Thursday, 22 January 2015

Airship Dragoon v1.6 Update

Airship Dragoon update version 1.6 has been released.

The updated features a couple of bug fixes, some tweaks, and a new gameplay mode for Tactical Battles called "STREAMLINE" mode.

Start with the biggest change is the new choice of gameplay modes, "HARDCORE" and "STREAMLINE". HARDCORE is the standard style of Tactical Battle. STREAMLINE is the newly available choice with the following differences.

Carrying external ammuntion is no longer a requirement in STREAMLINE mode. During deployment this frees up a lot of weight in a trooper's inventory for other items like frags and aidkits (especially aidkits). In combat, weapon's still have an internal bullet capacity and clips/magazines must still be reloaded when empty, but there is no longer a requirement for additional ammunition in the inventory. Disposable single use items are still only useable once, so do not expect an infinite supply of rocket grenades, aidkits or flamerockets. Use the extra weight saved by not needing ammunition to stock up on these one-shot wonders.

Inventory manipulation no longer costs Action Points in STREAMLINE mode. Previously swapping weapons, dropping or picking up items, arming or disarming frags and bombs, all cost Action Points. In STREAMLINE mode this is now free. Using an item, such as an aidkit to heal or call for medivac, or reloading a weapon's clip/magazine does still cost Action Points.

During the Passive Phase of a Tactical Battle, when the opposing team is taking their turn, reactive attacks based on spotting a new target or returning fire after being unsuccessfully attacked by an opponent are no longer Class based. In HARDCORE mode each class of trooper has a specific range at which they can attack during their Passive Phase. In STREAMLINE mode this no longer applies, meaning that all troopers in range of an enemy may attack during their Passive Phase. Spotting an enemy still works the same as previously, and is dependant on the trooper's vision attribute, distance and angle, or when an enemy gives away their position by attacking.

Passive Fire in STREAMLINE mode makes ambushes much more dangerous, with everyone in sight now capable of blazing away at an enemy who comes wandering unsuspectedly over a rise in the terrain or around the corner of a building. Grouping troops close together gives a better chance of them all seeing a new enemy at the same time, though this also makes them more susceptible to explosive or machine-gun area fire. Expect a lot more returned fire when attacking a large group yourself.

Gameplay mode cannot be changed mid-battle (swapping from STREAMLINE to HARDCORE would mean no one had any ammo) but can be changed anytime during the Strategy Phase of a campaign via the Options Menu. When loading a battle from a saved game, the gameplay mode will default to the one in use in the saved file.

In other tweaks and changes which affect both gameplay modes:

Attacking targets who are in the open and clearly visible now gives a  +20% bonus to accuracy. So a trooper who is crouching using CAUTIOUS tactic and can see the full length of an enemy will have a +40% bonus to accurcay (crouching +20, unobscurred target +20). Keeping your troopers partially obscurred by the lie-of-the-land and/or in cover is now more important than ever.

Players asked for a better stealth when attacking from the rear, so spotting targets is much more difficult from behind now, especially at distance. This now makes it possible to creep up directly behind enemies completely unseen, with no chance of them detecting your trooper as long as they do not come closer than 30 metres, in which case they do have a chance to hear the approaching threat. Of course once an undetected trooper starts shooting they will give away their position to everyone within sight.

Enemy AI troopers have had their basic statistics rebalanced.

In the Pangea (main) Campaign the Dastardly Pirates have had their progression rebalanced to prevent them from becoming overpowered in the late stages of the campaign.

An issue with Arid Map 2 and Arid Realism Map 2 where projectiles would not collide with rocks and boulders has been resolved.


The STEAM version of Airship Dragoon will automatically update the next time STEAM is started.

Most non-Steam versions can be redownloaded from their source portal for the update or the owner can apply the new patch to upgrade from version 1.5.2 to the new version 1.6 update. If running the bonus files or realism mod, they too can be found updated at A demo is also available from that webpage.
Airship Dragoon is an uber-hardcore, turn-based, strategy game inspired by early 1990s tactical games such as X-Com/UFO series, Laser Squad and Steel Panthers available on STEAM and DRM-free as a direct download.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Airship Dragoon End Of Winter Sale and Streamline Mode

It is the final weekend of "The Big It's Really Cold Winter Sale" and uber-hardcore, squad tactics, indie game "Airship Dragoon" is half price direct from the developer. Comes with a DRM free download and a Steam key. (ends Monday 12th January 2015)

There is also a new update in the pipeline which will (hopefully) be released in the next week or two featuring a new "STREAMLINE" gameplay mode. This mode creates infinte ammunition for weapons, removing the need to equip extra bullets. Inventories can be manipulated without using up those precious Action Points, so dropping, picking up and using new items come at no cost. It's Airship Dragoon - streamlined! The original style is still available and now known as "Hardcore" mode, and the two modes can be switched at will before any tactical battle - including in the middle of a campaign - via the options menu.
There has also been some rebalancing of Ai and the Dastardly Pirates of Pangea, and a few fixes for issues which had previously snuck in.
Using cover is now more important than ever. Targets partially obscured by cover now give a negative (-10%) accuracy modifier, whilst targets out in the open have a bonus (+20%) to the shooter's aim. So a trooper in "Cautious" tactic (crouching) has a massive +50% bonus when firing on an enemy using "Standard" tactic with no cover (previously it was +30%).

"The Idea Fairy" courtesy of

In other news, I've been umming and ahhing about starting a new indie game project. I expect like most devs, ideas are not hard to come by but finalizing which concept is the crux of the issue. After developing an uber-hardcore strategy game, I quite fancy a change of pace to something more action orientated ... and a shorter development cycle. So to this effect, I am planning on creating one or two quick and dirt technical demos to test basic gameplay design.

Concept One: Top down (or possibly isometric for bombing runs) style steampunk/dieselpunk aerial shoot 'em up. Lot's of rear "pusher" props, giant armoured airships as a sky navy blasting big guns at each other and flak cannons at incoming bombers. Intercept and strafe the bombers, fight it out in a melee of small aircraft, duel the enemy ace, torpedo the airship destroyer, all with the emphasis on short, sharp dogfights.

Early Fighter bomber concept
I had a quick mockup of sizes using real world (World War 2) naval ships and aircraft just to see what the scale looked like.
The big green arc is one kilometre from the 200m radius circle. Yellow rectangles are various naval ship sizes (battleship, cruiser, destroyer), and the big  triangle on the left has the dimensions of a Mosquito bomber, whilst the small one on the right is fighter sized. First impressions, things need to be bigger.

Concept Two: Top down (or possibly isometric) arcade action roguelite, with emphasis on swarms of enemies, boss battles, randomization, probably permadeath, level progression, power up collectables and unlockables.
The player (character on foot) makes their way through each level, searching for power ups, collectables, new equipment and weapons, and the means to exit to the next level through a boss battle whilst assailed by randomly spawning enemies. Placement of all objects in the world is randomized, including start and exit points. Shooting monsters gives points, points make prizes with increased collectable drops.
The player would have one or two weapons, a light attack with fast cool down, heavy attack with longer cool down, extra ability which would probably be defensive like dodge, speedrun, lay boobytrap, depending on collectable and some special object with either a time limited effect or single use like airstrikes, freeze/confuse enemies, invulnerability and the sort. The emphasis would be on wide and varied collectables with increasingly frenzied arcade action.
Alas no predesign pics of this as it currently exists in the murky vapours of my mind.

Anyhow, these are two ideas which I will be testing with technical demos later in the month to see how the concepts translate to actual gameplay. First things first though, and that's the "Streamline" update for Airship Dragoon version 1.6.