This summer. Soon. It doesn't make sense to launch so close to E3 when there will be a lot of buzz about a lot of amazing games, so I have a little more time. But first contact is coming!
The game won't be a fully operational battle station, but it'll give everyone a taste of what's to come. I can't wait to read everyone's feedback and criticisms and then improve the hell out of the game.
What's Been Done?
Everything that's ever said about the last 10% of a milestone being the hardest is true. I've been a developer for a long time and even I can forget about that until I'm in the thick of it. Here's some unscripted footage I recorded this morning:
Some new features have been added since November, like Imperial Marks that act as fleet-wide upgrades, or like the escalation/bounty system that sends the space police to hunt you down. But a lot of work has also been done to simplify mechanics or features, and the game feels better for it.
This is important -- it's how you make sure your game is focused and is part of the natural process of game development. I've found that space games are particularly nasty in terms of thinking, "Well, we have X so we totally need Y!" A few games can get away with this, but most cannot.
If your triage process starts to feel like a brutal Thunderdome of good ideas, you're probably on the right track.
I'll do a major feature post when I have more time and am not scrambling to hit a content lock. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter for tiny updates whenever I have something cool to post, or tumblr if that's your thing too.
So What's Left?
There are a couple major things left before Early Access such as stability, the end game battle(s), implementing some more rewards, finishing player training, and small UI and polish items. Major feature work is done for Early Access.
As far as stability, I'm running into a weird crash that may be related to how I'm sending data to FMOD events. This one has been plaguing me for a while, but I'm getting really close to figuring it out. I won't send this out until I can get these showstoppers under control, so please bear with me!
Then there's the end-game. I've had this phase functional for quite a while but it really needs some love and bug fixing to shine.
Drums of War
I've recruited a very talented individual named Olivier Zuccaro to write the soundtrack for Starfighter. I first became familiar with his work on Beyond the Red Line, the incredible Battlestar Galactica mod for Freespace 2. He's also done quite a bit of work for E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy.
The soundtrack does far more than I ever could have imagined for a small game like Starfighter: it dynamically transitions based on what is happening in the game. Running from Lane Marshals? It'll switch to tension. In over your head? There's a track and transition for that too.
It fits Starfighter's spartan style wonderfully, and I can't wait for you all to hear it.
Bad News: Mac and Linux Versions
After reading a hugely informative launch thread on the Indie MEGABOOTH alumni list, Enemy Starfighter will only be launching on Windows. Mac and Linux versions are now off the schedule, and I'm not sure if/when they will come back. After doing some export tests, I came to the conclusion that I simply don't have the resources to make these versions happen without sacrificing the quality of the lead Windows build.
Oculus's decision to focus on Windows makes this an easier choice for me too. But if SteamOS gains traction, I will take another look at supporting that.