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Updates and Such

There have been too many bugs and problems for us to reasonably get the current beta into production this past week, so it's been delayed until we can get some of this stuff worked out. We considered releasing a new beta on Friday, but decided not to, as a bunch of code was still too torn-apart at the time. We will be shooting for a new beta early next week (monday/tuesday) and we'll see how things go after that.

Andy's web-based mission editor is almost feature complete, so I'm excited about playing with that and making some missions. I'll keep you all posted on how it goes, and when I'm more comfortable with making it public. Any missions I make will appear on the Test server, and they may be rather goofy in nature.. as I'm still playing around with the editor and figuring out how to do things (there's currently a mission called The Amazingly Fun Mission, which isn't really all that fun). Once things are working smoothly there, we can start building some interesting mission trees and back-propogating them onto the production server. I'm jazzed about getting some actual storyline progression (@!#@!) in our game. But, I'm a storyline kinda guy.

For the short term, a lot of our focus with content and missions and so forth.. will be on the first few levels of the game. Improving the whole new-user experience, differentiating the nations and giving a more immersive backdrop to what's going on in the universe and why. A lot of this will be new tutorials, or tutorials that don't look like tutorials (low-level missions) and so on. After that, we'll start to build up some higher-level content. I've always wanted the ability to make wacky missions with subplots that trigger availability of other trees and so forth, and now we (theoretically) have that in a fairly easy-to-use editor.

In other news, Michael and I will be appraising the economy next, and putting all his NPCs-behave-like-PCs code to work in the form of stabilizing a truly dynamic economy. This'll mean that people can blockade stations to inflate prices, and the like. I'm sure it'll require a lot of tweaking, but I'm pretty excited there too. Having the economic redux opens the door for a lot of other tweaking and development we've been wanting to do.

Luis is working on a bunch of new stuff for us, including some new universe objects.. basically "floating junk" of various types. Broken freighters, dead capital ships from bygone battles, and the like. Something new that we can spread around the universe and use for more interesting historically-driven regions, use in missions, and so on. We also have a whole bunch of ships from him, of course, which will begin to start appearing once we can production-ize the new client.

Please keep the beta5 client feedback coming, both interface suggestions and bug reports. It's being put to good use. Thanks much.