Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Cosmoteer update 0.15.2 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam! This update allows you to assign reactors, factories, and storages to supply other parts on your ship, prioritizing supplying ammo or power to those parts and preventing them from supplying any other parts. It also improves the camera by adding auto-tracking of on-screen ships, plus a handful of other improvements and fixes.

What's New

Reactor & Factory Assignment

The previous update, 0.15.1, added the ability to assign squads of crew to exclusively prioritize specific weapons and other ship systems. Now, the 0.15.2 update brings a similar feature to reactors, factories, and storages:

If you open Crew mode and click on the "behavior" tab, you will now be able to select a supplier (reactor, factory, or storage) by left-clicking on it and then right-click on another weapon or ship system you want that you want to supply. The targeted weapon or system will then prefer to get its power or ammo from that supplier whenever possible, and the reactor, factory, or storage itself will then never supply anything else which it isn't targeting.



You can use this feature to further optimize your ships. For example, if you want to make sure your crew will never go to a farther reactor to pick up power for a laser blaster, then you can simply assign the closest reactor to that laser blaster and then any crew picking up power for it will only ever pick up power from the assigned reactor. You can even use this to create "storage chains", such as assigning a factory to a storage, that storage to another storage, and so forth, reducing the distance that any single crew has to walk across your ship.

Related to this feature is a change to the behavior of when you assign a crew squad to a factory. In the previous update, a crew squad assigned to a factory would only ever pick up power for that factory and would not pick up ammo from that factory to deliver to other weapons, unless the squad was also assigned to those weapons. But in this update, a crew squad assigned to a factory (or reactor or storage) will now also pick up ammo or power from it and deliver to any weapons or other systems, even if they aren't specifically assigned to those. If you don't want the crew to either supply power to, or pick up ammo from, a factory, then you can simply disable those jobs in the crew's role's job priorities.

Camera Auto-Tracking

One of the big things I learned playtesting Cosmoteer at PAX West was that new players often struggle to control the game's camera, especially during combat as the ships are almost always moving. Yes, the game for a long time has had various features for locking the camera on ships, but it takes a while to learn how to use those features, and until you do, trying to keep the ships on screen can be pretty frustrating.

So in order to make the game less frustrating for new players, this update also adds a simple "auto tracking" feature to the player's camera. Basically, unless you have specifically locked the camera on a ship or the eye icon, the camera will now automatically match the velocity of and move with any ship on the screen, keeping it in the same relative location. If there are multiple ships on screen, it will simply match the average velocity of all of the ships. This feature should greatly reduce the need to use the other camera-locking features (which of course are still available), but if you don't like it, you can simply turn it off in the camera settings.

... And more!

This update also has a handful of other fixes and improvements, which you can read about in the changelog.
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Last weekend I attended PAX West in Seattle to showcase Cosmoteer as part of Indie Megabooth. PAX was a ton of fun, and working with Indie Megabooth made the experience so much easier than if I had to do everything myself, so I am greatly appreciative of all the effort they put in to making PAX a success for Cosmoteer! I estimate that about a hundred people got to play the game on the expo floor, and the reception seemed overwhelmingly positive, making me more optimistic than ever about Cosmoteer's future success!

Here are a couple photos of my booth at PAX:



If you're interested, I also gave a couple interviews about Cosmoteer. I didn't announce anything new that active followers of Cosmoteer don't already know about, but if you've ever wondered how I sound and look, here you go:


Cosmoteer 0.15.1

In other news, Cosmoteer update 0.15.1 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam! (This news actually comes about a week late since the update was released last weekend while I was still at PAX, and I didn't have time to write up a new post, but better late than never!)

Like most updates, 0.15.1 has a variety of improvements and fixes, but the major new feature is the ability to "assign" crew squads to do jobs for specific weapons and other ship parts. To do this, select the squad's bedroom and then right-click on the weapon or part you want to assign them to. While assigned, crew will prioritize doing jobs for the assigned part and will not do jobs for any other parts. This will override any custom 1-10 priorities that have been set. (To assign a squad to multiple parts, hold Shift while right-clicking. Role priorities will still be used to choose between multiple assigned parts.)



You can use this feature to optimize your crew's efficiency and to prevent them from wandering off to other parts of your ship without having to resort to compartmentalization.

Read about all the other improvements and fixes in this update in the changelog.
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Cosmoteer update 0.15.0 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam! This is a major update that adds crew squads, roles, and job priority customization. Here's how it works:

Crew are organized into "squads" of 2 or 6, where every crew bunk or quarters is a squad. If you want, you can manually move individual crew between squads by going into the crew U.I., selecting the "CREW" tab, selecting the individual crew, and right-clicking on the bunk or quarters you want to move them to.



Your ship also has one or more "roles" for its crew. Each squad is assigned a role for the entire squad, which you can do in the crew U.I. in the "ROLES" tab by selecting the bunk/quarters and then clicking the button for the desired role. Each role can have a custom name, shirt color (which is also the color of their bedsheets!), and set of job priorities. You can create up to 20 roles per ship.



To customize the name, color, or job priorities for a role, click the little "hamburger" menu button in the corner of the big role button and select "Edit Role". This will open up a window allowing you to customize the role. To customize the role's job priorities, click on the "Job Priorities" tab, which will allow you to set the priority of each job for each ship part. Each job can be set to a priority between 1 and 10, where a higher priority number will take precedence over a lower priority number (i.e., crew will do a priority 10 job before doing a priority 1 job). You can also click the "no" sign to disable that job completely for that role, so crew with that role will never do that job.



As a side-effect of switching to this new customizable priority system, the A.I. logic that controls the crew has actually been significantly simplified. Before, the A.I. would make complicated calculations to determine the priority of a given task, taking into consideration things like how much power/ammo a part already had. But that's all gone. Now, if a part needs 3 batteries, 3 "supply battery" jobs will be created, each with the same 1-10 priority (whatever priority you set that job to). Hopefully this change should make it easier to understand why your crew are doing the things that they are doing.

You can read about all the other improvements and fixes in this update in the changelog.
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Cosmoteer update 0.14.14 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam. This is a small update that fixes a handful of bugs and tweaks Tractor Beam balance.

Tractor Beams now take 5 seconds to ramp up to full power after firing, including when switching from pull to push or vice-versa. They also now rotate much more slowly, making it a lot more difficult to stay focused on a moving target without shutting down. These changes were made because Tractor Beams had proven too powerful at spinning and effectively disabling enemy ships in multiplayer.

You can read about all the changes and fixes in the changelog
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Cosmoteer update 0.14.14 is now available for direct download and, for the first time ever, can also be downloaded on Steam, still for free! This is a small update that adds an optional "Aim Assist" to Direct Control Mode and fixes a handful of bugs.

What's New

"Aim Assist" in Direct Control Mode

The recent 0.14.12 update added the much-requested "Direct Control Mode" that allows players to manually fly ships with the keyboard and aim & fire weapons using the mouse. While the ability to fly your ship with the keyboard was well-received, many players found aiming weapons using the mouse to be too difficult, putting them at a big disadvantage.

This latest update seeks to address that problem by adding an "Aim Assist" feature. Basically, your weapons will automatically try to figure out what you're aiming at and target that thing while taking into consideration projectile speed and the target's velocity, just like they already do when you're not using Direct Control Mode.

In this GIF, we can see how the laser blasters are automatically targeting the parts of the enemy ship closest to the mouse cursor instead of firing directly at the cursor's location:



Also note the new faint-red dotted circle around the enemy ship. This indicates the ship that your weapons will aim at and is typically the ship closest to your mouse cursor. (Friendly ships will have a gray dotted circle, indicating that they are friendly and cannot be hurt.) You can also press the Alt key to lock-on to a ship, making your weapons always target that ship even if another ship is closer. Locking-on to a friendly ship will also turn on "friendly fire" against it, allowing your weapons to target and damage the friendly ship.

Aim Assist is an optional feature that is turned on by default but can be turned off in the gameplay settings.

Steam Downloads, Updates, and Cloud

By popular demand, Cosmoteer can now be downloaded and updated using Steam, the most popular digital distribution platform for PC games! To download Cosmoteer on Steam, head over to Cosmoteer's Steam page and click the "Download Demo" button on the right hand side:



(Even though it's called a "Demo", it's really the full version of Cosmoteer and is not limited in any way. Making it a demo was simply the best option for allowing the game to be downloaded on Steam without giving away the paid version for free. Please note that the demo will likely be removed before Cosmoteer launches as a paid game.)

If you don't want to download Cosmoteer using Steam, that's fine, you can still download the "standalone" version like normal. But there are a couple big advantages to downloading Cosmoteer on Steam:

First, Steam will automatically keep Cosmoteer updated, and Steam's smart patching software will only download the portions of the game that have changed instead of having to download the whole game with every update, saving you time and bandwidth.

And second, Cosmoteer supports the Steam Cloud for saved game and saved ship files, automatically backing up your games and ships and syncing them across all your computers. You can store up to a whopping 10GB of saved games and ships on the Steam Cloud. That's about 60,000 saved ship files!

Cosmoteer will display how much space you're using when saving or loading a saved game or ship:



... And more!

This update also has a handful of other fixes and improvements, which you can read about in the changelog.
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Cosmoteer update 0.14.13 is now available for download! This is a relatively small quality-of-life update that improves multiplayer latency (by adding support for "peer-to-peer" networking), adds an "auto" mode to Tractor Beams, tweaks mine balance, and fixes a handful of bugs.

What's New

Peer-to-Peer Networking

Prior to this latest update, playing Cosmoteer online (i.e., on a server as opposed to on a L.A.N.) required all network communications between players' computers to be routed through the server. This meant that every ship command, every gameplay update, every chat message, had to first be sent to the server, which would then forward the message to the other players. This basically worked, but created a lot of network latency (long response times to player commands) for players that were located far from the server (which is in New York, USA). For example, imagine two players in Sydney, Australia wanting to play multiplayer with each other: All of their network communications would have to travel halfway around the world to New York before coming right back to Sydney, which added a huge amount to their network latency. Wouldn't it be better if those player's computers just talked directly to each other?

It would! This is where "peer-to-peer" networking comes in: Instead of routing all network communications through the server, all the server does is help setup a direct connection between the host of the game and all the other players in it. If the players are close to each other or far from the server, this can greatly reduce latency and make multiplayer a better experience for everyone in the game!

For the most part this "just works" and you don't have to think about it at all. In some cases a peer-to-peer connection might not be able to be established, such as if you're playing on a restrictive school, work, or mobile network, or you have an unusually restrictive router. But even if a peer-to-peer connection can't be established, that won't stop you from playing, it will just mean that the network communications need to be sent through the server and you may experience more latency.

I am aware that some players may be wary of doing anything that could reveal their I.P. address to other players (especially streamers and others who may be at high risk for things like DDOS attacks and doxing). For that reason, there is also an option under the multiplayer settings to turn off peer-to-peer networking, which will force all network communications to be routed through the game server.

Multiplayer Game Searching, Sorting, & Filtering

Since multiplayer support was added to Creative Mode in the previous update, the number of multiplayer games has nearly tripled! This is awesome, but it also makes finding the ideal game for you a bit more challenging!



And so, by popular request, this new update adds the ability to search, sort, and filter the list of multiplayer games. Typing in the search box will hide any games whose game name or host name don't match what you typed. You can also sort the list of games by various things like open status, ping, and credits. And you can filter the list of games, hiding those that are closed or don't match the desired game mode, credit range, or ping.

Tractor Beam "Auto" Mode

Another commonly-requested feature was the ability to tell a tractor beam to automatically push or pull to keep the other ship at the desired distance. You can now do that! Selecting a Tractor Beam and clicking its mode button will now display a 3rd "auto" option:



When this option is chosen, the Tractor Beam will attempt to keep the targeted ship at a specific distance, automatically switching to pull when the target is too far and switching to push when it is too near. The actual distance it tries to maintain is whatever distance you set when attacking or following the ship. (If you target the tractor beam on a ship that you aren't attacking or following, it will default to a distance of 125 meters.)

Improved Mines

"Mines need a buff!", you say! I hear you loud and clear! And so they've received one: Mines now release twice the number of shrapnel, which now also flies twice as far, making it harder to avoid them:



... And more!

This update also has a number of other fixes and minor improvements, which you can read about in the changelog.

Have fun!
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Cosmoteer update 0.14.12 is now available for download! This update allows makes Creative Mode available in multiplayer so that you can build and battle ships with your friends. It also adds ship building and repairing to Domination mode, allows the game speed to be changed or paused in all multiplayer modes, and improves the game save/load menu.

Multiplayer Creative Mode

Creative Mode can now be selected in multiplayer games! Simply select "Creative Mode" under the Game Mode drop-down.

Multiplayer Creative Mode works almost exactly like the existing single-player Creative Mode. Players can spawn any ships from their own Ship Library or create a new ship from scratch. Multiple players can edit the same ship at the same time, allowing for collaborative ship designs. Ships can then be battled against each other or given an A.I. so you can sit back and watch the carnage. You can adjust the game speed and pause at any time, and you can even see the other player's mouse cursor to make communication and collaboration easier. 



Multiplayer Creative Mode also supports saving and loading saved game files, so you can save an in-progress build session and then resume it later. All Creative Mode saved games can be loaded in both single-player and multiplayer regardless of where they were originally saved.

While most Creative Mode features are available in multiplayer, a few are not due to their low priority and difficulty making work over a network. Most notably this includes the galaxy map (multiplayer creative mode is limited to a single sector) and the battle helper.

You may also run into some issues when multiple people are building on the same ship at the same time. For example, if two players build something on the same spot at approximately the same time, one of the player's changes will overwrite the other's. Additionally, each player has their own Undo & Redo history so that when you press Undo you won't revert something that another player built, but this also means that it may run into situations where you can't undo a change you made because that change conflicts with a change that another player made.

Other Multiplayer Improvements

Thanks to technology improvements that were implemented to support multiplayer Creative Mode, the other player-vs-player multiplayer game modes have also received a couple of small improvements.

First, all multiplayer modes now support pausing and changing the game speed during the battle, although this feature must be specifically turned on by the host. (By default, no one can pause or change the game speed, but the host has options to allow either anyone or only the host to pause change the game speed during the battle.)

And second, Domination mode now allows ships to be repaired and modified during the battle. Only ships that are within their own spawn areas can be repaired or modified. The host can turn off this new feature if desired.

Improved Saved Game Menu

As a nice quality-of-life improvement, the menu for saving and loading games now shows a screenshot thumbnail of the saved game as well as the game mode (Bounty Hunter or Creative Mode) along with the existing name and date to make it easier to identify the particular save file you want to load, overwrite, or delete.



Note that while pre-0.14.12 saved game files are still supported, the screenshot thumbnail and game mode will not be displayed for them. (You can load and re-save to add those if you want.)

... And more!

This update also has a handful of other improvements and fixes, which you can read all about in the changelog.

Enjoy!
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Cosmoteer update 0.14.11 is now available for download! This update adds a "Direct Control Mode" which allows you to fly your ships "arcade" style using the keyboard and aim and fire weapons using the mouse. It also adds a handful of improvements to the regular tactical ship controls, makes balance changes to Domination mode, and has a bunch of other minor improvements and fixes.

--- What's New---

Direct Control Mode

"Direct Control Mode" is a new mode that you can turn on that lets you fly your ship using the W, A, S, D, Q, and E keys (or the arrow keys) and aim and fire your weapons using the mouse.



To use Direct Control Mode, you simply have to enable it by pressing Ctrl+D or clicking its button:



Once enabled, you can use the W and A keys to move your ship forward and backwards, the A and D keys to rotate, and the Q and E keys to "strafe" from side to side. You can also use the mouse to aim and fire your weapons; simply move the mouse cursor to where you want your weapons to aim and click to fire.

By default, all turreted weapons like lasers and cannons are fired using the left mouse button, and all fixed-direction weapons like ion beams and railguns are fired using the right mouse button. But you can change what buttons fire which weapons by selecting the weapon, clicking its "extras" menu, and changing the binding:



There are also lots of options for customizing Direct Control Mode in the game settings. For example, if you want to fly your ship using the keyboard but want the A.I. to still aim and fire your weapons, you can disable direct weapons control. Of if you want your ship to automatically rotate to face the mouse cursor, you can turn that on too.

Tactical Control Improvements

For those of you who still prefer the existing "tactical" ship controls, don't worry, they haven't been forgotten about either! In fact, the existing ship controls have also received a couple of much-requested improvements!

First of all, the much-maligned collision avoidance is now optional on all ship commands, not just movement. To disable collision avoidance with any ship command, just hold the X key while issuing the command. Or if you'd prefer that to be the default, you can simply disable the "Enable Collision Avoidance" game setting. (The existing "Force Move" command has been removed since holding the X key while moving does the same thing.)

Another frequently-requested feature was a way to tell your ship to rotate to face an enemy ship and stay rotated toward it as it moves. This is now possible by using the "Rotate" command and clicking on another ship you want your own ship to stay facing toward. You can also face toward a specific part of another ship by holding the Ctrl key and clicking on that part.

Domination Mode Balance Updates

Those of you who enjoy the multiplayer side of Cosmoteer may appreciate some balance changes that have been made to Domination mode as a result of feedback after last weekend's PVP tournament. Specifically, the mechanics of capturing control points have changed so that, if multiple players are contesting a control point, it will no longer revert to neutral and instead will have its capture progress temporarily frozen. Additionally, the time it takes to capture a control point has been increased, and the random map generator has been tweaked to favor less distance between control points and to have spawn areas closer to the edges.

... And More!

This update also has a handful of other improvements and fixes, which you can read all about in the changelog.

Enjoy!
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Cosmoteer update 0.14.10 is now available for download! This update enhances the existing Ion Beam Emitter weapon and makes it WAY cooler by adding the Ion Beam Prism. It also makes a significant change to the game mechanics of structure pieces, as well as a handful of other improvements and fixes.

Ion Beam Prism
The Ion Beam Prism is a new 2x2 exterior ship component that combines and redirects any ion beams that are shot into it, resulting in a potentially far more powerful beam:



The Ion Beam Prism is mounted on a swiveling turret and can aim in a full 360 degrees, albeit very slowly. This feature alone makes the Ion Beam Emitter a much more versatile weapon, though at a significant cost increase.

But the real power of the Ion Beam Prism lies in its ability to combine multiple beams into a single, stronger beam. This makes it easier to focus all the power of multiple Ion Beam Emitters onto a single enemy target, as well as allowing the emitters to be housed within the interior of the ship while only exposing a single or small number of (ideally well-protected) Ion Beam Prisms to enemy fire.

Combining multiple beams is not without cost though, since each additional beam contributes 25% less power than the previous beam. To maximize the power of a single ion beam, it is optimal to combine exactly two same-sized beams per prism. Combining more than two beams in a single prism, or combining two beams of significantly different sizes in a single prism, will result in considerable power loss.

Ion Beam Prisms are also very fragile, and if they are destroyed while a beam is being shot through it, the resulting ion explosion can devastate the surrounding area as well.

To use an Ion Beam Prism, just build one in front of an Ion Beam Emitter, and the Emitter will be smart enough to shoot when the Prism is aiming at the enemy. You can also link multiple Ion Beam Prisms together to form a chain by selecting an individual Prism and clicking the "Link" button.

"Structure" Mechanics Changes
The "structure" pieces (those little girder tiles that hold the ship together) have also received a significant change to how they interact with the weapons on their own ship. Previously, structure pieces would block any weapons on their own or allied ships from firing over them, meaning you couldn't put any structure in front of your weapons without blocking them. But in this update the game mechanics have changed so that your own weapons can now shoot over your own structure pieces. This should make it easier to build and use Ion Beam Prisms, as well as make it easier in general to create clever ship designs.

The way that enemy weapons interact with structure pieces is unchanged (enemy weapons will still fly over them while damaging the first structure piece), with the exception of missiles, which will now fly over structure without exploding, unless the missiles were specifically targeting the structure.

... And More!
This update also has a handful of other improvements, fixes, and modding features, which you can read all about in the changelog.

Enjoy!
Cosmoteer: Starship Architect & Commander - Walt Destler
Cosmoteer update 0.14.9 is now available for download! This update adds a new multiplayer competitive game mode called "Domination".


In Domination games, players vie to capture "control points". These are large, circular areas that, once captured, provide steady streams of income for the players or teams who control them. Players can then use this income to warp in new ships during the battle. Capturing more control points than your opponent will give you the upper hand to eventually defeat them.

The battle starts with most control points already owned by a player or team. To capture an enemy's control point, you must first fly one of your ships into its circle, which will start contesting it and eventually convert it to "neutral", meaning it is not owned by any team. The speed at which a control point is neutralized depends on the size of your fleet within the circle compared to the enemy's fleet within the circle.

Once neutralized, a control point can be captured and made your own simply be eliminating all enemy ships within it and defending it for a few seconds while your own ships capture it.

Final victory is assured by either capturing all control points or owning more control points than your opponent once the timer ticks down to zero.

Before the battle, you will pre-select a "loadout" of up to five ship designs. During the battle, you can spend the money you've earned from your control points to warp in new ships using any of those five designs. (And in a pinch, you can also swap out any of those five designs for any other design in your library.)

The purpose of this new game mode is to provide a deeper challenge that emphasizes having a variety of ship designs for different situations, that allows you the opportunity to counter the ships that the enemy uses, and that requires you to make strategic and tactical decisions during the course of the battle.

This update also has a handful of other minor improvements and fixes, which you can read about in detail in the changelog.
...

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