First off I want to apologize again for the long delay in updates, and to cover the situation with the development of the game.
As of November last year I had to get job as the game took longer than planned to finish and subsequently ran out of funds to support myself, my plan was to get a part time job so I could finish the game in a timely manner, after applying for a retail job for 25 hours a week I did get the job, however they have asked me to come full time over Christmas and the new year. Essentially this meant that I had little time to develop the game unfortunately.
With that said I have spent most of my spare time during those months working on the game and thankfully my hours at my current job are going back down and have had time once again to focus on the game, rest assured that I will not "give up" and I ask for a little more patients.
With the bad news out the way, I want to focus on the good news of whats actually been happening with the game.
First and foremost the biggest change from the last update is the semi-redesign of the build menu, the original was boring, plain and slow and the newer version shown in update 25 was all over the place and was hard to read, so I took the design and made some adjustments so that it is easier to understand and navigate whilst looking interesting.
Second biggest change are the maps themselves, I have been working on them all and making them all look better whilst improving performance. They are all almost complete, I am having a few issues with the collision areas and play ability so that you as the player do not get frustrated when trying to build stuff and yet not have any odd bugs (buildings half built into the ground)
Third change, this one includes lots of little things though, the colonists management system, this includes colonists health, happiness, wage, region origins, investing, searching and how they effect the overall income of science and resources all working together to add depth to the game. I am currently working on fixing issues with colonists training and education within your base. Previously all of these where mostly implemented but was not interacting with each other.
These are the main new things that have been added, however though the last update said there was a feature freeze there is a new feature that is being added, and I hope that you all agree that it will be extremely useful for this kind of game - stat tracking, this comes in the form of graphs so you can measure your resources over time, tracking everything from resource amounts to colonists average happiness to the number of buildings built on the map.
The above was something I had thought about previously however I was going forego it, After talking to a publisher they where on the fence on whether to take my game on or not and this, along with the build menu was the 2 main criteria they felt needed adding/improving.
This graph system is implemented into the current development build of the game however there are some major performance issues with it that need to be addressed before its of any use.
On some more good news, the mission system has also been given some more thought too, in the current implementation you can progress through levels to unlock new missions, however the older missions become redundant and easy to complete, the plan here is simple - to increase the difficulty with the level so that they are still relevant at the end of the game as they where at the beginning. Furthermore, the plan is to have 30 missions per level and a total of 11 levels (0-10) giving a total of approximately 330 missions and while not fully implemented into the game, 200 of these have been designed already.
Along with all the above have been many bug fixes and little features added such as a right click "quick menu" colour corresponding text (red for negative green for positive etc) more building models added, balancing, story, save menu options and graphic menu options including culling distance for different object types to ensure that even the slower computers out there have a chance to play the game.
So whats left you ask
As development continues the final version of the game comes closer, so here is a list of whats still to do
Complete the story (aprox 65% complete)
Add story into the game - story UI and Story progression mechanic
aprox 100 more missions (aprox 63% complete)
Add missions to game (mostly copy and paste)
20 more building models (mostly end game structures, aprox 75% complete)
Texture existing buildings (50% complete)
Search for buildings by resource amount (re-design of the UI for this)
Implement tool tips (feature is partially added, just need the text to complete)
More audio (SFX)
Fix and improve tutorials (current version has a "quick tutorial" - that's not so quick, but quicker than the interactive tutorials.)
Bug fixesPolishing up little bits
I will post another update soon with some pictures and possibly even a video of the current game.
Glad to hear the project is still in development, I have all the versions still on my desktop and really enjoyed playing. I've always seen the potential in the game so I suspect it just needs that final push.
Is there anything that the community can do to accelerate the mission design or skinning of models etc?
I'm happy to devote some time to bug testing again, I suspect you are locking down the features now to push out a final version of the game?
If you want a pair of fresh eyes on the new build I'm happy to playtest. Anyhow, keep us posted with updates, little and often is good.
Testing will be a big part of it soon, come the next version my plan is to have all the main features in with minimal bugs, I have been testing it of late and fixing the major bugs I find as I find them
I would like to get the new build out asap, so with this in mind below is what needs to be done before its out
Balance testing - need to run through a few plays of the game to make sure the latest features wont block the game
re-confirm that the training and education system works and has no issues (mostly UI issues in the past)
Building resource menu(s) where you can search through all the buildings, this feature is already working for colonists and needs adapting for buildings instead
If I get through the above quick enough I would also like to add orbital menu and orbital structures for that build too, the menu is mostly in there but I feel needs tweaking a bit to make it more user friendly
As to what the community can help towards, first is the testing, this is something that all beta and alpha testers can do..
The second part is something anyone can do and that is to suggest mission ideas, for those that have the current version you can take a look at the current missions that are in the game for ideas and I will post a couple of the missions that will be coming in a couple of builds time to further help those with the game and give an idea to those that are still waiting.
A new craze is sweeping through the rich, drinking moon water.
What better way to demonstrate your wealth by importing water from the moon!
Sub Zero particles
The European Space Agency has requested assistance in an ongoing experiment regarding the behaviour of particles at super cold temperatures.
As the moon gets extremely cold in its night time its a perfect opportunity to cost effectively study the particles under these conditions
eXtra Space have an experimental spaceship in orbit, its planning on returning to Earth however they noticed they have a lot of extra fuel on board, due to safety they would normally have to dump this incase of fire on re-entry, however they could deliver the extra fuel to you at a reduced price.
As technology progresses so does the opportunity for research and study, the FKA have devised a new highly sensitive gravimetric sensor to accurately map the gravimetric fluctuations within the solar system, with this map they hope to detect external forces that may be effecting the solar system such as the presence of dark matter or dark energy. They however need your assistance to observe the visible solar system such as the sun to correlate their findings with known gravimetric sources.
With Antimatter technology on the horizon it might be advantageous to do some research yourself into the matter, while there has been some collected and stored on earth it is notoriously hard to control and store, so before the technology to produce this stuff in any quantity is invented an efficient storage medium is needed and is a great way to enter the field of Antimatter
A joint venture between ESA & NASA wants to send a new telescope to a L2 position. They believe it would be cheaper to build and launch the telescope from your base. Can you help them see into the mysteries of the universe?
The ultimate achievement for mankind would be to turn another planet or moon from an inhospitable place to a habitable environment, this would take some extreme engineering to complete such a daunting task however the technology has to be invented and developed first, Lunar Industries would like to see if it is at all possible to terraform another planet and what it would involve.
As technology advances new and wonderful things can be done with it, within the last decade virtual reality simulation technology has flourished to the point where the user feels like they are physically in a different environment, your colonists have requested that you research more into this technology and adapt it for your lunar base, it will provide many uses from recreational to safety drills and even learning environments.
I forgot to update this place with the pictures mentioned in the original post, so sorry for the delay but here they are
This is the old build menu, (not the original that can be seen in the first video for the kickstarter) this has been updated to be more user friendly
Again another old and new comparison
while it wasn't bad it was worked on to break things down and make more interesting
While there was an old version of this resource search menu I don't have a screenshot of it to hand, but the old one was big, blocky and boring as it was intended for use with mobile touch screens.
Again I don't have an old picture to hand (might be in a previous update though) but here is the new options menu
And a completely new menu / system, load and save options
And a few small new features.
One thing that was given in the feedback was it was hard to know if you had just built a new building or not, this tells you how many buildings are being constructed and when active how many colonists are needed and how many you have left available - as you can now build buildings without the requirement for having the full work force needed to run them, they just go to a de-activated state when built
As mentioned in a previous update, improved terrain texture + bad location indicator - this was part of the performance increase
And to finish this post off some new buildings, some are adaptations of the small storage facilities so they may look a little familiar