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Alliances Dev Update III: Features are done, testing will begin soon.

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Time for another update!

We're proud to announce that the feature development for the Alliances update has finished! This means that we'll go into testing soon, after we did some internal testing as well.

 

The reason why this update took so long was that we had a lot of features that fit thematically into the update. There were just too many things that we wanted included in the update, so we thought "yeah, that one would be quite cool, too!" leading to a never-ending stream of cool ideas and features that we wanted to ship with the update, delaying it further and further.

 

We have all the most important features in and we've decided that now it's enough and we'll just ship it so you won't have to wait any longer. This also means that there are a few features that we initially wanted to include that didn't make it. But we'll release them in future updates.

 

These are the features (roughly) that will make it into the game with the update. A more detailed list of these will be posted with patch notes once the update goes live on the beta branch.

- Alliances, ie. player-founded factions, similar to guilds/clans in other games

- Steam Workshop support for ship and station models

- Co-Op ship steering of alliance ships

- Out-of-sector simulation for player ships and stations

- Improved server performance (less lag, less memory consumption)

- Whole Ship modification, ie. upgrading materials, scaling, rotating, modifying internal blocks

- UI improvements, searching on galaxy map, filtering in inventory

 

Future Plans

In the future we'll most likely do smaller, but more regular updates again. We tried an experiment with this update as we thought that huge content updates might be somewhat more impactful, but we realized that while it made development easier, it didn't help you guys a lot. So we'll be moving back to the system where we'll release smaller updates, but a lot more regularly.

 

We've got a few updates planned already, not necessarily in that order though. I'll give you a quick description on what we've planned in these updates.

 

Combat and Stealth

We want combat in Avorion to be more exciting than just flying in front of each other, shooting at shields and seeing that my firepower is slightly stronger than the enemies shields so I win. We'll add more specialized weapons that will be capable of destroying or bypassing shields a lot better, making shields a less overpowered, completely necessary thing. But don't worry, you'll see what you're up against so you can prepare for a fight against an enemy that won't care about your shields.

 

Fighter Rework

We'll rework the way fighters work. Right now they can be very strong in terms of firepower, but they die off very quickly, making them nearly unusable. We want them to be a strong alternative to turrets, that's equally strong and just works differently. This includes easier replacement of destroyed fighters and their pilots, as well as specialized weapons against fighters. And customized fighters. This is actually something we initially wanted to include in the Alliances update (since it would fit in perfectly) but we realized that this is easily a week's worth of work, so we'll ship it in a separate update.

 

Okay great, but when?

Now that we're done with all the features we want in we'll do some more internal testing and if everything goes well the update will hit the beta branch by the end of next week.

 

Thanks for reading everybody, and stay tuned!

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Wow that sounds really good. Happy to hear its coming soon :)

 

How will out of sector simulation work? Will my ships and factorys be attacked by Xsotan and pirates?

 

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Future Plans

In the future we'll most likely do smaller, but more regular updates again. We tried an experiment with this update as we thought that huge content updates might be somewhat more impactful, but we realized that while it made development easier, it didn't help you guys a lot. So we'll be moving back to the system where we'll release smaller updates, but a lot more regularly.

I've read some of the crying on the forums. I wouldn't sweat it too much. Space Engineers updates every week and people keep saying "oh, another update with little to no content."

 

There's a balance between just throwing everything at players as soon as it gets done and waiting for what seems ages for a new update. Sure, it's not the best for hype to wait months at a time, but then again, if the game changes significantly over and over every couple of weeks, then ships become obsolete nearly as fast, campaigns get restarted and so on and eventually the result is similar: people stop playing and take breaks because they don't feel they're getting anything done before they always have to start over.

 

Personally, I'm thrilled about the update and I don't mind how long it takes, you're doing a good job of putting very playable stuff out there so I'm happy to have some stability to experiment between big patches. Looking forward to changes to combat, that's my opinion, but I think it's one of the major concerns at the moment. There's no variation to combat AIs and ship "style" and loadout, so the game gets bogged down to always doing the same thing, except with better materials. That gets boring. I'd really to see some new AIs and ship-generation algorithms so that combat becomes more dynamic.

 

Anyways, thumbs up for the Alliance update! Keep up the good work!  :)

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- Improved server performance (less lag, less memory consumption)

- Whole Ship modification, ie. upgrading materials, scaling, rotating, modifying internal blocks

- UI improvements, searching on galaxy map, filtering in inventory

 

- yes

- yes

- and yes

 

Very nice news :)

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Smaller updates and faster or bigger updates that take more time (obv.) does not matter that much.

 

the more important thing to note from your text is that you as the guy who is pretty much the game's god,

are incredibly caring not only for the game but also its community and you put your heart & soul into it.

which is for most people a big plus.

As a ton of games that started small lost their core as well as their heart & soul once they grew big.

 

honestly, there are huge games out there that do not even receive as much content as this game does even

though they have dedicated servers and all that.

especially for the size of your team you seem to be working at 110% efficiency if not more and I'm sure that you will keep that up.

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So hyped for this update ;D

 

- Whole Ship modification, ie. upgrading materials, scaling, rotating, modifying internal blocks

 

I was intending to suggest this at some point, so it's nice that it got added without me having to.  ;)

 

As for the rate of putting out updates, I think the sweet spot is about once every 2-4 weeks (at least in my opinion).

 

By the way, how exactly does 'upgrading materials' work? Can we select blocks then click some 'upgrade to ...' button? Or is it only for upgrading the entire ship at once?

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What about having "waves" of updates. Maybe 6 weeks with 1 update each week, then 6 weeks "off" to bring a bigger update, or something like that.

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Our blueprints will be safe right? I feel like there's going to be more change to ship components than the anti-pancake-thruster update

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Our blueprints will be safe right? I feel like there's going to be more change to ship components than the anti-pancake-thruster update

 

The .xml blueprints are "safe" from the standpoint they are stored on your local machine (as long as your HD doesn't die). If block functions change the ships will be updated accordingly by the game engine when you log in (unless the devs decide to be mean to us - unlikely).

 

It is doubtful that we'll experience another "anti-pancake-thruster" update where we will be forced to completely reconstruct our ships so they'll fly properly. That update addressed a major immersion-breaking flaw/exploit for ship maneuvering. The thrusters were modified and gyros/dampeners added to remove the need to stack thrusters (which was silly in the first place). As these blocks basically defined the ship's maneuverability everyone had to rework all ships. Since that issue's been addressed, blocks may be minorly tweaked for game balance in the future but shouldn't be too drastic.

 

However, based on the patch notes it is likely we'll be seeing modifications/additions to the turret system so you may WANT to rebuild your ship/swap blocks to better counter these new weapons depending on your ship's intended role. And of course any turrets you currently are likely to get massively revamped.

 

TLDR: If we ever end up seeing new blocks, like ones that can cloak ships, you may want to modify your existing ships to take advantage of new options/abilities, but again it's unlikely we'll see a block update that requires you to modify existing ships just to get them to fly properly again  :P

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Well, first of all the week only ends tomorrow. And he also said that this will be the case if everything goes well. So it should not be very surprising, by the size of the update, if there have been some bugs that will delay it for a few days.

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Well, first of all the week only ends tomorrow. And he also said that this will be the case if everything goes well. So it should not be very surprising, by the size of the update, if there have been some bugs that will delay it for a few days.

 

True :)

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Well, first of all the week only ends tomorrow. And he also said that this will be the case if everything goes well. So it should not be very surprising, by the size of the update, if there have been some bugs that will delay it for a few days.

I hope we can get a quick update today or tomorrow about whats gonna happen with the big update

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Here's to hoping for an update regarding the update in the near future! I've a few friends interested in trying out Avorion with me - we are all waiting on this next update. It sounds stellar.

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