Wow, we’re back! Thanks so much for rejoining us! We have been working for a while on reopening the alpha and it’s a real good feeling to see old faces in the game again, and new!

Here’s a big old rundown of what’s new in Steambirds Alliance.

Totally new rebel city art! It feels like a real place now. The birds repurposed one of their ancestral strongholds for an airbase. Sometimes, far off in the clouds, you can catch a glimpse of the island in the murky distance. Winds whip its desert-like surface. The dryness reminds you of your thirst to reclaim your homeland from the cats. There’s also a storage building, where you can keep your second-rate items between planes.

Remade player plane art! We’ve started using meshes for our unit art, and it’s a little bit more efficient to render, and it’s fun to make, and it’s lit so the light changes on them as they turn! The crazy thing about this is that Brent redid most of the player plane art the day before the alpha reopened, he’s just that fast.

Elemental damage! We’ve talked about this before; across the higher level enemies and guns, different elements come in to play. Enemies and players can gain weaknesses and armor. There’s stuff to learn! It’s still pretty fresh and we hadn’t seen it in action with real players before opening the doors, so things will be a bit unbalanced at first!

Totally new guns! More and different bullet patterns from your plane creates more tactical combat.

Plus some of them look totally bonkers. See more in this older post.

Enemy activation is improved. There’s less chance of multi-part enemies getting split up (or zero chance, what’s the difference, really), fixing a big source of bugs, and enemies work a bit harder to hunt you down. It’s not as easy to just waltz right through the world.

If you shoot a wall that has an enemy on it, the enemy will be damaged! We thought this would be quicker to implement than making enemies know how to avoid walls. We’ll see if this works out, it’s an experiment!

There are new, more powerful bosses who will sometimes appear on the island. They are really difficult to kill, is what I hear. It’s really fun hanging out and trying to contribute, though!

The Golden Assault. For the first month of this Alpha only, you can find in the world a rare Golden Assault. It drops from certain high-level bosses. I don’t think anyone’s gotten one yet, so we don’t even know what it looks like! Awww, we are such teases.

Sound! Please your ears with audio goodness. We’re working with Joonas Turner, an excellent audio designer who’s previously done the audio for Nuclear Throne. He’s making us some nice sounds. The unique engine sound each plane has is particularly nice, you can thank Andrew for doing such a great job modulating that with speed.

The heal cloud from the medic is now more of an instant. And it has some totally boss particle FX from Pat.

I mentioned this in a previous blog post, but we have an options menu now, and controller support! Go read that other post, I guess. I’m too busy to retype all that!

And of course all sorts of other fun stuff! Like medics carrying shotguns, tier zero items, battleaxes that might kill you if you shoot them too much, new squid art, walls that damage enemies, upside down rapiers, new upgrades and super-rare items, better performance in some cases, and probably … a few other things.

As you can tell, we’re planning on taking a bit more of a sedate pace with this alpha. Updates every other day at most, instead of the blistering every-day pace of the last one. It turns out that the process of making builds is quite time consuming in itself, so it seems likely that we can get more done this way. If you encounter issues, please make sure to use that handy bug reporter which also sends us interesting logs!

Many thanks to everyone who has already reported bugs or balance issues to us! We cannot make this game without you. So many bugs only show up with like 20 people doing whatever it is that 20 people do.The halls of the champions will ring with your names.

This week we fixed dozens of connection and login bugs, some balance issues, fixed a bunch of messed up guns, and gave the Old Faithful and Rapier a new set of wings, literally!

A short note about cheating: we’re running this alpha to work on making the game fun, with a few hundred of our closest internet friends. We haven’t put any effort into stopping cheats, only asked politely for folks to refrain. We know that cheating can be a kind of fun meta-meta-game, but it makes it impossible for us to balance and fix Steambirds. If the game feels broken or unbalanced, cheating will not help us make that better! We hope we don’t have to ban cheaters, but we did and will. Temporarily at first, but if more cheating happens, permanently. Let’s hope we don’t have to spend too much time on this topic!