While we’ve been polishing Beta Update #5 we found the game needed a few more features before release. Most of this has stemmed from the completely rewritten 3D inventory system, which allows you to view and manage inventory as 3D world objects as opposed to 2D icons. A sizable undertaking, but we decided it was necessary to feel the immersion that the game requires.
The interact system has been going through rapid iteration internally these past few weeks. The latest developments sport a new contextual title and subtitle system that explains what you are interacting with, any immediate scientific information you may need for the particular object, and what tool(s) you can use to interact with the object. These new developments add to the feeling of being a scientist while simultaneously instructing the player as to how to interact with the game in an intuitive, not obstructive way.
Now that we can see the relative hardness of all minerals it allowed us to add a feature we’ve wanted for a while - hardness related durability. The Chisel is made of steel with a hardness of 7. Anything higher will damage the chisel and we wrote a clearer and improved durability damage system. Now, when your tool loses all durability it simply does very limited damage. NO MORE DISAPPEARING CHISELS! The idea that a broken chisel destroys in your hand was a very flawed design choice, and we’ve addressed this.
A lot of players have been asking for the Mech, so we gave it some attention last week. We animated the locomotion to give it far more weight and mechanical movement, while adding IK to the feet for truly accurate foot planting. The result is a much improved movement and animation system for the mech, a much needed and long overdue improvement.
Live Suit Readings
One of our favorite features from last year’s experiences is the suit readings, and we took the time to add it here. Now, when you experience a suit breach, loss of oxygen, or loss of hit points, you will see the lights on the back of the suit light up accordingly. This feature is something that was planned WAAAAAYYY back in 2014 when the astronaut suit was concepted and modeled and we’ve now FINALLY added it to the game. It’s weird how there always seemed to be something of higher priority in the way of getting this in.
Pathfinder vehicle is in and functional along with the other vehicles. This took a little rework since the interaction system was overhauled 3 weeks ago. Our next step is to add the interiors to the wheeled vehicles so that we can enter and store items while out on an expedition.
Gas Extractor now harvests gas for you. Now more wonky barrel gas gathering. The Extractor works directly with the Barrel, allowing for mass gathering of gas into your base’s gas tanks.
Rounding out all the found resources in the game are the plants. We’ve added numerous plants that will be distributed throughout the solar system (mostly in the Goldilocks zone planets of Seraph, Gemini, and Vera). The system for identifying is in place, but now needs harvesting, curating, and crafting in your new Med Lab, a feature that has not yet been added.
Bioluminescence shaders have been brought over from the Unity 5.5 version for all Speedtree plants, allowing plants to take on a glow while also being able to react to wind and weather.
Speaking of weather, we’ve added a new detection system called the Weather Radar for getting weather forecast alerts. Weather systems will now inflict damage on your base in various ways, and preparing for a storm could be the difference between life and death.
All in all, we’re really close to finishing Beta Update #5. Unless we find holes in the design during our testing playthroughs we are now feature complete with this update. There is still persistence, bug testing, and balancing that needs to occur. Once we’ve tested this and verified we will release the update.