Taskforces will be how we shape the action in Shallow Space and that has been the subject of our latest efforts. Taskforces are essentially a group of fleets given a collective objective and they’ll interact with background traffic such as traders, miners and local patrols to create play-areas that feel alive with coincidence.

They’ll also serve as the focal point of Player missions; you could be given objectives to assault other Taskforces either alone or as part of an Armada. As well as opening up the opportunities for battles of frightening scale, those missions will change the ownership of sectors orbiting a planetary body, leading to play areas that evolve as you play.

In the Strategy screen above, each card on the board represents the lead Fleet of a Taskforce. Grey units are allied, Blue are me and Red are enemy.

Around our dev planet you can see we’ve started to populate it with other Taskforces. We can presently jump our fleets into any of the occupied sectors and engage with enemy units fighting alone or alongside allied Taskforces or background traffic.

All is well there.

But even though combat is fun, leaning on it too much feels a bit generic and we need to somehow pad it out and think about activities outside of the core gameloop. Maybe flying around scanning stuff is your thing? Maybe you just like to fire probes about and watch.

I mean, huge fleets battles are basically going to be the biggest draw in 3.0, but we also want to cater to exploration and resource collection as play styles.

Creeping up on a rather large enemy taskforce, I might have my arse handed to me. If only there was some way of requesting help...

You can see that the Macromap has made a reappearance from 1.0, it’ll become key to uncovering resources that you can use to create ships and build up your Taskforces and indicate scanning/fighter ranges that might otherwise clutter the 3D viewport.

Originally we had planned to simplify the resource collection side of things, but we’ve been reading the feedback and we’re going to heed the call to make things more complex.  So we’re going to bring back the inventory, and the planned individual materials from 2.0 that you might need to complete mission objectives or refine to create your ships.

On that subject Mining could be another activity of a Taskforce (next on the agenda actually), and Taskforce activities will vary depending on the proclivities of a particular faction.

In the short term we’re aiming for three Factions that will provide the broadest scope of features (although we have a stack of 10 Factions to fold in over time), we’ve picked the three to start with that will cater to the most obvious play styles.

But what does it mean and how does that work?

Traditional story is told through dialogue heavy exchanges and there will be some of that, but in truth, does the world need yet another generic scifi story? What if we found ways to supplement traditional story telling through game mechanics and play-styles? and would such a thing lead to greater immersion?

Here are some ideas for Factions we have drawn up on the board right now, we don't want to just change a few colours and logos on the UI, we want each Faction to feel representative of that segment of the story being told.

Terran Confederate Navy will generally cater to beginners, you’ll start with a high ranking officer and the smallest type of Capital vessel. But the TCN won’t get the sort of bonuses that lend to a Player strengths or desires. The aim is to give you a leg up while you’re learning and reinforce the idea that these guys are policing the proverbial streets.

The Allied Pirate Forces faction won’t get a free Capital ship like the TCN but will have access to cheaper units in general and they will need them because unlike the other factions, the APF won’t be able to mine (the required ships won’t be available to them), so you’ll have to destroy other ships to collect salvage.

Salvage is another area we could add complexity, maybe as well as dropping cargo we could harvest the destroyed ship hulls for additional materials?

Hmmm…. interesting…. Let's note that one down.

Mineral and Fusion Corp faction as the name suggests will feature bonuses around resource collection, for those that prefer to grind and explore.  Factions will have alliances that, like sector ownership, will be tangible. So they’ll develop and change according to news briefings that you’ll recieve in comms.

The aim is to create something that feels fluid, like it is constantly evolving.

And now for the rant…

Progress is starting to slow a bit now deliberately, basically a year has flown by and once again I’ve been glued to my keyboard and screen stressing myself out to finish this game.

I feel like I need to finish this thing, but it's fast becoming an obssession and we've been here once before:

I just love this meme; btw, did you hear that the BSG reboot is getting a reboot? 🤔

I had a wade through the Steam forums for feedback, lots of people asking the same questions. We'll try and answer them here, if the answer isn't here then the blog will reveal all in time.

Firstly, these changes are being made because we’ve (painfully) gone over every review, assessed every feature and come up with a plan that enables us to address feedback and actually make a game from what we have still testing the extremely narrow confines of the genre.

Somethings we’ve added because they were blatantly missing, somethings we’ve added because they’ve been collectively requested and somethings we’ve added because we want to.

Reading feedback we should probably clear a few things up:

  • This blog contains ideas, many of them bad, some of them stupid. We chat and get excited about stuff, sometimes that spills over here. If it's on the Steam updates, it's commited otherwise take it with a pinch of salt
  • In case it wasn’t clear, this is not a mobile game or F2P
  • 3D movement seems like a big deal to some people, we’ve made provision to enable it again, and we’ll do that if Player feedback demonstrates that it actually adds something to the game (from you know, people who are actually playing the thing)
  • The game will feature free-form RPG-style campaigns focusing on different elements of the story littered across this blog, we’ll start off small and just keep feeding them in over time
  • Although the project has a team, but there is only one developer working on the logic in his spare time so it will take as long as it takes!

We'll get there though, we've gone through a lot and we need to finish this.

Regarding stuff that's been removed in Shallow Space, nothing is set in stone and when you get your hands on it we expect we’ll end up bringing a lot of the stuff back that had a question mark hanging over it (3D movement especially, don’t be surprised if it comes back - it creates some problems in the short-term but fixes them in the long-term.)

Everything you see and read here is a work in progress, please don't shit yer pants over it but please do get vocal and offer your feedback via the various channels and we’ll see what we can do to accommodate it.

Thanks for following, humbled as always.