> User Interface (consoles and menus)
> HUD Control Menu
- Graphics 'noise' removed/reduced for a cleaner look and improved legibility.
- Clickable options now display mouseover highlighting.
- Target, Order, Deploy, and Build menu options now include highlight buttons and shadows.
> Nav Map
- Zoom option added to in-sector map mode for improved legibility and increased precision.
- Larger icons with more detail.
- Sector borders highlighted in white for easier zooming and selection.
- Menu borders redesigned for cleaner look and clearer divisions.
- Highlight buttons added to destination fields.
- Panning/Scrolling system added to let player slide map around.
- Alternate text movement system to support map slide mode.
> Inventory Console
- Current/Available Contract(s) and Items for Sale button moved to list frame.
- Confirmation prompt when selling items to stations, cities, and carriers added.
- Confirmation message and red highlighting added to cargo items to confirm discarding in open space.
- Text descriptions added for equipment items, weapons, and commodities when highlighted.
- Menu borders redesigned for cleaner look and clearer divisions.
- Jettison button moved from 'Other Options' menu to cargo bay menu.
> Trade Console
- 'Request Information' button added for info from AI ships.
- Player-to-player contract options added.
> Ship Systems (cockpit, HUD, weapon, and flight systems)
- Graphics 'noise' on cockpit displays removed/reduced for improved legibility.
- Readout brackets improved for a cleaner look and fewer 'blue' color tones.
- Readout labels spelled out with more characters rather than only one character.
- Radar display field size increased for improved legibility and less obstruction.
- Ship status and target status displays increased in size for improved legibility.
- New gunsight added for a cleaner look and lower level color tones for less obstruction.
- Pitch ladder cylinder mesh detail increase for smoother panning and a more consistent display surface.
- MDTS system updated to reduce jittering and improve accuracy.
- Flight time clock added to provide a 'Hobbs Meter' style display (format DD:HH:MM:SS).
- Weapon impact direction indicators added to HUD gunsight (red flash for impact direction).
- Flight/event log added (inventory console), logs most important player-specific events.
- Beam weapon system now operates independently from particle cannon system (including separate cycle rates).
- Maneuvering thruster system now more realistically operates in atmospheres under drag conditions (continually firing to maintain rotations).
- Revised direction indicators for improved legibility and adjusted scaling/positioning to eliminate clipping at the edges of the screen.
- Formation system now tracks and matches friendly/linked ship's jump system in multiplayer (and will automatically re-target the ship when it arrives after a jump).
- Text readouts for gun turrets (and now terrain walkers) color coded to displayed low (red), medium (yellow), and high (green) values.
- Formation system now maintains distance of around 200 from targeted ship to reduce shield collisions.
- Station names now displayed in multiplayer when a detonator is activated.
- Underwater image enhancement system added for terrain walkers.
- New cockpit models and textures added (two selectable types).
- Gravity displays updated for a more velocity relative value.
- Incoming gunfire alert indicator added to Heads-Up-Display.
- HUD target highlight indicator updated to include velocity.
- Countermeasure system now has its own dedicated timer.
- Heat signature indicator added to Heads-Up-Display.
- Alert indicators all flash on and off.
> AI System
- Passive hostile threat level system added. Proximity based, >5K will generally leave player alone.
- Capital ship jump drive navigation updated to prevent near misses with stations upon arrival.
- Capital ships can now turn during combat to stay within weapon range and while navigating near stations.
- Traffic pattern system added to accommodate new hangar entrances and enclosed structure.
- AI ships can now fly faster and evade more effectively.
- Combat intelligence/accuracy increased.
- Weapon impacts now produce higher kinetic effects for higher challenge with MDTS use.
- 'Request Information' list system added for new trade console option (includes occasional payment requirement).
- Raw hydrogen can now be mined from gas giant planets, nebula clouds, and stars when no fuel converter installed.
- Dedicated independent contract mode added for new player contract system (accessible in trade console).
- New 'Weapon Lab' added, allowing players to custom design their own particle, beam, and missile weapons.
- AI ships now also share in the same kinetic weapon impact effects for more accurate consistency.
- Terrain walkers added (includes dedicated cockpit, HUD, controls, physics, models, and animation).
- Dedicated mining system added for terrain walkers, no separate mining beam required and 5X faster.
- Reputation system updated to save earned values with individual factions each time profile is saved.
- Contract pay for mining contracts increased significantly and now vary depending on required material.
- Mining system can now recover individual units of matching material from containers in open space.
- 'Space Debris' system added where items will fall from space and land on planets for later discovery.
- 'Space Debris' multiplayer update system added to synchronize cargo items between players.
- New optional contract objectives for terrain walkers (material recovery and surveying).
- New destroy contraband smuggler contract objective for 'Fair' and 'Moderate' systems.
- New secondary hardpoint items: Fuel Packs, Charge Packs, and Shield Packs.
- New fabrication options added to constructor stations.
- Anti-missile systems are now twice as effective.
- Sector and clan text chat modes added to limit incoming and outgoing messages.
- Linked/clan players now have their names displayed on the nav map below their indicators.
- Separate dedicated multiplayer contract linking system added for player-to-player arranged contracts.
- Clan linking now requires both players to accept a link. One player submits the request and the other approves.
- UDP port connection verification system (effort to eliminate partial connection conditions).
- 'FPS' and 'MS' labels added to player list for frames-per-second and ping rates.
- Shadowing added to player list for improved legibility with bright backgrounds.
- Support for custom TCP and UDP port settings.
- General performance improvements.
> Models and Textures
- New capital ship models added (including carriers).
- New station hangar structures added (5 entrances, enclosed, highlighted docking area).
- Small ship sizes increased significantly for improved scaling and visibility.
- New individual models for commodities, weapons, and equipment.
- Emissive texture maps added for civilian and military ships.
- Shape specific collision detection added for capital ships.
- New planetary defense ring model.
- New textures for stations.
- Clouds now move around planets that have them.
- Rain and snow now varies depending on cloud cover allowing for variable weather conditions.
- Weapon collision system added for city structures.
- Planet rotation system added (including close proximity object movement system and multiplayer synching).
- New planetary terrain engine (includes elevation based selective texturing, much higher mesh detail, shader based rendering, and greater variety).
- Main menu now features a near orbit background scene and station lobby voice chatter now moved to in-game 'lobby' mode.
- New planet ring effect added with an 'icy particle' look and that shields push out of the way as the player flies through them.
- Improved background nebula effects (including a new cubemap structure for higher detail).
- Improved lens flare effect.
- Fixed function rendering systems removed, shader model 2.0 now baseline minimum.
- Anisotropic filtering applied by default and adjustable 'Texture Detail' setting added to Options menu.
- Multiple structure and texturing system added to default cockpit (4 levels X 4 textures each, base, normal, specular, and emissive). Provides a far more detailed and varied appearance.
- New lighting effects for primary weapon flashes (using cockpit, terrain, and object shaders).
- 'Procedural' and 'Pre-Generated' rendering data modes added for new planet terrain engine.
- Capital ships now break apart into pieces when destroyed.
- Anti-aliasing options added to Options menu.
> Sound and Music
- New music by Rich Douglas added.
- New multi-channel and tapering systems added to reduce/eliminate popping with some sound devices.
- Real-time radio speech system added for traffic navigation.
- Many new sound effects and enhanced effects.
> Control and Input
- Axis channels can now be mapped individually by clicking on them, then selecting the control function.
- Conflicting keys/buttons now allowed for multiple functions assigned to individual keys and buttons.
- Conflicting key/button controls now highlighted in red in Configure Controls menu.
- Separate control system and mapping options added for terrain walkers.
- Mouse Look control system updated to provide full range of vertical input without locking.
- Alt-left mouse click on HUD Launch/Jump buttons no longer engages maximum directional jump, now requires Alt-right mouse click.
- Exit menu in multiplayer now has timer delay and access limitations during active nearby weapon fire to counter exploiting.
- Inertial forward/reverse thruster control can now be mapped to an axis channel (including channels used for other controls).
- Mouse flight control input now centers when pressing the ALT key to select options, then releasing it.