Welcome to the first alpha release of Transcendence 1.7. In the 2015 Annual Report I described 1.7 as being focused on gameplay improvements. This alpha release begins those improvements with significant changes to weapons.

Weapon Balance

The diversity of weapons is one of the highlights of Transcendence. There are over a hundred different playable weapons in the core game, and dozens more in the expansions. With 1.7 Alpha 1, we've gone through every core weapon and tweaked their stats to improve game balance. We hope these changes will increase the set of weapons suitable for player use.

We've made the following major changes:

  • Many weapons have been changed.
  • More weapons now have WMD, allowing them to damage capital ships and stations.
  • Missiles and ammo are more common, cheaper, and lighter.
  • Weapons have been balanced against cost, so more powerful weapons within a level are more expensive.
  • The damage algorithm no longer has round-off errors for low-damage weapons.
  • The mix of damage resistance in the Ungoverned Territories has been altered.
  • Quest weapons such as the Slicer cannon, Qianlong, and Lamplighter have been improved to reward the difficulty involved to obtain them.

Many of these changes have been validated algorithmically, but the ultimate judgement will come from playtesting. Please try out Alpha 1 and let us know what you think. Which weapons are overpowered or underpowered?

Weapon Effects

The graphical improvements introduced in 1.6 have brought Transcendence into the modern era. 1.7 Alpha 1 continues these efforts with improvements to weapon and explosion effects.

Since the beginning, Transcendence has used bitmap explosion graphics (usually rendered in Luminous). While these graphics are high-quality, they cannot be generated at runtime. In Alpha 1 we've introduced procedural explosion graphics which can be altered based on circumstance. For example, the size of a hit effect is now proportional to the amount of damage done.

There are two trade-offs, unfortunately. First, generating the graphics at runtime is expensive. You may notice lag when there are lots of explosions on screen. We'll work to improve this over time with various caching and optimization techniques. The second problem is that we sacrifice some quality to speed up the painting of explosions. Whereas Luminous could take many minutes to render a single explosion, we need to do it in much less than 1/30th of a second.

I hope you'll agree the trade-off is worth it, but as always, I'm happy to hear feedback to the contrary. If you've got any comments or suggestions on this release, please participate by posting on the forums or the Ministry of Records.