superconsole posted on
August 31st, 2018 in
I’m Katy (aka Superconsole), a newish member of the Marketing & Community team here at Chucklefish. Some of you may have seen me lurking in the forums or posting over at the Wargroove Dev Blog, but this is my first Starbound entry!
Lately Healthire, Katzeus, SamuriFerret and Kyren have been working closely with the Discord team to integrate Starbound functionality into the app, making the game more accessible for players. Some of this stuff doesn’t sound too sexy, but in action it’s really cool!
The features include rich presence, which means that you’ll be able to see on Discord whether you’re in menu or in game, and also how many people you’re currently playing with. You’ll also be able to invite players to join your game directly through the Discord app, as well as asking to join other people’s games too.
You may have also heard that Starbound will also be one of the very first games available in the brand new Discord Store! This is super exciting for us, as it means Discord users will be able to purchase the game and immediately jump right in and start playing from the app, which is linked directly to Steam. The Store is still in closed beta right now, but here’s a sneaky peek:
All the Discord integration will form part of a v1.3.4 update, which is currently on an unstable branch, but you can jump in and give the features a whirl now, while we iron out everything for full launch on a stable branch. If you want to find other players to test out the game joining features, you can also join the community-run Starbound Discord server.
There’s a lot bubbling behind the scenes here, and we’re looking forward to sharing more news with you all about our bigger plans for Starbound 1.4, Xbox and beyond as soon as we can! In the meanwhile, we’re on the look out for a pixel artist and programmer to join the Starbound team here in London, so if this sounds like you, check out the Chucklefish blog for more details!
Today is a special day for the team here, as it marks Starbound’s (official) 2 Year Anniversary since 1.0 and the game’s full release on Steam.
Since then we’ve had a few major updates (woo Mechs!) and are looking ahead to the future of Starbound, including the upcoming Xbox One release. It’s coming along really well, and is currently in the final QA process after the team has made a few performance fixes, and all being well the next step will be sending off for Microsoft certification before it’s ready to go live! We’ll keep you posted once we’re 99.9% sure on an exact launch date.
But special occasions like this are also a great time to look back on the game’s development, launch and amazing community response! A few developers have offered to share some stories, thoughts, and memories about Starbound for this anniversary!
Starbound is a big game and I’ve had a hand in various aspects of it (I hope you liked my mech designs!) but my favourite thing to develop is bosses! I designed and animated a lot of the bosses in Starbound, and closest to my heart is Asra Nox. I managed to find pictures of my earliest sketches of the then-called “cultist boss”.
At first Nox was designed simply to be a classic “mirror boss” where you fight against an opponent who has similar abilities to the player, but Nox ended up evolving into one of my favourite Starbound characters. I’ve seen some fantastic fan art of her! It would be nice to one day come back to her story.
I joined the Starbound team as an artist soon after the game went into early access, up until its successful launch in 2016. We were a very small team making a very big game, and it required us all to wear many different hats!
Some of my favourite work on the project was getting to design the planet parallax backgrounds, the Novakid spaceship and animating the wacky stores at the Outpost, such as Penguin Pete, Treasured Trophies and the Tech Lab.
For most people on the team this was our first experience making a game, with the added challenge of people playing it as we pushed, pulled, tugged and twisted it into position. I’m very thankful for all of you who came along on that ride with us!
Starbound is a great game that I’m proud to have been a small part of. I’m very excited to see the game continue to grow and evolve, and that’s all thanks to its dedicated community.
I joined the team fairly late in Starbounds development and was put to work helping write the enormous amount of comments from the races. The ones who needed the most were the Novakid, so naturally I have to declare them my favourite after working on them so much! My main memory of that time is thinking of how to describe flowers in different ways to fit each race, on the chance that someone chose to inspect said flowers! Also the fun of learning how to write like a cowboy for the Novakid very quickly. This fanart below from Astral-Requin on DevianArt is one of my absolute favourites! :
I first got involved with Starbound through modding shortly after early access release in 2013. After having my turret mod included the game, and working with Alex (metadept) on the collaborative Starfoundry mod, I joined the chucklefish team in late 2014. In the nearly two years leading up to 1.0 I worked on a lot of monster and NPC AI, scripting bosses, weapons, missions, fossils, arcade games, and quests.
Some of my favorite work was designing the procedurally generated boss encounters of the 1.2 vaults. Here’s a glimpse of what things sometimes look like in the middle of development. :)
It was an absolute privilege to get involved with Starbound so early in the project’s life, and to have stuck it out with Chucklefish to this very day. The game ended up touching almost every aspect of my life in some way or another, whether that was through the people I met along the way, the place I now call home, and the fact I’ve comfortably settled into a career I’d long-assumed was out of my reach. I’ve been pushed to learn new skills day after day, year after year, and I can’t imagine who I would be today had I not been invited to be a part of such an amazing project.
One of my favourite memories, even today, was from April Fool’s day before Starbound had even gone early access. I ended up replacing all the game’s weapon sound effects with mouth sounds I recorded, and I then inserted them into the build that everyone else would be using that day. It didn’t take long before our project chat was filled with surprise and laughter. I ended up capturing these stupid sounds all on video to preserve this silly joke.
My absolute favourite piece of Starbound fan art to date is this movie poster from PiNe11298 whose lovely piece has served as my wallpaper on my phone for almost a year now. :3
I came to the team fairly late in development, but I was lucky enough to still get to work on lots of cool little features. Some of the most fun features were the colonies, procedural quests and crew members.
My favorite memory of Starbound happened when I was working on NPC reactions. NPCs are able to interact with other nearby NPCs. They each take turns to play random animations, influenced by previous animations and the NPCs’ individual personalities. What I didn’t immediately realise was that there were not enough programmed reactions in some cases, and they could get stuck in a loop… Such as when Reddit reported that all their villagers were constantly vomiting over each other.
I’m one of a few people involved with Starbound who started as a fan! I took a deep dive and started what later became the Starbound wiki as a personal project to organize information about this game I was excited about – the first few months the wiki was online I didn’t even share it, it was just a wiki for myself haha.
In those days Bartwe would do daily development streams which were largely programming (and loud keyboard clicking – the inspiration for The Model M). He wouldn’t save those recordings, so I’d capture my screen to video every day, then scrub the video to find small pieces of gameplay where he’d test something to crop sprites or a glimpse of a json file where I could catch some name/category/description details. That’s why a bunch of the earliest sprites on the wiki are blurry – they were compressed through twitch, then through another video processor before being cropped out.
Once I started helping with development, some of the things which stand out were when Tiyuri and I went through and reworked the crafting table system together (before upgrading there were a whoooole lot more crafting tables) and designing and developing the Floran arena sidequest (with a bunch of balance help from Armagon).
It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since 1.0 released! Getting Starbound to that point was such an exciting journey, and I can’t wait to see how the game will continue to evolve in the next two years – both through development updates and community content. Aside from the fact that a number of devs came from the community, the reason Starbound is the game it is now is because of years of community creativity and passion. Thanks for all the love you’ve shared for our game!!
I’ll close it out with some of my favorite fanart – these player chibis by Grace Liu (who also created our Chucklefish avatars!)
It’s been a little bit since we gave a development update – I wanted to share the current status and our plans for Starbound over the next few months.
We started working on update 1.4 and the bounty hunting system late last year. We developed our planned systems and gameplay elements, and spent a long time trying to integrate these new features into the game in a way where they didn’t feel tacked on. After a lot of discussion and experimentation, we came to the conclusion that the bounty hunting, while really fun and exciting in concept, didn’t really feel like it complemented the rest of the game and felt like more of an ‘attached feature’ instead of an enhancement. For now we’ve made the decision to put it on hold – ultimately we don’t want to release an update which doesn’t meet our standards for excitement and fun.
We are still planning to release some smaller scope content updates – and some of what we’ve developed for 1.4 may be featured in those. First we’re going to focus our resources on making sure Starbound on consoles is the best it can be. Which leads into…
Xbox One Release
You may have heard news we’ve been showing off Starbound on Xbox at some events over the past few weeks. It was featured at a press event at GDC in San Francisco, and soon after in London. Just this past weekend we had our first public showing in the [email protected] room at EGX Rezzed in London. It was great to meet so many players and talk to them about our game!
Watching players get their hands on it has been extremely valuable for us, and we’ve been working on making the final adjustments before we feel it’s ready for release.
Porting the controls to console has been a huge task, and has required us to develop some radical UI changes. We’ll provide some specifics on those changes and a date when to expect that very soon!