Privateer: Ascii Sector v0.6.6.1 released!

I spent a number of hours this weekend getting back into ascii-sector... fantastic stuff, Chris! You've done a phenomenal job here and I hope you can continue...I'll also look into donating some money via paypal on your website!

Yeah, that Let's Play is pretty awesome. He's really doing a good job of narrating. This is actually the first time I've ever seen anybody play the game, which makes it kinda odd and neat for me. I've already fixed a bug that came up in his Let's Play (he got stuck when his thrusters got trashed, which wasn't supposed to be able to happen) and gotten a pretty good insight into what gameplay mechanics could be made easier for a new player to learn with proper tutorials and stuff.
Agreed, it made me wonder about a few things...

example: He keeps having trouble with getting stopped by every NPC...I specifically noticed that (because his comment stuck in my head) when I scanned the manual and started using the "S" key to swap past them.
Hey, Chris... one other thing:

JuJu, in his latest (he lands on Batille and is staring at, I think, a Nexus?) illustrates something I'd like to see. When in LOOK mode, could you have the cursor tell me what ITEM I've got it over in addition to NPCs? Maybe just SHIPS? That might be a nice touch...and help with recognition.
That's actually something I was planning on adding, but never really got around to -- well, at least having the look function tell you what item you're hovering over, but I guess it'd be nice to also tell you what ship you're looking at. I'll see if I can squeeze it in for the next release...
A couple of new versions have been released:


- Fixed bug with the MoveTo quest script ship order.
- Fixed bug with NPCs spawning in locked hotel rooms.
- Fixed bug (maybe!) that sometimes caused the game not to ask if you wanted to dock with a disabled ship.
- Fixed bug with the locker on board the Demon.
- Decreased the distance from nav points required to engage autopilot.
- Overhaul of the maps in the nav computer and the Quine5000. You now click-and-drag the quadrant map and you can chart a course through multiple systems (clicking on a system will automatically chart a course to it, or you can chart a specific course by clicking on consecutive systems while holding down SHIFT).


- Fixed New Frankfurt data file bug.
- Fixed minor bugs with course charting in the Quine and nav computer.
- Fixed bug with pathfinding of fleeing NPCs causing the game to freeze on a very small base.
- Fixed bug with increased movement time when burdened.
- Fixed bug with inventory weight not decreased when you use up all ammo in a clip, when a vest or helmet is destroyed, or a weapon is knocked or shot out of your hand.
- The casino guards now also check for weapons and armor in your backpack before granting access to the casino.
- Increased casino security.
- New quest scripting functions: characters can be placed on ships; quest items can be given weight; optional SpawnCharacters function to control how many random characters to spawn on a quest ship when boarded; PlaceItem trigger result replaces PlaceItemOnBase and GiveItem; new Docked, Boarded, FactionAttitude and DistanceTo trigger events; new BoardPlayerShip, LeavePlayerShip and BoardDockedShip character orders, as well as Faction attribute for quest characters. Check the updated Quest Maker's Manual for details.


Super Carrot!
Awesome stuff, and getting better. :)

Something the game really needs though is the ability to sell stuff from your locker in the equipment shop... I've accumulated so much stuff it would take me all day to do it manually.
I've added that to my to do list, so it'll probably get added in the next release (well, the next release will probably be a bug fix release, but after that one, then!).


v0.6.6 released!

- Fixed bug with a transfer procedure still completing even though it's interrupted by hostiles.
- Fixed bug with stunned NPCs acting as witnesses and calling for help.
- Fixed bug with EMP Torpedoes not homing in when fired from a capital sized ship.
- Fixed bug with Kilrathi ejecting from a mission ship.
- Fixed bug with a scooped ejected pilot being placed on the same tile as another NPC.
- Fixed bug with the equipment locker on a boarded Demon: Only the player's ship has an equipment locker now.
- Fixed bug with commodity items reappearing in the exchange if you save the game while still using the exchange terminal.
- Balanced the commodity market prices to make trading more profitable: When a commodity is produced at a base, the price will never go above the index price, and if a commodity is consumed at a base, the price will never go below the index price. Also increased price variations between imports and exports. And when you buy/sell in bulk, each unit is now priced the same. Had to remove the "Sell all" button or this could be abused.
- Added top imports and exports information in the Quine5000 for each base you've visited (under Sector > Trade).
- The Quine5000 is now the default computer in the game -- the old Quine4000+ has been retired.
- You can no longer delete a mission where you still have to collect payment.
- Added ShowImage quest trigger result for showing cutscene images.
- Added ASCII drawing program for making quest cutscene images (you can find it by selecting Quest Maker from the main menu).
- Added five new systems.
- Added seven new bases.
Aaaaand bug fixes and the ability to sell stuff from your locker at the equipment shop...


- Fixed bug that could cause the game to freeze when using the inventory (the game would think there was a quest being played and check for unexisting trigger events when picking up or dropping items).
- Fixed issue with the old Quine4000+ not being upgraded to the 5000 model when loading an old game.
- Fixed bug with a kill from a hand grenade not being registered if nobody saw you throw the grenade.
- Fixed bug with the weight of a grenade not being subtracted from your total weight when throwing it.
- Fixed bug with not being able to walk onto a tile with a corpse that was sitting on a chair.
- Fixed bug with a quest item not being removed correctly after a quest is done if the item is in the player's backpack or locker.
- Fixed bug with cargo being spawned on a retro Talon.
- You can now sell stuff from your locker at the equipment shop.
I'm cross-posting an announcement I made over at my forum about the future of Ascii Sector:


Don't worry, I'm not stopping development of Ascii Sector! I am, however, beginning work on another, different game...

For the past 5 years I've been working on Ascii Sector whenever I could squeeze in some programming time. There's still a lot of work left before the game is complete, but I'm beginning to approach a point where the completion -- or at least v1.0 -- is no longer a far off dream, but actually somewhat within my grasp. This has set me thinking about what projects I'd want to work on when I finally reach that point. My big dream is to take the engine and underlying game logic that runs Ascii Sector and make a graphical, commercial game from it. But that's a big dream and an equally big project, so what I'll be doing before that is make a smaller, commercial game that'll have some similarities with certain aspects of the graphical, commercial Ascii Sector game (which, for obvious reasons, likely won't be called Ascii Sector!).

That's where this new website comes in: Laserbrain Studios. This is the banner I'll be making my commercial games under. I say games in the plural as I hope to make more than one, and also hope to one day be able live off these games. I'm not the only person that dreams of making successful indie games, of course, and it's very likely that I'll crash and burn (or never finish my first commercial game), but I've got to at least give it a shot.

So, what does this all mean for Ascii Sector? On the one hand, not a lot, and on the other, a lot.

Development on Ascii Sector will probably continue at the steady pace it's been going for the past years. I've actually been working on my commercial game on and off for about half a year's time now, making graphics tests, finding programs for creating pre-rendered 3D sprites, and programming the beginnings of an isometric ground combat engine (you can read more about this new game on the new website). So you probably won't notice the development of this other game impacting Ascii Sector very much, as it's already been going on for a while now.

How this all will impact Ascii Sector is with regard to Ascii Sector's story, universe and setting. As I now hope to some day make a commercial game based on the thousands of hours I've put into Ascii Sector, I can no longer use an IP I don't own the rights to. That basically means the Privateer name and everything related to the Wing Commander universe. So what you'll be noticing after I release the first 0.7 version is that I'll be phasing out these elements. The first thing is that the game will no longer be called Privateer: Ascii Sector, but just plain ol' Ascii Sector. That's not much of a change. However, I'll then be changing the setting of the game. Stuff like the Kilrathi and Retros will sadly have to go, and I understand if players and fans of the game will become upset over this. What you'll be getting in return, though, is an original setting and game universe that still feels like the game you all currently play, but is able to go in new and different directions. I've already written out design documents that detail the new factions that'll inhabit this "new" Ascii Sector -- all tied into the story and main arc of the game I have planned. These changes will not only mean that I'll no longer be infringing on the IP that Electronic Arts currently owns and Origin and Chris Roberts created, they also mean that I can already start building the original universe and story that I'll use for the future commercial graphical version of Ascii Sector.

How far these changes will go is hard to say at this point. I'm not sure if calling a ship a Tarsus in a freeware game is infringing on the Wing Commander IP, but I hardly think an ASCII representation of such a spaceship is. So the ship layouts will probably all continue to look like they do today. Ascii Sector has already moved far beyond what the original Wing Commander: Privateer game was, and this new direction only means that it can grow and become its own thing even more.

As to the near future of Ascii Sector, I've decided to release v0.7 when I've implemented everything related to fleets. I'll then implement persistent ships, bounty hunters sent after you, and all the other stuff on my development list for a v0.7.1 and forward. It'll probably just take too long if I wait until everything's implemented before I release, so I'd rather just release in smaller increments instead of one big new version.

So, there you have it! The winds of change are blowing! Well, solar winds in space, I suppose...

I'm excited about all of this and I hope you are too! :)


I'm not sure if I should continue to post updates here on the Wing Commander CIC forums, since the game will now start to become less and less related to the Wing Commander universe?


Super Carrot!
I know I would appreciate further updates. :)

I think it is safe to assume there is as many Ascii Sector fans here as Privateer fans.


Vice Admiral
My suggestion would be to complete it as it is currently (a Privateer game). It would be easier to create a new IP from the ground up rather than gut out bits and replace them as you notice them.