt great. Each planet / asteroid mines a certain amount of minerals. If it mines enough it sends them via a transport ship to your closest production facility that is in need of resources. If you intercept those convoys you may even outproduce an economically superior enemy (and what fun it will be in multiplayer! :).
This is all for this news post. Stay tuned for more.