What to expect from the next update, 1.0 and beyond

October 31, 2015 in Featured, News

spookypumpkinhead  Happy Halloween!  spookypumpkinhead


So here we are, only a few updates left before 1.0 and I wanted to give you a run down on what to expect.

There are 3 updates planned before 1.0. The combat update, the story update and a miscellaneous polish update.

Let’s start by talking about what’s coming up in the next patch, which isn’t far away now.

The Combat Update

We’ve been calling the next patch the combat update, and with good reason. The goal of this patch is to entirely revamp the combat and the moment to moment gameplay in Starbound by revamping weapons, monsters, quests, rewards, vehicles and more.


Until now, weapons in Starbound were a combination of hard coded engine features and the configuration files that controlled them. This has changed drastically in the combat update with the engine now allowing for scripted weapons. Creating entirely unique weapons has become massively easier and as a result from this point forwards Starbound patches will include wonderful new items far outside the scope of the previous item engine.

Modders will also be able to take advantage of this system to create incredible new things. The sky’s the limit on this one.

Weapons in vanilla Starbound now fall into two categories, generated and unique. Generated weapons have been converted to the new scripted weapons system and we’ve given them awesome special moves as a result. The general weapon classes have also been revamped in their primary fires. Hammers require a charge up, spears can be held out defensively and so on. We’ve worked hard to give each type of weapon it’s own identity and have built the special attacks around this identity.

Weapons also have elemental types and in future patches we’ll be using those to give damage bonuses and reductions on certain enemies.

Unique weapons are hard to find, will require multiple steps to obtain and will do entirely unique things. I don’t want to spoil too much, but this is the kind of thing you can expect

We’ve worked really hard on ensuring all of the feedback and damage responses from these weapons is satisfying and spot on. Knockback has been massively tweaked, hitboxes, hit sparks, sounds, you name it. Combat ‘feels’ so much better.


Monsters in Starbound have been a mixed bag. We’ve worked hard on the procedural monster generation system and whilst it achieves a lot of things, we felt that the game was missing recognisable monsters with truly unique hand crafted behaviour.  That’s where these hand crafted monsters come in.

In a similar manner to the weapons (though not quite to the same extent) we’ve built a system to allow us to add unique monsters efficiently and easily. This also extends to modders.

The addition of these monsters will allow us to use them in quests, provides hand crafted challenges for missions and gives us a good way have monster drops make sense. There are unique monsters for each sub biome and a large pool of general unique monsters that will pop up from time to time.

We’re making sure there’s incentive to catch every unique monster and put together a complete menagerie.


All of the current Starbound quests are going to be replaced by 1.0. We’ve been building out the quest system and we’re finally at a point where we can replace some of the placeholder quests. Many of the new quests will appear in the story update but the combat update will contain procedurally generated colony quests.

From time to time your colonists will have errands they’d like you to run. These quests form a quest line with an overall goal that may have a small, permanent effect on your colony as well as your colonists relationships. Quests are varied, you might be delivering secret notes between colonists or protecting your colony from bandit attacks. The generated quest system is something with the potential to expand into something huge in the future.



Up until this point vehicles in Starbound have been using the tech system. That means vehicles were merely extensions of the player, with their movement entirely being controlled client side. This system had a great number of limitations. With the combat update we’re introducing true vehicles into Starbound. Much like the weapon system, vehicles are scriptable, they also exist server side as an entity separate to, but controlled by players. This means multiple players can enter the same vehicle, players can leave their vehicles to sit in a garage persistently and vehicles can have their own health, collisions and so on.

To start with we’ll be adding a handful of finely tweaked vehicles. But again we haven’t just built some vehicles, we’ve built an entire system so both the developers and modders can add new, completely unique vehicles quickly and easily.

Besides these features, the combat update contains a great deal of miscellaneous additions and fixes. More than I can list here.

The Story Update + The Polish Update

So what about after the combat update?

We’re planning to put out 2 more patches before 1.0 (and many afterwards).

So what will these updates contain? There are a great number of additions planned. Highlights include an entire set of missions, an opening mission that will explain your role in the world, a great deal of new quests that tie the world together, a cast of wonderful unique characters and a huge amount of new content. It’ll also include a much improved pet system, a new means of scanning and examining the world, the much improved reimplementation of survival mechanics like hunger and more.

We’re also planning to revamp how mods are applied and managed, add steam workshop support and simplify multiplayer, with the ability to join games via the steam friends list.

There’s a great deal more to these two patches, including massive performance optimisations, multiplayer improvements and controller support but we’ll be talking more about those closer to their release.


Post 1.0 and Beyond

We plan to support Starbound far beyond the 1.0 release. We’re building a universe that’s capable of being taken in a great number of different directions and we’d like to start polling the community to find out where you’d like it to go next.

One thing we’ll be looking into soon after release is director mode. Something you’re able to find information on here

In the mean time, follow us on twitter, check out our daily blog updates and we’ll keep you informed.

Thank you for supporting Starbound guys, we’re almost there!



Colonies and Endgame

April 27, 2015 in Dev Blog, Featured, News

Hi Guys,

We’ve been asked a lot recently about the plans for end game and colonisation. It’s been a while since we posted about future plans so I thought it’d be nice to share some basics on the colonisation feature coming to Starbound before 1.0. We’re working on this actively now, and whilst it won’t be in the next (combat) update. We do want to get the basics in in the not too distant future.

As always, everything mentioned here could change, see additions or subtractions.

We’ve been gearing up for colonisation for a while now; we’ve recently added a teleporter network feature to allow you to jump between locations quickly, even if they’re galaxies away. We’ve been giving objects new properties and ensuring they’re priced appropriately and we’ve been massively improving the NPC pathing and behaviour systems internally. All of these features are key to the colonisation system.

Object properties

To enable the colonisation system to function we’ve begun tagging objects with special properties. For example, an Apex mutant pod might have the following tags.


All of these tags, coupled with the size of the object allow us to figure out how a house is decorated and what kind of person might move in. Different NPCs will only move in if enough of a house is decorated with objects and blocks that match their interests.

Houses also have some basic requirements, like light, walls and doors. Here are a couple of examples of houses and who will move into them.

Apexscientist Glitchsoldier


Whilst the type of NPC that moves in is based on the type of furniture used, the visual appearance of that NPC is based on the exact layout of the furniture within the house. So you’re able to put your feng shui skills to the test to attract someone in particular.

Once NPCs move in they’ll offer all sorts of different benefits. Some NPCs will sell unique items, some will defend the town, some will offer quests and others will place new unique objects in their home like new crafting tables or facilities. Sometimes you’ll only be able to attract an NPC using items a previous NPC has given you, allowing for colony progression. Sometimes you’ll need objects from a unique dungeon or sub biome to attract particularly rare NPCs. For example, obtaining all the blueprints for slime furniture from the slime biome, crafting it and using it to decorate a house will cause a slime creature to move into your colony and in turn sell you a unique weapon.


Later we plan to expand on this system with enemies attacking your colony, inter-NPC interactions and various other complexities. But this initial implementation will tie together much of the exploring, questing and adventuring in the game and serves as a key part of Starbound’s end game. We may even tie the system to planet and biome type, so setting up on certain planets is the only way to attract some of the rarer NPCs.

This won’t be the only end game feature, we’re looking into randomly generated repeatable missions, farming and procedurally generated quests. As well as the final stars enabling high level versions of all the existing biomes.

We’d love to hear your feedback on this system!

Poll: Feedback on Party Size

April 23, 2015 in News

Hi guys,

We’d like to know on average what size party do you usually play in, assuming you’re playing in a party at all.

Your feedback will help us better design the party hud.

To vote click here

We’re back

January 5, 2015 in News

Hi guys,

Happy 2015! We’re back in the office now and we’re hard at work on moving the unstable update to stable and fixing a few issues.

In the mean time I wanted to address some of the current problems we’re aware of and explain how we’re going to deal with those problems for 1.0

Guns do too little damage

Currently guns do too little damage, particularly guns with a high rate of fire. This is a known problem and it’s largely down to the way protection works currently. Guns that shoot a small amount of damage rapidly for an overall high DPS are unfairly mitigated due to how protection functions. We’re looking at fixing the way protection handles small damage values for the stable release.

Mining is a little dull

Mining at the moment is a little uneventful and a bit of a grind. We plan to remedy this by vastly increasing the number of underground encounters, dungeons and microdungeons you’ll encounter whilst mining. Many of these dungeons will contain some of the loot you’re looking for whilst mining and save you from simply tinking away at blocks for hours on end. We’re also going to increase the range of monsters underground to mix up the experience and look into benefits for sustaining existing mines.

There’s no reason to build on a planet

Currently there’s very little reason to settle on a planet, given the utility of the ship and the amount of space it has available to it on upgrading. We plan to remedy this in a number of different ways. Firstly, we’re going to add a planet bookmark/teleportation system. This will allow you to get directly from your ship to a base you’ve set up on a planet instantly and without travelling to that planet first. Next there will be utilities and crafting resources that won’t function on your ship and will require an on planet base. Finally there will be alternative progression paths that directly require buildings of various kinds. The nomadic nature of settling in your ship is directly in support of the combat/adventure progression path.

Monster path finding is bad

We’ve made so many changes to monsters and their abilities that their path finding has suffered a lot. We’re going to be working on it and retooling it for the next stable release. Hopefully by then the monsters should be substantially smarter.

Hunger and/or temperature is gone

We made the decision to remove hunger and temperature as stats because we weren’t happy with their current implementation. They’ll be back in some form for harder difficulty levels

There’s only one path through the game

Right now adventuring and combat is more or less a requirement if you want to progress. We intend to change that with farming and building progression paths. We’d like you to be able to progress through the game with barely any combat or questing required. These paths will likely be distinct from one another so you’re able to progress through all of them individually over time.

Quests are too fetchy/there aren’t enough quests

The current quests are fetchy because we needed to create a quest line with the engine features we currently have available to us. We’re going to be expanding quests in a big way and many of the quests currently available are placeholder. With more quest triggers we can massively expand the kind of quests available to us and we’re going to be adding some form of procedurally generated quests too.


22nd July More Novakids and progression

July 22, 2014 in News

Lots more work was done today on the Novakids today. They’re now in game and functional though there’s still a great deal to do in terms of all the content that surrounds a race. From descriptions, to ships, to armor sets and weapons. Stephen is desperate to add a wild west style village at some point too.


We’ve decided that rather than craft swords, the Novakids are expert gunsmiths capable of forging guns from even basic materials. As such the Novakids are able to craft guns from the outset. We’re carefully working on balancing guns against swords so that no one race has an advantage over another. But playing a Novakid should change up the gameplay a fair bit.

Novakids are also getting a steam train themed spaceship. Upgrading the ship will add carriages to the end for extra building room.

I’ve been working on Novakids whilst Kyren and co finish up some engine features required for the next stage of progression. The engine features will allow us to create stand alone dungeon planets and shield generators to protect them. Shield generators will stop players placing or mining blocks in a given radius to force a proper playthrough of a dungeon or protect a progression fundamental structure.

Until next time!

Some thoughts on early access, release dates, the big 1.0

July 21, 2014 in News

Hi guys,

Some of this post will be lifted from a reddit comment I made earlier today. But I felt it was important enough that I should give it a bit more visibility.

I wanted to talk a little bit about early access and how arbitrary both the term ‘finished game’ and the version number 1.0 are when talking about a game like Starbound.

We receive a lot of criticism about pushing back the date of the ‘finished’ version of the game and often people claim we’ve broken a promise by not delivering that finished version already. But what does finished mean here?

The context that’s missing here is that unlike many early access games, the game is already fully playable, and although it doesn’t have everything we want to put in it yet (which is what’s holding it back from a 1.0 release) I feel we could have released what we currently have AS 1.0, outside of early access.

The average amount of play time a Starbound player has built up is around 26 hours, with many players playing for well over 500 hours. (this does not include the launcher being open).

We’re all still trying to figure out just what early access is, at what stage games should go in and out of early access and what the expectations are. As Starbound stands, our sharing of our future plans aside, it could leave early access and be an entirely reasonable stand alone game. The huge number of hours people have poured into it is a testament to that, given that the games purpose is to provide entertainment. Early access for us is a means of showing people that this is a game we’re still working on, that their feedback is important to us and that there are going to be big changes. It absolutely doesn’t devalue what’s there. In fact many publications have chosen to review the game in it’s current state and given it great reviews.

And whilst I’m sorry that we haven’t yet put everything in the game that we’ve mentioned wanting to put into the game, I feel as a developer we’ve chosen to be really open and communicative and that means just talking without overly vetting what we say. Sometimes that means getting excited about a feature we want to put in but it takes a lot longer than we’d planned. Our having plans that haven’t been implemented yet also doesn’t take away from or devalue what is already there.

We’ve been criticised for not updating the game enough, especially as we said that we’d be putting out updates thick and fast. Along side that, we also warned that these updates would be buggy and broken because of the speed at which we were pushing them. We started updating the main game in this way but people quickly lost patience with small / constant / buggy updates and we took the time to move those updates to a new opt-in branch in steam. So the nightly updates *are* the thick and fast, buggy and broken updates we promised. They appear every single day. And the game on the main branch exists as a perfectly playable stand alone whilst we continue to work.

The way games are developed and sold has changed dramatically in recent years and the language we use to describe the state of a game is changing too. What does 1.0 or finished mean now?

1.0 used to be the version at which the game was released and sold. Finished was the point at which a game went on sale. By this old definition Starbound is technically finished. However we’ve obviously decided not to label the game 1.0 or finished. Yet the game is available to buy. So what does 1.0 mean now?

I feel 1.0 is an arbitrary release number and it’s down to us to decide what 1.0 means in the context of our game. If anything, 1.0 exists as a guide for the people that want to wait and play the game when it’s in a state that we are entirely happy with it.

We’ve chosen to keep upping the ante for 1.0, but that absolutely doesn’t mean that what’s available and playable right now is any less a game, any less enjoyable or any less worth the £9 we ask for it.




July 18th Progress – Performance!

July 18, 2014 in News

Hi guys,

So today the tile rendering changes were almost completed. (Just a few bugs left with platforms and pipes).

On a lot of computers you’ll see an absolutely huge performance increase because of this and we’d love to hear about how it works on yours.

So if you’re playing with the nightlies, please give it a go. It should come out some time tonight/tomorrow.

You can find out what FPS you’re getting by using the /debug command and the /togglelogmap command. You’ll see your current FPS displayed under render_fps there. If you want to see what your maximum fps is you can disable vsync via config to hit above 60.

As always, if the game is crashing on startup in the nightlies, just delete the universe and player directories (after backing them up) and delete starbound.config.

Hopefully the performance increase will be as huge as it’s been on our test machines!




July 16th Progress

July 16, 2014 in News

A lot of work has gone in to the gate system today. We’ve been designing exactly how it should look and producing mockups. Most of the art here is George’s but I wanted to show you what we had so far.

It’ll likely change a bit by the time it’s finished.



Click for full sized gif!

July 9th

July 9, 2014 in News

Hi guys,

We’ve been in Brighton today for the develop awards and gamesbythesea, so not much to report today. I wanted to share our plans for tier 2 with you though.

-warning spoilers ahead-

After repairing the ships thrusters your ship AI scans the surroundings and finds a mysterious ancient gate floating in space. Flying to the gate allows you to land and examine the gate. Which is actually a long abandoned interdimensional transport system.

Traveling through the gate takes you to an asteroid in a pocket dimension where you meet other travelers that have also found these long abandoned gates and chosen to set up a trading post on the asteroid.

The trading post will represent the first static location in Starbound. With its own lore, residents and back story. It exists outside of the procedurally generated star map in its own dimension and can also be accessed from any gate the player finds in space.

At the outpost you’ll find people to give you quests, including quests that lead to a furnace upgrade and a quest to obtain breathing apparatus that allows you to visit moons. To complete these quests you’ll need to visit planets in the solar system the gate is in.

Once the breathing apparatus is obtained players can visit moons where they’ll find structures built from/mining moon stone. Moon stone can be used to fix the ships FTL drives.

On top of all of this of course will be new armors, weapons and crafting progression.

July 7th Progress

July 7, 2014 in News

Today has been a long long day of bug fixing and balancing.

After many many play tests of the early game, including repairing your ship, rebooting your ship AI, completing new quests, new death rules and mining rules. I finally have the early game in the place I want it. It feels balanced, fluid, there’s very little to no grind and you progress quickly beyond the low tech / stranded portion of the game. The majority of recipes have had their values tweaked. Ore, minibiome, cave, chest and monster spawns have been entirely rebalanced.

I’ve been staring at a lot of these images today:



We’re moving on now to the quest generation system and connecting the new outpost work you’ve seen to the games progression. We’re building the quest system so modders can super easily add their own quests, which can be given by npcs, item pickups and even other quests. The quest system will be built on templates. A super simple example of which would be “Kill monster X and obtain item Y” where X and Y are wildcards specified in a whitelist. The idea now is to fill the game with optional tasks with cool rewards.

We’re going to be coming up with a bunch of quest templates come the morning, so feel free to leave your suggestions!