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Up and Coming

We have a bunch of stuff in the works for the next few versions. The next release should herald a lot of the changes that I (John) have been wanting to make for some months. A lot of these will be balance changes and tweaking here and there, which will hopefully be well received but are sure to inspire some amount of controversy.

We're also working on a new feature that will allow a destroyed ship to have a certain percent change of dropping the addons they had equipped. So, for PvP, you might be able to pick up that enemy's Neutron IIIs, or their nice fast charge battery. It may also have larger and more interesting ramifications for player vs Hive, etc. Upon picking up any addon, you'll need to carry it back to a station and unload it from your ship before you'll be able to equip it. This change should appear this week (fingers crossed). Further down the line we would also like to add damage to addons salvaged from combat, but that's a bit more involved and won't be appearing immediately.

I am also shooting to get Luis's much-lauded Raptor into production in the next release. We'll see how this goes, but again, keep your fingers crossed. It will be a TPG vessel, as was previously announced. I don't have specifics on its abilities yet, and it may coincide with a TPG-specific mission tree which may culminate in acquisition of the ship.. we'll see. Again, I'm shooting for the next release, but if not, soon after [not Soon(tm)].

Luis is also working on all his ships (other than the Raptor) and is getting up to speed with the whole process of building ships for our game. It's a lot more involved than just the modeling and texturing.. there's shader tweaking, collision hulls, LOD meshes, damage emitter placement, addon port placement, so on and so forth. He's making good progress though. I believe we have nine total ships that are being readied. I don't guarantee how quickly they will arrive.. obviously we want to get things into the game as soon as we can, but it's most important that we do it right. Small ships are more likely to be playable in the near future. Large ships (capital-scale) will obviously not be user-purchasable until we do that related addon.. which is growing closer with the advent of the new client. Large ships will appear in convoys and the like in the near term.

On a note related to capital ships (although it may not seem immediately related).. we're also in the midst of a redux of our economy and underlying related code. The entire universe is defined through a complex and mildly flawed piece of lua scripting, which defines what stuff is in what stations, how much said stuff costs, what minerals and ores are in what asteroids, and so on. Now that Michael is in the process of making our economy actually dynamic (goods will be carried to and fro by npcs, who will take the same trade-missions as offered to users, per our whole "making bots act like users" thing we did a month or two ago).. we have to reappraise the underlying universe and what makes it tick.

This is important to Capital ships, because it is my intention to not strictly make the larger ships available for a price. My goal is to create a process by which a player or guild can apply to build a vessel through a major shipyard (like say, TPG Corp), and then deliver to them a large amount of materials, components and other goods required in the assembly of the ship. Basically, cap ships would be a product of both credits and the use of a partial crafting system. It is our intention to eventually have a fully-fledged crafting system.. which would be based on the same principles as building capital ships, and the economy as a whole.

For a truly dynamic economy to have any kind of point, it has to have an impact on the intended use for goods. Which means, the amount of ore that is delivered to a station that constructs, say, weapons, will vary the price of the weapons produced. Raw goods at locations capable of production, result in refined goods, and so forth. A capital ship, or a neutron III, or a powercell could all be seen as forms of "refined" goods.

Thus, we have to reappraise the basis of the galaxy, and our "tech tree" for the creation of all the products we use within the galaxy. Then we can go about implementing the actual points on that tech tree to allow players to participate (like say, refining ore, or crafting addons, or whatever). All in all, giving a much greater meaning to everything that happens in the galaxy.

No promises on when crafting and all that will be available. It might be sooner than you think, but not immediately. We need to get the economy in working order, fix the faction system, and handle some other parts of the game. I will be getting back to working on the Wiki though, in the near term, so hopefully a clearer road map will be available there.

Thanks again everyone. I hope you're all looking forward to the new version, I know I am :).