First, a caveat: this is the current plan, but it may change. Work may take more time than expected, features may not work out, and I might change my mind.
I'm aiming for a release date in early March 2018, with the exact day to be nailed down later. If I miss that release window, the fall-backs are July 2018 and September 2018. The reason for this timing is that it aims to avoid popular times for large games to release, such as the pre-Christmas period, and specific events like GDC and the Steam summer sale.
March 2018 doesn't mean that I have another 5 months of coding time left. Since the creation of Airships is pretty much a one-man show, I have to switch hats and concentrate on things like marketing in the months before the launch. So I'm aiming to be done with the coding bit by the end of this year.
So I've taken stock of the remaining work and divided it into three categories: things that absolutely need to be added to the game before release, things that would be nice but may not make the cut, and things I have to explore to see if they're possible.
- Folder support for ship designs and build queues. This will be version dev 9.4.
- More monster stuff. Right now, there's some monsters like the aerial kraken that aren't used properly, and I want to fix that. Version dev 9.5.
- Updated sound effects for weapons and engines. Version dev 9.6.
- Basing the strategic map on Voronoi tiles instead of pixels, which will make it less memory-intensive, zoomable, and allow for bigger maps. Updating the enemy ship design to provide more interesting challenges. Version dev 10.
- Adding a tech tree, or revamping the bonus system in some other way, depending on player feedback I'll be asking you for soon. Also, nicer victory and defeat screens for strategic conquest. Version dev 10.1.
- Finally, making the hotkeys remappable. This comes at the end, because the re-mapper has to be constructed to correctly tell you when there's key conflicts, and for that, the rest of the game needs to be done. Version 1.0.
Nice to have
- Multi-part missions
- Even more monsters with additional code to support them, like giant owls
- A reputation system in strategic conquest mode
- A new crew animation system
- Replacing the way trees are handled to produce prettier, more tree-like trees
- Civilian buildings visible in city combat
- A detailed post-combat stats screen
- Different biomes like deserts
- Spectator mode for multiplayer
- Multiplayer battles with more than one player per side
- More achievements
- An intro sequence for the game
- Multiplayer strategic mode. I've previously repeatedly said that it won't work, and I still think it won't, but I want to verify this.
- Another cool thing I'm not going to tell you about yet in case it doesn't work...
To be clear, I would love to put every single thing in the "nice to have" list into the game. But if I did, we might end up with a release window of March 2019 or something.
So that's the plan. I hope you find it informative. Right now, I'm working on the folder support, and should have a beta for it available in the next few days.