Early Access Roadmap

First, a poll for the players:

What feature(s) should be my highest priority through the next two releases? (Choose up to 2)

On December 12th, Starcom: Nexus enters Early Access on Steam. I’m really excited and nervous at the same time: this is by far the biggest game project I’ve ever released into the wild, clocking in at 3500 hours of work by a conservative estimate. And it’s still nowhere near the end of the road: I’m committed to spend at least 5-6 months more months finishing the game, probably longer. I thought this might be a good time to outline my plans for Early Access.

First, let me stress that my primary goal is to deliver a game that makes you, the player, happy. I’ve already gotten great feedback from the beta testers and I expect to get a lot more once the game is in Early Access. I plan to redirect my efforts based on that input, so nothing outlined is set in stone. That said, there are some things that are high priority:

Small to medium features:

  • Controller support: The game is almost completely playable with a controller at this point, but the shipyard is still a bit clunky. I hope to get that working by the next release.
  • Map “pan to zoom”: Players have asked that when they zoom in, the map centers on the zoom target. This is a bit tricky to find a behavior that feels correct and smooth but I’m hearing this is an important QoL feature.

Medium to large features:

  • An end to the game: The game won’t leave Early Access until the game has a resolution to the main story.
  • More exploration/side-quests.
  • An alternate “procedural sandbox” universe for players who have completed the main story.
  • Modding tools for players who want to create their own galaxy and rules.
  • Localization. I’ve spent the last week looking into what’s involved in localizing the game into other languages and will talk about this in an upcoming post.
  • Port to other platforms.

Schedule

As described on the Early Access page, content updates will not be backwards compatible. While players will always be able to continue their save games, it’s much more efficient to release bigger content updates less frequently than lots of minor updates. So expect content updates on a roughly once-a-month schedule.

  • December: Beta 0.9.x patches:
    • Fixes issues uncovered during the first week of Early Access, as needed.
    • Experimental localization update.
  • Early January: First content update, Beta 0.10.x.