Ok, cringe barrier broken I can dive into this post. Mucho texto ahead but I don't know how to make this any shorter.
We have been working for what feels like an eternity but is more like a year and a half in the Career mode for SimpleRockets 2. We changed routes multiple times until we found something that felt like it made sense for the game. You may have already enjoyed some of the things we added as we progressed, but we had to keep a lot of stuff hidden until now, which was extremely hard! We are really proud of what we have made.
You have got to believe us when we say that we wanted this to come out more than anyone. We promised long, long ago that Career mode was coming, and we are finally delivering... somewhat. Although we did say the 1.0 update was going to come out in 2022 we did some thorough playtesting sessions both with members of the community and friends and family who had never played before and got tons of feedback. Way too much feedback maybe? But great feedback nonetheless, so we decided to push back the release to January to get some extra time to polish some rough edges.
Thanks to all the playtesters. It's hard to express how important your help has been for us, both helping us find issues and giving us feedback on what to improve. And personally, thanks for the morale boost, seeing every one of you enjoying it so much has given me the energy to push even harder in this last stretch.
For now, we are going to keep this just on a private branch on Steam, but the key to the branch is public (more info later). Why? Because although we have tested this a lot we are uncertain of what may be found once released to the public. If you want to try this out back up your files. We want to get as much feedback as we can before the release in about one month to polish the game in order to have the best possible launch, and this means things will change. It is very likely contracts will change until the public release, potentially breaking your saves. We don't have a date yet for the mobile beta, but we expect it to be out in early January. This is an expectation, not a confirmation.
What is in the update?
What a good question... we have added a lot of stuff this time, so much that I forgot some things weren't public yet and almost leaked them a couple of times. We are going to need some time to process the changelog to get it into your hands, but some of the most notable things are:
We have added a system based on a series of contracts and milestones that will allow you to unlock more and better parts in the Tech Tree to explore the Juno System, challenging you to build in a way you have never tried before.
Teased ages ago, the Juno Village is finally ready. It will be the starting point for your company in Career Mode, and another playground for sandbox, dropping you right next to the tallest mountains in Droo.
New UI and designer
We thought the game deserved a facelift, and it's a translucent one! We have a new UI theme that has been applied all over the place, with a totally new menu design and a revamped designer with more accessible buttons, and a blueprint-style platform to tease your eyes.
Have you ever been bombarded by messages of parts blowing up without knowing why? We have added a flight log that will tell you in real-time what is getting damaged, and what has been destroyed... with persistent messages, so you don't miss them if you pause the game or you have Vizzy printing things.
Better mass and price
A lot of the parts have seen their price and mass calculations tweaked. We overhauled a ton of behind-the-scenes tools for better version control for legacy support, craft validation both in the sandbox and career mode, and better physics on wings, gyros, and wheels...
Designer info panel
We want to keep you well informed, so we decided to clear up the designer as much as possible and add a couple of commonly used buttons on the right side. Among them, you'll find the Designer Info panel, an overhauled Performance Analyzer with more info for many parts that had none before.
Hundreds of fixes and improvements
You have to believe me on this one, it has been wild. We have fixed many bugs from long ago, like wheels becoming glitchy on large crafts, but we also had to address a lot of quality-of-life improvements that were exposed when playtesting with people that had never tried the game before. We learned a lot from watching people getting stuck in some places and struggling in others, hopefully resulting in a smoother entry for new players.
To allow us to improve career mode quickly and effectively we decided to add Unity Analytics into our game. A lot of games do that and keep it under the rug, but we know not everyone is into this, so there's an option to disable it, you will get more info when launching the game. That said, all this data is fully anonymized and helps us immensely. We are not trying to sell you anything or sell your data to anyone, we just want to see statistics on where players get stuck, what you like the most, and what you dislike.
What is yet to come?
We have many ideas in mind, but we want to prove our systems before going crazy with the contracts. Right now we only have the starting set of contracts, but that should cover a handful of hours of gameplay. Our plans include rescue missions, servicing space stations, and a short, but intriguing storyline... We will be adding contracts until the release of 1.0, and we will keep adding more in future updates.
Yeah as you've heard it. Right now we want to keep this to ourselves, because we may be tweaking things here and there, but after the release of 1.0 you will get a chance to create your own career modes, with custom contracts, tech trees, milestones, races, landmarks, customers... you name it. We think that what defines this game is customizability. One of the features where we have spent the most time is in the creation of custom careers, we have an XML-based system that will allow you to do pretty much anything, including spawning crafts too, for example, making a racing-focused career, dogfighting, a replica of the real world career mode... in the planetary system of your choice.
It isn't in the game yet, but we are porting the propeller part from SimplePlanes because we think it is a key part of the career progression. It is the only new part we are adding, but we have enhanced docking ports and wheels to be a lot more procedural too.
New stock crafts
In order to have up-to-date stock crafts using the newest parts and features we could just patch the existing ones, but in order to let everyone enjoy the game even if they don't excel at building, we have teamed with some of the best builders in the community to bring you a new suite of stock crafts. There's some really cool stuff coming.
New loading images
As you may have seen in my previous post we are in the process of updating all of our loading screens with the help of the community! So far we have received almost 100 submissions and they are all looking really good. If you want a chance at contributing to the SR2 leaving a mark in one of the most hated scenes in every game now it's your chance!
As we mentioned before, changing the UI of the game is not the only facelift we think it deserves. We are exploring options for a new logo and a new image that better represents what the game has become. We will most likely be quiet on this front until the day of release.
How to get it?
Finally, what everyone reading this post wanted (I hope). If you are on PC or Mac and you own SimpleRockets 2 on Steam all you have to do is go to the beta branch selector and pick the one called "career". Download it and you are in! Remember that this is a beta, you need to back up your stuff and your career saves may have to be restarted as we fix and tweak things.
If you don't have the game on steam yet you can get it for free if you figure out this flipping captcha: B99X2-XHICT-XR24A