Devblog #49 - Little Bits
Posted on 22nd Feb 2019 in Development
We are coming really close to the release of the next update. The date is set: March 7! Today we are going to give you more details about what it will bring into the game. The only thing that is missing is the title of the update. And we’d like to ask you for help. We’ll be listening to your suggestions over the weekend for the name of our new baby. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section,
On Sunday, we’ll have the second anniversary of Hellion’s Early Access. With your feedback and our work, Hellion is almost an adult, a mature game that grew steadily in the course of these two years. And we are proud of it!
Now, lets get back to the latest chunk of changes for the next update we want to present to you. So far we’ve covered most of the big things coming in the next update. The new mining system, economy, item tiers, etc. So this time we are going to focus on, as the name says, “little bits”. You know, those tiny improvements and small changes that often fly beneath the radar but can add a lot to the overall experience.
New Helmet UI
Let’s start with the new helmet HUD. We’ve received a lot of complaints regarding immersion and various UI elements. Most of these were aimed at the “always visible UI elements” like the new health indicator. So to address these issues we’ve decided to go with the “realistic” option. All helmets now have a proper HUD and outline based on the type of helmet you are currently wearing.
In addition, when you are not wearing a helmet or your visor is up, you won’t be able to see any HUD information, including your current HP indicator. This however, excludes the “meta information”, such as quest markers as these represent things that your character simply knows and understands.
Along with these changes we’ve also improved the information displayed on the ENV panels to compensate for the lack of HUD.
Now before every space photographer reading this throws a fit, because taking your helmet off to take a screenshot isn’t exactly a smart thing to do, we’re also adding a screenshot mode. It simply removes all UI elements and lets you take a picture.
“Loot Boxes” - No, no, no! Not that kind…
We mean the real loot boxes as in: “boxes where you can stash loot”... Some of you may remember us mentioning these way back, but we’ve had some technical difficulties with their implementation. And so they were left on ice, until now. These boxes can be picked up and carried around in your hands and they can store up to 18 medium or small items. They can also be dropped or placed in their respective attach points found in all larger modules, allowing you to manage and store your gear more effectively. While we’re on the subject of storage space, most modules had new shelves and attach points added.
Arges MkII underwent a few changes as well. Most notably its old cargo system is back which combined with its numerous shelves and large cargo doors makes it ideal for mining runs. In addition to this it is now equipped with a “dual nanite diffuser system” that allows simultaneous use of different nanite cores. This gives the ship added flexibility when it comes to dealing with radiation and debris fields to offset its lack of maneuverability and fuel consumption regarding both Warp Drive and RCS.
In Hellion everything is in constant motion, driven by the most powerful force in the known universe… gravity. It works, for the most part… until you take a closer look at various stations or asteroid… They do look a bit, how should we say… static? Well no more! Starting with the next update stations and asteroids will all rotate around one or more axes adding to the overall space feel. In actual gameplay this adds another layer of complexity to mining and looting, as sometimes you will need to find the proper angle of approach when mining or salvaging. It might also mean that you will need to first catch and stabilize that module you plan on bringing home with you…'
Yup, another improvement to the security interface aimed at fixing some of the issues that have remained unresolved. First and foremost, all of these changes apply only to places ‘with an actual’ security interface (aka bases with the command Module and ships). Airlock interface can no longer be used by unauthorized personnel. In a similar fashion you can no longer dock ships and modules to stations where you are not authorized.
Locks have also gone through a bit of a rework and the ‘lock/unlock’ button as well as hacking ports are now present on both sides of the door. The catch is, you have to be authorized to use them, preventing intruders from simply ‘unlocking’ a door should they come from the other side. As before using a hacking tool will remove authorization from the hacked object allowing you to pass through.
Power, crafting and refining tweaks
So far the capacitor has been a rather unused and generally unimportant part of the power supply interface. You either had enough power, or none at all, forcing players to ‘micromanage’ various systems and base power of modules, all so they could craft a single item, or refine a batch of ice. But most importantly it was very time consuming.
As we’ve stated before, Hellion is a game with slower pacing and any meaningful action takes time. Scavenging is fun, mining is fun, looting is fun, PvP is fun… Staring at a crafting/refining interface for 15 minutes is most certainly not fun… So we aim to change this with the next update and put more emphasis on the capacitor and power production.
As many of you figured out already crafting and refining will play a major role in the next update. So to spice things up we’ve decided to speed up the refining/crafting process… along with the amount of power consumed. Refining and crafting times will now measure in seconds rather than minutes, but these actions will also quickly drain your stored power. To compensate, Power Supply Module, Solar Power Module and Outpost have all received extra slots for core containment parts letting you improve your capacitor’s maximum storage.
Finally we want to talk a bit about weapons, turrets and overall gunplay in Hellion. It’s… well it’s not good… and that is putting it mildly. So we’ve also done a number of changes to weapons and turrets with the objective of making PvP and PvE fun and engaging. Towards this end all weapons have had their accuracy, rate of fire, damage and recoil changed and now handle much better allowing you to actually land your shots, even in EVA.
Furthermore turrets have been changed from “you have been shot” into a threat that can be taken out with proper gear and planing. Turrets now come in 4 tiers that vary greatly in damage output and armor but have one thing in common, they will no longer instantly kill you as you come through the door, instead they will chip away at your health and force you to plan ahead with ammo, medpacks and grenades. Still bear in mind that taking on a T3 turret with T1 gear is certainly not advised and might feel even more unfair than before, especially since turrets now also explode when destroyed, so try to keep your distance…
Oh, almost forgot! Drills can now also be used melee weapons, since a system designed to drill through hardened ferrite also happens to work on people and equipment. Happy hunting! Errr...mining...
Well that’s all, we think… Stay tuned and expect the update to land in two weeks if everything goes without a hitch. We know we said it would be out next week, but we believe it’s better to leave it in the owen a bit more until we hunt down any potential bugs and balance issues.
Until next time, fly safe!
Posted by Zero Gravity team