I’ve been working on Chapter 5 Agena System. This system offers some new challenges to the game and marks the first chapter of the second Act. The second act of the game will play out differently than the first act. While the first act of the game is about being part of a larger conflict, the second act is about being stuck behind enemy lines trying to do what it takes to survive and complete your mission. After being severely damaged the Canopus retreats to the Agena system where she hides in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant to make repairs, unfortunately the gases in the atmosphere play havoc with your ship’s systems, particularly the shields. Shields are completely useless while within the gas giant’s atmosphere. Here are some screenshots from the 3rd mission in Chapter 5, where the player must defend the Canopus from incoming long-range torpedoes.
I’ve decided that with both Eridani and Teide being quite uninteresting as far as planetary bodies go, the Lyota System (first system in the game) needs to be a little more impressive. Both Eridani and Teide systems are intended to be basically lifeless systems. In Lyota, I’ve added an additional moon as well as a gas giant. Lyota (the earth-like planet) is supposed to be a moon of the gas giant. At certain perspectives, this doesn’t look quite correct. Still working on it. I have not tried it in stereo 3D yet, but I imagine that a similar problem would exist if a 2D photograph were taken in real life without any point of reference to account for size.
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The Fifth mission in the Beid Sector takes place during an ambush of the UEA Canopus. The Canopus is escorting several freighters full of refugees from Beid Colony when two cruisers jump the Canopus. It’s an intense, but not particularly difficult, battle that really shows off what the Canopus’ pilots can do when they work together. This is one of the few missions in the game where the we are actually evenly matched with the Revi (except for capital ship support). I have to be careful what screenshots I can show because this mission contains a major spoiler that has repercussions for the rest of the game. This mission is the second to last mission of Act I. Eterium will consist of two acts (both acts are planned to be released as one game).
The UEA Sirius is the UEA Canopus’ sister ship. Commissioned and launched before the Canopus, there are some minor differences between her and her sister. The Sirius’ duties have left her on assignment in Sol Sector. She may be encountered later in the story, although you’ll never be flying off of her. But for those of you who want to mix things up a bit, the Sirius is available to be launched from in the Simulator. The screenshots below are from a generated simulator mission.
I’ve been working on programming missions and polishing up the existing missions. We are still waiting for deliverables from various people we are working with, so in the meantime I am fleshing out the missions and thinking about the missions to come later in the game. I wanted to share this screenshot, it doesn’t show much; but it’s something I’ve been working on for a new mission in Eridani. Originally, Eterium’s escort missions only allow for a single ship to be escorted. This meant boring missions like escorting a freighter, or occasionally escorting something more exciting like a destroyer. Since the player’s carrier, the Canopus, herself always has escorts, it was impossible to do a mission where you escort the Canopus. I’ve modified some code and added some new features and we now have support for escorting multiple ships at the same time.
This screenshot is from an autopilot sequence where the player is escort a very important freighter to a jump point. The Canopus and her fleet have come along to provide extra assistance (this is a very important freighter — don’t want to give away any of the story though).
(Click to enlarge)
You’ll immediately notice the Canopus and her two destroyer escorts, behind her is the freighter in question. If you look closely at the center you’ll notice the player’s wing, four Sagaris medium fighters in a diamond formation. But if you look further out from the center and in front of the diamond formation you’ll see 2 Sagaris and 2 Talwar fighters flying additional protection.
I haven’t scripted the battles yet, but I’m envisioning something similar to the massive battle in the first mission of the Beid System, except the Canopus wouldn’t be in as much immediate danger. I’m also thinking about having the Canopus scramble several bombers to help take out capital ships. This jump point is going to be well protected, but we need to get the freighter through at all costs.
While we are working with a writer to rewrite the Eterium story, I have been given time to concentrate my effort on some matters of polish. Continuing to create missions when we don’t know exactly where the new game will take us would be a waste of my time. I have been concentrating on matters of UI. You have already seen screenshots from the new simulator and the ship loadout screen. Today, I am bringing a couple screenshots from our new ship library. While serving on a carrier, you will have access to a ship library that will contain detailed information about all known ships. The library heavily borrows components from the ship loadout screen, and actually the loadout screen has been improved considerably as a result of this. Here are a couple preview screenshots:
An early beta of Eterium is now available for our Kickstarter backers at the $25 (beta) level and above. This release is not so much a beta of the game, but an example of things to come. A majority of the content in this beta is pre-kickstarter. With the Kickstarter funding we are working on improving and expanding the missions, improving the graphics and completely rewriting the story. Stay tuned for more beta releases as work on the game progresses.