Dev Update - May 22nd 2017:
Firstly, thanks so much everyone who downloaded the game over the last few months. It was great fun showing this early slice of the game to you all and your feedback and encouragement was invaluable. The very high conversion rate from page views to downloads also showed that the game is on the right track which is fantastic. This was one of the primary reasons for releasing this alpha preview, to gauge overall interest, and it was a huge success.
Unfortunately, the free updates have now come to an end. The current build of the game (version 0.510) will remain here on itch.io, and will always be free, but no further updates will be made to it. You'll have to wait for the final release now. Yeah, I know, it sucks, but the game couldn't remain free forever. I have to put food on the table somehow.
Development will now focus on massively expanding the game's content with a planned final release scheduled for early 2018. Some form of beta is also planned for late 2017. If you would like to follow development then keep checking back here on itch.io. It will be periodically updated with news about the games development, the beta test, and the eventual release date once it's finalized.
The next phase of development will be to add plenty of new planets but more importantly to add lots of new stuff to discover and interact with on those planets. Exploring all the new planets isn't much fun if the only difference between them is in visual variation so I've already got a huge list of weird and wonderful objects that will be added to reward exploration in numerous different ways. The goal is to make every playthrough different depending on which planets the player visits.
New bosses are planned along with new enemy types. Secret bosses are also planned that may require the player to find rare items to allow them access to those bosses. However, combat and beating the bosses will be semi-optional in the final game. If you prefer exploring, collecting and salvaging loot then that will be a perfectly viable way to play.
With all of that said, game development is not an exact science. New gameplay content and features may sound fantastic on paper but could prove to be the exact opposite in practice. As more content is added it may influence the game's direction in a new more interesting way so there is no way to know for sure what will and won't be part of the final release. Only time will tell.
When the time comes, I'll likely be contacting those who offered the most useful feedback a chance to test the beta build of the game. It's not too late to get involved. Feedback is always incredibly useful so be sure to leave your comments here in the itch.io community section if you would like to be considered for the beta and then keep an eye on your itch.io inbox later in the year for an invite.
If you would like to help support the game, there's no better way to do that than to tell others about it. One of the hardest jobs for a solo dev, on a tight budget, is getting news about the game out to the world. I can't thank you enough if you can help with this and it will ensure that the final release is a success that will in turn allow for plenty of post-release free content.
Thanks again to everyone who got involved with this alpha test. I can't wait to show you the final game.