Star Nomad 2 major update incoming

I often receive email from players telling me how much they enjoy Star Nomad 2, and they have good feedback over the years. It’s still selling well, especially on Android & iOS, so I’ve been wanting to work on an update to show my appreciation to players.

The changes are major, but not game-changing moving away from the original design intent for the game. It’s still a space sim with dynamic economies, and fast paced fluid combat. Originally, I decided on small systems as the focal play area, to avoid the common trope of spacesims, with infinite area to fly, but not much inbetween the void of space, so it’s just a lot of nothingness.

All the action centers around major ports or planets, hence, I would keep the focal play area just around the ports to avoid long travel times just for the sake of having a “bigger is better” approach, which is not always true.

In the update, each system will be expanded, from 15K * 15K pixels in dimensions, to 24K * 24K. It’s not a huge increase in terms of 1D, only being 9K pixels extra, or ~60%. But in terms of flight area, it goes from 225K pixels to 576K, more than doubled.

The jump points are still at relatively similar distance to ports, because I did not want to increase travel times, keenly aware on the potential tedium of long hauls. The default zoom is now further out by 20%, to give a bigger field of view. It’s a balancing act between more vision, and avoiding everything looking too small on mobile screens.

An example of the new design below:

With more space, there will also be an increase in NPC ship activity. Fleet battles will be larger, with the major factions sending more attack or defending forces. The limiting factor was low-end spec mobile devices back in 2015, but these days, mobile hardware is much more performant, and I think in the case of fleet battles, bigger is better.

The other major changes are in regards to Roguelike (Hardcore) difficulty. The feedback I’ve received on this mode is that it is hard at the start, but once you get better ships, modules, and upgrade your skill, with squad members, towards the mid-game onwards it becomes easy. This mirrors my own experience playing it, since the player can powerup a lot.

Firstly, I’ve renamed the difficulty modes from Normal -> Hard -> Roguelike to one that’s more accurate of gameplay, Easy -> Normal -> Roguelike. Secondly, in Roguelike mode specifically, I have increased the AI pilot upgrades available to them, so they will gain better weapons & modules to not make them a pushover in the mid-game onwards.

Other NPC ugprades include additional missile launchers and drone bays on ships that field drones. This should balance out your own upgraded squad members capability in the mid-game.

The goal is to keep Roguelike challenging from early to late-game. Though I know player access to Capital ships will negate most of the challenge, but the balance is targeted at regular ships and not “hidden” or optional vessels.

I hope to get this update published on Android this month in July 2022, then work on the Steam PC & iOS versions after that. I think iOS will be the most difficult one due to how recent iOS versions have changed things..