Early Access Update 1

The game is now live on Steam (and still free)! The process of actually getting the game live has been one of the most tumultuous, stressful things I've ever done and I'm just fortunate that the only consequence of being in build review hell is looking like a bit of an idiot. If this was my sole form of income, I would be a wreck at this point.

I want to take this opportunity to address the state of play, where the game currently is and what's still to come. To be entirely clear, this is an Early Access release in the very literal sense: there is still tons to do. What the last year has been about is getting the foundations in place for what I hope will be an awesome platform for interesting game modes, maps and general community fun.

Putting stuff out there in the world is really scary but a point comes where the value of feedback outweighs the terror of rejection and you just have to put the pen down. So, while Early Access has seemingly come to mean almost finished / paid beta for many games, I really wanted to make the feedback loop a core part of the design / development process and really take advantage of the delivery mechanisms and services that Steam offers users as early in that cycle as possible (and it still took me a year!).

I think it's important to keep in mind context here - the game is (and will always be) free so I'm not concerned about people buying in. If this game was paid or my livelihood depended on it, that would be a different story.

And if you really want to take me down a peg, feel free to tell me how terrible the code is (or, y'know, submit some fixes 💖)!

Why is it free? What's the catch?

I get this a lot. The top and bottom of it is this is a game I want to play and it's become a fun community project which stopped us going mad during a global pandemic. With this being a competitive / community-focused game at heart, the niche-within-a-niche nature means that the less barriers to entry, the better it will be for everyone. Ways of supporting the project [b]may[/b] be looked at later (e.g. ship liveries, patreon, whatever) but will never include paid competitive advantages or anything gross like that.

So what's currently in place?

  • 6dof flight model (and the ability to tweak it to your hearts content - yes, a 50km/s ship will break the game and that's on you 😅).
  • An infinite game world engine to facilitate the rather absurd speeds (~1km/s is no joke when it comes to floating point accuracy!)
  • 2 ships (yes, many more to come) with colour customisation.
  • All the infrastructure around game / graphics / audio options, re-bindable inputs, various flight assists and a frankly absurd amount of options to cater to all kinds of users from casual pad-play all the way to dual-flightstick pilots.
  • VR headset support (F11 to recenter!) - I'd love to do cockpit VR controller support in the future but it's not a priority right now.
  • Basic JSON map format with auto-leaderboard-generation (ripe for an integrated custom map tool in the future).
  • 14 Time Trial maps - more are planned when there's more concrete level geometry and finalised terrain.
  • Infinite terrain gen as a technical preview (more diverse biome terrain and foliage planned).
  • Multiplayer as a technical preview (no competitive game modes as of yet).

So what's planned?

The short version is: an awful lot.

The long version is: this is a community project where basically everything is still up in the the air and I'm generally happy to go with the consensus if it makes sense and is reasonably scoped. Certain features have begun to solidify but the kinds of maps, game modes and even ship tiers that'll be in the final game are still big question marks.

  • Ray on the Discord has some new ships coming for both training and sight-seeing.
  • I have a huge sound effect refactor work to get through thanks to Monohive on the Discord - all the sound effects currently in the game are placeholder (and cludged together by me, renowned definitely-not-sound-engineer that I am) but I think they hold up reasonably well for a first pass. However, they clearly could be a lot better.
  • Now that the foundations are in for Multiplayer, I'm really keen to get some simple competitive party games in place and really expand on the terrain graph to capture the feeling of discovery which accompanies wider variety.
  • I'm also really keen on getting in a proper replay viewer - ghosts are stored and can be replayed in-game but not with external cameras, timeline etc just yet.

It's been an insane year and I can't wait to see where the next year takes us, thank you so much for coming on this journey with me.

- J


FlyDangerous-0.5.4-linux.zip 1 GB
May 23, 2022
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