Release notes here!
This one is the first publicly-available release with part of the new UI that Chris has been working so hard on. Specifically, the UI you see in planet-view and galaxy-view in the game itself. There’s still a lot of work-in-progress but, wow, that sidebar. MANY thanks to Eric T. Edwards in lending his mighty powers of UI/UX design. We’ve undoubtedly slaughtered that design in various ways, but the result is still way better than we could have come up with ourselves.
The other major advance is in the in-depth feedback from players like chemical_art and Magnus, which is tremendously helpful in our actually balancing this thing and resolving tensions in the design. Notable changes on that front this round:
– The AI planets you start next to are now MUCH easier to conquer, getting back towards how AIWC handled it.
– Starships are now a bigger deal: they’re now so expensive in metal and fuel that you can’t really even support _one_ at the start (though you generally can after conquering your first planet, it’s just going to tie up most of that fuel). But they’re now also 3x as strong, making even a single Mark 1 starship a significant presence in the early game, and they’re now easily the most efficient way to spend Science to increase your mobile striking power.
— So in many ways these aren’t like Fleet Ships at all anymore, except that they’re both part of your mobile fleet. You can choose how much to invest in each category (which may vary based on whether you’ve got more Fuel or Science available), but you’re going to need both.
Also notable is the beginning of the integration of real shot graphics. Still a ways to go on that, but at least now you can see those menacing plasma torpedoes that are about to kill all your missile corvettes :)
Oh, and the model for the second Arkitect backer-reward Ark, the Orchid, is now done. Maybe the AI will be moved to sympathy by this giant space flower… but I wouldn’t count on it ;)
And there’s a lot of various bugfixes and other improvements from Badger, Chris, and yours truly.