Happy New Year starchasers. I’d give some big speech about peace and love and the brotherhood of mankind, but you’re busy. So let’s move onto the REAL stuff.
First off, demo 1.95 is now out! This is a smaller update that contains a smattering (that’s a real word) of bugfixes, along with some new immersion features and more. Check out the changelog and give it a whirl!
Starting soon, we’ll be opening up the rest of the galaxy to our playtesters, hand-selected via advanced machine learning techniques on our Discord. You can check there for more information in the coming month. Now, let’s get into everything.
As always, this is a paraphrasing of the main article, which you can read here.
I’ll start by saying the most important thing: the plan now is for Underspace to be released in 2022. We’re at the stage now where so much of the game and its content is far enough along that I can give at least that vague release date with something resembling a kind of confidence.
The reason for that is that, as this month opens, the game is very much in a playable state. Indeed, it has more content and features than certain… other games it may have been inspired by. There’s a huge amount of things that can be seen, done, fought, and more.
Every star system is in, every station and equipment sold on that station is in. Of the 20 ambient bosses, 15 have their first drafts finished (as in, playable to completion but lacking polish), and of the game’s some 75 vignettes/points of interest, every single one has its first draft finished.
The first draft of the main campaign has been written and scripted, but not fully implemented. In general, quest and storyline work is one of the three big blockers that still remains. Many of these have their first drafts done, and around 20% are implemented to some capacity.
However there are well over 50 quests in the game, some of which can get quite extensive. The irony is that writing these takes far more time than actually putting them in game however. You can see more on what’s been done there in the questwork section.
The next big blocker is station/planet interiors. There’s no functional difference between the two, but we’re talking some 150 small levels that need to be detailed with plants, furniture. Jars of vegemite. Whatever people put in their homes. Jars of vegemite, right? Anyway this is one of the biggest blockers, but luckily we have extra level designers working day and night on it, leaving me free to do other things.
The final big blocker is multiplayer. That includes making sure singleplayer mechanics work, allowing for server hosting, and the massive amounts of bugtesting. This is my white whale right here. There’s not actually a whole lot to be implemented in fact. But implementation and smooth implementation when it comes to multiplayer are two different beasts.
Then there’s a smattering of your usual polishing, texturing, assetwork, etc, etc. Expect always to see this in between updates on new quests and space dungeons.
And that’s what has to be done. So, onto what has been done.
Questwork & Dialogue Improvements
As mentioned, I spent this last month writing the first drafts of as many quests as I possibly can. It’s not an easy task, as altogether you’re talking about six hundred or so pages of dialogue. Happily, that number has been majorly chipped away at, and of Underspace’s 58 or so sidequests, 18 remain.
Quests mean dialogue, so I’ve also spent the end of last month adding new camera controls to on-foot dialogue, allowing names, focused characters, and the camera to change on the fly. Good for sorta-cutscenes and multi-man conversations.
NPCs have lots of new things to say out in the stellar now too. Service ships can now repair and restock your ship, for a fee of course. Meanwhile Us traders (those green zombie ships) now carry and offer, if you can afford it, extremely expensive and rare items for the discerning starchaser.
And pirates now will shake you down for money, valuables, and your worldly possessions while raiding lanelines.
All these new features are in the new demo, so check it out!
I’ve gone and done a great deal of work on pathfinding. Again. The results are good though, no more NPCs flying through things. Hopefully.
Furthermore, you can now properly enter formation with ships and follow them at a good pace, I’ve even added dialogue controls to detect WHAT you’re in formation with.
Speaking of following, NPC followers are better about avoiding colliding with you. They’re a little more careful now.
Large ship colliders got a refactor. They’re far more accurate, but in addition can now specify weak points on a ship (where they take extra damage).
Some asteroid models got a rework to bring them up to the graphical standards of their fellow asteroids. Low poly asteroids on pirate bases and similar were also reworked into new models, because why not?
Your UI also now gives detailed information when it updates about WHAT it updated. A useful tool.
And finally, we’ve added booster rings. After all, there is racing in this game. What would a space race be without a booster ring?
Finally, there’s the usual modelings of bosses (not all of them though, we’re keeping a few things secret), alongside tilesets for big space dungeons. Because I know, deep down, you’ve wanted to fly through a space cathedral.
That’s all for this month, ideally next month I’ll have all quests written up, along with more content-related progress to share. Check back then!