Play The Flat Universe Alpha Now! (October 30, 2014)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
The first playable edition of top-down shooter Wing Commander Flat Universe has been released! The Maslas Brothers still consider this a 0.5 alpha version, but it already looks like a lot of fun. Today's download is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, so fans can test out the game on the platform of their choice. Key commands are available in a helpful reference card, and a larger quick start guide should be available soon. The download files and installation instructions are available here.

We are happy to announce that we have just released the first playable version of the game! Yes it is still in alpha but we think it is already lots of fun.

We have also prepared some manuals which include both keyboard and gamepad / joystick reference cards and blueprints ala Wing Commander 1. All the manuals are located at the "Destiny's Way" section of the site. So and without any further delay head to http://flatuniverse.solsector.net and grab your copy!

P.S. Don't forget to check the updates in our website where you can find some of the ships that we are preparing (you can thank Klavs for his hard work of course!) at the "Flight Deck" section.













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Original update published on October 30, 2014
 
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Youngblood

Rear Admiral
I have been trying this out I love the way it captures the feel of WC! However I am finding it very hard I am being killed right away.. Am I just bad or is anyone else having this problem?
 

kyrgiannis

1st Lieutenant
Am I just bad or is anyone else having this problem?

Yes they are pretty hard but with some practice you'll get better (keep your motion perpendicular to their line of site and try to zoom out it usually helps...)

Of course as we said it's still alpha and we have done no level balancing yet. Stay in touch since we are going to be releasing monthly updates which will make things "easier"...

Thanks for the feedback
 

Alexco

Rear Admiral
Hi. The OS X version seems to have a problem. The application itself is not executable. I had to go into Terminal and issue "chmod +x fu.app/Contents/MacOS/fu" before it would start.
Sadly on my old MacBook Pro it is a little bit sluggish even with low graphics option. And it is too hard for me :)

But otherwise really good work. Reminds me of a years old indy game "Escort Wing" (http://www.owoho.com/EscortWing/index.html).
Thanks!!
 

kyrgiannis

1st Lieutenant
Well our MacBook Pro recently got fried and at this release we had no way of testing the authorities.

We are getting a new one and at the next update you won't have the same problem ;). Thanks for pointing the problem. Could you please send me the specs of your Mac? We want to finetune the graphics quality of the game vs performance and any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

And of course the difficulty level will be adjusted in the following releases.

Thanks guys!
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
I tried it tonight, and hey, good job!
The menus are just super awesome. Really immersive, those 3D rooms, even if you can't move.

The game itself is hard to judge since there isn't much there yet. Some notes:
- Nice graphics. The turrets look cool, Klavs' ships look cool, and the asteroids look cool as well.
- Gameplay: Not sure yet. still a bit.... rudimentary? I mean: The only notable tactics seem to be:
-- 1. circle the target, hit afterburner, two shots, fly away.
-- 2. zoom out, and start shooting while pretty far away (when zoomed in you can hit targets just by aiming with the radar). With the Hornet you can kill the turrets that way, even without seeing them.
- The radar is a bit strange. the upper part means in front of the ship. I think I would prefer if the upper part would mean top of the screen.
- It is quite hard to hit anything with the Dart DF, but that's how it was in WC as well. I tried destroying turrets with it but they keep shooting it down.
- Very weak shields
- Will there be anything pointing you to objectives, like nav points or something? The levels can be a bit disorienting at times.

I finished the first mission at least, after... dunno, 20 tries.

Loved the game so far, pretty nice for an early alpha. :)
 

Maslas

Rear Admiral
I tried it tonight, and hey, good job!
The menus are just super awesome. Really immersive, those 3D rooms, even if you can't move.

The game itself is hard to judge since there isn't much there yet. Some notes:
- Nice graphics. The turrets look cool, Klavs' ships look cool, and the asteroids look cool as well.
- Gameplay: Not sure yet. still a bit.... rudimentary? I mean: The only notable tactics seem to be:
-- 1. circle the target, hit afterburner, two shots, fly away.
-- 2. zoom out, and start shooting while pretty far away (when zoomed in you can hit targets just by aiming with the radar). With the Hornet you can kill the turrets that way, even without seeing them.
- The radar is a bit strange. the upper part means in front of the ship. I think I would prefer if the upper part would mean top of the screen.
- It is quite hard to hit anything with the Dart DF, but that's how it was in WC as well. I tried destroying turrets with it but they keep shooting it down.
- Very weak shields
- Will there be anything pointing you to objectives, like nav points or something? The levels can be a bit disorienting at times.

I finished the first mission at least, after... dunno, 20 tries.

Loved the game so far, pretty nice for an early alpha. :)

First of all, I'd like to thank you for trying our game and for your kind effort to write down a detailed report of your thoughts.
Let's get into details.
Q. Will there be anything pointing you to objectives, like nav points or something?
A. Off Course, there will be nav points with objectives and sub objectives. They are under development but our schedule says that you will be able to put your fingers on them when reaching version 1.0 of the game.

Q. Very weak shields.
A. The main concept of our game is to create a wc that will eventually put the pilots into the cockpit of wc ships from all the wc eras. We are under continual discussions and debates on how to normalize ship stats from every and each wc and this job requires a lot of field test.
It is still premature to really say if the shields are too weak or the guns are too strong. We are hopping that when the multiplayer part will be available, the community's opinion will help us greatly to balance the game on this matter.

Q. The radar is a bit strange. the upper part means in front of the ship. I think I would prefer if the upper part would mean top of the screen.
A. Now that was a subject of discussion between us and I can admit is that maybe the player's guide could have given you many hints but unfortunately is not finished yet (soon it will be published). A few details about this matter. The game camera has two options on how to orientate according the ship's rotation and the level's cardinal directions.
1. the non-chase view: Where the camera is always looking at north.
2. the chase view: Where the camera is orientated in respect with the rotation of the player's ship.
The mode toggles by pressing the default key "end".
On this point a debate started on whether the radar should also follow the camera rules while changing from mode to mode or the radar should stay as it is. Finally, we decided that changing the radar's orientation will eventually confuse the player and that radar should always follow the direction of the ship and for that reason a triangle was put in the middle of the radar screen showing the ships direction. But be sure that no decision is definitive yet, there is still time for changes before we go to BETA state.

radar_explain.jpg

I've uploaded the following screen just to be more clear, on what we are talking about, for the rest of the readers.

Q. Circle the target, hit afterburner, two shots, fly away. Zoom out, and start shooting while pretty far away (when zoomed in you can hit targets just by aiming with the radar). With the Hornet you can kill the turrets that way, even without seeing them.
A. We know that turrets came out pretty tough-guys, even for their creators. So the following changes have already been scheduled for the following update. First, the "default" zoom of the camera will be set to a far position with an option in settings (in a later update) to be changed by the player. Second, the gun-turret's weapon will not be laser but flak cannon which has a smaller range and a slower refire rate than the laser does. Third, minor adjustments on the turrets ai behaviour.

Q. I finished the first mission at least, after... dunno, 20 tries.
A. The real challenge is to destroy all the turrets on level 2 with a Scimitar. (By the way, Scimitar is a lazy pig and we might keep it that way)
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
An additional idea for the turrets perhaps:
In many games energy weapons don't fire continously, like they do in Flat Universe right now, but they have some pauses after x shots. That would open more tactical possibilities for the player.

Examples (1 means a shot, 0 means a pause as long as a shot):
One turret might shoot like this: 1-1-1-1-0-0-1-1-1-1-0-0-1-1-1-1
while another one has a higher rate of fire, but it shoots 1-1-1-0-0-0-1-1-1-0-0-0-1-1-1
Perhaps depending on the weapons, like in WC3, there were at least three different types of capship turrets, not counting torpedoes and missiles.

That could also come in handy for capships later in the game.


As for the radar: hard to tell, I would have to test it I guess, but I think when the camera doesn't move the radar should also be fixed. Not sure, perhaps you can make that a configuration item and just try it out. :)
 

Maslas

Rear Admiral
An additional idea for the turrets perhaps:
In many games energy weapons don't fire continously, like they do in Flat Universe right now, but they have some pauses after x shots. That would open more tactical possibilities for the player.

Examples (1 means a shot, 0 means a pause as long as a shot):
One turret might shoot like this: 1-1-1-1-0-0-1-1-1-1-0-0-1-1-1-1
while another one has a higher rate of fire, but it shoots 1-1-1-0-0-0-1-1-1-0-0-0-1-1-1
Perhaps depending on the weapons, like in WC3, there were at least three different types of capship turrets, not counting torpedoes and missiles.

There is no real need for a firing sequence because a capacitor system already exists for this job, only left is to implement it in the gun turrets too, which will happen on their following update.

As for the radar: hard to tell, I would have to test it I guess, but I think when the camera doesn't move the radar should also be fixed. Not sure, perhaps you can make that a configuration item and just try it out.

I guess, will give it a try.
 
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Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
Finally I got to download and try it out and I like it very much, excellent job! It looks, plays and feels very well already (the menus!) and seems quite more finished than other projects that keep pointing out it's even pre-Alpha ( :p ). Quite hard yes, I still have to beat the training mission but as you wrote, you get better quickly. And I personally think the radar works very well.

Thank you very much for this project and congratulations on what you have done so far.
 

kyrgiannis

1st Lieutenant
Thank you very much for this project and congratulations on what you have done so far.

Well thank you for your good words. We have a lot work to do still but there is no better reward for us than all you people enjoying the game.

However I think the real fun will come when we will have the multiplayer part ready...;)

Thanks again
 
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