Welcome along, pilots, to the latest news update for Absolute Territory. It’s just been over 6 weeks since Absolute Territory was released on Steam amidst hundreds of improvements and enhancements over several updates.
Today, I’m happy to reveal some of the new features that will be making themselves into the next update.
There will be 45 Steam Achievements to unlock across the Absolute Territory campaign and Level Editor. 43 of these are for the campaign, ranging from completing each mission, completing the campaigns across higher difficulty levels, and specific actions and objectives.
The 3 achievements in the Level Editor will help guide you from creating a simple mission towards discovering the tools to design more complex and compelling adventures to share on the Steam Workshop.
How good of a pilot are you? Now you can find out! Steam Leaderboards have been added to Squadron and Gauntlet game modes, replacing the local leaderboard. You are no longer competing against yourself. See how you stack up against your friends and the rest world!
The latest update for Absolute Territory (Ver 1.1.0) has been published and brings more than 50 individual additions, improvements, and bug fixes.
Heads Up Display (HUD) art improvements As mentioned in the last news update, I’ve been busily improving the existing in-flight HUD elements, covering the primary, secondary, shield & armor, speed, and range bars along with targeting brackets and waypoint indicators.
These have been designed to draw your eyes towards them when needed, i.e. when taking a lot of damage, and provide a significantly better experience in the presentation of information at a glance.
Based on your feedback, waypoints are now context-sensitive depending on the required usage. Find yourself in an asteroid field and the waypoint will no longer confusingly tell you to use your autopilot, but to exit the hazard first!
New 3rd Person Views
Increase your situational awareness in 3rd person with additional sides and rear views. You can also toggle the HUD on/off (which was added quietly in the last update).
Improved visual indicators for waypoints for better “at a glance” awareness.
Broken with a line: Autopilot required but obstructed (either by hazard or nearby enemy)
Broken: Autopilot required
Unbroken: Can be reached without the need of autopilot
Improved missile experience for starting mission The introductory experience for missiles was not as fun as it could have been. Due, in part, to including the Javelin Heat Seeker missile in the loadout when going up against fast-moving enemies. It just didn’t have enough time to reach the exposed tailpipe of its target before it had turned around, therefore losing its lock on the heat signature.
Introducing the Lancea Friend or Foe missile, with significantly improved tracking ability over Heat Seeking variants but with a lower explosive yield. To make up for the lower yield, the base ammo count has been increased.
The existing Spiculum Image Recognition missile has had its steering velocity/acceleration reduced in-line with other seeking missiles which will bring better accuracy, and less wild behavior when being launched.
Random Crashes on AMD Graphics Cards
There was an issue for AMD Graphics Card owners where Absolute Territory would randomly crash. This was related to the Unity version used to build the game. I’ve updated to a newer version of Unity which has fixed this issue.
Full Patch Notes1.1.0 (20200928) Overview – Improved the majority of in-flight HUD elements. Added additional views to 3rd person. Improved missile experience for starting missions. Various improvements and bugfixes.
Unity Amend – Updated Unity to 2019.4.10f1 Amend – Updated TextMeshPro to 2.1.1 Amend – Updates Jobs to 0.2.10 Amend – Updated HybridRenderer to 0.5.2 Amend – Updated NodeCanvas to 3.1.0 Amend – Updated Rewired to 22.214.171.124 Amend – Updated Aura 2 to 2.1.14
General Added – Default display name for all vessels, used for when the Display Name field is not populated within the Level Editor Added – Short description for selected Campaign Mission, underneath the campaign drop-down box within the Campaign Menu.
Amend – Radar blips no longer use the camera space for position calculations Amend – Moved Level Editor button from the Simulator Menu to the Main Menu to make it more obvious
Missions Amend – Adv Tutorial 201: Killing the Vomitoria too quickly would prevent any further progression
Gameplay Added – Added Lancea FF Missile
Amend – Replaced Javelin HS with Lancea FF missile as a loadout in the first 3 campaign missions, for a better missile introductory experience Amend – Spiculum Missile: Reduced Steering from 120 to 90 DPS on all axis Amend – Spiculum Missile: Reduced Steering Acceleration from 240 to 135
Fixed – Null Reference Exceptions when exiting or restarting a mission during the Autopilot cinematic Fixed – AI afterburning no longer causes the player camera to shake
Visuals Added – In-flight External Camera Views
Amend – In-flight HUD graphical improvements across the majority of HUD elements Amend – Waypoint Icon now context-sensitive based on Local Waypoint or Autopilot destination Amend – Waypoint Indicator text now displays “Exit Hazard” if within a hazard zone and “Use Autopilot” when out of hazard for static waypoints Amend – Reduced size of Help Glyph icons Amend – Help Glyphs, Missile Alert, and Received Transmission Text now positions and resizes based on required usage Amend – Help Glyphs: Controller Glyphs no longer disappear when interacting with the mouse, and will remember the last used controller Amend – Missile Alert warning now has a bar representing the distance of the closest missile locked onto the player Amend – Unintentionally removed Depth of Field effect, when the effect is enabled, from the 1st person cockpit, but looks better for it Amend – First Person Neutral Camera Sway reduced from 0.25 to 0.15, for less noticeable effect on the cross-hair (if you focus too much on it) Amend – Increased size of Explosion_003 M (Missile Explosions) Particle Scale from 14 to 20, to make these explosion effects stand out more at a distance
Fixed – Video Options post-processing effects no longer defaults to on when progressing to the next mission Fixed – AI piloted ships using Hi-Rez assets no longer use opaque cockpit models to reveal there is no actual pilot!
Based on your feedback, this last week I’ve worked to improve the HUD displays and allow them to fit better in a Sci-Fi environment. I’m sure any military organisation will comment that they are too flashy for them, but these HUD elements certainly fit the part.
Shield and Armour
Speed and Throttle
Target brackets now expand around the selected target.
I still have a few more elements to take care of. Expect an update within the next 7 days if all goes well.
Absolute Territory: The Space Combat Simulator is available to buy on Steam for Windows PC.
Join the Imperial Hegemony and reclaim Bold Peace from the invading Endophora and restore Absolute Territory for your empire. Experience a story-driven campaign directed by briefings with 21 missions and 6 Imperial space fighters to fly with cockpit interiors.
For the thrill-seekers, get straight into the action with Squadron and The Gauntlet scenarios.
Or create custom missions with the Absolute Territory in-game Level Editor. Challenge your piloting skills, develop unique scenarios you only previously imagined. You decide the challenge by adjusting the environment and opponents. Fight with the most devastating weapons against lighter opponents or truly test your skills against-all-odds.
Share your custom mission with other Absolute Territory pilots in a few clicks, or explore the workshop, subscribe, and play potentially infinite missions created by players like you.
Absolute Territory takes inspiration from classic space combat simulation games from the ’90s and ’00s and adds features for modern gameplay and offers expanded replayability with Steam Workshop support.
The thrill of space combat with infinite replayability. Play the demo.
Absolute Territory takes inspiration from classic space combat simulation games from the ’90s and ’00s and adds features for modern gameplay and offers expanded replayability with Steam Workshop support.
Download and play to enjoy the first 3 missions from the Absolute Territory campaign (all 100% created with the in-game mission editor). Before jumping in, be sure to familiarise yourself with the basic controls of your ship by trying out the two tutorials and/or reviewing the reconfigurable keybindings.
In the campaign demo, you will fly patrol, raid an enemy depot, and strike down enemy transport.
Space flight simulation a step above others
As there is no drag in space your fighter wouldn’t normally fly where you pointed it after a turn. The on-board Reaction Control System (RCS) will attempt to compensate for your direction changes and maintain manageable speeds using the ships’ thrusters and main engines. Each ship in Absolute Territory has it’s own mass and thrust power and won’t handle the same.
Rotational thrusters will rotate your ship and attempt to compensate for any outside forces (collisions) which would turn you off course, and be mindful of oversteer as these fighters can turn fast.
Hit the afterburners and perform huge drifts while keeping your guns on your nimble opponent, or disable RCS and slide past large and slow targets while you pummel them into scrap metal.
Fly against waves of enemy opponents. Can you win this simulation by going up against two types of Endophora fighter?
Try the mission editor to create and play your own custom missions.
The mission editor in Absolute Territory provides a limited experience from the paid version. This demo offers restricted ship and weapons selection, and will not be able to create any conditions to drive events/storyline nor publish your missions to the Steam Workshop.
Wishlist the retail version
Absolute Territory is in development with a planned release for later this year. Wishlist and follow to show your interest and be notified of progress updates and its release.
Design and create missions like the dev, then upload to the workshop, or download and play shared missions. Steam Workshop support has to be one of the most exciting features to have in Absolute Territory alongside the Level Editor, and this is why…
What is Absolute Territory?
Absolute Territory is a space combat simulator born from my nostalgia for playing similar games back in the ’90s and ’00s and of course taking inspiration from sci-fi TV shows and movies. I have loved the idea of flying around in your space ship, overcoming the odds against an overwhelming opponent, and making a name for yourself.
Where did the inspiration for a Level Editor come from?
I played a lot of Wing Commander as a teenager. As a franchise, it provided an experience that was originally relegated to watching on TV. Even though it hit and missed in some places (WC: Privateer being a hit and WC: Academy being a miss) to me at least.
The Level Editor in Absolute Territory was born from the disappointment of Wing Commander Academy. OK, I’m sure you are wondering “Why? Just, Why? You said it was a miss?” Well, it was, due to its implementation. You see, at the heart of the game, you made your own missions to fly. For me, the idea of being able to create an infinite number of missions to continue flying sounded awesome. The reality, it boiled down to placing down some opponents and hazards at a Nav point, then flying said mission.
That was nothing like the type of missions you would experience in Wing Commander 1 & 2 where you flew scripted missions that could react to you the player and other in-game actions. Absolute Territory would need to include a more in-depth Level Editor.
When Freespace 2 released it came with a Level Editor that was used to create it’s campaign missions. But heck, that thing was on a whole new level, separate from the game itself. I didn’t have the internet speed or the time to try and spend dozens of hours on something that complex. I gave up after an hour. The Level Editor in Absolute Territory would need to toe the line between having depth and feeling ‘out of your depth’. Removing the need of spending many hours figuring out how it works.
What does the Absolute Territory Level Editor do differently than the competitors?
Yea, I’m going there. Comparing to competition from decades ago to Absolute Territory, as a sole indie developer. On GoG, those games are still being sold and therefore I’m competing against AAA studios that are defunct or long since moved on to bigger and better things while the games live on supported by dedicated communities.
To answer the question, here was my statement of intent in creating the Level Editor: 1) The player (you) can design complex missions that the video game developer (me) can do. 2) Create scripted missions with a minimum of fuss and very little typing. 3) An easy transition between creating and testing (playing) your missions. 4) Share your missions for others to play in a couple of clicks.
Design complex missions that the video game developer could do
Each mission in the Absolute Territory campaign was created 100% with the Level Editor. No hacks or hardcoded workarounds. You can re-create the same mission I have made or you could go above and beyond to make more unique experiences.
Create scripted missions with a minimum of fuss and very little typing.
Scripted missions are when some action or background event is triggered to start a new or repeating action. This could be spawning in enemy reinforcements or forcing a mission failed condition if the player didn’t complete an objective on time.
Absolute Territory calls these Conditional Actions, which are made up of three components: Trigger, Condition, and Action. First, you create a trigger (the starting point for an action), define a condition that must occur, then add whatever action(s) is to take place when the condition happens.
You can chain up triggers where a logical progression must take place, disabling and enabling, allowing them to be repeated or called only once, or delaying the action from taking place.
This gives the Level Editor in Absolute Territory the depth needed for allowing the player to make missions more involved than placing down some random opponents. Though the limitation is the conditions and actions that are implemented and to add more would require hard coding, as opposed to a scriptable language that you could just write yourself. Yet, that is where the depth is while maintaining an easy to use interface, with visually understandable blocks (in effect) as opposed to lines of text for those who don’t have a coding/scripting background.
An easy transition between creating and testing (playing) your missions
You have created a mission and you want to test the results from within the Level Editor? Just click the Launch button. You are straight into the game. Play your mission, then exit out to continue working on your mission.
Share your missions for others to play with the minimum of fuss
Ready to share your creation with other Absolute Territory players? No problem, from within the Level Editor hit F2 to bring up the Steam Workshop Publisher form. Fill in the title and description for your mission and click Upload.
Fancy playing another player’s mission? Head over to the Absolute Territory Steam Workshop Community page, browse and subscribe. Then, open up the game, head into the simulator, and select Workshop Missions from the Game Type selection to see all the missions you subscribed to.
The Demo and Steam Summer Game Festival
The Steam Summer Game Festival was delayed. Therefore the demo got delayed. As soon as the Festival is underway (June 16th) the demo will be available. I’m looking forward to reading your feedback and hopefully see some videos and streams of your gameplays.
Be sure to wishlist and follow to stay notified of the demo and full release and development updates!
The last several months have been difficult for people all around the world. I pray this announcement finds you in good health and in improving circumstances.
I have been very fortunate to be still employed and also working (not at home) throughout this crisis. I had several weeks off before the lockdown came into effect and by the end of that time, I was relieved to get back into work (even though I spent the whole of that time working on Absolute Territory). I think that must come down to not managing my time better and neglecting other areas in my life while I single-mindedly continued to work on Absolute Territory (and still do on my downtime ːlunar2019crylaughingpigː).
Release date expectations The good news, I am aiming for a release date for Absolute Territory towards the end of 2020!
Campaign Over the last few months, I have been working on the Absolute Territory campaign missions. Everyone one of these missions has been handcrafted within the in-game level editor which you can also use to create your own personalized missions and upload to share with the rest of the Absolute Territory community on Steam. The process is quick, taking a couple of clicks to upload and share.
The campaign story is around a faction of the Endophora (your opponent during this campaign), named The Order of Linnaeus, who has invaded Imperial space and laid claim to Bold Peace. You will find yourself going against Order forces, driving them back out of the sector. Each campaign mission in Absolute Territory brings unique experiences.
Absolute Territory has a full flight roster of eleven fighters across Imperial and Endophora . Five of which have a full 3D cockpit.
Options on the go Graphical and audio options have been made available during the missions. Simply press Escape (or start button on your controller), drop into the options menu, configure to your liking, then exit out and test your changes reflected in the game instantly.
Warships No space combat game is complete without having huge warships to either protect or destroy. Absolute Territory brings three huge warships into the conflict. Two destroyers (one for Imperial and Endophoria) and an Endophoria Cruiser, that’s in addition to the transport ship already available.
Situational awareness improvements To enhance your situational awareness a small but very useful change is to include the name and distance to your target on the offscreen arrow indicator. Cycle through all your targets and know exactly what you’re targeting, even when they are not directly in front of you.
Tutorial Controller Glyphs The tutorial missions in Absolute Territory introduce fundamental concepts of flying and fighting. Controller Glyph’s already cover keyboard & mouse and Xbox controllers to ease learning controls. This has now been expanded to include glyphs for PlayStation 4 controllers.
Performance Improvements Minefields were costing twice as much CPU usage as Asteroid fields, after some investigation I was able to reduce this cost and it’s now on a similar level of performance.
Absolute Territory AI gains more improvements to help reduce the number of incidents where they find themselves stuck against Warships. It does happen much less, but I’ll admit it can still happen. I’ll be looking at ways to ensure that they can recover themselves.
been many other performance improvements in scripting, mostly to due with displaying text on the screen, towards reducing CPU cost and garbage generation for a smoother experience.
Demo & Wishlist A demo for Absolute Territory will be made available during the Steam Game Festival. It’s already packaged, uploaded and ready to be downloaded when the festival goes lives at 10am Pacific time on June 9th, 2020.
Finally, head on over to the Steam store page, scroll down and hit that wishlist button! Every wishlist helps towards showing Steam that this is a game worthy of the algorithm’s attention.
It has been another busy month where I had the unique opportunity to work on Absolute Territory for the past month on a full-time basis. During that time I ran a closed beta, squatted many reported bugs, added beta tester feedback, making many more improvements.
Some of the new features covered in this month’s dev diary include:
Transmissions (creating dialogue from NPC’s)
Steam Workshop support
Watch the video or read on below:
Work has begun to include tutorials covering the different aspects of piloting your space combat fighter. They make use of a couple of new features added towards helping the player learn the controls. These tutorials are entirely scripted using the in-game level editor, and something the player could re-create themselves.
There was no way to convey the complex information needed to best instruct the player to pilot their ship. Transmissions have been added to solve this problem. Transmission sources can come from disembodied or embodied NPC’s. If the source is from an embodied NPC you will be able to see who is talking to you via the white bracket around the transmission source.
To further guide the player, help glyphs can be displayed to show relevant and appropriate controls on the HUD. These are context-sensitive and show help glyph for the currently used controller (if supported) with the correct keybinding (including user-defined). Currently, Help Glyph’s support keyboard, mouse and the Xbox 360 gamepad. Do you have a favorite controller not mentioned, post it in the comments below, as I look to expand on controller support.
From the conception of the level editor, one of the development goals was to have the ability to share missions with other players. With the majority of the features locked down and implemented, I was able to redirect development time into this area. From within the level editor, you can now submit your custom missions to the Steam Workshop using the publish form.
Fill in the title and description form your workshop item and hit submit. The level editor will then publish your workshop item with all the relevant files needed for other players to subscribe and play. You can make any last-minute alterations from within the Steam Community Workshop page itself.
Do you want to update your mission? Just load up the relevant mission, enter its Workshop ID and submit, your changes will automatically update your Workshop Item.
Have any feedback or suggestions or questions regarding this month’s dev update? Post them below.