Cosmoteer update 0.14.4 is now available! This update adds a new multiplayer mode called "Arena" along with multiplayer "rulesets", plus a ton of other features and fixes.
The new "Arena" multiplayer mode is intended to address some of the deficiencies of the old "Last Player Standing" mode. (Which still exists but has been combined with Team vs Team into a single mode called "Elimination".)
The problem with Last Player Standing is that, when playing with three or more players, it creates a standoff situation where none of the players are incentivized to attack first because doing so is almost always a poor decision for either or all of the players who fight first. This is both unfair to those players and often delays the start of combat in those games.
The Arena mode solves that by changing the victory condition from "be the last player standing" to one that rewards players for being aggressive: specifically, by awarding points to players for damaging and destroying enemy ships, and by allowing them to respawn when their own ships are destroyed and keep fighting. The player or team at the end of the match with the highest number of points is declared the winner.
Holding the spacebar at any time during a multiplayer battle will show you the scoreboard:
Once all of a player's ships are destroyed, they can respawn with a whole new fleet and rejoin the battle. Players can also choose manually respawn before their ships are destroyed, but doing so will cost them 25% of the points that their remaining ships are worth, and their old ships will remain on the battlefield for other players to destroy and earn points from.
While waiting to respawn, players can also choose to change any ships in their fleet, allowing players to choose ships to better counter their opponents.
This new Arena mode can be played with up to four teams or as a free-for-all.
Since the old Team vs Team and Last Player Standing multiplayer modes were so similar, they have been combined into a single mode called "Elimination". This new mode supports up to four teams and free-for-alls, and its options can be configured to exactly recreate the old Team vs Team and Last Player Standing modes.
This update also adds "rulesets" for multiplayer games. Rulesets are simply pre-defined configurations of game options that the host can select from, though the host is still free to customize the individual options as they desire.
Each multiplayer mode has a handful of "official" built-in rulesets. Arena mode has five "Free For All"-style rulesets for five different fleet values: 100K, 250K, 500K, 1M, and 2M. Elimination mode has ten official rulesets: five that recreate the old Team vs Team mode, and five that recreate the old Last Player Standing mode, each at those five different fleet values. When playing with an official ruleset, the multiplayer lobby will display the ruleset being used next to the game mode icon:
Players can also save their own custom rulesets for their own convenience, although these will not be displayed next to the mode icon in the lobby.