It has been a year a long year, but we are finally back. After a long struggle we realized, that version we originally released should have been considered a prototype. We encountered many software design hurdles and game engine problems. We strapped too many unpolished features on unfinished core software architecture. Good news is that we overcame all the difficulties and are now releasing baseline alpha version.

We decided to pivot from manually created game world to procedurally generated one. Altough it takes time to develop this feature and we are nowhere close to having a good world generator, it is still better way for indie project that changes a lot. Our game world was also much smaller than reality and felt really out of place. With procedurally generated world we can make everything 1:1 with real universe now. We start with one large sector around planet Mars. Our plan is to add other planets in solar system and possibly some alien places as we go along. Increasing scale of the world also meant that we needed to add some sort of FTL drive along with regular flight. You start with basic ship without FTL capabilities, your first goal is to obtain one. In this version you already have FTL drive in inventory, so find the nereast shipyard and put one on your ship !

One of the main problems was trying to develop many different game modes at once (singleplayer, deathmatch, coop). Starting with deathmatch and singleplayer, then trying to implement co-op on existing singleplayer features. We simplified game design and decided there will be one map and one game mode. So singleplayer = multiplayer = deathmatch = coop. We want to provide one big playground and let players decide what do they want to do with it. One big mistake was developing singleplayer features first and then trying to strap the multiplayer on it. We had to remove multiplayer from game because of this. We now develop everything with multiplayer code in mind. We have functioning multiplayer prototype and are polishing last bugs and will be releasing it quickly after this update (see Road Map below).

Big feature of our game is the ability to design your own ship from parts. Ship editor had to be reworked too. Mostly internally. We needed much more flexibility so we can quickly add, remove and change ship modules. As this is core part of our gameplay and we want to develop it iterativelly and closely with community to see what works best. We tried to come up with a system that will force player to choose a specialization for the ship using modules of their own choosing, not following some rigid class system. In new system we are restricting which and how many modules you can put on your ship by its carry capacity, which is basically mass of its structure (i.e. base construction without any functional modules). To enlarge ship’s base structure you need structure parts, whereas functional modules are treated as items that have to be found in loot or crafted. You can send us your saved ship designs located in folder “\Azulgar_Data\Data\Ships\” (send to creatives@szeiner.com) and we will put the best ones in the game.

Redesigning our core space engine, developing multiplayer as one of the main priorities also meant that we had to remove most of the features from prototype version. We want every feature added to game to be functional right of the box and make sense with what is already there. In this alpha version we want to establish basic exploration and survival elements of the game. Right now the game is mostly space ship flight simulator, where you can collect new modules and structure parts to upgrade your ship in shipyard and explore the first iteration of our procedurally generated world.

This version is simpler feature-wise and it may seem that there is little we developed regarding gameplay features last year. That is correct, because most of the 2018 we were developing game engine on top of unity that would be able to handle our original vision and scope. All of the gameplay features were developed in last 4 months. So we hope that following gameplay updates will come more quickly. We are in it for the long run, that’s why we did what we did. We want to develop a great game that is also polished and can be easily tweaked, balanced and updated.

You can post bug reports, or discuss game ideas on our forum:
https://szeiner.com/forum/index.php?categories/azulgar-star-commanders.6/

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