Dev Update (22/10/2015)

Hi everyone,

Fantasticon is taking place this weekend and I will be there on the Saturday, so if you’re there feel free to say ‘Hello’!

The exploration issues from the 1.4 release should have now be fixed, however if you still have missing data then raise a support ticket ( which as much information as you can provide and we’ll look into it further. As I type this we’re reviewing some of the tickets already raised to determine what’s going on.

We’ve talked about some of the key features coming in the forthcoming Horizons Planetary Landings release and this week I’d like to take a little step back to look at the flow of some of those changes. The most obvious addition is the ability to fly down and drive on the surfaces of airless worlds. This obviously requires some changes to how space flight is handled.

In the game currently supercruise ends with a hard wall when you get too close to a planet. If you have Horizons then your ships will automatically be assigned a module that enables the ship to operate at orbital heights down to the surface in what we’re calling Orbital Cruise. With this module you will transition into orbital flight when you reach the appropriate altitude.

The ship handles a little differently in orbital flight. They key difference is that if you fly within orbital parameters (essentially perpendicular to the surface) you will travel faster and provides a mechanism for moving quickly around the planet. This is also highlighted in the UI by showing the sweet spot on your pitch control. Below orbital cruise you enter into surface flight and the controls change again to reflect the flight model operating within gravity and your thrusters compensating for you flight close to the surface.

As well as handling differences (and high gravity worlds feel different to fly on compared to low gravity worlds) the flight UI has been updated to provide the pertinent information you need when flying near the surface like altitude, pitch and so forth. We’ll show more on this in the coming weeks, but for this week I just wanted to establish the different zones that you can be in and how that affects you while playing.

This is especially pertinent in multiplayer and wings, as you can now be operating across very different environments, but you will have a need to support each other between these environments. It’s also key that transitioning between these is a seamless experience.

One of our favourite examples of mixing these is ‘combined arms’ operations. When operating near a planet the ships have different advantages and disadvantages to the SRVs and combining them together can make operations more effective. We’ll be talking about settlements next week, so we’ll see a little more detail on that then, but in essence different types of base defences can be more effective against ships or against SRVs, so combining the forces in an attack can make it much more likely to succeed.

Naturally you can use the same tactics in single player by landing and deploying the SRV as needed. If you drive too far away then you can call your ship to your location, although you do need to make sure that there’s a suitable landing location (so not too rocky for example) and no anti-ship defences nearby!

This week we have released client updates for Xbox One and PC/Mac. There does still appear to be an issue with some mining transactions which we are investigating. 

With the rapid churn of new features and changes since release we haven’t been able to keep localised languages as up to date as we’d like. For 1.5 and the Horizons planetary landing release we’re aiming to get completely caught up with missing translations and start working with the feedback that we’ve received to improve the translations in game.

It’s great fun playing these new additions and we look forward to sharing them with you soon :-)