Michael Makes Games

Reflector Monthly Update - September 2020

October 04, 2020

Alpha 2 is out! September was jam packed with playtesting and lots of usability tweaks. But you can check those out for yourself.

What’s next?

First will be at least one, potentially multiple, minor releases focused on more usability and performance. These are some of the priorities for that:

  • Full keyboard controls. Menus, job priorities, and zoom don’t have keyboard controls yet.
  • Make enemies easier to see. Some players haven’t seen enemies approaching until too late. That’s not supposed to be the hard part.
  • Performance improvements. Late game can get a little sluggish between turns. Eventually, I might rewrite in the core game code in Rust/wasm, but in the meantime there’s optimizations I can make in JavaScript.
  • Revisit job assignment and priorities. Job priorities confuses many players, but is important for managing your resources. I have a few ideas for improving this.
  • Interactive tutorial. I’ve had lots of requests for this. This might get pushed into Alpha 3 instead of minor 2.x release.
  • Code cleanup. It’s time to purge bad code before embarking on another major release.

That should keep me busy for a while, especially since I’m going to slow back down to a sustainable pace. But, I have a pretty good idea of what will be in the Alpha 3.

Alpha 3

  • More enemy diversity. 4 new enemy types planned, but possibly more.
  • More defensive buildings. It’s only fair if the player gets some more tricks too.
  • Gameplay experiments. I’ll be trying these out, but I’ll have to see how they play.

    • Place blueprints for colonists to build.
    • More varied maps. Maps with lots of lakes. Maps with lots of mountains. Etc.
    • Building deconstruction. Send colonists to deconstruct to get resources back.
    • Building rubble. Quickly rebuild destroyed buildings, or scavenge some resources.
    • Experiment with defensive building power management. Automatically turn off defensive buildings during the day. Other experiments.

I have tentative plants for Alpha 4 and 5 as well, but those will probably change by the time I get around to them. In general I’ll be trying to keep each Alpha a little smaller from here on out, so releases are 3-6 months apart instead of almost a full year.

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