Update 37 – New tutorial system, improved ground combat and atmosphere

It's the first anniversary of Galactic Crew! When I planned the Early Access campaign a year ago, I wanted to make it six to nine months. However, as time passed, I kept adding more and more content that was requested by players. This update features and improved tutorial and more ground combat features that where requested by many players.

Tutorial System

The very first version of the game featured a tutorial video that was replaced by an interactive audio tutorial soon. However, this system had a few issues. For example, it was hard to insert new elements into the tutorial, because every change required new audio tracks from all voice actors. In addition, the tutorial was not available in all languages. I replaced the audio tutorial with a text-based system.

Like the last tutorial system, it explains the game's basics step by step. However, it is available in all ten supported languages and easier to maintain. The text-based system has also the great advantage that players can play the tutorial as fast or as slow as they want.

It is now also possible to abort the tutorial in most situation. This was not possible before. Although I added more features to the tutorial and more topics are covered than before, it is still only interesting for new players or players that return to the game after a long break.

Ground Combat

I made several improvements to the ground combat system. First of all, the range of all firearms has been dramatically increased! So far, attacking an enemy with rifles looked like charging into melee. This was due to limitations from the very early game.

When sending multiple crew members to attack an enemy, they most likely all stand on the same spot, which looked weird. With this update, they will try to form a proper fireline resulting in way better formations.

This update also features special abilities for firearms! A weapon can have the features:

  • 'Bleeding' increases damage of all attacks against the target
  • 'Snare' reduces the walking speed of the target by 50%
  • 'Armor piercing' attacks ignore damage reduction of large monsters and soldiers with body armor

Whenever you loot a firearm from any source (weapon crate, defeated raider, ..) there is a 10% chance for each special ability to be applied to the weapon. A weapon can have all three special abilities, if you are very lucky. Status effects are also shown over the health bar of an enemy.

Atmosphere

In order to improve the game's depth, new sound effects were added for all beasts including dinosaurs, wolves and bears.

For some missions you have to examine certain objects to advance. New objects were added to these missions that can be discovered that improve the overall atmosphere.

Bug Fixes

  • The tool-tips were too small for some achievements.
  • If you had two story line missions that involved flying to a space station, you couldn't complete both at the same time.
  • Removed mistake in German translation.
  • The tool-tip of the Heimdall-class ship showed the wrong number of pieces of equipment.

Coming up next...

I will take ten days off in October (my first vacation this year). The next update is planned for late November / early December featuring a level editor so that you can create your very own planetary missions and share them with anyone! I will most likely integrate support for Steam Workshop so that you can easily share your creations!

Update 36 – Mods, 4k support, quick save and improved mini maps, status bar and more

Mods

This update features two ways to mod your game: you can adjust numeric values and write your own space quests! By changing numeric values you can change loot chances, set the hitpoints and attack damage of enemies, set weapon turret damage and rate of fire or firearm properties to adjust combat difficulty. The mods are stored in simple XML files so you can easily add them to your game or send them to friends. There is no support for Steam Workshop right now, but it might come in the future. Please see 'Mods' section how to mod Galactic Crew.

Mini map

The mini map has been improved with this update! First of all, it is now also available on all planetary missions. You can also see the position of all enemies (bears, dinosaurs, soldiers, ...). In addition, by clicking on the mini map, the camera will move to this location. This makes the navigation on planets and in dungeons much faster and easier and you always have a perfect overview over the current situation.

Crew selection

You can press the key combination Strg+A to select all crew members at once. Pressing a number key now only select this character even if a group was selected before. This makes selection of characters much easier.

Status bar

The status bars of spaceships has been improved. When moving your mouse cursor over an icon, the corresponding piece of equipment is highlighted and the icon is also highlighted. This makes it easier to use them to repair pieces of equipment or to attack them on enemy vessels.

Quick save / load

You can do a quick save or load using the proper keys. The quick saves does not override your current save game, but uses a seperate save game file. The quick save uses the same behaviour as normal saving. That means, if you quick save on a planet and perform a quick load, you are in space again.

Keyboard layout

The keyboard layout can be changed in the main menu's settings. You can assign any character from A to Z, F1 to F24 keys and Space key. The keyboard layout is used as soon as you start or continue any game.

4k Support

If the primary monitor has a 4k resolution, the user interface will be automatically scaled up. All features of the game were tested on different 4k monitors to make sure, it perfectly scales. Before, it was possible to increase the user interface size by using a command flag. This flag is still available in case you want to use the larger UI on normal screens.

GPU selection

When using a Desktop computer or laptop with multiple graphics chips, Galactic Crew will now search for the best GPU and uses it. Before, the game used the first GPU that had enough shader support. This could result in picking the weakest GPU in the system.

Bug Fixes

Most of the following bug fixes have already been published with several hot fixes in the past four weeks.

  • When a crew member was used to board an enemy ship, the order of crew members could be messed up after loading the game the next time.
  • In one of the ancient temple planetary missions, it was not possible to attack on the bears with pistols.
  • The right-most weapon turret could not be repaired by clicking on it, when someone was using the Weapon Terminal at the same time. The icon was blocking the mouse click on the weapon turret.
  • Fixed a typo in an English quest description.
  • When closing the game during one of two planetary campaign missions, the mission was not properly reset when loading the game the next time.
  • The same problem as above happened, when teleporting the crew back to the ship before completing these missions.
  • The space background was not visible in multiplayer games
  • When recruiting new crew members on planets or in dungeons, they might have looked different (different gender or species) after teleporting them to your ship.
  • It was not possible to attack a resource processor.
  • The resource processor was not listed as a piece of equipment in the status bar.
  • Using the action option in the weapon smuggler quest of the Archaeological Expedition Story Line used food.
  • Raiders kept spawning when pausing the game during the pirate invasion quest.
  • Looting multiple enemies who were laying on the same spot was not always possible.
  • In some situations, enemies could not be attacked, if a dead enemy was laying next to them.

Coming up next...

The next update is planned for 29th September featuring an improved Tutorial, improved ground combat and improved atmosphere including new sound effects.

Dear players,

I started creating a game and its own custom game engine as a side project back in 2015. In 2016, I quit my job as product manager / team leader in a software company to found my own Indie video game company and to create something big out of my game project. In September 2017 I started the Early Access campaign of Galactic Crew and I planned a campaign length of six to nine month. Now, we are in the tenth month of development.

What happened in the past months?

A lot has happened! The very first reviews were bad. Really bad. When I started the Early Access campaign I thought to have a great version and players will love it. My game is very niche, but I knew that when creating the game's concept. The problem was that I saw my game from my own perspective. I created something out of nothing - I didn't use any ready-to-use engine environment. At that time, I had the feedback from friends who played the game for weeks and 70 internet strangers who got a pre Steam copy of the game. Their feedback was great. However, the first wave of players had mixed feelings about it and the ratio of players who refunded the game in the first month was high - around 15%.

However, things changed! The game isn't finished yet and there are still a lot of things to do, but in the past 10 months, I only took one week off and I worked hard in every single week on making the game how I wanted it to be. I added a lot of features like the Story Mode, new spaceships, new weapon systems, mission system, useable items, skill system, crew inventory, new galaxy objects, new enemies like zombies and dinosaurs, item rarity, Steam Achievements, support for Steam Cloud, Tactical Pause and squad commands. This list ist not even complete. I also spent a lot of work in improving the game's graphics. The images below are from last December and last week:

When will the game be released?

The game has improved in the last months and I am very happy with its development. I get very nice e-mails on a weekly basis, the reviews on Steam got better (except for some trolls) and the ratio of players who refund the game on Steam dropped to around 2 %. However, as I said earlier, there is still a lot of work to do. The support for 4k screens is not completed, there are still some bugs, the tutorial must be improved, etc. I implemented all features that I promised in forums, Steam discussions, in the Early Access notes and elsewhere, but I want to make sure that all players who bought the game enjoy it.

I haven't set a date for the game's release, because I want to know from you what you are missing and what you expect before you think the game's ready for its Release. I still got a to do list with many tasks, but there might be some tasks I missed or I don't noticed. As a developer, you play your own game often very differently from the players who bought it.

So, please use any communication channel to let me know what you want to have in Galactic Crew before it's released! If you've read any of the Steam discussions or contacted me in the past, you know that I really want to know what you folks want to have. So please, tell me!

Second game

For Galactic Crew, I did everything by myself, except the art (animations, 3D models, music, etc.). At the moment, I am also producing a second game that hasn't been announced yet. I still focus on Galactic Crew and I want to make it as great as possible for its Release. However, in the second game are a lot of other people involved who do the main work like game design, level design, arts, etc. So when you see a second game listed under my company's name: don't worry! I will not (!) abandon Galactic Crew! The second is in production for several months now and as you can see from my updates, Twitter messages, etc. it does not affect the development of Galactic Crew in any way. I mention this, because I want you to know that I am not the type of developer who abandons a project to create something new to get some fast cash!

Thank you!

I also want to thank every player who bought the game from any store and enjoys it, writes me e-mails, writes positive reviews, etc. You really make my day. Creating video games can be very tough, but knowing that there are many thousands of players out there who bought the game motivates me!

I also want to reward you. I have to contact Valve, if my idea is possible. If it is possible, all of you will receive a 75% discount coupon for my second game, when it's published on Steam!

You might have noticed several updates in the past week. Next to the development of the next update, I am fixing all known bugs and publish these fixes on Steam on a regular basis. The next one is planned for Monday or Tuesday. I will include a complete patch list for the fixed bugs in the next content update news.

Update 35 – Improved graphics

Improved game engine

Galactic Crew uses a custom game engine I developed for it. I invested the last weeks into different kind of improvements. Some of them, like improved memory management and advanced scene management are invisible to you, but there are also two major graphics improvements: shadow and better laser effects.

The shadows are optional and deactivated by default. You can enable them in the in-game settings.

I also improved the laser effects. Moving clutter and a smooth gloom effect make the laser beams more natural and beautiful - without additional render costs!

Balancing

In addition to the game engine improvements, I also re-balanced many planetary encounters. Beasts like raptors, bears, spiders or the T-Rex deal increased damage. The T-Rex also got additional hit points to demonstrate its mighty power. In addition, the attack rate of zombies was increased to make it more realistic.

The numbers of zombies on a zombie-infested ship now depends on the ship's size.

Bug Fixes

  • Moving the mouse cursor over a target behind an opened window caused the mouse cursor to show the wrong icon.
  • You could move the camera by moving the mouse cursor to the screen's edge while a modal dialog was opened.
  • There was a floor tile with a wrong texture in three temple themed dungeons.
  • Moving the mouse cursor over loot in space resulted in a flickering highlighting.
  • It was possible to loot quest items from cargo boxes on zombie ships.
  • Equipping a body armor during Tutorial caused problems.
  • Fixed an lighting issue with weapon turrets.

Coming up next...

The next update will come in approx. four weeks featuring improved gameplay mechanics including but not limited to:

  • Mod options: Change any of the game's parameters like damage values and loot chances and write your own space events!
  • Improved camera navigation on planets
  • Quick saving/loading
  • More settings options like key mapping

Update 34 – Gameplay improvements and fixes

I am currently working on game engine improvements and improved visual effects. This update was not planned, but I wanted to publish some of the improvements I made.

Improvements

Crew members move and behave better, when you order them to gather resources, loot enemies or interact with objects.

Reduced loading time of large dungeons by more than 90%!

Bug Fixes

  • The game could lag after some time because of unnecessary user interface updates.
  • There are no longer lag spikes when giving crew members an order inside large dungeons.
  • Drones that returned to your ship after mining were misplaced after jumping to a new sector.
  • The tool-tips of the resource panel were not updated after retrofitting your ship.
  • The tool-tips of the resource panel were not updated after killing a crew member.
  • The tool-tips of the resource panel was wrong, if your ship produced as much food as your crew consumed.
  • When you returned to main menu and started a new game, you could assign orders to crew members without selecting them.
  • It could happen that a galaxy is generated without any asteroid fields.
  • Object highlighting was missing for medical supplies in two medieval cities
  • Fixed memory leak when leaving dungeons or jumping out of space combat.
  • Fixed memory leak when initializing progress bars.
  • Fixed memory leak when updating text blocks.
  • Fixed memory leak when resizing user interface controls.

Update 33 – New story line, pleasure hubs and gameplay improvements

New Story Line

A new Story Line has been added to Galactic Crew: “Bounty Hunter”! It adds a new planetary mission and new items to the game that are unique for this Story Line. Parts of the new story depend on the selected role (merchant, pirate, …). You can use it alone or in combination with the other story to create a custom game experience.

Pleasure hubs

Pleasure hubs are a new type of random encounter. They work similar to space stations: They offer missions and they will trade with you. In addition, you also have the option to hire new crew members! However, you can’t retrofit your ship and they don’t have a static location in the galaxy.

Dump cargo

You can dump goods and items directly from the inventory window, if you have too much stuff in your spaceship. Simply drag an item you want to dump on the trash bin.

User interface

A small help icon has been added to several menu pages. They play audio files and explain the most important features.

Several small improvements were made on the mission UI elements.

The name of a Story Line is displayed in their mission’s tool-tip on the Galactic Map.

Bug fixes

I want to apologize for all bugs that were not solved with the last update. I was running out of time. However, I spent a lot of time with testing in the past two weeks and I solved all reported and found bugs. If you find a bug, feel free to contact me and I will fix them as soon as possible.

  • When completing the Archaeological Expedition story, both achievements were achieved.
  • The achievement Hoard 10,000 credits couldn’t be achieved.
  • The game could crash when starting a new game, if there no captains were saved before.
  • The Mark II Thruster did not count as thruster when determining if the player can fly to a new sector.
  • Resolved two spelling mistakes in German quest descriptions.
  • In some situations, the last button in a quest dialog was not fully visible.
  • Looting dead enemies did not work when there was a gathered resource nearby.
  • For some missions the wrong target was displayed in the UI.
  • When resizing the game, the crew’s equipment in the Crew Overview was displayed with an offset.
  • The hit boxes of Zombies were scaled up, because in some cases it was too hard to aim at them.
  • Fixed tool-tips for beam and particle laser weapon turrets.
  • Dinosaurs, bears and other beasts did not defend themselves when being attacked.
  • Fixed blurred resource descriptions in the inventory.
  • Fixed possible crash source when harvesting asteroid with mining drones.
  • In certain dungeon rooms, there was a chemical barrel that could not be harvested.
  • In some parts of bunker dungeons, end pieces of walls were missing.
  • The life bar wasn’t adjusted when the max. hit points of a creature changed, e.g. when using life-enhancing drugs.
  • You could promote too many crew members to officer roles on planets and in dungeons.
  • When selling a lot of different firearms at the same time, the wrong ones could be removed from the inventory.

Coming up next…

Next, I will work on game engine improvements. I do not use a commercial game engine, but I wrote my very own one for this game. I will spend the next weeks to improve it to add shadow and light effects, to improve the laser beam effects and to improve memory management. I plan to publish this update in mid to late July. You can always find the latest progress on my Twitter channel. However, bugs will still be fixed as soon as possible.

Update 32 – Story mode, new spaceships, new playable race, new planets, new dungeons, ...

Story Lines

So far, the game was all about surviving in deep space without any long-term goal or winning condition. The new Story Line changes this! Now, you can add the first new Story Line as bonus card to your game. A second one will be available in two weeks!

Each Story Line adds its own story and goals to your game. When starting the game, you will get a message with your first task. After completing a task, you will get a new one, until you completed the story. Completing a story is rewarded with a Steam Achievement and a new powerful unlocked spaceship!

The amazing thing about these Story Lines are that they are added like any other bonus card. That means, you can multiple Story Line cards to your game to create a unique campaign or you can play like you did so far by not using any of these new cards!

Two new spaceships

Two new spaceships with a unique look were added to Galactic Crew. Their sizes and abilities are comparable to the Zeus-class or Horus-class battlecruisers. You can unlock them by completing the Story Lines.

Six new rooms

This update also features six new rooms that can be used to customize your spaceship. There are two completely new rooms: Item Processor and Guest Room. Sending a crew member to interact with a Item Processor opens a crafting dialog you can use to assemble or disassemble items. Guest rooms can be used to transport tourists from one space station to another. You'll find new tourism missions at all space stations.

There are also four upgraded versions of existing rooms: Shield Generator II, Drone Booster II, Storage Room II and Engine II. They are like their Tier 1 counterparts, but more powerful and more expensive.

Four new planets & sixty new dungeons

Four new planetary missions were added including weapon smuggler outposts, a scrapyard and and an archaelogical field lab. I don't want to tell you more about them, because I don't want to spoil any content of the Story Line! You can also explore these planets without the Story Line in new space events!

There are also sixty new handcrafted dungeons waiting for your exploration. These new dungeons also feature many new rooms, new NPCs, new quests and new dungeon styles!

New playable race

You can now play with two new android characters!

Multi selection

Now, you can select and command multiple crew members. Press Strg key when selecting a crew member by clicking on its UI item or by clicking on its model to add this character to the selection.

But wait, there is more...

The goods Firearms and Ammo have been replaced by High-Tech Components and Scrap. All quests and events related to the old goods have been updated and your cargo hold will be converted automatically when continuing your game. The biggest change is that looting a weapon crate now has a 30% chance of looting an equippable firearm and a 10% chance of looting a body armor!

There are also five new items related to the new Story Line, new Steam Achievements you can get after completing the Story Lines.

The bonus cards in the Game Creation view are now color-coded and sorted by type. This makes it easier to find a certain type of card.

Coming up next...

In two weeks, another Story Line will be added to Galactic Crew that can be combined with the first one or used solely.

After that, I will work on visual improvements like shadows, better laser effects, etc. This updated is planned for late June / early July.

Update 31 – Man your space ship’s terminals and equip better items!

Crew equipment

So far, every soldier had a rifle and all other crew members had a pistol to fight their enemies. Now, you can equip firearms, body armors and jewelry to each of your crew members.

You can loot firearms from any hostile humanoid enemy like space pirates or raiders on planets and in dungeons. There is a certain chance that they drop their pistol or rifle. Normal crew members are no longer limited to equip pistols. After looting a rifle, any crew member can use it!

Body armors can be bought at any merchant, if you are lucky. Jewelry items can be looted from defeated enemies. Jewely can improve a character’s damage, experience gain, maximum hit points, speed and more.

In order to manage your crew’s equipment, open the Crew menu. You’ll see your crew member’s inventory below their skills. You can change the equipment at any time.

Man space ship terminals

Another new feature is manning space ship terminals. Select a crew member and click on one of the following objects in your spaceships to man this terminal. Your mouse cursor will indicate the object you can man with a different cursor and the object will be highlighted.

Pilot terminal

Click on the pilot’s seat to send your crew member to man the pilot terminal. While this terminal is manned, the hyperdrive charges 10% faster during combat. It charges 25% faster, if it’s manned by a pilot.

Weapon terminal

You can find this terminal next to the pilot’s terminal in the cockpit of your ship. Man it to increase your spaceship’s weapon turret damage by 10%. The damage bonus is 25%, if the terminal is manned by a soldier.

Drone booster

Man its terminal to increase drone weapon damage by 10%. The bonus damage is increased to 25% when manned by an engineer.

Shield generator

When manned, the shields are regenerating. The regeneration rate is increased when manned by an engineer.

AI improvements

When fighting against civilian ships, you will see that the enemy crew will also man the stations of their ships to increase their combat abilities!

Game balancing

The generic 25% damage boost for ship weapons when fired by a soldier has been removed and replaced with the damage boost of weapon terminals (see above).

When killing enemy soldiers, beasts or monsters all your crew members gain experience.

Bug Fixes

  • Some doors in dungeons were placed with a displacement.
  • In two dungeons, a wall segment had no end.
  • There were resource in dungeons that could not be gathered.
  • The game could crash when teleporting into dungeons while the mouse was moved outside the game window.
  • After losing a game, the skill texts in the last dialog (the one were you can select which captain you want to save) were wrong.
  • A lighting issue with enemies like bears, giant spiders and wolves has been solved.

Coming up next: Story Mode!

The next update will come between mid and end of May and bring the Story Mode to Galactic Crew. I post frequent news on Twitter. You might want to check Twitter out to see daily news about the progress.

The overall goal of the game so far is survival. The Story Mode will bring new Story Cards to the game creation menu to add an overall goal to the game. This means there will be a condition to win the game!

What else will be included in the update?

  • Two new spaceships that can be unlocked by getting new achievements
  • New rooms, including upgraded versions of existing rooms
  • New playable race: Androids.
  • New tutorial
  • New planets
  • New dungeons
  • ...

Update 30 brings over 40 new dungeons, new enemies, new planet and much more

New dungeons

In the last two updates I focused on adding new planets and generic game improvements like object highlighting, interactions with objects, looting, etc. This update brings 40 new dungeons to Galactic Crew, including a completely new type of dungeon: temples. Over a dozen new rooms and props further increase the variety of underground facilities.

New planet, new beasts, new item and new quests

A new planetary mission was added that grants access to certain dungeons. I don’t want to spoil where to find the dungeons or how the new planet looks like. I am sure you will find it! [SMILEY] The new planet features new beasts like bears. Giant spiders can be found in some of the new dungeons guarding ancient relics!

The new enemies also bring new types of loot with them and new space quests will give you access to the newly added planet and dungeons.

Coming up next...

The next update will bring improvements for your crew! You will be able to equip different firearms, equip combat vests to boost your crew members’ defense and you can equip jewelry to boost their stats! Crew members will also be able to interact with your space ship’s equipment to boost your ship’s abilities!

Update 29 – New planets, new quests and object highlighting

Six new planets, new quests and new enemies

While working on the Story Mode, I am also adding a lot of content that is used for normal continuous games. This week’s update features six new planets and new space quests for every new planet. Some of the quests features medieval villages and some of them feature ancient temples. While the existing ancient temple had a lot of energy crystals to offer, the new ancient temple is different – very different. While exploring the new worlds, you might encounter wolves as a new type of enemy.

Object highlighting

Object highlighting helps you to aim your ship’s weapon turrets, assign jobs to your crew members, discover objects you can gather or interact with and more.

Improvements

There are three space stations in each galaxy. Each space station has a different specialization (agriculture, industry, generic) that affects the prices and the available goods. An extended tool-tip shows the specialization for each space station on the Galaxy Map.

Special abilities of weapons (like the shield penetration of beam lasers) are now part of a weapon’s tool-tip.

Galactic Crew