October 2nd – Status of the Status Changes

October 2, 2014 in Dev Blog

Since kyren is getting close to completing her massive status system rework, I’ve spent the past couple of days helping her design and test the new Lua APIs, fix bugs, and preparing to integrate the changes back into our main development branch. One of the most apparent changes is that status effects are now driven by Lua scripts and have access to a wide variety of API functions, making them incredibly flexible and fun to work with. Today we’ve just been testing out features and exploring what kinds of crazy stuff we can do. Here’s one example, a sword with high knockback that makes monsters bounce:

Or how about a “nitroglycerine” effect that causes the player to explode when they fall too hard?

Obviously we’re also reimplementing and improving the existing status effects like fire, poison, and slows, but it’s been a lot of fun testing out the new possibilities! I think a lot of these crazy ideas may make it into the final game in some form or other, to give it a bit of a roguelike flavor.

September 30th – Make it work!

September 30, 2014 in Dev Blog

So you may have noticed over the last few days our artists have been slamming out new content, all in the name of fleshing out the biomes and giving players some interesting incentives and rewards for exploring them. Presently, a heavy focus has been placed on each biome having its own unique resources and loot in the form of costumes, tools, and weapons. Its all in the name of variety!

The task of making most of these new items actually function has fallen to me. I’ve been going through all of them, ensuring they behave the way you’d expect, making sure hitboxes on the projectiles are all appropriately sized, that sort of thing. There’s also a bunch of new recipes being thrown into the mix, so a number of items that you previously could only acquire through drops are becoming craftable. If you’re lucky enough to find some of the consumable weapons (throwing daggers and axes, for instance), you’ll be rewarded with blueprints that will enable you craft them anytime you want, so long as you’ve got the resources necessary to do so.

Some of the new weapons the artists have slung my way have been challenging, but fun to make. One of the new weapons George teased in his tar biome post is a spear that lobs balls of tar when you attack. The tar itself doesn’t do much damage, but it can slow down your enemies, making it easier to keep them at bay while ducking in and out for your melee hits. Having spent so much of my time lately working with our weapon and projectile systems, I’ve learnt a great deal, and its always encouraging when you manage to get things working the way you intended.

Taking advantage of the liquid collection that the upgraded matter manipulator brings with it, you can now bottle your own water, among other things. Once a liquid is bottled you can consume it to receive the effects. For example, some liquids have curative powers when ingested. If you fashion yourself a bottle out of glass, you can collect the liquid with your matter manipulator, bottle it at a cooking table, then use it when you find yourself in a pinch.

As an aside, you actually drink your beverages now! I can’t tell you how many times I winced when listening to my character “consuming” a bottle of whiskey with a distinct crunch. That stuff makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it.

This whole process of configuring everything has been difficult at times, but it’s rewarding when it goes well. I expect to continue with this kind of work over the coming weeks, but in my position I can be made to change gear at any time. Ahhh, the joys of game development!

Good night everybody!

September 29th – Using Protection

September 29, 2014 in Dev Blog

Today I’ve been implementing a block protection system, so that we can have special dungeons and missions where you can’t place blocks or break through walls until deactivating a Shield Generator somewhere inside. The way this works is: each tile in the world has a ‘dungeon ID,’ which is a bit of a misnomer since it’s also used to specify tiles that have no dungeon, tiles modified by the player, and a couple of other things. Specific dungeon IDs will be protected for a given world, in a list that can be modified from server side Lua scripts or by using an admin command. I’m sure people will find interesting uses for the system beyond its original purpose, like building a planet with tests of skill and then enabling protection to make them a challenge for other players to overcome. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

September 26th Dev Blog

September 26, 2014 in Dev Blog

Here’s a few small peaks at some of the work we’ve been doing.

What’s this? Well, I’m not telling you.

You can build a lot of stuff with tar. It is very versatile. Try making some armor!

We’ve been working hard coming up with new content to help fill out the tiers. These are some simple examples. Expect to find better fleshed out biomes and sub-biomes with more biome-specific rewards.

That’s all! Bye!

September 24th – Reed furniture set

September 24, 2014 in Dev Blog

Hello humans and non-humans, and others!

Have you ever dreamed to decorate your house with reeds? Sleep on reeds, sitting on reeds, or even eating on reeds? Starbound will make your dream come true!

As you know we are working on new minibiomes now. Next step (for my part) will be more oasis things, a bedouin outfit, and a throwable coconut.

Have a good space night!




September 23rd – Digging Deeper

September 24, 2014 in Dev Blog

As per usual, I’ve been juggling a few tasks the past couple of days.

Work has continued on the Glitch mission I told you guys about last week, though a gameplay decision that came about midway in its development has made me have to re-think the overall structure a bit. It turned out that having a larger scale structure didn’t necessarily equal more fun for the player. None the less, it’s coming along nicely and I’m looking forward to getting into scripting it. The old structure will likely end up being utilized elsewhere down the line.

As part of our restructure of the tiered progression, the mining experience is currently under the microscope. You may recall some time back, Metadept was experimenting with the matter manipulator as an upgradeable tool. Many who have tried the nightlies have likely experienced this in the form of the completely unbalanced and relatively weak starting iteration. The reason we haven’t addressed this yet is because we decided it didn’t make sense to focus on balancing the tools until we had tackled the larger task of rebalancing all of our tiles.

Every tile in the game has its own set health that governs how difficult it is to break. Since we’re having biomes split up by tier during the initial progression (note that all biomes will be available with higher difficulty levels at the end-game), it meant we needed to balance the large number of materials based on their biome and their place in the overall progression. At time of writing we have 140+ different types of tiles that each needed to be assessed and reconfigured, so most of my time the last couple of days has been tied up with this task. For now it’s looking good, but it’ll likely require adjustments as we test.

In the wake of the matter manipulator becoming the primary mining tool, it bears mentioning that the pickaxes won’t be going away altogether. Instead they will remain in the form of rare drops that, depending on your luck, could end up being one markedly more powerful than your matter manipulator at the time. The trade-off is that they will no longer be repairable, so you’d want to save them for the toughest of blocks.

The next step is going to be balancing the matter manipulator and its upgrades. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop!

September 22nd – Loot, Loot, Loot!

September 23, 2014 in Dev Blog

On Friday I decided to make a small change to the treasure table format. I got a bit carried away and ended up spending a bunch of time over the weekend to clean up, organize, and rebuild ALL of our .treasurepools files, which I finally finished. It was a lot of work but the results make treasure much easier to work with and a much better system in general, so I’m very happy to have completed it.

For a bit of technical detail: our treasure pools are specified as weighted lists of items. The weight associated with an item determines how likely it is to be randomly selected, relative to other items in the table (not an absolute percentage chance). This means that adding new items to a table changes the likelihood of each of the other items in the table being selected. As you can imagine, this makes it very hard to edit and balance the tables! The engine change I made was to allow treasure tables to reference other treasure tables. With that functionality implemented, I rebuilt our tables by splitting loot into categories. For example, here’s the new table for a single general treasure item, such as you might find in a plain surface chest:

{“weight” : 0.4, “pool” : “money”},
{“weight” : 0.1, “pool” : “ore”},
{“weight” : 0.1, “pool” : “food”},
{“weight” : 0.1, “pool” : “healingItem”},
{“weight” : 0.1, “pool” : “fuel”},
{“weight” : 0.05, “pool” : “thrownWeapon”},
{“weight” : 0.05, “pool” : “weapon”},
{“weight” : 0.03, “pool” : “tool”},
{“weight” : 0.03, “pool” : “seed”},
{“weight” : 0.02, “pool” : “shield”},
{“weight” : 0.01, “pool” : “costume”},
{“weight” : 0.01, “pool” : “instrument”}

As you can see, the probabilities are now specified for general categories of items, each of which has its own separate treasure pool. Now, when we add (for example) a new weapon, the probability of getting SOME weapon will stay the same, as will the probabilities of other categories within this file. I’ve also split several of these categories up into sub tables, divided them based on threat level, and massively reorganized things to make them easier to work with. The end result is that we can now move ahead with our work on biomes and progression (more on that later in the week!) without creating huge amounts of redundant configuration files and future work in the process.

September 19th – Welcome to my garden!

September 19, 2014 in Dev Blog

Evening all!

Apologies for the lack of update yesterday! The team’s really been kicking the pace up a notch with sweeping changes across the board. I’ve been constantly sidetracked from the Glitch mission to do a bunch of configuration work, fixing a handful of UI elements, updating objects and adding a few new sounds to boot. That said, the mission is pretty thoroughly mapped out in my concepts now, so I have begun building and been chipping away at it whenever I’ve not been on some other task. The case being that this is a Glitch mission, it of course involves a castle.

Castle Gardens

I’m trying to establish a greater sense of scale than the generated glitch castle dungeons, so expect it to be quite open. It’s a bit bare since it’s still in early stages, but hopefully this peek at the castle gardens will give you some sense of what I’m going for. What exactly will be happening at this castle? I’ll leave you to speculate!

In case you missed it, Tiyuri posted over on our new Chucklefish blog earlier today. If you’ve had concerns about the longevity of Starbound lately, I suggest giving it a read. We’re not giving up this project of passion any time soon, and we’re gunning to get the next stable update to you as soon as we can. Thank you everyone for your continuous support and patience.

Until next time!

September 17th – Reach for the sky!

September 17, 2014 in Dev Blog

Howdy folks!

I’ve spent the past couple of days getting the tiered novakid weapons into the game, both functioning and craftable. Some of the guns are still a little on the big side, so they’ll likely undergo adjustments, but it’s nice to have something for the novakids to use besides that rusty old revolver.


Beyond that, I’ve been planning the structure for the Glitch mission, which I’m pumped to start working on. It’ll likely be very script-heavy so it’s one that may have some roadblocks to overcome before I’ll be able to finish it. I can at least start building the environment in the meantime.

That’s it from me, have a good one!

September 16th – Space Train!

September 16, 2014 in Dev Blog

Hello earth!

That’s so exciting, it’s the first time I make a “daily update”! I take this opportunity to introduce myself : I’m Neco (or Necotho), I recently joined the Starbound team as an artist. End of the introduction, let’s get serious! I have finally finished making the graphics for all of the the tiers of the Novakid’s Space-Train-Ship, and I spent a long time to implement them in the game.

I really looking forward to seeing how you will fill your Space-Train!