Category Archives: gratuitous space battles

So hey, another week, another update to the GSB2 beta. Hurrah! When I look back at the change list there is actually a ton of cool stuff in this update. If I had the time, I’d make a video explaining it all…but I don’t so here it is in lovingly crafted text form!

The complete changelist is here

But the highlights are…

  • All Unlock costs are 50% higher, so you don’t ‘progress’ stupidly fast any more (hopefully!)
  • In some cases (the first race for now) ships come with a pre-defined ‘default’ visual appearance rather than just a blank hull, because some people were too keen to fight than design ships, and this way those ships still have decent visual appeal.
  • Steam workshop support, and a general implementation of mod browsing and creation and toggling is done now, although the workshop is likely inactive for everyone at the moment.

tease

  • Some cool new sound effects :D.
  • You can now type in exact values when adjusting stuff on the ship design screen. (A feature much requested)
  • A better end-battle dialog to explain how honor works. (The actual dialog has the right numbers in :D)

honor_better

  • Sub-deployments are in! (although a tad buggy). You can now save and load sub-deployments and use them in any mission, allowing you to have predefined formations of ships to use as the core of a fleet.

subdeployments

Obviously more patches will come, although things are likely to stall slightly for GDC and then Rezzed, but hopefully around that time I’ll get the translations done and maybe the mac/linux port, so even if the release date moves into April, it will be a decent release with lots of cool stuff. Trading card artwork is being done right now, along with extra module graphics. I’m reading all the player feedback and implementing tons of tiny fixes for stuff which people point out. In the meantime, it really helps if people up-vote any videos/articles they see about the game, all coverage is appreciated, and sharing this blog post/tweeting it is much appreciated too :D

If you are at GDC I am in two talks. And do come along and try out both GSB2 and Big Pharma at Rezzed in London if you can.

 

 

It’s that time again! its Gratuitous Space Battles 2 beta update day! Currently the patch is still being put together, but if you can’t wait, you can just re-use your download link to grab the latest copy, 1.17. Here is a video with me demonstrating some of the new features: (uploaded in HD at considerable inconvenience on my rural broadband :D)

And the complete changelist is…

Version Beta 1.17 Feb
==========================
1) Added a bunch of new voiceover sounds.
2) Fixed crash bug relating to very complex scenes.
3) You can now place visual components beneath the ship hull.
4) Fixed GUI issue on R&D screen for modules.
5) You can now disable the suns lens flare under options.
6) Added new ‘reset to zero’ button for object rotation on ship design screen.
7) Choose battle screen now only shows high scores for difficulties that are present.
8) Module order on design screen is no longer scrambled.
9) Fixed composite objects shrinking slightly when split in ship visual design screen.
10) Composite objects on ship visual design screen now have a blue outline.
11) Fixed some display bugs relating to composite objects on ship visual design screen.
12) Composite objects now sorted to the bottom on the ship visual design screen.
13) Engine glows have more variety now, plus contrails and engine glows displayed more sensibly in the ship editor.
14) Ship visuals editor now shows tooltips & display values for the object sliders.
15) Crash at end of challenge games now fixed.
16) Inbox for messages now displayed on online screen.
17) Pop-up indicator for new messages added to main menu.
18) new option to send another GSB user a message from the online screen.
19) Fixed issue where challenge fleets would appear in the wrong place.
20) Fixed bug where text-entry carat was sometimes in the wrong place.
21) Balance: Reduced resistance of light and medium shields.
22) Added new second tutorial mission.
23) Balance: Increased capability but reduced range of gunship mounted disruptor bomb.
24) Added new anti-shield bomb for fighters & gunships.
25) Sounds added for shield impact and failure.
26) Larger more apparent visual effect for radiation damage.
27) Added fuel indicator readout when you click on your fighters/gunships for details.

Gratuitous Space Battles 2 is a space strategy game where you design your own spaceships and space-fleets and then pit them in hands-off battles against either AI fleets, or fleets designed by other players, and you can grab it right now (in beta) from this link:

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I admit it, it makes me cough and splutter a lot when people say ‘I don’t want to go to the trouble of designing the look of the spaceships, so I just slap down an empty hull graphic‘. It worries me because there are several downsides to this. Firstly, they are missing out a big part of the game, especially a big part of what makes GSB2 new. Secondly it means their challenges, screenshots and videos are going to give a poor impression of the game, because those naked hulls are…well naked, and simplistic looking. My engine can do better! Thirdly (and perhaps most importantly) it suggests that people think the ship design interface is too complex, or fiddly, or time consuming. This is something I’ve been working on.

Firstly we now have a lot of fixes that make composite objects work better, and rotation speeds are fixed, and there is now a handy ‘reset to zero’ button for rotation speed. Plus the interface now only shows color layer options when they are relevant, because always showing three confused people, as there are rarely three layers to adjust…

But something that was suggested, and it was a great idea, was that the game should come not only with all these tiny little widgets, but also some pre-built big components you can drag and drop to make the process quicker. I agree. This now acts as a half-measure between those people who couldn’t be bothered to design at all, and those who spend hours adjusting each fin.  Here is a screenshot of a naked hull surrounded by some of the pre-fabs you can choose from.

550

Those pre-fabs are ‘composite objects’ and you can just right click on one and split it into all its components. Each one has a big pile of them, and you can delete one, move one, and then regroup as a new composite if you like. You can scale and duplicate/mirror/set colors for composites just like anything else, it’s one of the ship editors best kept secrets.

On that topic, I should probably give some love and attention to nudging people into using the hotkeys on that screen, as frankly I never touch the size or angle slider for anything, its so much easier to use a mouse wheel with ctrl or shift. Here’s a closeup of a composite, made up of probably 30+ components.

composite

I’m going to spend some time today just making a few of these for each race. They act both as ‘quick-fixes’ to otherwise dull looking hulls, as well as a demonstration of the way composite objects work, which hopefully will nudge more people into creating their own. Eventually I’d like to see collections of them in the steam workshop or as lists of mods on the GSB2 website. I can foresee people getting reputations as expert ship designers!

If you just stumbled upon this post, this is a blog about the PC space strategy game ‘Gratuitous Space Battles 2‘ which is currently in beta, and you can pre-order the game and start playing right now by clicking this link here. Tell your friends!

Sooo. this is a post about the feature in Gratuitous Space Battles 2 that lets you edit the design of your ships. The game is in beta now, and I’m getting people actually playing it properly, so I thought I’d talk a bit about this feature, and ask for some feedback.

Personally, I think this is one of the coolest things about the whole game. It’s one thing to fight a battle with lots of cool looking ships in, but it’s another to actually design you own and then send them into battle. For the seven year old me who first saw Star Wars at the movies, this is a dream come true. I can spend a lot of time tweaking the position of a radar, or pipe or fin or spinning widget on a space battleship. That’s what life is all about.

For those currently without the game here is a screenshot so we are on the same page:

gui_ship

What I’m asking for is some feedback about how you find the editor. I know it has it’s bugs. The composite creation stuff can lose Z-values, and I’ll fix that soon. I know people also want a snap to center feature, and type able values. I guess I’m wondering how people are using it. Are you using the mouse wheel and shirt/ctrl to do the rotating and scaling? it’s TONS easier and faster. Are you using the arrow keys to nudge items a set amount around the screen? Do you mirror items one at a time or design half the ship then drag select and mirror them all?

Do you think there are enough components? if not, what is missing? are you actually using the composite functionality much? I should point out today’s incoming patch fixes a lot of issues, such as hiding unavailable color-tint layers, and fixing the rotation speed of objects being represented wrong. It also fixes loses your design by hitting the ‘shouldn’t-be-there’ main menu button. I know people would like to place components ‘under’ the hull, which may be technically problematic, but I’ll have to investigate.

I’m definitely looking forward to running a few ‘who can design the best ship’ competitions once the game is released, and I also look forward to one day having some free time and getting a chance to really play with this feature a bit more myself. Also…modders will hopefully use it a lot :D. In the meantime, pre-order the game to get access to the beta on PC right now…

 

Oh god the fear…game launches are terrifying. And this isn’t release day it’s beta day but still…let this trailer do some of the talking…

So yup, GSB2 is now taking pre-orders direct from my site, and this gives you access to the beta. You can grab it right now from here:

http://www.gratuitousspacebattles2.com/

Note that this is a proper beta, not some super-early-access proof of concept thing where most of it doesn’t work. In other words, most stuff works! it’s playable. Hopefully its fun! It’s PC-only and English only for now, but that will change come-release. There will of course be bugs, and myriad balance issues. And I will be adding some extra voiceover and a few other bits and pieces. But hopefully this is something you can play and enjoy right now. You get a download link, an online serial (for challenges, if you want to use them), and a steam code for its eventual steam release (the code obviously isn’t working yet).

PLEASE tell people you know about it, this is really appreciated. If you are a member of the press, please check your inbox, and if you don’t hear from us today please email me at cliff At positech etc… and I will put you in touch with *my people*. Yeah that’s right, cliffski got people now :D.

And of course, we have forums that you can go chat on and offer feedback and suggestions, criticism, maybe even some praise for things you like? and ask questions about stuff. You can log in to my forums with google or twitter or facebook, or manually sign up for an account. We also have a facebook page.

Holy cow I’m nervous. I actually feel sick.