On Wednesday, we finally launched our fifth Alpha test. It’s going to run for at least four weeks and you can still join by signing up in this forum thread. Julian crunched away to get the tutorials ready before launch, and Martin and Michi met in person to discuss the “post-reset” era.

Martin & Michi (molp)

We once again set together at simulogics HQ to work on things that are hard to do via online chat or calls. With the 5th alpha test in progress, we are thinking about our intermediate goals. One of the most important ones so far is a milestone we call “post-reset”: The release after which we start a game world and never reset it. While this milestone still lies quite some distance in the future, there are some architectural design problems that need to be solved beforehand and that we have to address as early as possible to reduce the amount of complex refactoring in the future.

So naturally, the things we worked on this week are very technical in nature. But just to give you an overview:

  • We discussed how to properly represent “locations” in code and data structures. While this sounds trivial, we want to support all kinds of different locations within the game, ranging from orbits around a star (already a thing today) to manufacturing bases on ships (give us a few years).
  • We dealt with the issue of simulation events that only happen implicitly but that we require to actually trigger explicit actions, for example sending an alert to players when a population runs out of food.
  • We kind of got stuck with the previous item which resulted in a massive refactoring of the flight model code (once again). It does look super nice and shiny now, though, and it allows for some interesting stuff to come soon.
  • Last but not least we briefly touched on the subject of how to generate all kinds of different statistics at various levels of granularity, taking into account that the game world could at some point be populated by thousands of players. Here we merely set out our design goals, but didn’t actually work on any actual solution yet.

Next week, the development department will have to continue the code rewrites started this week. But we’ll also have a look at the first issues reported during Alpha #5.

Julian (Mjeno)

Boy, what a week. Despite Martin telling me not to, I was set on getting the tutorials ready as soon as possible to allow for the test to start on Wednesday. I underestimated the workload and ended up crunching from Tuesday morning until Wednesday night with a little afternoon nap in-between. Overall, it took me over 60 hours to make those videos. No regrets, though - I’m proud of the result and really happy we could start testing this week. Here’s the first of five tutorials now available to our players:

I was amazed to see that, before we even announced that the test was live, some people were already setting up their companies. It was great to see the universe finally come to life again, little ship markers all over the System map, the COM window constantly notifying me of new messages in our chat rooms. Compared to last time, this test really ramped up in difficulty, and our players are going to need to coordinate their efforts a lot more in order to progress.

We already got some questions and feedback, so I finally acted as a Community Manager this week, which is half of my job title after all. Without players telling us what they like and dislike about the current version of the game, there would be no point in running theses tests. So if you’re a tester already, feel free to tell us your thoughts - and if you’re not, sign up here to join us in the game today!

As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!

Happy trading!