Here's what is likely to be the last large devlog before our 1.1 release that should be out before the end of the month. As usual, it details what has been done since the last article, which include the new combat settings, the new station / trading menu, the improved galactic news, and more.
Basically, this feature is going to add a few new settings to the Ship Setup menu, allowing you to choose between (currently) 3 different combat behaviors for your ships. “Standard” is, well, the current combat behavior: mid range combat where distance is determined by the weapon with the shortest range. With “Keep Distance”, the ship will try to stay as far away as possible from its current target while still being able to hit the opponent. Finally “Ignore” will mean that the ship will go on with its current order (or stay still if no current order) when under attack. Note that weapon systems are independent from this setting, meaning that you can set the ship to fire back even in “ignore” combat mode, which will surely become a very useful tool to those wanting to micro-manage large fleet battles without the combat AI getting in their way.
Regarding carriers, in a similar fashion, you will be allowed to choose how your carrier(s) will use their fighters. 3 different modes here again. Offensive is the current one, fighter wings are sent to different targets according to their threat level. Defensive in which the fighters will try to stay around the carrier. And passive, in which fighters will stay docked unless given explicit orders (through new buttons). Simple enough. Another setting will allow you to choose which fighter you want to carrier to “rearm” itself when getting repairs. Before you ask, actual fighter equipment won’t be selectable (at least for now).
As shown in the screenshot, the trading menu has been entirely redesigned. It uses a bit more screen estate and comes with a new font that will likely be extended to the whole game soon. Most sub menus have been slightly altered and improved in a way or another. Listing all those small changes would be fairly pointless.
There’s one important and non cosmetic addition to this menu. The game now tracks how much what you bought was worth, which mean that when you are selling something, the menu will tell you how many credits your are loosing or gaining by making that transaction.
I also merged the Journal and the Galactic News tabs in the empire menu into a single entity, added different filters, changed some of the icons, completed some existing articles and added a few new ones.
I can’t say the galactic news become much more useful, but it’s at least a step in the right direction. I know that fading popups on the side of the screen like in Civ5 and other modern 4X wouldn’t go amiss and I will see what I can do about that.
UG had a pretty long initial loading screen which I managed to reduce in a sizable manner. It is still mostly dependent on the graphical settings, but even with the maximum settings it doesn’t take nearly as much time to load the game than before. Same goes for game saving and loading functions. Saving your game takes much less time and doesn’t require large amounts of free hard disk space anymore. Loading is a bit faster too, but not by much. There is still room for improvement, but not by much.
There are also a few other optimizations related to the game itself, and as such the game should run better in the long run. Hard to tell how noticeable it will be on your side as it’s so dependent on the situation, settings, and computer.
And, as usual, plenty of small to big bug fixes and improvements. Ships that are coming out of a station or a warpgate will fade in the environment instead of just popping in. I fixed a bunch of inconsistencies when pressing the ESC key or when quitting menus while the game is paused. Fixed a few issues that could potentially crash the game under specific conditions. And if you’re looking for the whole picture, check the changelog on the forum.