Three Major Releases on Xbox One X | Official Linux Release | Improved HOTAS and VR Support on PC | Launch on PS4 | Discord
Time is flying, and the time-bending gravity of game development makes it even more obvious: It’s been a while since our last info update here on Kickstarter, and we apologize for the radio silence. We just hope you have been following us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with what’s going on with the game and at ROCKFISH Games.
Also, we are excited to announce that we have set up the official ROCKFISH Games Discord server. Drop by and join the community to share your best screenshots and gameplay moments as well as getting a behind-the-scenes look at what we are up to.
Now, as you can tell by today’s headline, we have been extremely busy since our last update in October 2017 (yikes!). We are super excited to share that we have fulfilled our last remaining promise of officially releasing EVERSPACE for Linux (yeah!). We have also released three major updates on Xbox One, and both EVERSPACE and Encounters are now available on PlayStation 4!
Furthermore, we have taken your much-appreciated feedback on our HOTAS and VR implementation on PC to heart and have continued improving both.
Catching up on Xbox
It took us much longer than expected, but we are finally fully caught up on Xbox One and the Microsoft Store. EVERSPACE Xbox pilots can enjoy Hardcore Mode (released in December 2017), an enhanced version supporting 4K rendering or improved visuals at 60 fps on Xbox One X (released in April 2018), as well as the Encounters expansion (released in May 2018), eventually.
The entire rollout forced us to take several detours, like migrating the project to newer versions of Unreal Engine 4 twice, each time causing severe issues like broken blueprints that had to be rebuilt from scratch and dealing with deep rabbit holes for deployment on the platform itself. Since we support Play Anywhere, we always have to update the game on Xbox and on Microsoft Store simultaneously to guarantee that the cross-platform savegames work at all times. In particular, releasing a DLC that unlocks automatically on the other platform after purchase on Xbox or the Microsoft Store was quite a task but it works fine now.
We would like to thank our friends at Microsoft again for helping us fix all the issues and for promoting EVERSPACE prominently on the Xbox Store several times.
Official Linux Release
After countless person-months of development, and struggling with fixing lots of very specific issues under Linux, we are excited to share that the official Linux release of EVERSPACE is out on Steam and GOG.
Since starting on the Linux version back in mid-2016, we almost dropped it several times. Eventually, we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, and we are glad that it wasn’t a train coming to stop us from delivering on our last remaining promise. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Linux gaming community for their patience and for their continuous support along the rocky path to release.
It’s very rewarding to see all the positive feedback about the official release, which makes us feel like we did the right thing even if it might not have been the best idea from a commercial point of view. To be fair, many issues were engine-related, and it would have been much less work for us if we had waited to work on the Linux version until most of them were fixed.
Improved HOTAS and VR Support
HOTAS and VR support have been challenges for us from the very beginning because EVERSPACE was never meant to be a classic space flight sim. Instead, we took great inspiration from the mouse and keyboard controls in Freelancer.
In fact, EVERSPACE’s core pillar is fast-paced space combat in comparatively small levels and even inside of hollow asteroids, shipwrecks, and space stations. All of which require a lot of strafing, precision aiming, and changing directions and orientation quickly. None of which are a great fit for HOTAS, and which require an iron stomach in VR.
However, based on the massive demand for VR support during our Steam Greenlight campaign before the Kickstarter, we decided to implement a VR option, and we too were excited about it. Unfortunately, we had to learn for ourselves that supporting VR comes with significant challenges like optimizing performance and changing the UI significantly. We also ran into several unexpected engine- and platform-related issues, making our lives difficult from the very beginning.
Of course, we have stuck to our promise and have improved the VR experience continuously since we came out of Early Access in September 2016. With the most recent patch, we made another big jump by fixing and improving a dozen VR-related issues. While VR in EVERSPACE is still not as good as in a VR-only space shooter, we hope that any VR pilot understands that our resources are limited and that we put a strong effort into making the optional VR experience in EVERSPACE as good as commercially reasonable.
The situation is similar with HOTAS support: EVERSPACE was never meant to be played with joysticks. On the contrary, its tight shooter-like controls for mouse and keyboard were one of our key design choices, and we got great feedback about it from the vast majority of pilots. But we do understand that if you are coming from playing a classic space sim with a joystick, you expect to be able to play EVERSPACE the same way.
Due to strong demand from the HOTAS community, however, we eventually decided to add joystick support with customizable controls. So far we have invested several person-months into this, and we can say that supporting 3rd party peripherals with myriad different configurations is a real challenge for a small studio like us.
Just like with VR support, we hope that pilots using HOTAS understand that we can only spend so much time on this optional feature and that with this latest patch the majority of joystick players will be satisfied.
Launching on PS4
Even though the console stretch goal was not unlocked during our Kickstarter, many of you wondered if we would be bringing EVERSPACE to the PS4 family at some point. We couldn’t be more excited to share that EVERSPACE and the Encounters expansion went live at PlayStation store on May 22 and has been received very well so far. Here is an in-depth interview with PS4Blog.net about the release.
If you read about some crashes and frame drops here and there, it’s probably because some PS4 pilots missed downloading the day 1 patch which fixes those issues from the pre-release version. We also learned about a known issue when switching on supersampling for 2K on PS4 Pro which affects high-end games made in UE4. Since we support improved visuals in 2K on PS4 Pro, the memory footprint goes through the roof when running supersampling. Unfortunately, we cannot detect if supersampling is on in UE4.18, so we kindly ask PS4 Pro pilots to keep it off until we've come up with a solution.
Lastly, In case you were wondering, due to Sony’s TOS we are not allowed to swap any keys for a PS4 voucher because the console stretch goal was not unlocked in our Kickstarter.
After delivering on our final remaining promise, we are excited to announce that our release party will launch at our office in Hamburg on June 29. We will send out invitations with further details to all eligible backers soon. Because we would hate to leave out any space game enthusiasts who didn’t pledge at “Space Warrior” or higher, we have decided to offer additional party tickets separately. Just send us an email if you are interested.
We’ll see you in space on the preferred platform near you, or in our studio in a few weeks from now!
All the best,
Michael and your dedicated ROCKFISH Games Team
Team Shout Out
This time we’d like to draw your attention to the awesome steampunk RTS Iron Harvest from our German friends at Kind Art Games. In case you missed their incredibly successful Kickstarter ($1,298,726 raised), just head on over to the Iron Harvest website where you can still pre-order various special editions featuring many of the Kickstarter rewards.