Its been some time since last update but that is not because of a lack of progress, quite the contrary. This update is very big so I will split it into 3-4 mini updates/dev logs a few days apart.
The first important news to get out of the way is that Star Zeal is no longer attempting to get funded on indiegogo and will release on early access. I decided to do this rather than spending all that time and effort setting up crowd funding which requires its own art, marketing and so on.
If you still want to support the development of Star Zeal, you can do so via the funding page here on this website. Support & Funding
The other important part/change to gameplay is that the RPG aspect has been made more prominent and the “god” view of typical 4x games has been removed. Essentially the game was split into two parts then joined again. The old 4x style play area now functions as a map only and then in the other is full area as seen bellow is where your character and ships are. This is kind of like an RTS view. However your empire is still controlled through the map including other fleets, colonies etc.
There has also been a lot of other progress on basically all the core features. However as mentioned above I will only make a summary here and dev log them separately with much more details in coming days.
Summary of progress and changes:
Changes to rpg/character and fleet action.
-Your empire/faction is controlled less directly, but your lead fleet more directly.
-Each ship now has a captain including player him/herself and they can be promoted to commanders of fleets.
-Leaders/characters are more directly involved, and affect not only fleets and colonies but their own ships they captain.
-Ships within fleets are unique and not mere clones of a design. They have their own cargo bays for many different kinds of items, salvaged components, crew level etc.
-Empires/Factions is more geared towards tall style than wide. Thus planets have become much more important. Colonizing is rarer and more difficult but produce much more in return if you get it right.
-Inside warp/FTL travel is now visible/playable.
Essentially what has happened is that I kept to the original goal since this is a rpg 4x hybrid, not merely a 4x with rpg elements. This way its more of an even mix of the two genres. Another good aspect is that it works better with the large procedural galaxy, emphasizing exploration/discovery more.
This is the last major change in development, I am now satisfied with the direction. It was a much harder struggle to achieve a good fit for the hybrid rpg and 4x than I had anticipated, however it seems to have worked out in the end.
While inside warp all the normal functions are still there. So you can deal with your empire/civilization business while going to your destination.
More procedural galaxy progress:
-Procedural galaxy code is now mostly complete, sectors, clusters of stars, solar systems and planets are now procedural along with that being plugged into a procedural planet texture generator. You can view all the objects from galaxy level to planets on the map and get up close and personal with your leaders fleet.
There many different kinds of planets now, from water worlds to lava planets like below. They are also generated with realistic positions from the main star. For example lava/volcanic planets can only appear near the star and more commonly in young systems in the process of forming.
-The stars and planets are now generated based on more realistic probabilities(not entirely) . You can even encounter neutron stars and black holes which will be a big deal for your civilization when you do find them.
Each cluster of stars now has the possibility of generating many different kinds of stars, some very full of planets and moons and others can be near empty. Some don’t even have planets.
Other major progress on all aspects of the game.
-The UI got a major update and change. The “god” view map is gone and replaced by more abstracted like UI map.
-Research functions on a capacity basis, so you have to build more capacity in order to hold more research points at a time.
-There are multiple types of research eg: Military, Engineering or Space Time(fancy stuff FTL related stuff), along with a generalized main research.
-Planets and Solar Systems require charting to see whats there. This also provides research points.
-Sensors tech for seeing hidden objects are part of the exploration and military aspect of the game. An entire faction can be hidden to you by this mechanic.
In conclusion for this dev log: There has been a lot of progress so stay tuned for more as early access looms in the horizon.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask right here in the comments.