OK, so after lurking on these boards for nearly half a decade, I thought it was finally time to make an account and get stuck in with helping to smooth out the beta. I was going to play around with it a bit longer before posting these first impressions, but there were a couple of issues which so jumped out at me that I had to come here immediately.
First of all, the first time I initiated a battle, the loading screen stopped. Just… stopped (while claiming to be caching a particular type of ship). Alt-tabbing gave me an error message that a particular class of ship ( I forget which,but it was the one it was caching) had not been “drawn”, and I had to close the game and boot it up again to get to the same place. This time, the loading screen did the same thing, forcing to restart the game yet again. Thing is, the game claimed to have loaded a couple of percent more than the first time, and complained about a different type of ship, and, indeed, after about ten or so attempts, the battle actually worked, and never did the same thing again (for that specific battle). Moving on to the next battle, the same thing happened, but not nearly as many times and, crucially, did NOT have to crash for any of the custom ships I’d made, whereas it DID for the tutorial ships given to me for the first battle. It seems the game just doesn’t like the preset ship designs.
The other thing is that the lighting effects are, quite frankly, bizarre at this stage. Having the bloom effect on turned any custom ships I made glow permanently, and while turning it off fixed that, it did not change the fact that when zoomed in on an exploding ship, the screen-whitening effect lasts about ten seconds too long. Finally, the shadows don’t seem to be working properly, as they appear as big ugly boxes, as if every inch of available space on the visual editor were filled in.
On a more positive note, the game appears to be very promising for a beta, and I have every confidence that these issues will be resolved by full release.