So it's been a while
As you've probably guessed from the lack of updates, there hasn't been a lot of progress on the game. I'm still picking slowly away at saving and loading, which has been a difficult problem to work on not aided by some large gaps between code sessions that make it difficult to remember how things fit together. I think the lesson learned here kids is "Don't leave saving and loading as an afterthought".
We've also been playing around with some ideas about different directions we want to take the game. In general we're trying to make it a more thoughtful experience, and trying to convince ourselves that we don't need another art and UI rework. There's a lot we want to improve on, but as the last several months have made clear we really need to settle on a reasonable scope for this game. We've been trying to get a meeting together for about the last month or so to decide what ideas are required for version 1 of the game, but its been nearly impossible to find a time when we're all free and we're all awake.
Our first deep dive - the right tools for the job
So way back in those sleepy 2016 days, when I was young and optimistic I promised deep dives into various Starship Mechanic-y things. It clearly didn't work at helping inspire me to write these more, but they still feel like a good idea. As the title implies the first dive I wanted to take you all on was the tool sytem.
Probably the most essential tool in any mechanics belt. If a fire destroys your stern shields or a torpedo cracks the ship hull open, you can bet you'll be needing this to patch up the damage.
If the spanner is vital tool number one, than the extinguisher is a close second. Ever since the Fair battle legislation of 2247 required all space going vessels be made of flammable material, fires have been a constant hazard for aspiring mechanics. The fire extinguisher is the primary means you have to combat the red menace.
Whereas the both the spanner and the extinguisher are reactionary tools, employed to fix problems after they emerge, the crowbar is a mechanics primary proactive tool. It allows them to access the wiring that runs beneath the engineering bay, and without it it would be entirely infeasible to reroute power to the shields when under heavy fire.
Like with any tool, its only as good as the mechanic who uses it. Hasty mechanics, who leave wiring exposed in the name of saving time, are liable to start fires. A good mechanic is a tidy mechanic.
As has just been mentioned, its important to keep everything neat and tidy in the engineering bay. Sometimes its necessary however to inspect the state of the ship wiring to work out whats going where, or to find broken wires. In order to do this without tearing up the floor and increasing the risk of deadly fire outbreaks the mechanic can employ the wire detector which lets them see the wiring without exposing wires.
Sometimes, even the best mechanic makes mistakes. When it once made sense to install that weapon system on the bow now it seems to simply be taking up the space for an extra forward shield. The screwdriver allows a mechanic to uninstall misplaced or unwanted tactical systems and power switches, and puts the dissassembled machinery into a convenient to carry crate for later use.
Keep your tools organised
Theres nothing worse than seeing your starboard wing engulfed in flames and not being able to find your fire extinguisher, or having the power to your port shields go down and be unable to locate the crowbar. This is why each ship is equipped with Lexitechs novel tool storage and recovery system. The walls of the bay are all magnetised, and when a tool is placed on the wall it registers its location with the mechanics maintenence interface so that it can be quickly found and retrieved.
That's all folks
Thanks for being patient with us, and I hope you found this update on what we've been up to interesting!
See you later
space cowboys starship mechanics!