Hey, folks. Thought I’d drop by and show off a few changes we’ve been making over the last few days to the UI in Distant Star. The biggest change by far is an almost totally way of interacting with planets — I’ve ripped out the old tap-to-select, double-tap-to-enter system and replaced it buttons that take you explicitly to different screens. You still tap systems to select, of course, but instead of double-tapping to enter the build queue, you’ll have to tap the shipyard icon.

The reason for this is twofold. For one, accidentally entering the build queue screen, which I used to do all the time in games, was incredibly annoying. Moving the next tap from the system over to the left a few finger widths makes entering the queue accidentally very unlikely, and doesn’t actually require any more taps than the old system.

Beyond this, though, we’ve added more stuff that you can do at each system than just build ships. You can also construct buildings and upgrades on the system itself, and see how those change how the system impacts the rest of your empire. So, just next to (well, below) the shipyard icon is the planet upgrade icon, which takes you to a brand-new screen for managing those buildings and upgrades. Good stuff.

I’ve also done some tweaking on the research screen, making it easier to read and in general more attractive. Take a look at that. Is it actually any better, or am I just fooling myself? It’s difficult to say sometimes.

That screenshot actually illustrates an aspect of the planet upgrade system I mentioned earlier as well: there’s quite a few buildings that can be constructed on systems, but at the start of the game you’ll have access to only the most basic. A big part of research in 1.7 is going to be unlocking these buildings and their own upgrade trees. For instance, one of the fundamental buildings that you’ll probably want to build on most colonies is the Research Lab, which increases the science output of a system. But, if you work your way up the Ecology tree you’ll unlock upgrades for it that enable other bonuses, like increased ship construction or a larger population cap.

Science!

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