Relic Space is an upcoming, open-world, roguelike, spaceship RPG featuring tactical, hex-based ship-to-ship combat in a rich, sci-fi setting - and a new Alpha build has just been made available for playtesting!
Alpha 7 is can be accessed via the Discord. It's the biggest update yet for upcoming spaceship RPG 'Relic Space' in terms of sheer number of changes, and the focus is on bringing out the tactical depth to the game from the start.
Pilot Skill Tree
Like skills or abilities in many RPGs, Pilot Skills can be activated during combat to have specific effects, such as repairing a part of your ship, boosting some stats, or performing a specific maneuver. They are therefore central in offering the player specific tactical choices, in addition to moving and shooting.
To give players more tactical choices right from the start of the game, you can now choose from one of three character ‘backgrounds’, each of which has three starting skills, and a 'trait' which determines which skills can more easily be developed in the game.
Alongside this, the skill tree has also been completely redesigned to a) more easily distinguish different types of skill b) introduce more interesting choices when selecting a new skill to acquire by having interdependencies between skills and c) bring out the thematic or narrative aspect of developing skills associated with your background trait.
The new skill tree now has a more familiar division of skills according to themes, e.g. combat, movement, engineering etc. It also has a proper tree structure in which new skills become available as you unlock previous ones - though at the moment the structure is quite simple - as more skills get added I will add extra complexity to the structure as well.
And there are also six entirely new skills, to make the three starting skill choices more balanced and equally playable.
Relic Space has quite a deep simulation of many aspects of combat, including different damage types, effects of cover, impact of motion on hit chance, and managing heat and energy, so there are plenty of tactical options available: the challenge is to present this information in a way that is clear and without resulting in 'information overload'.
The new 'target analysis' mode (which can be toggled on or off) causes a panel to be shown that contains information about the impact of firing your ship's weapons on its current target - and importantly, this panel is shown irrespective of where the mouse is hovering. Making it independent of the mouse in this way allows for the addition of tooltips that enable the player to drill down deeper into the figures shown, and thereby learn more about the core combat mechanics.
This build introduces for the first time an all-new original soundtrack by talented composer Peter Gagliardi. As you can see from his bandcamp profile Peter has a lot of experience creating sci-fi works with a grand cosmic scale, and so is a great fit for the project.
The soundtrack is 'adaptive', changing in response to what's happening in-game, and there are three main music states. The most intense music occurs, not surprisingly, during combat, and the least intense - a quieter, more relaxed, ambient loop - occurs when the player is just travelling with no current mission. Then there’s a state of intermediate intensity that plays when the player has accepted a mission, though is not yet in combat.
In addition to being adaptive in this way, the music is also themed around the main factions in the game, so that music with characteristics corresponding to a given faction plays when you enter a sector primarily controlled by that faction. When you enter a sector that is contested by two factions, the music itself becomes a mix of the themes of those two factions. And there are also variations that occur to keep things fresh when you enter a new sector that happens to be controlled by the same faction as the previous sector you were in.
Here’s a short video that gives a taste of the way the music transitions smoothly to become more intense when a mission is acquired, and again when hostile ships are encountered.
The tutorial has also been augmented in various ways, and extended to cover the first Relic mission, to introduce players to the relic/research mechanics. There are also a host of smaller graphical improvements and bug fixes that should make for a smoother, more playable experience.
The full list of changes can be viewed on the dev blog.
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