Dev Diary: Upgrades, Endless Mode and Keyboard Support

Welcome to your fortnightly update, actually delivered in the time frame we gave! Its been a good two weeks here. The framework for hull repairing and ship upgrades are in; mouse and keyboard controls are being added and endless mode has a framework ready for adding missions. We're getting ever closer to having a playable game rather than a glorified tech demo!

Last time, we finished up by telling you that we were starting work on our upgrade and hull repair mechanics. We can now tell you that the hull repair mechanic is added, and have the infrastructure in place for upgrades, with some example ones set up for testing. Both of these new mechanics use scrap, a resource collected from defeated enemies to either upgrade or repair you ship. This will allow you to stay on top of any damage taken during battles, and improve your ship in more ways then merely adding more systems.

When Fabrice, our project lead, gets past his final university exams (damn you real world!) we will be able to finalise which upgrades we actually want to have in the game. With all the infrastructure in place, we're at a point now where implementing them won't take long.

Mouse and keyboard control fans rejoice, we've also started work on proper keyboard and mouse support. Keyboard and mouse support is ... well, pretty much what it sounds like. Getting decent mouse controls in is a bit of a pain, even more so making them feel natural. Keyboard is less of an issue, as we can pretty much just match gamepad buttons to keyboard ones. Having natural feeling controls is a high priority as the last thing you need when rewiring your shields whilst fighting a fire, is to be grappling with basic controls

For endless mode, we're intending to have the player go through a series of generated missions with incrementing difficulty. Rather than just have a series of increasingly difficult waves of enemies we wanted to have a variety of tasks for the player to do. This means that the player won't always need, or be able to, defeat all the enemy ships. For instance, one mission may require you to salvage a wrecked ship. In this case, a mission would be considered complete when you get the salvage back to the client. We want to try and make sure that the player has to think about how much power they want to send where, based on a set of ever changing priorities. Some missions will also have optional side missions you can complete that will offer bonuses for future missions and improve your final score. At the moment, we have the infrastructure in place but no actual missions to populate it. Again Fabrice is to blame with his exams getting in the way of doing some mission design.

Thats all from us for now, back to the space docks for another fortnight!