Report 051: Pre-flight Checks
After a long streak of delays, the release is finally taking shape with the steam page now online.
To anticipate the actual release, this report will be about what to expect of the game.
This information will be added in both the steam page so it can be available to anyone that is only knows VT by the page store, but also will also be posted to a new thread in the forums and it will be continually updated as the game evolve.
As for the release date, all I can say is play close attention to the coming soon tab in the steam store, it is the best way to guess when the release will come.
he following information is both directed to both players who where already following VT for a long time, but also those who only noticed it recently.
Let’s start on the gamemodes, VT offers an unusual range of game modes besides the typical campaign and multiplayer.
Quick Action mode
This mode is for anyone interested in quickly jump into action. Every battle is auto generated from the wining conditions to your aircraft.
Also to note that this mode uses only the aircrafts you have currently unlocked, the more you have, the more variety the matches will have.
(unavailable in the current version)
It is the usual game mode as it is expected, it features two campaigns, however at the moment they were built only to feature the gameplay elements, the story pieces and cutscenes will come after.
But, it is not limited to these two, the player can add as much custom campaigns as he likes.
If you remember those old strategy games which had similar named game mode you will immediately understand what this mode is about.
This mode if to quickly create dogfights in an arena like mode where you can edit all the battle field conditions.
The current multiplayer is a variation of the Skirmish which it offers the standard Deathmatch and team Deathmatch rules.
This game mode will evolve as development progresses.
This mode is the most unique of all of them, this mode was made to test your abilities and prove your piloting skills.
The first levels are simple and serve some sort of tutorial, but as you progress the Challenges start to become more complex and demanding.
Also this is the mode where you can unlock new units for Multiplayer and Skirmish.
I´ll take this opportunity to also post the main game features:
• Stay engaged from dawn until dusk and beyond with multiple game modes.
• Keep coming back for more with multiple missions via a series of campaigns.
• Unlock over 200 aircraft through a simple yet competitive Challenge Mode.
• Pit yourself against advanced tactical AI that responds to the world around it.
• Clash against titanic aerial fortresses and super-weapons.
• Duel with a myriad of Ace fighter squadrons, each with their own unique combat strategies.
• Modify your game with easy, simple modding tools and share your creations with others.
I should note that to be accurate, while this will be true in just a matter of few weeks, at release it will only include around 165 aircrafts.
But these are not the only features the game has; there are a few other important features that are usually omitted
• A detailed Weapons Flight model, even between weapons with similar role each has his unique characteristics, like acceleration, max speed, homing ability, etc. It is also very noticeable how more modern weapons are highly more effective that the first iterations.
• A detailed Stealth system, the makes the way you are positioned to the enemies critical in determining well hidden you are, some steal aircraft are only hard to detect in the frontal aspect, you must consider this when engaging a target. Also if you happen the weapon bays too soon, you will only make easier for the enemy to spot you.
• A highly advanced AI that adapts to the aircraft and weapons they are using and make you think you are actually facing other human players.
• You can change the battlefield conditions with and extensive Jamming mechanic filed with a variety of different effects.
• and finally it has more than a thousand of achievements to conquer.
Okay. With all the promotion of VT done, the next step to talk about that the early access release will have.
A quick overview, this early access release version of Vector Thrust is focused in providing a polished gameplay, highly indicative of the quality of the final product. While incomplete, all the main features gameplay are available and other secondary features will shortly follow.
In the content department, it also offers a large variety of game modes and a quite significant amount of missions and challenges that will keep you entertained for a while.
So if you fear the game is in early alpha, fear not, the game is well developed, especially if are looking for a solid for arcade flight game, if this is what you want, I guarantee this you will have it.
But to be clearer I’ll show what the game has in more detail.
The current version has over 160 playable aircraft.
This is just for now, because as the updates will start to appear you will notice how this number will rapidly increase, more 100 aircrafts are already guaranteed that will have. I you have read the earlier report you will notice a lot more are already in the development.
Also, for everyone who may not be aware, Vector Thrust organizes aircraft by families, each family will feature multiples variants, starting from the initial concepts to the late life speculative variants.
In this, some families display a more interesting evolution than others, some stay faithful the same overall appearance, while other display radical new looks in each variant.
I want to raise the awareness, that when you hear that it has more than one hundred aircraft, keep in mind that there are a lot of variants.
This is entirely subjective, aviations enthusiasts may love this idea, but if you are only interested in the most well known variants you may feel overwhelmed by this selection.
But don’t fear, the available campaigns have a more reasonable selection. Also, this wide selection has been setup so you experience each variant gradually as you unlock them one by one, and maybe, during this process you may find something interesting to your liking.
Also these are the main families that will be available in the release version:
• Mirage F-1
Repeating what has been said before in the features, there are two campaigns one with 6 levels and other with 10 levels.
Each will have their own playable selection where you gain money to purchase beter aircraft.
While there is no story, there are dialogs during these missions, but these serve only to create the mood, help with the mission objectives/events and to serve as an example for custom made missions.
Also the missions are relatively short on time; each can be cleared in between 5 to 20 minutes, although this speed is determined how well suited the aircraft and weapons you select for this mission. Don’t expect to enter massive dogfights with an A-10 or you will be sorry.
At release, this game mode has only one mission that is a fight with a super weapon (Ziz)
This challenge is available right from the start, later this will be changed it will be only unlocked after completing certain requirements, because this mission can be quite hard if you are playing for the first time.
You may have noticed this is an ongoing theme, VT is hard, the AI is challenging, etc.
Well, to be honest, this game was made for veterans of Ace Combat and similar games in mind.
VT can be a difficult game, to ease a little it has added a simpler AI for most of the Campaign missions to allow the player to at least be able to breathe a little. If you feel confident, play either Quick battle or Skirmish, you can think that as a good training for the Multiplayer.
But if you are new to the genre, I have to prepare you, there is no tutorial at the moment, the best suggestion I can give you to start with the game mode below.
This mode is a series of challenges that start with simple task and quickly evolve to more demanding missions.
So this is perfect for newcomers.
This is mode is also very important, because it is in this mode that you will be able to unlock aircrafts for all other modes.
In the present version, it features over 50 challenges (around 1/3 of the existing playable aircraft)
This also means that only a few more than 50 can be unlocked normally on this release; however the campaign mode follows a different rule.
The current release features 5 different biomes in 38 maps (there is a place holder map in there as well)
The biomes are: desert, mediterranean, arctic, continental and tropical.
Given the context of the world of Vector Thrust, all the maps that have civilizations only feature very small urban areas.
Also, there are no tunnels at the moment; more unique maps will be added later.
There are also 33 mutators available for skirmish and multiplayer game modes.
For anyone that is not aware mutators are simple modifiers of gameplay, they can be added to a multiplayer match or a mission to completely change the experience.
Multiple mutators can be used at same time to give even crazier results, but obviously some are incompatible, but that I will leave for the player to experiment.
This is also an important point, there is a forum thread that is keeping track of the existing issues, and the tread will be updated with each new release.
Again if you are fear the state of this early access, I recommend you to give a look at this list to determine if the issues are a deal breaker or not.
Of course it is possible that there are more hidden in this release.
But a lot of dedication was paced to make this release as solid as possible, while there are some minor issues, but the game is mostly free from crashes.
The only exception is the game editor, it is the more sensible game mode so it is possible to stumble in some crash, the best practice is to save your file often.
And that is for the main content the game has, I don’t want to be too revealing so I will let you explore the rest.
As it stands now, with all that is offered I sure it will be enough to satisfy your hunger for a while, but in case you want more, then there is mission editor with multiple toys to play with.
But also in the next updates it will be added more missions and everything else.
With all that has been stated above, if you are not sure if this is for you or not, I’ll explain here to who I think the current release version is recommended for:
• Anyone interest in participating in the ongoing development of Vector Thrust.
• If you are looking for a solid gameplay experience. As it has been said before the existing package is already very indicative of the final quality.
• If you want to play with a variety with the aircraft selection, or if you are interested in playing with units that are not the usual standard fare.
• An action flight game that allows you to make our own custom missions, campaigns, units or any other element of the game with ease.
• Anyone that thinks he is an ace and no AI can beat him without resorting to cheats.
Then, in other hand, who I think this version is not recommended for:
• If you are looking for a complete game. For obvious reasons it is missing some content, story, missions, units and others.
• Bug free version. If you have trouble in dealing with bugs and issues or you become upset if you find unbalanced or not fully working game mechanics.
• Story driven campaigns. At the moment there are two campaigns but none has the story as it only will be added later. But even this, I’m sure some players will make their own story driven campaigns.
• A complete multiplayer experience, at this point the multiplayer is still on development. A solid base net code is being built before adding all the fluff the multiplayer nowadays has.
• Also, this is no simulation; this is an arcade flight game.
To be sure we are not eluding anyone; let’s talk about the incomplete side of the game. Well, it is on early access after all.
• Limited in menu navigation using only the controller/keyboard. Until this has been fixed some menu options can only be access using mouse. So if you plan to play with only the controller, have your mouse close by.
• It is not completely balanced. Every element is being constantly tuned, some spec are already close to final but some loadouts and some secondary elements need to be revised.
(Also as a side note about the AOA, it should have been limited to be used by only by a few aircraft. But after some thought, it will remain the unchanged so everyone can experience how the AOA works depending solely on the performance of the aircrafts.
This will help draw some extra feedback, but it will be rectified a few updates later.)
• As mentioned before, both campaigns are incomplete in narrative, both in story and cutscenes.
• The maps have little to no buildings or decorative geometry, some even use placeholders.
• Countermeasures were disabled for release because they require a additional balance in all the elements before allowing them to be usable.
• Game editor is incomplete, at the moment it has map, mission, and campaign editor, but only the last two are usable.
• Missing online Leader boards, this functionality in only active locally in the client side, online leader boards will be enabled later.
Because of the moment all the missions are subject to change so I think that comes first before enabling online leaderborads, but this system will be activated gradually as the missions and challenges become fully closed.
• Jamming system it is still heavily underused. It will be added more units to make use of this detailed mechanic.
• Challenges may require tweaks.
This applies for all levels, but especially the challenge, they are highly subject to change.
With the upcoming feedback from the players, they will be tuned and tweaked to give the right amount of challenge, to be difficult but also entertaining.
But something to note, in the current versions there are quite a few difficulty spikes, but some may be intended, the main branch will always be easier than obscure variants, but still I’m sure some of them will need some tweaks.
However some of the challenges have been already tweaked to an insane degree, one example is the NF-104A; it is a shame the leaderboards are not active for this challenge yet, because would like to see if anyone can beat my time in that level.
But we have a simple alternative for that, if you achieve ACE rank and you can be sure you are a highly skilled pilot.
This section of information is dedicated to the Alpha funders.
As been said before, but it case someone missed, the delivery of the keys is planned to be in the same day of release.
Unfortunately it will not be possible to send them earlier, nor can I give any guarantees how promptly you will receive your keys.
But I’ll do everything I can to deliver them as soon as possible.
It is possible that you receive a few hours earlier but it is also possible that you make receive them after the release.
Also, SlyCooperFan1, has created a tread about the subject, let me know trough there if you had any problem about this.
Also about game related material, “Doppelganger Battle” and “Survival Mode” missions were removed from battle scenario, they will be used in future challenges.
Some mutators were also removed due to their incompatibility with the multiplayer, but they will be added again when this is resolved.
Other small change, it is no longer possible to use the editor mode during a gameplay mission, but the debug mode remains accessible.
This option will continue like until it evolves into something else or be removed in the final version.
Something important to tell about the multiplayer, this mode is only available in a alternative branch.
You don´t need anything for this, and can use it at any time, you just have to change the branch you are using in the steam client.
Also, to be very clear, at the moment the multiplayer offers the basic package that is expected of this game mode, Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch.
This is also intended so it can be easier to find the simpler yet critical issues in the net code.
After this has been cleared, then will be added more evolved modes and other ideas that may pop up in the forums.
Other important point, at the moment, there are no private matches, something that will be added very soon.
This is very important to add quickly because otherwise I’m sure I’ll be assaulted every time I create a match to test some changes in the code.
Well that is it for this report.
But then the next question rises, what will be expected beyond the early access release?
That will be featured in the next update.
That report will be in the next days and it will show what is planned for VT, including what the final version will have and how it will be added during early access.
Also, one last point before ending this, there is an ongoing contest to win free keys in the facebook page.