ΔV: Rings of Saturn has come a long way since it’s release in Early Access back in August. We got an overwhelming response from our fanbase, which drove us to release a total of 173 new versions of the game over these 65 days. We’ve averaged almost 3 releases per day - each and every one of them fixing some bugs, improving some aspect of the game and adding new features.
Many of the changes are the result of our community participating in the development of the game. We set up a feature voting system at discord.gg/dv - a way for players to suggest new features, discuss and vote on them. I did my best to add as many of them to the game as I could. Some of these were small improvements, like upgrade suggestions and a new dialog-based tutorial. Some were huge, game-altering changes.
Our first big player-contributed feature was the addition of the dialog system. A way to directly communicate with other ships was not an intended feature, but it was a very popular request. The comms system allows you now to listen and respond to other ships you encounter in the rings. This gave us the opportunity to flesh out the story and present players with additional, unique quest opportunities.
The mineral market got a complete overhaul. There are now realistic, long-term price fluctuations. With the addition of geologist predictions, playing the market is a valid way to get (or lose!) funds for your company.
Our latest large addition is the ability to hire a crew. This fleshes out your company and also gives you additional options on how to run your company. You can hire pilots that will assist you with flying, mechanics that will keep your ship going and geologists that will help you make money from your enterprise.
Not all of the changes are huge. Some were just ideas for new upgrades, or ways to tune your ship. We now have a total of 62 upgrades, ranging from additional mining lasers, new reaction control systems, and even drones you can fit on your ship. There were also many small visual polishes - from the way the asteroids fracture under seismic stress, to how camera loses focus if you make sudden zoom, to the way a nuclear exhaust plume interacts with and melts the asteroids.
We also got Korean and Norwegian translations of the game.
We never abandoned our dedication to good, hard science-fiction. With the help of our science-savvy fans, we were able to find and iron out everything that was not up to our standard. Whether it was the plume shape of a thruster not looking realistic enough, or one of the engines breaking conservation of energy, we found all of that and polished it to stand up to the hardest science-fiction standard. And we earned an award to prove that.
With the help of our beta-testers and players, we found and squashed literally hundreds of bugs and made dozens of performance optimizations. There are new options for the game allowing you to play on systems that I never expected. The recent addition of fully automated soak tests allowed me to run the game automatically for hours, pinpointing many stability problems that emerge seldom enough to not be apparent in usual testing sessions. As a result, the game is now faster and more stable than ever.
Our usual release notes contain a detailed changelog, and this one will be no different. If you just wanted to know what changed since 0.132.3, here is the detailed list of changes:
- Added crew menu. You can now hire pilots, mechanics, and geologists. Repair, jury-rig, mineral price prediction, and adrenaline capability is now tied to crew stats.
- Geologist will now mark ore chunks on your HUD with estimated composition and value.
- Pilot will now trigger adrenaline automatically if you are on a dangerous course, giving you time to react.
- Changed the way the adrenaline works and its visual effect. Time slowdown is now gradual and your ship always stays in focus.
- You can now fast-travel to Enceladus station.
- Added crew portraits with dynamic lighting.
- Added ability to skip time on Enceladus.
- Significantly improved the performance of the game. There are over 50 optimizations in place, ranging from the physics system, through AI to particle rendering.
- New pixel-doubling option allowing players to artificially lower resolution for both HDPI screens and low-end computers.
- Added Korean and Norwegian translations.
- Changed the way game loads resources. Title screen will not freeze when resources are loaded in the background, and if the game is not fully loaded yet you will get a progress bar.
- Fixed multiple bugs that could crash the game in rare circumstances.