Regarding Steam & DRM-Free

November 9, 2013 in News

There’s been confusion recently about how we intend to distribute the beta, and I’d like to clear some of that up.
An important thing to note off the bat is that we do still fully intend to provide customers with a DRM-free non-Steam version of the game! We know how important that is to some of you, who either don’t like or can’t use Steam for one reason or another.

However, the way we’ve decided to go about the beta has left us wondering how best to go about distributing it in its first stages, considering how frequently it’s going to be updated and patched and how much simpler it is to do that via Steam. Hence Tiy’s recent tweets! These are our options:

1) Provide a Steam key and DRM-free direct download from the start, and keep them both up to date! This…isn’t the most attractive option. We’d spend far too much of time trying to manage our updates instead of making the game, and as a result updates would have to be slower/less frequent for everyone.
2) Provide a Steam key and DRM-free direct download from the start, but update the DRM-free version less frequently. This could work, but the DRM-free version of the game would be incompatible with the Steam version most of the time, which isn’t so great.
3) Provide a Steam key from the start and provide a DRM-free version a little later when the beta is more stable and updates are less frequent. Considering that the ‘Progenitor’ stage of beta is very much intended to be a testing period, a lot of people may want to wait to play when it’s more stable, anyway.

So that’s where we’re at! We don’t gain anything by excluding anyone, so we’re really just trying to figure out how to do what’s best.
Wouldn’t mind hearing your thoughts, guys!

5th & 6th November Progress

November 7, 2013 in News


We’ve been fixing up lots of monster parts and AI, naming weapons, fixing balance issues with everything from armor crafting recipes to monster damage and adding and configuring tech! And we’ve gotten around to naming a bunch of our tiered weapons, too. There’s one called “Baboom”. :D

Hard to give you much more in the way of details, since we’re pretty much just trucking along in preparation for beta at this point. Maybe it’d be better to give you more substantial weekly updates instead of trying to do them daily or every other day? :O

In any case, meet the morphball tech. May still be changes on the way (I think it goes without saying by now that everything is subject to change, but that’s ok because LOOK I’ve turned into a ball:


3rd & 4th November Progress

November 5, 2013 in News


We’ve continued to work on our pre-rendered monsters, with artists finishing up animations and programmers going to town on their AI. Also, as you might have noticed on Tiy’s twitter, we’ve been updating the ship designs!

Today Armagon worked on a dungeon and OH JEEZ WATCH OUT THE FLOOR IS LAVA (or hot coals). He also appears to be really fond of that armor. :O Here’s a screenshot!

starbound 2013-11-05 10-50-56-31

We’ve got the usual bug fixes as well including one involving monster/weapon/shield levels, and Tiy and Legris are doing a lot of work on treasure pool distribution for hundreds of items.

And that’s all I’m sayin’ tonight! Goodnight. :)

2nd November Progress

November 3, 2013 in News

Good evening!

I know I went a little quiet this week– we haven’t quit doing updates! I was just super busy and away from home. :P I’m gonna keep things pretty brief!

We’ve been configuring tech today, on top of the usual monster configurations and balance tweaks. We’ve got a bunch more NPC dialogue in, too! Merchants have different greetings depending on their race now, among other things.

Here’s a vague peak at a couple of techs (that are still subject to change, but I wanted to show ‘em off). :O

butterflyboost bubbleboost

How the Beta is going to work

October 30, 2013 in News


Yup the title includes the word beta, that’s because it’s really not very far off now.

I wanted to provide some info on exactly how we’re going to run the beta and what you can expect if you choose to take part.

The beta will come in 3 main stages.




Stage 1 will be move at a breakneck speed. This will be the buggiest and busiest stage of the beta. A bunch of unfinished features will be disabled whilst we finish them up. Updates will come thick and fast, sometimes as often as multiple updates a day.

If you choose to take part during stage 1 you should expect bugs, lots of balance changes, you shouldn’t get too attached to your character or universe as we may make changes that require you to start from scratch.  You should expect the game to be broken at points as we make sweeping changes but you’ll get to enjoy exciting new content added constantly. The engine won’t optimized during this stage of the beta so performance could be poor on some low end machines.

You’ll get to see a bunch of ‘behind the scenes’ content at this stage and provide feedback during this crucial period.

DO take part in this stage if:

- You enjoy testing buggy and unfinished code

- You enjoy providing feedback

- You want to leave your mark on the game

- You just can’t wait any longer

DO NOT take part in this stage if:

- Bugs infuriate you

- You don’t like spoilers

- You can’t stand losing your save

- You want the full Starbound ‘experience’ the first time you play.




Stage 2 will be largely feature complete. You’ll still find the odd bug but they’re unlikely to be game breaking and the chance of you losing your character or save is minimal. The main quest line won’t be in yet but the sandbox experience will be near complete. All sectors of the galaxy will be available including sector X (End game content). Much of the focus in this stage will be on bug fixing, optimization and balance.

DO take part in this stage if:

- You enjoy reporting bugs/bughunting

- You have a low spec computer and want to make sure the game is optimized for it

-  You want a complete sandbox experience

- You tried to wait a bit longer but failed

DO NOT take part in this stage if:

- You want to play through the main quest line

- You want to be a Novakid




Stage 3 is largely about prepping for v1.0, this means finishing up the main quest line and implementing the post beta content. i.e. the Novakids, fossils. By the time stage 3 is complete Starbound should be ready to launch as a finished game. Worry not however, we plan to keep adding new content for at least a year after release, perhaps a lot longer.

DO take part in this stage if:

- You want to give feedback on what will become the finished game

DO NOT take part in this stage if:

- You’d rather wait a litttttle bit longer and play the polished final version

- You’re still busy playing Pokémon X/Y



So it won’t be too long now guys, I just wanted to clue you in on what we’re planning. We’re all pushing as hard as we can to start this up as soon as possible.


26th + 27th October Progress

October 28, 2013 in News

Hey guys!

Past couple of days have been dedicated to things like making our status effects more UI friendly. Making it more obvious when the player has gotten too cold, or starts drowning, because those things were annoyingly easy to miss before. Also debugging! Surprise surprise. :D

Lore was completed for the Avian, Glitch and Floran dungeons.

Buffs that allow the player to run faster and jump higher for a period of time were configured and are being added to certain consumables! And we’ve continued configuring NPCs. Today we’re doing some play testing to see what else we’ve gotta fix. :D

Earlier, my Glitch was tragically accosted by bandits. All she had to defend herself with was a burrito. The bandits decided they really, really wanted that burrito– and who could blame them? Here is a screenshot from her final moments.



In seriousness though, Armagon took this really pretty screenshot of a desert biome with a planet in the background. Conveniently wallpaper-sized (click for full-size)!

Beautiful Desert

25th October Progress

October 26, 2013 in News

Evening everyone!

A *big important thing* we managed to get in today was support for status effect icons. We’ve been configuring all these status effects, but until now haven’t had a way to indicate to the player exactly what was going on. So, yay!

We’ve also quickly made a tree “brush” for dungeon generation keys that lets us make sure we’ve got some trees spawning in places like…Glitch villages, for instance. Towns are no longer barren wastelands!

Got some more blocks in, did some more dungeon work, fixed some bugs- particularly one with the placement of consumables in the player’s hand. I spent a lot of time today trying to make sure the “gradual healing” status effect wasn’t too powerful or too weak. Testing this out involved applying a damage status effect to banana bread and varying levels of the gradual healing status effect to a few other foods. Then I stood on my ship eating hundreds of loaves of poisonous banana bread and healing myself with pie. gamedevelopment.jpg

I leave you with a demonstration:



23rd and 24th October Progress

October 24, 2013 in News

Afternoon, folks!

As well as the usual bug fixes and intense behind the scenes making-stuff-work action, we’ve continued working on configuring mooooore bosses and monsters, like this one in case you haven’t seen it yet:

Configured bandits and cultists to shout at you upon attacking, because you should never understate the importance of a good battle cry.

Added tiles to minibiomes! Changed the max hunger value because it was silly. Improved the Po Golem’s AI, added more lore for the codex, implemented rainbow wood (yes), and I’ve personally been working on rebalancing foods.

Armagon finished this dungeon!

starbound 2013-10-24 22-31-09-34

22nd October Progress

October 23, 2013 in News


Yesterday we kept up work on dungeons, NPCs and bosses.

Ore distribution’s been tweaked some more, because there were some bugs with the way it was working, making it difficult to configure properly.

As mentioned, more bosses and enemies are being finished up and configured. Another dungeon is in the works, and lore is finally being added to dungeons! Lore you can find and add to your codex, that is. There’s gonna be lots of it. :D

It’s weirdly difficult to make a gif of a character finding lore if you want the gif to be a reasonable file size, but there you go! Sneak peak of a story in there too. :O

Previous release date delays

October 22, 2013 in News

Hi guys,

The very first thing I want to say, to avoid any confusion, is that we’re still estimating the beta this year. This news post isn’t written as a precursor to an upcoming delay. It’s just a topic that has been discussed at length and one I felt like trying to address.

So, video game delays..

Let’s start with an overused but wonderful quote from nintendos Shigeru Miyamoto. 

“A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad”

This is right on the money. We’ve all seen the monstrosities churned out by development teams pressed by money hungry publishers. Those are teams that failed to meet their development deadlines but were forced to put out their game anyway and we’ve seen it time and time again.

In contrast to that we’ve seen teams like Valve delay their games over and over again only to release something magnificent. They had the time to create THEIR games, the games they envisioned, scrapping and reworking anything they weren’t completely happy with. The result was a collection of some of the best games ever made (and Ricochet).

The debate on whether or not games are art rages on and I won’t summon it’s ardent squabblers by telling you you can’t rush art. But the fact that games now set out to provoke emotion is undeniable and when that’s your goal your chances of meeting a theoretical deadline based on list of features is near impossible. Producing a game is like molding clay; it evolves. By the time you’re done your original design document and the game you produce are sometimes night and day.

Indeed, even among triple A developers the list of delayed games is staggering..

On top of that, we’re at a time in the games industry now where gamers are demanding innovation. Often those demands fall on deaf ears where AAA studios are concerned and there’s a good reason for that. Producing something new requires overcoming uncertain challenges. When you’re producing a game that does something different, particularly when it’s something complex, judging how long each technical challenge will take you to overcome is a complete nightmare. Uncertain challenges and untested genres don’t mesh well with the AAA world of budgets, publishers, deadlines and goals.

So gamers look to indie studios for innovation, studios willing to take the risk, willing to put their livelihood on the line, willing to deal with ‘as long as it takes to make this happen’ development. This is what we do here at Chucklefish and that’s something I’m very proud of.

Realistically there are only three types of games..

Games that are released before they’re done. The buggy and often rushed to the finish mess you regret purchasing in that steam sale binge.

Games that do nothing new. Basically a rehash of a game you played last year, Fifa 2040, Call of Duty – we added giraffes edition.

Games that are delayed. Games that aren’t remembered for their development period or the number of times they were delayed, but the care and attention lavished upon them in that time. (let’s not talk about Duke Nukem Forever).

And we’d much rather be in the final category.

All this said, whilst I won’t apologise for delaying the game a couple of times, we have made mistakes along the way. The most obvious of which was to give out estimated release dates on a project that’s aiming so high and I think it’s unlikely we’ll ever do that again. We also underestimated the time spent on communication overheads when working with a remote team in several different timezones. (Honestly I think if we’d all been in the same office we may have met our release date goals).

But the finished game WILL be worth the wait, we’re all happy with how its shaping up and super excited to get it to the point where we’re happy with it. You’ll have the chance to help us do that this year with the beta and we’re looking forwards to that too.

Thanks for reading guys