2019 August Development Update

We are six weeks into alpha and we have made great progress!

If you’ve been waiting to see XO gameplay, noted YouTube streamer @ManyATrueNerd did a really excellent first look here:

Thanks @ManyATrueNerd!

Now on to our accomplishments for August, slightly shorter because I accidentally included some of August in last month’s update.


Harvesters now expand into nearby systems, which has the effect of denying space to you and driving an ultimate and more predictable end to the game.

Harvesters expanding

Color blind modes have been re-enabled and made to work better.  We put a fair bit of work into cleaning up and making this work right.

The faction relationship chart now displays +2 and -2 values.

Hovering ships now displays their ROE and current orders.  Visuals for health and weapon recharging were improved.

Hovering plans now displays plan lore in addition to the weapon that the plan allows you to replicate.

Ships now trigger a ping animation on the minimap when they jump in.  The animation also plays atop the ship that is talking.

Ship debris, prior explosions and thrust trails are now cleared between jumps.

The water riot view is now final and includes a crewmember and all the important bits you need to know during a riot.

The crew transfer got a similar makeover, but some of the work spilled into September.

Ships now move away from their target after crew transfers are successful, making it easier to select them, and also clearer that the action is complete.

The minimap is now graphically complete with the addition of triangles for ships instead of the filled placeholder blocks we were using.

The SpeechFL action allows me to have faction leaders speak, which is kind of a requirement when introducing new faction leaders to the player.

Final trade and weapon details

Weapons now show pips instead of numbers and display a 3D model and weapon lore associated with them.  Some minor alignment tweaks will be necessary, but they’re otherwise complete.

Whether or not faction leaders have been revealed is now saved.

Music and sound effects default to on when the game is first played.  Music and sound effects are now saved between games.

Ships with no weapons no longer display their ROE when hovered.

The minimap no longer shows ships until you’ve jumped in, and the new contact ping only plays once jump has been reached.

Ships that join your fleet no longer briefly show as disabled.

Disabled ships how have a diagonal bar striking them out in the fleet info view.

The requiredJump modifier now allows us to have conditions that trigger either after a specific destination has been reached, or after a second jump has been made.  The possibilities are now endless.

I figured out how to adjust the distance between the planets in the starmap, so they no longer overlap.

Hovering the jump button now displays helpful text.

Improved minimap

User Interface/3D Modeling

The interface for the starmap was improved with tooltips.

I mocked up a refactor of the trade interface for Heru.

Many tweaks were made to the new health bar to get it looking right.

I made some fixes to our 9 slice model and Heru added opacity layers to all our tooltips and UI items to improve visibility.  Well, nearly all of them anyway.

I created 3d models for weapon pips, checkboxes and checks, the disabled ship bar, models for our weapons and icons for all the weapons too.

Spacing between UI elements was made more consistent.

I improved the prototype jump in and jump out animations in preparation for their re-enablement in the game.

4 disabled ship bars


The Harvester taker loop was broken but has since been fixed.

The bizarre disembodied head bug (visible in ManyATrueNerd’s video) has been boxed.

Ships that had been harvested no longer lose their color state when restored.

A save game error was fixed that led to issues.

Saving when you have disabled shieldships now works.

An assertion failed bug was throrougly squashed by Heru, and another one related to an event.

Scanning a dismissed fleet ship no longer throws an error.

A bug related to jumping was made non-buggy.

A nasty bug related to ore selection in an event was demolished by Heru.  Then I added conditions to events and cleaned up syntax related to ore purchases.

We ended up spending a good amount of time fixing numerous issues where ships in your own fleet would attack other ships as a result of ROEs, attack orders, and crewing.  I think we’ve got it nailed now.

You can now crew a ship after you’ve put a non-faction matching crew aboard it, so they are not marooned forever.

I made a bunch of minor grammatical fixes to event text.

Improved crewing logic

I removed formations from a number of events because the formation was causing problems, and the formation added nothing to the tactical situation.

A bug related to multiple hails on a specific ship was fixed.

Some events were spawning ships right next to the battleship instead of in their proper quadrant.  This made the game really easy for a bit.  🙂

I’m getting the very strong feeling that people aren’t reading these.

The camera briefly refused to reset properly on resuming a saved game.

We fixed a bunch of things related to placement and zfighting.

Pip colors in the minimap are now properly restored.

Abandoned, disabled ships now tumble.

Weapon details no longer appear smunched when the weapon dialog box is first displayed.

Nor do details appear off screen any more.

All ROE text now pop up when hovered.

A bug that prevented crew transfer was fixed.

Crewing now works for all ships in your fleet that can accept crew.

A bug that prevented equipping ships in your fleet was fixed.

Yet more improved crewing logic


Based on feedback and observations I made the first event much more dynamic.  I also took most of the narrative about factions and added hooks in the game to trigger these events the first time a player comes across a faction, cleared things up and made it tighter.

I did a heck of a lot of event tweaking, adding conditions and narrative to many events.  I added a number of events so that there should no longer be any cases where there are no events in early game.

Ships that had the word trade in them were renamed so they no longer suggest to the player that they can be traded with as an action.

Come to think of it, I did a lot of writing last month.  Lore for all our weapons, improved faction leader text, a bunch of new events…

I made good use of the killCrew function. (cue maniacal laughter)

Certain ships don’t want to be hailed even when you have a neutral relationship, so I added text for that.

ROE hover text was added and adjusted.

Some lore and hints were clarified and made consistent.

I renamed ‘crew’ and ‘evac’ to ‘crew transfer.’

I’ve been balancing the Harvester expansion rate.  It’s not quite there yet, but it’s getting there.

The penalty for disabling a non-fleet ship was increased to -2.

I renamed the particle accelerator to the c-beam.  RIP Rutger Hauer.

Making contact at an Empire station

Beta: What’s Remaining

Bugs: as of September 9th we have less than 51 bugs that we know of, all of which are minor annoyances.

UI: We still have UI improvements that need to be made.  These range from hotkeys to visual improvements.

Events: I had to focus on early game events, so I still have the same number of late game events that I need to write and test as last month.  Many adjustments and tweaks may need to be made to existing events before beta.

End game: no work was done last month on the end game.  Functionality is complete, but balance and any other adjustments need to be made.

We’ll need to get most or all of the above done before beta.

We are still on track for beta this year, and then also this year releasing to early access on Steam.

Our pace continues to be good, and we are very excited about the feedback on the game we have gotten.  Thank you again for your support!