Dark Nebulae Alpha Has Begun!
I released Alpha 1 of Dark Nebulae Online last night for Windows, OSX and Linux PC's. I played for a few hours with some testers and took notes on issues and feedback. I felt as though the gameplay was generally a bit too slow and that it was too hard to destroy other ships. This morning I made a number of gameplay tweaks and pushed Alpha 1.01 which is now available.
- Isotope drops from ship wreckage now despawns after 10 seconds instead of sitting around forever. (I will increase the timeout on the next update)
- There is a now a GUI indicator for isotopes collected. You cannot use Isotopes toward anything yet, but count is stored on the server. You will be able to use them to purchase upgrades or as a consumable in the future.
- All ships accelerate and turn slightly faster.
- Weapons fire rate slightly increased, energy cost to fire increased, damage done increased, projectile speed increased.
- Ship hit box made slightly larger.
- Enemy AI significantly improved:
- Once friendly or enemy ships are in the "sweet spot" for range, AI will slow down and move around semi randomly. This keeps AI ships from perpetually flying around each other in circles and reduces clumping.
- AI attempts to do some motion prediction with its weapon fire, increasing their accuracy significantly.
Feature requests from playtesters (Thanks to mentalworkout and originaltenka for the feedback) include:
- More weapons (beams, bombs, etc). Since this phase of the game is all about developing fun and interesting combat, this request is at the top of the feature development queue.
- More ship types, including different classes of ship MOO2 style. (IE: big slow ships, small fast ships). This is super interesting to me and is added to the feature queue. I want to ensure balance so introducing this may be difficult and new ships may be underpowered to start with.
- Ship upgrades: This is added to the queue, but exactly how its implemented is still open. This game is intended to have fast-paced combat where death is frequent. Its possible instead of upgrading your ship specifically you are unlock new ship classes and weapons by upgrading your factions mothership or a personal mothership which is not part of combat. Resource collection will be a part of this.
- Use Godot's HDR glow effects: Good idea! I'll try it out and see if it impacts performance.
- Make Isotope drops "magnetic" toward ships: This one is tricky because of how the resources are generated and synced. The performance overhead may not be worth the benefit this offers to do this in the general case. Instead, I may be able to make it so you can hold a button and it will suck any resources around you.
- More things to do: Big things planned, stay tuned.
Known issues I'm looking into:
- There is no boundary around the map so players can get lost and/or drift very far away. This may also cause a login bug if a player is very far out. I'm going to look into a combination of soft barriers like a forced respawn and also physical barriers like the nebula borders causing death. A note you can always type /die into the chat screen to respawn.
- Weapon lighting can cause slowdowns when there are lots of bullets on slower computers. I will make weapon lighting able to be disabled like ship lighting already is.
- Ship normal maps are far to complex for how small the ships are, this may help lighting performance a lot.
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