Category Archives: gratuitous space battles

A fair number of people ask if its possible to have a mode where you set up both sides of a battle in Gratuitous Space Battles 2. Now, veteran players will know that such a mode already exists to an extent, because you can simply post a challenge fleet to yourself, but I agree that is not immediately obvious. It also means that you are stuck with the missions already in the game. (I’m steadily adding more…but even so…). Anyway…

I’ve agreed that both custom scenarios & a ‘deploy both sides’ mode is a good idea, so for the past two days I’ve been working on that. I hope to have a working, but unpolished version by tonight. The current model looks like this:

editor

So this is launched from a new main-menu button, and you get to build a scenario from scratch, or load in a previously saved out one. You can customize everything that makes up a scenario, move planets around, add nebula clouds, change map sizes…it’s all there. Then, the two deploy buttons will let you deploy the player fleet, and then the AI fleet, and from there you can issue a challenge with this custom map, or just enjoy the fireworks.

This should make it into the next patch.

Adding stuff like this is great fun, because once a game is finished, shipped and stable, adding in another mode, or option, or feature is pretty negligible in terms of time compared with the insane effort of actually making the game engine from scratch. As a result I’m quite enjoying adding little features and options as people request them. Obviously it makes for a much better game, and a game people are happier to buy full price, and that all helps.  I’m also pretty keen to get my moneys-worth from the investment of time into the graphics engine, so adding extra features is one way to do that. There are plenty of things I could add, but the one thing everyone wants is a campaign mode.

Thats a BIG undertaking, given how complex I made the galactic conquest mode for GSB1. People would like that to go in again, and I think that might take me forever. Whats more likely is a new sort of campaign, with a series of (possibly branching) missions, with a chance to repair and refuel a fleet in-between. That would be a lot of work too, but not the miniature 4X that the first game’s campaign turned into.

I’m still considering options.

 

BTW if you are a youtuber who wants to do a lets-play of the game, please get in touch. And don’t bother trying to scam me, we all know how to check who people are :D

Sooo…yet again we have an update to Gratuitous Space Battles 2. I wanted to get this one out the minute I realized I had found (and fixed!) a ‘disappearing designs’ bug at long last. This also does some balancing and adds in a new mission and two new modules. here are the highlights…
1) Two new modules added: Repair Limpets and Refuel Limpets to support fighters mid-battle.
2) Fighters and gunships now correctly distributed amongst carrier modules when more than one is present, so launch faster.
3) Added another new mission: The Gamorlian Expanse.
4) Shield Disruption effects and radiation damage now have mid-battle text-feedback.
5) Fix for ship-design deletion bug when flipping back and forth into the editor and back.

Soooo… as already demonstrated in this video, we have 2 new weapons now…the refuel & repair limpet launchers…

repair

refuel

And another new mission, so we have now added four since release…

scen

And there is a whole bunch of minor fixes, and balance tweaks. In earlier builds the ‘heavy shields’ were basically a no-brainer, and hard to beat, but now high shield-penetration weapons have their downsides, and shield disruptors have been beefed up as a more viable strategy. Plus some better in-battle feedback makes it clearer how effective radiation and shield disruption damage is…

Hope you like it! In the meantime, Tim has continued to blog about the awesomeness that is big pharma which you can see in the latest chunk of his whole-game playthrough…

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Hey there, remember Limpet Modules in Gratuitous Space Battles 2! You know…these things…
limpet1

Well I’m updating them for the next patch. In the past, we had two forms of limpet launchers, Weight-based ones (Which stuck to an enemy fighter and weighed them down, thus slowing them and making them easier to hit) and Tracer ones, which did the same but gave an overall bonus to hit rather than affecting speed. Now we have two more..

The REPAIR limpet and the REFUEL limpet. These do what their names suggest, in that they repair and refuel YOUR fighters and gunships mid-battle. They have to clamp to the fighters just like the ordinary ones, meaning they *will* slow down your ships temporarily while they do the business, but on the plus side it means those ships can often be repaired and refueled without having to fly all the way back to the nearest carrier to do so.

More information on these, and visuals of it happening in this INCREDIBLY EXCITING GSB2 blog video thingy below. If you like this sort of video blog thing let me know and I’ll keep doing them,. They take decades to upload from the field I work in, so I don’t get to do them that often.

Sooo. In discussing this on my forums I thought it worthy of reprising here. Basically ships in GSB2 can have an ‘escort’ order which tells them to stay with X meters of another ship (user-configurable distance). This is all well and good, but you still want those ships to be useful in battle. Whether the ships are fighters/gunships or larger ships gives this order a different outcome. Here is an explanation of the current system…

The current system has non-fighter ships heading towards the point on the radius circumference of the escort order that represents the angle between the ship they are escorting, and their currently selected target enemy ship. (see below…)
ship_tactics1.png

On the other hand… fighters (& gunships), when given an escort order keep picking a random position within a half escort radius range of half way between the actual escort ship, and the target ship. (See below).

ship_tactics2.png

Now its actually very simple to make ships that are not fighters copy the fighter behavior if they have the KEEP MOVING order (which is implied with fighters & gunships). However, my question to you is…would that be desirable? I have essentially made a guess here when coding the game as to how people are thinking. I’m assuming that if you tell a frigate to escort a cruiser, you are saying ‘ by all means attack the enemy, head towards them, but don’t get more than X distance from your parent ship’.
An alternative meaning would be ‘always stay within X distance of the parent ship. If ordered to keep moving, do so, without any preference for location.

The current system leads to ‘frigate bunching’ at the nose of a cruiser or dreadnought. This means stationary ships in some cases, and susceptibility to area-of-effect weapons and detonation waves. But it does ensure escorting ships move into range when possible. Of course, if you really want to enforce some separation, we have the formation order… hmmmm.
Thoughts?

So…today I uploaded the windows copies of Gratuitous Space Battles 1.29. (Other platforms will follow). Here are the highlights of the patch (but a lot more has changed).

Identical voice messages now need twice as long a delay between repeats.

Were you getting as bored with ‘Enemy systems scrambled’ as I was? If so… this makes it less annoying :D

Fixed bug the formation order in a sub-deployment didn’t load in correctly.

When you loaded in sub-formations (squads) on the deployment screen, you sometimes had formation lines going off into nowhere. Fixed!

Damage indicator feedback in-battle adjusted to be less ‘spammy’ when multiple shots hit in close proximity.

Still not perfect, but where you get lots of fighters attacking a single ship, you are no longer blanketed with UI popups…

2 New missions added (Pyrataxian Ambush & The Slarthoon Belt).

newmissions

Oh yeah!..And one of them is a cool new ‘ambush’ style layout where you start the battle surrounded. I’m interested to see how people get on with that one…

Mid-battle and end-battle statistics now track radiation damage in full.

This was very annoying, but now its fixed so you can see just how effective these weapons can be. Spoiler: very effective.

There is still a lot of balancing stuff to do, and lots more to add. The good news I have found and fixed another hard-to-reproduce sound-related random crash bug, so the game should be super-stable now. If you had crashes before, please try the new build it is TONS better. That sound bug was a horrible multi-threaded related crash that only happened at certain combinations of CPU speed and game-speed, but I found a way to reproduce it with some cunning Sleep() calls on my ninja PC. Definitely fixed now!

I plan on adding some new features, and new missions over the coming weeks. We are still very interested in getting people to do lets plays and review the game, or add it as a steam curator./ If you have a popular youtube account / steam curator account, email cliff@positech.co.uk and say you want a copy :D.

 

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