Interstellar Pilot 2 released on Google Play and App Store
Interstellar Pilot 2 released on Steam (Early access / Windows)
Happy New Year! IP2 has now been released onto Steam.
This release has been a massive effort to achieve. Thank you to everyone that has contributed to the development and testing.
Merry Christmas from Pixelfactor
Wishing everyone happy holidays!
IP2 beta v2.0.43 released on Google Play and App Store. Other updates...
- New Raptor and Ranger ship models
- Ability to import/export custom variants and saved games
- Simpler fleet and property screens
- Upgraded Drake and Venture models are on the horizon and later the Orion, the remaining ship from IP1
- The Unity-based editor for IP2 is making progress, recently exporting it's first playable scenario in development
IP2 coming to Steam on 1 Jan 2023
IP2 now has an official release date of 1.1.2023 for the Steam (Windows) release. See the trailer here
IP2 next steps...
I'd like to give some idea of what will be in dev going into Xmas aside from the usual bug fixes and balancing:
- Replacement of the remaining IP1 ship models
- Easier management of property and fleets (tagged fleets)
- Save game exports
- Import/export ship variants
- Custom station variants
- Universe 'templates' - create/edit a universe layout, save it, share it
- The long-awaited IP2 Unity-based editor
Other than the above, there are a huge number of items on IP2 backlog yet to be worked on so I will be busy.
IP2 v2.0.41 released on Google Play. Other updates...
After taking a bit longer than planned, v2.0.41 has now been released to Google Play. Amongst a huge list of changes and fixes, the old IP Thunder model has finally been replaced.
If you are interested in what has changed recently, the full list is here
The release of this update onto App Store / IOS is not far behind. I estimate only a day before it also releases.
It's been a little while now since IP2 first released and I'd like to thank everyone that has bought, reviewed or otherwise followed the game!
For the first time in over 5 years IP1 has now been updated on both Google Play and App Store. Though not much has changed to the game itself, it was important to update IP1 from the incredibly old stuff it was built on.
People have asked if there will be further updates to IP1.. yes, as well as now continuing to fix bugs I would like to backport some of the better features from IP2 (free camera look). Though generaly development priority will be with IP2.
Version 2.0.29 released on Google Play
v2.0.29 is now ready for download. Aside from many bug fixes, this version adds the ability to create custom ship variants. See the change list page for every change made.
In other news, IP2 has been submitted to the Apple App Store for review. Today was meant to be the release date for IOS, but depending on the review time it might be a bit delayed
IOS beta version v2.0.22 is now public
If you have an IOS device, you can now join the IOS public beta test
To join the beta:
- Get TestFlight from the app store
- Open TestFlight
- Open this link
- IP2 should then download and install
If you do join the beta, please provide some feedback, thanks.
Note that in-app purchases are not charged in the beta test version.
Android beta version v2.0.20 now available
In v2.0.20 you might notice some new buttons at shipyards...
You can now create custom ship variants (or templates), which have customized components and cargo. The idea is to save the time of manually upgrading many ships.
Some things to note:
- Custom ship variants are created 'globally' so they can be used across multiple saved games
- After a custom ship variant is bought, the new ship will appear just like a modded version of the vanilla type
- You can only buy a custom ship variant where the vanilla type is available
There will also be a further change to introduce custom station variants!
IP2 now has a beta programme
Hello everyone. Some people have expressed interest in helping with testing IP and the good news is that now you can do this and the process is very simple. On the Google Play store page there is a link to become a beta tester. You just need to join up and any new beta updates will then become available. I aim to publish beta updates at most weekly whereas production releases will be much less frequent.
Please see this handy Google guide for more info.
I strongly suggest to not join the beta track unless you have an interest in testing. It is not a good way to receive updates early as the beta version will absolutely contain bugs.
Thanks in advance for your beta testing feedback.
In other news, I am recovering from Covid, which has ruined most of my plans for the last week. But things are still progressing in the background including work on IOS release. And a new change has started development where you can create custom ship variants!
The Change List page is back online
There is now a page to see upcoming and recent changes. If you've found a bug, you can now check if we know about it already. Or see what's coming up in the next update.
Interstellar Pilot is on Discord
Did you know IP has a discord server? Join here for news and more.
And IP2? It's still waiting for review, any day now I hope.
Interstellar Pilot 2
Update news... the new update will now be a completely separate app, Interstellar Pilot 2 and not a "version 1.7" as originally planned.
Development of Interstellar Pilot 2 (IP2) is now complete and awaits Google Play approval before going live. Because of the last-minute to have a separate app, nothing will be ready on 30 Sep. But I expect the release to not take more than another 7 days (based on generally how long apps take to be approved).
Some answers on IP2:
- It will be free to download
- It will not be necessary to re-purchase capital ships IAP. Capital ships and most features will be free
- It will continue to not have any ads
- It is planned to arrive on IOS on 31 October
- Save games from 1.6 (IP1) will still not be compatible
- IP1 will continue to exist in stores for now. It will be possible to have both IP1 and IP2 installed on a device at the same time.
- IP1 dev will not continue but it may receive some hotfixes backported
Thank you for waiting just a little longer...
1.7 Release Delayed
Much work has gone into new version 1.7 but sadly the update will not be ready by the original planned dates. New dates are as follows:
- New Android release date: 30 Sep 2022
- New IOS release date: 31 Oct 2022
1.7 Dev milestone
Good news everybody.. there is now a reasonably stable 1.7 dev build. The game has been run continously for 3 days (real days not universe days) and didn't encounter a game-breaking error. This was the first time that a 1.7 build has been ran for such a length of time and a lot of interesting stuff went down; A major power expanded their territory by claiming sectors, a small gang (yes there are gangs now) grew to become a huge faction by selling Impulse, bandits started to take over the entire universe (yes bandits are still around for now), about 100 distress calls were sent and over 250 pilots unfortunately lost their lives.
A lot has changed in 1.7 but some things in this test surprised even me (even though I coded them):
- The NPC faction's new ability to attack with a purpose is satisfyingly lethal. Until now NPCs could only patrol and bump into enemies randomly. Now they will consider their odds against enemies and then strike.
- The universe changes. As sectors can now be conquered, a sector that starts as a bandit haven can be conquered and later become a trading haven.. and the other way around...
- A ship full of valuable cargo is now a huge target for roaming pirates
- You can really hide. A small ship in a gas cloud is very hard to find.
There is still a lot of work to do but I'll maybe leave this test-run going to see how it pans out. The screenshot below is the new work-in-progress universe map from that game. The map now colours sectors by how 'secure' they are. It is not looking good for the Lambda Corporation...
Fun facts: Over 5,000 files in the codebase have been changed since v1.6.3. And a bug which has existed since v1.0 which would cause a station to be renamed as a projectile has finally been fixed.
1.7 Development continues
It is a couple of months since IP development restarted and a decent chunk of progress has been made. When testing the latest build I completely take for granted new features like major factions, gas clouds, dynamic sensor range and sector control. It's like these have always been there. But just a couple of months back these were just ideas.
Aside from adding stuff that you will actually see in the game, so much work is also going into 'tooling' to make future development of IP as easy as possible, and to enable community-created content.
Still there is a lot of work to do which brings me to the next point...
..Many people have asked for a release date. An estimated date of release of 1.7 is now 31 August 2022 for Google Play and 30 September 2022 for IOS. It is some time to wait but the amount of features being added needs this time for polish and testing. An alpha version is closer and I will approach people for testing this soon.
Thank you to everyone currently purchasing the released versions, which is really supporting this development.
1.7 Progress - the good, bad and the ugly
It is just over one week into development and time for small update.
Some good news... a new development build of IP has already undergone ~10 hours of android device testing and this build of the game is running stable. Every 1.6.3 game feature has been ported over to the new Unity3D version and retested. Testing was on a mid-range android device and that is handling with ease a new 64-sector universe with ~2000 AI ships. The test build is still fairly close to 1.6.3, so you might say that this isn't huge news. But, to get to this point has been.. challenging. More excitingly, this test game session never crashed whereas 1.6.3 always crashed. Hopefully an extremely long-running bug causing crash when changing sectors may finally be solved. Now, there is just the small matter of implementing everything on the "todo" list.
Now to bad news.. vanilla game-mode universes "Unchartered Space" and "A wormhole too far" will be retired in 1.7. These scenarios were added when the sandbox mode was poor, and they were probably a better experience at the time. With 1.7 the sandbox mode is becoming far more interesting and it is too involved to patch these universes up to the same level. Scenarios will remain - scripted missions with storyline remain a part of future plans.
And ugly.. no pre-1.7 save games will work with 1.7. There will be no upgrade path. I've had to make this decision before so I have good experience the pain it causes players. But, it must be done. The shape of a 1.7 game will become completely unrecognisable to pre-1.7 and the upgrade effort is too vast.
Finally I am really thankful to everyone expressing an interest in the new version of IP, messaging me with suggestions or otherwise continuing the community.. I'm blown away by this.
1.7.0 IOS Update clarification
This is to clarify the situation with IOS/App store. Some have noticed that there is yet to be a change to the IOS App Store page with news of the upcoming update. Rest assured, all new updates will come to IOS also. There has never been a technical challenge with porting IP onto IOS (thank you Unity). But, the update to App Store will be after the Google Play release. The timeframe is to be confirmed.
Version 1.7.0 preview
Version 1.7.0 will be a big-bang update. By this I mean that a very large list of things will change all at once. Often it is best to change just small things. But for this update I intend to throw in every feature and fix on the "idea" list that there is time for.
I will maintain the following page page where progress will be updated often (probably weekly). The intention is not to over-hype the update but more to keep people posted on the progress.
An apology, some history and future plans...
I would like to take some time to apologise to players of the game for the fact that updates to the game abruptly stopped in 2017. And sorry that it was never communicated what was happening at the time. Our players were left in limbo, never knowing what the plan was and I fully regret this. The following is not an excuse, but at least some explanation...
There wasn't some corporate-like decision to move on. The reality was more of a situation of extreme stress for me personally and a situation that was leading to me becoming desititute (like those bankrupt in-game factions after losing so many of their ships).
To explain how I got myself in this situation I go back in time to the beginning...
Interstellar Pilot started in 2008 by me (George). It wasn't a game at this time but a tiny experiment to help learn how to use Unity3D - a game engine used at my university where I studied games programming. One of my fave games as a kid was Starfleet Command which felt unique as it had hexagonal shield points. I thought it would be cool to make a battle simulator in Unity similar to that.
Working in my spare time I eventually had something that you might call a game. It just had a skirmish mode and a few ships. I published it to Google Play, and this was cool. After many years in the Play store I had obtained a massive... 50 downloads. But this was actually great - it was amazing to have others play my own game and sometimes enjoy it.
Getting on with other life stuff I occassionally made some tweaks to the game, based on my own crazy ideas and also from suggestions that players emailed. I learnt how to monetize it. But.. for such a long time the game could only bring £50 per month. Mostly the game just sat there quietly in the Store.
Something odd happened around 2016 (I forget the dates). The "universe mode" had been released - a more fuller sandbox version of the game and features became larger. It was starting to prove popular. Downloads went up like crazy. By some miracle IP had climbed into the top 100 action games on Google Play. And now people were buying the add-ons in greater numbers. But it was not a picnic... the game needed to quickly morph from an experiment into the quality expected (it still does). Code written 8 years earlier needed replacing. I embarked on massive projects, replaced the entire universe backdrops with higher quality, replaced the entire UI with UnityUI, added more content. It became complex. And players needed support. There were never proper tutorials so it was a miracle anyone could work out what to do. But if you requested support at this time, you will know that every single email was answered - it was a daily task for us. I did this all on IP while working full-time, often working on IP until early hours and then starting a real job a few hours later. It was hard work but it was an amazing experience.
In 2017 I made a decision to quit my full time job as a software developer and work instead full-time on Interstellar Pilot. The game did not have enough income to support me personally at the time.. not even close. But up until this point IP had been an Android game only. There was an ace up ones sleeve.. the platform ports. It was hoped that ports to IOS, Windows Phone and Amazon Underground would provide income to continue full-time development. Players had been emailing for a long time about IOS so we had high expecations. It was hoped IOS would eventually mirror Google Play income. In short, this was very foolish and it became a disaster. IOS brought no income. Amazon Underground was much better. But worse was that Google Play income started a decline. In 6 months of effort, IP made less income than it did in 2016 but now it had COSTS. So many costs. We had become a LTD company - time was now spent on things like accounts, legal and management all instead of development. And there was never funding. Everything rested on player's IAP. I now spent less time developing. And it was not fun. I became burnt out and it was not sustainable. So, I returned to a real job.
Now in 2022, you may ask, why come back to this project and how will things be different. The why is because 1. I was asked enough times (I read your emails even if I hadn't always responded) and 2. Because I now have the motivation that disappeared after 2016. I have the same avalanche of ideas for this game that I had in its early days.
However, things must be different to when Pixelfactor collapsed for this work to be sustainable. I wish to return to IP's roots when things worked well. So;
- I will not be working full-time on IP
- I will continue my day job
- There will be no risk that we go bust
- There will be less focus on monetizing the game until there is reached a point of high enough quality
- Professionals will be used to create content rather than do so much myself
- There will be more community engagement
- There will no longer be hard-to-fulful promises (but I do really promise a 1.7.0 release this Spring/Summer - oops just broke that promise!)
Despite being part-time I expect that development can reach the levels of progress made in early 2017, which I personally think was pretty great. And when I post the upcoming 1.7.0 features that are already developed, you'll hopefully be excited. However, for now the game remains primarily my solo effort so expectations must be realistic e.g. there is no multiplayer mode on the cards :(
Thank you for reading and for your continued support
We are back. Details of a new update to follow shortly...
Interstellar Pilot released on Windows Phone 10
We are again very pleased to announce that Windows Phone 10 owners can also become Interstellar Pilots. Version 1.6.3 is available now in the Windows Store.
Interstellar Pilot released on iPhone
We are pleased to announce the next installment of Interstellar Pilot is near completion. Our focus has mainly been optimization, removing various slowdowns and saving battery life as well as making it easier for us to work with the codebase. But we have had time to add new graphics, some content and rebalancing.
This update will be released to both Google Play and Amazon stores soon. We have completed most changes and will release the update once it has been tested successfully.
We know that a lot of people will be disappointed to not see more content but rest-assured that this will be our focus after this update goes live.
New sector graphics
We wanted each sector in a custom universe to feel more unique so we've added further backgrounds and planetary textures. These new graphics will be used for all pre-1.6.0 custom universe saved games so you may see some changes after loading.
New asteroid fields
Asteroids will now appear in asteroid fields (similar to Beta Pindola / Hellemus sectors). This will make it obvious where asteroids are to be found as well as just looking a lot better. Existing saved games will also be upgraded.
New UI graphics / layouts
We've added icons for all the commodities as well redesigning some the UI screens, which were hard to use.
- Optimizations / Removal of lag spikes
- New ship variants including Magnus-EQ (mobile equipment dealer) and Ranger-H
- New job board mission type: "Ship recovery"
- New job board mission type: "Ship delivery"
- Option to hail / talk to AI pilots
- New AI faction type: Mercenary (can be hired by player)
- Randomized / Upgraded NPC ships
- Very long list of bug fixes
Interstellar Pilot coming to IOS
After a lengthly time as an Android-only game, we can now reveal that we are very close to porting Interstellar Pilot to IPhone and IPad. The current development version (1.6.0) has been extensively used on IOS and only a few issues remain to resolve. Once released, we expect both Android and IOS platforms to receive the same continuous updates.
Moving to the IOS platform is key to growing the game and we also anticipate moving to other platforms in the near future.