For the past three months we've been hard at work on a new major version of The Spatials. Like V2 before it, the new version is a partial rewrite of the game, made in order to enable new and improved gameplay. At this point a big part of the technical work is done and we are now ready to share some details about this work.
The V3 station will keep most of the graphical content of V2, but everything else is changed. This is where most of the advantages of the new ECS engine will come (see technical details below). The goal is to introduce many new systems, both big and small, so most rooms feel different and have unique gameplay. We will also introduce new station-wide systems. For example, in V3 logistics won't be simplified like in V2, and some degree of hauling will have to be handled by your officers.Likewise be prepared to have a cleaning crew to deal with the litter from tourists. And make sure you pick your most sociable officer as the bartender in your club.
Spaceships are coming! They will be the new central gameplay feature of the galaxy screen. Players will need to make sure they schedule their fleet efficiently, and it will be important to keep your ship staffed and their crews happy, because they will transport the resources your station needs to survive.
Planet exploration and missions
Bounties will be removed, and in their place free exploration will be enabled. It won't be goal-less endeavor since in V3 you need to build farms and mines on planet surfaces in order to extract their resources. But the locals may not like the idea too much...
The major technical improvement of V3 is re-doing most of the gameplay logic code under a Entity-Component-System engine. V2 used a classic OOP paradigm, and while the core game was well implemented, the abstractions chosen were way too coupled between them and were very difficult to extend with new features. A ECS engine helps immensely in this regard and will enable a much more detailed simulation. For example, in V3, showers can spawn puddles of water around them, and any entity that walks over them will slip and slide until stopped by a wall or an object.
The scripting engine, S7 Scheme, is now much more integrated with the rest of the game, and can be used to implement ECS systems, resource loading and GUI code. It is also the basis of the mod system. A longer blog post detailing some of the S7 features is coming in the future.
Speaking of, V3 is a modular game. It will be possible to extend the game with mods, with both content and code. Large chunks of V3 itself are being written as a mod in order to "dogfood" this feature. Every mod gets a private S7 environment, and can export functions for use by other mods, or override content and functions from both the base game and mods.
This is just the beginning
We will keep posting new information as we are ready to share it, and at some point we will start an alpha test. The final release is still months away but we are past the big technical hurdles and it's mostly gameplay programming and content production from now on, so we hope to have more to show soon. And watch your step!