Dev Update – Communication Link Re-established – Development Back Online
We’re back online!
Forgive the communication black out, Wardens. We ran into some major development snags along with needing to move locations. These snags have now been dealt with and we’re back up and running again! Here is the current progress made since last update…
PDI Layout Reworked
As seen with the above image, we’ve redone the layout a little bit by setting up the selections of Ships and other assets to be vertically displayed on the right side of the screen. This allows us to display more info about the Ship(s) in a more linear fashion and also allow us to reuse a lot of the Weapon group layout as seen in the Ship HUD. Furthermore, we’ve also changed up the left side menu to have all the Bottom PDI menus to be displayed there. We’ve removed “Overview” and “Defense Grid” (as they were outdated designs) and replaced it with the “View Filters” display instead. Funding/Contracts/Research will all be populated on the left side menu as well, but are still WIP. Some limited access to these menus will be available in the Alpha.
Credits and Command Points
Now that we are setting up Construction of Ships and Stations (seen later in this update), we needed to update the Credits and Command Points in the Upper Right corner of the PDI. This section shows (in order from left to right) your current “Fleet Points” (FP), “Station Points” (SP), and “Communication Points” (CP). On the far right shows the current number of “Impacted Meteor Sites“. This is a not so subtle reminder of how many meteors you’ve let hit the planet 😉 . But back to the Command Point breakdown. This break down is fairly simple as we will break it down by category;
Communication Points (CP) are points granted by each partner country (which will be displayed in the “Funding” tab). Each point will grant you use of 1 more additional Com Relay Satellite which can either be deployed by your fleet, or launched from partnered countries from Earth.
As stated in previous updates, the Com Relays are key for orbit navigation for your fleet (Mag Drive Waypoints) as well as providing communication within a range to your vessels to be able to Telepresence (take control) into. But now, each of these Com Relays that are deployed, they will grant you additional “Station Points” (SP) which are the point values required before constructing a new station in orbit (e.g. Fighter Shipyards). Currently, deploying new Dragonfly Com Relays will grant you 4 additional Station Points, where as the Spider Com Relay will grant 6 (values subject to change based on balance in future updates).
Station Points (SP) as described above are the required point values to build and maintain additional stations in orbit.
These stations include (but not limited to) Shipyards, Research Stations, Mining Stations, Space Stations, etc. Each of these will have their own “Station Point” cost to them so you will need to keep an eye on the cost of maintaining each one depending on your CP capacity. Also, much like the Com Relays granting additional SP, each Shipyard and Space Station that is operational in orbit will grant “Fleet Points” (FP).
Fleet Points (FP) are your fleet population limit. Each vessel that you build has an assigned Fleet Point value such as 1 for an Icarus, and 2 for a Tempest, and 6 for a Hyperion (all values subject to future balance changes).
In summary, you can look at each Point value governed like this;
Another additional (an much needed feature) is the “SelectionGroups” mechanic and display down in the bottom middle of the PDI.
This new display shows which current hotkey (1-0) is being used for Saved Selection Groups. Much like most RTS games, these Selection Groups are ways for you to select either your Fleet, or your Stations and assigned them to a hotkey for quick selection in the future. To save your selection, simply Press and Hold “Ctrl+#” (the number you wish to save your selection to). And if you wish to reselect this group, simply press the # you assigned them to. If you have the full group selected, it will show up as green in the bottom bar, otherwise the number will remain blue. Not assigned groups will remain transparent as they haven’t been assigned to selections yet, or all of the selection group has been destroyed.
This feature replaced the old “Fleet Groups” mechanic and now allows you to group your vessels as you see fit. Personally, I like to group my Fighters, Bombers and Corvettes all into 3 different groups since I will normally have my Corvettes to hold position when firing from a distance, and then the Bombers to target larger targets (like the Meteors) and then have my Fighters engage the Silicoid larvae.
As a future feature, we plan to setup these Selection Groups to be the section where you assign “Fleet orders” to, like prioritizing targets (so you won’t need to micro manage as much). We are also planning on including these saved selections to bridge over to your Wingmen commands when you are Telepresenced inside a vessel so you won’t need to exit to the PDI to give new commands.
Shipyards are now up and running where you will be able to Build new vessels, automatically Repair vessels within range of the Shipyard, Modify (refit) vessels within range, or create new variants of your own!
From the Build Menu each shipyard will list ship chassis and their variants inside a dropdown list. These variants are your saved variants from designs you’ve made and saved to your game directory (WIP). Each chassis has a Fleet Point value and each variant has a different Credits value based on their equipment loadouts.
To Repair a vessel, you simply need to order (or fly) a vessel within range of the Shipyard, and nano-bot repair drones will fly out from the shipyard and repair your ship automatically. You can see the repair radius of the Shipyard by clicking the Repair Menu icon.
To Modify a vessel, you must first have the vessel within repair range of the Shipyard and then select a variant from your build list you wish and then this vessel will be put into the build queue. Once started, the vessel will undergo a shorter “Build time” as you are only refitting the ship with new equipment.
(WIP) To Customize a Variant, select the Variants Icon on the far right and you will be taken to a close up view of the hangar and you will be able to customize your ship from there. This section is currently undergoing a rework to work again with the Shipyards, but we want to unlock a version of the ship customization that was seen in the Kickstarter video as soon as we are able to.
One idea that we had was to setup a “Hangar” level like the picture above that can be accessed from the main menu where it is a well lit hangar which will allow you to customize these vessels without being inside of a game. This way you can customize to your hearts content and save out all of those variants to future game use and have them populated into the menu when you build your next ship.
Seen in our previous updates, we had a “Zoom” feature on the PDI allowing you to zoom onto a vessel and follow that vessel via orbit cam and also allowed you to give orders (like a move command) by Right Clicking on a virtual plane. This setup was a very limited view for the PDI as we couldn’t free fly with the camera to look at different spaces in orbit without being attached to a ship. Also, situations like ordering vessels to move to longer distances was also a problem.
In order to resolve this, we decided to split the PDI views into different mode – Strategy View (seeing the whole planet overview), and Tactical View (Zooming to fleet command level). This mode now allowed us to manipulate the camera as we see fit, even by detaching from the “Zoomed in object” by using WASD (as seen in the following gif).
With this Tactical view, we hope to make the commanding of the fleet easier to work with allowing you to both toggle following the selected vessel or to freely maneuver an orbit camera to get a better vantage of the situation.
The Alpha Delay
We know we promised to have the Alpha out to all of you by June, but unfortunately we failed to fulfill that promise to everyone. As a result of this massive gap in our development, we don’t want to fail again on a new promised date, but rather offer a rough timeline. As seen with the number of features above, we are still tackling a fair number of bugs with regards to having all these new features be put together. However, we plan on having a live stream to talk about these new features within about a month’s time where we will also have a better timeframe (likely end of September) for the Alpha release.
We appreciate your patience in matter, but know that we don’t want to deliver a half baked product to everyone.
Feel free to join our Discord for any and all questions – http://discord.gg/MaGzwt4
– Polar Zenith Team
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