So...Alpha 5. Obviously, it's a bit delayed at this point, and continues to be. Sorry about that, I know we've promised monthly updates and we're working to keep as close to that schedule as we truly can, but there are good reasons for the current delay.
One of the biggest reasons for the current delay is the UI, the look of which you can see on our Facebook page
. Right now in the game, there are a lot of things that are very confusing to players. We haven't made it very clear what happens when food or energy gets low, nor have we explained how many of the systems work.
Shields were highly confusing in Alpha 3 (click-and-hold was weird), as was Combat (targeting vs. firing weapons was really not intuitive). In Alpha 4, players would set up a nav location on the map and wait to use it, only to forget that they had done so...and the UI (a simple timer becoming a button) was far too subtle to really remind them. In fact, there was an entire Crew Assignment system in Alpha 3 that, though the UI for it was buggy, was still functional that I've yet to hear anything about or see a Twitch player use...in large part because the UI didn't look like an actual clickable button, though also due to not really explaining what it was doing ("So why are these objects purple again?").
The plan is for the new UI to help with this. By better using things like animations and screen space as well as a rethinking of how certain systems work (battery power for instance), the plan is to make the game far more logical and user friendly. Ship battery power, for instance, will have both a circular bar showing % of max charge as well as a number showing the current charge. Weapons that take battery power will have that number next to the weapon in the same color and font style. So if you have 20 units of ship battery power and you fire a weapon that takes 5 units, you'll see that you have 15 remaining as opposed to simply seeing an arbitrary bar go up and down without explanation. This should make actions and consequences much more understandable.
That being said, please let us know if you have any feedback or ideas on it. Every bit helps and even if we don't respond, we always look at every bit of feedback sent our way.