Since the last dev diary post two big things happened:
- The 0.92 patch was released and included: the nearby player colony scanner, new minor civilizations, a settings panel for auto colony development, fleet + planet transfer and bio-farms. If you didn’t catch that post you can find it here.
- The Alpha 3 Skirmish galaxy was launched.
Alpha 3 Skirmish
The new Skirmish galaxy has been running for over a week now. If you are an existing Alpha player but haven’t joined it yet, what are you waiting for?
It’s a faster game than any we’ve launched before and there are still places available at the moment. The game will end when one player wins by reaching 100,000 points on the Grand Emperor leaderboard, and as you can see there’s still a way to go:
Planet management improvements planned
Usability is still one of the main things the team is focused on at the moment. The planet management screens are amongst the most used in the game so are accordingly something we’re focusing on.
A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that the occupation status of a planet is very confusing for new players (is the planet colonized or not? Is that a player’s population? etc) and that we’ll be doing something about it.
This week we wanted to preview 3 other planet management related improvements we’re looking to make.
1. Displaying both a planet’s surface and unmined resources
At the moment, once a planet is colonized details of the unmined resource deposits and their densities can only be seen by opening up a separate panel (as shown in the below image).
Players have asked us to also display the resource details on the panel, next to the surface quantity and mining rates on the main planet management screen itself.
Players also requested that instead of representing the density of the deposit as a word, e.g. RICH, POOR, to show the specific density value e.g. 78%, 18%. We’ll be making these changes soon and the below mockup illustrates how a resource will be displayed on planet management:
2. Planet’s defensive capabilities
A planet is defended from invasion by its colonists, home guard, defensive troops (if military bases are built) and orbit defense systems (if built). But this isn’t obvious at all, and details of each are separated in different areas of planet management.
We plan to add a ‘defense’ section to the main planet management screen that will cohesively summarise a planet’s defensive capabilities. It would show the size of the home guard and defensive troops and whether an orbit defense was installed or not (and a tooltip to explain it all to the player). We don’t have a mockup ready to show you yet, but wanted to give you a heads up in this post.
3. Population screen
The current population detail screen in planet management isn’t very player friendly at all. It’s not obvious that some of the stats are static, others dynamic, and whether something is a good or bad thing.
The below mockup shows the sort of changes we have in mind for this screen: the civ and colony stats are separated, colour is used to indicate if something needs the player’s attention, and additional hints are used to better explain to the player what’s going on and what they can do to fix any issues.
None of the 3 changes presented above involve changing gameplay mechanics. The goal is just to make existing areas of the game easier for players to understand.
The designs are still being tweaked so let us know if you have any feedback on what you’ve seen here so far.
That’s all for now, we’ll be back soon. Another patch isn’t too far away, but it will likely be mostly bug fixes. As soon as we have concrete details on what’ll be in it we’ll let you know.
– The Outscape dev team