Firstly I'm doing a live development stream every Friday now. They started a few months ago, and they've now become a popular weekly fixture. This week's is starting at 1600UTC... so in half an hour!
Update 0.54: Celsius
The update is now out on Steam. The update is massive and introduces the new thermodynamic simulation, new GUI and customisation options, AI balancing, hundreds of bug fixes and even a new mission. There's a full update blog here detailing it and also a video below!
Members area build will be up soon. There has been a slight delay due to issues on the Linux build caused by GLVND that are frustratingly out of my control.
We also have a new development site so you can observe my changes to the game's code and art repositories as I work on the next update.
Thats all for now! Quick, come join us for the livestream!
It's update time! 0.53 is now up on Steam and currently uploading to the members area.
This month's release is focused on the player. Looking at places where the game was falling down and seeing what I could do to immediately improve game-play and make everything more engaging.
First up is the brought-forward smelting mechanic. You now need to break down minerals to create building materials. The smelter requires interaction, so player actions are now closer linked to the building process. This also gives the player a better overview of their own production abilities, as it forces an awareness of materials and mineral stockpiling.
One very useful feature is the new manifest screen. I never want a big global GUI for the game, as of course it would never make sense to show “Amount of food” or “Litres of water”, when they can be in many forms, and many places, often entirely inaccessible. However I did want to have the colonist's keep a manifest of the people and contents of the base. So now the manifest screen provides a brief overview of the bases contents filling the information gap, and reducing the feeling of being swamped.
Air vents are probably the coolest addition for me, as they allow the player to take full control of the atmospheric simulation. You can vent in or out of a room, or circulate both ways. This lets you do interesting things, such as using the hydroponics as a big atmosphere generator, or vent a room out quickly to choke a fire.
Colonist skills and selection. Picking colonists is an important piece of player choice that I've been wanting in the game for some time. Now the colonists have over sixty skills, each having a small effect on game play. In later builds they will be able to learn new skills on the job, rounding out their personalities and giving you a reason to get more attached to them.
There's also lots of other small features, from several types of new lamps, to AI fixes, optimisations across the board and improved sound effects from Nick.
0.54 is now on the books. I will again be focusing on player choice, interaction and engagement, rather than getting hung up on completing the roadmap in a linear fashion. I think it will be a big leap forward towards completion.
I'm also getting Paul Dean back on the project to edit and consolidate all my recent writing efforts and to help bring together the ten hour campaign, so we can get you guys testing it.
As always. Do get in touch with any ideas, issues or concerns. I have a few emails from people with lost keys, that I've just spotted. I'll be sending fresh ones out shortly.
I've just polished off the 0.52 update! It's up on Steam and the members area. Here's the full update blog from Caroline and myself.
The key goal with this release was fixing as many bugs as humanly possible and as humanely as possible. Specifically the issues that made the AI do things that were annoying to the player or slowed down progression. All the lock ups and weirdness should be out of their systems now.
The next feature is the adding of new food types and growth systems. Generating food is no longer just a case of dealing with fruit trees and chickens. You will need to grow a varied set of crops. Each plant type is accurately simulated, so will grow at different speeds and react to different conditions. You'll need to balance the energy needs of your colonists diets against that of micro-nutrients and the effect on moral that a bland diet might have.
The next feature is the long awaited first person mode. You can control robots, turrets, colonist suit cameras, and even... doors. It's particularly useful for quickly moving your IMPs and Utility Robots around the base quickly to respond to emergencies.
Here's a video of me showing off some of the features.
Counting the Eons
Our next release will be a few days into the new year and will add more GUI and interaction polish, first aid and new features to the medical room, domestication of alien fauna and colonist-pet interactions, plus a load of new items to place around the your base. Check out the road map to see where we are with remaining features.
Today is the last day in the office for us as Caroline and Hannah head off for their holiday breaks. We're all having a few glasses of Schloer this afternoon. Such decadence!
I'll be working a lot more polish into the game in the coming months, so let me know if you have any feedback on the latest build, Steam reviews are also very appreciated!
Maia 0.51 is now out on Steam and the members area. It's another really big release. Fixing a lot of the issues and omissions from the previous milestone and adding some cool new features. It also adds full 64 bit support with 32 bit compatibility for Windows. The full update blog by Caroline has all the detail.
Most notably, I have been creating some stand alone single player missions. For me these will help in the preparation for adding the campaign to the game and in testing the sandbox. For you, these will challenge your ability to get a solid base up and running and to deal with unforeseen events and emergencies.
Other changes include the chickens which now have a more detailed AI with their own wants and needs. They will eat, rest, roost, socialise and explore, and need to be fed if you want them to be a decent food-source. Despite all this they still love to self immolate.
The AI needs have also been overhauled. For instance colonists can now differentiate different pieces of research equipment and tasks, so they don't build all the easy things first and then forgot to build a terminal to ever actually do any computation.
On GUI and input, the email system is much improved and important emails now open immediately for the player. There are new warning emails for events like solar storms and mission success/failure screens that take you back to the menu. When mousing over an item, or placing it, there's now a lot more information about the item so there's a lot less estimation involved when planning your base.
In interaction, picking up and dropping build orders now makes more sense. In interaction mode you can click a hologram to pick the item up, re-engage build mode and move it. Right clicking drops out of that building mode. No need to press keys or the on screen buttons any more. There's a lot of things like this that need smoothing out, but soon the game's interactions will start feeling a lot more fluid.
I've put together a provisional road map for the next few milestones. This details all the large features and changes that are incoming to the game as we take it to completion.
There's a lot to do but we now have a nice solid build to implement those features and depth into.
I'm hoping to get at least one major update out by the start of December and another before the holidays. I'll keep you updated!
As promised I released Maia 0.50 this week. Here's a video of me playing through the current build:
This is the most stable and playable the game has ever been. As well as implementing whole raft of new features, I worked hard through the bank holiday and managed to kill all the critical bugs plaguing the game and also nail a massive one third of the issues in our tracker.
The game, whilst still very rough around the edges, has begun to come together really well. Watching robots get angry with the colonists, seeing the Megacephalalgia creatures enforcing their territory, it's all starting to look quite alive.
Last night I did a quick livestream and played a two and a half hour game without a crash or critical bug. We witnessed some really interesting and surprising emergent behaviours. At one point an IMP was carrying an occupied bodybag to the storage room, found it full, and then proceeded to walk to the furthest edge of the base, discovered a quiet corner and then hid the body in a dark side passage. I'm still absolutely creeped out by it and I have no idea how the robot decided to do that.
On the feature front the new climates, custom map generation and the Utility Robot are the biggest changes. Whilst we never made the stretch goal for the robot designer, I did agree with your feedback that we should work in more variation and roles for the robots. The Utility Bot is what I've come up with. The generic base is designed so it can mount all sorts of tools. In this build this allows you to create a useful repair robot, but it is designed to work with any logic we give it. For instance I could stick the top of the turret on it and suddenly we have a hunter killer droid. Alternatively a small radar to create a mobile weather research station or perhaps even some mining explosives and we have a remote activated demolition system.
I'm currently working on rebuilding the roadmap now we have reached the critical 0.50 milestone. There are a lot of big features still to go and a whole load of important small ones. For the former the first person mode, proper support for multiple bases, one off missions, the campaign etc. For the latter, the list is almost endless, but has the things that will make the game infinitely replayable such as more player choices and interaction, more subtlety in the AI, more items for the base, more research perks, more complex interactions between agents and of course lava. Lots of lava!
If you have any feedback on the game, or the updates, or anything! Do let me know. I'm very keen to kill every single bug in the tracker over the coming weeks, so report everything that catches your eye. Also if you are a Steam user, leaving us reviews is also super helpful as it's feedback for us and also helps potential new players figure out if the game is for them.
That's all for now. I'll be back with another post when we've pinned down the next update!