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Perihelion Interactive wishes you a belated happy 2017 and the strength to make your New Year's resolutions come true!
We are very sorry for the long period of silence. We have used that time well to focus solely on development. We can now finally present what we have been working on behind the curtains for the past two months: Space Combat!
After finishing our playable prototype of an earlier iteration of Space Combat, we came to the conclusion that it lacked the “fun” factor. Instead of releasing a playable, but unfun version of the game, we decided to rework the aspects that were not satisfactory and make improvements.
Part of our design process has been to seek inspiration from the community. The feedback all of you have provided over the last number of updates has proven invaluable to the Space Combat Team. Some of you suggested a real-time with pause function rather than the turn-based approach we had initially outlined. We’ve taken that feedback on board and gone a step further by making the pause function an active feature of gameplay.
A number of the changes outlined below for Space Combat have had a basis in the suggestions of the community. These are the main features we have worked on:
- One Ship VS Multiple Ships: The core gameplay now supports multiple ships. The player directly controls one ship in Adventure Mode. However, you are able to control additional ships during Space Combat. These additional ships can either be provided by specific missions, or by using the “Call for Help” feature during combat. This feature allows you to call in NPC ships that you have met in Adventure Mode. Your Faction Standing with these ships’ associated factions makes them available or not for support.
- Turn-Based VS Real-Time with Active Pause: In the previous design, the core of space combat gameplay was turn-based. This impeded on other game mechanics, was too slow-paced and simply less fun that what we wanted. We are now using a real-time combat system, with an ability to slow down time which we refer to as “Active Pause” in the video. This provides you with more time to adjust your tactics to the current situation, without impeding the desired rhythm and pace we want to achieve.
- Modules Targeting: This is currently in an early prototype phase so not all functionality is implemented yet, but we have made good progress. This feature is important when it comes to defeating larger ships - it allows you to cripple your enemy’s systems: you can destroy Engines, Weapons, Shields Module, Scanners, Bridge and Energy Generator. The destruction of any of these modules has a different impact on the targeted ship. Destroying the enemy’s Shields Module, for example, prevents the shields from regenerating. Destroying the Weapons module will reduce his damage output.
- Abilities: We have a working iteration of characteristics-driven Abilities. Abilities with specific behaviors like Cloaking, placing mines, will come in a next iteration. We have three categories of Abilities: Captain, Officer and Ship. Captain and Officer Abilities both consume your Crew’s Morale, whereas Ship Abilities consume Energy.
- Weapons: We have two main categories of weapons: Energy weapons and Projectile weapons. Energy weapons consume ship Energy with each shot, and are effective against Shields. Projectile weapons consume Ammo, and are effective against Hull. Ammo can be acquired from defeated ships’ wreckages, and bought from Starbases in Adventure Mode. Energy is generated during space combat through the Energy Generator module.
- Gas Clouds: We have different types of Gas Clouds. They were not 100% functional when we recorded the video, so we did not explain them there. We have Gas Clouds which allow you to hide from the enemy, some clouds that disrupts your shield’s regeneration, and others which recharge your ship’s Energy.
- AI: We have made progress on the AI design, but it is still at an early stage. In the next iteration, we will implement more advanced behavior for ships during combat, including desired attack behaviors (orbit, stationary, hit & run, etc), how the AI approaches defeating the player and fleeing. You can choose to either destroy or disable enemies and even request their surrender. You will be able to retrieve more or less loot depending on your choices, and your standing with different factions will reflect these choices.
Charles Pearson, who was initially working on Adventure Mode, took over the work on Space Combat two months ago, recorded a narrated video for you guys! Click on the picture below to get to the video. This should give you a good overview of what has been achieved! We hope you will enjoy it, please let us know what you think!
Please note that all visuals (models, effects, user interface, lighting) recorded in this video are not representative of final quality. This is our test environment for validating gameplay mechanics, and features implementation. We still have to work the user experience, the UI art, 3D Art and lighting.
We will continue to iterate on Space Combat in the coming months.
The next main goals for Space Combat are:
- Improving the weapons targeting User Experience (weapon grouping).
- Adding missing signs & feedback: Ship status, obstructed weapons indicators, line of fires for weapons, enemy states and more.
- Finalizing the Modules Targeting system.
- Implemention of AI behavior.
- Improving the movement system: Additional commands to orbit or approach targets, multiple selection, and more.
- Implementation of the dialogue system and objectives system in Space Combat.
- Creating different combat scenarios and objectives.
- Looting / Surrender ships in Space Combat.
These changes have affected the Kickstarter Alpha and Steam EA preparations. We are continuing to work towards that initial release.
On a final note all of us here at Perihelion would like to express our gratitude for your patience while we’re working towards that initial release.