Giant space marbles and floating balls of fire! – Interstellar Rift Development Update 059

Today the final frontier expands with a nicer background. We are adding realistic distances within star systems as well as stars and planets. These new planets will now serve as points of interest where stations and more will spawn.

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In addition to planets we are also taking the training wheels off the warp drive and allow you to accelerate up to 1.5 AU per second at warp factor 9. These new warp factors will be required in order to make your way around the new star systems. That said the faster you travel the more power you will require. As your power consumption in warp is now dependant on your ship’s mass as well as the warp factor at which you are traveling. We realise that these high speeds will make it easy to overshoot your targets. To help combat this, ships will automatically shift back to a lower warp factor the closer you get to a planet. That said you will be able to override this by simply accelerating again. But be warned, your ships are not rated for atmospheric flight, traveling straight into a planet or a star will damage and eventually destroy your ship.

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For the time being we only have gas giants and stars as celestial bodies in Interstellar Rift, but we are looking to expand this to include rocky planets and moons as well as different types of stars.

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But wait there’s more, we’ve also added several new server stability fixes, and updated the cockpit interface so it displays in which system you currently are and more!
As with most of the systems we implement these are not the final versions, and your feedback is much appreciated. So please feel free to let us know what you think of warp and planets so that we may improve upon them. For this very purpose we have made a patch 0.1.27 feedback thread on the steam forum where you can leave all your thoughts. Alternatively, please feel free to share your thoughts on our forums, Facebook or Twitter!

I’m giving her all she’s got! – Interstellar Rift Development Update – 059

Warp! the long awaited means of travel within a star system is finally here!

We’ve enabled all ships to travel at warp factor 1. This first implementation will allow players to travel at 50 kilometers per second. This will allow you to get around the current star systems more than easily. However it is not quite yet faster than light. The way the warp system is going to work is by granting you access to a total of 9 warp factors. Only the first of which will be available in this patch. In the following patch we will be enabling the rest of the warp factors when we implement real world scales and solar systems!

You can activate warp by clicking on the warp button in the helm after which the ship will start charging the warp drive. Once charged you will have 3 seconds before warp activates. Acceleration is instant and the speed is constant. In the next patch we hope to also implement a more smooth visual transition into warp. But the mechanic works as intended right now. Of Course we will greatly appreciate your thoughts on how you feel about our warp mechanic and we encourage you to post about it on the forums so that we may improve warp to best serve the game.

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Take note that the power needed for warp (currently a mere 100 per tick or 2000 per second), will be drained from your helm, so make sure that it has an ample supply.

In addition to warp we have also revamped the teleporter gui’s they now display more ship names in the list. And the cargo teleporter also shows you how full your fuel tanks are when teleporting hydrogen directly into them. We hope that this new teleporter gui will make it easier to find your ship in crowded ports as well as make it easier to refuel your ships.

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We’ve also made it possible for ship owners to give permission to crew and fleet members to manage the systems on your vessels. This means that you can now give your co-pilot access to enable and disable engines for example.

These past few weeks you may have noticed that servers have been crashing more than usual. We profusely apologize for this inconvenience. Sadly the problem that was causing this was not an easy fix. And it has taken us until now to get it under control. This patch should bring major stability improvements for servers! Although we admit that there might still be other issues and we appreciate it if you can report any of these issues on the forums so we can fix them ASAP.

We hope you enjoy this latest iteration of Interstellar Rift and please do let us know what you think about warp and its components. Feel free to share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and the forums!

– The Split Polygon team

A new mission statement – Interstellar Rift Development Update 058

This week we are going to expand the number of missions that players can partake in. we’ve added a ton of missions for each faction as well as new space stations that players can find as well as interact with during missions. We’ve also added Bulletin boards and deposit boxes to every station in the game so that every station becomes a viable target for mission generation and it will enable you guys to pick up a new mission wherever without having to travel to another station first.

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We’ve also added a new facet of missions to the game. Missions can now be accepted in one star system and it may have to be performed in another system! These new cross system missions are marked in yellow on the bulletin boards. They also sport higher rewards and to a degree increased difficulty we hope you enjoy these new missions we look forward to reading your feedback.

Curtis has also returned from the planet of sound and he brought a gift. The ship editor has now been enhanced with new music!

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Behind the scenes we have been working on some of the bigger upcoming features such as warp which will finally introduce real scale distances to the game. In system FTL and Planets. Suns and moons! Note that you will not be able to interact with these celestial bodies once implemented. They will serve as points of interest in systems, warp targets and eventual additional sources for resources.

For those who are going to ask the inevitable question of will we ever be able to land on those planets? To clarify, we currently have no plans for planets or moons that you will be able to land on. It is beyond the scope of the game and if we ever do decide to add that feature it will either be in an expansion product or in an Interstellar Rift sequel.

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For more details on warp and other upcoming features please follow us on Twitter, Facebook or drop us a line on our forums we always love hearing our community’s thoughts, and to follow your discussions. Please enjoy this new update!

– The Split Polygon team

Otherworldly Tunes – Interstellar Rift Development update – 057

This week’s update has a few new goodies and quality of life improvements. Starting with the first addition of the Interstellar Rift Original Soundtrack. For 3 years now we’ve had menu music which was composed for us by a friend. However this was originally intended as music for a video blog. We put it in the main menu for the simple reason that we needed some music. But we have recently partnered up with the Otherworld Agency to create an entirely original soundtrack for Interstellar Rift.Composed by Curtis Schweitzer who also composed the soundtrack for Starbound, Airship, and Cartoon Survivor. The first of these new music tracks to be added to the game is the new menu music which also doubles as the Interstellar Rift theme. So if you’ve turned menu music off in the options in the past you now have a reason to turn it back on. We will continue to add more original music to the game in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned!

Curtis was kind enough to make the theme available on his soundcloud here:

But wait, it’s not all music and medleys we’ve also overhauled the ingame chat window to be a bit more user friendly. You can now scroll up to see previous messages, switch between different chat channels such as the newly added fleet and crew channels. And also quickly send private messages by clicking on the player’s name in the chat windows.


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We’ve also heard your cries for more static defenses and have thus made a new deployable turret which players can build and eject from the disposal airlock and have them defend specific points in space. Such as your station or your ship while you’re mining in a particularly dangerous star system.

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In addition we have started the implementation of faction influences inside star systems. This means that when you complete missions for a certain faction. That faction’s influence in that system grows so more stations of that faction will spawn. This is a bare bones implementation of this system which we hope to continue to expand in the future to include npc’s and more.

Killing aliens will also reduce that systems alien influence.

As always we hope that you enjoy this weeks update and if you would like to know more and  see sneak peeks at upcoming patches please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, our own forums or our Steam forums.


The gateway to a larger universe – Interstellar Rift Development update – 056

Ladies and gentlemen, today we open the proverbial Rift gate to a much larger universe with the introduction of the Spatial Rift Generator. With this device you will be able to open a spatial rift that you can use to travel to new star systems.

The spatial rift generator is a massive device that requires its own type of fuel on top of a large amount of power. This new fuel comes in 3 variants, Xanthium, Di-Xanthium and Tetra-Xanthium. Each of these fuel variants can be bought as well as refined.

Xanthium is the most basic of the Rift Fuels and is used to generate rifts that are rated for small ships (up to 100k mass). Di-Xanthium is the second tier and rated for medium ships (Up to 1 million mass) and Tetra the last tier and rated for large ships and entire fleets up to 10 million mass. To refine Xanthium you need the following materials.

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To refine Xanthium you need the following materials:

  • Beryllium + Deuterium + 100 Nitrogen = 100 Xanthium
  • 100 Xanthium + 1 Mercury + 100 Nitrogen = 100 Di-Xanthium
  • 100 di-Xanthium + 1 Osmium + 100 Nitrogen = 100 Tetra-xanthium

Once generated, a spatial Rift will remain in space until its mass rating has decayed to 0. When the rift is decayed to 0, it will collapse and disappear.

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Whenever a ship passes through a rift its mass will be subtracted from the total mass rating of the rift. In addition a rift will also decay over time.

Rifts are also independent from the ship that generates them. Once generated any ship can pass through it until it has completely decayed. Rifts will also remain in the world when the ship that generated it is destroyed.

We realise that not all ships are big enough to accommodate a rift generator hence why we are also introducing public use Rift hubs which are operated and maintained by Hydropex. Rift Fuel can also be bought here.

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To use the rift generator simply select a star system from the holographic interface then on the terminal it should say how much and which fuel you need. Then place the appropriate fuel on the receptacle and press engage on the terminal. The rift generator will start to charge and generate the rift near your ship. Every rift requires one million power, the generator has a built-in capacity and will charge from any available power in the group.

Because we now have multiple star systems we have moved the resources which spawn in each system around. This is to encourage exploration of new star systems.and to give you a reason to venture out into new systems.

It has recently come to our attention that some people in the community have started an attempt to translate the game. You might find this difficult since much of the text in the game is embedded deep in the code. And as you might have noticed, we have a lot of Interfaces. We are currently in the process of separating the text into separate files that will make it easier to translate the game. So look for that in the near future.

As with most of these features interstellar travel is unfinished and will undergo changes in the coming weeks/months. So please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think and how it could be improved. In the meantime we hope you enjoy today’s patch and as always, if you would like to know more and  see sneak peeks at upcoming patches please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, our own forums or our Steam forums.


Cartographic conundrums – Interstellar Rift Development Update – 055

Introducing the new Holotable! this device will let you see a 3d holographic representation of your surroundings, and the local star system. Using this new mapping tool you will be able to target individual objects that surround your ship. And send this target information to the helm and your gunners allowing players to work cooperatively in both planning their flight plans as well as in combat scenarios. The Holotable is synchronized across multiplayer so everyone on your ship will see the same map. The Holotable will soon become a necessary part of most ships that traverse deep space and new star systems. Some features of this device are still in development and will become much more useful as we implement multiple systems.

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We have also added new missions and expanded the number of objectives that you can have in these missions. For example, some of the new cargo missions will first tell you to retrieve special cargo from one station and then once you’ve picked up that cargo you will get a new objective to transport it to a new station.

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We hope to increase the complexity and quantity of these missions in the future in not just cargo runs but also cargo missions and exploration missions.

In addition to the above features we have also added a new graphics option HBAO+

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This feature was already present in previous versions of the game however it was limited to the editor. Now that we’ve worked out the bugs it has been enabled throughout the entire game. However it does impact performance so if you experience lag we suggest you turn it off in the options menu.

This patch might seem a little light on content, this is because we are working on larger features that require multiple update cycles before they are ready to be put in the game.

We have some cool stuff coming down the pipeline such as the nuclear reactor, cross system jumps, new character models and first person combat. All of which are currently in active development. Look for these new features in the coming months!

As always, we hope that you enjoy this weeks update and if you would like to know more and  see sneak peeks at upcoming patches please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, our own forums or our Steam forums.


The Rifts have opened – Interstellar Rift Development Update 054

There are Skrill on the port bow, the invasion has begun.

 

In this patch we’ve introduced the first incarnation of the interstellar Rift mission system. Players will find the new bulletin board terminals on the starter stations of all the factions. From there they will be able to accept missions which they can complete for monetary, reputation and resource rewards.This first version will only feature kill missions where you encounter drones, and our new alien enemy. In upcoming patches we will expand the mission system to include trade missions, exploration and multi-tiered missions with additional objectives.

Skrill
by SplitPolygon
on Sketchfab

The first of these alien species are called the Skrill and it appears they are the vanguard for a much bigger invasion.

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The major powers in the the galaxy have started handing out missions to stop these vile new creatures

So with this update we also see the first implementation of true NPC enemies these new enemies will react based on your action in combat as well as the strength of your ship. Right now it’s rather basic as we improve them over time they will become more formidable. The Skrill will team up if they find someone or something they don’t like, and gather around objects they find in space.

Killing these creature will also allow you to salvage a new resource which can be sold for a nice fee and in the future will also have a more practical use.

We’ve also changed the way targeting works. Now target markers will only show their name when you aim your ship at them. In addition we’ve also added in the ability to target everything regardless of how far away it is. We hope to reduce the sometimes excessive amounts of screen clutter that could occur when there were too many objects clustered in a single area.

The notification system has been updated to show multiple status messages at once, and these messages are now shown in the upper left of the screen, no longer obstructing your view.
As always we hope that you enjoy this weeks update and if you would like to know more and  see sneak peeks at upcoming patches please follow us on facebook, twitter, our own forums or our Steam forums.

Making Amendments – Interstellar Rift Development Update 053

We’ve taken the time to polish up some features, rebalance the changes we made to the new flight model, and improve the stability of servers. That doesn’t mean we haven’t been working on features, we are hard at work implementing a new mission system which should make it’s way into the game soon.

So, let’s talk a bit about where we are going to take the game in the next few months. The first few new features that will be implemented are enemy  AI, and missions. You will be able to pick up missions from a bulletin board on stations you have sufficient diplomatic standing with. Missions come in several types, from cargo hauling missions, to bounty missions, salvaging trips and more.

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A preview of the upcoming mission system

After enemy AI and missions we are going to introduce multiple star systems, warping, nuclear reactors and more. These will all work together in expanding the universe of Interstellar Rift, and change a lot of the game dynamics.

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Sneak Preview of the nuclear reactor model

For this patch we have been working to rebalance the shipflight. We’ve taken in a lot of the feedback we have received. Ships are able to travel at much higher speeds again, more like the speeds you were able to achieve with the old system. We have also been tweaking how mass influences the behaviour of ships, making it harder to achieve high speeds on larger ships. Much of this is still work in progress, so we are still looking for any feedback you can give us.

The multi-player should be a lot less prone to desyncs, as we have been hunting them down the last couple of weeks. The reason we are taking so long with getting this system right has to do with the complexity of our networking.

To explain it a bit, in most games players receive network packages from a server that contain the location of every entity in the world (bullets, vehicles, players, etc). And this is updated for every tick of the server. Interstellar Rift uses a lockstep model, where only changes are sent to a server and the server sends these changes to all the clients. In order for this to work all clients have to run the simulation of the game exactly the same. So from the moment you join a server and receive the world data from the server your pc is simulating every ship, asteroid and station in the world in sync with other players. The upside of this is that we can have thousands of asteroids and devices on ships, much like in RTS games where this technique is often used.

The downside is that if just one of the calculations goes wrong on any client differences begin to occur between the client and the server. These desyncs often start with very small differences, but snowball out of control after a while. We are also using a physics engine on top of this system, that has to be completely deterministic with collisions between objects, in order for it to reproduce the same result for each player. And this is where a lot of issues with desyncs come from in Interstellar Rift as deterministic physics engines are very seldom used in this fashion. With this update we hope to minimize the chances of these errors occurring, and give players a much smoother multi-player experience.

Other changes in this patch consist mostly of quality of life improvements and small bug fixes and resolving some rare crashes. For the complete list of changes, please check out the patch notes.
Well that’s it for this week, we hope you enjoy this new update and as always please let us know what you think on our forums facebook or twitter. And we will be back in two weeks with another Interstellar Rift update which will contain more content and features!

Tabula Rasa – Interstellar rift development update 52

Since we started development of Interstellar rift we have had a bit of a problem with the game’s first impression. We spawn you on an unknown station and then we left you to your fate in the hopes that you’d figure out what you were supposed to do. With patch 0.1.19 we hope to start to remedy that. Today when you join a server or start a game, you will be asked what you would like your starting role to be.

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We have given you 4 options that we feel would best represent what you will be doing. When picking one of these roles you will be given access to starting resources and the option of purchasing a starting ship at the Store-o-Tron.

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The first of these options is to ally yourself with the galactic trade network. You have likely seen the trade kiosks on stations in the past. This organization prides itself on commerce. The acquisition of goods and commodities to trade and sell on one of the many galactic trade hubs. When joining the galactic trade network you will be given access to some resources and a cargo hauling vessel with which you can start on your mercantile journeys. Your journey will begin on a GT trade hub

The second option is to join the ranks of the Hurles co. miners. Hurles co is massive conglomerate whose many endeavours can’t have escaped your notice in the world of Interstellar Rift. By joining Hurles co. you will gain access to a small mining vessel as well as some starting resources and money. Your journey will begin on a Hurles co. Industrial complex.

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The third option is to join the proud and mighty ranks of the Sentinel Security Systems Corporation. This weapons manufacturer and private military force provides security and local law enforcement in the vast reaches of space. By joining Sentinel Security Systems you will gain access to a small fighter some money and starting resources. Your journey will begin onboard Fort Bragg

And last but not least the fourth option is that of the Drifters. This lawless faction is not so much a faction as it is a collection of free spirited individuals that would rather do as they please than to be locked to a single role. Choosing this faction will give you a set of resources and access to a ship construction terminal. Your journey will begin onboard the Black Pit station.

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In addition to the new starting locations we also made some changes to the ship movement system. We have completely overhauled the way we do ship movement in preparation for our upcoming ship AI. However that said we need your input. Because our new system is extremely physics driven there are going to be several iterations to get it to a point where the flight model feels enjoyable so please let us know what you think of this new ship movement and feel free to share any suggestions that you feel would improve the way ships handle.

An added bonus of this new system is that we can now display how fast a ship will go in the editor, as well as its turn rate. Allowing you greater control over fine tuning your ship designs.

Another feature we’ve added that has been a long time coming is the ability to respawn on nearby friendly ships and stations. Before you were only able to respawn on your own ship or the starter station. Now if you have friends nearby like someone in your crew or fleet you will be given the option to spawn there as well. Ofcourse these ships do need to have a molecular printer onboard in order to allow you to respawn.
Well that’s it for this week, we hope you enjoy this new update and as always please let us know what you think on our forums facebook or twitter. And we will be back in two weeks with another Interstellar Rift update. We’ve got some big things in the pipeline so stay tuned!


Hack your way through – Interstellar Rift development Update 051

Time for another Interstellar Rift update, This time we’ve included a highly requested feature, shared vaults. For a long time you guys have been requesting more co-op features when it comes to the collection of resources. Well from now on you will be able to share a vault inventory with your fleet and crew mates. You’ll notice a new button on the vault screen called “personal” If you’re in a fleet or crew you will be able to click this button and switch to the fleet/crew vault. Storing resources or items in here will make them available to everyone in your crew/fleet that has vault permissions. Vault permissions can be given by any member of the fleet which has the appropriate permissions to do so. With this functionality we also updated the ship construction terminal, on the top screen in the upper right you can now find a button that allows switching between which vault you want to construct your ship from.

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Vaults now have modes

But wait there’s more, as mentioned above we’ve also added in the ability to form crews. These small crew groups will allow you to form a short co-op group with other players. You will also have access to the crew vault so you can easily gather resources together to build a ship.

In addition to the shared vaults we have also added in a new cyber warfare mechanic. In the ship editor you’ll find the new cyber warfare suite. This device is the centre of both your ship’s defensive and offensive capabilities.

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A new hacking drone with several point defense drones

Using specialised chipsets which you will be able to find and craft you can assault ships and stations by reducing their engine output. Unlocking their teleporters and more. However you will also be able to sacrifice offensive capabilities to bolster your own firewall. This will make it more difficult for attackers to gain access to your ship’s systems and reduce or disable their effectiveness. However using these hacking chipsets will slowly consume them, and once the cartridge break you will no longer be able to use it.

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The new hacking chipsets

We have also reworked a lot of the permission mechanics, you now need appropriate diplomatic standing with several factions to use their stations and facilities. This works within a station as well, where certain areas are no longer accessible unless you have a good reputation.

Teleporters now by default only grant access to the owner of a ship. If you want to give other people access to your ship you can either give them permission individually or have them join your crew or fleet for easy access. Onboard systems still require special permission to use however.   

Additionally, we have reworked some of the GUI’s concerning power usage. You can now track the power usage of your ship in real time.

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Reworked Power Graphs

Finally, we’ve also added a new weapon to our arsenal in the ongoing war on bugs. We now have the ability to log bugs and crashes automatically. This will allow us to track when there are crashes and it will hopefully make it easier for us to find their cause. This data is gathered anonymously but if you do not wish to be tracked you can turn this function off in the options menu.

We hope you enjoy this new patch and as always, if you would like to know more or would like sneak previews of upcoming features and patches please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and our own and Steam forums.