Monday, December 19, 2016

Ongoing Alpha Test - Update #2 Release Notes

Today we are releasing the second update to our ongoing alpha version. Before going into specifics, I'd like to offer an update on our release plan:

- The ongoing Alpha playable will continue into January, possibly for the entire month. The opportunity to have actual players in the game is great help to us for testing our live systems, and for focusing development on the areas that truly matter for delivering a good first version of the game. Please continue sending feedback, and feel free to share the signup link (http://eepurl.com/cal8yD) if you have friends that may be interested in the game.

- Alpha signups will end about a week before the Alpha period ends. We will send an email reminder for people registered in our mailing list before that deadline. Everyone who plays the Alpha will get the Pioneer distinction (see below for details), regardless of when they joined.

- We will aim to release another update before the end of the alpha. Note that because there's many moving parts when making an update, we usually can't promise specific dates or what content the update will bring.

- After Alpha, the game will be offline for a few weeks while we are preparing for Beta launch. More details on that to be announced closer to when the Alpha ends. The Beta version will be initially available only on a limited number of countries.


Here is what changed on our new update:

Red Stars


  • Red Stars are now bigger, have more planets, asteroid fields and Cerberus ships
  • Red Star Scanner has only 5 upgrade levels. Upgrading the scanner gives access to similar Red Stars that also have some sectors with higher order planets that contain bigger artifacts. This way, upgrading early doesn't penalize much (there will still be the same "easy" planets found in lower level scanner systems).
  • Red Stars discovered by lower level scanners can now hold more players at once. 
  • There are now 5 planet types in Red Stars, each holding a different level of artifacts. It's easy to tell what quality artifacts a planet will contain just by looking at its appearance. 
  • Some modules can only be discovered by researching higher size artifacts
  • Motivation: Our goal with Red Stars is to offer a good base experience when going solo (by retrieving small artifacts and mining a good amount of Hydrogen), and a better experience when teaming up with the right players (via more exciting Combat and possibility of better artifacts). These changes are the first step toward that goal. Expect more changes in future updates.

Modules

  • Modules can only be upgraded from the Technology screen. Once a player has unlocked a higher level of a module, all new installations will use that level. Lower level modules already installed on existing ships can be replaced manually with the new level. There is no upgrade button on the ship modules screen.
  • Tapping on an unlocked module on the Technology screen brings up all stats for that module (and if enough blueprints have been collected to upgrade the module, the stats for the next level)
  • All module numbers have been tweaked. Use the Technology screen to see the new numbers.
  • New Shield Modules (Standard and Strong shield). Stronger shields have better stats but use much more Hydrogen.
  • New module: Remote Mining. This passive module offers significantly higher yield per second when mining from a sector with many asteroids.
  • Motivation: This is a simplification change based by overwhelming feedback that module upgrades are too confusing and that upgrading didn't give all the numbers to make an informed decision. 

Social features


  • This update introduces Distinctions. A distinction is a special icon associated with a player's profile that showcases that player's rewards and accomplishments. The first Distinction is called Pioneer and will be awarded to everyone who is participating in the Hades' Star Alpha. To ensure this Distinction carries on to the main game after all progress is reset, make sure to bind your account to your GameCenter or Google Play ID (under the Settings dialog). 
  • The Corporation chat window now has a new "Share" button that can be used to transmit the current camera view to all Corporation members, regardless what star you are viewing. Use it to show off the exciting final minutes in a Red Star, an ongoing attack on a Cerberus base, or just the shiny new planet you just found.


User Interface


  • The currently selected ship's module buttons have moved to the Selection info bar - tap on the arrow on the right side of that bar to bring it in. This is still work in progress, we are trying many different things with overall selection UI.
  • New Info dialog shows concept image of the selected object, and has a separate more readable section for the object's stats.
  • Modified leaderboards dialog to show actual XP number. Players outside the top 100 can now see their XP score at the bottom of the leaderboards list. 
  • Fixed many bugs and missing information on other dialogs (such as Achievements and player info dialog). 
  • Research station now shows time remaining on current research when selected
  • Planet info page shows shipment rewards per hour, to help prioritize upgrades


Economy


  • Tweaked colonization prices after third planet
  • Adjusted Crystal prices for adding more shipments to a planet (now they are proportional to the reward of the shipments received). We also ensured it is always cheaper to add more shipments compared to buying the Credits instantly with Crystals
  • Increased Hydrogen cost for Red Star search
  • Reduced Hydrogen cost for most low level modules, especially mining modules
  • We are aware the economy is still largely unbalanced, both with Credits and Hydrogen, and it may be disappointing to not see more economy tweaks in this update. The reason is that with content still going in (i.e. new modules), it makes sense to wait until that content is done. After alpha we will be feature complete for the first version and we will be able to focus more on balancing the economy.  


Other bug fixes and improvements


  •  Planned Maintenance should no longer interfere with existing red star missions (new Red Star searches are disabled 10 minutes before scheduled maintenance starts)
  • New visuals for ship damaged states, and new Red Star supernova effect (you'll want to be there for that one!)
  • Added error message and refunding the Hydrogen after a failed attempt to jump to a diplomacy system, when the ship limit on that system has been reached


Known issues


  • Push notifications are disabled in this update as we are reworking the system to fix multiple issues



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