Aven Colony - Paul T

(Full-size version here)

While the Aven Expedition first became aware of the presence of Sandworms during the mission to build a mining colony at Sandy Gulch, subsequent expeditions to Hyla's Crescent and Kelori Strand revealed the presence of a distant cousin, nicknamed "Water Worms" as they inhabit watery tunnels in the few forested areas of Aven Prime.

After some analysis, Expedition scientists determined that Sandworms and Water Worms do not build new holes all at once, as this would require them to move massive amounts of material. Rather, they are believed to build and expand their tunnels continuously throughout their life cycle, gradually digging out and widening their tunnel networks as they grow from tiny larvae to full-fledged mature worms over several decades. These holes are then adopted by their descendants.

Over time, several parts of Aven Prime have become riddled with these enormous underground tunnels, allowing both worm species to flourish.

It is believed that the four massive, bony "fang" structures visible near the mouths of both worm species have several purposes, not only assisting the burrowing process, but also serving as a defensive weapon and helping the worms clear out the occasional pests that attempt to infiltrate their tunnels.

Expedition scientists have also detected small earthquakes in areas with substantial worm populations. As both worm species are believed to be highly territorial, it is theorized that some of these quakes may be related to territorial struggles between the worms for control over different parts of the subterranean tunnel network.

Nearly all of the holes visible in Vanaar, Sandy Gulch, Kelori Strand, and the other landing zones are now believed to have been carved out by sandworms at some point.

Although both worm species occasionally take their territorial instincts out on human colonies of the Aven Expedition, it has been discovered that plasma shots from Watchdog Plasma Turrets will scare the worms into retreat without piercing the worms' thick hides or causing any lasting damage.


Water worms will be coming to the Aven Colony beta and demo in early July.

Stay tuned! We'll be announcing a new, even deadlier addition to Aven Colony next Friday, June 30.
Aven Colony - Paul T
Hi everyone,

We discovered some rare stability issues this morning and just posted a hotfix build.

The beta has been updated to 0.1.18886 and the demo build of Aven Colony (previously made available via a PC Gamer key giveaway and the Alienware Indie Game Challenge) has been updated to an equivalent build (0.1.18889).

There are no patch notes since the only changes are fixes for rare stability issues. This resolves all remaining known stability issues with Aven Colony.

Please be advised: if you saved a game in the last 5 days or so and encounter any issues, please try the following:

  • Load the game
  • Save it
  • Load it again from that save

This may be helpful in some cases to clear out a few rare issues with bad save files.

If you encounter any further issues, please let us know in the Forums!
Aven Colony - Paul T
Hi everyone,

The demo build of Aven Colony (previously made available via a PC Gamer key giveaway and the Alienware Indie Game Challenge) had an issue where it was impossible to see saved games in sandbox games.

This bug did not exist in the beta itself and only happened in the demo.

It is now fixed with update 0.1.18856.
Aven Colony - Paul T

Hi everyone,

We don't normally do updates on weekends, but we wanted to push out a quick hotfix to resolve a few rare stability issues and other bugs reported by a few players. Here's the full changelist:

New features:
  • When dragging a chart from the Statistics tab, right-clicking or dropping the chart back on the chart dialog now cancels dragging.
  • Completing chart dragging now prevents the click from performing any other actions, such as selection.

Art improvements and fixes:
  • Improved rocks in wetlands maps.
  • You can now occasionally see citizens entering and exiting the elevator in Skyscrapers.
  • Wind and heat distortion in desert maps now pause properly.
  • Improved colors and materials on the Life Support Module.
  • Improved load/save menu buttons.
  • Improved dragonfly wing effects.
  • Improved lake in Vanaar (consistent with other wetlands maps).
  • Fixed a visual glitch in the Azara Falls lake.
  • Fixed waterfall splashes in Azara Falls not pausing.

Tuning / balancing / minor changes:
  • Tweaked the cargo pods and mineral deposits in nearly all campaign maps to have fewer total minerals available at Challenging, Hard, and Insane difficulty.
  • All mineral deposits now have more minerals in them in campaign mode at Easy, Beginner, and Cakewalk difficulty (up to 2x quantity at Cakewalk).
  • Moved resupply pods inside the range of the starting Construction Drone Hub in a few maps.
  • Azara Falls: remover a Wind Turbine at Insane difficulty.
  • Fixed a few over-zealous blocked tiles in Azara Falls.

Bug fixes:
  • Fixed an issue with farmed tiles disappearing when dragging buildings over them for placement.
  • Fixed a bug where imploding a Mine loaded from a saved game could cause issues.
  • Fixed a relatively rare stability issue.

Bear in mind that we've got a lot more going on under the hood that we haven't announced yet ... keep your eyes peeled for announcements over the next few weeks.

Thank you for being part of the Aven Colony community!
Aven Colony - Paul T

Aven Prime is a science fiction game. Although we generally emphasize the fiction over the science, it's important to recognize that there is, in fact, real science behind Aven Prime.

Early in development, we reached out to Prof. Abel Méndez, Planetary Astrobiologist and Director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at UPR Arecibo, and peppered him with questions related to habitable extrasolar worlds.

Although we felt it best to leave most of the gritty scientific details out of the game (we broadly agree with Jeff Vogel that less text is usually better and in-game text not related to gameplay should be minimized), we thought it would be a good idea to gather the definitive answers to scientific questions here.

What kind of world is Aven Prime?

It's a moon around an alien gas giant. Probably the closest analogue is Pandora from the movie "Avatar": a moon around a gas giant with an atmosphere that isn't really breathable by humans.

How far is it from Earth?

10 light-years. All members of the Aven Expedition were frozen in cryostasis during the journey, which took much more than 10 years.

The Aven Expedition consists of roughly 10,000 colonists on a single massive colony ship. The colony ship drops down Prometheus Landers and a few inflatable modules onto various parts of the world in order to build a new human civilization.

What constellation is it in, and what planet does it map to?

Like Pandora from "Avatar" or Tattooine from "Star Wars," Aven Prime is a fictional planet -- It does not map to a specific known world. However, as we can see from the recently-discovered earthlike worlds in the TRAPPIST system, it's scientifically realistic.

What's the atmosphere like? How are there plants, but people can't breathe it?

Aven Prime's atmosphere is slightly thinner than earth's, and has more nitrogen and CO2 compared to earth, and 1/4 as much oxygen. So while it's not toxic to humans and does have oxygen, it's not really breathable and requires the colony to be hermetically sealed.

However, just as with Pandora from "Avatar," the atmosphere is quite friendly to plant life.

Can you explain the seasons and day/night cycle?

Time on Aven Prime is divided into sols. Each "sol" lasts roughly as long as 1 week on earth. It's essentially a "day."

The beginning of the sol is divided into "spring," "summer," and "fall" seasons, which are of course much shorter than seasons on Earth. The "winter" season is nighttime, and the only light is reflected from Aven Prime's gas giant.

What's the gravity of Aven Prime compared to earth?

Aven Prime has roughly 93% of earth's gravity.

When does this all take place?

Five centuries in the future. Humanity has already built small colonies on Mars, the moon, and several of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, in addition to various floating space colonies, and has finally developed the technology required to reach another star system.

Where is Earth in all this? Has the Earth been destroyed?

No, Earth is fine. The Aven Expedition is in contact with Earth but communication takes 10 years since it's 10 light-years away (actually 20 years for a full back-and-forth dialogue).

There have been a few tumultuous events on Earth -- listen closely to an Earth History Center and you can hear about some of them! Many of the nations we know today no longer exist or have changed radically since the 21st century.

But Earth and the human civilization that thrive on it are both doing A-OK, and humanity's continued prosperity is what enabled the Aven Expedition.

Why was Aven Prime chosen for the first expedition outside the solar system?

The Aven Prime system offered the best combination of proximity to earth and multiple habitable worlds.

Can you explain the different environments / biomes?

Just like Earth, Aven Prime has many different biomes (environments).

Similar to Mars, Aven Prime once had many seas and oceans which since receded and evaporated. Unlike Mars, though, Aven Prime had a great deal more water, and although it's generally a bit drier than Earth, much of that water still remains.

  • The polar regions have "arctic" biomes broadly similar to the colder parts of Earth. This includes the Azara Falls and Tenari Glacier maps.
  • The hot equatorial zones have "desert" biomes. This includes the game's Sandy Gulch, Arido Mesa, and Valley of Death maps.
  • A handful of areas are "wetlands" similar to forested areas of Earth. These include the Vanaar, Hyla's Crescent, and Kelori Strand maps.
  • Finally, a few of the ancient seabeds are full of crushed micro-crystals of azurite that give the terrain a distinctive blue tint. These exist in some of the very harshest corners of Aven Prime, and they include the Eden Crater map and the Cerulean Vale preorder map.

What sort of star(s) does Aven Prime have in its system?

Just like Earth, Aven Prime exists in a world with a single type-G, yellow star.

Those huge crystals seem super unrealistic ...

The crystals are made from lightweight minerals that formed early in Aven Prime's development in wet subterranean caves. The lighter gravity combined with trapped bubbles of CO2 and nitrogen allowed them to grow to a larger size than even the largest crystals on earth.

Giant crystals do in fact exist on earth: see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5pAzqmHBGI

The Aven Expedition is currently unaware of any particular use for these crystals; however, that may change in the future.

How are earth crops able to grow in Aven's soil?

The soil of Aven Prime has most of the same basic chemicals as soil on Earth and similar pH levels in most areas (excluding "badlands" maps where only native crops grow). The soil does require fertilization with Earth bacteria and other microorganisms in order to be sufficiently friendly to Earth crops; however, all Farms and Greenhouses automatically perform this fertilization as needed.

What's the "potash" that I see in a lot of the missions?

Potash is not science fiction at all; it's a potassium-based fertilizer commonly used on Earth: http://www.pda.org.uk/what-is-potash/

I hear that Aven Prime also has its own native edible plant types? How would an alien world have crops that are edible by humans and compatible with human biochemistry?

All the "crop" types native to Aven Prime require chemical processing at a Mill or a Chemical Plant in order to be converted to food edible by humans. This modifies their chemistry at a fundamental level.

So while you can grow native crops much more quickly than earth crops, the native crops require special chemical processing that rice, quinoa, melons, etc do not.

Are there other habitable worlds in the Aven Prime system?

Yes! There are several, in fact, and some of them are quite similar to Aven Prime. We hope to visit some of them in future sequels or expansions.

I can see from the screenshots that there's life on Aven Prime, but is there intelligent life?

That question can only be answered by playing the game.

Thank you for being a part of the Aven Colony community. Have more science-related questions? Post them in the comments and we'll do our best to answer them!

Aven Colony - Paul T

Hi everyone!

The main beta branch on Steam was updated a few moments ago, and we'll be updating the "Demo" shortly, too, for those playing via the Alienware Indie Game Challenge or the PC Gamer demo key giveaway.

The major changes in the build include a couple of major optimizations, along with support for Razer Chroma keyboards and in-game key remapping, plus a fix for the bug with autosave files appearing multiple times in the load/save dialog.

However, we spent most of our time over the last few weeks working on a few top-secret new features! We're not ready to announce them quite yet, but keep your eyes peeled ... we'll be announcing some exciting additions to Aven Colony in the near future!

New features:
  • You can now remap keys in-game! Previously, you could only change key bindings from the main menu
  • Added a new key mapping "TogglePause" which will toggle between being paused and the speed before the pause was toggled (or 1x otherwise!). This will allow you to -- for example -- remap the pause key to the space bar so it will work Cities-Skylines-style.
  • Added support for Razer Chroma keyboard lighting effects! https://www2.razerzone.com/chroma
  • Added two new statistics to the Stats tab in the Colony Control Panel: "Housing % Filled" and "Colonists Fed & Hydrated"
  • Added a new "Total" morale stat to the "Morale" category for the Stats tab -- this is exactly the same as the existing "Happiness" game data type but it's useful for viewing aggregate happiness in charts with other morale types
  • Policy dialog: you can now click on the policies themselves to toggle them; you don't need to click the check box specifically

Art improvements and fixes:
  • Lots of little UI improvements
  • Re-painted the landscapes for most maps to properly accommodate the different placement of mineral deposits, geothermal vents, etc in both campaign and sandbox flavors
  • Added a bit of grass to the green parts of arctic maps (Azara Falls and Tenari Glacier)
  • Reduced bloom during Winter

Performance Improvements:
  • Major improvements to performance when dragging buildings around the colony for placement
  • Major improvements to performance in overlays
  • Various optimizations to police, construction, and decontamination drones

Bug fixes:
  • Fixed an issue with the auto-save appearing too many times in the load/save dialogs
  • Fixed an issue with Veronika's voice-over not properly un-ducking and returning the music to its proper volume in some cases in the main menu
  • Fixed issues where placing a building that was currently being rotated could end up with a building with a really weird rotation

Thank you for being a part of the Aven Colony community!
Aven Colony - Paul T

We've just received word from NVIDIA that Ansel now supports Aven Colony 360-degree screenshots!

Here are the instructions:

  1. If you're using an NVIDIA video card, make sure you have the very latest NVIDIA drivers installed, and that Aven Colony is up-to-date. If you don't have an NVIDIA video card, you'll need one to use Ansel.
  2. Run NvCameraConfiguration.exe. For example, this is likely to be in "C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\Ansel\Tools"
  3. Once NvCameraConfiguration.exe is running, make sure that NvCamera is enabled. You can choose your own Hotkey which you will use in the game to activate Ansel. The default is Alt+F2, but we recommend remapping this as Aven Colony uses the F2 key by default (I map to Ctrl-F11, right next to the Steam screenshot key, F12). It's helpful to configure the Snapshots Directory - that is where the Ansel screenshots will be saved!
  4. Run Aven Colony and use the hotkey that you defined earlier and the Ansel UI will appear. You can use WSAD plus holding the left mouse button and moving the mouse to get the camera to the perfect location.
  5. Set the "Capture type" to be 360 degrees and choose the resolution of the screenshot. The final size will be much smaller than 1.0GB, but you do need at least that much free space while the screenshot is being taken.
    Once you're happy, click "Snap." Note that Ansel may take 30 seconds or more to generate the shot.
  6. To view the screenshot, you can upload the image to Google Photos or to Facebook. We've found that both automatically detect that it's an Ansel screenshot and will let the viewer move the camera around the 3D scene!

If you take Ansel screenshots, be sure to tag us at @AvenColony and @MothershipTeam on Twitter and / or Facebook so we can retweet your shots!

Here are some of our prior Ansel screenshots (posted on Facebook, which has built-in panoramic screenshot support):

Hyla's Crescent - birds

Hyla's Crescent - Plasma Turrets and shard storm

Sandy Gulch

Tenari Glacier - small colony with protesters

Tenari Glacier - large colony

Eden Crater
Aven Colony

UPDATE: We're all out! Thanks to everyone who grabbed a key

Original story: Yesterday publisher Team17 announced sci-fi city builder Aven Colony would be coming out in just over a month, July 25. But you don't have to wait that long to get your hands on it, because we're giving away 5,000 Steam keys for an early demo of Aven Colony!

The demo will remain playable until the week before its launch, right around July 18. It will give you access to the first two training missions, a campaign biome, and a sandbox biome. So to be perfectly clear, this is not the full game, and will not turn into the full game on launch. 

If you want to guarantee you get a key next time we do a giveaway, you should join the PC Gamer Club! All Club members get early access to giveaways like this, and were sent their Aven Colony demo keys 24 hours in advance. There are many more giveaways to come, as well as lots of other perks, like an ad-free site and a digital subscription to PC Gamer magazine, so sign up today and cut the line.

Aven Colony

Sci-fi city builder Aven Colony has officially set a release date, planning to launch on July 25. Last year, Evan described an early version of it as "SimCity in space, but with sand worms," which is a strong pitch. While a beta version of Aven Colony had briefly been sold on itch.io, this will mark the actual, full launch of the game. 

Aven Colony is available to pre-purchase for $30 on Steam right now. Pre-purchasing will get you a 10% discount and access to a new sandbox map called the Cerulean Vale free, though, as always, we recommend waiting for reviews.

In related news, we've been given exclusive keys for an early demo of Aven Colony to give away tomorrow, so come back then for a chance to give it a spin. And if you're a member of the the PC Gamer Club, you should find you already have that key in your mail! We'll be periodically sending our Club members first dibs on beta key and demo giveaways, so sign up today and cut the line. 

Aven Colony - ellie_team17
We’re pleased to announce that Aven Colony launches on 25th July!

What’s more, you can pre-order right now to receive 10% off and access to bonus sandbox map Cerulean Vale – a treacherous ancient seabed. Barren and hostile, do you have what it takes to survive this crystalline wasteland?

Just in case you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, Aven Colony is a sci-fi city builder from Texan developers Mothership Entertainment. You are given the not so simple task of building, exploring and protecting your colony to ensure the survival of the human race on alien planet Aven Prime. Nurture settlements in vast wetlands, snowy tundra and perilous deserts and create a safe haven for humans on Aven Prime.

With a dedicated campaign and story, plus an expansive sandbox mode, there’s plenty of opportunity to delve into Aven Prime’s mysterious past or just grow accustomed to the locals.

You can pre-order Aven Colony now to receive 10% off and access to bonus sandbox map Cerulean Vale!

Good luck Governors!

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