Hello everyone, Pre-Alpha 8 has arrived! This new version introduced several substantial changes to the game that hopefully will make the experience better for everyone, namely a new "Balanced Start" mode (active by default), a new difficulty level, 6 new leaders, a new game option to increase the tooltips text size and a new "left-click to select right-click to assign" mode! There's also new ruins text, many balance changes, UI tweaks and a bunch of bug fixes. Please enjoy the new release and let us know what you think. If you haven't pre-ordered yet, you can do so here. Note: The save games from the previous version (Pre-Alpha 7b) should work on this new version but we strongly suggest that you start new games to play this new build properly, and to benefit from the new features and fixes fully. To update to this latest version, just use your existing download link from humble bundle. If anybody has trouble finding the email with the link you can use the order resender and Humble Bundle will send you a list of your download pages. Here's the full change log (from Pre-Alpha 7b to Pre-Alpha 8): NEW New "Balanced Start" mode (active by default, can be switched off in the Game Settings) allows for more balanced starmaps, i.e. with less "too bad" and "too good" starts. This will allow for the difficulty levels to not be overwhelmed by the randomness of the map. The pacing of the game should now also not be as dependent on the kind of start you get as before. Also, the higher the difficulty level, the harsher the starts will tend to be for the player, and vice versa for the lower difficulties which allow for nicer starts. This is the opposite for the AI, which will enjoy from better starts the higher the difficulty, and harsher ones on the lower difficulty levels. New difficulty level: Tutor (the easiest one). The player enjoys from the best starts the game can offer, and the AIs the worst. Note: When the "Balanced Start" option is active the starts should never be "too good" or "too bad", whichever difficulty level is picked. Of course, the starts nature will depend on the difficulty level as explained above. 6 new leaders are looking forward to meet you (3 ship leaders and 3 colony leaders). Special thanks to the Writing Department for coming up with the new leaders and their bios (@Konstantine, @Vivisector 9999) New "Left-click to select right-click to assign" fleets mode added (can be selected in the Settings on the main menu) New game option in the Game Settings for larger text size in the tooltips. New ruins search text added, and the previous content was deeply enhanced with larger descriptions and even more variety (thanks @Konstantine and @Vivisector 9999, our writing department) Autosaves now save every turn and have the turn number appended to the autosave file name. The game keeps the latest 5 autosaves. This should make it an easier and more convenient way to use the autosaves Now possible to sort save games by name and date BALANCE "Starship Engineers" infrastructure perks now grant +10%/+25%/+50% bonus to ship construction (previously it was +25%/+50%/+100%). The ship construction bonus was found to be a bit too strong, and definitely stronger than the other infrastructure perks. Ship leaders XP gain from winning battles reduced a bit. Ship leaders were perceived to be levelling up too quickly, especially after fighting many battles. Required XP to level up increased slightly for all types of leaders. Colony leaders primary skills provide stronger effects since the previous version, so the levelling up rate was adjusted a bit. Game now starts with additional SSPs (ship support points) and not with 0 as before) depending on the difficulty level: +3/+2/+1 for Tutor/Easy/Normal difficulties Support Ship SSPs decreased from 5 to 3 Support Ships now less expensive to build KA 2120 leader no longer a Spiritual Leader (spiritual leader skill removed) AI fleeing chance decreased slightly. AI ships will tend to flee a little bit less now Strategic resources prevalence halved. Now less abundant which should help keep production bonuses at bay (e.g. Neutron Rejuvenation, Antimatter Power Plants) Leaders primary skill bonuses changed from +0.1 per skill level to +0.5 for the Administration, Labor and Research primary skills Asteroid mining production bonus changed from +0.1/+0.2/+0.3 to +0.5/+1.0/+1.5 for small/medium/large asteroid belts, respectively Scrapping ships and buildings now provides less money than before Robotic Factory production bonus from asteroid mining increased to 5/10/15 from small/medium/large asteroid belt exploitations (previously it was 1/2/3) GAMEPLAY AI now a bit less opportunistic and reckless when attacking. Builds up better and attacks when it's more appropriate Freighter Fleets now unlocked when researching the Asteroid Mining tech Support Ships now unlocked by new tech "Offworld Support" Antimatter Power Planets and Personal Replicators techs moved from level 3 to level 4 on the construction tech field Ruins text revisions (thanks Writing Department and special thanks to @aReclusiveMind) Races descriptions updated (thanks also to the Writing Department) Ultimate Logistics tech renamed to Expert Logistics Production triangle allocation can now also be "centered" between two of the allocations when the third is disabled / not available (e.g. able to even out production between construction and infrastructure when planetary engineering is disabled UI Tax rate now set via "+" and "-" buttons and not through a slider as before Added information on the current game's starmap size, difficulty level and race modifiers to the Game Menu (race info can be checked via tooltip over the race name) Construction options in colony now show how many turns constructions take to build in the tooltip (previously, one had to add the construction to the queue in order to know the turn ETA) Minor system view facelift. Now shows if a planet is colonizable or not and why (via tooltip) in case it isn't Helium-3 research decision revision: Fusion Industry, Fusion Medicine and Fusion Trade renamed to Fusion Production, Fusion Treatment and Fusion Commerce, respectively. Also text revisions done to the Antimatter and Neutronium research decision opening quotes The outliner's colony overview now shows ETAs capped at 99+ for very large ETA numbers The fleet panel "build outpost" button now informs the player via tooltip if an outpost (or colony) cannot be built when the fleet is stationed on a system inside a rival's territory, with no mining rights (outpost) or no alliance (colony) with that rival Fighter Bays image changed (the previous one was left there by mistake) Fixed an issue where the savegame scrollbar was not scrolling till the end Save/load menu now shows newest save files at the top by default (I remind that the saves can be sorted by name and by date) Colonization summary tooltip (when hovering over a colonizable planet) now shows a breakdown of potential production by mineral richness and space culture perks bonus. Also presents why there are maintenance penalties (when colonizing non-Ideal planets) Tooltip fonts and sizes re-adjustments AUDIO 1 new music track (replaced an old one) BUGS Fixed a terraforming calculation bug where the ETA displayed when listing the terraforming options was different from the actual construction costs (was not taking into account the planet special contribution properly) Fixed a bug on the missiles speed calculations which was causing missiles speed to be lower than it should (was not taking into account the bonus from the drive technology properly) Fixed a bug where a specific kind of Titan model would freeze combat after firing Fixed an issue that was causing some planets' names to not show in sequence in the system view (e.g. Lau II, Lau V, Lau III). This is now fixed Fixed an issue where the Survey Ship's construction option did not list the ruins searching benefit provided by having a survey ship in the exploration fleet Fixed an issue where a notification was mistakenly being raised telling the player an outpost (or colony) could be built on a system that belonged to another empire with no mining treaty or alliance Fixed an issue where the cost of the ship designs was being cut off for numbers with more than 3 digits Fixed an issue where sometimes a leader would show up for hiring right after the hiring period had expired Fixed an issue where the text in the Construction level 3 techs would overflow outside the techs area Fixed a bug where infrastructure would sometimes upgrade in one turn when residual production was being allocated to infrastructure due to a precision error Fixed a bug where armor was being updated on already built ships when it must only update on new ship designs to be built Fixed a bug where new engines were being installed in ships in transit. Now, new engines are only available to fleets when they reach the destination. Stationed fleets get their engine upgrades immediately after being researched, as before Fixed a rare issue where the overlap panel would be presented upon assigning a fleet to a system with a fleet icon on top. Now, the overlap panel does not show up in those cases Fixed a bug where the "Select Design" button was not going to the designs selection screen --- Instructions on how to download the latest build can be found here.