Dev Diary #6 - What awaits in the Beta? - Part 1
Posted on August 30, 2016

What’s up guys?

As promised, today we’ll introduce new features that will be added in the Beta of Galactic Junk League (starting September 14!). Because there are so many significant changes planned, this diary will be divided into two parts. To make it clear, these are features that will be included right at the launch of Beta. Many more are on our to-do list and will be introduced in the weeks and months following the launch .

New maps

Gone are the days of Alpha with one shoddy poorly-balanced map. Beta will feature three brand new Galactic Arenas with different visuals and layouts! Players will get to fight in toxic canyons and huge craters, around cliffs, rock spires or abandoned mining stations. The visuals of the maps are being finalised right now along with the map names. The new map layouts are designed based on the experience we’ve gained from Alpha. One example being that our original map favoured long range weapons too much which is something we want to avoid with these new ones. A major change both visually and tactically is that two of the new maps will be set on the surface with a clearly set “floor” which should make orientation easier. Here’s a work-in-progress screenshot of one of them:

A work-in-progress screenshot of one of our new maps. An icy canyon on some barren moon.

A new game mode - King of the Hill

Even our original Alpha map - Scavenger’s rock - won’t remain the same. It has been chosen to be the first map with the new King of the Hill (KotH) game mode. Most of you already know this mode, but to explain it in a nutshell - there is one capture point in the middle of the map and opposing teams fight to gain control over it. If one team holds the point long enough, they win the match. Specific details about the rules will be revealed in some future Dev Diary. Based on our internal testing, we believe this new mode has the potential to offer exciting and unique gameplay compared to Team Deathmatch.

The reason why we have selected King of the Hill - admittedly a very simple game mode - to be the first one to be introduced after team deathmatch, is because we’re not yet sure what effect game modes will have on the core gameplay.The junk-ships built by the player with their different designs and abilities are meant to be the main focus of multiplayer gameplay. Introducing a too complex game mode might either overshadow the unique gameplay characteristics of each ship or even force players to abandon certain designs or classes, which is something we want to avoid. Starting off simple with KotH will allow us to get the data and experience we need to think about and design future game modes. Or maybe we’ll decide to abandon the idea of modes altogether.

One more thing, the three new maps will be released with the standard Team Deathmatch game mode, but we’re already considering adding one or several Capture points into them based on your feedback.

The modified visual of Scavenger’s Rock with the capture point beacon visible. Also notice the visual upgrade.

A new progression system

By far the biggest change to the game experience will be the full implementation of the progression system. As you might know in Alpha players started out with all the classes at level 20 with all the important content unlocked right away. While hardcore players might have enjoyed this, for most people it was overwhelming and has probably discouraged them from playing. If you’re from the second group, then we have good news for you!

In Beta players start out small. Only the Rookie ship class at level 1 and a basic set of blocks will be available. As you level up your Rookie ship new blocks will become available in the new Research screen. Researching a block costs Junk and unlocks the possibility to place the block on your ship. An important milestone in progression is when you reach level 10 with the Rookie ship and unlock the other (more serious) classes like the Battleship or Frigate. Players will usually reach this point after about 20 to 30 games - about the time it takes a new player to get a hang of the basics. The last form of progression is the upgrading of block stats as it was present in the Alpha. This becomes available after reaching a certain level with a class other than the Rookie ship (currently it’s set at lvl 10). At that point you will have unlocked all progression forms - leveling of all classes, research and upgrades - and are free to progress in any order that you like.

A quick note: of course, the matchmaking system will take ship level and upgrades into account and will match only players of similar ship strength into a match

A picture of the research screen. At the start of the game you will be able to place only basic blocks (like hull blocks, thrusters and one type of weapon) on your ship and will have to research the rest.

That’s it for today, but it’s definitely not all that we have in store for the Beta. Next time we’ll look at other Beta features such as the tutorial, the game’s business model or gameplay and balance changes.

Let us know what you think about these new features in the Forum.

Martin “Gajxo” Gajarsky

Game Designer