Last Sunday we released alpha patch 0.3.1.0 which contains the long-awaited initial haulers implementation. As a reminder, in the previous placeholder implementation prior to this patch, factories generated team credits at a constant rate. In the new patch, haulers spawn in a hangar, take off from the planet until low orbit, then enter warp until they reach a destination space station, converting the resources they carry into team credits.
This allows players to escort or try to intercept and destroy enemy haulers. To that end, we have introduced a warp jam mechanic to the game, currently available on corvettes and destroyers. Later on, this will become part of the potential ship upgrades.
Hauler taking off from a planet
Now that the initial hauler implementation is done, what is next ?
Our next goal is the initial implementation of carriers acting as mobile spawn points and revamp resupply/repair mechanics for corvettes. There are also a couple of outstanding technical issues related to collisions between small and large ships so this will be the occasion to do some research on how to address them.
After that we’ll probably work on the first pass for the star system map to show which installations are under attack, what are the “hot spots” ( battlefields ), which haulers are threatened, etc… It’s very important since the game currently suffers from awareness issues, especially for new players that aren’t familiar yet with controls and how to fly around. We want to address that before beta. We will also probably continue to improve the HUD meanwhile to avoid cluttering the target indicators on top of each others.
Updated factory hangar render
Same, from another angle
In parallel we are going to start working on the new dedicated control scheme for capital ships. The cursor-based navigation solution does not allow independent targets aiming and selection, so it’s a bit awkyard and only works well for the smaller ships. For capital ships, we are going to separate ship movement from camera look, in third-person.
Coming november / december we are also going to add more weapons and implement upgradable ship equipments / systems which will be the fundation to starting balancing the game.
Our goal is to deliver the beta version around January 2019. Just like we did for alpha access, we will host some “beta access week-ends” in the coming months. The first one will come in October but no specific date has been decided yet. More on that in the coming weeks.
Here’s a quick animation showing the new warp jam effect: https://gfycat.com/NextScrawnyItalianbrownbear
I posted a quick tutorial on Youtube showing how to detect and intercep haulers with the warp jam ( sorry for the Frenglish, enable sub-titles ! ):