This update adds a new mechanic to the Rogue Fleet campaign: Imperial Armadas. After a set number of turns in each zone, an imperial armada will appear at one of the earlier visited nodes. This idea should be familiar to players who have played games such as FTL. The armada is represented by a red circle, which expands every turn and turns any node within its radius into an imperial controlled node (changes color from gray or yellow to red and adds an orbiting fleet symbol to the affected nodes.)
These nodes contain several types of events featuring powerful enemy fleets, which cannot be avoided should the player end up in a node containing the armada. (The pool of node types for the campaign now contains 44 different mission possibilities, including the 3 different end of zone bosses.) Additionally, these nodes introduce a new feature, which I’ll also be adding to some of the more “ambush” like standard nodes as well, where the player’s fleet will be split and only a subset of units (which are chosen for the player by the game) will be present in the battle. This is useful for splitting a large fleet into more manageable unit counts for the battle, and it’s meant to be a punishing mechanic that the player will have to deal with.
I had originally intended for the campaign to exist without an obvious timer mechanic like the growing armada to force the player to move on to the next zone, but it just didn’t feel right. Previously the game had relied on only increasing enemy fleet sizes in order to provide a disincentive from spending too many turns in each zone, but due to the difficulties in balancing that growth rate (plus the addition in the previous updates of nodes with a limited unit count) the campaign tended to snowball into being either too easy or too hard depending on how well the players managed to grow their fleets. Although it isn’t the most original idea, the imperial armada seems to provide a clearer and fairer experience in recent playtesting.
Formation Move Improvements:
This update also adds a new type of move order with a new hotkey. Once the player has organized their fleet into the desired formation, they can now tell all selected units to move at the same speed in formation to the target area, as shown in the demonstration video below:
This tool should be useful for maintaining formations (preventing the fastest units from pushing their way to the front, for example.) The default hotkey combination for this is Ctrl + Alt combined with clicking the right mouse button. The player can also hold down the right mouse button and drag the cursor to rotate the formation.
Campaign Battle Result Screen:
This update also adds 2 additional tabs to the battle results screen that is displayed after the player completes any node event during the campaign. The first tab shows all units lost during the battle, while the second displays an animated chart showing the experience gained by each unit, and whether any of them have increased in rank. Additionally, each unit’s current veterancy rank (if it is greater than 0) is now displayed in all fleet scroll panels in the campaign menu.
Most of these updates have involved some kind of bug fixing, as is to be expected of a game in development. The most notable fix in this update is to prevent a crash that occurred when the player completed a mission and returned to the campaign menu, only while certain screen recording software such as Fraps was running. This update should solve that problem for those wishing to make video recordings of their gameplay during the campaign. Other notable changes include better text scaling for aspect ratios wider than 16:9 and fixing a bug where the AI wasn’t as aggressive as it should have been during planetary battles from the solar system skirmish.
The Corporate Zones:
The Union campaign will be divided into 3 different Zone types: the Frontier Zones, which are populated mostly by pirate factions, the Corporate Zones (which are predictably full of corporate factions,) and the core Imperial Zone.
For the most part, the corporate zones and factions will be similar to the already implemented pirates. One key difference is that Corporate factions will primarily use the Empire’s units and structures (as opposed to pirates who use the Union’s unit types.) Additionally, as the player gets farther into the campaign, I plan to emphasize missions that involve more base building, although simple tactical fleet battles will still be possible.
Additional Campaign Factions:
The Corporate Zone will have its own set of factions, much like the pirate factions. I’m currently working on 2 additional pirate factions, and I’ll likely end up with about the same (5 total) corporate factions for the campaign, each with a character portrait, a series of mission nodes, and a unique flagship and/or special flagship modules.