Alpha 0.30 - The Empire has prevailed!
Congratulations to all players and Gangs: you exterminated the Pirnat faction of Galaxy Alpha-30 in exactly 4 days, 22 hours, 59 minutes and 32 seconds!
On the individual side, Roix get his first title of Champion! Now, after participating to many Alpha sessions, he can finally backup his very famous "modesty" with some real achievements
Tigibon, a returning "old" player, came back staight to the second position. We checked our records, and it seems he's our longest still-active player!
Robokami reaches third place, and proves that Gangs of Space can be mastered to the highest levels even by a new player.
At fourth position, the leader of HowlingDragons Ernislav leads the group of 6 players that fought vaillantly and came pretty close to the podium. With barely 10,000 points between the #5 and #10, the competition was really intense!
On the Gang side, the fearsome HowlingDragons earn their first place after a very intense battle against their rivals. Even though they didn't place any player in the player top 3, they showed that for the Gang ladder, it's actually teamwork that prevails. Congratulations to them!
Thanks to the good individual performance of their members Tigibon and Robokami, Les Cochons Volants reach a very close second place. Mark their name, we will probably see them again in future Galaxies!
In third position, Supremacy Inc are pulled by the performance of their most active member Roix.
Then, the thanatonautes managed to place two members in the individual top, but it wasn't enough to close the gap with the other 3 "big" Gangs and reach the podium. They stop at a very honorable fourth position, along with 5 other valliant Gangs.
END OF SESSION
We have been a bit caught by surprise by the sudden acceleration of the conquest after a few days, so we have decided to leave this Galaxy open until Monday, June 26.
For now, the game will continue to be playable normally, and the ladders will continue to update, but no further rewards will be given to top players & Gangs for this session.
We have given the skin rewards to individual players in the top 10, and to all members in top 10 Gangs. Send us pictures of your most beautiful ships in their new shiny paintings!
Title rewards will be coming at the end of the session.
YOUR FEEDBACK IS PRECIOUS TO US!
We've received a ton of very useful feedback from you. Keep it coming! We need to make the next version the best one ever, to storm the world with our Steam release!
Thank you all for your participation! It has been great to see you enjoying the game these past few days, and it seems we are on the right track!
Disabling Gang invites temporarily
You have probably seen it: the opening of the server for this 0.30 session has been a bit rough. Good news though: thanks to the helpful reports of many players, we've identified the issue quite quickly: it was Gang invites. I've disabled them for now, and I'm trying to do a proper fix as fast as possible.
Second good news: since I've disabled the invites, the server has been very stable. Even on very intense fight systems, we're only reaching 10~15% of a core. We need a lot more players if we want to crash it for real ^^
Thank you all for your patience and your participation.
Edit (3 a.m.): Gang invites have been re-activated.
Preview of Alpha v0.30
I hope you've not forgotten that the next Alpha session is starting this Friday, June 16! And it will be open to everyone, so feel free to bring all your friends!
Get unique gifts!
Since this session will probably the last one before our grand release on Steam, we are celebrating by offering unique commemorative content to all participants.
It is a way for us to say THANK YOU for walking with us for so many years on this long and difficult road called "indie game development".
Every player who logs in during the session will be rewarded with a title "I was here before" thay you can opt in to show in game. Keep it to show off in front of the future generations of Gangs-of-Spacers!
In addition, we added unique commemorative skins for Gemeter and Astrolax ships. You will need to reach level 10 during the session with repectively a Gemeter R and an Astrolax 500mg to unlock them. And of course, you'll get to keep them for all future versions of the game!
Conquering the first Galaxy: Alpha-030!
We didn't announce an end date for the session for a very simple reason: for the first time, we will let you rampage across the Galaxy until the Pirnat faction is totally exterminated! (Of course, since it's the first time, we might make some adjustements, so that the conquest takes about a week in total.)
Then, at the end of the conquest, we will give our first rewards to the top players and Gangs:
Four special skins (Gemeter and Astrolax), respectively for:
- the top player
- the 2nd player
- the 3rd player
- the 4th to 10th players
Another four special skins (Gemeter only, but including unique trail colors!), respectively for:
- all members of the top Gang
- all members of the 2nd Gang
- all members of the 3rd Gang
- all members of the 4th to 10th Gangs
We'll also have corresponding titles for all winners.
So... get ready to conquer!
New conquest system
Good news: we've improved the conquest system A LOT!
Sectors now contains zones that you must stay inside to conquer. The bigger the zone, the longer it takes, but the more Sector Points it will give. Having to stay inside the zone to be efficient leads to new... "interesting"... gameplay situations, shall we say ^^
Oh, and of course these zones can have positive or negative effects on your ship, so be careful!
This new mechanism makes the game a lot more dynamic (and stressful), and has wide repercussions on many parts of the game. We won't spoil it all here, but suffice to say that it gives an even bigger impact to your skill as a player, which is one of the main goals of Gangs of Space!
Five Pirnat bosses + special items
Finally, they are here, and they are not happy to have been left out for so long!
Introducing a whole family of big nasty Pirnat bosses:
But you have to face them if you want a chance to grab one of these rare and powerful items with special affixes:
Say hello to the complete Gemeter and Astrolax families!
The Astrolax family is now complete with the introduction of the bigger Astrolax 1g and Astrolax 2g.
All three Gemeter-class ships have also been completely revamped, will all their subsystems and abilities re-done and re-balanced. Prepare to unlock!
An unlock tracker to show what you can unlock using your current ship!
A compact mode for the inventory, so you can always keep an eye on your stuff while fighting. Also note the ability to directly recycle items, and send them to your Warehouse without leaving the conquest!
A progress report when you come back to the Motherbase after doing some hard work!
Notifications about important stuff happening to you!
And much more...
- Replays of your most magnificent deaths that you can upload online with a custom message...
- Credit rewards when you die.
- The ability to buy level 10 ships directly in Credits.
- The ability to cancel warps with the ESC key.
- More information on your ship information panel.
- Vastly improved client performance.
- A ton of rebalancing on items, enemies, abilities...
And even more...
Here is the complete changelog of this version if you want even more details.
This version is very important to us, since it is the first that we can call "feature complete" (even if there is a ton more we want to add at some point!). So, after you play for a while, tell us: what do you think need improvement before the Steam release?
Alpha-test v0.30 starting Friday, June 16
It is with great joy (and quite some stress!) that we are announcing that the next Gangs of Space alpha-test session with start this Friday, June 16, 19:00 UTC. It will continue until the complete conquest of the test Galaxy (expect a few days).
And another good news: this time, all players with a Gangs of Space account are invited!
The objectives of this test session are:
- Test all the game mechanisms, including: bosses, the new conquest system, 2 full ship classes.
- Try to push the server to its limits!
- Establish the list of the last modifications necessary before the Steam Early Access release.
Yes, you've read correctly: Gangs of Space on Steam, it's coming soon! Hopefully, we'll gather all required data on this version, and the next version should be THE ONE! Cross your fingers for a release this Summer!
Alpha-test v0.29 on Friday, October 7, for 72h
Alpha-test 0.29 starting Friday, October 7, at 8:00 GMT
So, first of all, the important information you've been all waiting for: the next alpha-test session for Gangs of Space will start on this Friday, October 7, at 8:00 GMT (or in other timezones), for a duration of 72 hours this time!
The new version 0.29 brings us the last big features we wanted for Gangs of Space. After that, it will be a matter of adding back a few old features (bosses, anyone?) and polish, and... well.... it's starting to smell like beta over here!
As usual, we will kick-off the test session on our Twitch channel.
The race for GREED
We wanted to get rid of the Contract mechanism for a long time. This is now done, and in its stead, welcome the GREED system! After level 10, your XP bar will be replaced by a new Greed bar that will fill by picking up blue DNA. Each level on this bar will bring Credits and other bonuses.
But this is not just a rehash of the regular levelling system. Noooononononoo.... Here are some things you'll have to master:
- The greed level continuously falls by 1% every second. Don't stop collecting, or you might loose it all!
- If you leave the system, it will fall back to 0.
- And if you are hit, you will take an immediate Greed penalty too!
So, what does Greed bring to the table?
- Credits, tons of them! Important to buy new ships and skins.
- Kill Point bonuses (see the new Conquest system below).
- DNA drop bonuses, which mean MORE GREED, and faster crew levelling too!
But that's not all... we added another perverse layer on top of that:
The DANGER gauge
The more bullets or enemies around you, the higher the Danger. And with increasing Danger comes increased DNA drops, and thus... faster levelling, and more Greed potential! These systems affect each other in a way that gives players who take risks significant advantages in terms of progression and Conquest potential.
Taking risks in a permadeath game? That's always what Gangs of Space has been about!
The goal of the game
We promised it, and now it is done: Gangs of Space is now one of the first MMO with an ultimate goal, and an "end".
The common goal of all players is simple: eliminate all enemy Factions from the Galaxy. When this is done, the current Galaxy is complete, and we move on to another one!
You can now see on the website and in the Motherbase the current progress toward this goal, faction by faction. (Of course for now there is only the Pirnat faction to eliminate, but hopefully one day we'll have more!)
Conquest Ladders are back!
We always aimed to be a competitive but without PvP game. We want the game to be difficult BUT accessible enough for lots of players to spontaneously gather to play together.
So, how does the competitive aspect work? Well... that's the role of the Conquest system.
The basics are still the same: you stay in a hostile sector, enemies spawn, you destroy them, and after some time the sector is conquered. When all the sectors are conquered, the boss appears (well... not yet, but soon!) and after that the system is completed.
We iterated on this principle and added subtles redesigns to all various mechanisms that supports the Conquest system. We won't go into all these details here (try to discover them in the game!) but here are the important additions:
- Each conquered sector will give Kill Points (KP) to all participating players.
- Each conquered sector will give Conquest Points (CP) to the top Gang of this sector.
- Various bonuses are awarded to add a little strategy element between competing Gangs.
In the Motherbase (and on the website), the Empire News Network will display a ladder of players (by KP) and gangs (by CP) for the current Galaxy. And at the end of the season, premanent rewards will be given to the top entries of this ladder.
Since these ladders will be reset every Galaxy (we aim at a duration between 5 to 10 days), each player and Gang will have a history of successes that carry over Galaxies.
This is probably a controversial change, but in order to promote a healthy competition between Gangs, we have decided to limit them to 15 members max.
We might introduce an Alliance system later to promote bigger communities, but as far as the laddering experience is concerned, you won't have to find 49 friends in order to be competitive!
New subsystems and achievements
We have taken into account a lot of feedback about progressing through the various ship classes, and have come up with some significant refinements:
- Subsystems are now unlocked once for the whole ship class. For example: Shield Matrix will be unlocked on a Gemeter R, but then available on a Gemeter SX or DX.
- Gemeter subsystems have been redesigned to never have "bad choices". Instead of trying to come up with dozens of completely different skills (which takes an insane amount of development time, and doesn't significantly improves the player experience), we are introducing variations on the most iconic and class-defining subsystems. For example, a Gemeter will now ALWAYS have a Rafale-like subsystem. This seems to be a setback , but in practice it allows far more viable builds.
(Note that we will apply the same process to the Astrolax family in the next version.)
We are introducing two new difficulty tiers (T5 and T6) and have significantly increased the difficulty of T4. This is a first step and will be refined later, by the upcoming work on bosses and effect zones.
Alex has unleashed his creative power and provided us the first 6 tracks composed specially for Gangs of Space. We are super-excited to hear about your feedback on this soundtrack!
(Note that the sound effects are still very... bad. We'll do much better on that.)
For this version too, we need to measure the speed at which you, the players, are unlocking Gemeter subsystems, on the speed of levelling (adjusted with the new Danger gauge), on the speed of Conquest, etc.
So we had to reset all current alpha data. Hopefully, since we are getting closer to beta, this should be one of the last times!
That's not all!
Of course, we can't be exhaustive here, so if you are curious, you can read the whole changelog for v0.29.
So... see you this week-end in game to try all this!
Alpha-test v0.28 on Thrusday, August 18 for 48h
We've been hard at work on the v0.28 of Gangs of Space for 4 weeks now, and it has turned into a much bigger version than we thought.
But we are getting close to finishing, and we can already announce the date of the next alpha-test session: it will be start on Thursday, August 18, 8:00 GMT for a duration of 48 hours. As usual, we will kick it off on our Twitch channel, so if you don't have an access key yet, feel free to come and ask one there!
And so... What are the new shiny things this time?
The support-type Astrolax are back, with a whole slew of medicine-name-inspired subsystems to heal everyone in a thousand ways!
Pimp up your old Intel processor... humm... I mean old Gemeter by upgrading to the brand-new SX and DX series, with more arithmetic coprocessors, and more importantly more guns!
To support these new ships, we've completely re-design the ship builder interface too:
Want to shine in the deep space as a very unique and precious snowflake? The skin customization workshop is here for you! For a very modest amount of Credits, your space life can turn into a rainbow of colors!
All this new content is locked behind a slew of tasks you have to perform:
- Advanced ships classes will require you to level-up basic ones to max-level.
- Subsystems will require you to kill stuff and collect DNA (among a number of things).
- Skins will unlock while you unlock the subsystems of each ship class.
How much can you unlock during this test session?
Reviewing all the subsystems
We didn't like the many constraints of using active items and skills while juggling with energy and cooldowns. So we've changed everyting at a very deep level, and implemented a bunch of new ways to use energy. The goal is simple: make the game more dynamic, and allow you to use skills and items more often. We need you to tell us what you think of the new system, which is critical for an action-based game like Gangs of Space.
Reset the accounts
Because of all that has changed, and because we need a fresh start to measure how fast players can progress into the game, we have to delete all the ships from the past 2 versions.
Of course, this won't affect your amount of Solars (formerly known as Caps) and other pre-order bonuses. We are not touching the titles and Gangs, either.
As explained in our Alpha F.A.Q., we anticipate to have to take these measures from time to time during the Alpha period. But don't worry, such things won't happen anymore when we reach the Beta status!
...and that's not all!
The complete list of changes is available in the changelog on the forum.
See you this Thurstday or Friday in the game!
Alpha 0.27 on Sunday, July 17
The upcoming version 0.27 is getting ready. We will be opening the servers for you to test it this Sunday (July 17) at around 8:00 GMT for a duration of 24 hours.
As usual, we will kick off the test session on our Twitch devstream where we will be answering questions, receiving your bug reports, giving out access keys, and more generally playing along with you!
So... Now that Grouroux has joined Erhune in Tôkyô for 2 months of intense development, what have we been up to?
Grouroux is working on "deviant" enemies, which are variants of our dear old Pirnats but with some twists. We won't spoil the surprise, but we're sure they will be responsible of a few additional player deaths! ^_^
Lots of UI and polish
The theme for the previous version and this one has definitely been: polish. We are getting closer to a beta release of the game, and we need the user interfaces to be clear and efficient to use, especially during action-packed fights.
A few examples of new stuff:
Haul indicator, tooltip, item level
New level up window, a new Subsystems Codex
Sector borders ingame
New settings window
Detailled graphic presets
And finally, by far the most requested feature: a QUIT button!
And much more!
You can see the Changelog for all the details. And we're still adding stuff there every day!
So... see you this Sunday?
State of the development in June 2016 + pre-session this Friday
Who would believe it? We are finally reaching a (quasi) playable version of Gangs of Space!
Grouroux has completed the design of all the little special effects here and there. They don't seem much, but they allow the player to understand what's going on, so they are actually very important gameplay-wise! And... THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!!!
Here are a few examples, from dozens of them:
Resistron X3, a new active item which gives temporary resistances
The Nanobot item, ie. a heal
One of the 6 transmuter effects, here energy => shield
The Reboot subsystem, that reduces all other cooldowns
The level up effect that destroys enemies around
The impact effect on a Gemeter ship
The new bullets for the various Gemeter weapons, with some potential debuff effects of the Solid Weakening or Gluons subsystems
I'm not going over all the items, subsystems, debuff effects, the trails, the wrecks, the drops...
Grouroux has also updated some space structures that some of you already knew:
On my side, I mostly followed Grouroux's work by implementing all the stuff that "does" these FX, including the emission, synchronization among the players, the modification depending on various gameplay settings, and so on.
I also started writing new IA blocks that will be used to implement the behaviours of the enemy variations. Grouroux fixed the game design of these variations a few months ago, but we decided to do a first pass of balance with only the basic enemies, before implementing the variations a bit later. Well, at least the code is ready for that!
Also, some final touches to a few interfaces, for example the small warp button that has been added among the other shortcuts:
And since I finished all that while Grouroux was still stuggling with his FX, I even implemented the Trophy system, which is a way to unlock subsystems for each ship class by performing various actions. This was supposed to be implemented in the next version, but wel... it's already done!
The UI, though, is not done AT ALL...
And while I was doing all that, Grouroux managed to steal commit #4000 from me. Damn! I was litteraly thinking about what special thing I could commit to celebrate the milestone, and I received this screenshot:
Finally, I spent a few days on the game servers to update all our scripts, clean the databases, test that all is working (at least in broad stokes...). Which leads us to:
So, since the game is reaching playable state again, we will finally be able to resume alpha test sessions very soon!
As a starter, this Friday, June 10 during our Twitch devstream (probably around 10:00-ish GMT), we will do a first pre-session with the viewers of our channel. Don't expect a polished experience, this is in order to dig out the main issues. But if you have a gangsofspace.com account (create one, it's free!), feel free to come by and you'll be welcome on the server!
Depending on how this first try goes, we will announce a first "true" series of test sessions (over a few days at least) just afterward.
And finally, if you planned to spend your summer time at the beach, cancel all your plans! We announce today that we will do A TON of test sessions, devstreams, new versions and new content during the months of July and August. Mark the dates on your calendars!
State of the development in May 2016
Woohoo, time sure flies! So, what's up with Gangs of Space since last month?
The new enemies can now have a special "champion" visual effect. These enemies will be faster, stronger, more dangerous... but more rewarding too.
Grouroux also did a pass on updating our environments, including the starfields, backgrounds, suns and planets... and most importantly (even if it's not that visible on screenshots) the lightings, which are extremely important for the ambiance and readability of the game!
We also have a lot of small touches here and there, including a small re-design of the enemy lifebar to display their (eventual) champion attributes, or an update to the trails of the enemies...
My big task during the past weeks has been the re-haul of the enemies with the new difficulty progression. This implied a LOT of changes to the enemy attribute system, which grew 100x in complexity. Where it used to be "1 enemy = 1 value for each characteristic", now all the enemy characteristics can be influenced at spawn time depending on the map tier, the sector level, the champion attributes, the variations in the spawn table... and also at runtime depending on debuffs from the player, or buffs from other enemies or the environment. That brought a lot of changes to the AI and the display engine, but fewwwww.... it's almost done! So far we have all the basic variations for 8 Pirnat enemies, with one more to go (the Pirnat Gunz). When we can test that everything is fine on this front, we'll add the missing 2 variations for each of these 9 enemies. That's.... a lot more content to handle than we expected (and we still have to re-introduce the bosses after that...)
Since I was working on the AIs, I also took the opportunity to do some R&D on obstacle avoidance. Those who followed my live dev streams last year might remember that I implemented a very crude steering system in order to allow enemies to navigate a bit more naturally in asteroid fields. But now I've managed to implement a much robust system that is integrated at the AI layer, and not only at the physical navigation layer. This doesn't change much for our current open environments, but it finally opens the door for much more varied environments in the future.
Aside from the enemies, I also finished the implementation of some missing gameplay elements (critical hits, extra item and DNA drop rates) and polished some interfaces (crew XP bars, clearer tooltips for subsystems).
Oh, and I almost forgot... I finally implemented a proper UI for re-binding controls. There is still work to do to better support controllers bindings, but at least this now looks like a proper Gangs of Space UI and not a ugly default Unity one...
Of course Grouroux is complaining that it's ugly, but that's what you get from letting the developer do the color schemes!
As you can see, work is progressing at a good pace, and the game looks more and more playable every day! See you soon for more advancement news!
State of the development in April 2016
April is there... So, how have things advanced since our last status update in January?
Let's start with my domain: programming. I (Erhune) have managed to sort out all the personal affairs that slowed down my development activity in 2015. I'm now back on Gangs of Space full-time, and work is advancing well!
The cleanup work from all the features we removed from the V3 game design is complete, and almost all new features that we announced previously during our V4 presentation are now implemented:
feature-wise, we have: ship levelling, subsystems, new item generation, new universe lifecycle, contracts, a ton of new combat stuff (including resistances, critical hits, deviation, new effects...)
we are putting the last touches to all the new interfaces: the redesigned ship window, the redesigned shortcut bar, the new navigation window, the levelling window, the new item and subsystem tooltips, contract progress and reward windows...
(that's an ingame view, unlike previous screenshots which were Photoshop design documents)
- content-wise, we have one ship ready (Gemeter R) with 23 different subsystems (5 hulls, 5 generators, 5 engines, 5 armaments, 3 computers) including 9 different abilities. We also have 40 items (4 projectile weapons, 6 light shields, 16 active items, 3 passive items, 11 crews). All these items have variations over 12 levels, and many of them are actually item templates that can generate hundreds of different types of bonuses.
There is also a lot of "invisible" work going on server-side. I had to redo the whole cluster management system because of the new way the universe expands and shrinks. I also added a ton of instrumentation and logging so that we will be able to extract lots of data when we can finally open the alpha to the public, which will enable Grouroux to make informed decisions about game balance. I also used the opportunity of redoing many things to clean up and refactor a LOT of stuff that had been on my todo-list for ages.
Some of you might also have noticed a lot of features disappearing from the gangsofspace.com website: some because they didn't make sense any more (Empire Management, anyone?), some in anticipation of their return (ladders...), some to prepare for better versions to come (Gang Management...).
Grouroux has been on a multiple-month adventure to clean-up our 3-and-a-half-year-old Unity project and upgrade all the graphic stuff to be more cohesive, to use a unified lightning model and good texture quality, and most importantly to remove all useless stuff that has accumulated and was slowing down the software a lot!
Since we have redesigned the progression of difficulty in depth, we also needed many more enemy variations. And we haven't yet talked about an upcoming feature that will multiply them even more (hem... special enemies anyone?... more details to come in a later post!). So Grouroux asked me to implement a new shader that use the Unity 5 lightning model but allow more color customization without having to design hundreds of textures and materials by hand.
Since then, he has been working on enemy variations, and most of the Pirnat ships are now done! Lo and behold!
Now, there are 2 BIG graphic-intensive tasks left on our radar: map generation and special effects. These will be the focus on our efforts for the weeks to come (come take a peek at the design process!), with a few minor other things (like updated item icons).
As told in the Programming section, much of the game design for V4 is done: difficulty curve, items and subsystems balance, drop tables, contracts...
The only missing part here in order to be able to resume the alpha-test sessions is the enemy balance and a few new enemy behaviours.
The road from here...
Here is our tentative roadmap, in broad strokes:
- Finish what's described in this post
- Test it in private alpha
- Fix the biggest bugs and balance issues
- Gather feedback in public alpha
- Add the last missing features (special enemies, achievements & unlocks, ladders, bosses, tutorial, few missing UI...) while regularly testing them in public alpha
- Add more content (ships, items, enemy factions)
- Promote the game to Beta status and release it on Steam Early Access
While development is definitely picking up steam again, we don't have yet a precise idea of the time frame of all these steps. Especially, since the game has considerably changed since the last test sessions, we will need to gather fresh feedback during the test sessions to estimate how far we are from Beta.
|#2||Les Cochons Volants||312,965 CP|
|#3||Supremacy Inc||211,189 CP|
|#6||Les Gentlemen||80,204 CP|
|#8||Iron Hussars||39,577 CP|
|#10||Team branlouille||32,422 CP|