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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Binary Helix Modding Team! We are excited to post our newest Dev Diary, including a release date for ME:BtR 1.0!

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Ho-Ho-Ho! Reapers? Santa has dismissed that claim!

But what he hasn’t dismissed is the BtR team and their constant, alcoholic eggnog fueled nights of working on 1.0! Last you heard from us in a major way was on November 7th, promising that vague “holiday” release date that all the big-boy dev companies like to throw around when they aren’t sure if something is going to be ready by Christmas.

Fear not, we aren’t going to say that we actually meant holiday of next year. Instead, we are here to announce that alongside milk and cookies, Santa is going to be dev testing 1.0’s final build this holiday weekend with us here at Binary Helix!

That’s right, folks, we are here to say that coding is finally done and that we have moved onto bug squashing. Luckily, Lead Dev Puck was on the nice list, and we don’t think he got a lot of glitches in his stocking this year. That means we can finally give you all a firm release date for 1.0, barring the anti-Santa being born to one of our dev team members.

Beyond the Relays 1.0 will officially launch on January 1st, 2023 - the last possible day that could be considered “holiday season”. Cheeky? We know, but we are very proud of all the work the team has done, and we think that you all will enjoy the updates to our much cleaner, far less buggy build.

For those of you who like to use our sub-mod, Beyond the Advisors, a bonus advisor for BtA only will also be launching alongside 1.0 on January 1st. The showcase video for this advisor will also premier the name of the next BtA update to give you all a hint of what the next 4 advisors to appear in both mods will be.

But enough of all that noise, let's go over what you’ll be getting your hands on January 1st!


Hey everyone, Puck here to give a breakdown on what all you can expect in our 1.0 release. Some of you might recall, but with the release of Stellaris 3.4 we ran into some pretty rough issues with the update. This was really due to two primary factors - our general inexperience in modding Stellaris, and the haphazard nature that was taken in integrating mods that were making up for content we didn’t yet know how to create ourselves. About a month into attempts to update 3.4, we took a holistic look at what we’d been working on and the state of the mod, and it became quickly apparent that the current state of things wasn’t sustainable as a foundation for us to continue to develop ME:BtR.

A full Mod rebuild -

With that realization we made the difficult decision to instead start development completely over with a complete ground-up rewrite of roughly 90% of the mod. Previously integrated mods were completely removed, the most notable example being Planetary Diversity and its submods. PD is an incredible set of mods, but it didn’t quite fit what we need for ME:BtR and so part of our complete rebuild included the creation of Beyond the Worlds - a Stellaris Planetary Overhaul with a Mass Effect spin on it. Mass Effect Civilizations and Mass Effect Crucible also saw large portions of their content being removed, with the majority of content from those two mods largely being art assets. This is not any disrespect to either of those mods, ME:C is a staple for a lot of Mass Effect fans, and we have a ton of respect for Team Nessassity - they do incredible work. Instead we wanted to be able to ensure that balancing and representation of each empire was within the scope of our design. Crucible’s code is heavily out of date and it would take as much if not more work to review each file and figure out what did and didn’t need updating as well as balancing for ME:BtR.

So what is in 1.0?

The above adjustments will already have a tangible impact on what you will see in 1.0 vs what was in our Beta release over a year ago, so what can you expect in our first full release?

Beyond the Advisors is fully integrated into ME:BtR


  • Beyond the Worlds -
    • A full planetary overhaul featuring a full integration of the Real Space series of mods.
    • A planetary subclass system based on the core framework of Real Space: New Frontiers, but with our own custom set of subclasses unique to RS:NF. Some of these will be familiar, some will be new. Each comes with 5 unique planet textures. With 4 unique subclasses per habitable planet class, and each texture variant having an additional 5 potential atmosphere colors, no two planets will look alike!
    • Full representation of the various Mass Effect species unique planetary preferences -
      • Dextro variants of each planet class/subclass for Turians/Quarians
      • High Gravity variants for Elcor
      • Ammonia worlds for Volus
      • Full integration of Real Space: Planetary Stations, updated to account for some of the unique habitability possibilities represented in Mass Effect. Non-ammonia races are able to build planetary stations on Toxic atmosphere worlds, etc.
    • Full compatibility with the 4K texture back for Beyond the Worlds (we HIGHLY recommend it, planets in Stellaris never looked so good!)

BtW


  • An Overhauled Galaxy Map -
    • At release, 1.0 will only have one 600 system map size. This is 219 more systems than we had in our beta release. We originally intended to have more in 1.0, but we’ve kept you all waiting long enough. After the initial wave of any needed hotfixes (and a slight break from development for sanity’s sake) creating a few additional variants of the map will be one of our first focuses.
    • 155 star clusters - those of you who’ve played ME:BtR know that BtR plays differently than any other mod in Stellaris. No longer is there a galaxy spanning hyperlane network. Each star cluster has anywhere from 2-10 stars inside it, with every system connected to every other system in that cluster via Hyperlanes, and no hyperlanes leaving that cluster. Having each star cluster siloed and connected to other clusters only through the Mass Relay network shifts focus from trying to find that perfect chokepoint, to instead focusing on having to control Mass Relay systems. As an added effect, the ability to completely close off another empire’s border access is removed, you can tell them borders are closed, but they’re still able to traverse through your territory if they desire. As you can imagine, the above all leads to a very different experience.
  • A Fully Realized and Improved Mass Relay Network
    • As mentioned above, Relays are the only way to travel from Star Cluster to Star Cluster. True to Mass Effect lore, the two different types of relays have different functionality - secondary relays connect to multiple other secondary relays within their general vicinity, while Primary Relays cover longer distances, connecting only to one other Primary Relay.
    • In our beta last year, a common point of feedback we received was that it was difficult to determine which relays connected to which. The addition of secondary relays only made this more urgent of an issue to address, and we think we have come up with an elegant solution to this problem.
    • The galaxy map’s overlay has received an overhaul as well - alongside the standard 5 primary sectors that Mass Effect has represented the Milky Way with, we have gone through and divided the galaxy map into subsectors consisting of anywhere from 1-5 systems. WIthin the borders of a subsector, all secondary relays connect to one another, just like gateways in vanilla. Primary Relays on the other-hand, will only connect to a Primary Relay in a neighboring subsector. Almost universally you will find that it will be the Primary Relay closest to the Primary Relay you’re looking at using.
    • As an added bonus, each subsector has been labeled with an identifying designation, making it easy to quickly reference in multiplayer games as needed.

Galaxy Map


  • A Custom Soundtrack
    • Composed by Binary Helix’s own Waseem Faraz Butt and supplemented with tracks provided by Sebdoom with his permission.
  • 21 Custom Built Empires
    • More than just your standard prescripted empires, each ME:BtR Empire will include unique custom content consisting of the following:
      • Origins
      • Civics
      • AI personalities
      • Traits
      • Technologies
      • Buildings
      • Homeworld Deposits
      • Starting Economies
      • Lore accurate empire territory
      • Custom Empire Modifiers covering everything from Opinion modifiers due to recent events to buffs/debuffs to the empire’s strengths and weaknesses.
      • New Portraits and shipsets are still currently in development, so assets previously posted on the Workshop and made available for public use are still used where applicable.
    • You’ll notice a few empires missing from 1.0 on release. These are are a bit more mechanically heavy and as such we want to make sure they’re done right, but here’s a bit of insight into how they will be represented. (Disclaimer: These are subject to change as development progresses, but are the current plans in place.) -
      • Cerberus -
        • The ultimate tall empire - gameplay will be focused on starting with a limited number of hidden Space stations (colonies) and will be unable to expand their territory or colonize planets. Playstyle instead will be focused on infiltration of other empires via branch offices and covert bases built on uncolonized worlds. To help balance this, Cerberus’ systems will only be accessible via a unique IFF technology.
      • Migrant Fleet -
        • A truly nomadic empire - something that hasn’t yet been done to satisfaction in Stellaris, the Migrant Fleet will start with a unique solar system completely disconnected from the galaxy map as a whole which serves only to represent the Migrant Fleet itself. It will contain 3 Liveships (planets) representing the 3 liveships in lore, each representing the production and status of the Migrant Fleet.
        • On the galaxy map itself, the fleet will be represented on the galaxy map as just that, a fleet. Containing the mobile representation of the Migrant Fleet, production and manufacturing of ships will be done through a unique variant of ship based on Vanilla’s Juggernaut. Navigate and protect the Migrant Fleet while trying to harvest resources via your pops’ pilgrimages, surveying worlds, and trade long enough to be able to reclaim Rannoch from the Geth.
      • The Collectors -
        • As one of the precursors to the Reapers, the Collectors will be represented as one of our mid-game crises, and their design and mechanics are still a work in progress. Once we are able to provide a balanced representation of their Crises mechanics, we will release a playable version.

Main Menu


What is next after 1.0?

Overall, the scope of the mod as of 1.0 will be similar to that found in our original beta release. While we know that everyone (ourselves included) is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Reapers (I’m not indoctrinated I swear) we still have a deep roadmap of content we are committed to working through. Not everything here will make it into our final releases, nor will it necessarily progress in this order, but just to give an idea of some of the things we have cooking in the background:

  • Bug Fixing & Balancing - The first few weeks to month after release is going to be focused on bug-fixing and feedback. We’re confident that 1.0 will be a much cleaner state when compared to even the latest version of the Beta, but we also know that no matter how much bugtesting we do, it can’t compare to a full public release.We’re committed to polishing and improving the state of the mod before moving on to further content development.
  • Galaxy Scenario Expansion - More map sizes, just homeworld starts, etc. We know that everyone has their preferred map size and some people prefer the more traditional single system start Stellaris offers over our full Empire start, and we want to accommodate that.
  • Full economy overhaul - a complete overhaul of the galactic economy, with the removal/repurposing of vanilla resources and implementation of resources from Mass Effect lore.
  • Full Warfare overhaul - New ship-classes, new components and weapons, and an overhaul of ship behaviors to provide a true to lore representation of Mass Effect ship combat.
  • Galactic Community Overhaul - Full representation of the Citadel Council, a complete overhaul in how borders are managed and consequences for trespassing on sovereign territory.
  • Further Empire development - unique event chains for each empire that can shape their entire place in the galaxy, additional technologies, etc.
  • Precursor Crises
    • The Geth Incursion, The Collectors, Cerberus - Each in their own way working to further the arrival or success of the Harvest. Precursors to the Reapers, each will be represented, each will test the galactic community’s ability to prolong the inevitable.
  • Additional Crises
    • Alongside the above lore-friendly Crises, additional threats loom both known and unknown - a rebirth of the Rachni Swarm? The Thorian going full determined exterminator? Issues with AI? Each of these are potential ideas we have tossed around. While still in the early brainstorming phase, there is a lot we have on the drawing board.
  • The Reapers
    • They’re coming.

As a general update on the team’s status, we have added a few new artists to the team who are currently busy at work helping us upgrade our art game. New Shipsets, New Portraits, and additional art are all currently being worked on, and will be announced and released as they are completed.

Development of ME:BtR continues, and we hope that you all are as excited as we are about the future of the mod!

From all of us, to all of you, Happy Holidays!!! And just in case you missed it, be sure to check out our N7 trailer below!


We should go.

  • Binary Helix
Comments
Zyryanoff
Zyryanoff - - 3 comments

Keep up the hard work but don't kill yourself!
Merry xmas and thanks for the update! Waiting!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
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