Boarding, 2.0 and more

I think I just broke my personal record in time between posts. I’m not sure if anyone still reads this, but I’d still like to write a post here just for future reference.

Cruiser Command is currently pretty popular on the North American servers. There are around 6 pro clans and the Cruiser Command group has over 150 members last time I checked. The European servers has few good players which has a negative effect on the community since the new players don’t have many to learn from. Therefore, the rating on EU is pretty bad compared to NA. 

If you didn’t know about it already, we recently switched domains to Cruisercommand.com. Thanks to Caladbolg for paying for the hosting. You’re awesome!

My last blog update was last year in September. It feels like a lifetime ago and now Cruiser Command is actually playable. It’s out of beta and the new terrain has been released for a long time. People seem to enjoy the map and the activity on our forums is high. The suggestions forum sees a ton of activity while the bug forum gets much less posts, which is great.

Boarding is still not out. I decided to put it on ice last year and focus on bugs and balance and some smaller features. However, it is no longer on ice and I started working on it again a month ago or so. I’ve set a deadline for it. It will probably be released as a separate beta version the 5th May. Boarding will also mark the release of version 2.0. Cruiser Command is currently at v1.93 and I’m only doing small balance/bug patches while I’m getting boarding ready.

If you haven’t already, I suggest you join the discussion on the forums.

Yet another status update

I’m super bad at updating as usual. First of all, us.battle.net linked to my site here, which is awesome. Thank you.

Let’s recount what’s happened to Cruiser Command since my last post. I was away, enjoying my vacation, when suddenly I got a mail telling me that Cruiser Command got popular on the NA servers when the 1.5 patch came but that it was dying again due to a game-breaking bug. Apparently, you were able to stack mining beams and since the beams can be used offensively, with some auto-clicking you were able to solo the enemy Battlecruiser.

This was incredibly frustrating since I was on the other side of the world with no way to fix it. As soon as I got back, I took my development version with boarding and hacking half-way implemented and fixed the bug (and many other bugs at the same time) and published it with the boarding disabled.

At the same time, I published it on the other account and removed it on the first account. This turned out to be a good thing. The old map had an average rating around 3 and the new fixed map got an average rating slightly below 5. Things were going good, but there were still a lot of bugs to fix and necessary features to implement.

Unfortunately, I was having problems with patching my European client, so I could only publish on NA. This meant that EU got no patches for 3~ weeks while NA got loads of patches. The NA community was staying steady and I implemented more features like the vote-kick and some better instructions for beginners. 

The problem came with patch 1.5.2. It made a lot of custom maps lag. For Cruiser Command, it was deadly. Most matches had 0 fps for everyone and the Cruiser command map died on the NA servers despite the great efforts from some dedicated people to keep it alive.

Meanwhile, I was able to get a relocalization program to work, so I can use the same client for both EU and NA. Publishing on EU meant a lot of bug fixes and new features for the EU community that quickly started growing again. Apparently unaffected by the lag problem.

Remember that Cruiser Command is still in beta. The terrain is almost finished and the boarding/hacking is hopefully coming soon(although it was temporarily put on ice). Fortunately, most of the bugs are fixed. If you’re playing Cruiser Command, go to the SC2 options and enable automatic replay saving. If you get a bug, please save it and upload it somewhere and post a post about it on the forums.

Patch 1.5

According to Blizzard, patch 1.5 will be released on July 31th(next Tuesday).

This is a big thing for Cruiser Command, since it’ll change the custom map scene a lot because of the arcade implementation. Unfortunately, July 31th is also the same day that I’m leaving for a 2 week vacation.

All old maps will be put in a separate category. “Other”, if I recall correctly. This means that Cruiser Command will be there for two weeks or so. Don’t fear though, the project is still active and I try to work on it as much as I can.

As for the progress on the patch, I feel like we’re almost done. I would like a more finished version, but due to my vacation and the incoming 1.5 patch, I’ll have to release an early version. It wont be as polished as I would’ve liked, but there shouldn’t be any known bugs at least.

The tutorial wont be finished, I spent most of my time working on boarding and hacking. Boarding and hacking will get more content(mostly in the form of items) added in a later patch. The terrain is almost done and I hope to have it in the patch.

I know some of you might feel let down because of the lack of patches(especially on the North American servers). This is due to several reasons. When Cruiser command dived down to close to no popularity a couple of months ago, I took that as a reason to start working on the big patch we’ve been planning for a while now. Unfortunately, it went slower than expected and Cruiser Command got popular again. Since I had a development version of CC with lots of new unfinished stuff, I couldn’t just publish it for you. 

I wanted to hide most of the new stuff and do a bug-fix patch for you. I did this for EU, but not for NA. Why? Well, I’ve had some issues with publishing on NA. Since I’m in Europe and I don’t have my own NA account, it’s not easy. Lately, this has been causing troubles. However, I recently purchased my own NA account. This means Cruiser Command will not be published by iNsSevion after the 1.5 patch but rather by iNsOmni. This has some other effects as well. You’ll have to re-bookmark the map on battle.net and all the popularity will be wiped.

Thanks for your continued support, it means a lot. Keep posting on the forums, I know I’m not super active, but I try to find time to post there occasionally.

Forums

Roflcopterv22 has been nice enough to set up a free forum for us to use. I know there’s a lot of valuable suggestions out there and they can often get lost in the blog post comments. So I hope you’ll take the time to post them in the suggestions forum. Don’t forget to read the other suggestions in there and reply what you think about them.

If you have several unrelated suggestions, put them in separate threads to keep it organized. If they’re related, keep them in the same thread.

The forum can be found at http://sc2cc.forumotion.com

Hacking preview

Here’s a preview of the upcoming hacking feature. It’s going to be released along with boarding and the new terrain as well as an in-game single player tutorial mode. It’ll hopefully be released around the same time as the SC2 1.5 patch.

Anyway, here’s the video:

Cruiser Command Tutorial

(Since a couple of weeks back, Cruiser command has become popular on the North American servers. It hovers right now on page 4 of all custom maps. Sinigang has been helping me a lot and also decided to write a tutorial to introduce beginners to Cruiser Command. Experienced players might also learn a couple of things about how the game works, that aren’t obvious while playing. I’m sorry for being silent for so long, I’ve been working hard on the map. I’ll probably try to do a new post soon)

Cruiser Command: The Definitive Guide!

By Sinigang

First off, WELCOME TO CRUISER COMMAND!!  The addictive Battlecruiser command game which has evolved from early beginnings in Starcraft 1 and Warcraft 3 to the game sitting before you!  This game is feature packed, and pretty complex, but, as many readers may be sitting either in a game lobby or at a loading screen for the very first time, we will begin a quick How To Play.

Noob Guide!

When the game starts, you will be standing with your team on the top level of the battlecruiser.  Below you are the engineering consoles; power management, and construction.  To your left and right are missile bays, and above you are the elevators and the bridge.  The bridge is where the business of flying the cruiser happens (via the navigation console).  Also on the bridge you will find the weapons console and the drone management.

Your objective is very simple.  Destroy the enemy Battlecruiser! To do this you will need to:

  • Harvest minerals using mining craft
  • Refine those minerals using the refinery in the hangar
  • Craft those minerals into useful components- such as weapons, tools, ships, and upgrades
  • Use those weapons and ships to successfully overpower the enemy cruiser!

Mining:

As a new player, you will probably be asked to start mining.  Generally, in a full game of 6v6, one player captains the cruiser, another (experienced) runs power and engineering tasks, and the rest of the crew take piloting roles.  To begin mining, proceed down the elevators (either one will do), and you will find yourself in the hangar.  The bottom half of the hangar contains four pilot consoles- from which you can control small pilotable ships.  Walk onto a console, select the ship you want (the miner), and click launch ship in the bottom left of the console window.  The view will transition to a space view, and the your mining vessel will launch from the larger battlecruiser.

Flying a mining vessel:  Flying a ship often presents new players with difficulty.  Here are the basic techniques:

  • First off, press ‘x’ to cut all engines and stop the ship.  Hitting things is bad.
  • Mouse clicks orient your craft, and pressing the middle mouse button down and dragging will change your view relative to your ship.
  • W and S keys are used to control engines.  Know that movement speed is a function of engine speed, but the correlation is not instant, and yes your craft has a bit of inertia.
  • Press E when your craft is stopped and near an asteroid, and then click on the asteroid to begin mining it.
  • Press Q when your craft has built enough energy to supercharge the mining laser and mine more quickly.
  • Press T when your craft has 250 energy or more to activate a turbo jump.  This is useful when escaping enemies, but take care not to jump into rocks or other ships.
  • Press R when you have collected minerals to return them to the ship for refining.

The Minerals:  There are four types of minerals in Cruiser Command, Veldite, Chalcorium, Pyromanite, and Kermiculite, commonly called by colors – Gold, Blue, Red, and Green respectively.

  • Veldite is the most common and is used in all constructions.  Because of this requirement, and despite it’s relative frequency of spawn, teams often experience shortage of this mineral.
  • Chalcorium is used for energy related tasks, such as upgrades for shielding, ships, and the fusion core.
  • Pyromanite is a key component of weapons – missiles, and offensive equipment.
  • Kermiculite is the rarest, only spawning on specific events.  It is used for high level upgrades and equipment, and engagements often occur within or around these deposits.

Refining

The next step in the mineral process is refining.  to refine minerals, unload them from the mining ship or pick them up in the center of the hangar, and place them in the refining area, which is at the top of the hangar.  Simple enough.

Flying Fighter Craft

Fighter ships such as Wraiths, Corvettes, and Destroyers all have frontal weapons of some sort, and are generally faster fliers than the capital ships.  Flying a fighting craft is much the same as flying a miner, make sure to know and use the hot keys for the attack abilities.

Engineering

As a new player, you likely won’t be involved in much engineering, but you may be called upon to perform basic tasks such as missile loading.  Suffice to say, items are stored in the storage window accessed via the construction console, and you may remove an item by clicking on the number next to it.  Missiles may then be loaded into missile bays by right clicking the missile in the inventory, and left clicking inside the missile bay.  New players should stay away from purchasing ships or items unless directed to do so, and in all cases, should stay away from the power console; because people will be mad at you.

The Captain’s Chair

As a new player, stay away from this one for a little bit.  Many players find cruiser to cruiser combat very challenging, simply based on the nature of the laser broadsides, and there is a lot of team direction involved here that you probably aren’t ready for.

All that said, grab a miner, go to work, and have fun out there!

Consoles and their function:

Now that you have a basic understanding of the game, I shall proceed with a more in depth discussion of the various console’s and their functions.  This discussion needs must include, of course, discussion of the various team roles associated with the consoles, and therefore tips and appropriate strategy pertinent to each specific position shall be incorporated.

The Navigation Console

The Navigation console will generally be occupied by an experienced and trusted player.  For most purposes this player is referred to as the Captain or Nav, although in some circumstances derogatory terms may be applied.  This is the player who is assigned direct control of the battlecruiser’s navigations through space, and therefore, possesses primary responsibility for the outcome of any engagement in which the team may be involved.

Of Teams and Captains

It must of course be noted that Cruiser Command is often played in prearranged teams.  Such teams often make use of a designated captain who is trusted to fly well and make appropriate decisions.  In such a case where a captain is not pre-designated, such as in the case of random teams, the issue is often decided by a race to the navigation console.

Flying, positioning, and Defense

The Navigator or Captain pilots the battlecruiser much the same as any other small ship, but, especially early in the game, assumes certain defensive responsibilities.  Generally, throughout the game, the captain is assumed to play defensively and remain in such a position as to directly support and protect the team’s miners in the case of an enemy attack.  This is most true during the first few minutes of play, where enemy wraith raids are common, but the principle holds true throughout.  During engagements with the enemy, which are often centered about desirable mineral deposits, a judicious captain will often engage in ‘shielding’, which is simply the process of placing the team’s cruiser (hopefully running full battle shields)  between a friendly miner and the laser barrages of an enemy cruiser or other fighting craft.

Beyond this direct responsibility for the health of the team, the captain also possesses responsibility for much information on enemy positions.  A primary ability of the Navigation console is the radar ping, which provides the team with the positions of all enemy craft on the map.  A captain must be ready to interpret this information in a meaningful manner, and direct economic and defensive resources accordingly.

Combat

In any engagement in which the Battlecruiser is involved, the Captain assumes a vital role.  Based off location information, a captain must foresee engagement, direct the preparation of missiles, oversee power management, and of course, actually perform the flying, aiming, and positioning involved in ship to ship combat.  While this is a fairly complicated task, the stress can be somewhat alleviated through the presence of a competent team, especially a dedicated engineer.  Needless to say, a new or unresponsive team can cause extreme frustration.

During combat, a captain must shield allies, direct repair efforts, direct laser broadsides, and occasionally coordinate with the weapon’s tech to fire missiles.  All of these skills require a working knowledge of the game systems as they pertain to shielding, energy, repair, and weapons dynamics.  Rather than discuss these topics here and now in excruciating detail (maybe later), it will be assumed that any aspiring captain will have this understanding when they take the helm, hopefully based on many hours of prior play.

The Power Console

Use of the power console (at least in an effective manner) requires some prior understanding as to the appropriate energy levels and settings for a given situation.  The power engineer must work closely with the captain of the cruiser in order to respond effectively to external events and act with appropriate foresight.  Any advice as to power settings provided here may of course be overruled by the necessities of a particular situation.

Energy Levels

Much of a power engineer’s function is based around the maintenance of  appropriate energy levels.  Cruiser energy may be read from the battlecruiser status window at any time.  In general, energy deficits are to be avoided, and if the energy levels fall too low, loss of cruiser power (including engine and weapon function) will result.  Skilled engineers will effectively manage power consumption in response to changing situations.

Engine Power

Generally, engine power is determined by the immediacy of the the enemy presence, as well as the desires of the captain.  Engine power should be kept fairly low (below the initial setting) for most of the game to better build up the cruiser batteries.  On occasion, captains may ask for short term engine boosts, especially while travelling to new locations via turbo boost.  Other times, especially during combat, engines may be sacrificed in favor of shield power.

Shields

Shielding is an integral part of any cruiser defense system, and shielding combined with active maneuvering serves to protect your cruiser’s hull from damage, preventing hull fires and rubble from hampering and incapacitating crew members.  The specific shield levels at any given time should be related to the need for defense as compared to the desire for extra battery power.  Shield power, in most cases, should be dictated by the captain, but a judicious power engineer may incorporate radar and enemy position information into an informed shielding plan.  A Battlecruiser should never be fully without shields.  Higher levels of shielding contribute to energy drain, and this effect should be balanced against the need for defense.

Weapons

Weapons are another category into which an engineer may direct Core energy.  Higher levels of weapon energy output will reduce the likelihood that a cruiser will run down it’s weapon energy.  Running out of weapon energy will prevent the cruiser from firing laser broadsides – a potentially fatal occurance.

Fusion Core Output

Fusion core output is the rate at which energy is generated – the rate at which the battlecruiser’s capacitors are charged.  The output level is also directly related to the rate of change in fusion core stability.  A higher core output will result in continually declining core stability, but an increased capacitor charge rate.  Conversely, a lowered core output (below 100%) will result in increasing core stability, up to 100%.  A Fusion core may be overpowered up to 200%, but this state will quickly deplete core stability.  Additionally, power malfunctions – disruptions of engine power, console use, and lighting, as well as capacitor charging will result more frequently the lower the core stability.  Power malfunction events even have the chance to alter energy settings, including core output settings.  Should core stability ever reach 0%, the cruiser immediately detonates.  Avoid this.  This is bad.

Battle Settings

The particular settings that an engineer uses during an engagement will depend largely upon the preference of the captain.  Generally, if an engagement is foreseen (generally due to the formation of a kermiculite deposit), the captain will request battle settings – which generally encompasses a decrease in engine power, and a sharp increase in shielding.  If the engagement is likely to be short, an experienced power engineer may choose to overpower the core in favor of heavier shielding, but, as this dictates an extended period of stability recovery afterwards, this should be undertaken very carefully, if at all.

Generally, a power engineer should remain responsive to the situation and cooperate well with the captain of the vessel.  Good engineering requires a solid understanding of the power mechanic and the way that game events can both influence it and be changed by appropriate handling of the power console.

The Construction Console

The construction console, located just right of the power console, on the top floor of the cruiser, is where purchase of all upgrades, equipment, and weapons takes place.  This console is divided into Cruiser Upgrades, Ship Upgrades, Cruiser Weapons, Ship Weapons, Equipment, Consoles, and Storage.

Cruiser Upgrades:  A number of useful upgrades that pertain to the function of the battlecruiser are found here.  Additionally, cruiser repairs may also be purchased at this console.

  • Improved Refining:  The improved refining upgrade is an important part of any long term team stratagem.  Application of full refining upgrades can double refined mineral output, resulting in a huge economic advantage.  Frequently, this upgrade is the first one purchased by a team upon their acquisition of kermiculite.  Special strategies which pertain to the Improved Refining upgrade are mainly the partial refining – upgrade cycle of kermiculite; in which returned kermiculite is refined in piecemeal fashion, to allow for upgrading and increasing returns of the refining process.  A team may also choose to delay refinement of excess minerals until such time as this upgrade is acquired, to allow for better economy.  Improved Refining is also a prerequisite for the purchase of a mass replicator console.
  • Hull Repair:  This is a big one.  Should your cruiser ever sustain hull damage, the price of this upgrade will instantly restore 1% of total hull integrity, with an additional 5% applied over a short time frame, as the nanobots go to work.  This upgrade is the chief reason that an engineer on the construction console can be useful during an engagement with the enemy.
  • Enhanced Stabilizers:   A bit of a luxury, this upgrade can increase the accuracy of both missile fire and broadside ATA lasers, as well as provide the captain with additional maneuverability.  Teams may find, early game, that the cost of this upgrade is a bit pricey for the benefits (in terms of kermiculite), and certainly most experienced captains can fly well without it.  One useful application of this upgrade is the spiraling boost, a technique during which the captain of the ship fires boosters and turns about an enemy, firing broadside lasers.  This maneuver decreases shield damage to the ship in question, and cannot be countered effectively unless the enemy has also purchased Enhanced Stabilizers.  This is an excellent method of dodging enemy missiles while still handing out damage.
  • Hardened Shielding:  Certainly a worthwhile upgrade, this upgrade provides a boost of 8% shield strength with every upgrade.  In a game where both team’s power output and shielding are matched, this upgrade can save valuable energy and provide a cruiser with an edge in battle.  Purchase of this upgrade also enables a shield boost ability (power console), which can be useful during a fight.
  • Yamato Cannon:  This is the ultimate cruiser weapon.  Used in a manner similar to a missile, this energy blast can deal lots of damage, and interrupt enemy energy settings.  Pricey, but effective.  Very useful in situations wherein a team is out of veldite.
  • Fusion Core:  Another critical upgrade for any long game, the fusion core upgrade increases core output by 15gw with each level.  The power engineer (and therefore the team), especially later in the game, will be very grateful for the leeway and additional energy stores that this upgrade provides.

Ship Upgrades

  • Scanner Sweep:  This mining upgrade is usually an early game purchase- at least the first level of it.  Although most miners simply mine all rocks in sight, this upgrade can help pilots to be judicious about asteroid priority, and provide needed minerals in a more timely fashion.
  • Reinforced Hull:  A useful upgrade, both defensively and offensively, this can increase the survivability of friendly miners and wraiths.  Increased survivability in this regard can translate to increased mining income, and more effective raiding of the enemy miner fleet.
  • Improved Mining Laser:  Generally an early game upgrade, this purchase increases the rate at which friendly miners extract resources from rocks by 10% per level.  Definitely a must have.
  • Enhanced Thrusters:  This upgrade provides a 10% speed boost to small ships with each purchased level.  This can result in increased survivability of small ships, as well as reduced energy drain on miners and fighter craft during movement.
  • Vessel Energy Upgrade:  This energy upgrade is often overlooked, but can be useful for upper level fighting ships which rely heavily on energy, such as the corvette and destroyer.  Each level of this upgrade provides an additional 1gw of power output to each small vessel.

Cruiser Weapons:  The missiles.  This is the fun part.  Note that hull damage will not be applied until shields of target craft are depleted.  All missile impacts with a ship’s hull have the potential to cause hull fires and rubble blockages which can incapacitate and inconvenience crew members.

  • Piranha:  A light, anti cruiser missile, the Piranha deals light damage, and exhibits excellent tracking ability.
  • Scorpion:  A light anti fighter/miner missile, the Scorpion deals light damage, and is a cluster missile.
  • Wasp:  A light EMP missile, the Wasp deals light damage, and has the potential to change energy settings and reduce power reserves on the affected ship.
  • Predator:  A heavy, long ranged, anti cruiser missile, the Predator deals moderate damage, and has a limited tracking ability.
  • Sabretooth:  A heavy EMP missile, the Sabretooth deals heavy damage to shields, and lighter damage to hulls, and can impact energy settings, core stability, and energy reserves.
  • Hellfire:  A heavy anti cruiser missile, the Hellfire is a favorite among players.  It deals  moderate damage, and is more likely to cause incapacitating fires aboard the enemy ship.
  • Merculite:  The ultimate missile, the Merculite Heavy missile deals heavy damage, and excels at incapacitating enemy crew members.  The Merculite also exhibits excellent tracking ability.

Equipment:  Portable equipment to be used by a marine.

  • Revive kit:  Pretty darn important.  If you have a man down, purchase one of these and use it to heal the injured marine.  It is worth it to carry one of these in the case that a nearby marine is incapacitated and you do not have access to the construction console due to rubble.
  • Repair kit:  Does NOT repair the battlecruiser’s hull.  This kit removes all rubble in the targeted area.  For reasons similar to the revive kit, this is worth carrying.
  • Small Shield Generator:  A piece of equipment to be loaded into a small ship, this shield generator will provide a regenerating shield, which can provide an excellent, life saving buffer during dogfights, or while on extended miner raids.

Ship Weapons:

  • EMP Mines:  The EMP mine is a useful tool in the hands of an experienced mine layer- this mine activates upon proximity, and will chase an enemy ship, dealing shield damage and slowing it significantly.
  • Opposer Mines:  The default mine, purchasing this upgrade for a ship will increase the mine layer’s payload.  This mines activate upon proximity, seek, and deal moderate damage.
  • Counter Missiles:  For use by any ship which expects to be fired at by the main cruiser.  These missiles fire on use and will seek and destroy active enemy missiles.

Consoles

  • Tractor Beam:  The tractor beam console requires full upgrade of the enhanced stabilizer upgrade, and allows the operator of the console to push or pull an enemy ship.  This is useful in preventing enemies from escaping, as well as in escaping yourself, should it become required.
  • Mass Replicator:  An energy to mass conversion unit, this console allows for the direct purchase of minerals using the cruiser’s energy store.  Price point is 3000 energy per 10 Veldite, Chalcorium, or Pyromanite; and 15.000 energy per 10 Kermiculite.  This is expensive.  Not to be used frivolously.

Storage

Within the construction console is kept all items purchased by the team.  These items may be removed from the console in groups of 1x, 5x, or 10x, and will be placed on the ground next to the console.  The items may then be picked up and used by the marine.

The Weapons Console

The operation of the weapons console is fairly straightforwards.  The weapons tech has access to any loaded missiles in the missile bays, as well as to an omnidirectional laser turret.  The role of the weapons tech is to fire missiles once the captain has brought the ship in line, and also provide laser defense in the case of wraith harass, or other small ship event.  For optimal effectiveness, the weapons tech should communicate closely with the captain so as to minimize the wasted time between laser broadsides and use of missiles.

The Pilot Console

The piloting consoles, present in the lower portion of the hangar, are the gateway to any use of small ships.  From here, ships may be purchased, outfitted, and launched.  The available ships at the start of the game are three mining vessels, and one wraith.  Purchasable ships include the Mine layer, the Chomper, the Corvette, and the Destroyer.  All of these ships will be discussed in detail later.

The Tractor Beam

As previously stated, the tractor beam operator exerts a force (push or pull) on a targeted enemy ship.  This ability has numerous applications in both combat, as well as miner disruption or protection.

The Mass Replicator

As above, the mass replicator allows for the purchasing of additional minerals for an energy price.  Price point is 3000 energy per 10 Veldite, Chalcorium, or Pyromanite; and 15.000 energy per 10 Kermiculite.  As this is expensive, any use should probably be cleared with the larger team (specifically the power engineer and captain) before purchases occur.

Small Ships and Their Function

This tutorial is a work in progress- additional information will be added, along with a planned strategy guide.

An opening and a concept.

(Sorry for the lack of pictures. I might add some later on)

There’s always a lot to do but I manage to find time to sneak in some development time of Cruiser Command. However on my free time I often prioritize working on Cruiser command over giving you an update.

Writing a post takes a significant amount of time since I like to take my time to make them good instead of throwing something together in 5 minutes.

There are two things I want to talk about today. First of all, I want to bring you up to date to what’s happening and what we’re working on. I’ll talk about some of the new ships we’re implementing and I would like you take your time to think through the concepts I talk about. Are they interesting? Are they balanced? and most of all, are they fun?

The second thing I want to talk about is an opening in the team. Basically, we need a terrainer who knows how to do space ship interior. If this is interesting, read below.

We’ve had several testing sessions in the past months. Each testing seems to result in us finding some fatal bug that makes everything else completely fail. So we’ll fix the bug and test again which will lead to us finding yet another fatal bug. However, if you asked me now, I’d say there’s no big bugs left (hahaha)

Currently, I’m working on several things. I’m working on implementing two additional small ships(which will bring it up to a total of 6 small ships compared to WC3’s two). I’m working on adding a detailed status dialog that’ll show what areas are damage and how much as well as the current shields/hull/speed/energy/core/amount of loaded missiles. I’m working on implementing the core energy features. I think we’ve decided to make those available from start. So you wont have to purchase a new console to control the core. I’m also in the middle of fixing the energy system for the small ships and when I’m done with that, I’d like to add purchasable consoles.

So let’s talk about the new small ships that I’ve been implementing lately. First of all we have the Chomper(Name is WIP). The Chomper is a high-end mining. It is interesting because it’s fundamentally different from the normal mining ship and it with good coordination, you can use it to gain a significant income boost. How is it different from the normal miner? Have a look:

Advantages:
Mining is almost instant
The Chomper has a greatly increased inventory size

Disadvantages:
The Chomper is incredibly slow.
The Chomper has no mining laser. It swallows the asteroids whole and process them inside. This means it has to get into melee range to mine an asteroid.
The Chomper has no return cargo ability. It has to return manually to the ship to load off the minerals it has collected.

As you can see, it has quite a few disadvantages. It’s not always a good idea to use it, but if you can use the battlecruiser to transport it between asteroid fields that your other small ships have found, it can quickly devour the entire asteroid field.

The other ship I wanted to talk about is the mine layer. In Warcraft 3, mines were mostly annoying and could be deployed by the fighter. In our version, we decided to create a ship dedicated to mine laying. We’re planning to have around 4-5 different mine types.

How will the mines work? Basically, when you purchase a Mine Layer ship(you don’t have one by default) you start with the basic mine. When you launch your ship, you have the ability to lay the basic mine. It has a small cooldown(around 5-8 seconds) to prevent spam. It also has X charges(As of now, X = 25 but it’s could be changed at any time). This means, when you’ve used up all your mines, you can’t lay any more mines. You have to dock into the battlecruiser for it to automatically recharge.

How do you get the other mines? Well, there’ll be mine modules available for purchase for each type(including the basic mine). If you purchase a specific mine module and equip it into your ship, you’ll enable the ability to lay the mine of the same type as the module you equipped. Now if you want to, you can fill the entire ship’s inventory with mine modules. Each module will increase the amount of charges by that many. So if one EMP mine module gives 15 charges, equipping 3 of them will give you the ability to lay 45 of them until you have to go back and dock with the battlecruiser to recharge. So equipping a Basic Mine Module will increase the charges from X to 2X.

How will the mines attack and target? It will be different from mine to mine. Some mines will be stationary and just sit there until a ship comes into range. Some will have a timed life after which they die. Some mines will have a tracking system that allows them to follow targets that get too close. First of all, as of right now, if you run into allied mines, they’ll explode just as they normally would. However, allied mines wont chase you, only enemies. Mine Layer ships have some extra defense. Mines wont target and chase a Mine Layer Ship on the other team. We might make Mine Layer ships immune to friendly mines as well, but I don’t know yet. I would love your feedback on this.

The Mine Layer has one more ability to help with its role. It has the ability to defuse a mine. Defusing a mine will require you to stand still and it’ll have a small(3-5 second) casting time. Defusing it will remove it from the map and add it to the ship’s charges. So if you have 25 basic mine charges and defuse an enemy basic mine, you’ll have 26 basic mine charges. This also means that if you haven’t purchased a specific mine module(EMP Mine Module for example) but your enemy has, you can defuse his mines and use them yourself.

Team opening

If you’ve tested the map on battle.net, you might be confused as to why the terrain is so simple. You might’ve seen pictures of great looking terrain and now it’s nowhere to be seen. That terrain was made by a good friend of mine, called Syndrome.

Syndrome is a very busy guy, especially with University and everything. Both me and Exvuo are horrible terrainers while Syndrome on the other hand is an amazing one. Unfortunately, I’m starting to have a need of the more advanced terrain to implement some of the more advanced features. In the final version of the map, I see the map most likely with Syndrome’s terrain but in the meantime I want something that looks pretty and is usable.

I haven’t been able to get a hold of Syndrome lately to talk about this(and if you read this, I would love to talk to you about this a.s.a.p, just hit me up on skype at any time) but he’s an awesome guy who’s been contributing to a lot of things beside terrain. We’ve spent a lot of nights discussing concepts for Cruiser Command and it’s always been very interesting.

I digress, basically I would want someone with the following:

  • Terraining Skills (Experience with Space ship interior or sci-fi terraining in general is a huge plus)
  • Skype
  • Time

If you’re interested, write in the comments with your skype name. After I’ve added you on skype, we’ll talk more details. I’ll want a small sample to see if it the style I’m looking for. I want to clarify that all the terrain you make might not make it to the final version. I might take parts from different people and different terrainers or whatever. I’m interested in making the best map possible, and I hope you do to.

So far, so good

Hey, as I said yesterday, the project is going fine so far and the project is starting to really take shape.

The Skype chat currently contains 18 people and although we haven’t got any big testing goings, I’m hoping to do that in a week or so.

The Physics System that Exuvo implemented back in December is working really well. We’ve implemented all projectiles into that system as well and it makes it really easy to implement custom movement and guided missiles.

Here are some examples of things that was extremely easy to make with this new system:

Here’s a picture of one of the three(!) new ships that we’ve implemented since Christmas. It’s a corvette and it’s a slower and more durable kind of ship compared to the quick and agile Wraith fighter. You can see an allied miner in front of it and an allied wraith to the right. The enemy ship with a green shield around it is an enemy corvette using its Reflective Shield ability. The Reflective Shield ability makes enemy projectiles bounce off harmlessly off the shield. This would be just about impossible to do with the standard movers but with our system, it’s a walk in the park(as long as you get the geometry working correctly). You can also see the Corvette firing a photon barrage of three projectiles in a cone in front. Making several projectiles launch in different angles with one single ability is a minute’s work at most.
1

Here’s the wraith showing off the EMP ability(The trail doesn’t show up properly in the picture but it looks better in-game). I want each ship to have at least one unique ability that fits its role. The Wraith has an EMP that it can launch in any direction. The EMP moves fast and will turn off the engine if it hits an enemy ship (Battlecruisers are immune). Turning off the engine of an enemy miner can be very deadly to the miner if the enemy isn’t very fast to react but even then it’ll have lost a lot of speed.
2

Here’s the fighter equipped with the counter-missile item(the item is consumed when used so that’s why it’s not in the inventory on the picture). The counter-missile item fires out a projectile that quickly splits into four counter-missiles in each direction. The four counter-missiles will home in on nearby enemy projectiles and destroy them. If there are no nearby enemy missiles they will keep on going outwards until their 5 second life runs out.
3

I also experimented with combining different models into a new ship. This is what I came up with:
4

As you might’ve noticed, we’ve done a lot of work on new ships. Don’t worry though, we’ve added several new upgrades, more AI features, fixed more bugs and added several additional features(for example the ability to deposit and withdraw items into a ship when it’s docked). I just wont talk about all of it right now(mostly because I forgot most of what we’ve done)

Long time, no post

I just wanted to write this for the people who are not in the beta. I am sorry for not writing for a long time but we’ve all been busy. The project is far from dead and we’re making good progress.

I will do a bigger write-up in a couple of days with new information and some screenshots. It should be nice.

Beta test take one

The beta testing officially started yesterday and it was mostly to see how playable it is. We found several bugs that we’re now working hard to fix so you can continue testing. The first test was made on European servers since publishing on NA servers requires more work for me. I absolutely intend to publish it on NA servers but I want something that you can actually play properly so you can find all the small hidden bugs instead of having game-breaking bugs ruin it from the start.

I don’t know how interesting this is to read but I thought I’d mention what bugs we ran into. I’d also like to mention that I set up a google docs form where you can submit suggestions and bug reports. It can be found here.

Here are some of the bugs we found:

  1. Leaving players keep their marine. This sucks if the leaving player is standing in an important console since it’s then inaccessible to everyone else.
  2. Each time a player enters the missile console, the camera zooms out to space view for player 1.
  3. The camera starts following the wrong battlecruiser sometimes. This was actually caused by 2.
  4. The hangar seems to mess up a lot due to an unknown cause. It prevents you from launching miners because they’re supposedly out in space even though they’re not.

I fixed 2 which in return fixed 3. 1 is easy to fix and I’ll do it when I have time. I don’t know the cause of 4. but I added some better debug messages for it. If you try to launch a ship and it tells you it’s already launched it should give you more output and tell you to talk to me. The easiest way to do this would be to submit a bug report in the form I previously linked.

We Swedes celebrate most of Christmas on Christmas Eve so I’ll be busy with family and friends tomorrow and some time after.

Since I probably wont post another blog post in the coming week, I would like to take the opportunity to say: Merry Christmas and a happy new year! Thanks for supporting us and giving us suggestions, we really appreciate it🙂

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