News and Updates from Phoenix Aura

Idle Space Navy Devnote XXXVI

Greetings, Commanders!

There’s been precious little news since Devnote XXXV kicking off 0.10’s development, and there’s been a major reason for this: My vertigo from 2021-22 has recurred, and at the same time as I’m suffering from an as yet undiagnosed stomach ailment. I’m scheduled for a doctor appointment on Monday, so we’ll see how soon I can get better and get back to full speed.

However, work (especially planning behind the scenes) on Idle Space Navy 0.10.0 has been proceeding, albeit at a much slower pace than I would like. I’m close to being able to get back to full speed, so I should cover some of what I’m working on. Brace for a wall of text.

The Ship Rebalance

One of the perennial issues with ISN’s balancing has been the fact that ships don’t balance well. More specifically, the Command Ship Mark I (CS I) is so overpowered related to other ships especially at high levels that they really don’t compare well.

This will change quite dramatically in 0.10.0, and here’s how. At first, when you log into 0.10.0, it may look like several of your ships have been nerfed, although some may also appear to be buffed.

What’s actually happened is that they’ve been rebalanced against the CS I. Basically, I did some complicated math to get the damage and per-level cost of the CS I at a particular level, and then balanced each ship to be a certain percentage of that damage at equivalent per-level cost. As an example, the Shuttle (and Runabout) have been balanced against a CS I at level 5000 – a Shuttle at level 5027 will have roughly 20% of the damage of that CS I, and the next level (level 5028) will cost the same as the CS I’s next level. This is ignoring bonuses from putting Calibration Chips into ship levels, but what ships you choose to focus on may change, especially with one of the rebalances being discussed later in this devnote.

For the early ships – up through the Corvette – those ships are balanced low down. They use a CS I level of 5000 for the Shuttle and Runabout, and level 7500 for the Cutter and Corvette, as their balancing targets. These ships will largely be useful to you in the lower levels. Beyond ship level 10000, they start losing ground against the CS I.

On the other hand, the Frigate and Destroyer will start below the CS I, but slowly start to gain ground on it (and would eventually surpass it at extremely high levels). Ships in higher tiers will surpass the CS I outright, and this is the point where you’d be considering replacing the CS I entirely.

tl;dr: Ships other than the CS I will mean something.

Unintended Consequences

So, one of the things that this ship rebalance will affect is that some people who’ve dumped oodles of CC into ships like the Corvette (which used to be the OP ship of choice) will want to push them around. Also, Chips spent in the Lab ship and weapon levels are preserved on Artifact reset – this wasn’t intended, and was an artifact of ships being preserved in Artifact resets as opposed to my original plan to reset everything at that level.

There are two things in 0.10.0 that will impact this. First, all Lab ship levels will be reset to 1 in the next patch. Now, this reset will return those Calibration Chips to you – I’m not just going to rob you of your hard-earned CC.

The second, however, is a significant rebalance of how Lab item levels work: All ship and weapon levels, on Artifact collection, will be reduced to the square root of their current level, rounded down. This means that dumping huge amounts of CC into Lab ship levels right before a collection is no longer going to be nearly as effective.

Now, I understand that this is (in effect) a huge nerf to progress right after an Artifact collection. What’s going to happen to balance this out is that every level lost in these will translate into a series of “catch-up boosts” to things like damage output, fire rate, and XP/credit collection in the earlier levels of the game. These boosts should outweigh in large part (if not entirely) the nerf, and the ship rebalance will make points in other ships more useful.

A few minor tweaks

Daily Rewards have run into a few issues from time drift as well as from the game not checking for rewards if it’s running in the background. In 0.10.0, ISN will check for Daily Rewards every hour (and has a little icon on its menu button to show there’s stuff to collect), and the time when you can start collecting Daily Rewards will be reduced from every 24 hours to every 22 hours.

Sectors cleared doesn’t necessarily (at all – a bit of ISR heritage) line up with sector numbers – this will be included in stats from 0.10.0 onward. It won’t be accurate when you first start the game, but after Lab calibration, you will have an accurate count of sectors completed in each Calibration within the Stats menu.

The New Items System

So, here’s the meat and potatoes of 0.10.0 – the overhaul of the Items System. With items not being reset with every Artifact reset, the items list builds up out of all proportion. There’s going to be a whole new Items System in 0.10.0 to streamline how items are handled.

Putting your stuff management on the Map. For starters, the Items Screen is going to become a direct overlay on the Map, as opposed to a wholly separate screen like Lab or Yard. The Items Screen will contain your Map Squares (with clickable buttons!) on the left, and you’ll interact with the items, Map Squares, and the like on the right side of the screen.

Individual items are being eliminated. The only time you’ll be working with individual items is dealing with active Ships – instead, you’ll be managing your items on a per-type basis. You’ll be able to buy up to a certain number of items of each type (e.g. if your Ship Cap was 10, you could have up to 10 Shuttles, 10 Runabouts, etc. etc. etc.).

When deploying items, you’ll just pick which ship type to deploy, pick the weapon and module types you want to add to it, and then you’re off to the races.

Temporary module items are being replaced with Module Points. Basically, for each Module Slot on Ship deployment, and any time you want to add a new Temporary Module to a module slot, you’ll spend Module Points. Temporary Module types and tiers will be unlockable in the Artifact System – you’ll always have access to craft tier 1 Temporary Modules of all types for the minimum duration (1000 seconds), but higher tiers and longer durations will be unlocked with the various Alien Powers. Your permanent module for Command Center Effectiveness will not be affected, but will simply have a new placement system.

While you can’t sell old Items, don’t fret – they won’t burden your progress anymore, and will be useful going forward! Plus, with these revisions, they’ll be out of the way, too. Old ships and weapons will become useful in the Contracts system, coming in a future version. This will be a system that allows you to obtain resources, unique Items, and other perks – all outside of regular Sector farming!

This devnote is long enough already…

… so there will be more on 0.10.0 coming in Devnote XXXVII at a later date (probably around mid-April). I hope this whets your appetite for the next chapter of Idle Space Navy, and addresses some concerns people have had with the game so far!

Idle Space Navy Devnote XXXV

Idle Space Navy Devnote XXXV

Kicking Off 0.10

So, it’s been a bit longer of a release cycle than I planned – a moderate illness followed by the loss of my sister derailed my energy – but now that I’ve recovered, I’m pleased to announce that the development of the 0.10 sequence has officially commenced! Here’s what all 0.10.0 will have in store when it’s released:

Further UI refinements in Lab and Shipyard. People have said that they prefer the quick and easy way to purchase things with a single click. While I want to preserve the additional detail, I think I can introduce a compromise solution. I can make it so that the first click selects an upgrade and future clicks on the same upgrade will perform the purchase action (if you have the resources, of course). Additional details will also be added to refine the interface even more (such as the missing projectile speed info on weapons).

Items System overhaul. Up until now, the Items system has had you deploy items one at a time – first a ship, then weapons and modules. The new Items System is going to allow you to set up a ship and its weapons and modules in one shot. It’s also going to have a much cleaner way to manage ships and their upgrades en masse, along with other creature comforts that have been requested.

The third Alien Power. This new alien power (as yet unnamed) will be relating to Credit gains, with a secondary focus on boosting the performance of the Lab where CC gains are concerned. The third alien power will also have upgrades relating to Laser-type weapons.

New ships for the Terrans and Centauri. The first Centauri ships will be released, and these will introduce ship-based bonuses – for example, to Scrap collection for Centauri ships. As such, they’ll be somewhat weaker in damage output, but will make up for that with their Scrap bonus.

Speaking of damage, I’m going to be making an effort to rebalance ships and bring their performance much closer together. Don’t be surprised if your Corvettes suddenly receive a huge damage buff in 0.10.0, or if other ship types start becoming viable options too.

New Artifact-based weapons. Finally, I’ve decided that 0.10 will be when the first upgraded weapon of each Alien Power will be released – a kinetic weapon for the Terrans, an explosive/missile weapon for the Centauri, and a laser weapon for the as-yet-unnamed third Alien Power.

Prototype Achievements. I’ll be adding in a new achievements system – not the Steam one yet, but just in game – which will reward Neutronium and Neutron Stars for reaching certain milestones in game. If this system works, expect to see Steam Achievements become a thing in or around 0.11!

Now with more PEW and less bug. As always, I’ll be sure any bug fixes I’ve missed or new ones that crop up are addressed in 0.10.0, to make sure the game stays fun for everyone.

As of right now, I really can’t forecast a release date – the Items System overhaul is almost certainly going to be the deadlock – but I’m targeting an April release at this point. Obviously, I’ll release devnotes as I go, with updates on where I’m at and what difficulties may arise.

Before I wrap up this devnote, I just want to say thank you all so much for how much you’ve decided to support development. Already, Idle Space Navy has made over $500 gross in just a month, which is more than I honestly ever expected for my first project. I hope the game is enjoyable even without feeling like you need to buy Neutron Stars, and that you enjoy it enough to consider supporting development in the future as well.

On to 0.10 and the future of Idle Space Navy!

January 2024 Studio Update

January 2024 Studio Update

There's More Here Than Just Idle Space Navy

January 2024 has been easily one of the most eventful months in Phoenix Aura’s history, and it’s not just with the release of Idle Space Navy 0.09 – let’s take a look at everything that’s happened and everything that’s next.

Idle Space Navy 0.09 has been epic! I had doubts as to whether or not people would pick the game back up with the updates of UI Overhaul II – and whether or not anyone would support the game’s development. I’ve been astounded to see the game make nearly $200 (net) in just the first 5 days, and daily active users have doubled or more from pre-0.09. We’re up a few bugfixes to 0.09.3, and unless there’s any further bugfixes needed, I plan to start development of Idle Space Navy 0.10.0 in the first week of February. Around the same time, though, I’ll be working up the long-awaited Linux release of Idle Space Navy on Steam.

A quick note on Neutron Stars, though. I’m told that people are evidently feeling pressured into buying Neutron Stars within the game itself. This was never my intention. The game is designed in such a way that Neutronium is a bonus, and there are also ways to earn Neutron Stars. Daily Rewards are the current one, but Neutronium and even Neutron Stars will also be available once Achievements launch in 0.10 or 0.11, so buying Neutron Stars is only there if you want to support development.

What’s next in the video game world? I’ve got more projects I’m starting early development on – a website-based idler (working title Base 10), an idler/tower-defense hybrid (Vector Defense), and a RPG of some description (as yet unnamed). Very little of this is planned yet, but expect more to come over the next few months.

What about videos? I’ll be doing some reading for the SCP Security Briefings as well as Arynnia Reads, a new series on Phoenix Aura where I start reading public domain books. As for game videos, I’m a bit unsure what videos I want to move toward first – and how I want to do them, whether live recording or a lot of post-production narration. (This also depends on what game I decide to play).

There’s something else coming soon, too – I’m finally coming out with my first two game show-type items in some time. Two trivia things, a shorter version of Trivia League and a finalized version of Trivia Touchdown, will be announced and opened for sign-ups in February!

As always, please support Phoenix Aura to help me bring these to fruition faster – whether by buying Neutron Stars in Idle Space Navy or by using one of the options in the link in this article (and the “Contribute” button at the top of the page).

Until the next studio update!

Idle Space Navy 0.09.0

You asked. We answered.

The amount of feedback on Idle Space Navy since the Steam release in 0.07.4 has been astounding. Much of it has been about the user interface and the game’s learning curve.
 
Now, however, Idle Space Navy 0.09.0 gives us a redesigned, more informative user interface for the Shipyard and Lab, better Daily Rewards, offline progress, and new Neutronium stuff.
 
Here’s the full changelog for Idle Space Navy 0.09.0 – or you can check out the new Idle Space Navy for yourself on Steam:
 
NEW FEATURES
  • Two new Lab-unlockable Laser weapons added.
  • Purchase Neutron Stars for instant Neutronium as well as bonus Neutronium every day.
  • Artifacts Tier 5 added for the Terran Union.
  • Two new Artifact-unlockable Terran Union Ships added.
  • Two new Terran Union Laser-type weapons.
  • Two new Terran Union Artifact upgrades.
  • The Centauri Conglomerate, the second Alien Power.
    • 8 new Artifact upgrades relating to Scrap and the Foundry.
  • Earn Time Crystals offline, and use those on in-game resources.
 
REBALANCES
  • Base number of waves per sector reduced from 50 to 30.
  • Shipyard costs and powers rebalanced.
  • Ship costs and powers rebalanced.
 
SYSTEM UPDATES
  • Replaced map management system.
    • All map coordinate upgrades purchased in Lab will be refunded.
    • Due to the new map system, all items will need to be placed again.
    • Lab IDs have been revised.
  • Revised ship and weapon unlocking in Lab and Shipyard.
  • Asteroids and related systems (except upgrades) have been disabled and will remain so until 0.11.
  • Sun Crystals replace Neutronium as the daily reward.
 
UI UPDATES
  • Buy 10/100/1000 added to Foundry and Shipyard.
  • Buy Up to 10x added to Lab.
  • Lab UI redesigned to match Artifact style.
  • Shipyard UI redesigned to match Artifact style.
  • Standardized UI buttons on a green highlight when active.
  • Sector Completed pop-up can be disabled.
 
BUG FIXES
  • Fixed funky math regarding wave reduction.
  • Fixed bug with artifact fragments not showing on startup.
  • Fixed calibration chips not being reset on artifact collection.
  • Fixed bug in XP pop-up.
  • Fixed bug in automates regarding unlockable upgrades.
  • Fixed bug in Lab’s damage level cap Artifact upgrade.
  • Fixed a bunch of other bugs I can’t remember right now.

Idle Space Navy Devnote XXXIV

Centauri

It’s been a bit since my last Devnote, and, well, first my birthday intervened, then a minor but persistent illness, then the holidays. There were also work projects for the end of the year, and shut up Arynnia, we want to hear how the game is going.

Idle Space Navy 0.09.0 has been clearing a lot of dev milestones behind the scenes. Many of the quality of life aspects I wanted to address have been partially or fully addressed (some are still waiting for UI reworks), and the new features are really taking shape.

To start with, there have been a ton of rebalances. The Shipyard now makes proper sense, Ship levels increase in cost faster but are more powerful (making leveling ships a bit less clicky), and the game runs significantly quicker, as the base number of waves has been reduced from 50 to 30 – nearly doubling the game’s base speed.

Almost all of the Terran Union upgrades for the Artifact System have been done. I just need to add the Lab portion of the new Terran ships as well as one more Artifact upgrade relating to the Shipyard damage boost, and then the Terrans will be set for 0.09.

The title of this Devnote speaks to just what the long-awaited second Alien Power will be, the Centauri Conglomerate. The Centauri are resource traders, supplying raw materials to the neighboring powers in return for finished goods. The Centauri will be providing ships and upgrades that can boost material income – Scrap, asteroids, and the like – and have a special love for using missiles in combat. Their Artifact upgrades will focus on increasing Scrap, upgrading the foundry, and boosting your Missile-based weapons. Their basic upgrades will be available in 0.09, with their first ships and weapons coming in 0.10.

In the world of UI, the whole map system has been reworked and now uses a much easier clickable mini-grid. Active ship placement is now done on the fly after every placement update, which should clear up some of the stubborn bugs with ships staying on the field. It also provides the ability to purchase map squares individually. You’ll have to make sure the squares you purchase are laterally contiguous with squares you already own, but beyond that, there are no limitations. (Your Calibration Chips for map purchases will be refunded when you first load into 0.09.0, of course. You will have to re-place your items because the new system starts with just the first square unlocked.)

The decision has been undertaken that Lab and Shipyard upgrades will be placed on screens similar to the Artifacts Screen, making the UI much easier to view. Additionally, UI buttons for changing screens are going to be standardized with dark blue backgrounds, and either green (for the selected screen) or white text. There have been some recommendations to replace the cyan-on-dark-blue scheme and to make the scheme consistent, which it will be in the new version.

Now to speak to the tricky portion of the devnote: release dates. I had originally targeted “end of year 2023” for 0.09.0’s release, but not only the busy December I had but another illness in November made that non-feasible, alas. I am making good progress now, though, and should be ready for release in mid-January 2024. I’m setting a tentative target of 15 January 2024, but that may advance or slip as development time provides.

Either way, 0.09.0 grows nearer and nearer, and I’m looking forward to just what everyone thinks of the rebalances and new features!

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