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Multiplayer Dev Diary, Part II

Dear players,

It is the second week of the multiplayer development phase and I want to inform you about my current progress.

Multiplayer

Communication
Last week, I created a new view that is used to configure a multiplayer game. I used the first working days to put life into this view. Now, when a client connects to a game host, both see the same view and when one of the players makes any change (like assigning crew members) all players see these changes immediately. I also put additional validations in this view to make sure everything is okay, when the host starts the game.

The second task of this week was to share game information with all players. When the host creates a new game or loads a savegame, the clients do not know anything about it. Therefore, when the game host clicks on the start button, all clients download the current game state.

User interface
I also continued to work on the user interface. This week, I put some time into the crew panel on the left side of the screen. As you can see in the image below, the names of the crew members are color-coded so you know which crew members belongs to which player. When playing a singleplayer game, the color-coding is not used.

Other features

I also worked on other features that are used in any game (multiplayer and singleplayer). Most of them were requested by players. Please feel free to send me an e-mail if you think something’s missing in the game!

Experience bars
So far, all characters had a green action bar. This is relict from the earliest version of the game. Since the action bar was never used, I replaced it with an experience bar. Now, you can clearly see the levelling process of all your crew members as you can see in the image below.

Status icons
In one of the first updates of the game, I added status icons to each piece of equipment to make it easier to see which objects are damaged or disabled on your ship. Now, I also added a summary of all pieces of equipment in the ships’ status panels. As you can see below in the upper corners, a new status bar shows you the status of all pieces of equipment. These status bars can also be used to repair or attack items. When you use a repair skill of an engineer or one of your crew members, you can click on one of the symbols in this bar and the crew member starts to run to the proper piece of equipment and repairs it! You can also use your attack skills on the enemy ship’s status bar to attack an item.

More tool-tips
I also added more tool-tips to show you additional information like how much threat you need to advance to the next threat level.

More languages
Galactic Crew already supports several languages, but starting with the multiplayer update in February, more languages will be added. This week, I hired new translators to translate the game into Chinese, Arabic, Thai and Korean!

Hotfix

You may have noticed that the game updated itself yesterday and last week. When I get a bug report with a game crash, I immediately fix it. As soon as I get the confirmation from the player that a fix works, I put it on Steam to make it available to everyone. When your game runs fine, these updates won’t affect you.

What’s next
I had to spend some time on fixing an audio-related bug. Therefore, I wasn’t able to add the voting system to the quest dialog. So, my goal for today and the upcoming working week is to adjust the quest dialog window and to make a lot of small adjustments. For example, a player must only be able to select his own crew members.

Another major topic is the synchronization of all actions. When a player assigns a task to a crew member, the position, animation and action must be synchronized with all players. I need to adjust the communication and game layers. If everything’s going well, I should be able to do it next week.

Multiplayer Dev Diary, Part I

Dear players,

The past Winter Sale was very successful and I would like to welcome all new players to Galactic Crew! As I wrote in the previous patch notes, I started developing the co-op multiplayer for Galactic Crew this week of 2018 and I promised to keep you updated. Today, I want to present you the progress of the first week. Please note, all features and changes listed below will be part of a single massive content update in February.

Multiplayer

User interface

The very first step was to create a new view to configure a multiplayer game session. I slightly adjusted the existing game creation view by adding a new button to start a multiplayer game and by adding input boxes for IP address and port number. These information are only required for multiplayer sessions and can be left empty when creating a singleplayer game.

The image below shows the current state of the multiplayer session view. Its design might change until the release of the multiplayer patch! On the left side, you see all players and a list of crew members. You can assign each crew member to any player. On the right side, you can see the ship you will be using on your space adventure. Players can join your game by using a new function Join Game in the main menu or you invite them by using Steam’s game overlay. The displayed player name and their avatar are equal to the ones used in your Steam profile.

TCP/IP Layer
The TCP/IP network layer which is used for data transfer is almost done. You can already join another player’s lobby, exchange game information with him, etc. I will finalize this layer next week.

Other features

The main focus is on co-op multiplayer, but I am also working on other features!

Multiple savegames
So far, there is only a singleplayer mode in Galactic Crew and you can only have a single savegame. With the co-op multiplayer patch in February comes the option to use up to ten different savegames. This way, you can host multiple multiplayer games or test features in different singleplayer games without overwriting or discarding your old game!

What’s next?
My goal for the next week is that hosts can start multiplayer games and all players share the same game information (ship, equipment, rooms, galaxy, money, …). I also want to adjust the user interface so that players can see who controls which crew member and players should be able to vote for space events.

New spaceships and new weapon turrets!

New spaceships

The last content update of 2017 brings you two new spaceships: the Manua-class battleship and the Heimdall-class cruiser. They were made by the same artist who created the Var-class and Haika-class spaceships. The new spaceships have properties similar to the Demeter-class and Zeus-class, but with a different design style.

The new spaceships can be either bought at any shipyard when you upgrade your current ship or you can select them when creating a new game. To unlock these ships, you just need the second and third “The clock is ticking…” achievement, i.e. you must have played Galactic Crew for around two hours.

New spaceship weapon turrets

This updates also introduces four new spaceship weapon turrets: three new beam laser weapons (light, medium and heavy) as well as a new medium sniper laser turret. The beam lasers are stronger than the normal laser weapon turrets, but are much rarer to find. Of course, you can buy them at any shipyard, if you don’t want to wait for an enemy to drop them!

Roadmap for the next two months

As I wrote in the last update news, there won’t be any news or update next week, because I make a short vacation. Hoewever, I will still be available on Steam and via e-mail for player support!

After that, I will work on the co-op multiplayer and some other features, like new dungeon types, multiple save games, new language localizations, etc. Starting at 13th January, I will give you weekly overviews of my progress here on Steam, the game’s website and on Twitter. I assume to finish a beta-version of the co-op multiplayer in mid February 2018.

I wish you all a happy new year!

Zombies!

Zombies!

You had to fight against space pirates and against raiders in dungeons and in pirate outposts. Now, you have to face a new threat: Zombies! New space events and new dungeons were added that feature the new type of enemy. You might find a long-lost spaceship without any life support and only strange life signs… They won’t attack your ship, but when you board their ship, you might find some valuables in their storage rooms! The new zombie dungeons can be accessed by getting a proper mission from a space station’s security office.

New skills

Three new passive skills were added that give you advantages while exploring dungeons and planets.

The medic has a new skill that gives him a certain chance to find medical supplies while gathering food. This might result in a great profit when visiting places like the medieval village!

The pilot got a new skill that increases his movement speed on all planets and in all dungeons.

The soldier’s damage versus Zombies can be increased with his/her new skill!

Minimap

A minimap is added to the game’s UI when you explore dungeons. The dungeon’s wall, the position of your crew members and the camera’s field of view are displayed that makes a camera navigation much easier.

Bug Fix

  • After teleporting dead crew members, they were standing, instead of lying on the floor.

Coming up next…

The last update of this year will add two new spaceships and four new weapon turrets!

Roadmap

In the first week of 2018, I will take a few days off, i.e. there won’t be an update on 6th January. However, I will still be available for player support and bug fixing!

After that, I will start developing the co-op multiplayer mode for Galactic Crew! Although I already prepared the game engine for multiplayer support in the past months, the implementation is too complex to fit in a single week’s update. Therefore, there won’t be weekly content updates until I am finished with the multiplayer mode. This is expected to be in mid February 2018. After that, I will return to the normal, weekly content update shedule. However, I will post weekly news about the progress of the multiplayer to keep you informed!

More dungeons and useable items!

More dungeons

The last update introduced dungeons to Galactic Crew. This week, more dungeons are added with additional content. You can request a new security mission from any space station or you can ask space encounters for work to visit the new dungeons. I don’t want to spoil the content of the these dungeons, but I want to give you a hint: The generators in the new dungeons are destructible for a reason!

Recuiting new crew members

The initial number of crew members depends on your ship’s size. So far, you could get more crew members from certain space events. Now, you can also recruit them on planets. I won’t spoil where you can find them, but you will notice them. In addition you can recruit freed prisoners in underground pirate outposts.

New useable items

This week’s update adds three new useable items to the game. There is a certain chance to get one of these items after defeating an enemy in space.

Weapon crate

When using the Weapon Crate, you will receive a random epic spaceship weapon turret!

Potion of Regret

After using this potion, the skill points of all crew members are reset and you you can assign them again.

Life-enhancing Pills

Increase the maximum hit points of all your crew members by taking these pills.

Balancing

The reward of space station missions has been adjusted.

Coming up next…

  • Mini map in dungeons
  • Zombie encounters in space
  • New dungeons
  • New skills for crew members

Dungeons!

Dungeons

This week’s update introduces dungeons to Galactic Crew! In this update two dungeons are available for you to explore: a long forgotten mine and an underground bunker. Both of them offer resources and items for you to loot. While travelling through deep space, you’ll eventually get one of the new events that leads you right to the new dungeons. Please make sure to have a teleporter on your ship! Otherwise, you can’t leave your ship.

The next two updates will focus on more dungeons and planetary content.

Improvements

Last week, the ship’s walls and floor were replaced with new models. This week, the spaceship engine is replaced by a new model to improve the visual appearance of the spaceships.

Bug Fixes

  • The game could crash in some occasions when gathering all resources on a planet.
  • After resurrecting a dead crew member with a medic, his/her life bar was sometimes hidden.
  • After teleporting your crew from a planet back to your ship, the ship’s walls were rendered with the wrong shaders.

Coming up next…

In the next two updates, I will focus on dungeons and planetary content. There will be new items, new missions, new dungeons, new stuff to do on planets, new skills, …

Save your captains, upgrade your bonus cards and enjoy improved walls!

Saving your captains

When you lose a game and start a new one, you start blank. You don’t have any bonuses from previous games except for unlocked bonus cards or ships. Starting today, your captain is saved after you lose game!

When starting a new game, you need to select a background for your captain, e.g. pilot or soldier. You can now select one of your last captains to play with. You can change his/her appearance and you can change the name if you want, but he/she will kepp his/her skills!

For example, you could start a game and unlock a new spaceship. After you lose your current game, you can use the same captain with the same skills and level for your next journey with the new spaceship!

New spaceship walls and floors

I added the freshly made wall and floor model into the game. They look more realistic than the old ones and improve the overall visual appearance. However, if you prefer the old walls, you can select the new option in main menu’s settings.

Upgrading bonus cards

Two new achievements and Steam Achievements have been added to the game. After achieving them, the bonus cards ‘Brilliant salesman’ and ‘Valuable natural resources’ are upgraded with additional bonuses.

After upgrading ‘Brilliant salesman’, all space stations, merchant encounters and merchants on planets have more items for sale.

When you upgrade ‘Valuable natural resources’, there is chance to find diamonds and sapphires when mining asteroids. In combination with the skills of an engineer, you can make a great profit by mining asteroids!

Improvements

When playing as a merchant, it could happen that you regained a threat level immediately after defeating a Nemesis ship. This happened, when you earned enough money to get a new threat level as a reward for defeating a Nemesis ship. This has been solved. Now, you can’t generate additional threat when defeating a Nemesis ship.

Bug Fixes

  • When starting a new game, the wrong ship name was displayed in the loading screen.
  • fter getting a new crew member from an event, the ship’s properties haven’t been updated in the Ship Overview.

 

Coming up next…

DUNGEONS!

Game engine optimizations and bug fixes

Game engine optimizations

Before adding more features, I wanted to optimize the game engine. This week, I improved the management layer between the CPU and the graphics card. Next week, I want to optimize the GPU shaders to increase the game’s performance. Perhaps you won’t notice a difference when playing the game, but this step is important before adding new effects and techniques to the game engine.

Crew portraits

Several players requested to improve the portrait images used for the ship’s crew in the panel on the left side. I updated them with a small Patch this Monday!

Bug Fixes

I added many features and improvements during the last weeks. Although I spend a lot of time testing my work, there might be bugs that I miss. So, I spent several days play-testing the game and I found some bugs that I immediately removed in several small Hot Fixes this week. Some bugs were also reported by players.

If you find any problem or bug in the game, please let me know! The best way to contact me is to write me an e-mail: support@galactic-crew.net. Please note, I only speak English and German.

  • The highscore values are now calculated for each game.
  • You can’t use the pilot’s skills on planets anymore.
  • When pausing the game while targeting an enemy’s ship, the targeting was aborted.
  • Tool-tips on buttons were sometimes still visible, when clicking on these buttons to open a new view.
  • After zooming out, the left and central weapon turret of the Horus could not be repaired, because an UI element was blocking the mouse clicks.
  • You could select the Space Explorer role in the tutorial during the game creation step. This led to problems when the galactic map is described in a later part of the tutorial.
  • The window’s tabs moved with the last update. The tutorial pointed to the wrong tabs when explaining this window.
  • The tutorial could be aborted in the game creation step by pressing Escape key. It was not possible to restart the tutorial after that without closing the game.

Coming up next…

  • After you lose a game, your caption will be saved. You can select him/her in later games and he/she keeps all their skills and abilities!
  • Upgrading bonus cards. There will be new achievements which improve existing bonus cards.
  • I will continue the optimization and testing work I started this week.

Space explorer, skill system, new skills and a new useable item!

This week’s update adds the ‘Space Explorer’ role, a skill system for your crew, new skills and a new useable item. If you have any troubles, feel free to contact me at any time! I want to make sure, everyone has fun!

Space explorer

The space explorer is a new role for you to play. While merchants and space pirates generate threat by defeating civilian ships or earning too much money, the space explorer does not generate any threat at all! Without threat, you don’t need to worry about almighty Nemesis ships that crush you. However, playing as a space explorer is not easy. Space pirates and merchants can see the entire galactic map, when they start the game. The space explorer only knows where jump sectors are, but they don’t know what’s in it!

There are several methods to explore a sector. The easiest way is to jump in a sector and check, what’s in it. You can also accept missions from space stations or encounters. When accepting a mission, the target system is revealed. In addition, you can use a new pilot skill to scan surrounding systems!

Skill system

Your crew members gain experience when using any of their skills. Soldiers gain experience for defeating enemy ships, pilots just need to travel to gain experience, normal crewmen can heal or repair to gain experience, and so on. When pressing C or clicking on the button in the menu bar in the bottom left corner of your screen, you can access the crew skill window. A tool-tip shows a description of for each skill.

Many skills you can see in the crew view are skills you already know from the tool bar. However, there are a couple new passive skills. For example, all crew member can level-up their skills in laser pistol / rifle damage, damage reduction or getting additional health. Soldiers can increase the damage of all weapon turrets, etc. More skill are going to be added with future updates. In order to spend a skill point, simply click on the skill.

As I mentioned earlier, the pilot got a new active skill to scan surrounding systems. This skill is extremely useful, when you play a space explorer. However, you won’t need to use with other roles.

Field Manual

The field manual is a new epic useable item you can loot from any space combat with a 3% drop chance. When using this item, all crew members gain one level.

Help view

The help view got its own dialog. You can still access it in the same way as before!

Coming up next…

In the last months I added new content and improvements every weekend and I spent many hours testing each update before I released it on Steam. Next week, I want to use the working time on quality assurance and playtesting. All features and options will be tested multiple times on several systems to make sure everything works fine. I will also prepare the game’s core engine for the upcoming updates.

Jump gates, new spaceships, new missions and much more!

This week’s update brings jump gates, two new spaceships, new missions, three new achievements, four new items, a new bonus card, two new Steam Achievements and language support for French and Brazilian Portugese!

Jump Gates

Jump gates are large structures in deep space that enable fast travel between galaxies and within a galaxy. Jump gates are always coming in pairs. When you enter a system with a jump gate, you can decide what you want to do. First, you can jump to the other jump gate in the same galaxy. This can be used to reduce the travel distance or to make your escape from Nemesis ships easier. The other option is to leave the galaxy and to jump to a new one. When leaving a galaxy, all missions are aborted and you lose all your threat levels! This is new way to get rid of your threat and to continue your game. The new galaxy is completely new generated with new space stations, new asteroid fields, etc.

In order to add jump gates to your next game, you need to get the new achievement ‘Traveler’ first. Then, you can add jump gates as a bonus card in the game creation step.

New spaceships

The Vistharg alien race was playable since the Early Access launch. Now, they get their own starships: the Hathor and Horus ship classes. The Hathor is comparable to the Demeter and it is unlocked together with the Demeter. The Horus is even bigger than the Zeus and has an additional room. However, it is not that easy to unlock.

New missions

So far, you could request missions from space stations. Now, you can also get missions from events when entering a new system. I did not add new events, but I added missions to several existing events. You will find them on your journey through the outer space!

More missions and more mission types will be added with future updates!

Bug Fixes

  • I fixed a translation mistake in two German event descriptions.

Coming up next…

  • New player role: Space explorer. Explore galaxies without knowing the galactic map and without generating threat.
  • Crew skill system. Your crew members will get XP for doing their job which you can use to make them even better!
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