With the boss fight complete, and the story being at the point of a fairly easy cut off point – I called Iteration 20 done. Next up iteration 21
So as usual at the “end” of an iteration I do play testing, during which I tend to make tweaks and add polish. I did a few of these and I’m very happy.
The first one was the way that ships target, prior – ships tended to get the absolute nearest target within weapons range. This meant that battles often looked like swarms of ships versus one unlucky – closest target. A slight – pick from 4 nearest randomly – tweak and battles are a bit more varied. A added bonus is that ships now last longer (not having so much fire focused on them) which helps in the – make battles longer – department. This also means that players piloting ships will have a greater chance at survival – taking out some frustration from that game play (getting blown up) and at the same time making the tactician player – the one issuing orders – a bit more valuable since focus fire isn’t a given as it was before.
Another tweak was where turrets aim on a target. Prior to the tweak – turrets aimed dead center on a target. This was fine back in the fighter versus fighter days. On a small target – hitting dead center isn’t as apparent/visible. But on larger targets this becomes a fairly glaring/obvious thing. Especially on the new mega huge boss. A tweak later and turrets aim points get off set a bit. But turrets weren’t the only ones to do this sort of aiming, so did missiles, and so did ships themselves (whether dog fighting or larger ships with cannons as their primary weapons). These too were tweaked, and the change is very noticeable. Battles look a lot more organic with fire being spread over a target’s hull versus focused on one central point. And since fire isn’t dead center – there’s a greater chance at missing – which is actually a good thing. The same reasons as above with the targeting tweak – battles have a chance at lasting longer and once more it gives the player piloting a ship a greater chance at survival via dodging.
The flip side of this – and a constant reminder that Void Destroyer is a bit of a different beast, when piloting a ship – the player’s guns should aim dead center – otherwise it looks incredibly goofy for the turrets to fire off to the side, it feels even more odd. So once again things have to be tested at least twice, once from the RTS perspective and once from the so called “first person” perspective. Can’t say it isn’t amusing though.
With the new enemies – we welcome back shields. Shields were added to the game a while back, but then taken away and not seen for over a year or more. Shields in Void Destroyer – are unique – they aren’t a bubble that covers the entire ship – like in Star Trek, they only cover a particular area. So the new shields combined with the “don’t aim only in the center” tweak have a nice synergy – they get a chance to be hit more often. A tiny tweak – but having a very big impact.
A few tiny tweaks post iteration 20 – gravity drive has been tweaked so that the AI doesn’t start attacking a target – while still in gravity drive, which resulted in some strange behavior as ships at high speed would alter their paths. And I finally got around to working on the – decide to use gravity drive or normal engines – code for targets that are somewhat far away. Before the decision – based on distances – was incredibly simple and flawed. Now the full distance of both options is calculated and compared, so this should eliminate some anomalies.
Adding the new shield code got me excited to create a KS update video, but while making it I realized that it was more fun watching it than hearing me talk over it. So I made a trailer, then made the “talking” update.
Here’s the links:
What’s great is that the trailer was picked up by RPS and they wrote a article about Void Destroyer. Getting more exposure is always a great thing for a fairly unknown project like this one. I hope that one day people mention Void Destroyer along other space sims and RTS games, like I often see done with other more known projects. Here’s a link to that RPS entry (what I think is funny is that this piece appears nearly a year after the first one they did – during the end of Kickstarter – last year). Either way – its a big deal to be mentioned since there are many many interesting indie projects fighting for these spots. I hope that one day I’ll take these for granted, when Void Destroyer is super popular – a man can dream – for now they are minor miracles.
What’s very interesting is that right after the RPS piece – YouTube was a bit swarmed with “Free Download of Void Destroyer!” videos, it seems that these pop up automatically via bots. I checked one of them out and it wasn’t an actual way to get a pirated version of the game, so would be seekers should be careful and hopefully rather buy the game via Steam. Either way YouTube took them down fairly fast, it seems that this is an issue that happens a lot and that they have their own methods of dealing with. Battle of the bots.
In a bit of another more personal news – this week was the Steam Summer sale – the first one that I got to experience as someone selling a game on Steam. There was very little chance that Void Destroyer would be featured on the front (as little as any other unknown game – so basically a fraction of a fraction of a percent), and it didn’t get featured. Still sales bumped up a bit – though prior to that sales dipped, so people anticipated the sale, thus didn’t buy much, bought during the sale, and now will probably take some time to recover before buying again. At least those are my guesses.
Another aspect of the Steam Summer sale is that I bought a bunch of games – at huge discounts. So I recovered a bit mentally via playing a bunch of unique indie games, and one or two AAA games here and there.