…since we released the 1.7 update to Distant Star, and I thought I’d let you folks know how things are progressing. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from this release, both positive and negative.

The Good

A lot of people seem to be liking the changes to gameplay mechanics — systems that used to be way too complex are now only slightly too complex, and that’s apparent in that more players are exploring pieces of the game they’d previously ignored. The new planet upgrade system and revamped tech trees seem to be a success, as well.

The Bad

By far the two biggest complaints we’re getting about 1.7 are the removal of the Cephala (did no one care for the Apparat?) and the limited number of technologies available for research. I may not have stressed this enough earlier — we’re definitely keen on adding in several additional races. We’re focusing our efforts right now on making sure the game’s design is stable in the long run, as well as adding back in things like new races, new ships, and the like.

As for the limited number of techs, we’re looking at releasing an expanded tech tree as part of 1.7.1. However, the tech tree is closely intertwined with every mechanic and subsystem in the game and most of what we’re doing right now is going through those systems and making sure they work from a design perspective. Some of those changes are straightforward and going to be quite quick to implement — but some of them are a wee bit larger (and thus correspondingly more awesome) and so may take a little more time for us to do them justice.

Overall

We’ve got a pretty good list of improvements to focus on for our next release: a gentler tutorial and overall better new player experience chief among them. We’ll be rolling out a little new content of some as-yet undecided form, plus iPhone 3G/Second-gen iPod Touch support and a few other bits and bobs we think you’ll like.

It’s been crazy-exciting to see Distant Star perk up over the last few weeks. I’m really enjoying the emails and feedback you folks are leaving (as is Stephen, who’s currently compiling the be-all-and-end-all spreadsheet of things that need improving in Distant Star). Keep ‘em coming, and let me know in the comments what else you’d like to see in 1.7.1!

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