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Overlay Map

A screenshot of the overlay map in action in the Alteris system.

Ever hated that your crappy radar was so small it was absolutely useless? Couldn’t navigate around for beans? Well fear no more, the overlay map is now in the ewarfare branch! This allows you to access a “Diablo 2″ like map with the tab key. If you hold it down it’ll disappear when you release it. If you tap it, it’ll stay open until you hit the key again. Enough talking, let’s see the current results:

As you can see, it’s basically an enlarged copy of the radar map pasted on top of your entire screen. This helps you get a feel of the system size and be able to plan more complex tactics. It’s also an aid for us developers as we’ll now have to start balancing electronic warfare, which as you probably know involves ship visibility on the map. With the new overlay map we’ll be able to see the results and fine tune more easily than otherwise.

I mentioned at the start that this is now bound to tab. In the current stable version, tab is used to cycle through ships. What becomes of that keybinding? The current default is to use ‘t’ to target ships (like the old tab) and ‘n’ to target nearest ship (like the old ‘t’). However when you load an old conf you’ll have tab bound to both targeting ship and the overlay. You can either go to the options menu and click defaults to reset it, or you can rebind it manually. This is just a minor issue for such a major gain.

A screenshot of the overlay map in action in the Gamma Polaris system.

To finish up, here is another image of Gamma Polaris. Next we’ll start focusing on the entire balancing of electronic warfare. This is going to be very hard so we have no idea how long it’ll take nor how much coffee we’ll have to drink, but we hope to get it done as soon as possible. Afterwards we’ll revisit the Big Systems, especially now with the overlay map they seem smaller than ever. With dynamic time compression we’ll be able to make them larger and more complex; ideally each system will contain a sizable amount of gameplay so constant inter-system jumps aren’t necessary.

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