Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Another patch, some web stuff…

Today I released version 1.12 of GSB. That fixes a ton of AI stuff, and a lot of minor UI niggles. It is pretty handy that beta testers compile lists of little UI things they notice (that as developer, you tend to become blind to).

Fixing bugs is relatively stress free, it just takes time and effort, and concentration. Improving Ui stuff, new features and new graphics are all quite stress free too. The really scary stuff seems to be balance changes. Everyone who plays the game uses different tactics, and no matter what you test, the nanosecond you release the new patch, people find some cunning way to design ships that takes advantage of a loophole you hadn’t even thought of.

That sort of stuff is inevitable with a game that involves competition, but it does make it pretty scary and time consuming to ever change anything. I concluded that missiles were not good enough, and that fighters flew too fast, but there are a dozen ways to fix both those issues, and every change has its side effects. Still, the game is much better balanced and playable that it was on first release, and despite minor niggles, I do think that on the whole it gets better with each patch. (If not, I’m wasting my life!)

In other news I added a flash widget to the GSB website that scrolls through images. It cost me actual real money! I’m no flash expert, so buying a pre-made component was worth it for me. I normally don’t like flash on websites, because it seems a bit gratuitous but…

13 thoughts on Another patch, some web stuff…

  1. On the topic of balance, I feel like some weapons are just a bit useless. Example, what is the purpose of the fusion laser? It has no advantage over the regular armor-piercing laser that makes it worth using.
    Speaking of which, armor seems at the moment rather useless. I’ve never seen a ship armored to the point where my weapons didn’t work. I would hate to see GSB become a game of hard counters. Too often it seems that pulse blasters to eat shields and lasers to eat armor (or plasma to eat both) are an end-all counter. Perhaps each weapons’ advantages should be toned down, like rather than having the laser have an armor pierce of 70, something like 30 would make armored ships more feasible. As is, a cruiser’s life ends once its shields go down.

  2. Re: Fusion Lasers: CHEAP. (As in cost, not as in lame.)


    Cliff, the balance IS getting a lot better with every patch. I wish I had as much time to spend with GSB as I did on release, but now that I’m getting back into it I am FULL OF JOY.

    I just wish I could type in a new name for my ships with the ‘rename’ dialogue on deploy, and that there was a faster ‘resolve’ speed for battles – or alternately that GSB continued to fight its battles in the background… these two things would make me a happy camper.

  3. Cliff can I suggest you stop looking at school kids presentations :)
    The zoom in, zoom out and the different styles of transitions just do not do it for me sorry. If you had not mentioned it here I would never have seen it as I use no script. I could see a get flash button yet you should have a message or box filled by a void, something that makes a user say “what am I missing here, lets enable scripts for this site”.

  4. Yeah I’m not sure what I think about flash stuff that zooms and moves and all that either, but it is pretty much in use on every big games site, and although Democracy and Kudos were never attractive to the sort of audience that expects flash-driven sites, GSB probably is. That banner thing has about a million different options, and that was just my first stab at it :D. I keep thinking I need a nicer, more animated flash menu too. Something that makes the site look less amateurish…

  5. All the UI/AI improvements and bug fixes have been great. It’s getting a lot easier to focus on the balancing of the game now, and I’m sure that will come along great also!

  6. Hey, the flash banner is awesome. Simple but it’s the first ‘focal point’ on the page and gives a great first impression. I personally think that getting too fancy with flash is distracting, so A+ good work :)

  7. i’m not sure what version of flash i have/it uses.. but normally i can see flash stuff. this just had a “go download flash” box. .. which suprised me. i’d have thought a commercial thing would run on a wider range of stuff than absolute-latest(tm)

  8. Ahah, I have found a bug – and an obscure one at that.

    When in the fleet deployment screen, if you hold control and select a whole bunch of ships, they start moving around even when you stop holding onto the mouse button. If, while these ships are still moving around, you go to the add orders tab and select an order (I was selecting Escort), the game crashes.

    I noticed that the ships also seemed to disappear when you clicked the add order button, so the program could be complaining about the absence of a ship to give an order to…

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