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Long time no see, gals and guys! And like anyone who's been missing for a long time, we've got news, we've got stories, and we've got a lot of new stuff to show you!
We're glad to be able to see you again and to update our game after this long hiatus. We’re deeply sorry about this radio silence.
BACK FROM THE BLACK HOLE
Big companies have development hell. Small indie teams funded hand-to-mouth have their own hell — it’s a lot tinier, a lot more cluttered and without that much central heating, but it’s hell nonetheless. You probably know how it goes — a handful of lads and lasses hunched over keyboards, toiling away on the code, and the models, and the mechanics. Making a space game in an office not that spacious and drawing stars on a budget not that stellar. Eating junk food, losing sleep over work and doing work in our sleep... Not the best way to spend time — we barely noticed seasons go by.
We overestimated ourselves. We were more ambitious and optimistic than we should've been. But we don't give up. We’ve been working hard and overcoming difficulties — and now we're ready to show you what we accomplished. Here's the new version of our game —somewhat same-y, but very different. Take a look, take a bite, make a shot. Are we going in the direction you like? Come into our star sector and tell us — do you like what we've done with the place?
LONG STORY SHORT
We want our game to be fresh, exciting and fun in a simple and engaging way. So we did a lot of figuring out gameplay-wise. This is what we came up with — it might look simple, but that's the point!
Now the more you fight, the more ships you get to ride in. And the better you fight — the more powerful you become for the remainder of the combat. The gist of this is the same — you grow in level out of combat, your ships grows in level during combat. We reworked the balancing act our servers do to make sure nobody's horribly outmatched in combat, and we brought is some new mechanics to make fighting and progressing as fair as possible.
If that's what you wanted to hear — then please come and play. Give our game a chance and tell us what you think.
If you want to know the full story — read on, and let us explain to you how everything works now.
LET’S SPEAK ABOUT TIER
So while keeping the pew-pew and the ba-da-boom parts of the gameplay mostly the same, the whole «experience and levels» thing is now different. To make fights more balanced for the rookies and more challenging for the veterans, we separated the level of the player and the class of the ship.
Every player now has a Rank. In combat you earn Reputation, which raises your Rank permanently. Rank determines how many ships are available to you and how big and cool those ships can be. Which ships are cooler? Those of the higher Tier, of course.
Higher-Tier ships are more effective in combat, have tougher armor and scarier guns. Every Tier will have enough ships for every taste and playstyle, and in the near future, more than one. If you can't find your perfect ship, we're probably still fine-tuning it to release tomorrow.
You buy ships with Credits you earn in combat. Every combat, mind you — win or lose, you get more Credits and Reputation.
How quickly will you be able to buy new ships? A rookie on Rank 1 gets access to three Tier I ships. You fly each of those ships just once — that’s three skirmishes — and you go up to Rank 2, which gives you access to Tier II ships. And guess what, you’ll already have enough Credits to buy a new ship. We don't want you to toil for your new ride, we want you to have fun. Getting new ships as you level up will never be a slog.
So whatever you do, just fly out a few times and that shiny new ship of a better Tier will be yours.
FIGHT. DIE. REPEAT.
Which brings us to combat. In combat, your ship levels up — and this happens separately from your Rank. Combat Level grows as a fighting team gains experience and resets after the battle is done. The whole team shares the experience earned — so whoever gets more successful brings advantage for all their allies, and if you're a late bloomer, you'll never get hopelessly lost behind your pals.
As you go up some levels, new options for upgrading your armaments and systems become open for you. You fight, you level up, you get new human (and alien) technologies, and then you go fight some more.
What if the story goes a little differently? You fight, you miss a shot, you get blown up — and then it’s over, back to the hangar, right? Of course not!
If you get blown up, you respawn and fight again. And again. And again. The fight is over when someone wins, not when everyone else loses.
Will this turn every combat into a series of suicide runs? No, for that we have repair costs. The more you die in combat, the more Credits you need to pay to fix the ship and get it ready for combat again. The costs are still modest even you die a lot — we don’t want to keep you away from space battles. Also, they slow down after some time — we don't want to discourage your from playing just because you have a bad day. Sometimes if you got hit ten times, it's better to get hit ten times more — for fun!
KEEPING IT FAIR
Since we now have ships of different Tiers, we obviously need a way to pit only more-or-less equal ships against each other. For that we have a Balancing Machine. Well, it’s not actually called that, but we thought — why not add a cool name when you can add a cool name?
The Balancing Machine makes sure only ships of a comparable Tier get into combat and no odds are insurmountable. So if you’re, say, riding a Tier IV ship, you’ll meet only Tier III to Tier V ships in battle. So you will always be able to deal with a higher-tier ship if you handle your guns and engines competently. We want you to feel challenged — but challenged fairly and for fun.
Right now, the results are not always perfect — the Machine is fine, but we still need to figure out some of the finer details of ships' combat balance. We do our best, but the real difference comes from hearing what you like and hate about the game. So we'll pay close attention to your every experience and everything you have to say.
DRONES COMING YOUR WAY
Now, hard times call for hard measures. Combat can be balanced only if there's enough partners for everyone. And for a game that's not made a name for itself yet, that can be a challenge.
So for new players who come hungry for battle, we took a risk and added AI-controlled ships.
They won't overstay their welcome — we don't consider them a real part of the game, just a «launching pad». They're better than any interactive tutorial, as fighting them is much closer to a real game session. And they're always present, so nobody will have to wait long for their first — or second, or third — combat mission to start.
Of course, bots are dumb. They're just brains in jars, not real human pilots. So our Balancing Machine will take care of you — as soon as bots become too easy for you they will gradually leave your battles and human opponents will take their place.
Someday we'll get rid of those bots at all. If they don't rise and get rid of us first, that is.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
We also have some more minor things you’ll like.
Or not so minor — like these two new maps we have for you.
Brand new and shiny! We're proud of them. Now to the actual minor changes.
First of all, we’ve made some changes to the player interface. It’s now more accessible and responsive.
Second, you can now change the graphics settings. Yeah, we probably should’ve done that sooner.
And this is all for today. We welcome you to play the new version of our game. Is it to your liking? Does it need any immediate changes? Do you like the shooting? Do you like the ships? Please play with us and then tell us what you think.
See you around. Transmission over.
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