Monday, 20 December 2010

Stellar Forces: Mission Roundup

There has been quite a few new missions added to Stellar Forces, so here's a quick roundup with my patented "in-a-nutshell" mission descriptions:

Denunciation: (Kindly created by Deadline (Linden Clarke) Like "The Assassins" mission, except both sides have a target that must be killed.

Alien: (Kindly created by Deadline (Linden Clarke) A recreation of the classic film. The crew must activate the self destruct and escape, whilst avoiding the seemingly all-seeing alien.

Sniper's Paradise: (Kindly created by Pedro Casaca) Two sides face each other across a barren landscape. Sniping is the order of the day unless anyone is brave enough to make a run for it.

Egg Collector: (I do actually create some missions myself) Four sides must race to collect the most alien eggs which are all concentrated in the centre of the complex.

Egg Hunt: (Kindly created by Deadline (Linden Clarke) Two sides battle to be the first to collect and alien egg and escape with it. Of course, the aliens themselves are unlikely to let this happen easily...

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Stellar Forces: In Space No-One Can Hear You Scream....

...when you've primed a grenade to go off but forgotton to throw it.

But seriously, thanks to Deadlime (Linden Clarke, the seemingly perpetually top player) it's now possible to recreate said screaming in the new Alien mission. One player takes control of the under-equipped crew of the Nostromo who must initiate the self-destruct mechanism before escaping, and the other player controls the alien, who must do what comes naturally and eat all the humans.

Coming soon... Aliens! Probably.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Stellar Forces is 1!


It was actually about a week ago, but in all the excitement it passed me by. However, back in November 2009, the very first game of Stellar Forces was played. Now, almost 700 games have been played and the game goes from strength to strength. Thanks to everyone who has played a game, and especially thank you to all those who have provided content, media, new suggestions and great ideas. Here's to the next year and beyond!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Stellar Forces: Mission Playback

It's finally here! The one feature that was a fair bit of work but I've been wanting to add to Stellar Forces for months: Mission Playback.

Once a mission has been finished, it's now possible to playback the whole thing in a Strategic Scanner-style view. Ideal for seeing where your tactics failed or how you defeated your opponent so easily.

Here's an example mission playback from one of my less succesful missions. See how I charge across the complex looking for the enemy! Grin as my units are picked off one by one! Laugh as I concede since victory has eluded me again!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Stellar Forces: Autoupdating Client

The v1.44 (or greater) versions of the Stellar Forces client will now automatically check and update itself to the latest release.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Stellar Forces: Think You're Good?

So you've played Stellar Forces a few times, and maybe even won a battle or two. But have you tried Advanced Mode yet?


* Players are informed of enemy movement and shots fire if one of their units is within the noise range, even if they can't see them.

* Equipment and corpses are only shown if a player's unit can actually see it.

* Dead bodies are not shown on the strategic scanner.

* Players are only informed of game events (e.g. the death of an enemy unit) if one of their units actually saw it happen.


Originally, alien eggs and flags (as in capture the flag) weren't shown on the scanner in Advanced Mode, but it was decided that was a step too far.

Are you good enough??

Friday, 12 November 2010

Stellar Forces: New Queen Alien

If there's one thing that Stellar Forces has been missing, it's a giant kick-ass Queen Alien. Something like this:-

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Stellar Forces: Tactics Answer

[See the previous post for the question that this post refers to]

I use the word "answer", but what I really mean is "what I did which wasn't the best solution".

I decided to use my man (highlighted in blue) to see if there were any units in the adjacent room (where the door had been destroyed) that I could use the grenade on. I temporarily ignored the fact that there were units behind the two doors, since the doors themselves provide a small tactical advantage (in that I'll get an "opportunity fire" shot when the enemy walks through them).

Moving my man so that he could see into the adjacent room proved to be a mistake cos he was immediately shot and killed at point blank range. :(




So my next move was to pick up the grenade (highlighted in green). I didn't think it worth throwing the grenade in the direction of the enemy unit that had just killed my "blue" man, since it would leave the unit exposed to one of the other enemy units hidden behind the doors after his AP's had run out.

I picked up the grenade, and it turned out it wasn't even primed! Maybe I should have checked that first. Damn my opponent for making me look a fool!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Stellar Forces: Tactics question

Here's an interesting tactical problem I was posed by an opponent in a game.


I have a unit stood next to a grenade (green) - an AP100 as well, which has a radius of 5. I know for a fact that there is an enemy unit stood behind each of the red doors. I also have the unit highlighted in blue. Presumably the grenade is about to explode, so I need to get rid of it. But what do I do out of all my options? And what order do I do them in?

Answers tommorow.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Stellar Forces: Voice F/X

Thanks to top Stellar Forces player Deadlime (Linden Clarke), the latest version of the client now has voice f/x!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Stellar Forces: Quickstart

Sometimes, some ideas are so obvious that you wonder why it takes someone else to point them out to you. And so it was with a particular feature of Stellar Forces: previously, when a game was started, the player who created it would have to wait for an opponent to join before they could equip; then they would have to wait for their opponent to equip before they could deploy. Etc etc...

Why why why? Deadlime pointed out to me that there's no obvious reason for this, and there isn't a technical one, so just equip already! Players can now equip AND deploy all before an opponent has checked in. And why not?

Friday, 29 October 2010

Stellar Forces: First Tutorial Video - Deployment

I'm going to start creating some tutorial videos for Stellar Forces to help new players get a head-start on the finer details. Here's the first one: a tutorial on deploying units.



UPDATE: I've remastered it (as we in the movie business call it) to a higher quality. The video is still boring though, unless you want to know how to deploy units.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Stellar Forces: Smooth Moves

I've just been adding smooth movement and animation to Stellar Forces. S'all.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Stellar Forces: Gameplay Video



I've finally got round to creating some gameplay videos for Stellar Forces. This is just a quick demo of a recent turn in one of my games. (I hope my opponent isn't watching this.)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Operation SNAFU: Autoposy

A while ago I blogged about a new kind of mission I was creating for Stellar Forces. In a nutshell, the missions were in the usual Stellar Forces style (e.g. destroy the computers on the moonbase) but the difference was that it was a secret to the other players which side was actually the one tasked with destroying the computers.

And the first game of the first version of this kind of mission (which I've christened SNAFU [warning - pdf] missions after the Paranoia mission that inspired it) has just been completed. The "saboteur" is randomly chosen, and as luck (?) would have it, I was the one chosen to be the saboteur. What are the chances eh??

Anyway, playing the mission was (in a good way) a bit like a game of chess: the units on all four sides were jostling for position to get the best view of the computers, so that when the saboteurs struck, they would be discovered. I realised that my best hope for success might be to actually kill some units instead to create confusion and give me some space. [Un]fortunately, that's exactly what happened: the first enemy unit I killed (making sure I wasn't seen by any other units) happened to have a Death Grenade, which explodes when the unit holding it dies. This grenade took another of my units out, and severly wounded the first.

All that action pretty much gave away my position, so after that, I was a sitting duck and soon got wiped out. All in all it was a great tactical game but too short (due to my impatience). Next time (if I'm the saboteurs) I might just stick to destroying computers.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Stellar Forces: Practise Missions

Player Hardwired had a great idea for Stellar Forces last week that is so obvious I can't believe no-one (including me) hadn't thought of it before: a practise mission!

One thing that prevents new players appreciating a game like Stellar Forces is that it can seem a bit daunting at first. Add to that that fact that players are always playing against another human player (so they may not want to look too much like a beginner) and it probably puts a lot of people off.

The practise mission aims to address that. It's basically a 1-player mission where the player can walk about, shoot weapons and use equipment without worring about waiting for another player (or another player waiting for them) and get to grips with all the controls before starting a proper game against a real opponent.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Hurray for Open Source!

This is just a plain-old thank you to the creator(s) of the excellent UFO:AI, and in particular, the creator of the unit models, without which Stellar Forces probably wouldn't have existed, at least not in the semi-decent form it is now. (It would probably look more like my previous efforts - warning: your eyes will bleed).

That's the great thing about Open Source: it allows people to get a massive head-start on whatever project they want to create, and it doesn't diminish anything else. It allows a huge range of games to exist which wouldn't in a purely commercial world, meaning there is almost certainly a free game out there for everyone. And if there's not, why not create it?

Friday, 1 October 2010

Stellar Forces Map Editor

When starting a new project that requires some kind of map layout, OpenOffice is always my first choice: it's nice and simple, and using cell colours it pretty much does everything you could want from a map editor, while the map file format stays simple, anyway.

But as features get added to games, sooner or later the map file format contains so much information that it becomes too fiddly.

And that has become the case with Stellar Forces. As well as just the texture of the floors and the location of doors and deployment squares, the map file also needs to store the owner of squares (for the multi-player Moonbase Assault missions and others), "escape" squares (for the Alien Escape mission and others) and of course scenery codes.

So that's why I've created the Stellar Forces Map Editor. It's a fork of the old Java version of Tiled (there is a new .Net version, but I know Java much better) and uses the same textures from the actual game which gives a very good 2D representation of what the map will look like. It's highly beta though and still has a few quirks, but should make creating maps much easier for everyone.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Stellar Forces: New Forums

Although my game design and programming skills are second-to-none, I humbly admit that my design skillz aren't amazing. ;)

With this in mind, I've set up the new Stellar Forces Forums using phpBB, the ubiquitous forums software that also looks pretty good as well.

I just need to get people to start using the new forums and not the old ones! And also the good design makes the current Stellar Forces website look a bit dated.

Monday, 27 September 2010

A Whole New Idea for Missions

[Cross-posted from the Stellar Forces forums]

Years ago I was reading a copy of White Dwarf (back in the day when it covered RPG's) and it had a mission for the RPG "Paranoia". The mission was about all the players working together to accomplish some goal, but the catch was that one randomly-selected player was secretly working against the others and had to try and disrupt them and cause the mission to fail. (Actually, this being Paranoia, it turns out that *all* the players were told to work against each others!). [Update: I've actually found the supplement [pdf] on the all-knowing internet].

Unfortunately I never got to play this game, but ever since, I've been wanting to try something similar. And now that Stellar Forces exists I have the chance! There are probably lots of possibilities with this idea, but the first one I have come up with is something like 4-player Moonbase Assault: 3 players are the "defenders", and one randomly selected player is the attacker (but that side is not revealed to anyone else). The attacker must try and destroy the computers without being spotted shooting at them.

Another idea off the top of my head include Rescue from the Mines-style mission, but one side has to kill the hostages. Needless to say, no-one is told which side it is (apart from the player controlling them).

What do people think? Would it be any good?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Stellar Forces: Small Victories

Stellar Forces is now 5th in the Google search results when searching for "free squad strategy game", even above UFO:AI.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Stellar Forces Update

Just a few changes to report on since the last update:-

  • The wiki now has a proper URL: http://www.stellarforceswiki.com
  • New campaign league.
  • 4 new missions: "Hit and Run 1 - Breakout Map", "Hit and Run 2 - Escort 2 Map", "The Assassins - Outhouses" and "Gladiator".
  • New league of players who are playing the most concurrent games.
  • Games can be conceded and also "mutually conceded".
  • In campaign mode, units get a stats increase when going up a rank.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Stellar Forces: Now with 32 more bits!

Thanks to Deadlime's good work, Stellar Forces now works on 64-bit Windows. Not being able to afford a 64-bit system had prevented me from investigating this particular problem, but now it's sorted, there's no excuse not to join in the fun!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Stellar Forces: Campaign Mode

Announcing the lastest feature to be added to Stellar Forces: Campaign mode. Now units can be carried forward to the next mission, increasing in rank as they do so (with bonus rank-points for exterminating enemy units).

There is also a league table showing who's got the highest ranking units. The first campaign games are being played now. Get in there early to give your squad the best head start!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Stellar Forces: Latest News

A few bits of news: Firstly, I've now acquired a static IP address, so Stellar Forces now has a proper domain name and doesn't have to mess about redirecting to Dynamic DNS's.

Secondly, after what seems like an eternity, Deadlime is no longer the top player, having been relegated to second place by Monkey with 40 points to 34! (As of the time of writing anyway).

And finally, a new version of the client has been released: 1.26. Only a few minor tweaks (and the obligatory batch of bug-fixes) like being able to un-use the current piece of equipment. See the Stellar Forces page for full details.

If you think you'd enjoy a relaxed take-your-turn-when-you-want-to turn-based strategy game, why not give it a go?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Stellar Forces: New Missions

Since the last update on this blog, 3 new missions have been added to Stellar Forces:

Capture the Flag & 4-Player Capture the Flag
The classic game mode that is in every other multi-player game ever, now has its best incarnation in Stellar Forces. It surely needs no introduction, suffice to say that the idea is that each side capture the flag that is in the centre of the map and must bring it back to their side to win.

3-Player Moonbase Assault
A classic twist on the classic Laser Squad mission: this time, there are two groups of attackers trying to be the one that destroys the most computers, while the defenders are stuck in the middle trying to protect them (or let the attackers kill each other while they keep out the way!).

The client has also had several updates and is now on version 1.27. If you're running an older version, upgrade now!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Stellar Forces: Latest News


Here's a quick rundown of all the new features that have been added to Stellar Forces since the last update:-

* It's easier to analyse the game during and after on the map now that the direction of units is shown.

* New Mission: The Exterminators. This is designed to be similar to The Assassins; it has a much bigger and more complicated map layout, but to compensate the assassins, they have a lot more credits with which to buy some high-explosive weapons!

* Missions have been adjusted: in Prison Mutiny, the prisoners now have 400 creds; in Alien Escape, the aliens now start with 10 units.

* Ammo is now not wasted when reloading; if the old ammo clip has spare bullets in it, the clip is retained.

* The client is now up to version 1.25

* This hasn't changed: Deadlime is still top of the league!

That's all for now. My todo list is about as long as War & Peace, but I'm always open to new suggestions and comments.

Monday, 14 June 2010

New Gameplay Features

To keep the Stellar Forces game interesting, I've added two new gameplay features:-

Hearing Enemies
This is an option that can be selected when creating a new game. If selected, units will be able to hear enemy units in close proximity (< 3 squares) even if there is a wall in the way.

Alien Impregnation
There are now two missions that use this feature - if an alien kills a human unit, the human unit turns into an alien.

(Ps - I wouldn't recommend searching for "alien impregnation" on Google like I did to accompany this article.)

Friday, 4 June 2010

Psi Powers?

It was probably only a matter of time before this came up. Since Stellar Forces is inspired by Laser Squad/X-Com, and the other great games written by Julian Gollop include Chaos and Lords of Chaos, then adding the features of those games into Stellar Forces seems like a good idea, and psi-powers instead of "spells" means that the gameplay mechanics of Chaos can be easily transposed into the Stellar Forces milleu. (Having said that, maybe I should just fork the code and create a new game called Magic Forces or something?)

However, Chaos and Laser Squad were different in many ways, so there are still lots of questions to be answered about how psi-powers will fit in, e.g. what is the limit on psi-powers? Does the player get to choose the powers or are they randomly selected? And what psi-powers will there be? That should be a good one to answer. Copying a lot of the Chaos spells seems like a good place to start. Imagine a Turmoil spell being cast in The Assassins!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Creating Custom Missions

Creating a custom mission for Stellar Forces couldn't be easier:-
  1. Identify an existing mission that is the most similar to what you intend to create (i.e. uses the same kind of textures and scenery).
  2. Download the mission map for that mission from http://www.stellarforces.com/serverdata/new_maps. Make sure you download the ”.odt” file, not the ”.csv” file.
  3. Edit the file to your own map specifications. The codes used should be fairly obvious, and everything is colour coded.
  4. Download the units file from http://www.stellarforces.com/serverdata/units.ods and add a row for each unit in your mission.
  5. Send both the edited files to me (see the contact details on the website) along with the following information: how many credits per side, how many turns, who wins when the turns expire, and whether the walls are destroyable.
That's all there is to it. I'll then add the mission to the list and everyone else can enjoy your new creation!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Stellar Forces: New Missions Frenzy

Stellar Forces has 4 new missions awaiting release:-

3-Player Assassins
This is a twist on the classic Laser Squad mission The Assassins, and as the name implies, it is a 3-player version. Sterner Regnix and his gang must try and fend off attacks from two assassin squads, or can they try and play off the two enemies against each other?

Battle for Sigma 7
This will be uploaded tonight after extensive testing (as always). Two small armies must battle it out across a barren landscape.

Prison Mutiny
There has been a mutiny in the underground high security prison of AmpliNova. Each of the escapees has a copy of the plans for a new chemical weapon. All it would take is for one of the prisoners to escape for millions to die. The prisoners must be killed! (This mission was created by player PCasaca and is currently being playtested).

Laboratory Attack
Marsec Corporation Scientists are developing new defensive weapons including undetectable Laser Trip Wires and Land Mines. Now with their leader Sterner Regnix on the run, the Laser Squad have launched an offensive attack on their laboratory complex. All Scientists and Computers must be destroyed! (This mission was created by player Deadlime and is currently being playtested).


Thanks to both PCasaca and Deadlime for creating new missions. If anyone else would like to create their own mission, the simple instructions on how to do this can be found on the Stellar Forces Wiki.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Stellar Forces: Gameplay Video

Many thanks to Krogot for creating this, though he never told me and I've just stumbled upon it! It's a short gameplay video of Stellar Forces. Just like the real thing, it's a bit dark, but should give a good idea of the gameplay.




Also, there's a new version of the client released today: 1.17.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Stellar Forces: Ahora en Español!

Hola y gracias por leer esto. Por el poder de Google Translate (y mucho mejor por los mejores jugadores Víctor) Stellar Forces ahora tiene soporte multi-lingual. Por el momento no hay más que español, pero pronto habrá portugués gracias a PCasaca. Ahora estoy tomando las solicitudes de la lengua junto a añadir.

Gracias y buena suerte!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Stellar Forces: What makes a good mission?

I've been thinking about this for a while. It's true of this game and of the original Laser Squad that some missions are more enjoyable (or get played more, which may be for slightly different reasons) than others. Here's what I came up with:-

1. A mission where players can use multiple tactics.

Obviously a mission where the players can try all kinds of different tactics is going to get played a lot more than one where the same obvious tactic is the only one to use. A good example of a mission that allows for multiple tactics is The Assassins; the attacker can go through room by room looking for Sterner Regnix; or they can stand outside and blow the building away until Sterner eventually gets caught in an explosion; or they can blow a hole in a side wall and enter the building by an unexpected route. These are just a few ideas off the top of my head.

The "defenders" also have a good range of options; do they sit tight in the middle of the room and pick of their opponents off as they come through the doors; or do they make an audacious bid to leave the building thus making it very hard to be found? And which room is best to hide in?

2. A mission with an interesting map

I'll admit it, I've made a few boring maps in my time that are far too symetrical, but I've learnt from my mistakes! A god example of an interesting map is Moonbase Assault. There are lots of little rooms, lots of big rooms, and lots of long corridors. Each side of the map lends itself to different tactics, and the attacker is left to ponder when is best to reveal their location by destroying the computers. And where does the defender place their men? Do the concentrate them in the centre where all the computers are, or try and defeat the attacker before they get there?


3. A mission with a tight focus

Years ago I hacked the original Laser Squad and added loads more rooms to The Assassin map, thinking it would make a better game. Wrong! All it did was mean one player had to trudge around looking for the enemy, which was no fun. Players want to either get straight into the action, or know that the action is just round the corner ready to be got into. The size of The Assassins map is perfect; not too big and not too small.

The layout of the Moonbase Assault map is also ideal, as both players are heading for the same place and not wandering around looking for each other. I've also kept the randomly-generated maps of the Last Man Standing missions deliberately small so players are only round the corner from each other from the start. And now that there's a 4-player last man standing, it's not long before the bodies start piling up!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Stellar Forces: Ménage à trois!

The title says it all. Or rather the title says rather more than that, and may be giving the wrong idea about this game.

What I'm trying to say is, Stellar Forces is now taking strategy games into new territory, and has it's first 3-player mission! It's a simple affair that I knocked up to test the concept, but so far so good!

And if this works, who knows what next? I do, and it will be 4-player missions. So there.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Stellar Forces: Spot the Difference?

Okay, it's only a small change, but when you're coding procedurally generated the 3D by hand, every little successful change is a victory! And for such a small change, I think it improves the look considerably.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Stellat Forces: Door Tactics

Doors can a real issue. You just know that right behind it is an enemy unit waiting to stick his laser pistol in your face the moment you step through. But there's no other way to proceed! Or is there?

Here's my list of available options to handling doors with the minimum of death:-

Grenades
This is the obvious option and works very well, but takes a bit of time to set up and also uses up a grenade. Simply drop (or throw if your feeling lucky) a grenade next to the door. Once it goes off, the door will be no more.

Advanced tip: time the grenade to go off at the end of your opponent's turn, so you get to move in straight afterwards.

Needless to say, don't stand too close when the grenade goes off! I like to have a few snipers stood well back ready to pick off any units that become visible.


Super-Heavy Armour
Super heavy armour is pretty much exactly as it sounds - it's very heavy, so it slows a unit down considerably, but it does afford a 40-point protection, meaning they will stand a much better chance when staring down the barrel of a gun. Use a unit wearing S.H.A. to open the door and check for enemy units immediately behind it. Once the coast is clear, let a more agile unit investigate further.


Force of Numbers
Your final option is sheer force of numbers. Line up all your units outside, let the first one take the hit, and then pile in! Usually works eventually, but can lead to lots of death, especially if there are multiple enemy units covering the door with lots of overwatch points!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Stellar Forces: Now with less beta!

I've finally decided to bump the version number of the client all the way up to 1.01, since it stopped being "beta" weeks ago and is now a fully fledged feature-complete game. This new latest version has the following features:
  • New equipment: Death Grenades.
  • A unit's health is shown on the stats bar.
  • A shot's accuracy is always adjusted by a random fractional amount.
  • Added 2 more sound effects.
  • Reduced the potential throwing innaccuracy.
  • A lot of the weapon and equipment prices have been recalculated.
  • When deploying, the map shows the enemy's deployment squares as well as your own.
There's also a new mission by the name of "Moonbase Assault 2", which is very similar to Moonbase Assault 1, except that both sides now have a moonbase with computers to be destroyed. This means that delicate strategic decisions need to be made: how many men do you send out to attack the enemy's moonbase, and how many you keep back to defend your own?

Frankly, the biggest problem I had with this mission is trying to think of a contrived storyline as to why two enemy's would build moonbases right next to each other! Any suggestion gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Stellar Forces: New Client 0.56

New client 0.56 has just been released with the following features:-

* Implemented the original Laser Squad shooting algorythm (with a few minor tweaks).
* Added Rocket Launchers.
* Added sound effects.

That's right, you can now play The Assassins mission with the classic tactic of blowing the whole building away!

Should I increase the version number to > 1? The Stellar Forces client is still on v0.56 because I started on v0.1 or something, since the first version is usually full of bugs, and then just add 0.01 each time. However, it's been pretty much bug-free and complete for as long as I can remember, so I was wondering if having a version number < 1 was putting people of by making them assume it's unfinished? All I'm doing now is adding snazzy features and more equipment, so the v1 tag would be fully justified.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Stellar Forces: Victor no longer the Victor

Since Stellar Forces started having a league table, the player named "Victor" has been at the top - until yesterday! He was finally usurped from his position by "1980-20..". Actually, they are both on joint first place, but "1980-20.." is probably first because I put them in alphabetical order if it's a points tie.

Talking about the Stellar Forces website, what the site really needs is some graphics, maybe depicting scenes from various missions. If anyone is able to do this it would be very much appreciated.

Finally, there's a new mission and new client about to be released, but I'll say more about that when it actually happens.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Stellar Forces: Mission Ideas

I've got quite a few ideas for some more interesting missions in Stellar Forces, but they need a bit of developing. Here's a bit of a brain-dump:-

* One side starts with no weapons, and must avoid the enemy until they can get to a stash on the other side of the map.
* A mission where one unit is an undercover enemy that can be activated by the opposing side at some point.
* A mission where both sides must search for something
* Crash site mission - One side must rescue the survivors of a shuttle crash, who are defenceless and must avoid the enemy until the rescuers can arrive.
* Escort hostage mission: (I think this one could be quite good, but needs some work) One side must escort a hostage to the other side of the map. The hostage is under the control of the opposing player, who also has a team that must rescue the hostage. I just need to find some gameplay device so that the players are co-erced to react just like they would in a real situation. i.e. not sacrifice the hostage.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Stellar Forces Consolidated Update

Stellar Forces development continues unabated, stopping only to actually take my turn in one of the various games I'm losing in.

Here's all the major tweaks since the last update:-

* Users can now subscribe to forum topics.
* Players can now show their website address in their public page.
* Each game is now automatically given its own sub-forum.
* Added a Miscellaneous Statistics page.
* Now shows the armour details on the armour buying page.
* Armour protection is now reduced if the attack is from the sides or rear.
* There are now small explosions wherever bullets hit a target.
* And last ut not least, a new mission: Rescue from the Mines.

The current "most voted for new feature" is to improve the GUI when equipping units. That is going to be no small task, but I'll get round to it eventually. I promise!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Stellar Forces: New Mission and Game Clarification

The latest mission to be added to Stellar Forces is The Alien Hordes: a horde of aliens is heading towards the marine's barracks and must be killed; should they make it, then close-combat will ensure the aliens swiftly anihilate the marines.

Also, a clarification about the game: one 'complaint' about Stellar Forces by some potential players is that they are disappointed because it doesn't have an instant turn-around, i.e. take your turn, then your opponent takes their turn immediately afterwards. This is a fair point, but unfortunately not how I designed the game.

To clarify, this game was designed to be played in a relaxed way, like a PBEM. Once you have taken your turn, your opponent is notified by email that it is now their turn. However, they may not take it straight away. Typically, expect to take a turn and then wait a day to take your next turn (of which you will be notified by email). Of course, your opponent might take their turn immediately, but that is up to them, and you can play as many concurrent games as you can handle if you get bored in the meantime!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Stellar Forces Feature Update

Okay, let's get straight to the point: This is everything that's been added to Stellar Forces since the last blog post!:-

* New version of the client - v0.51
* New equipment: Medi-kits
* Customisable unit names
* Practise games
* Keyboard controls are now fully redefinable
* New mission: 'Escort'
* As well as the usual host of minor bugfixes and tweaks.

That's all folks!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Stellar Forces: Wiki

Stellar Forces now has a wiki. After a recommendation, I'm using Dokuwiki, and it's seems pretty good and very straight forward.

The wiki has only been around for about a day so it's obviously pretty sparse. However, I'll be moving over all the docs from the website. And of course, anyone with a Stellar Forces login is able to log in and add their own content.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Client Update - 0.47

I don't normally post a blog entry every time there's a client update to Stellar Forces, as I usually release a new client every few days! However, I thought I'd list all the major improvements that have been added over the last few versions:-


* Walls, computers and doors can now be destroyed by a grenade
* A grenades explosion radius is now used to calculate how far it can destroy walls and computers.
* The keyboard controls can now be redefined
* Improved explosions
* Fixed a few bugs (natch)


Note that these are just the updates purely to the client; the web server (and thus the games engine and framework) has it's own set of improvements recently, including new missions, new league tables etc.. I think I blogged about those a couple of days ago.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Stellar Forces Features Update

Here's the list of features that I managed to squeeze into Stellar Forces over Xmas:-

* Vote For Feature: Users can now vote for the next major feature that gets added to the game. In the lead at the moment is "Destroyable walls", which is just being tested and will be added in a couple of days.

* Messages between users are now stored so that they can be viewed on the website.

* Two new missions: Defend the base (which is still being tweaked, and was originally in favour of the defenders) and A Tale of Two Moonbases.

* View Mission History: Once a game has been finished, it is now possible to view the locations of all the units as they were at the end of each turn, which makes for very interesting viewing.

That's pretty much it, as well as the usual bugfixes. And we're always looking for more players!