Kicking Off 0.11

July 6, 2024 (at least in the time zone I’m writing this post). Today is the 588th day since I’ve set off on the journey that has been Idle Space Navy. There was the disorganized fun of the pre-Steam period, the reality check of the Steam release, and steady improvements in the game since then. As much as some reviews drive me nuts with their complete lack of meaningful feedback, those that have left reviews and discussions on both Steam and in Discord have helped me hone my skills and redesign the game.

Now, with 10 major versions and 38 total versioned releases behind me, it’s time to take the next step and start the development of Idle Space Navy 0.11. There’s a lot being packed into this update, so I’m going to lay it out. (If you don’t want to read the planned changes, though, jump down to the “Milestone Program” header for information on my closed testing program.)

The fourth Alien Power. We have the Terran Union (damage and Kinetic weapons), the Centauri Conglomerate (scrap and credits), and the Commonwealth of Isara (Calibration Chips). Now, though, we’ll have the as-yet-unnamed 4th Alien Power, which will play a very significant role. At first glance, the fourth Power will only handle Experience gains – but there are big plans for this Power. It’s the first Power that will interact with the other three, boosting various aspects of their abilities depending on your Player Level (L). This does mean that the fourth Power will be the first to have an unlock requirement – you’ll have to be at least tier 3 in all three of the preceding Powers, and have a combined tier count of at least 11 (so two of the three Powers will have to be tier 4, or one will have to be tier 5).

Unlockable Ships and Weapons. The Terran Union has been the only Power with ships – your default ships come from the Terrans, as do the Frigate and Destroyer. Now, however, we’ll be getting Ships and upgraded Weapons available for unlock and then purchase from all the Alien Powers. There’s only going to be one or two ships (the X1Y1 ships) and one weapon for unlock to start with, but that’s because there will start to be Ship-based bonuses.

Shipyard cap boost upgrades. The main limitation keeping people from going further faster is that the Shipyard caps remain the same, making the Artifact boosts (which are currently small, and will also be rescaled upward) the only way to advance. Not anymore – there will be a new set of upgrades in the Artifact System which will boost the caps to your Shipyard Damage, Scrap, Credits, and XP upgrades depending on the Artifact upgrade’s level and your maximum level. What’s more is that these will be available as Tier 1 upgrades for all Alien Powers, making it all the easier to get much higher advancement more quickly.

Catch-Up System. In versions prior to 0.10.0, ship and weapon levels in the Lab were kept on Artifact collection. This was not intended and started to present a lot of balance issues, so these got nerfed by being reduced to their square root on every Artifact collection. However, that too ended up causing a lot of lag time when collecting, which also wasn’t intended. Starting in 0.11, there will be mechanics to use the removed levels in a Catch-Up System. More on this as it is developed.

New enemies and enemy effects. There are three new enemy types planned for 0.11 – Armored, Swarm, and Shield Generator. Armored enemies will have increased armor and health. Swarms will have four enemies in one space, each with a portion of health that’s greater than one standard enemy. Shield Generators are fragile, having minimal health, but they generate very strong Shields on themselves and moderately strong Shields around all other enemies. What are Shields? I’m glad you asked. Enemies will start to have Shielding, basically an extra reserve of health which can only be damaged by energy-based weapons. For now, Lasers and the new weapon type will be the only ways to damage Shields.

New weapon type. The new weapon type I mentioned is Disruption weapons. These are slow-firing with slow-moving projectiles, but they deal a significant premium of damage, and they not only damage Shields, but will partially pierce them and damage the ship on the other side. These will be useful against the heavily-shielded but low-health Shield Generator enemies.

Permanent Modules. New to ISN 0.11 will be the crafting of Permanent Modules. Unlike Temporary Modules, as the name suggests, they do not have an expiration time. They do have a weaker effect than the equivalent tier of Temporary Module (though module effects will all be strengthened in 0.11) in return, though, and require not only Module Points but also materials mined from Asteroids to manufacture.

Asteroids return! Earlier versions of ISN had a mechanic where Asteroids would be collected on sector clear, but they were horribly broken and so temporarily phased out for a few versions. Now, however, they are back, rebalanced, and much more stable. They’ll also have more variety – with not just Metal Ore (refinable into Ingots or Credits in 0.11), but also the resources you’ll need to craft the first Permanent Modules.

Other stuff. There’s a whole slew of UI and quality of life improvements planned, like the replacement of the Andromeda background with a moving starfield, modifications to the mission info pop-up, more information in the Info Codex, and a change to how sectors are named. There’s also going to be new items to purchase in Daily Rewards, Offline Progress, and the Neutron Hub. There’s also going to be updates to Milestone Achievements as well as test Minor Achievements. There’s more stuff planned for 0.11, so stay tuned!

Gee, Arynnia, this sounds like a lot. What’s the release date? For a couple of reasons, my current target is very vague – I’m hoping to have this out in September 2024, but it could be out in August or it could be out in the fourth quarter. The first major reason is that there is a lot planned for 0.11, but there’s also another project I’m working on – as well as a new program I have in mind to make sure that new releases aren’t as buggy that may draw out the release timeframe. Let’s go ahead and go into that.

The Milestone Program: Help Test Idle Space Navy!

Recent releases of Idle Space Navy have taught me that I simply do not have enough eyes to catch every single bug that crops up in an Idle Space Navy release. As such, I’ve decided to create a closed testing program known as the Milestone Program. This will be a small group of testers who receive access to early builds of ISN 0.11 (known as Milestone builds) to try new features individually as they are developed. I’m planning the initial population of the Milestone Program to be 3-5 testers, and my goal is to have at least one major Milestone build (a new feature being introduced) every week, but my plan is to not develop new features until features in testing are thoroughly reviewed.

I’ll be writing more on the Milestone Program (and announcing the opening of applications) in a separate post early next week, so stay tuned for that post – and for more Devnotes in the future as development of Idle Space Navy continues!