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Alpha Blog

# Alpha pre-relaunch preview

November 13th 2017

Hi everyone,

We hope to have a fixed date for the relaunch of Alpha very soon! In the meantime, here are more details about some of the features we've been working on in the coming update.

Minesweeping

The addition of minesweeping is well overdue! We wanted to add minesweeping in a way that it allows mines to be cleared, but not so easily that it renders minefields useless.

  • Minesweeper parts can only be added to minesweeper hulls.
  • Minesweepers can join fleets, but they can only sweep mines when they are alone (no other ships in the fleet) due to the dangers and speciality of the minesweeping operation.
  • While a minesweeper is alone (not part of a larger fleet) within an enemy player's minefield, the density of the minefield will gradually decrease until that minefield ceases to exist.
  • Having multiple minesweepers simultaneously sweeping the same field speeds up the sweeping process.
  • The sweeping process is automatic, however we will be adding ‘friendly codes' in the subsequent release which will give finer control over this. Details to follow in our next post.
  • A ship containing a minesweeper part can't be damaged by a minefield if it is alone (not part of a larger fleet).

There may be further changes to minesweeping as well as to minelaying itself and how a fleet should respond when it finds itself in a minefield, based on your feedback during gameplay.

Minesweeper (ship part)
Orbital bomber (ship part)

Orbital bombing

A planet's ability to fend off a ground assault is in-part determined by the size of the population and military.

Where a planet has a huge population, it will - as you'd expect - be very difficult for another player to capture it (the large quantity of ground troops that would need to be dropped on the planet).

We've added an orbital bomber weapon which can be used to grind down a planet's resistance by launching a series of orbital strikes against the planet's surface (to increase the chances of a future ground assault succeeding).

The orbital bomber works automatically at the moment. While a ship equipped with one is in orbit of another player's planet, it will automatically attack the planet.

The effect of this is random damage to buildings, a decrease in happiness and loss of colonists. More control over the use of this weapon will be added in future versions along with possible revisions.

Guard mode

In the previous version, fleets in orbit of a player's planet did not take any action automatically if fleets of another player enter orbit. This has now been changed so that fleets in orbit automatically guard the planet (regardless of planet owner).

  • A player's fleets in orbit of a planet will automatically attack any fleet of another player which attempts to enter orbit (a friendly code system will come after the Alpha re-launch which will enable players to offer safe-passage against guard mode and their minefields - more details to follow closer to their release).
  • If a player has multiple fleets in orbit, their strongest fleet will attack incoming fleets first.
  • All guard-mode battles happen head-on (no turning to face enemy during battle on either side).

In future updates, we may add more customisation over guard mode behaviour per fleet e.g. don't automatically enable, flee etc. - based on player feedback. It will also not be possible to launch a ground assault against a planet while the owning player has fleets in orbit - defending fleets will have to be defeated before being able to do so.

The People's Realm

The People's Realm are still a work in progress, but we do have a number of their ships complete, so here's a sneak peak of one of them :)

Ship for People's Realm (coming soon)

# Alpha reset and new release

September 30th 2017

Hi everyone,

Finally, we have some news for you regarding the Alpha reset and new release!

Alpha reset

On Friday October 6th at around 10:00 UTC we will be resetting the Alpha servers. The current Alpha galaxy that has been running since early April will be wiped! So for those of you that have been waiting for the reset to smash your fleets together beforehand, now is the time :)

We apologise that it took longer than anticipated. As well as UI and gameplay changes, we carried out a significant overhaul of the underlying engine which meant we couldn't release an update until everything had been put back together.

These engine improvements mean we can scale more confidently across multiple galaxies (in particular private galaxies) and support millions of players!

With this update out of the way, all developers are back to coding gameplay features and we'll be able to return to the rapid release pace with which Alpha began.

Everyone's help with playing and testing the new engine and features will be greatly appreciated :)

Restarting Alpha

After the reset, we'll need some time to get the new environment running and some other bits finished before we can restart Alpha with the new release and galaxy. It won't be long, and we'll give you a fixed date as soon as we can.

Steam keys

Moving forwards, the Alpha and the Beta to come will be managed via the Steam client. Once we're ready to relaunch Alpha, everyone in the current Alpha will be emailed a Steam key which will need to be activated via the Steam client (we'll post in the forum/blog when these have gone out).

The game will then be added to your Steam library which will manage installation/updates automatically. The previous update process was clunky and required redownloading the entire game each time, whereas with Steam only the minimum necessary for the update is downloaded.

Although the game will be managed via Steam it won't be publicly accessible. Access is still invitation only, but we will be inviting more players to join Alpha shortly after the relaunch.

New release

For a reminder of the features and changes included in this update please see:

Thanks again to you all for your patience. Feel free to post any questions in the forum thread.

# Planet management update

July 17th 2017

Hi all,

It's been a while since our last release - almost a month now - but with good reason!

The next release will include a completely revamped UI for planet management and additional gameplay features and enhancements.

Some of this work required changes to the underlying data structures. This needed to be completed in one go, rather than spread across multiple updates, hence the delay in getting this release to you.

Coming changes

  • New planet management UI - clearer overview and easier management.
  • Buildings require colonists: each building has a cost in terms of personnel required to operate it (too few leads to issues).
  • Employment/unemployment - following on from the above, having too many unemployed citizens will also cause issues.
  • Fleet upkeep - will be relative to the ships in the fleet e.g. quantity and size. At the moment, each fleet cost is static and not proportionate.
  • Ground assaults - will take the size of the population into account (possibly via a militia that exists in a size based on planet happiness level).
  • Building/tech levels - the introduction of levels for buildings and tech and the ability to upgrade.
  • Improvements to building desirability.
  • Improvements to happiness - how it's calculated and the effects.
  • Planet activity log (view changes/activity).
  • Resource usage - Beron for building construction, Farsu for ship hulls and parts, Zyril for energy weapons/shields, Limbalt for ordnance (which must be converted before use), Olzine for fuel.
  • Resource distribution - home planets will have all resources, but other planets will vary between Limbalt or Ziryl (which will determine weapons suitability).

When will it be ready?

We're expecting to have the next release ready before the end of the month (we'll post an update soon when we have a definite date for it). If any of the features listed above need a little longer, it'll be pushed to the following release, rather than keeping you waiting any longer for the bulk of the release.

Database reset

The current galaxy has been running since the start of Alpha - 3 months ago now. Unfortunately, as part of this update we are going to need to reset the existing galaxy and begin with a fresh galaxy. We're pleased to have been able to avoid doing so up to now, but understand that some of you will be disappointed about the reset.

On the plus side, the end of the existing galaxy gives everyone the freedom to play with less caution :)

# Game update [Alpha v.0.51]

June 19th 2017

Update: this version has now been released. Please see the release notes to see all included changes.

Hi all,

Later on today (Mon June 19th) we are going to release v.0.51. This will happen at around 20:00 UTC. After the release has been completed, you will be prompted to download the updated client.

Coming changes

  • 6 new ship models integrated
  • Entertainment multiplex building to counter unhappiness
  • Blueprint management
  • Macro overview fast and redesigned
  • Sound option menu controls
  • Improved new player spawning algo

After the release, you'll be able to see all of the changes in the release notes.

# Game update [Alpha v.0.50]

May 29th 2017

Update: this version has now been released. Please see the release notes to see all included changes.

Hi everyone,

There will be a release today (Mon May 29th) at around 17:00 UTC.

A significant change in this release is an overhaul of the research UI (the tech tree itself is still the same used for Alpha). Of the bugs fixed, the issue of the camera not centering correctly over an empire will have been irritating most of you! And those of you with a large number of fleets causing a loss of their visibility will be glad to see the back of this issue.

Please check the release notes after the release for a full list of changes.

Coming changes

  • A more user-friendly research tree UI.
  • Fleets belonging to players with many fleets will stop vanishing from view.
  • The camera will center correctly on a player's empire rather than the center of the galaxy.
  • New icons added for resources and tab menus.
  • New ships are named after the blueprint rather than "NewFleet" to make managing newly created ships easier.

# Game update [Alpha v.0.44]

May 11th 2017

Update: this version has now been released. Please see the release notes to see all included changes.

Hi everyone,

There will be a release tomorrow (Fri May 12th) at around 15:00 UTC.

We've managed to get the restart game working correctly - so those of you that have been patiently waiting for this will finally be able to get back in to play. Apologies again for the false hope with the last release!

Coming changes

  • Restarting after game over: if after logging in and attempting to enter the galaxy you get a game over screen instead, you'll now be able to start again. After returning from the game over screen, you will be able to click a button to empty that game slot. You'll then be able to enter the Alpha galaxy again!
  • Income from planets not colonized by a player bug fixed - sorry :)
  • Various improvements to the in-game chat.

# Game update [Alpha v.0.43]

May 5th 2017

Update: this version has now been released. However, the ability to restart the game wasn't implemented (read more). Please see the release notes to find out more.

Hi everyone,

There's going to be a new release happening tomorrow (Sat May 6th) at around 15:00 UTC.

If you've been waiting to restart the game or are suffering from these client side errors due to having many fleets - this release is for you!

Coming changes

  • Restarting after game over: if after logging in and attempting to enter the galaxy you get a game over screen instead, you'll now be able to start again. After returning from the game over screen, you will be able to click a button to empty that game slot. You'll then be able to enter the Alpha galaxy again!
  • In-game chat: you'll be able to see how many other players are online and send global messages via the chat. Development on this began less than two weeks ago..
  • 2 new engines added to the tech tree: you'll be able to use them as soon as you have completed the research required to unlock them. Time for an Olzine mine or 2?
  • Client Side Error: DBService request failed bug fixed :)

# Game update [Alpha v.0.42]

April 25th 2017

Hi everyone,

We released a small update today which affected both game servers and clients. When next logging in to the game, you'll be prompted to download the latest version (the download link is included in the prompt).

When running the installer, it'll first uninstall the existing version before continuing with the installation of the updated version. Any problems please let us know

Release notes

You can find out more details of this update in the release notes. They include some community submitted bug fixes and some additional notifications for a player (when scanners have detected a populated planet or a player has been seen for the first time).

Coming updates

We expect another update in two days time (Thursday 27th April). This will include the feature for new players to restart after getting game over.

At the same time, we're also working on some other features that will be coming not long after, such as in-game chat, new engines and better blueprint management, more details to follow...

# Game update [Alpha v.0.41]

April 19th 2017

Update: this version has now been released. Please see the release notes to find out more.

Hi all,

We'll be releasing a game update later at 21:00 UTC (compare timezones).

If you're playing at this time, it's likely you'll be disconnected from the server and your game will probably crash (in future we'll handle this more gracefully)!

If you're not running the game at that time, the next time you login to the game you'll be prompted to download and install the latest version (there's a link to do so as part of the prompt).

When running the installer, it'll first uninstall the existing version before continuing with the installation of the updated version. Any problems please let us know.

Coming changes

This update will contain a number of bug fixtures, enhancements and features including:

  • Updated leaderboard scoring system: expect a shake up in the rankings
  • Easy to view player coordinates: let other players know where you are or share intel

More details to follow once the release has been published.

# Early game activity - 72 hours played

April 17th 2017

Hi everyone,

First of all, a big thanks to all of the Alpha players - the game galaxy is already off to a great start!

We've had a lot of useful feedback via the forum and can see people have been helping each other out on Discord.

Leaderboard

The top of the leaderboard as it stands looks like this:

As a few of you have pointed out, the current scoring has been heavily biased towards ships/military strength. We've updated this already based on your feedback and you'll see this in the next update (which could be tomorrow, Tue 18). So if you're languishing at the moment, tomorrow you could get a sudden boost :) Congrats to duvelsuper, the current leader!

Game stats

For those of you that are curious, we've got some numbers for you on early gameplay:

Players

Total Alpha players 45
Most simultaneously online 14

Ships

Ship blueprints designed 384
New ships constructed 384

Buildings

Building Total
Beron mine 498
Farsu mine 183
Ziryl mine 177
Limbalt mine 140
Olzine mine 248
Barracks 57
Labs 80
Power stations 77
Farms 82

One of the Alpha players Manni did a great walkthrough of his game earlier today which you can watch here.

We'll be back soon with another update for you shortly! In the meantime, you can speak with us in the forum and we'll jump in to the chat when we can :)


# Alpha release

April 14th 2017

We're pleased to announce the Alpha release of Beyond Dark! It's the first time anyone outside of the core team will get to play. Invitations for Alpha went out a few weeks ago (mostly randomly selected from those subscribed for Beta). You can find out more about Alpha here on the release overview.

FAQ

How long will Alpha run for?
We're not sure yet, it depends on how the game performs.
We will give players seven days' notice before we end Alpha and close off access to the game (until Beta).

On what platforms is the Alpha available?
The Alpha is only available for Windows PC.

What are the minimum hardware requirements?
Please see the following forum post to find out more: System Requirements.

What will happen with my game data after Alpha?
Alpha game data will be wiped once Alpha is finished. Gameplay won't contribute to Beta or any future versions.