Major Update Comes to Starlight Inception on PS Vita

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Major Update Comes to Starlight Inception on PS Vita

Starlight Inception

In this blog, we wanted to focus on the major update (live now) that we completed for Starlight Inception, one of the only first-person / third-person space combat experiences on PS Vita.

This was our first title on Vita, and as a small indie developer with limited resources both for development and testing, a lot of folks thought we weren’t in the game for the long haul.

Hopefully this update dispels those notions. We’re committed to this product and have been working hard since its release in late April to address issues in the game, add more features, and generally polish the product. We also have plans for future updates, both to address any issues that arise from this update, as well as to expand the game and its feature set.

You can find the full release notes here. As you can see, the list is rather extensive; we’ll just focus on a select few of these in this blog entry. We’ll also be posting more videos to our YouTube channel to showcase the updates.

In Mission 02 Operation: Render Hope, you fly over a decimated Chicago in search of survivors, and get a little more than you bargained for. In the released game, we had issues with our fog generation in engine. Also, we needed to do more work on ensuring that our main HUD UI and cockpit UI were as clear as possible on Vita.

After release, we received feedback that neither of these implementations were acceptable, and so we set about fixing those issues. Here is an example of Render Hope in the original version (left) and the updated version (right):

Starlight InceptionStarlight Inception

And here is a look at the original version cockpit (left) and the update version (right).

Starlight InceptionStarlight Inception

The game models appeared too dark in missions, and more than a few users asked us to turn up the brightness. We scrubbed through every ship in the game and adjusted textures as well as brightness settings to render them as crisp and well-lit as possible. In the process, we were able to implement a new feature which allows players to select colors for their craft. This adds a great component to the game, both in single and multiplayer modes.

And speaking of multiplayer, we received feedback that it was hard to find a multiplayer game because we had created too many options for different rooms — we have made an attempt to solve this issue by adding a “Quick Match” selection which will search for the next available room of any game type and connect. If none exists, a new Deathmatch will be opened. I look forward to meeting opponents on the field of battle…

Starlight InceptionStarlight Inception

We also received feedback related to the sections of the game that take place on your capital ship, the USF Midway. We had optimized a little too much in the character department and so the ship felt like a ghost ship — not a bustling hub of activity as it would be. There is definitely a limit to the amount of characters that can be thrown on screen at one time, and we made sure we pushed as hard against that as we could.

We did a complete redress on the character animations in all of our cinematic sequences as well, and in the process added two full cinematics to the game to enrich the story. In the process, we also improved the clarity of our subtitles by changing to a more pleasing, crisper font.

Our AI had a bug which made it a little too easy in the game — this didn’t show up in our testing for release, but we addressed it for the update — the game should be more challenging now. Finally, we did a framerate analysis, stress test, and full optimization of the game to make sure that the gameplay experience was as smooth as possible.

We want to say thank you to all of our supporters who have stuck with this game and given us words of encouragement through the process. We continue to work hard to make good on our promises to you folks and hope we are delivering an excellent experience. And we’re always happy to answer your questions, and as always, listen to suggestions to make it better.

Light up the sky…

Kindest Regards,
Garry, Melissa, and the Starlight inception Team

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