Dev Log #17 – 0.29.0 Build Preview, Release Timing

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In this Dev Log, we’re going over some of the major features in the next build. We’ve got four major highlights to discuss, and since it’s been a while since the last dev log we’re going to include lots of information now with a smaller patch notes post when 0.29.0 goes live.

Closed Beta 0.29.0 Build Preview

Tenebris Returns!

Tenebris is returning with a massive art update. The map has undergone some gameplay changes as well, particularly with the flag stands and bases.

The flag stand has been replaced with a refueling cargo ship with plenty of space to stash inventory stations or hide from the enemy defense.

The base interior has been brought to life and now features a more paths and tubes to make gameplay more interesting when assaulting and defending the base.

There’s plenty more to see and explore on Tenebris. The art team has done a great job, and you’ll get your hands on it during the next patch.

Vehicle Shields, Missile Launcher, and Flares

Vehicles have been in a weird place for a while now. The Air Fighter was really dominant in the right players’ hands while being very difficult to take down due to no weapons built to counter it. On the other side, the Tank has a lot of health but with enough focus from the enemy team it can be hard to stay alive. In this build we’re adding three key elements that will change up the balance for how vehicles are played and countered. We’ll describe these new features in detail here and pictures will follow on social media.

Vehicle Shields

The first thing we’ve done is make vehicles feel less brittle by adding shields that pull from the vehicle’s energy pool. This should help defend against stray ground fire slowly eating away at vehicle health and make it more resilient overall. However, pilots will need to plan carefully when moving in for an engagement, since taking too much fire or using too much boost will drain your energy pool and make you more immobile or more susceptible to enemy fire.

Missile Launcher

The Missile Launcher has long been on the roadmap and is now making its way into Midair. The missile works by locking on and homing to a target with a high heat signature. Players generate and lose heat through jetpack usage, but vehicles and base assets always have a full heat signature. If a target drops below the heat threshold, the missile will lose its target unless its heat signature increases back beyond the threshold or the missile time-detonates. If you’re locked on to by a missile, an alarm in your armor will go off alerting you to the incoming missile at which point you can choose to reduce your heat signature or use flares to distract the incoming missile.

Flares

Both players and vehicles can have flares that will divert incoming missiles when the missiles are in range of the flare. A single flare will divert one missile. For players, flares are equipped by selecting them as a throwable item like grenades or mines. Vehicles can fire off several flares in series but have a cooldown between uses. This means pilots will need to tactically use their flares then lay low while their cooldown resets.

Stats, Match History, and Leaderboards

The last month or so we’ve spent some time reworking our stats backend which enables us to retrieve and display player match history and create leaderboards – both of which will be in the next build along with a menu UI functional revamp to make accessing these more straightforward. Here’s a quick look:

Match History

Your match history will display your most recent matches along with quick details about the match. Eventually this will also include a personal highlight, a way to view more advanced match statistics, and a demo playback button to relive your greatest moments.

Leaderboards

Leaderboards will stack you against other Midair players and your friends for each gametype in Midair. The three leaderboard views are: Global, Around Me, and Friends. The Global leaderboard shows the ranking of everyone in Midair starting at the top. Around Me shows you and players near you so that you can see what you need to do to overtake the players next in line. Friends shows your rankings compared to a filter of only your Steam friends.

Engine Upgrade

0.29.0 will also be the last build that we do a full engine upgrade before release. We’re updating Unreal Engine from 4.14 to 4.17 and as such we get a lot of benefits from it. More about what’s in the engine upgrade can be found here. As a quick note, we do know 4.18 is available but we started the upgrade before it was released.

Release Timing

The initial plan was to release this week but we’ve run into some snags with the engine update in particular (which is why we don’t do them every new engine release). The good news is there will be more polish in the upcoming build, but we don’t have a firm ETA as the issues are critical crashes that will severely impact the average player experience. We’re on a day-to-day basis with this patch until the crashes are resolved, so as soon as they are we’ll release the full patch notes along with the new build for download.