I might regret saying this, but I'm going to say that the first open alpha will be released in June this year.
I went and made some changes to the UI because it really needed some work. Here's the multiplayer server lobby:
This minimalist style is nice because it means that changing the color theme is really easy.
In addition to Versus and Team Deathmatch arena battles, I'm also working on multiplayer scenario maps, where two teams each have a capital ship to defend. The match can be won by destroying the other capital ship, destroying enough of the enemy team's ships, or having the advantage when the time runs out. The current scenario I'm working on pits a CSC against a Phobos, each with a complement of gunships.
Players can choose to fly a gunship or the be on capital ship. Players on the capital ship have a much better view of the map and can help to direct other players to their targets, and also operate turrets to shoot down approaching gunships.
There are different strategies based on your team; The Ares team's best chance is to direct the Phobos to the carrier, because otherwise the gunships would have to take out individual components of the carrier to stand a chance. Conversely, facing the Phobos with a carrier is a poor move, so the Commonwealth team should direct their (limited number of) Britannias to the Phobos to take out its engines. Either way it requires lots of coordination to win so I'm looking forward to trying it out with more players.