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

Gratuitous Space Battles 2 Updated to 1.38

A long list of fixes, tweaks and improvements this time for Gratuitous Space Battles 2. Here is the full list:

Version Release 1.38 July
1) Fixed bug when toggling between fleets in a custom map, where the player fleets icons would not re-load.
2) Fixed bug where ship components that spun are were not composites ignored applied custom textures.
3) Fixed bug where textures may display wrongly in some cases on the ship design screen.
4) Fixed bug where green ship running light did not appear.
5) F2HullMod 8 can now be colored correctly.
6) Zyrtari ship components now ordered correctly.
7) Fixed bug where the game could crash if you beat the first campaign mission when trying to autoload the next one.
8) Point defense beams now oscillate wildly around missiles traveling too fast for them to intercept.
9) Weapons that deliberately do zero damage (like decoys) no longer qualify as least damage done in the post-battle stats.
10) Contrails now correctly drawn even on complex multi-layer fighter & gun ship designs.
11) Ship module comparison window now shows extra data for shield penetration vs resistance.
12) Point Defense weapons now display tracking speed.
13) Missile modules now display missile speed.
14) Balance Change: Frigate/Destroyer Anti-fighter missile Range boosted from 800 to 900.
15) Balance Change: Frigate/Destroyer Anti-fighter missile Damage effectiveness changed to 100% vs Hull, 25% vs Shield.
16) Balance Change: Frigate/Destroyer Anti-fighter missile Firing interval reduced from 2900 to 1500.
17) Fixed text spillover on the messages screen.
18) Added new feature: messages in your inbox now contain a button to jump to the challenge if appropriate.
19) Added new window that shows effectiveness of point defense weapons vs missiles when you select the tracking attribute for one.

The ones in bold are the ones I think really matter. These are things that make the user experience of the game so much smoother. Making comparisons between modules and selecting the right tool for the job just got a lot easier. Since this patch uploaded I’ve been working on a fairly ambitious change to the way shields are drawn, and it looks like it just cannot be done, but its helped me find and fix some other minor graphical glitches as I do it, so hopefully its not time wasted. I may do a long technical blog post about what I was attempting and why it didn’t work at some point.

In the meantime you can grab the game from the link below:


In other news Tim is still beavering away on the code for Big Pharma, you can read about the upcoming patch for the game which includes patents and custom games over at his blog here.


So how about that big pharma game huh?

So big pharma is now being played, in beta, by the general public. And apparently, by most of you, looking at the sale figures. Yikes. We had a few ‘eek the payment provider is overloaded’ and ‘errr…do we have enough keys’ moments over the last few days. And naturally you won’t hear too much from the designer/programmer Tim, because he is crushed under a weight of feedback and working around the clock to churn out a patch that fixes any major issues. Still, its a beta, and it seems to be extremely stable, and very, very popular, which is good.

Nobody who has not shipped a game can really understand just how stressful the first 2-3 hours are after you press the ‘for sale’ button. For Tim, its a case of finding out if his game idea was any good and if his programming is stable, with potentially hugely embarrassing consequences if it crashes for everyone and nobody likes it / buys it. For me (publisher) its finding out where the ball lands on a six-figure roulette wheel bet that was placed a year ago. Stressful either way.

But it turns out that everything is going to go pretty well, because people seem to love it. And obviously me and Tim both think the game is awesome, but you never know. You get too close to it. When I play Gratuitous Space Battles 2, all I see is stuff I want to fix. I have to force myself to step away from my own work and try to evaluate it, and that is HARD.

Anyway, in case you missed the news, Big Pharma is currently in beta, and its doing very well. We have a lot of lets play coverage already, and hopefully some websites will be doing previews. Get in touch with me if you are a site that needs a copy. And if you are a gamer that enjoys Tycoon games, Business sims, Strategy and maybe a side-order of puzzle, you will really like the game, so hit the big phat link below and grab a copy right away :D. (Windows only for now…)

Big Pharma is on sale RIGHT NOW

Yup you read that, the strategy/management/cure-em-up developed by Twice Circled and published by us is now taking pre-orders with beta access from the ‘official’ site. You get a steam key with your purchase, for people worrying about that (but its not active yet). This is another of those ‘externally developed but published by us’ games, which I’m really quite getting into these days. I have to admit I am horribly, horribly addicted to Big Pharma already. Its got the balance of strategy, difficulty and fun absolutely spot on, and I even find myself humming the music when I’m not playing. I think its going to be pretty popular. Check out the buy link:

If you aren’t sure what the hell I’m talking about, check out the trailer below…

As ever with new indie games, getting people to hear about a new release is just HELL. The best system seems to be to beg people to tweet, retweet and like/share it on facebook, reddit and similar sites, so if you do any of that for this game, know that we really appreciate it. And if you have a youtube channel and want to monetize lets play footage of the game, know that we are fine with that too. If you have a bazillion followers on youtube, and you want a free copy of the game, then email cliff at positech dot co dot uk. And any journalists wanting to cover the game, or interview Tim (or even me!) about it, please do get in touch. Looking for the press kit? It’s here.
And if you get stuck/have feedback, we have a forum for the game set up here.

Beta release date announcement (Big Pharma)

Guest post by Tim Wicksteed (Twice Circled):

Yep, that’s right. Here it is:

4th June 2015

Just to be super clear: That is the date that anybody who has access to a PC and an internet connection will be able to go to the official Big Pharma website and buy a copy of the game.

We’re calling this a “preorder beta”. What that means is you are essentially preordering the full version of the game (since that’s what you’ll be getting eventually) but you’ll get instant access to the beta.

Big Pharma game beta release date announcement.

To mark the announcement, we’ve switched to a fancy new website which I hope you’ll agree makes the old one look a bit shabby in comparison (can you believe I have actually been paid to do web design in the past?). It’s also where you can find all the key facts, minimum hardware requirements and a little information about what to expect from the beta and beyond!

So head over there now! –

Extra little sub announcement. I’m planning to do my first ever Twitch stream on the day of beta release. Assuming I’m not inundated with bugs/complaints, I’ll try to keep the stream going all day. That way anybody who is on the fence can see the game in action and decide whether it’s right for them.

I’ll finish by saying thank you to everybody for being so patient (well some of you weren’t that patient but I like your enthusiasm – I’m look at you “I’m throwing my money at the screen” guy). I know I’ve pushed back the dates a couple of times but now you have one you can put in your calendar and wistfully count away the days to.

Soon pharmageddon will be upon us…


(Originally posted on the Twice Circled Blog – Positech Games is the publisher of Big Pharma)

Gratuitous Space Battles 2 version 1.30 is GO!

Sooo…yet again we have an update to Gratuitous Space Battles 2. I wanted to get this one out the minute I realized I had found (and fixed!) a ‘disappearing designs’ bug at long last. This also does some balancing and adds in a new mission and two new modules. here are the highlights…
1) Two new modules added: Repair Limpets and Refuel Limpets to support fighters mid-battle.
2) Fighters and gunships now correctly distributed amongst carrier modules when more than one is present, so launch faster.
3) Added another new mission: The Gamorlian Expanse.
4) Shield Disruption effects and radiation damage now have mid-battle text-feedback.
5) Fix for ship-design deletion bug when flipping back and forth into the editor and back.

Soooo… as already demonstrated in this video, we have 2 new weapons now…the refuel & repair limpet launchers…



And another new mission, so we have now added four since release…


And there is a whole bunch of minor fixes, and balance tweaks. In earlier builds the ‘heavy shields’ were basically a no-brainer, and hard to beat, but now high shield-penetration weapons have their downsides, and shield disruptors have been beefed up as a more viable strategy. Plus some better in-battle feedback makes it clearer how effective radiation and shield disruption damage is…

Hope you like it! In the meantime, Tim has continued to blog about the awesomeness that is big pharma which you can see in the latest chunk of his whole-game playthrough…