v0.1.2 is available on Itch.io!
This release comes less than a week after the first-ever release of the game. I got a lot of great feedback from early players and immediately went to work fixing bugs and addressing top complaints.
Here’s what the new release includes:
- WASD Controls are implemented! You can still use right-click to fly too.
- Zoom is implemented! Zoom the camera in/out with the mouse wheel
- Added improved config system, players can now edit volume by modifying the settings.json file in the Data Directory. I realize editing a settings file is not a good way to allow volume changes: this sets the foundation for building an actual settings screen (working on that)!
- Sectors do not run out of asteroids. New asteroids randomly respawn as asteroids are mined.
- Fuzzy fonts on the ship menu is fixed! Now all text in the game is crisp and should be easy to read.
- Resources should no longer trail behind collecting ships.
- Resources shoot across the screen to be collected by the wrong ship less often. This is not completely fixed but I can’t reproduce it consistently enough to finish fixing it yet.
- Resource collection noise is less intrusive/annoying
- Resources collected by other ships no longer make noise
- AI is vastly improved:
- Ships now track targets better, firing at where a target will be versus where it has been.
- Ships should no longer circle each other firing indefinitely
- Ships navigate better, they should no longer circle a point they can’t reach forever
- Ships now dock at stations to unload their cargo
- Ships no longer fire at targets outside of their range
- Ships mine at more optimal distances
- Station visuals have been slightly improved
- Minor improvements to sound
- Minor improvements to performance
In addition to all of the items above, I also made huge progress on a working build for Mac. This is thanks to Dean Ellis at Infinitespace Studios. Without his advice and testing I probably would be weeks or months away from a Mac launch.
Fonts are still rendering so poorly on Mac that its impossible to read menus. As soon as I get that fixed this game should be available on Mac too!
As always, thanks for playing.
NOTE: I had really hoped to add new weapons, ships or sectors as part of this release. However, I’m working on some tools and features to improve sectors and ships. Adding more right now would make that more difficult so I decided to focus on quality over content quantity for this release!
The beta is out!
I’m keeping this post short because I’m excited to be working on the next release. The Masteroid Beta v0.1.1 went live on Monday and beta keys went to all pre-signups. The game is available to non-beta testers now for a small charge:
On launch day the game was played roughly 21 hours by beta testers. Players died 141 times and lost an average of 50 resources each time.
The top reported bugs were issues with game resolution, especially with Windows display scaling turned on and when played on smaller monitors. A few people reported crashes with a known cause that I’m fixing. There were a couple of crashes from an unknown cause that I can’t fix for now.
The top requested features were the ability to zoom in on your ship and more “depth” in how you control your ship. Basically people want WASD controls so you can fly in one direction and shoot another.
Generally people liked the graphics, sound and the general vibe of the game. The most common complaint was the readability of the ship menu (known issue that I’m working on). Some said that flying and shooting rocks starts to get dull after an hour or two. There were also a few complaints about the repetitive sound of picking up resources.
All feedback has been acknowledged and I’m already working on some bugfixes! Most of the feature requests tie into the roadmap I already had planned. Adding more depth to controls will make combat more interesting and open up other paths to earn resources, which I had also planned. I plan to continue to add ships, sectors and weapons as well.
I’m already working on the next release. Your emails, tweets and forum posts on the game page are encouraging. Thanks for playing and being an awesome community.
We’re so close.
The task list, aside from a few last minute bugs, is nearly empty. I have a build that seems to work on non-dev machines. I’ve poured tons of hours in the last two weeks into finalizing content, fixing bugs and testing builds.
I have generated and assigned beta keys to everyone that signed up. I sent an update email to let people know the beta was opening. Really all that remains to “launch” is to upload the files to itch.io and send the emails out with game keys!
- All game content is in the game. I think the beta launch has 15 ships, 10 weapons and 5 sectors (I honestly lost count).
- Game data is now fetched from my server. This allows me to tweak and balance the game without forcing a new download. If server is down or user is disconnected it loads local data that ships with the game.
- I wrote a game manual for you to read while you wait for the beta launch!
- Game and save data are more standardized and are encrypted for now. Ultimately I don’t want to deal with bugs that arise from users modifying settings.
Standby for launch as soon as I work out a few last little bugs and do a tiny bit more testing!
The beta is getting really close!
I’ve been wrapping up the last UI tasks that are less fun to work on but need to be done to release the beta. I now have a title screen (pictured above) that loads a somewhat-randomized space scene each time. It has the buttons needed to start the game, a donate button, recent posts from this blog and the current version number. My hope is that this encourages my friendly beta testers to stay connected to the game’s development process and be able to report the version number with any bugs.
I also have been working hard on the actual game content. The beta will include 15 ships, 10 weapons and 3-5 sectors to explore. Obviously I’d like to add a lot more than this over time but there’s a lot of balancing and progression speed to be figured out and the more variety…the more impossible that task becomes!
Finally, I have added a donate button to the main menu which takes gamers to this page. Masteroid is entirely self-funded and I am not running a Kickstarter or other funding system that asks gamers to purchase something before they can enjoy it. My hope is that as people play the game, they will be willing to donate a bit to fund ongoing development.
That’s all for now!
Another couple nights of really productive code are in the bag (or the repository in this case). I’m getting steadily closer to having the closed beta build ready.
One of the most exciting things about this project is how effective every work session has been. Prior to starting this game I participated in a series of monthly game jams with other devs in the FlatRedBall community. When you make a game, start to finish, in a single month you gain a lot more perspective on maintaining scope. Maintaining scope is, in my opinion, one of the hardest things about game development.
Every night when I sit down to code I ask myself one question: “What’s the least amount of effort that results in the highest payoff?” I feel like I’ve been more effective at nailing the balance of feature depth and code time than any other project.
Okay, enough of the philosophy. What has been accomplished?
- I fixed a ton of little bugs. Turrets were losing their weapons when the player warps to a new sector. Ships were collecting resources even if they were full. Friendly ships would accidentally destroy each other.
- I implemented faction reputation. Do too much damage to a faction’s ships and they will attack you on site. Factions also have enemies and will attack enemy faction ships.
- I implemented faction diversity within sectors. Sectors have a primary faction but now there’s a configurable chance that non-faction ships will warp in. This results in some fun mini turf wars.
- I added a random sector generator. This will not ship with the game. I don’t want the player to have infinite sector options that all look/play the same. That being said, it takes a ton of time to test ideas and do mundane things like lay out background decor. The random generator allows me to rapidly create and visualize hundreds of sectors, pick a few attractive ones to start, and customize them with an artist touch. The best of both procedural and human-generated content!
- I worked a ton on sector “prettiness”. I added a lot of 3D depth. The depth of stars, planets, asteroids, etc is much bigger. I also added a lot of new decor like background asteroids and debris.
- I improved AI. That started with implementing factions but continued with miners making smarter decisions and fighters being a little more aggressive at defending.
- I added the concept of “super asteroids”. All asteroids have a random resource payout when destroyed But now there’s a configurable chance to hit a “resource jackpot” asteroid that pays out much higher.
- I implemented game ships! The game now has 15 ships ranging from tiny scouts to large capital ships. The sense of scale in the game is important to the atmosphere and it’s exciting to see that coming together.
Ultimately this was a huge content and gameplay sprint. I built the tools to assist with more content creation and tested lots of sectors. I tested how the different ships feel and dumped tons of ships into sectors to watch them fight it out. For weeks I’ve had a vision of how these things would all work but I’m finally getting to a place where I have most of the key gameplay systems in place to actually feel how the game plays!
I’m excited but also insecure. I’m getting close to the place where people will really play, love and hate it!