Space Pirates and Zombies 2

Space Pirates and Zombies 2

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Blorf  [developer] Sep 6, 2017 @ 12:37pm
V0.9.903 The Almost There Update!
Hi All,

We have spent the last month continuing our preparations for the 1.0 release. The month was all about removing those last few hard to find bugs and doing a bit of deeper optimization that was not possible while the codebase was in flux.

We have also begun to work on the Mac and Linux builds in the hopes that they will be ready before for the Windows 1.0 release.

So lets delve into what's been going on....


Bug Fixes/Changes:

Some of these last bugs have been on our list for over a year, but we finally got the time to fix them. It feels great to clear them off the list.

  • Fixed hang when retreating from battle after destroying a starbase.
  • Fixed case where is was possible for loading an autosave to force you into a battle instead of being on the starmap.
  • Fixed rare case where bandit's demand surrender menu would appear at the start of battles.
  • Removed Scrap and Loose Scrap text from the bandit hive attack menu since it was just confusing. Look at the values of the Rez,Goons,Scrap to see what the raid potential is. Bigger is better.
  • Fixed scavenge node coloring updating when the owner is changed.
  • Fixed scavenge nodes losing player ownership when a new node lands on top of it.
  • Added code to detect and skip loading of corrupted settings/save files.
  • Fixed case where XP rewards often returned 50 when late game when the player was much much higher threat than other enemies. Now XP rewards will continue to scale down appropriately even once the player is uber strong.
  • Added Custom Order Parts Max Stars to the Sandbox options. Allows setting how good the custom order parts can be. Can also turn off custom order parts entirely with the slider.
  • Motherships higher prioritize fighting other motherships in battle, about twice as much as before.
  • Starbases much higher prioritize targeting other motherships in battle, about 3x as much as before. This is to prevent them wasting missiles and bombs on strike craft. Their local beam defenses will still target any strike craft that stray too close.
  • Starbases are now priority targets in combat as well for motherships. Targeting weighting 2x higher than before.
  • Added nice fade out to loading savegames, instead of a frozen screen.
  • Fixed Kill Captain side objective to only count captains, not bandits or transports.
  • Fixed special hot swap case when switching medium sized parts left to right sometimes the swap would fail.
  • B button can now back out of the Tactics Panel in controller mode.
  • If in escape pod on the starmap, territories are now discovered as you travel.
  • Spelling fixed across all languages
  • Bloom now has 4 intensity settings


Optimizations:

These optimizations may not seem like much, 8% here 4% there, but for lower end machines these will be pretty substantial. Whenever the game starts running too slowly, the physics needs to update multiple times per frame, making performance worse and worse. This train wreck feeds on itself when it happens. So what we have essentially done is made the train wreck a LOT less likely for people both in battle and on the starmap.

  • Major starmap optimization, prevents rolling movement lag in large galaxy. Smooths out the map a lot. This will be a huge improvement on slower machines in big galaxies.
  • Weapon mounts now cache their battle wagon targeting for 100ms instead of constantly re-thinking. This bought back about 8% cpu in battles.
  • Weapons now don't rethink targeting while they are reloading, saves about 4% cpu in battles.
  • Major fighter optimization at lower frame rates. When train wrecks happened, fighters were particularly impacted... Not anymore.


VR Stuff:

VR is really stable now and pretty much final. Reviews indicate that the vast majority of people are really enjoying SPAZ 2 in 3D, and they are surprised that a VR game can work so well in 3rd person. So were we :)

Now the challenge will be to get VR players to know we exist.

  • In VR mode, the physics update was automatically being set super high by the SteamVR Vive plugin. This caused major slowdown in physics intensive battles. Now the VR updates at the same rate as the flat screen/Rift so big battles are nice and smooth. This will be a HUGE performance improvement on the Vive.
  • Added display menu for VR to size the output window.


Mac and Linux Build Progress Update:

The Mac version is in a 95% working state, including the Xbox controller functionality. We are using six year old Mac Books to test it (the same ones we used to test SPAZ 1), and the game still runs quite well. Expect to see an experimental version available soon.

The Linux build has been a bit of a challenge so far, mostly because of our inexperience working with the platform. This doesn't mean the Linux build is going poorly, but it's a slow process while we learn something new to us. Expect to hear an update on this front soon.


Going Forward:

So as of September 1, our two year project has hit year number five. We still cringe at being on the most anticipated titles of 2014 list... In the end though, what we ended up with was well worth the extra time, and we love how the game evolved during Early Access.

Our bugs lists are now pretty much empty for the windows build. We still have a set of smaller tasks that are not new feature related that we would like to complete such as adding more achievements, and adding new arena ships to showcase the new weapons added months ago in the super strike craft update. This all all icing on the cake stuff though. For all intents and purposes the windows build is ready.

Code is in hard lockdown now in prep for 1.0 and also to help with the Mac and Linux porting, the Early Access goals are complete, and the bug lists are empty. It feels good... really good!

We are also starting to look at ways of getting exposure for the 1.0 release. This will involve talking to PR agencies, contacting Let's Players, somehow advertising etc. This will take a bit of time, but really is the last step before we release. We need to build a bit of buzz for release and any help with that would be appreciated! As with SPAZ 1, please tell your friends.

Thanks very much for your continued support!

Andrew (Blorf) and Richard (Narlak)
Last edited by Blorf; Oct 17, 2017 @ 8:21am
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Showing 1-15 of 95 comments
Cerberus Shepard Sep 6, 2017 @ 3:06pm 
looking good will find some time during the week to mess around with SPAZ 2 again!

thanks guys!
WWDragon Sep 6, 2017 @ 5:17pm 
I'm happy to see the prioritization fixes! :steamhappy:
DrunkenPirate Sep 6, 2017 @ 6:00pm 
Game has come a long way since my day 1 purchase in May last year.
oohhboy Sep 7, 2017 @ 6:03am 
Woot, looking forward to the Mac release and 1.0! Almost there guys!
Skiv Sep 7, 2017 @ 6:52am 
Originally posted by Blorf:
This train wreck feeds on itself when it happens.
Major fighter optimization at lower frame rates. When train wrecks happened, fighters were particularly impacted... Not anymore.
Haha I love how you named this,

Any help you need with the Linux build please ask! There are lots of us out here waiting for it, so don't suffer in silence. Also Icculus is ding porting work for FREE these days (thanks to Patreon) so reach out if needed.
Tenebrion Sep 7, 2017 @ 11:43pm 
I can't stress this enough - Spaz 2 in VR is ♥♥♥♥ing amazing. I literally have over 100 games for the HTC Vive, and Spaz 2 is among my favorite.

I just hope the devs work on layering in some extra depth to the 4x portion of the game, or the end-game in general.
Innomen Sep 8, 2017 @ 7:37pm 
Bravo. I hope the fan base for this game mushrooms after exit from early access.

Also very kind to announce a sale in advance. (Good ethics from a dev always confuses me a little. It's like watching a snake pet a rabbit instead of eat it.)
Ai Sep 9, 2017 @ 2:30am 
Neat! I think it's safe to say that the windows version is completed at this point and can be called 1.0.

All that is missing is the Linus/Mac support before leaving EA right?
Last edited by Ai; Sep 9, 2017 @ 1:09pm
DrunkenPirate Sep 9, 2017 @ 2:33am 
Windows version is essentially 1.0 at this point. Yeah
Last edited by DrunkenPirate; Sep 9, 2017 @ 2:33am
Blorf  [developer] Sep 9, 2017 @ 8:36am 
@Ai

Yeah for the most part we are trying to get Mac and Linux up and running before we declare 1.0 now. We are also trying to get our marketing acts together and are adding things like new arena ships and achievements since those are very unlikely to break things.
Potentiality12 Sep 11, 2017 @ 2:37pm 
This is a good sign! Or maybe I'm just too isolated (nah):

The many variables being manipulated all the time during a SPAZ2 game make the A.I. captains in each individual game seem like REAL PEOPLE with REAL PERSONALITIES, almost as if I'm playing a multiplayer game without the things that make MP games fail for me on so many levels!

Maybe I suck at finding IRL social networks and contacts that last longer than checkout at the grocery store and/or maybe you've created a living, breathing galaxy of predetermined size (set at the beginning of the game) which has crossed the uncanny valley to the other side, where the interactions between human and A.I. captains maintain a realism which never interferes with my suspension of disbelief!

I guess credit for part of that has to go to Richard and his girlfriend and their shared drunken stupor, IIRC...

[I think I'll add part of what I've typed here to my review when I update it soon]
Ardbug Sep 13, 2017 @ 7:46am 
I pre ordered this even though I never (well) pre order, and I am having a hard time not playing it, but I want to wait till release, I just found out now that you included VR, and now it's even harder to wait, keep it up :)
Bozobub Sep 13, 2017 @ 8:40am 
You might as well stop waiting; SPAZ 2 is feature-complete for the 1.0 release, as-is, and only very small issues remain. MinMax has also been VERY good about not invalidating saves after an update, if that's your worry; a nice, relatively uncommon touch that they should get much more credit for =).
Blorf  [developer] Sep 13, 2017 @ 3:41pm 
Thanks for noticing Bozobub :) We always test our updates against our original press saves from before Early Access started to ensure that even the oldest saves continue to work. This is sometimes a challenge when systems change or are added, like with the strike craft, but so far so good.
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