May 2011

Behold: A List!

30 May 2011

I’m wrapping up the 1.6 update to Distant Star, which focuses on UI improvements. Big changes include a completely revamped fleet management screen, a more sensible ‘home system’ button, plus others:

Collateralized debt obligations FTW

New fleet management screen
  • Research rate no longer displays 89% or 99% instead of 90% and 100%, respectively.
  • Create a dedicated Economics tech tree for wealth- and trade-related technologies.
  • AI directs more resources towards research, and has a dedicated “catch up” mode if it feels it’s falling behind.
  • Removed the shaded backgrounds on the technology screen, making it scroll faster.
  • Old research log screen is no longer accessible via notifications (or, hopefully, anywhere else).
  • “Research Idle!” notifications no longer appear when all techs have been researched.
  • Enlarged the [Home] icon (and friends) on Retina display
  • [Home] icon now cycles through systems much more sensibly (i.e. it doesn’t reset every time you deselect a system).
  • New Fleet Management screen using ship icons and visual indicators for shield and armour health.
  • Fixed a rare bug where fleets could sometimes overshoot their destination and fly on forever. D’oh!
  • Added a popup preventing players from wasting colonisers on already-colonised systems.
  • Added a way to see at a glance which are your ‘productive’ systems — the brightness of an explored, colonised system’s name is now tied to its production / turn.
  • Selecting a fleet now highlights its line
  • Added a toggle button for hiding/displaying trade lanes
  • Added a toggle button for hiding/displaying fleet lines
  • Made fleet lines brighter overall.
  • Tuned pinch gesture to make it less alarmingly fast
  • Added “Trade Lanes Established” count to game stats

A big thanks to Rorke and Daniel, whose ludicrously detailed (and unsolicited! So excellent!) bug reports/feature suggestions led directly to most of these changes. I’ve a couple more things I want to squeeze into this update (keeping the map centered on zoom, giving the Apparat a trade ship), but it shouldn’t be too long before 1.6 goes live on the App Store. Woot!


Distant Star 1.5

15 May 2011

I’ve just submitted Distant Star 1.5 to Apple for review. In keeping with the general theme of updates so far, this version brings a mix of new features, new content, and bugfixes/improvements:

  • Trade Build freighters (or their alien counterparts) and establish trade lanes between systems for extra income.
  • Completely revamped audio system, which should fix problems with the music dropping out on older devices.
  • Ships with special abilities (e.g. colonizers, freighters) now reload properly from save.
  • Added a button for warping the view to the player’s home system or, if a system is already selected, looping through all systems.
  • Victory/defeat screen should now draw properly on non-retina devices.

"No Nation Was Ever Ruined By Trade"

6 May 2011

…and, hopefully, Distant Star won’t be either. In the last week or so I’ve made good progress on the 1.5 update, which will bring trade lanes, freighters, and (as a result) a more complex and flexible economy. Adding in trade affects almost every aspect of the game: new technologies, new ships, new stuff happening on the main screen.


There’s a lot left to go, though — I want to make sure that establishing and managing trade lanes feels like a natural part of the game, rather than something stuck in as an afterthought. Right now, only the human race has trade ships, and the AI remains blissfully unaware of their existence; obviously, this cannot continue. I also need to make it more intuitive to establish routes, and show how much wealth they’re generating. Whether this is through some sort of drill-down economy screen or something more clever I can’t yet say.


Distant Star 1.4

1 May 2011

Just a quick note to say that Distant Star 1.4 is out. This update (finally!) brings pinch-to-zoom on the galaxy screen and a new spiral galaxy generator, plus some bugfixes and memory tweaks that should make the game run smoother on older devices (iPhone 3G and equivalent).