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.

Capture

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.

gate

 

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:

rawr

 

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!

 

Combat testing 24th June

June 24, 2014 in Dev Blog

Hey guys,

I did a bunch of testing and tweaking on weapons today. I streamed some of the results earlier, you can find an archived stream link here:

http://www.twitch.tv/chucklefishlive/b/541458760

Take a look!

Other bits and pieces from today 23rd June

June 23, 2014 in Dev Blog

So aside from Armagon’s brilliant work on the outposts. We managed to get lots of other bits and pieces done today too.

Forests parallax was improved, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while:

forest

 

A little hard to see here, but there are new mountains, new grass and the parallax is at a better height to always be on screen.

The AI window was expanded and given more features:

AI

Work has begun on the UI for selling to merchants. And a great deal more UI elements were fixed and cleaned up.

A bunch of things went on in regards to combat and swords too, but I’ll let Omni post about those.

 

18th June Progress

June 18, 2014 in Dev Blog

June 11th + Puppies

June 11, 2014 in Dev Blog

Hey guys,

Not a great deal to report today. We’ve largely been working on the same things we’ve been involved in for the last few days. We’ve finished up the remaining quadruped head pieces and their unique attacks (some of which are hilarious, good job metadept). We’re still chugging away at the ship AI UI and how that feeds into the progression system. We’re starting to work on various other monster parts giving unique movement attacks, as well as monsters visually responding a little better to things like being surprised by a hostile enemy.

We now have a new member of the team though, introducing our office puppy:

rosie

 

We’re still figuring out what to call her!