With this update we roll out an overhaul to the mission system which makes substantial changes to how missions work and improves the flow and pace of the game.

There were a number of issues we wanted to resolve with these changes and we’d like to go through them here and talk about how we addressed them.

Missions are too long.  Feedback from a lot of players noted that some missions went on for too long – perhaps there were too many waves or encounters which meant some missions could go on for 30 minutes or so.  This was longer than intended and with today’s changes missions should take between 5 and 15 minutes.

Enemy spawns are predictable.   Another common point raised and again, something we wanted to improve upon.  Knowing that an enemy fleet will spawn at a certain point or at certain intervals stops being fun after a while, so we’ve changed this.  We’ve done two things to resolve this – reduce the number of triggered enemies in each map and also changed the behaviour of triggered fleets.  They are less likely to spawn near your fleet than they were but they can now spawn elsewhere on the map (and either move to attack you or wait for you to come to them).

Distant Star: Revenant Fleet

Enemy fleets are more likely to attack you from multiple directions.

Multi-spawns are a problem.  Many players would trigger a second (or even a third, fourth and fifth!) fleet of enemies when attempting to avoid or flee from the first spawn.  This would create way too many enemy ships to handle at once, which can be an inconvenience if you’re trying to save the galaxy.  As of today, most trigger points won’t spawn additional fleets if you are in combat which should resolve most situations where multi-spawns occur and will also allow you to explore the maps a bit more.  In missions where there are multiple objectives, these changes should greatly improve the odds that players will be able to achieve those objectives as there will be less trigger spawns en-route.

Mission rewards don’t reflect difficulty.  We’ve improved the rewards system which will scale both credit rewards and experience gained based on the difficulty of the mission.

Talking about the changes, Creative Director (Games)  Stephen Hewitt said;

“Over the last few weeks we’ve been overhauling the way our maps are built and the way enemies are encountered within them.  This has given us a chance to respond to an area of the game that has received a lot of player feedback – ‘pacing’.

First off, we’ve made things less predictable and less repetitive. Encounters that occurred every time, such as enemies spawning in on a capture objective, now occur on a chance-based basis. You’re not going to be sure when these suckers are going to turn up now…

We’ve also adjusted how enemy ships spawn in. Instead of continually dropping in on top of you, ships can now be encountered lurking the environment or patrolling around. Ships that do spawn in, should do so at a more comfortable range so you can maintain your formation (though not always).

Endless waves have been toned down, as well as the number of coincident spawns. Now you should be able to get your breath back between encounters, and not get unfairly overwhelmed. You may even be able to wander along for a while without anything trying to kill you.

For a while…

Though of course, the enemy won’t always play fair – they are Orthani, after all.

Ambushes should now more often play out as a single-wave encounter but not always, while Defence missions feature less wave-ed-ness.

Pulling everything apart and rebuilding it will likely have caused a few bugs, but we feel the rolling presentation of encounters and the general pacing has been greatly improved. Of course, if things have gone too easy, we can always dial the pain back up again – so let us know how you get on.

Feels better? Fairer? More pain please?

Leave us a sub-space transmission on the Forum.  The usual encryption idents should suffice.

Full Patch Notes – v0.1.3.5

Combat Overhaul

  • Massive revamp of tracker and trigger setup of maps: adjusting pacing, spawn in proximity, numbers of simultaneous enemies, predictability, etc.  Refactored mission representation behind the scenes.
  • Added Ambush, Escort, Hunt to new level building system.
  • New Escort 1 mission added.
  • All NPC ships should move at the same speed until they reach their target, where they will flip over to ‘combat speed’.
  • Reduced the patrolling speed of Escort ships and Hunt ships.
  • Consolidated ‘empty’ map types.
  • Lurker support so that ships can start on the map.
  • Can now pause a box trigger based on a tracker/faction, also allowing an activation range.
  • Spawn optimising for Pirates, Akari NPC and Orthani hunt fleets.
  • NPC/enemy ships are no longer omni by default.
  • Added a fleet score modifier that is applied to the fleet score (used by spawn by difficulty).
  • Triggers now have the ability to force trigger other triggers when they trigger themselves… That was an awful sentence.
  • Moved fleet level modifiers to map entrance nodes.
  • Triggers can now optionally have a pause cancel their ability to trigger.
  • Lurking ships can now have their speed altered while in the lurk state, then return to their normal speeds when they go into attack mode.
  • Fleet improvements added to triggers.
  • Defend mission and Ambush trigger tweaks.
  • Ambush and Boss Ambush trigger updates.
  • Patrols being present on the map should now stop other patrols spawning.
  • Small tweaks to the way that minefields are populated, so that gaps are almost always present.
  • Added a 5 second delay to the end of each mission to remove abrupt ending.
  • Ambush triggers updated to new trigger system.

Loot & Experience System

  • Dropped loot will now take into consideration whether or not it can be attached to any of the ships in the player’s fleet.
  • An Attachment that cannot be fitted will only be given as a matter of last resort.
  • Experience rewards now scale based on difficulty.
  • Credits awarded at the end of a mission (in which a battle was fought) are now scaled based on difficulty.

UI & Usability

  • Can now target automatic Attachments from the HUD, same as issuing an attack order to that ship.
  • Added bracketing UI element to larger auto-weapon button.
  • Ships that are objectives can now have markers over them indicating their objective status.
  • Options menu is now Escape, not F10.
  • Update to Criticals text.
  • Massive update to almost all small icons in icon atlas.
  • Hotkeys now show on attachment buttons, ‘Automatic’ icon is no longer in use.
  • Adjusted the size of the options menus.
  • Moved ‘Learn’ skill button to bottom of the skill panel and added in a ‘Cancel’ button.
  • Adjusted the Hunt objective marker.
  • Adjusted the size of the objectives markers.
  • Adjusted the size of the Tactical Mode order icons.
  • Mouse cursor should no longer show during intro video (also during BG splash video).
  • Objective markers are now far more configurable.
  • A considerable refactor of the minimap to remove reliance on the update loop.
  • Removed checks for explosions colliding with terrain. A wee optimisation.
  • Added code for only going into escape stuck mode if you are colliding with terrain.
  • Can now hold Alt (left or right) to show all status bars on all visible ships.

Balancing

  • Adjusted amount of experience needed per ship level.
  • Split out difficulty multipliers for experience and Credits to different functions so they can be adjusted separately.
  • Removed the ability for the Assault & Lancer to take Reinforce Shields I.
  • Updated fleet level modifier at sector start from 0.4 to 0.5.

Bug Fixes

  • Fix for the objective markers on the minimap not showing after the new way of loading the levels.
  • Fixed bug where triggers weren’t spawning.
  • Medium mission triggers were missing some links. Fixed that.
  • Spawned omni ‘lurkers’ now move to correct trackers. They are now only ‘activated’ when they go into the correct attack state.
  • Lens flares should now cull correctly when panning the camera while time is paused.
  • Mines should now explode immediately if spawned on terrain.
  • Fixed some issues with objectives on Capture 1, 2, 3 and Hunt 1, 2, 3.
  • Ships with no shields no longer show a value of 10000 on their rollover text on the info panel.
  • Fixed the weapon on the Rogue that was occasionally firing in the wrong direction.
  • Enemy spawners now generate correct fleet value.
  • Battle report should no longer show you gaining experience from the first battle when you don’t actually get any.
  • Explosions no longer attempt to apply a force to kinematic rigid bodies.
  • Fix for Hunt missions not being able to complete.
  • Fixed null ref bug causing you to be unable to buy new ships.
  • NPC Info Panel should now show Hunt ship asset
  • Stat values now reflect the actual values of the player’s ships rather than the default ship.
  • Invincible ships: on approach and stuck, re-enter Lurk mode and try again. BrainStateAttack – now knows about EscapeStuck when trying to attack early
  • Defence trigger fixes.
  • Fixed a bug where you didn’t get loot after saving and exiting the game.
  • Fix for user reported issue of objective circle appearing in middle of map.
  • Fix for lose bug on Defend 2.
  • If Credits or Supply have been altered in a story dialog, they should now be saved.
  • Fix for attempted load of an invalid mission object at beginning of new sector.
  • Fix for mission with no battle causing blank screen.
  • Fix for Mission not finishing with Defence Team tracker
  • Fixed start mission.
  • Fix for triggers remaining after win.

If you haven’t tried out Distant Star: Revenant Fleet yet, it’s available on Steam.  Let us know what you think of these changes.

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