It's been quite a while since I posted here. There has been a ton of progress with Stellar Tactics over the last year, including opening the entire universe (160,00+ star systems). So I'll just go ahead and provide a summary of everything that's happened with a few videos and screenshots to catch up.
Progress Update March 16/18
- New top-down radar system for ground exploration. The radar system is designed to be expanded on and tied to your electronics skill. As you gain more skill in electronics, perks will be available for exposing other object types on the map like loot, mission objects and at a very high skill, enemy positions (assuming they are not using stealth).
- Completed modeling and lighting for all procedural ground-based locations for the universe
- Work in progress for object placement in the procedural mission locations
- Crushed a number of bugs
- All character animations are now being adjusted and polished
Patch 0.129 April 6/18
Added a new top down radar system for ground exploration. The radar system is designed to be expanded on and tied to your electronics skill. As you gain more skill in electronics, perks will be available for exposing other object types on the map like loot, mission objects and at a very high skill, enemy positions (assuming they are not using stealth). I'll be adding perks for this skill soon.
For now, the radar displays default information - vendors, NPC's and enemies if in line of site.
--Exits are shown as door icons on the radar. You can click door icons to move the camera to that location. This is handy for moving your team to the exit.
--In mission areas that display the progression map, rolling over exit icons on the radar will highlight the room the exit leads to on the mission map.
--NPC's are displayed as orange dots
--Vendors are displayed as green dots
--Enemies are displayed as red dots - enemies are only displayed if they are in line of sight during combat. When perks for electronics go in the game, you will be able to select a perk that reveals all enemies in a certain radius regardless of LOS based on your skill in electronics.
--Team members are displayed as white dots.
--The radar is centered on the currently selected team member.
--There are two FOV indicators on the radar. The large FOV indicator displays the direction your camera is facing. The smaller indicator displays the direction your selected team member is facing.
--I'll be expanding on the system in the future.
Weapon mods - You can swap/upgrade mods now anytime/anywhere. The currently equipped mod gets moved to your inventory. Mods are never destroyed even when overwriting an existing mod in a weapon slot. You can only have a single mod of any one type equipped in any weapon
--Drag mods from your shared inventory to any mod slot. The dragged mod will be equipped in a free mod slot or replace any similar mod. If the mod is replaced, the old mod will be moved to your inventory.
--Shift-click any equipped mod to un-equip the mod to your inventory, clearing the mod slot.
Progress Update - June 15/18
The last few months have been pretty crazy around here. Since the last major patch, I've been focused on opening the FTL gates and there is still a lot of work to do. Most of this time has been spent wrapping up all the procedural mission sets needed to make sure the universe is populated with locations to explore. This has been thousands of hours of work over the last year between me and a talented modeler/ level designer I work with. I'm happy to say that work is now done - I'm finished with the level sets for the next content patch.
Another large block of work that is finished is generating the interiors for the various stations found in the universe. That means the interiors are in the game, loading based on where you are in the universe, vendors are placed and faction mission contacts are available. You can now dock at trade stations across the universe in the development build - if you have the proper level of faction needed. In a future patch you will be able to hack station security remotely and board the stations of hostile factions. Doing that will place a station on alert and you will need to fight your way through the station to disable various systems like external station turrets and interior defense systems. Should be interesting.
All the space stations that were completed some time ago have been added to the universe. Later I'll be adding external turret systems to the stations for faction warfare.
The incursion system is now working in all systems that have stations or a faction presence. I'll expand on this in the future with faction warfare and more.
I've also added volumetric effects to all systems as well as LUT Color Grading. They add a lot to the visual appearance and diversity of star systems.
For the last week I've been focused on performance on the Star Map. The game processes tens of thousands of independent AI vessels. The Star Map uses LOD algorithms to display ships and systems that are nearby and places them into a secondary processing queue when they are out of range. Every ship has a task or set of tasks and when they are out of visual range, they switch to a secondary process that uses universe time to determine arrival, task completion and assign new tasks. It's a fairly complex system and seems to be running well. I'm going to give myself another week with this to make sure everything is performing and running as expected.
And finally, the revised animations are finished, including special attacks for all weapon types. You might notice that "stealth" will be going in the game. I'll add these animations into the game when I get through a longer list of tasks I'm working on right now.
So, what's next?
Performance on the Star Map, tying the mission generator into the rest of the universe, finishing the crew manager, adding commodities and refining the trade system and a good number of other things that need to be done like data buoy's, the mission tracker and more. These should move along pretty fast. It does take time though, so I hope you will all be patient. It's going to be a huge update when it's finished and I need to make sure everything is in and working well.
I'd like to thank all of you for supporting the game and hope you all have a great weekend!
Progress Update July 29/18
Hi everyone. No video this time, but I wanted to post a quick update to let you know what I've been up to.
Lots of work completed over the last month and a half since the last progress update. Star map performance is finished, the mission generator is placing explore missions on planets, faction agents are issuing faction missions to other systems in the area and rewarding tokens and rewards. I've also completed mission indicators so you know where to go when a mission is assigned and I've extended the system so I can add other mission types at a later time. I've spent a lot of time testing and making sure that when you arrive at mission destinations, the missions play through, complete and send you back to the originator for your reward. So, that was a big part of the work that needed to be done out of the way.
Faction was another big task. I've added two more armor sets to the faction merchants. Shikaru and Varadyn. The sets can be purchased with mission tokens. They come in three color variants.
There are many different types of locations you can discover in Stellar Tactics. Many different stations types, ground based facilities and cave systems. When exploring you may come across planets that have ground locations that need help. Some may be invaded by Phage, Scavvers, Raiders, hostile factions, mutants etc. By clearing one of these locations you end up with rewards from the dominant faction of that system. Regardless of the current faction in that system, you will get a generous faction reward. Landing at sites like this is a great way to adjust your standing with the various organizations in the universe.
Normally when you enter a system, if your faction is "Wary" or better, you can dock and land at stations and ground based locations to buy supplies, trade and repair. However, if a faction is hostile and you enter the entire station becomes a combat zone. Right now in the development build you can dock at any station. That's going to change in the next few weeks when I add station turret buoys. If you approach within a certain range, hostile stations will start firing on your ship. You will need to destroy the turrets before you can dock at a hostile station. In the future I'll add ways to bypass security, override these turrets and dock. I'll also be setting stations up so they launch ships that will hunt you down unless you FTL out of the system.
Speaking of the FTL system, after playing the current development build, I've set up the FTL drives so you can warp from anywhere. That means you can leave a station and immediately FTL. I've increased movement speed with the micro-warp drives and speed in FTL space. I spent a few days making sure travel times are significantly reduced. Jump points will still be used for translocating. To translocate you will need to place a data buoy in another system. Once that's done you end up with a translocation bookmark. As long as you are in a certain range of a jump point you can instantly teleport between systems, bypassing the FTL space completely.
I've also added a few things for combat that I think you will appreciate. The first is line of sight indicators. When in combat, if you hover your cursor over a movement destination, line indicators will be displayed showing you if that position has direct line of sight to an enemy. Ideal for finding cover and deciding where to move your team member. They are also useful for letting you know when a team member is in the way so you don't shoot them in the back.
Second, I want to talk about the random number generator. This seems to come up fairly often, not just in Stellar Tactics but in most any game that uses RNG in combat. Here is the deal, and I agree - it's just not fun to have a shot lined up with a 90% chance to hit and you "whiff" - nothing. So, I've changed the system so "YOU ALWAYS HIT" if above 75% chance to hit. Your damage will scale down if you're initial roll fails and you will only graze your enemies, but you will still hit. Below 50% CTH you will still get a second roll that may do limited damage. You will only apply status modifiers (poison, stun, bleed etc) if your initial roll succeeds. Let's give that a try for a while and see if everyone likes the new system in the next patch.
Another thing that I've finished was adjusting the way looting works. You can now choose to auto-loot objects as a setting in options. The nearest team member now interacts with loot, characters and objects in the scene. These changes were much needed and I'm glad I was able to get them in.
And finally, a few screenshots of the new UI (work in progress). These look a little empty until I get them finished and in the game. I thought I'd share them anyway.
Patch 0.144 - The Universe September 21/18
I'm very happy to announce that the Stellar Tactics universe is now open - from one system to 160,000+ systems. I'm very happy with the progress and this is a major milestone for the game. I hope you enjoy it.
Prepare for a wall of text...
I want to set some expectations. This is the first pass of the universe sandbox. There are likely to be bugs, though we've done some heavy testing over the last three weeks and things seem stable. That doesn't mean there won't be edge cases that cause problems. If you do find any bugs, please post them on the bug forums and I'll address them as soon as I can. Steamcommunity.com
So, what is this patch?
--This is the first pass at the sandbox universe. Over time I'll be adding a lot of content including discovery missions from logs, distress transmissions and much, much more. Think of this as the beginning of something much larger.
--There is no new story content, just missions everywhere, places to explore, mine, engage in exploration discovery encounters on planets and stations against various factions. Plenty to do and explore.
--What will I be doing after the patch releases - a lot. The goal is to get to Alpha as soon as possible. to get there I need to finish a few more of the games core systems. I'll list all of that in the "What's next" and "Roadmap" posts on the forums.
--Tuning - the game needs to be tuned, both for ground and space combat. First, perks need to be in place, special attacks need to be finished and itemization and the economy needs to be addressed.
It's important that I point out that I do have plans to add (soon) a way for you to right click enemies and choose the target body part, review enemy information (resists and possibly more information) based on your perception stat. One thing I've never liked about the current system is that it does not give you an alternative method for targeting enemies - this will be addressed.
And now for the patch notes:
IMPORTANT: MOUSE INTERACTION HAS BEEN CHANGED. The mouse now uses left click to interact with objects, NPC's, combat attacks, movement and movement cursor rotation. Right click is reserved for camera rotation. I've adjusted this so it conforms with the standard. I find a lot of new players are confused by the old system which felt out of place. I think it works much better so thank you everyone who suggested this change.
You can now travel through the entire Stellar Tactics Universe. Traveling between systems is done in FTL Space - a 3D representation of the entire Stellar Tactics universe.
To travel to FTL space, you no longer need to approach a jump point. You can enter FTL space anywhere in a star system as long as you are not in combat. Jump points are now used for translocating between systems where you have placed a data beacons. More on that below. When you can FTL to the Star Map, an icon will be displayed in the upper left System Info UI if that UI is opened.
Once in FTL Space, approach any system and a new icon will be displayed in the upper left of the screen under the System Information menu. Pressing that icon will drop you from FTL Space into the selected Star System.
To enter FTL space, you need to have a FTL drive equipped on your ship. These are the requirements to enter FTL space:
1) If you are in your starter ship, you must have completed the "Speak with Scarby Hurzog" mission line through completion of the mission given to you by "Phestus". You can then buy a FTL drive from Phestus that you will need to equip on your ship.
2) You can purchase a new ship. All new ships are equipped with FTL drives.
3) You must return Dr. Rhamus and Dr. Jensen to the "Achmedius Trade Station" or you will not be able to enter FTL space
I've blocked entry to some systems for story content that will come during ALPHA and BETA. When trying to enter these systems a message is displayed letting you know that you cannot enter. Considering the overall number of systems (between 160,000 - 200,000 + depending on your random seed) you won't come across these often.
Level cap raised to level 60 - Skill cap raised to level 100
A new user interface for ground exploration and general information UI's. The space UI has not been changed other than some minor edits. I still have some cleanup to do on the UI and I'm looking through everything to make small adjustments.
Line of sight indicators that are displayed when hovering over movement locations. They indicate visible enemies from that position and provide you with an idea of whether or not that location provides cover. More work to do on this including displaying the indicators when you press TAB.
Closest team member interaction: When interacting with objects in the environment, the closest team member to that object, NPC, chest, loot object etc. will always interact. This resolves situations where you may be blocked getting to the object and need to move your team members around. There are a couple of important notes here:
1) When interacting with vendors, regardless of who selects the vendor, the team member in your active team with the highest CHA will be used in vendor price calculations.
2) When hacking you will need to select the team member with the hacking tool. The closest team member will interact, however, the selected team member with the tool will actually hack the item, provide skill bonuses and receive the experience.
All ships are now available to purchase. Vendor inventory is random so check vendors for new ships.
Your key-binds have been reset.
The farther you travel out into the universe, the more difficult enemies become. Faction mission agents can be found on stations in primary faction systems - that is Halamis, Varadyn, Cilivon, Conrair, Shikaru and Aralion.
You can see which faction is controlling a Star System on the Star Map in the log by rolling over or clicking on a system. You can gather missions from agents that will send you to nearby systems. Returning for your reward will net faction, tokens and rewards. If you enter a station with a faction agent and that system is way above your level/capability, the faction agent will not issue missions. There are also agents in sub-faction systems like The Kchor, The Coven etc. Neutral systems do not have faction agents, these systems are reserved for faction warfare. I'll be expanding on these missions, the mission descriptions and more over time.
The difficulty of a particular Star System is indicated in the Log->Star Map area. When you roll over a system, information will be displayed in the lower right of the Star Map displaying:
--The name of the system
--Reputation (hostile, wary, neutral, etc.)
--The primary Faction for that system
--The sector X,Y coordinates
--The difficulty of that system displayed my minimum level requirement
--If the system has station services
I'll be doing much more work on the map for an upcoming update.
In FTL Space, combat is disabled. I'll be adding various discovery locations, skirmishes and faction warfare in the future.
System labels in FTL Space are color coded as follows:
- Green Border: System has leveled content if there are landing locations and faction mission agents.
- Yellow Border: A challenge. The content in these systems is slightly above your level. With good gear and a skilled team you will survive. Faction agents are likely to have missions for you in these systems.
- Red Border: Likely impossible - but who knows? Give it a try and see. Faction agents will not offer missions in these systems.
- Purple borer with solid dark blue background: You have a agent mission to complete in this system.
- Yellow border with solid green background: You completed a mission and an agent is waiting for you to return for your reward in this system.
Star systems on the Star Map in your log are now colored by faction. Red systems are hostile, blue neutral, yellow wary and green are friendly. When entering hostile systems, ships will spawn and intercept you. They will continue to launch ships as long as you are in a system. You can stay and fight, scan planet surfaces for stations and event locations, board hostile stations or leave the system. They will continue to hunt you until you destroy them or leave the system.
Landing on a station or ground station in a hostile system will set that location hostile and exploring those locations will result in combat. Clearing one of these locations will net you rewards and faction. No tokens are rewarded.
Ships will occasionally spawn in all systems and harass you. Mining for ore now has an added degree of risk. You are less likely to be harassed in systems that are controlled by factions that are not hostile towards you. They will continue to hunt you until you destroy them or leave the system.
Equipping your mining vessel with good shields and armor and making sure you have one or two dedicated weapon turrets is usually enough to fend off the enemies if you are in lower level systems. Destroying these ships will spawn loot so - bonus! If you see the message "Enemy ships inbound" and you are not yet ready for space combat, I'd head for the nearest station or FTL to FTL space.
Scanning planets in systems may reveal exploration opportunities. If you clear an exploration location you will get a reward and faction. No tokens are rewarded.
Two new faction armor sets, one for Varadyn and one for Shikaru. Doing agent missions for these factions will net you tokens that you can use to buy this armor. I'll be adding faction weapons in a future patch.
A new keybind that takes you directly to the ship UI, "K" by default.
PageUP and PageDown now zoom the camera in and out incrementally when exploring ground locations.
The crew manager has been added to the game. You can access the crew manager on the ground and in space using the "M" key. The crew manager is only available once you return Rhamus and Jensen to the Trade Port in Achmedius. You can find new crew members on the Achmedius trade station and stations across the universe. They are usually located in the sleeping quarters area of stations and ground facilities. Speak to NPC's you find and some may choose to join you. Accept their offers and review their skills in the crew manager. If you don't like their initial stats, you can dismiss them and find another.
- The crew manager can be accessed when in space or on the ground.
- The left side of the crew manager window displays all of your crew members. A total of 10 crew members can be in your crew at any time. Crew members can be recruited on friendly stations across the universe.
- You cannot move crew in or out of your ground crew while on the ground. You can only assign new crew to your ground team in the crew manager while in space.
- Selecting a crew member in the left list displays important stat and skill information for review in the center pane of the crew manager.
- You can assign, replace and remove crew members by dragging them from the left crew list to the right team rosters.
- You can remove crew members by dragging them from the active roster to the crew list on the left. This allows you to solo ground missions or limit the number of crew members you have in your active ground team.
- Your ship and ground crew members can be separate. That is, you can have dedicated ground and space crew or you can mix and match team members from both rosters.
- You cannot replace your main character. He/she is dedicated to the first slot in the ground team roster and will always be a member of your ground team.
- You must have at least one crew member assigned to your space crew roster.
- You can dismiss a crew member by selecting the crew member in the left crew list. Dismissing a crew member is permanent (at least for now). You will prompted when dismissing a crew member and notified that dismissal is permanent.
- Setting station assignments in the ship UI [K] will re-arrange your ship crew. It does not affect your current ground team roster. Those changes will be reflected in the crew manager.
Data Beacons: These can be purchased from ship equipment vendors. If you approach a FTL point you will notice a new icon in the lower left of the screen. If you have data beacons in your inventory, you can drop a beacon in a system. You can then teleport back to that system from any other system in the universe instantly by approaching a FTL point, selecting the beacons icon and then selecting your destination from the list. I recommend picking a home system and placing a beacon there. It can be a place where you store your ships.
- To place beacons or translocate, you must be in the vicinity of a FTL point.
- Once you place a beacon, the system the beacon is placed in will be listed in the beacons UI.
- You must have at least 5 Fusion Cells (ground type ammo) to translocate
- You can delete beacons using the beacons UI
- Beacons will eventually also feed trading data into the Trade-Net
CTH system revised. If you have over a 75% chance to hit, you will always connect. You will either get a "Grazing hit" (ranged) or "Glancing blow" (melee). Damage is scaled down based on the CTH value. Between 50% and 75% CTH you still get a second roll that has a low chance to connect with the enemy. Let's give that a try for a while. I'll make adjustments based on player feedback. Note that grazing hits and glancing blows can still be mitigated. At lower levels if the damage value is very low, enemy damage mitigation can reduce this damage to zero.
Updated radar: The radar has updated icons and now displays the position of gather items and boss enemies. Vendors have unique icons and mission agents are clearly displayed when they enter the radar.
Friendly fire is now off by default. You can turn it on/off in the Options->Gameplay menu at any time, even while in combat.
Tutorials are now a Guide. The guide can be found by press "H" and selecting the "Guide" button at the top of the displayed screen. I've added new topics to the guide that cover space combat, mining and more. I'll be expanding the in-game guide over time. Video's have been removed and replaced with illustrations. Note that most of the guide topics have multiple pages as listed at the bottom center of the guide screen.
IMPORTANT: Get yourself a "translocator". All Halamis faction merchants carry them including the faction merchant in the Abandoned Research Facility staging area. They are free and instantly teleport you out of any mission location back to space.
Patch 0.163 - Perks and more Perks November 27/18
Patch day! - All perks for combat skills are now in the game to level 100. FIRST AID and HACKING perks have also been added to level 100. Space-specific skill perk lines for PILOTING, WEAPONRY, ELECTRONICS and TARGETING perks are all in the game for an additional 60 perks. I'll be adjusting all perks over time as other game systems are implemented.
The middle perk line in ELECTRONICS is related to security and will be used at a later time. For now, selecting perks in this line will have no effect.
Mining perks can be selected, however, they are not fully implemented for now. I'll be adding these when I get the ground mining drone system in the game. You do get bonuses from the WEAPONRY skill perks from reload speed and energy efficiency when mining so you should see a boost from those perks.
Perks are useful in a number of ways. For ground combat, they can give you bonuses towards applying various status effects and mitigating different damages types. They are most useful for customizing your team for offensive, balanced or defensive roles. They apply secondary bonuses for applying additional damage, bleeding, hobbled, stunned, crippled, poison and shield strike-through effects. The defensive line provides additional AC and bonus mitigation against status effects.
Healing perks provide additional healing effects and the ability to remove status effects when applying med-kits. At higher levels they can remove stun, poison, bleeding, hobbled and crippled states.
Hacking perks provide bonuses to the length of time you have to select a key when hacking a chest or locker, bonus loot quality, and even auto-completing hacking.
Space perks affect all crew station bonuses displayed on the ship screen [K] - Ship speed, turn rate and evasion - Damage bonuses, reload speed and energy efficiency - scan range, security (not active yet) and shield bonuses - turret lock speed, chance to hit and shield bypass.
Perks can be changed at any time - an unusual design decision. I did not want to lock players into any specific perk decisions. In Stellar Tactics perks are situational and as development continues that will be much more important at higher levels.
As I roll out crafting, repair, salvaging and adjustments to mining, I'll also add perks for those skills. They are all interrelated and each of those skills will need to be worked on at the same time.
The total number of perks currently in the game:
Combat - 135
General - 30
Space - 60
Total - 225 perks