Mineral & Fusion Capital ‘Vindicator’

Look forward to the ‘Vindicator’ being featured in UPDATE 8!

Another classic MFC design that is still in use during today’s operations. The ‘Vindicator’ is designed for long range tactical engagements with static targets such as stations and platforms, it is also equally suitable for indirect fire missions against larger vessels and light conventional combat.

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A ‘Vindicator’ uses it’s twin top mounted XL turrets in the heat of battle.

The ‘Vindicator’ is a very suitable all-rounder boasting 3 XL sized and 4 L sized weapons turrets and 4 XL support slots. As with all Gen. 3 MFC craft, the basic tech level suffers from inadequate generator capacity to comfortably fit energy weapons but some of the more expensive tech variants are fitted with the latest model Stellarators with a far higher energy output.

The Vindicator features a ‘multiple launch environment’ which is capable of dispensing salvos of 10 missiles at a time. The crafts integrated launcher can fire both M and L sized missiles. The craft is also fitted with a forward facing XL torpedo launcher capable of launching probes and huge offensive projectiles.

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The ‘Vindicator’ is an exceptionally versatile combat craft although fully loaded configurations can be very expensive.

In organised warfare between the core factions the craft is often used to head up indirect fire parties in large battlegroups, in smaller battlegroups it can be used as the lead command vessel. Lesser variants are also used extensively by the subversive factions.

Weaknesses to the vessels otherwise strong offering include substandard sub light thrust and weak armour.

As with all Capital vessels, its usefulness is undermined in today’s theatre by the ready availability of Generation 4 Cruisers and Battlecruisers, so as with any vessel of its size the ‘Vindicator’ benefits from well construed scout, support and defensive parties.

Shallow space – Vindicator-class Battlecruiser by Shallow Space on Sketchfab

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Looking back, moving forwards; it’s a New Year!

So it’s nearly two years now since the idea of Shallow Space was conceived, when we took a look at the basic idea of a space RTS, pulled it apart, and started building something slightly different from the remains.

The aim is to create something that has us commanding a fleet of ships in all its glory and it’s a battle we seem to be winning, with most of the major hurdles overcome. Throughout the last year we’ve established our ‘A-team’ and although there are still challenges ahead, the cogs of our production are greased and turning soundly.

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Then we hit Steam, which is crazy! I’ve used it back since Halflife 1(?) days and to scroll through my Library and see ‘Shallow Space’ there, still feels weird – and now, it feels as if we as a team have something to prove. We’ve encountered a high number of very patient and generous Players (that’s you) who have been providing great feedback which is massively motivating!

Over the festive period we fired out 2 incremental updates after Update 7, which marked the start of something new. In future we’ll be releasing out incrementals after a major update as the new normal, to catch the bugs you guys shout out a little quicker and it allows us to hang around on that focus, adding some more details.

Update 8 has been brewing for a week or so now and already we’ve had a number of major breakthroughs. The first was the puzzle of getting the ship configurations and flotilla to be randomly generated, which above all adds an ‘auto-fill’ button for when you just feel like jumping in a game. The new random generator code has allowed us to add a load of options to tweak the experience, especially in the simulator; in which you’ll be easily able to generate some chunky non-symmetrical fleet battles.

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Explosions have gone under the knife also, with a new particle system manager written which will really add some sparkle to ship explosions and future weapons effects. We’ve also started adding more functionality to the maps to allow for pedestrian traffic and stations preparing to add the Player constructable modular stations.

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So with a bit of cash now coming in paying for many of the team to go fulltime, the assets are landing thick and fast ready to be imported into the game, we can look forward to another year of strong progress to follow the last one. We want to give a massive thank-you to all of our followers and especially the Early Access supporters, and we look forward to pushing out Update 8!

RPS has put us on their list of Top PC games 2016!

2016

Something to say Commander?

Musings of a Festive Break [40% off!]

It’s that time of the year where developers and Players both set aside their sanity and participate in the festive sales! We’re not sure about you, but our wallets have magically flopped onto the table and opened themselves up whispering ‘steam sales are here’ in a somewhat creepy voice.

We’re on the other side of the fence this year as we welcome new players from the four corners with a 40% discount! Naturally the period dictates that the team wind down to spend time with their families but it has to be said, me personally, I can’t help but feel this uncontrollable itch to get back to coding and so UPDATE 8 is well underway.

I’m not the only one bitten by that bug it seems (no pun intended!) As the artists are still busy churning out ships. The latest one to arrive; the MFC ‘Vindicator’ is an absolute beast and is the first Capital ship to be featured with missile launchers.

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New Capital ship, the MFC ‘Vindicator’

The MFC faction are getting Carriers and assortment of Corvettes and the first Corvette that will be unveiled in a future update is the ‘Z-23’ shown below. This puppy also comes in a missile equipped variant (the Z-23M) and wait… What’s that you say? You don’t like the name? Well if you have any suggestions we’ll be listening, it wouldn’t be the first ship in the game to be named by a Player and we’re sure it won’t be the last!

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A Fighter Corvette, the MFC ‘Z-23’

Of course the game isn’t all about the pretty ships; we’re also busy preparing additional maps for you to play with. These maps will feature allied forces, NPC traffic flying between stations and chained Objectives that evolve as you complete varying stages of the mission. We also want to make a bigger deal of Corvette vs. Corvette action, with improvements to the way the ships move and dogfight and finally, randomized ship and fleet configs are in for both Player and AI.

So if you’re new to the project welcome aboard, check the roadmap and get involved in the forums and to all our followers; have a great festive break!

Something to say Commander?

UPDATE 7 is here!

In UPDATE 7 we planned to sink our teeth into the maps, add the beginnings of the missile system and progress the hangar screen a little more and we managed two of the three. It’s just someone pointed out to us that Shallow Space was using 5.5 GB of RAM and it prompted us to have a bit of an optimisation pass.

Some might say it’s a little premature, but if we intend to stuff this thing with the amount of ships and stations we have planned, it’ll quickly reach bursting point and no doubt the older machines were lagging. In any case, everyone will certainly ‘feel’ this update, lots of texture optimisations and caching improvements now mean the alpha uses around 2 GB RAM and things are now running pretty slick – the lag while changing colour themes in the hangar is reduced to a minimal.

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That hangar screen sees the inclusion of a list view and filtering options for the compatible modules and the colour picker is revamped to make full use of Hue, Saturation and Brightness.

So the placeholder colour picker was replaced for the real deal allowing access to a greater array of customisation options. It’s worth mentioning that even with the successful optimisations, if you don’t have a lot of RAM be sensible with the ship themes as the nature of the procedurally generated textures can really test lesser computers.

A new ship, the MFC Blackbird and accompanying weapon system has been added. Missiles and some new abilities will give you access to options to control them: Ammo type, salvo size, single shot and auto fire. Missiles are great fun and start to open up the options available to you in tactical, for example some missiles will have a longer range than the ship is capable of seeing, so to be used properly you’ll have to have units spotting for the Blackbird.

The two dashed rings represent the ranges in which the missile is able to fire, the minimum range is represented by the inner ring and the maximum range represented by the outer ring.

Some more work was done on tactical to make the presentation of the abilities more consistent (wingmen abilities now shown,) we added a cooldown to the Homans overpowered ability and some work was completed on the 2D range finders. Little bit of work on ship movement also which we’ll be wrapping up in UPDATE 8 but movement of the Corvettes is now a lot smoother (and the ship trails are back.)

Look forward to a content injection of more missiles and modules in UPDATE 8 including the MFC Capital missile boat the ‘Vindicator’ (keep your eye’s on the blog for exciting news about that evil looking ship,) we’ll also be having a pass at the fleet config screen and continuing work on tactical with maps and objectives getting some love.

For more information on UPDATE 7, check out the patch notes over on Steam.

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Mineral & Fusion Battlecruiser ‘Blackbird’

Look forward to taking the Blackbird for a spin in UPDATE 7!

Missiles and other in-direct fire weapons both guided and unguided, were a technology quickly readopted after the great exodus. Both conventional Energy and Kinetic weaponry have issues with maximum range and many Commanders prefer to keep the enemy at an arm’s length.

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A Blackbird unleashes a salvo of missiles toward the recipient. Note the range delimiting rings and also note the missiles being fired at a ship outside of the Blackbirds sensor range, this is because the ships in front are relaying the required information.

Historically, in-direct fire armaments were reserved for larger Capital class ships which could afford the space to fit the large ammunition bins and the additional target tracking sensors required to use missiles and torpedoes to their maximum effectiveness. But with PLC and INC inventing new and novel ways to pack exceptional force into the smaller Cruiser sized ships, MFC instead opted to take what they knew about good warship design and shrink it; the ‘Blackbird’ prototype represents the convergence of many such R&D paths.

The Blackbird is actually based on the Cambridge Capital ship. Feedback from TCN held the Cambridge in high regard, particularly its longevity in combat, so the bow of the vessel was miniaturized incorporating smaller forward facing Torpedo Launchers. 2 Large Guided Missile Launchers were also added providing specific in-direct fire capabilities and 4 Large Turrets and the signature MFC reinforced hull provide it with a decent level of grunt in conventional combat.

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Configuring a Blackbird in the Ship Config screen

MFC market the craft as ‘negative space ready,’ one of the smallest ships to do so in fact and before even making use of that valuable tech to extend the support capabilities, the craft sports 4 Support Slots aimed at providing additional targeting and sensor reach. Sensor reach is actually this crafts Achilles heel, but as with any indirect fire solution the vessel requires an array of support vessels to be used effectively: Scouts should identify targets for the Blackbird to fire upon outside of its own sensor reach, resupply vessels are required to keep the Blackbird stocked with the quickly depleted ammunition and missiles are highly susceptible to ECM so EW craft should also be used to maximise effectiveness.

The ‘Blackbird’ undeniably adds something new and powerful to the battlefield, but it increases the burden on Commanders to use the ship properly and so the effectiveness of such an asset relies completely on the skill and logistics of the force using them. However used properly or not one thing is for certain; when the Blackbird is deployed in an arena, everybody takes note.

Shallow space – Blackbird-class Battlecruiser by Shallow Space on Sketchfab

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