Got sidetracked by high.roller’s busting the neg rep limit and some broken double-domes, but I’m getting back on track now
If you see that new grid thing on the galaxy map, that was something i put in to make editting easier and just left in there for the whole game.
With the new Galaxy Editting Interface, moderators of galaxies will be able to move around star systems, planets, and terrain walls. Each player will also have the ability to create their own galaxy and submit it for consideration of opening to the public.
Sorry for not posting in a while, things have been pretty hectic with all the R&D going on here. As the two of you who read this blog may have noticed (hi, mom!) a lot of changes have been going on with Starport. Mostly I’ve been fixing things so they perform as originally intended, and addressing whatever players are complaining about most.
A galaxy with completely random planetary terrains was launched, The Taurean Sector. In this permanent galaxy, every planet has a unique terrain map to fly around on, set up defenses, and invade.
The Blitzkrieg galaxy has been updated to provide even more action packed combat around the clock, and is now one of the more popular galaxies!
Now I’m working on an interface that moderators can use to edit galaxies. They will be able to change where star systems are, which star systems are linked to others, planet placement and types, and other galaxy settings. Once this interface is in place, users will be allowed to create a galaxy of their own if they’re interested. Users could then vote on these galaxies to be the next one banged.
The title’s a take off on the last time i posted here, over a year ago. Now it’s past the summer solstice but still hot as hell.
So it’s been a blast the last few months on Starport. Yeah, it’s great working for like 36 hours straight without sleeping on a programming task, and then having “PurpleSmokah” tell you you do a half ass job on your patches. Thanks buddy you really brightened my day.
No but seriously, I love all the Starport community, those still playing, those who have moved on, and those who are yet to come. I just get frustrated sometimes and don’t feel like I have time to be nice to everybody.
I have a lot of shit to work on. I might have to do a back-end update to help support realtime alpha and scaling. That would help the graphics and compatibility. Boring though, also on the list is corbomite, spybots, space-based-solars called ion cannons, new power for the ion tower, double domes as separate colonies, shipyards upgrade to weapons factory and npc drone ships for corps, advertising, etc.) Oh there are also like 50 other potential work items on the list I can’t remember right now.
I hope everyone likes the quickbuttons in ports, I made them mainly for blitz. I realize they look like shit. A graphics update for them is on the list but i wanted to get the functionality out there asap. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or PM toonces on the forums (if you’re having trouble making a forums account send email to the above address about it).
I spent most of the last week on Blitzkrieg and the new Old Republic Galaxy. For Blitzkrieg Season 2, I’m ferreting out various problems and shortcomings that were not addressed in season 1. So far the improvements have been beneficial, particularly the weakening of defense turrets which has helped tip the balance of power away from the team holding the colony. The Blitzkrieg game style remains a work in progress but looks more promising each day. Even I’m enjoying it though my rating seems to hover permanently below 930!
The Old Republic is a new galaxy featuring no asteroid belts and no ship modules or additional weapons. This server was requested by some of the veterans who were unhappy about the new balances brought on by the ability to custom fit ships with different modules and a third weapon type of any variety. In this galaxy all the ships are “stock outfitted” with 6 handling performance mods that all ships have and cannot change. The only thing that can change is the one “primary” weapon and one “scanners type.” This galaxy is designed for vets to enjoy themselves.
Next up on my to do list includes the ability to zoom the mini-map when on planet surfaces, which has been a long time coming. My upcoming tasks also include the creation of a new desktop icon, the continued improvement of Blitzkrieg, and updates to the graphics engine to pave the way for some graphics upgrades within the next month or two.
Improvements to the Ship Module system continue with other players’ ship profiles now visible publicly, including which modules their ship has mounted. More improvements are on the way including the ability to trade ship modules, the ability to sell them back to ports.
I’m also working on improvements to the Blitzkrieg style game. It is currently offline but scheduled to come back with some improvements in a week or two. Watch for a Beta period to begin and last for a week or two where i try to sort out some bugs.
I’m still closing down some of the older and less active galaxies. Frontier Wars will be closed, and Perma Pax will be re-banged soon.
I’ll also be adding customizable ship names into the Ship Status Page, so you’ll be able to name your ship and other people will see the ship name from time to time. The name will stay the same until you edit it again, regardless of buying a new ship or getting blown up.
Well it’s two days til Christmas and Starport still isn’t finished! Corbomite has yet to be implemented as a ship equipment type. But the ship module system is up and running. I’m happy with the way it’s turning out even though some of the community has complained about Surface Missiles and Neutron Plating being a little too powerful, among others. Well, that’s why the dynamic pricing was introduced simultaneously… as a way to balance the power of certain modules by making them more expensive. To finish off the module system, I intend to make modules tradable between players, sellable at starports, and visible to others (possibly graphically but certainly in the info profiles).
Some of the re-bang galaxies have been made inactive in order to increase competition on the others. Some of the permaverses will probably come on hard times soon as well.
Blitzkrieg season 1 continues along until March 2010. We’re still working out some issues with this new game type, but so far interest has been high and we’ve had some nice games. CaffCoder, who was spearheading the Blitzkrieg galaxy type development has left the team for a while. But this gives me time to fix up some of the bugs and polish the experience.
I’m also working on compatibility issues to move Starport better into the new millennium. We will be upgrading the Starport code to offer better support for the lastest operating systems and video hardware.
After that we can get to some of the more fun-factor features that we want to get in there, including surveillance satellites, colonial shipyards, and… corbomite!
I’m currently working on a patch that will allow for a lot more configurability in ship types. Captains will be able to pick and choose up to six add-on modules for their ship. The modules will do things like increase cargo capacity, top speed, steering, thrusting, warp fuel efficiency, and additional weapons. So it will be possible to have a Dreamsower with six steering modules for great handling, or a Sethdar Cruiser with vulture missiles, for example.
To go along with this change and to help balance it, the general economy of the galaxy will be changing too. Prices for ships, hardware, and ship add-on modules will be floating rather than fixed. For example, the price of the Imperial Starship will not always be 1.5 million credits. Instead it could get as high as 100 million credits. The price will depend on how frequently players are buying that particular item. Thus, if an item is useful and becomes popular, its price will go up accordingly.
Look for this patch before the end of August.
CaffCoder is adding voice-overs to the Blitzkrieg galaxy so that you don’t have to look down at the chat to be informed of certain events like 1 minute remaining game! We also fixed a bug where promotion dollars were unlimited for the buyers. The promo bonusses were supposed to end after your first $50.00.
Right now CaffCoder is hard at work finishing up the Blitzkrieg galaxy so that we can release it for real in a week or two. The players seem to really like this new casual galaxy that happens in discrete 20-minute game sessions. I personally like the fact that teams are chosen randomly and the rankings list ranks by team performance.
Thanks to Gothic-or-Punk for reporting a bug that Mr. CaffCoder overlooked in his implementation of the /spectate mode for players who want to be in the galaxy to observe but not compete on a team (or those who get automatically dropped from their team for inactivity). We look forward to a bug free release version of this exciting new Permaverse before July is out. Thanks to all the players who participated in the beta testing and for their suggestions and bug reports!
I’m currently working on improving the autopilot functioning for ships. This will allow the autopilot to traverse systems with asteroid belts without getting stuck. Players will also be able to set multi-point go-to commands by holding down the shift key while clicking, which will cause a new way-point to be added on to the autopilot path instead of replacing the old destination. This autopilotting will help the travel of the computer-controlled NPC ships as well.
On the horizon, we have several large areas of improvement we hope to get into as soon as possible. These are: Ship customization (to create a much greater range of possibility in ship construction), colonial shipyards as an upgrade to the weapons factory allowing colonies to build ships, more and wider variety of artifacts, and better looking interface screens.
As always, thanks for your continued interest in Starport, and your comments are always welcome.
Tax day and I had to file an extension because Uncle Sam wants a grand or two more than I have right now. Buy some more tokens, we need your support!
One of the bigger problems with the galaxies has been inflation in the economy and lack of game balance. By inflation I mean the fact that after a galaxy reaches the age of two months or so, and many colonies have reached developed status where they are producing lots of money, the value of credits plummets due to the over-supply. This causes the prices of things like ships and hardware (which are fixed at an absolute value) to be irrelevant in terms of game balance. Another words, everyone has the best ships and weapons. Now, this can be fun, as is seen in the Classic style galaxies, but, it probably makes for a more interesting game if all of the ships and hardware have a use.
So in order to help figure this out we plan to introduce fluctuating prices for ships and hardware, kind of like what was done for the price of shields at ports. The more people buying up a certain type of ship or hardware, the higher the price will go (the starbases will actually produce these items in their inventory over time and the price will be based on the supply of each item). The prices will be rounded off to the nearest 5,000 for simplicity. This way, not only will the economy become a bit more realistic, we’ll be able to see exactly which ships and weapons are being used the most and we can think about improving the cheaper items.
If nothing can stop the build up of money supply, we may ultimately need to institute a scaled income tax that would tax the richer players over time.
I’m also working on a gambling game that can be played in any port. The game will be pretty simple but it will have a galaxy-wide jackpot so you can make some pretty good money if you get lucky. The odds are designed to be in favor of the house over the long-term though, so it will hopefully act as something of a money sink.
I’m hoping to fix up the autopilot to better deal with asteroid belts soon, too.
The Caffeinated Coder is working on improving the Blitzkrieg style game. The idea is to have a game that lasts more like 30 minutes than the previous setting of 4 hours. The game will feature a central planet or two that players fight for control over. These planets will give a lot of experience per second so they will be the main way to win the game. Players will get a lot of cash so they can concentrate on fighting.
GALACTIC OVERLORD TOONCES
Right now I’m making a couple changes to the duel system. Someone posted on the forums a desire to have a more formal 1v1 system since this is a popular form of competition between players. I said that’s what the duel system is supposed to be for and people suggested that the amount of shields in duels be raised and the ability to use hardware allowed. So these changes are being implemented. Will this make the duel system more popular? We’ll see…
The caffeinated coder is working on what we hope will allow us to make January 2009 Starport Token Buyer Appreciation month. More specifically it’s a system where you can refer other players who are making their first admiral tokens purchase. Every player will receive a promotional code that they can tell to another player and get a bonus of 40% of the tokens the other player purchases, up to the first fifty dollars that person spends. Since we’ll probably consider everyone a first-time buyer when the system comes online, it will be like an appreciation month
Next up I’m hoping to balance some aspects of the economy by potentially making ship and hardware prices variable, introduce some sort of more advanced system of ship customization so that players can create more variety in the choices of ship to use, and probably introduce some new types of hardware that can be deployed.