The patch should be available via Gamestop very shortly. The patch includes
* Added game launcher with news and external configuration.
* Added video and audio device selection through the launcher.
* Added dedicated servers, which can be configured in the launcher.
* Added Fragment, Exhaust, and Elysium deathmatch levels.
* Added multiplayer chat.
* Added optional multiplayer bots.
* Updated campaign encounters and level art.
* Updated sounds for weapons, enemies, and movement.
* Fixed crash when a joystick is disconnected.
* Grenades can now be triggered by scanning in online matches.
* New Gravity Well effect.
* New Agent movement sounds
* Many multiplayer sounds added
Plus a heap of bug fixes. For anyone who has had trouble starting the game: perhaps it will launch now. If not, please get over to the forums and see if you can assist them diagnosing the issue.
Recently, I've spent quite a bit of time playing the single player maps in the Paragon game editor (Not available in the Alpha) and I can let you know that some of them are devilishly difficult, but I am greatly enjoying it - which is surprising, because I never really expected to enjoy battling bots in Single Player. I was never a fan of the D3 SP mode.
I must tell you about the Time Dilation Crystals in the BIOS Crevasse: Scanning these yellow crystals results in the world slowing down, and a slightly decreased turning speed (to show you it's working), but of course that's no disadvantage because the bots are all in slow-mo. The first time I encountered it I thought something had gone strange with the game - but as soon as I saw the HUD message, I enjoyed it a lot. This level is very challenging, and is set in what appears to be mines, or at least caverns - you will have seen the level on the Cadenza Live Streams, and via Jonathan Peros in one of his sound streams.
It is fascinating to be involved in the game development - even if only at the periphery: Seeing the game change almost every day is very cool, lemme tell ya. The week before last, there was a big discussion about how the ship moves. One of the developers was experimenting with the top speed and drag factors for the craft.
The Drag simply means how long it takes to get to Top Speed, or come to a stop when you take your hands off the controls. The new settings had about the same top speed, but with very little drag. We play tested this setting (Speed 28, drag 1.7) and a couple of guys found it to their liking. I called it "wooly" and "inaccurate", they called it "drift style".
It resulted in the ship coasting after taking your hands off the controls, and made it much much harder to navigate, particularly in tight spots.
At home I played around with the settings on my own, and found one I really liked at Speed 200 and drag 20. The huge drag factor made it impossible to get to the top speed, as you ran into a wall of drag at around the same top speed as the previous standard (54/7). It meant the ship slammed to a halt when you got off the gas, but it did mean a slower acceleration when boosting, which I quite liked, as you had to boost for about 2 seconds or so before you got close to the top speed.
That setting of 200/20 also seemed to match the new sound effects better, IMO.
The Drift-Style 28/1.7 setting caused quite some debate at Cadenza, and after the dust settled, the standard of 54/7 has won out for the standard of ship behaviour. I'm fascinated to learn if you think the movement scheme "feels right" to you when you play. It certainly seems "right" to me, but I'd still love to see that 200/20 setting tested some more.
I have been using the Perks quite extensively in the single player game, and the Perk system is outstanding! It is crucial to pick up all memory fragments, and get buffed by the bots you liberate from the virus, so you can upgrade your agent as quickly as you can.
But each time I get another 1.5MB of available memory, and can upgrade again, I agonise about what to choose: Do I go for more top speed? More damage given by a weapon? Faster cycle recharge rate? Higher total health? Automatically deploy cycle boosters when I run out of cycles? It is not easy to decide AT ALL. I guess that means the Perks are pretty well balanced, because there isn't a single Perk other than "Boost speed increased by 50%" which really leaps out at you as being a "must have". The Shotgun "Double Tap" Perk is extremely compelling, and very powerful online.
It will be fascinating to see how this feature makes it into the online game. This has not been formally discussed yet, but many ideas have been floated, including many by yours truly. It remains to be seen how it's possible to balance ship classes, the retention of perks, and/or default perks in the online game. It will be a bit of a challenge I think, but it will make the gameplay extremely dynamic.
I have updated my server to the latest Alpha, and it now features some Bots, who are not challenging in any way, so there are 3 of them in there for you to go crazy on. There is talk of improving the BOT AI at some stage.
So, have at it - and see you online!