I am happy to direct you all to the download button for Transcendence 1.1, the latest stable release of our favorite Nethack-meets-Star-Control-space-RPG.
I've spend the time since 1.0 working on two main things in Transcendence: First, I've made dozens of major improvements to the modding system (more on that later), and second, I've developed and deployed the Multiverse, an online system for players to share game epitaphs and rank themselves by high score.
When you play Transcendence 1.1 you are given the option of signing in to the Multiverse. Your free Multiverse account enables you to participate in all the online activities for all Kronosaur Productions games. At the moment this means publishing your game scores to the Multiverse for you to share. (And if you're an Anacreon player you know this also means access to the recently released alpha.)
High Scores & Game Stats
Like other open world games, Transcendence gives you the freedom to achieve your objectives in multiple ways: you can earn money by defending freighters from pirates or you can sell drugs for the Black Market. It's hard to represent those different experiences in a single high-score value, so Transcendence now keeps track of dozens of other statistics, such as the amount of profit made on trade, the number of star systems visited, and number of missions you've completed. All these stats are available during play (just press F2) and are also uploaded to the Multiverse when your game ends. Here is an example.
Like Nethack and other roguelikes, this stat system also allows you to challenge yourself by adhering to certain rules of conduct. For example, you might try playing without ever killing a friendly ship. Or you might try playing without the powers of Domina. These kinds of conducts are tracked by the game and included in your stats, so you can compare your game against others. One of the hardest voluntary conducts is to honor permadeath: when you die, you restart the game instead of resurrecting.
Maps & Screens
Transcendence 1.1 has dozens of other improvements, including:
- The game display now adapts itself to different screen resolutions, from 1024×600 netbooks to 1600×1080 multimedia desktops.
- You can complete a mission in St. Katharine's Star to get access to a network map that shows all the star systems that you've visited.
- You can change the key bindings by editing the Settings.xml file.
- Friendly stations now replenish their ammo supply, making it easier to find ammo for that perfect weapon.
These plus many other game balance and usability improvements serve to make Transcendence 1.1 both more accessible and richer than its predecessors.
Mods & the Future
In my opinion, the best thing about Transcendence is the large and growing community of modders who are constantly creating amazing new extensions for the game. I spent a great deal of the 1.1 development cycle adding new capabilities for modders, and I am happy to say that the effort has paid off. One of my favorite new extensions is Playership Drones, which allows you to purchase various types of ship that follow you around. Unlike the autons of the vanilla game, however, Playership Drones allows you to switch to one of the drones and fly it as if it were your ship. Another excellent extension is RPC's Visible Damage. This mod enhances your HUD to show the damage level of all the ships you're fighting. Neither of these mods was possible in 1.0.
Right now the only way to acquire these extensions is to download and install them from Xelerus. In future versions, however, some of these mods will be available on the Multiverse and will automatically be installed by the game when you want them. As I described earlier in the year, I will continue to make it easier to discover and develop mods that enhance the game.
Now that Transcendence 1.1 is out, I am eager to start working on the next version! Until then, please try out this new version and let me know what you think. As always you can post your feedback either on the forums or directly to me at: [email protected].