Friday, November 8, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.15.5 - Performance Improvements & New Languages

Cosmoteer update 0.15.5 has been released! This update significantly improves performance in many situations, especially large battles. It also adds three new community-created translations for Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, and Latin-American Spanish.

What's New

Performance Improvements

Since the 0.15.4 update, I've spent most of my time digging deep into Cosmoteer's code, measuring its performance, and optimizing wherever I can, including better utilizing all of the available CPU cores by rewriting certain algorithms to run in multiple parallel threads. This update is just the beginning, and there's more work to be done, but already I have made very significant performance improvements to audio/visual effects, ship A.I., and general gameplay code. I haven't even done any work optimizing physics or crew A.I., and already players are reporting great improvements in framerates, especially in large battles and with large ships.

Another improvement I made, which is not technically an optimization per se but should still improve the game's overall framerate, is that now the game will automatically slow down the game simulation when the framerate falls below a certain number. (By default 30 FPS, but you can change it to 60 FPS or disable it entirely.) While this feature isn't perfect and you may still experience framerates lower than 30 FPS, falling below 30 FPS should no longer cause the framerate to plummet all the way down to 4 FPS.

Lastly, for those of you with laptops that have both integrated Intel and dedicated Nvidia graphics, this update should now make the game use the dedicated Nvidia graphics by default, improving performance in graphics-bottlenecked situations such as when running at a very high resolution.

New Language Translations

The 0.15.4 update introduced the Cosmoteer Translation Project, which is a community-driven effort to translate Cosmoteer from English into as many other languages as possible. This project has proven hugely successful in a very short period of time, initially introducing German, Spanish, French, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese translations. And this update adds Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, and Latin-American Spanish translations, as well as improvements to the already-existing translations.

If you would like to help translate Cosmoteer into your language or find an error that you'd like to help fix, please head over to the Cosmoteer Translation Project and lend a hand!

... And more!

This update also has a handful of other fixes and improvements, which you can read about in the changelog.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.15.4 - Crew Diversity, Language Translations, & Tech Improvements

Cosmoteer update 0.15.4 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam! This update makes the crew a lot more visually diverse with a variety of skin colors, hair colors, and hair styles. It also adds community-created language translations for German, Russian, French, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. And lastly, it upgrades the underlying technology powering Cosmoteer, which should improve performance and make it possible for players with 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems to play multiplayer with each other.

What's New

Crew Diversity

For many years, the people who have inhabited Cosmoteer's ships have all looked like clones of the same light-skinned, short brown-haired, male-looking person. Honestly, as someone who believes in the value of diversity, I've been pretty embarrassed by how homogeneous Cosmoteer's crew are. Science fiction media like Star Trek and Star Wars, which Cosmoteer is obviously very inspired by, have long portrayed a more diverse future as an ideal that we should strive for. Cosmoteer has for a very long time failed to live up to that ideal.

I hope that this latest update is a significant step towards living up to that ideal of a more diverse future. While still nameless and with identical abilities, the people that crew Cosmoteer's ships now appear more visually diverse with a variety of skin tones, hair colors, and hair styles. And while Cosmoteer does not have any explicit notion of "gender" coded into the game, some of the hair styles evoke traditional male or female sensibilities, at least by our early 21st century standards. (But who's to really say how fashion will have changed hundreds of years from now.)

Language Translations

This is the first update to include translations created by Cosmoteer players as part of the Cosmoteer Translation Project. This is a community-driven effort to translate Cosmoteer from English into as many languages as possible. Initially with this update, Cosmoteer can now be played in German, Russian, French, Spanish, and both simplified and traditional Chinese. These translations are very much a work-in-progress and may contain errors and omissions. If you want to help translate Cosmoteer into your language, head over to the Cosmoteer Translation Project to read more about it.

Tech Upgrade

Cosmoteer is coded in C#, a programming language created by Microsoft. C# itself runs on top of a technology platform they also created called the ".NET Framework". Although it still works great and has been updated many times over the years, the .NET Framework is fundamentally a pretty old technology, having been around since 2001. Over the past few years, Microsoft has been working on a successor to .NET Framework called ".NET Core", a more modern and much improved technology. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that further development of .NET Framework was being stopped in favor of concentrating on .NET Core. And just a few weeks ago .NET Core 3.0 was released and included all the features needed for Cosmoteer, which finally allowed me to switch to it from .NET Framework.

There were a lot of advantages to switching to .NET Core:
  • The most immediately noticeable advantage is that performance has been significantly improved. In some situations you might see framerate as much as double.
  • .NET Core doesn't require a separate framework to be installed on the player's computer, which took time and was prone to errors. 
  • .NET Core allows players using 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems to play with each other, which was not possible under .NET Framework.
  • .NET Core paves the way for supporting Mac OS and Linux. Cosmoteer doesn't support those yet, but .NET Core brings the game one big step closer to that future.
The only major disadvantage to .NET Core is that now Cosmoteer's download and installation size is much larger, because it no longer installs the .NET Framework separately and has to include everything it needs to run within the application itself. The new installer is about 200 MB, more than twice as big as the old installer.

... And more!

This update also has a handful of other fixes and improvements, which you can read about in the changelog.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.15.3 - Medium & Large Reactors

Cosmoteer update 0.15.3 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam! This update adds two larger reactor sizes, a 3x3 "Medium" reactor and a 4x4 "Large" reactor, in addition to the existing 2x2 "Small" reactor.

What's New

Medium & Large Reactors

The Medium Reactor is a larger 3x3 variant of the existing 2x2 "Small" Reactor. It costs twice as much but produces three times as much power, making it overall more cost-effective than an equivalent number of Small Reactors.

The Large Reactor is an even larger 4x4 version. It costs four times as much as the Small Reactor but produces nine times as much power, making it by far the more cost-effective option for large ships.

In addition to producing power more rapidly, these new reactors also make bigger batteries. The Medium Reactor produces batteries that are twice the size compared to the Small Reactor, and the Large Reactor makes batteries three times the size of the Small Reactor. This allows crew to carry much more power per trip, further cutting down on the overall cost of using Medium and Large reactors compared to using multiple Small Reactors.

These new reactors have their own downsides, though. Most importantly, the Medium and Large Reactors have much larger explosions when they are destroyed, so you'll need to be very careful about protecting them. Here's an example of a Large Reactor exploding:

Additionally, when crew pick up batteries from a Medium or Large reactor, it takes a small amount of time to fill the batteries. A Medium Reactor battery takes 0.5 seconds to fill, and a Large Reactor battery takes a full second to fill. (Small Reactor batteries still fill instantly.) This makes Medium and Large reactors less useful for directly supplying power-hungry systems like Shields and Ion Beams than the Small Reactor.

The most effective way to utilize Medium and Large reactors is to have them in central locations relatively far from the weapons and other systems that need their power, but to have closer Power Storage rooms to quickly supply power. Your crew will pick up power from the Medium or Large Reactor and carry it to the Power Storage (ideally utilizing Moving Walkways for maximum speed) where, upon delivery, the double- or triple-size battery will "split" into multiple single-size batteries, ready for quick delivery to the nearby systems. You can use the crew A.I. customization tools added in the previous updates to setup smart "supply chains" between reactors and storages.

... And More!

This update also has a handful of other fixes and improvements, which you can read about in the changelog.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.15.2 - Reactor & Factory Assignments

Cosmoteer update 0.15.2 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam! This update allows you to assign reactors, factories, and storages to supply other parts on your ship, prioritizing supplying ammo or power to those parts and preventing them from supplying any other parts. It also improves the camera by adding auto-tracking of on-screen ships, plus a handful of other improvements and fixes.

What's New

Reactor & Factory Assignment

The previous update, 0.15.1, added the ability to assign squads of crew to exclusively prioritize specific weapons and other ship systems. Now, the 0.15.2 update brings a similar feature to reactors, factories, and storages:

If you open Crew mode and click on the "behavior" tab, you will now be able to select a supplier (reactor, factory, or storage) by left-clicking on it and then right-click on another weapon or ship system you want that you want to supply. The targeted weapon or system will then prefer to get its power or ammo from that supplier whenever possible, and the reactor, factory, or storage itself will then never supply anything else which it isn't targeting.

You can use this feature to further optimize your ships. For example, if you want to make sure your crew will never go to a farther reactor to pick up power for a laser blaster, then you can simply assign the closest reactor to that laser blaster and then any crew picking up power for it will only ever pick up power from the assigned reactor. You can even use this to create "storage chains", such as assigning a factory to a storage, that storage to another storage, and so forth, reducing the distance that any single crew has to walk across your ship.

Related to this feature is a change to the behavior of when you assign a crew squad to a factory. In the previous update, a crew squad assigned to a factory would only ever pick up power for that factory and would not pick up ammo from that factory to deliver to other weapons, unless the squad was also assigned to those weapons. But in this update, a crew squad assigned to a factory (or reactor or storage) will now also pick up ammo or power from it and deliver to any weapons or other systems, even if they aren't specifically assigned to those. If you don't want the crew to either supply power to, or pick up ammo from, a factory, then you can simply disable those jobs in the crew's role's job priorities.

Camera Auto-Tracking

One of the big things I learned playtesting Cosmoteer at PAX West was that new players often struggle to control the game's camera, especially during combat as the ships are almost always moving. Yes, the game for a long time has had various features for locking the camera on ships, but it takes a while to learn how to use those features, and until you do, trying to keep the ships on screen can be pretty frustrating.

So in order to make the game less frustrating for new players, this update also adds a simple "auto tracking" feature to the player's camera. Basically, unless you have specifically locked the camera on a ship or the eye icon, the camera will now automatically match the velocity of and move with any ship on the screen, keeping it in the same relative location. If there are multiple ships on screen, it will simply match the average velocity of all of the ships. This feature should greatly reduce the need to use the other camera-locking features (which of course are still available), but if you don't like it, you can simply turn it off in the camera settings.

... And more!

This update also has a handful of other fixes and improvements, which you can read about in the changelog.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Cosmoteer @ PAX West & Update 0.15.1

Last weekend I attended PAX West in Seattle to showcase Cosmoteer as part of Indie Megabooth. PAX was a ton of fun, and working with Indie Megabooth made the experience so much easier than if I had to do everything myself, so I am greatly appreciative of all the effort they put in to making PAX a success for Cosmoteer! I estimate that about a hundred people got to play the game on the expo floor, and the reception seemed overwhelmingly positive, making me more optimistic than ever about Cosmoteer's future success!

Here are a couple photos of my booth at PAX:

If you're interested, I also gave a couple interviews about Cosmoteer. I didn't announce anything new that active followers of Cosmoteer don't already know about, but if you've ever wondered how I sound and look, here you go:

Cosmoteer 0.15.1

In other news, Cosmoteer update 0.15.1 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam! (This news actually comes about a week late since the update was released last weekend while I was still at PAX, and I didn't have time to write up a new post, but better late than never!)

Like most updates, 0.15.1 has a variety of improvements and fixes, but the major new feature is the ability to "assign" crew squads to do jobs for specific weapons and other ship parts. To do this, select the squad's bedroom and then right-click on the weapon or part you want to assign them to. While assigned, crew will prioritize doing jobs for the assigned part and will not do jobs for any other parts. This will override any custom 1-10 priorities that have been set. (To assign a squad to multiple parts, hold Shift while right-clicking. Role priorities will still be used to choose between multiple assigned parts.)

You can use this feature to optimize your crew's efficiency and to prevent them from wandering off to other parts of your ship without having to resort to compartmentalization.

Read about all the other improvements and fixes in this update in the changelog.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.15.0 - Crew Squads, Roles, and Priority Customization

Cosmoteer update 0.15.0 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam! This is a major update that adds crew squads, roles, and job priority customization. Here's how it works:

Crew are organized into "squads" of 2 or 6, where every crew bunk or quarters is a squad. If you want, you can manually move individual crew between squads by going into the crew U.I., selecting the "CREW" tab, selecting the individual crew, and right-clicking on the bunk or quarters you want to move them to.

Your ship also has one or more "roles" for its crew. Each squad is assigned a role for the entire squad, which you can do in the crew U.I. in the "ROLES" tab by selecting the bunk/quarters and then clicking the button for the desired role. Each role can have a custom name, shirt color (which is also the color of their bedsheets!), and set of job priorities. You can create up to 20 roles per ship.

To customize the name, color, or job priorities for a role, click the little "hamburger" menu button in the corner of the big role button and select "Edit Role". This will open up a window allowing you to customize the role. To customize the role's job priorities, click on the "Job Priorities" tab, which will allow you to set the priority of each job for each ship part. Each job can be set to a priority between 1 and 10, where a higher priority number will take precedence over a lower priority number (i.e., crew will do a priority 10 job before doing a priority 1 job). You can also click the "no" sign to disable that job completely for that role, so crew with that role will never do that job.

As a side-effect of switching to this new customizable priority system, the A.I. logic that controls the crew has actually been significantly simplified. Before, the A.I. would make complicated calculations to determine the priority of a given task, taking into consideration things like how much power/ammo a part already had. But that's all gone. Now, if a part needs 3 batteries, 3 "supply battery" jobs will be created, each with the same 1-10 priority (whatever priority you set that job to). Hopefully this change should make it easier to understand why your crew are doing the things that they are doing.

You can read about all the other improvements and fixes in this update in the changelog.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.15 - Bug Fixes & Balance Tweaks

Cosmoteer update 0.14.14 is now available for direct download and auto-update via Steam. This is a small update that fixes a handful of bugs and tweaks Tractor Beam balance.

Tractor Beams now take 5 seconds to ramp up to full power after firing, including when switching from pull to push or vice-versa. They also now rotate much more slowly, making it a lot more difficult to stay focused on a moving target without shutting down. These changes were made because Tractor Beams had proven too powerful at spinning and effectively disabling enemy ships in multiplayer.

You can read about all the changes and fixes in the changelog

Friday, July 5, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.14 - "Aim Assist" + Download Free on Steam!

Cosmoteer update 0.14.14 is now available for direct download and, for the first time ever, can also be downloaded on Steam, still for free! This is a small update that adds an optional "Aim Assist" to Direct Control Mode and fixes a handful of bugs.

What's New

"Aim Assist" in Direct Control Mode

The recent 0.14.12 update added the much-requested "Direct Control Mode" that allows players to manually fly ships with the keyboard and aim & fire weapons using the mouse. While the ability to fly your ship with the keyboard was well-received, many players found aiming weapons using the mouse to be too difficult, putting them at a big disadvantage.

This latest update seeks to address that problem by adding an "Aim Assist" feature. Basically, your weapons will automatically try to figure out what you're aiming at and target that thing while taking into consideration projectile speed and the target's velocity, just like they already do when you're not using Direct Control Mode.

In this GIF, we can see how the laser blasters are automatically targeting the parts of the enemy ship closest to the mouse cursor instead of firing directly at the cursor's location:

Also note the new faint-red dotted circle around the enemy ship. This indicates the ship that your weapons will aim at and is typically the ship closest to your mouse cursor. (Friendly ships will have a gray dotted circle, indicating that they are friendly and cannot be hurt.) You can also press the Alt key to lock-on to a ship, making your weapons always target that ship even if another ship is closer. Locking-on to a friendly ship will also turn on "friendly fire" against it, allowing your weapons to target and damage the friendly ship.

Aim Assist is an optional feature that is turned on by default but can be turned off in the gameplay settings.

Steam Downloads, Updates, and Cloud

By popular demand, Cosmoteer can now be downloaded and updated using Steam, the most popular digital distribution platform for PC games! To download Cosmoteer on Steam, head over to Cosmoteer's Steam page and click the "Download Demo" button on the right hand side:

(Even though it's called a "Demo", it's really the full version of Cosmoteer and is not limited in any way. Making it a demo was simply the best option for allowing the game to be downloaded on Steam without giving away the paid version for free. Please note that the demo will likely be removed before Cosmoteer launches as a paid game.)

If you don't want to download Cosmoteer using Steam, that's fine, you can still download the "standalone" version like normal. But there are a couple big advantages to downloading Cosmoteer on Steam:

First, Steam will automatically keep Cosmoteer updated, and Steam's smart patching software will only download the portions of the game that have changed instead of having to download the whole game with every update, saving you time and bandwidth.

And second, Cosmoteer supports the Steam Cloud for saved game and saved ship files, automatically backing up your games and ships and syncing them across all your computers. You can store up to a whopping 10GB of saved games and ships on the Steam Cloud. That's about 60,000 saved ship files!

Cosmoteer will display how much space you're using when saving or loading a saved game or ship:

... And more!

This update also has a handful of other fixes and improvements, which you can read about in the changelog.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.13 - Quality of Life Improvements

Cosmoteer update 0.14.13 is now available for download! This is a relatively small quality-of-life update that improves multiplayer latency (by adding support for "peer-to-peer" networking), adds an "auto" mode to Tractor Beams, tweaks mine balance, and fixes a handful of bugs.

What's New

Peer-to-Peer Networking

Prior to this latest update, playing Cosmoteer online (i.e., on a server as opposed to on a L.A.N.) required all network communications between players' computers to be routed through the server. This meant that every ship command, every gameplay update, every chat message, had to first be sent to the server, which would then forward the message to the other players. This basically worked, but created a lot of network latency (long response times to player commands) for players that were located far from the server (which is in New York, USA). For example, imagine two players in Sydney, Australia wanting to play multiplayer with each other: All of their network communications would have to travel halfway around the world to New York before coming right back to Sydney, which added a huge amount to their network latency. Wouldn't it be better if those player's computers just talked directly to each other?

It would! This is where "peer-to-peer" networking comes in: Instead of routing all network communications through the server, all the server does is help setup a direct connection between the host of the game and all the other players in it. If the players are close to each other or far from the server, this can greatly reduce latency and make multiplayer a better experience for everyone in the game!

For the most part this "just works" and you don't have to think about it at all. In some cases a peer-to-peer connection might not be able to be established, such as if you're playing on a restrictive school, work, or mobile network, or you have an unusually restrictive router. But even if a peer-to-peer connection can't be established, that won't stop you from playing, it will just mean that the network communications need to be sent through the server and you may experience more latency.

I am aware that some players may be wary of doing anything that could reveal their I.P. address to other players (especially streamers and others who may be at high risk for things like DDOS attacks and doxing). For that reason, there is also an option under the multiplayer settings to turn off peer-to-peer networking, which will force all network communications to be routed through the game server.

Multiplayer Game Searching, Sorting, & Filtering

Since multiplayer support was added to Creative Mode in the previous update, the number of multiplayer games has nearly tripled! This is awesome, but it also makes finding the ideal game for you a bit more challenging!

And so, by popular request, this new update adds the ability to search, sort, and filter the list of multiplayer games. Typing in the search box will hide any games whose game name or host name don't match what you typed. You can also sort the list of games by various things like open status, ping, and credits. And you can filter the list of games, hiding those that are closed or don't match the desired game mode, credit range, or ping.

Tractor Beam "Auto" Mode

Another commonly-requested feature was the ability to tell a tractor beam to automatically push or pull to keep the other ship at the desired distance. You can now do that! Selecting a Tractor Beam and clicking its mode button will now display a 3rd "auto" option:

When this option is chosen, the Tractor Beam will attempt to keep the targeted ship at a specific distance, automatically switching to pull when the target is too far and switching to push when it is too near. The actual distance it tries to maintain is whatever distance you set when attacking or following the ship. (If you target the tractor beam on a ship that you aren't attacking or following, it will default to a distance of 125 meters.)

Improved Mines

"Mines need a buff!", you say! I hear you loud and clear! And so they've received one: Mines now release twice the number of shrapnel, which now also flies twice as far, making it harder to avoid them:

... And more!

This update also has a number of other fixes and minor improvements, which you can read about in the changelog.

Have fun!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.12 - Play Creative Mode with your friends!

Cosmoteer update 0.14.12 is now available for download! This update allows makes Creative Mode available in multiplayer so that you can build and battle ships with your friends. It also adds ship building and repairing to Domination mode, allows the game speed to be changed or paused in all multiplayer modes, and improves the game save/load menu.

What's New

Multiplayer Creative Mode

Creative Mode can now be selected in multiplayer games! Simply select "Creative Mode" under the Game Mode drop-down.

Multiplayer Creative Mode works almost exactly like the existing single-player Creative Mode. Players can spawn any ships from their own Ship Library or create a new ship from scratch. Multiple players can edit the same ship at the same time, allowing for collaborative ship designs. Ships can then be battled against each other or given an A.I. so you can sit back and watch the carnage. You can adjust the game speed and pause at any time, and you can even see the other player's mouse cursor to make communication and collaboration easier. 

Multiplayer Creative Mode also supports saving and loading saved game files, so you can save an in-progress build session and then resume it later. All Creative Mode saved games can be loaded in both single-player and multiplayer regardless of where they were originally saved.

While most Creative Mode features are available in multiplayer, a few are not due to their low priority and difficulty making work over a network. Most notably this includes the galaxy map (multiplayer creative mode is limited to a single sector) and the battle helper.

You may also run into some issues when multiple people are building on the same ship at the same time. For example, if two players build something on the same spot at approximately the same time, one of the player's changes will overwrite the other's. Additionally, each player has their own Undo & Redo history so that when you press Undo you won't revert something that another player built, but this also means that it may run into situations where you can't undo a change you made because that change conflicts with a change that another player made.

Other Multiplayer Improvements

Thanks to technology improvements that were implemented to support multiplayer Creative Mode, the other player-vs-player multiplayer game modes have also received a couple of small improvements.

First, all multiplayer modes now support pausing and changing the game speed during the battle, although this feature must be specifically turned on by the host. (By default, no one can pause or change the game speed, but the host has options to allow either anyone or only the host to pause change the game speed during the battle.)

And second, Domination mode now allows ships to be repaired and modified during the battle. Only ships that are within their own spawn areas can be repaired or modified. The host can turn off this new feature if desired.

Improved Saved Game Menu

As a nice quality-of-life improvement, the menu for saving and loading games now shows a screenshot thumbnail of the saved game as well as the game mode (Bounty Hunter or Creative Mode) along with the existing name and date to make it easier to identify the particular save file you want to load, overwrite, or delete.

Note that while pre-0.14.12 saved game files are still supported, the screenshot thumbnail and game mode will not be displayed for them. (You can load and re-save to add those if you want.)

... And more!

This update also has a handful of other improvements and fixes, which you can read all about in the changelog.


Friday, May 24, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.11 - "Arcade" Style Ship Controls

Cosmoteer update 0.14.11 is now available for download! This update adds a "Direct Control Mode" which allows you to fly your ships "arcade" style using the keyboard and aim and fire weapons using the mouse. It also adds a handful of improvements to the regular tactical ship controls, makes balance changes to Domination mode, and has a bunch of other minor improvements and fixes.

What's New

Direct Control Mode

"Direct Control Mode" is a new mode that you can turn on that lets you fly your ship using the W, A, S, D, Q, and E keys (or the arrow keys) and aim and fire your weapons using the mouse.

To use Direct Control Mode, you simply have to enable it by pressing Ctrl+D or clicking its button:

Once enabled, you can use the W and A keys to move your ship forward and backwards, the A and D keys to rotate, and the Q and E keys to "strafe" from side to side. You can also use the mouse to aim and fire your weapons; simply move the mouse cursor to where you want your weapons to aim and click to fire.

By default, all turreted weapons like lasers and cannons are fired using the left mouse button, and all fixed-direction weapons like ion beams and railguns are fired using the right mouse button. But you can change what buttons fire which weapons by selecting the weapon, clicking its "extras" menu, and changing the binding:

There are also lots of options for customizing Direct Control Mode in the game settings. For example, if you want to fly your ship using the keyboard but want the A.I. to still aim and fire your weapons, you can disable direct weapons control. Of if you want your ship to automatically rotate to face the mouse cursor, you can turn that on too.

Tactical Control Improvements

For those of you who still prefer the existing "tactical" ship controls, don't worry, they haven't been forgotten about either! In fact, the existing ship controls have also received a couple of much-requested improvements!

First of all, the much-maligned collision avoidance is now optional on all ship commands, not just movement. To disable collision avoidance with any ship command, just hold the X key while issuing the command. Or if you'd prefer that to be the default, you can simply disable the "Enable Collision Avoidance" game setting. (The existing "Force Move" command has been removed since holding the X key while moving does the same thing.)

Another frequently-requested feature was a way to tell your ship to rotate to face an enemy ship and stay rotated toward it as it moves. This is now possible by using the "Rotate" command and clicking on another ship you want your own ship to stay facing toward. You can also face toward a specific part of another ship by holding the Ctrl key and clicking on that part.

Domination Mode Balance Updates

Those of you who enjoy the multiplayer side of Cosmoteer may appreciate some balance changes that have been made to Domination mode as a result of feedback after last weekend's PVP tournament. Specifically, the mechanics of capturing control points have changed so that, if multiple players are contesting a control point, it will no longer revert to neutral and instead will have its capture progress temporarily frozen. Additionally, the time it takes to capture a control point has been increased, and the random map generator has been tweaked to favor less distance between control points and to have spawn areas closer to the edges.

... And More!

This update also has a handful of other improvements and fixes, which you can read all about in the changelog.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.10 - Ion Beam Prisms

Cosmoteer update 0.14.10 is now available for download! This update enhances the existing Ion Beam Emitter weapon and makes it WAY cooler by adding the Ion Beam Prism. It also makes a significant change to the game mechanics of structure pieces, as well as a handful of other improvements and fixes.

What's New

Ion Beam Prism

The Ion Beam Prism is a new 2x2 exterior ship component that combines and redirects any ion beams that are shot into it, resulting in a potentially far more powerful beam:

The Ion Beam Prism is mounted on a swiveling turret and can aim in a full 360 degrees, albeit very slowly. This feature alone makes the Ion Beam Emitter a much more versatile weapon, though at a significant cost increase.

But the real power of the Ion Beam Prism lies in its ability to combine multiple beams into a single, stronger beam. This makes it easier to focus all the power of multiple Ion Beam Emitters onto a single enemy target, as well as allowing the emitters to be housed within the interior of the ship while only exposing a single or small number of (ideally well-protected) Ion Beam Prisms to enemy fire.

Combining multiple beams is not without cost though, since each additional beam contributes 25% less power than the previous beam. To maximize the power of a single ion beam, it is optimal to combine exactly two same-sized beams per prism. Combining more than two beams in a single prism, or combining two beams of significantly different sizes in a single prism, will result in considerable power loss.

Ion Beam Prisms are also very fragile, and if they are destroyed while a beam is being shot through it, the resulting ion explosion can devastate the surrounding area as well.

To use an Ion Beam Prism, just build one in front of an Ion Beam Emitter, and the Emitter will be smart enough to shoot when the Prism is aiming at the enemy. You can also link multiple Ion Beam Prisms together to form a chain by selecting an individual Prism and clicking the "Link" button.

"Structure" Mechanics Changes

The "structure" pieces (those little girder tiles that hold the ship together) have also received a significant change to how they interact with the weapons on their own ship. Previously, structure pieces would block any weapons on their own or allied ships from firing over them, meaning you couldn't put any structure in front of your weapons without blocking them. But in this update the game mechanics have changed so that your own weapons can now shoot over your own structure pieces. This should make it easier to build and use Ion Beam Prisms, as well as make it easier in general to create clever ship designs.

The way that enemy weapons interact with structure pieces is unchanged (enemy weapons will still fly over them while damaging the first structure piece), with the exception of missiles, which will now fly over structure without exploding, unless the missiles were specifically targeting the structure.

... And More!

This update also has a handful of other improvements, fixes, and modding features, which you can read all about in the changelog.


Friday, April 26, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.9 - New Multiplayer "Domination" Game Mode

Cosmoteer update 0.14.9 is now available for download! This update adds a new multiplayer competitive game mode called "Domination".

In Domination games, players vie to capture "control points". These are large, circular areas that, once captured, provide steady streams of income for the players or teams who control them. Players can then use this income to warp in new ships during the battle. Capturing more control points than your opponent will give you the upper hand to eventually defeat them.

The battle starts with most control points already owned by a player or team. To capture an enemy's control point, you must first fly one of your ships into its circle, which will start contesting it and eventually convert it to "neutral", meaning it is not owned by any team. The speed at which a control point is neutralized depends on the size of your fleet within the circle compared to the enemy's fleet within the circle.

Once neutralized, a control point can be captured and made your own simply be eliminating all enemy ships within it and defending it for a few seconds while your own ships capture it.

Final victory is assured by either capturing all control points or owning more control points than your opponent once the timer ticks down to zero.

Before the battle, you will pre-select a "loadout" of up to five ship designs. During the battle, you can spend the money you've earned from your control points to warp in new ships using any of those five designs. (And in a pinch, you can also swap out any of those five designs for any other design in your library.)

The purpose of this new game mode is to provide a deeper challenge that emphasizes having a variety of ship designs for different situations, that allows you the opportunity to counter the ships that the enemy uses, and that requires you to make strategic and tactical decisions during the course of the battle.

This update also has a handful of other minor improvements and fixes, which you can read about in detail in the changelog.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.8 - Tractor Beams

Cosmoteer update 0.14.8 is now available for download! This update adds a new support "weapon" system, the Tractor Beam Emitter.

The Tractor Beam Emitter is a very large, very expensive system that fires a beam of gravitational energy at other ships and objects. It has two modes of operation, "pull" and "push", and uses considerable amounts of power in both modes.

In "pull" mode, the tractor beam can "tether" to any object within 200 meters and then slowly pull it in with a weak gravitational force. While useful for pulling in debris and inanimate objects, that force isn't strong enough to pull in an enemy ship that is resisting it with its thrusters. However, once attached, the beam can then stretch up to 200 additional meters, and as the beam stretches, both its gravitational strength and power usage increase greatly, making the beam act similarly to a rubber band.

In "push" mode, the tractor beam acts as more of a "spring", pushing away ships and objects with a strength depending on how close the target is; closer targets will be pushed away with more force and will use more power while doing so.

Once you add a Tractor Beam Emitter to your ship, new buttons will be displayed that allow you to target the tractor beam onto other ships:

By default, tractor beams will aim for the center of the targeted ship, but you can also aim them at a specific part by holding the Ctrl key while targeting. Tractor Beam Emitters also use "pull" mode by default, which you can change by selecting the Tractor Beam Emitter and toggling their mode to "push".

Unlike all other weapons currently in Cosmoteer, Tractor Beam Emitters are "roof mounted", meaning they do not need to be placed on the edge of your ship to function; instead, they fire the beam over-top their own ship. But you'll still need to be mindful of where you place the tractor beam because they exert an "equal and opposite" force on their own ship, potentially "yanking" your ship around and exposing a weak side. (Of course, you can also use tractor beams to "yank" enemies as well!)

While Tractor Beam Emitters are the main new feature of this update, there are also a number of additional balance changes, bug fixes, and modding features.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.7 - New backgrounds, balance changes, interface improvements, and more!

Cosmoteer update 0.14.7 is now available for download! This update includes new space backgrounds and planets, balance changes, user interface improvements, new modding features for your favorite mods, and a bunch of other quality-of-life improvements and fixes.

What's New

New Backgrounds & Planets

All of the space backgrounds and planets have been updated to look a lot nicer! More importantly, they do a much better job at matching the game's overall visual style than the old backgrounds. Here are a few examples:

Balance Updates

This update also makes a number of signficant balance changes such as tweaking Cannons to emphasize short-range brawling, allowing Railgun Accelerators to increase Railgun range, making E.M.P. and Nuclear Missiles easier to shoot down, and overhauling Point Defenses to have a much longer range. You can read the detailed list of balance changes in the changelog.

User Interface Improvements

First on a long list of interface improvements is a long-requested feature: a detailed list of weapon & part statistics, which can be viewed by hovering the mouse cursor over a part and holding the Alt key:

Another long-requested feature was the ability to give ships a "creator" name and custom lore or description, both of which have been added to this update. Hovering over a ship in the Ship Library will display its name as well as creator and description, if it has any.

New and lapsed players may appreciate a revamped tutorial system with less-intrusive tutorial popups and an easier-to-navigate "How to Play" manual:

Multiplayer has also has received a number of other frequently-requested interface improvements, such as the ability for the host to assign ships to players, a button to force-start the game even if other players aren't ready, features to mute and kick players during a match, and an always-on-screen list of each player's score in Arena games.

... And more!

There are a ton more features and fixes in this update that you can read about in the changelog that weren't big enough to mention here. (Things like multiplayer performance improvements, new title screens, and math equation support when modding data files.)

Have fun!


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cosmoteer 0.14.5 - Nukes, E.M.P.s, Mines, Flak, and more!!!

At long last, after months of work, I'm very happy to finally announce that Cosmoteer's 0.14.5 update, by far the largest ever, is now done and available for download!

What's New

Tactical Nuclear Torpedoes

Tactical Nuclear Torpedoes are a new type of super-missile that cause massive damage in a large area. Unlike the conventional High Explosive Missiles, Nukes are slow, short-range, and unguided, but if you can get in close and hit them with a salvo, you can lay waste to your enemies.

Nukes are launched from the same launcher as the conventional missiles, and you can change what type of munition the launcher fires at any time, even during battle. So one tactic might be to pummel your enemy from afar with the High Explosive missiles to weaken their defenses, switch to nukes, and then swoop in close to let off a devastating nuclear salvo.

Nuclear Missile parts are manufactured by a new factory, the new Nuclear Torpedo Factory. This is a large and very expensive module that produces Nuke parts very slowly, so you'll need to be choosy about when to fire off your Nukes.

Electromagnetic Pulse Missiles

Electromagnetic Pulse Missiles, or "E.M.P.s" for short, are a new support weapon that, like Electro-Bolters, drains power from enemy systems, but does so from afar and with a large area of effect in which power gets drained. They are even faster and longer-ranged than the conventional High Explosive missiles, making them ideal for taking out the enemy's shields or disabling their engines from afar.

E.M.P.s do have an Achilles' Heel though, which is that armor will act as a "lightning rod", attracting some of the power-draining electrical bolts.

Like Nukes, E.M.P.s are fired from the regular missile launcher, which can be switched to fire E.M.P.s at any time. They are manufactured in their own factory, the E.M.P. Missile Factory.

Proximity Mines

Proximity Mines are a tactical armament that can be used to punish enemy ships for intruding into your space, for slowing down enemies in pursuit, or even, in niche situations, as a direct offensive weapon. Once a mine is launched and deployed, they will wait silently until an enemy ship ventures too close and then detonate, shooting out deadly piercing shrapnel in all directions.

The main drawback of Mines is that they need to deploy before becoming a threat, and they can only be deployed once they slow down to a sufficiently low speed, making them difficult to use as an offensive weapon on fast-moving ships.

Like Nukes and E.M.P.s, Mines are actually also fired from the regular missile launcher, meaning that you can freely switch between High Explosive Missiles, E.M.P.s, Nukes, and Mines at any time, even during battle.

They are manufactured by the Mine Factory, which uses both power and cannon ammunition to produce the mines. Unlike the other missiles, a single crewmember can carry an entire mine, making them fast to load into the launcher and fire, but they're slow to produce, so you may want to stock up on mines for when you need a lot of them.

Flak Batteries

The new Flak Battery is a large quad-barreled weapon that can fire at both enemy ships and enemy missiles, mines, projectiles, and lasers. It's a good all-around defensive system and a decent anti-ship weapon, but it's limited by its short range and very narrow arc of fire.

Like the Cannons and Railguns, the Flak Battery uses standard cannon ammunition manufactured by the Cannon Ammo Factory.

... And much more!

Nukes, E.M.P.s, Mines, and Flak are just the beginning of this update! The changelog is by far the longest ever and includes new features like revised area explosion mechanics, user interface improvements like shield health bars, balance changes, crew A.I. enhancements, performance optimizations, bug fixes, and a ton of new modding tools to make your favorite mods even more awesome.

Have fun!


Download Cosmoteer 0.14.5