This week has seen the release of the first of the Horizons’ releases – with plenty more to come in 2016! We’ve also released another major update for Season One on all three platforms. This changing of the seasons also brings this final dev update for the year (worry not – they will return in the New Year!) and I want to reflect on the some of my personal highlights for the year.
Before doing so I’ll shout out for the heroes of this year’s achievements and that is the team. A few of us are fortunate enough to deal with the fans directly on our forums and through other channels, but we are the public face of a much larger team who’s talent and dedication has pushed the game’s development. Switching to publishing our own titles has expanded the company in many ways and so it’s not just the development team I’d like to shout out for, it’s all the other areas of the company like admin, marketing, tech and customer service that have helped make the game a success.
With so much happening over the past years it’s hard to believe that the base game release was almost exactly a year ago. There have been a number of major releases in that time and I’m not going to talk about them all, but the few that have stood out for me, not just for what they added to the game, but what they enable us to add in the future.
The first was Community Goals back in the early part of the year with the 1.1 release. When I joined the project during the kickstarter, two fundamental pillars separated this game from its predecessors and they are the multiplayer and the evolving galaxy. In truth the two go hand in hand and the community goals added a mechanism to help guide players together with a common purpose.
They’ve also added to our arsenal for involving players in the events of the galaxy, a particular favourite of mine was the Cerberus Plaque. Here we had dedicated pilots battling to prevent the spread of a horrible disease and the players involved brought a richness to the experience.
We’ve seen a similar effect with community inspired CGs, notable examples are the Battle for Lugh and the Hutton Orbital mugs. As well as continuing our story threads we’ll continue working with the community and player groups to involve them in areas of the galaxy.
Community goals are also a superb framework for expansion. Like many features in game, they are a tool that allows us to inject activities into the game and the library of activities associated with community goals is something we plan to continue expanding. Along with other actions we track, these community goals help us develop storylines and the direction they take and that player impact is something we will continue to support and expand further.
Powerplay was another highlight release for me, although it does seem to be a bit of a marmite feature! For me it works on two levels. There’s the more obvious level of working for and against the powers, but there’s also the second benefit of the dynamism it brings to the galaxy on a grander scale. There are benefits to being in certain regions as well as downsides.
It’s also a high level framework that we can develop further and here there are two approaches that I see as strengthening Powerplay. The first is on a personal level to make interacting with the powers more interesting and more diverse, adding powerplay mission is an example of this. The other is building more of a connection with the galaxy simulation both in being able to resist powers and developing minor factions into powers.
As part of season 2 we will be elevating a minor faction to a power, we’ll reveal more on this early next year. For fun here are the most influential minor factions in game:
Dukes of Jotun
League of Amemait
CD-44 10336 Industries
The Dukes of Mikunn
Eta Draconis Gold Vision Co
Workers of Manite Labour Union
Marquis du Ma'a
The development of influence is a key function of the galaxy simulation and also one of the more complicated aspects to the game. In my opinion one of the biggest issues is one of communication, there are a range of subtleties that aren’t immediately obvious which is no doubt causing frustration. This is something we shall be tackling as well as addressing any core issues and developing the system further to support more interaction.
My penultimate highlight was the Xbox One release. It was an incredible achievement to get the game working on the console and it looks marvellous on my home set up! It also brought CQC Championship which is a lot of fun for a quick blast as a change of pace for my journey to Sagittarius A* - over halfway there now :-)
And we end with our most recent launch – Horizons. Considering all the other releases we did during the year this was a phenomenal achievement. I think the name is most apt as I love just driving around and seeing some of the vistas. Chasing people in a ship as they drive around is amusing too! And it’s only the start of the season – there’s so much more to come!
So I will end this post with a big thank you to all of you. Thank you for playing the game, your community spirit and the feedback. Merry Christmas to you all!
Discuss the update on our forum here.