The only thing I can mention though is that it seems it can get a little cluttered at times and hard to differentiate enemy ship from weapon fire etc; although it could just be because I am watching a youtube video of it rather then actually playing it.
Yes, this is a lot clearer in full 800x600 resolution, although the really intense battles are supposed to be chaotic and confusing if you just fly straight into the middle of them like I do in the video. I have room in the 256 colour palette for another set of transparent colours alongside the yellowish red for friendly things and the blue for enemies, and I'm thinking of using it for a purplish red for enemy drive exhaust and explosions. This should help differentiate some of the chaos.
You should have a more constant momentum. Particularly in the AI ships, is what I'm getting at. Just having them stay there feels very lifeless. Even a small drift with the occasional movement would really liven things up.
Do you mean the big warships? I'm still deciding how they will move, hopefully in a more interesting way than in the video. My main difficulty is that I don't want it to be possible for them to overlap. My original plan was to just have them flying towards and past each other but I think you're right, that's not going to be good enough.
Aside from that, I implore you to take advantage of the large outer space, and don't try to focus on small compact battle spaces. Really make them big and spread out!
Don't worry, they're going to be huge. I'll do a longer post on how the missions and the overall structure of the game will work sometime later.
Nice. I like the glowing exhaust trails - inspired by Project Sylpheed? (for anyone who hasn't played it, it's a decent but not great Xbox 360 space sim with plenty of obvious Freespace references)
I was actually planning to limit the player's control only to the squadron of fighters they are in; both enemy and friendly fighters would operate in squadrons of about 5 and you could give them various orders such as: fire at will, retreat, stay in formation, attack a particular squad / capital ship. You could replenish missing fighters in your squadron by returning to a friendly carrier, which would launch enough fighters to get you back to 5, probably with some kind of recharging required so players don't just stay glued to carriers. Losing your whole squad would just mean you'd respawn from a friendly carrier under similar recharge / cooldown constraints. The inspiration came less from space sims, where you generally want to stay alive and action stops if you die, and more from shmups, where death is easy but not so heavily punished.
Yeah, a design decision that keeps coming up is how simmy versus how arcadey I want the game to be. At this stage it could go either way but I'm leaning towards a more simmy style, partly because that seems rare these days. The player will get three lives, though.
Hellspider is one of my favorite games, despite its flaws, and I am very excited to see that you're making this.
And thanks to everyone for the feedback, I appreciate it! Now I need to go and do some more coding... must fight the urge to play my new favourite game Deadly Premonition instead.