Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games


Happy Holidays Everybody!

Good news! We are putting out a new Alpha build today!

This build will include things we’ve been working on for the last while.
For more information about what this includes, check out our last two blog posts http://www.astrobasecommand.com/news/
Or check out this video that actually shows what the new features and upgrades look like.

Astrobase Command on Youtube

As you might suspect, there is a lot more depth to the features (especially AstroFleet) than is being shown in the video.

We had to cut things down for brevity and plan on making future content where we go in more depth

We’re still in Closed Alpha. So no capturing of content from Astrobase Command just yet!

If you want to play but you don’t have the game you can buy it on our website or on itch.io.
On the other hand, if you’re a Kickstarter backer that backed at beta or lower tier you can upgrade to Alpha at any time. We mailed information about how to do this in the past, if you can’t find that information right now don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Want to chat with us or other players about the game? Come join us at discord.gg/jellyfishgames

Interested in supporting the work we’re doing on an ongoing basis? Check out our patreon.com/jellyfishgames
Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games
Hi Everybody!

This week we’re talking about some of the other small, medium, and even big things we’ve been working on since we last put out an Alpha update (aside from the Astrofleet app in our last post).
There’s a mix of station simulation event features, UI/UX changes, and upgrades to visuals.

We haven’t put out a new build to the alpha players yet, but it’s coming extremely soon(tm).

Inspect nodes

You know how in RPGs you might see a magnifying glass over a piece of junk in-game, and when you click it flavor text would pop-up which reads “This is a piece of junk.” Since Astrobase Command is (in-part) an RPG we have something similar. But because you are playing with a fully simulated space station, this flavor text isn’t fluff at all — it actually represents the game state. An object is a “piece of junk” because it was once a functioning element of the station that didn’t get repaired. When you click on something in ABC you get text that describes its actual circumstance.

Currently this is implemented for work-related game-play elements as the foundation. As we further the develop the stories, the same feature will be used for story-specific content. So you can click on objects in the game world and always see what’s happening!

Station Atmosphere

Also added to the game are: fresh air, climate and pollution. You will need to build air pumps to create fresh air which characters deplete by breathing, and air purifiers to filter out smog which is created by some non-environmentally-friendly sections. On the flip-side of fresh air you have pollution, whose existence in a module you’ll be able to spot with your naked eye, especially if it’s getting very polluted. You can also vent the atmosphere in a module.

Climate represents how hot or cold a module is and how comfortable it is for the occupants. The sections and components contribute to the module’s overall climate. Next step is making perishable resources expire and turn into waste if they’re not kept cold enough. So it’s a good idea to build cargo sections with refrigeration if you want to store food there!

Fires

When an explosion occurs, such as from reactive resources in a module without the benefit of compartments, or from failed reactor tasks, this will now start a fire! The fire will burn through industrial and organic resources in a module. Compartments function as fire-breaks. Fires produce smoke and require air, which means venting a module can put out a fire. The fires are of course also represented visually both directly and through changes in lighting.

Derelict Stat

This is a summation of how busted a module is. It takes into account the repair status of its sections and components, and also the atmospheric conditions. As a next step, morale of a module’s occupants will be influenced by how derelict the module is. Nobody likes to live or work in a run-down module!

Selection User Experience

Selecting things on the station (Modules, Sections, Crew, etc) has received upgrade. We had a look at how to make this better and not only have the visuals been changed but the mechanics behind it have been reworked and polished.

Additonaly, the info panel for characters has (as was always intended) been replaced by the Rolodex card.

Construction Visualization

As we’ve talked about previously we put in some effects to show the progression and state of construction in progress.

This has now received a major upgrade and things should be much more clear as to what’s happening.

Notices

Notices for things that aren’t urgent are now bundled avoid spamming the inbox.

Ships Docking

The ships you control through the Astrofleet app show up at the station and dock with the available docks at your station.

Medicine

The medical section now works and has a job. If your crew gets wounded they will seek medical attention and get treated by the person you have assigned to the job.

Asteroid Shooter

The Asteroid Shooter app is again available on the datapad.

Post Processing

We set up the post processing effects for Astrobase Command a very long time ago. Since then there have come out some updated and much better effects from unity. So instead of using a hodgepodge of effects from many years ago we’re now mainly using the super powerful post processing stack that comes with unity. This superior visuals at better performance and less fragility. All good stuff.

Aside from things directly looking better, this has allowed us to pump up the sunlight intensity. Which allows a better contrast between indoor and outdoor light without blowing out the light areas or making the dark areas pitch black.

Additionally we now use the post effects to communicate when the players actions change context, for example when you pull up the desk space behind it gets blurred a bit.

Emotions and Sleeping

The now express their emotions through animations when having discussions with each other. Their visual responses to their conversations shows you how they actually feel about things. If they find it funny they will perhaps giggle, but if they get infuriated you should be able to see that they are angry.

In the past the crew would always sleep in the same pose. We have now made a few more poses available to them so you’ll see more variations while you’re watching them sleep. Wait, why are you watching them sleep?

Characters Walking, Jogging, and Running

In order to better show what is going on with the character at a glance they are now no longer limited to a single walk animation and speed. Instead they will now additionally walk slowly and tiredly if they are exhausted, jog if they are in a hurry, or sprint as fast as they can when there is an emergency.
For example, if they find themselves in a section that’s on fire you’ll see them booking it as to avoid getting injured or killed.

New Nebulae

One of the earliest graphics that were made for the environment was the Nebulae. They were always in need of upgrade. And here it is.

The previous solution would procedurally generate textures that were used in a static sky-box and was limited to the tools available in Substances. While it’s a powerful tool it wasn’t intended to be used for that.

The new solution involves procedurally generating a volumetric cloud with stars in a way that creates an entirely unique layout for each game you start.

Depending on how powerful your hardware is you can even choose to run this at real-time.
Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games
Designer’s Log — 06.343.137

This week’s blog is about an exciting feature we’ve been implementing for some time called “AstroFleet” which is about sending ships on adventures to procedural planets and star systems using a Datapad App. The ships are crewed by characters from your Astrobase that you’ve assigned and the adventures are reported back to you in each ship’s log. The internal name for this adventure mode is “CRPG” because the high-level idea is that you’re playing a 4x-lite game in a galaxy map view and each planet or space adventure takes place as a CRPG presented though ship logs in procedural text. Astrobase Command is all about A.I. characters with personalities making autonomous decisions, so the boots on the ground are in control of their own stories but you can in some situations override their choices (which is something the characters won’t like).

Additionally the AstroFleet adventures can cause personality shifts. A character who makes a plan and fails might think next time he or she should be more spontaneous, while a character who makes a plan and succeeds will reinforce his alignment towards organization. We have a very deep personality engine behind this with dozens of unique interrelated aspects to fulfill the vision of Characters are People. This is in addition to skills, stats, relationships, and other attributes which drive the story forward after a decision is made. So for example characters can take wounds and die because their personality decided to enter a specific scenario where the crew lacked sufficient skills to meet the challenges. And then later the dead will be mourned by loved ones, if there is indeed someone who loves them or someone whose personality is prone to melancholy.

This post is called “Closing the Game Loop” for good reason. There is currently a Datapad App called Resupply which has the internal working name of Temporary Resource Acquisition. Finally we can disable this cartridge because resupplying your Astrobase will come from sending characters on adventures to places that have the resources you need. We will also disable the Temporary Crew Acquisition where Recruit Forms drop daily out of the sky, because instead your ships will be picking up galactic refugees and new recruits with your stamped approval.

We are at a great place in the production where we can use all these tools to earnestly begin world-building and implementing story and gameplay content without getting blocked by missing bits of the foundation.

This was a lot to cover and in addition to AstroFleet we have even more features being added to the game. Next week we’ll talk about more gameplay happening on the station and upgraded visuals!

(Dave uses Influence)
Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games
Hi Everybody!

As you know we’ve been a bit quiet for a while as we’ve toiled away on getting some major features into the game.
But now we’re reaching a point where we’re soon(tm) going to be getting back to more regularly putting out builds and putting out more blog posts (with this being the first step to the latter).

Builds

In fact, we’ve already put out two builds across the last three weeks to our Immediate Access backers. In these builds everything is largely there but there is a little bit of work before we’re happy putting it in front of our Alpha backers. In a sense I guess that these builds are Alpha Candidates.

As you might imagine, since there has been a lot of time between when we last put out an Alpha build and now for us to be able to put in some major systems, we’ve also had a lot of time to look over the look and feel of the game. So be prepared that, although a lot of things remain as you know them, some things can look pretty different from what you may have gotten used to.

If everything goes to plan we’ll have a Alpha Candidate that is able to make the leap to become an Alpha Release very soon. After which we will aim at putting out new builds much more regularly, just like we did in the past.

Blog

For the blog we want to get back to a weekly schedule in order to give better insight into the going ons of the project.
In the next blog post we’ll be going through an overview of what has actually been added/changed since the last Alpha we put out, and in the posts following that we’ll get back to talking about what work we’ve been doing during the week.

Got questions?

Come chat with us at https://discord.gg/jellyfishgames

P.S. I had meant to write and put out this blog post before the weekend but I got a bit distracted with fixing a newly discovered bug for the build we were making at the same time.
Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games
Hey Guys!

In our Kickstarter campaign we had somehow set *both* the date for the Beta release and full release for November 2018, which makes no sense (someone failed an editing check!).

Since that date is coming up relatively soon we’re going to take this opportunity to clear things up and talk about the roadmap in general.

Where are we at?

A little more than a year ago today we released the Alpha version, this contained the core base building and simulation systems as well as characters living their lives in the base. Since then we’ve been hard at work making our way towards the full game experience.

We’re now getting super close to having the in previous blog posts mentioned Missions and Events (and some other new shiny things) available for our early testers. Once that is done and we are happy with the playability of the game we aim to bring out the results as our Beta version.

This will essentially be a fully functional version of the game where all the main features are available but without a full array of content connected to them. If you are an experienced beta tester, you will know that bugs and balance issues are to be expected.

With that in mind, the Beta period is intended for our Beta players (especially Kickstarter Beta Backers!) to try out the game and give us feedback, all while we continue to polish, bugfix, and add the remaining content to the game.

What does this actually mean as far as dates go?

For the moment we’re still in Alpha but as soon as we’re happy that Astrobase Command is stable and enjoyable enough for Beta we plan to release the Beta version.

Getting things just right can be quite tricky and we’re still not in a state where we can accurately commit to an exact date without risking releasing something that’s not good enough.

Right now we aim to relase the Beta in Q4 2018 and the full release in 2019.

Got questions?

Come chat with us at https://discord.gg/jellyfishgames
Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games
Hey everyone, Daniel here!

I’m the guy who makes the graphics for Astrobase Command.

We’ve been at it plugging away on Astrobase Command at good speed since the last blog post we put out but I wanted to take this post and focus on a narrower slice of the work I’ve been doing.

As you may know, I joined the team in early 2014. Since then I’ve replaced the art style, every art asset (sometimes with several iterations), and made many new ones. With one big exception… the logo. True, one of the first things I did was to make the existing logo a bit more appealing and in tune with the retro style, but it was very much still the same design as before.

Ever since then it’s been one of those things I kept wanting to get to but I always had bigger fish to fry (there are a lot of things to do when you are the entire art department of a game this size).

However, recently I finally reached a point where the old logo just couldn’t keep up with the changes in art style since we started. Which combined with its extremely distinct styling making it increasingly difficult to use in combination with other assets. For example it kind of looked out of place with the new website design.

Some of things I’m referring to are the secret cool art stuff I mentioned in a blog post a while back that we still haven’t showed or even told you what they are. But don’t worry, they are still coming. As with everything else that’s part of making a game, the reality of adding stuff in is always more complex than just plopping it in there after the initial content creation process.

Without further ado, here’s the new logo:



As you can see, this is a pretty distinct departure from the old logo.

I hope you can appreciate why I decided to take some pretty large strides design wise and made a logo that is much less complex and should be able to stand the test of time a bit better, while also being more flexible across various use cases.

Why does any of this matter? Well, the logo is pretty much the first thing that greets the players both in the game and on the website and needs to be both memorable and look good. It’s important for us (and especially me) that we meet those expectations.

Cheers,
Daniel

So, what do you think?

Put your answers in this strawpoll (https://www.strawpoll.me/embed_1/16247415).

And remember!

If you have any further questions about the logo or the game, or you just want to chat, join us on Discord (https://discord.gg/wU4gpdf).
And if you want to support us further, check out our Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/jellyfishgames).


Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games
Hi Guys!

Nice to be talking with you again. It’s been a while, I know! Not to worry though, we’re still very much alive. In fact, we’re making great progress on Astrobase Command.


The crew you assign to a construction project now actually has to do the work of constructing things!

So what have we been up to?

As always with game development you end up working on several different things at once to hit a common goal of having them all finish at the same time. The main thing we’ve been working on since we last updated you guys and we have now finished is Construction.

Construction might not sound like a big change as you’ve been able to build modules in the game since forever. The main differences from then is that;

1. Now the crew you assign to build a module or connector will actually get jobs to do that, which means that they will go to the appropriate storage section, gather materials, transport them to the thing that’s being built, and work on it until it’s finished.

2. The construction of a module (and its sections) actually takes time.

3. The workflow for the player is different, instead of just placing an instantly built module as soon as you exit the Module Builder datapad app you now get a filled out form in your inbox that you need to rubber stamp and send out through the outbox.

Since you can now delay sending a build order out you can end up in a state where the build order is rejected, if that happens, rubber stamp it again and make sure you have enough resources (or whatever caused it not to be built) to build it before sending it back out again.

Also, with having a duration of time until something finishes construction you can not place a new build project in a spot that relies on connecting to a new module until after it has finished construction entirely.

As you might imagine, this has a pretty significant impact not only on the pacing of the game, but also on all the other jobs that need to get done on station. Figuring out how to balance this adds an additional interesting layer of considerations for the player.


Will guadalupe be a good fit with the rest of the crew?

  • Character Overviews! Toggle with Shift to see what all your crew is up to at once!

  • Revamped Character/Section/Module Info panels! Now with Occupants tabs for easier crew tracking!

  • Added Service Schedule to Module Info Panel, so you can see when your conduits will fail

  • Personality-based facial expressions

  • Sections now get text labels on the floor outside them describing their location and type

  • Added a little something to help orient the player when moving the camera around on station Crew can now jog or sprint if they are in a hurry If you’re curious about what the full patch notes, drop by our Discord Channel and read through them!

What's Next?

We’re currently working on getting small initial versions of the two remaining main features. Once we get these in the game should be more representative of the goal.

Missions – Replacing the current temporary resource aquisition mechanic with actually sending your crew on missions where they will risk life and limb to get more food and other resources your Astrobase desperately needs.

Events – Life on the station will not be as easily predictable as it is right now. The crew and their actions will affect the condition of the station and minor issues, like fires, can pop up and mess with the normal day-to-day life of your crew.

You might see parts of this be part of smaller patches as we go towards this (relatively) short-term-goals.

If you already bought the game and want to help us out and support the development of Astrobase Command you can always join the community on our Discord (https://discord.gg/wU4gpdf) and back us on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/jellyfishgames).
Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games


One year has already dashed by since the Astrobase Kickstarter was successfully funded. We’ve achieved much since May 26th, 2017. Performance has improved, the characters are smarter and than they were, conversations and tasks have been fleshed out to better select the character’s personalities. We’ve taken down The Great Space Beast: Save Games (that took a lot of laser harpoons, let me tell ya, Earthling). We’ve made great friends on our discord channel, where we’ve received outstanding feedback to make the game better. We launched a Patreon. Most importantly, we’ve added a valuable new member to the team, which has allowed us to increase the pace of development.

None of this would have been possible without all of you, so we want to extend our deepest gratitude for being part of this grand adventure.

Daniel – @Polygonatron

Hi Everybody!

This week I’ve been working on making some less than pretty graybox UI’s we’ve had in for a while (the info panels) look more attractive. They’ve been a bit of an eyesore for a while so this should make playing the game feel better.
Additionally (and in conjunction with the info panels) I did the art-pass on the upcoming overview info panel that Dave has been working on, which will make it much easier to get an overview (surprising huh?) of what the crew is up to as a whole. All in all, these changes should make things better for the players.

Oh! I almost forgot, I’ve been working on a new style of highlighting the current selection, for now the new style only works on the hovering and selection of sections (rooms). And while it’s something that is at it’s earliest iteration (or I guess technically it’s the start of the second distinct iteration) it feels pretty good to click on sections now.





Dave – @Dave_Astrobase

Hey guys!

This week I’ve been full speed ahead on the RPG aspect of the game. This sits on top of the station/resource simulation, so characters get into RPG-ish situations that are driven by rational cause-and-effect or choice-and-consequence. This is a meaty design, that represents a large chunk of whats remaining before launch. So be prepared to hear a lot about it over the next few weeks!

Adam – @adam_blahuta

Hey Space-Friends!

This week I focused on getting the updated UI elements to work (they look great and really clear things up!), as well as getting some overdue admin out of the way.

Max – @Max_Shields

Greetings, Spacelings!

Cam and I broke down Dave’s combat design (PEW PEW!) into manageable chunks to prototype. I also modified several icons to make then compatible with Daniel’s new overview panels.
Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games
We have some fantastic news this week! Astrobase now saves games.

Gone are the days of wistfully watching your hard work evaporate into the void when you have to shut your computer down. Now you can confidently close the game down to run after your toddler dashing around while holding a hammer high over her head, or switch off to stop procrastinating and get a few hours of work on your term papers. Your crew will be there, waiting for you to return to administer the space slug snot out of them.

We’ve spent a bunch of time testing save files but as this is the first build we’re shipping with them, we expect those of you with alpha access to be posting some crazy and wild bugs in the alpha channel on Discord {LINK REMOVED} We’re counting on you to try to play for extended sessions and help us catch those issues early!

While we’ll be working hard to minimize save wipes with upcoming builds, you should expect them this early in the process.

You’ll also find a new slate of audio, including the first track from the soundtrack and a slew of small tweaks and fixes to improve your experience.

See you out there, Commander!

Here are the patch notes for version 0.2.14:

Highlights

– ADDED SAVE FILES !!!!!!!!!!!!
– Added first track of the game’s soundtrack

Improvements

– Updated section lighting for greater visual variety
– Emergency lights turn on when a section is non-functional
– Alarm lights turn on during a crisis
– Added lights when characters interact with certain things
– Section lights dim when section is vacant
– Added SFX to datapad programs
– Added SFX to station interaction
– Added SFX to desk interaction
– Updated Species Creation UI
– Storage app tabs no longer have confusing colors
– Sped up datapad cartridge insertion
– Left side of desk freed up by restricting selectable area of filing cabinet to drawers
– Cinematic mode hides character highlights and shows module tops
– Characters now pick different available seats in a location instead of always following the same order
– Exhausted characters now have slowed walk animation

Fixes

– No longer hide the moon behind the planet on start
– Removed unused section categories from module builder section list
– Module ghost outlines no longer cast shadows
– Characters no longer talk while standing on chairs or at an angle on their beds
– Characters no longer pop into the middle of the station for a frame on recruitment
– Cinematic camera doesn’t keep doors open when you switch back to station camera
– Camera no longer navigates to unpopulated floors outside of construction
– Module builder build team lists no longer spill out onto the rest of the UI
– Vertical connectors no longer have an empty gap exposing crew to the void of space

We do not endorse or recommend giving toddlers hammers to run around with over their heads.

*Professional toddlers in a closed living room. Do not try this at home
Astrobase Command - Jellyfish Games
Today’s the big day! Our ninja coder emerges from the shadows to add his wisdom to the weekly update.

Without further ado, take it away, Cam!


Cam

Hi people,

I’m the new programmer you’ve been hearing about for the last few updates. I’ve been having a great time working with the jellyfish guys you know and love! My last month has been dedicated to getting save games working with the last week spent on (Hopefully) getting rid of the last few bugs in it.


Max – @Max_Shields

Hello Terrans!

Bug hunting was the name of the game this week. It’s been nice to get back into experiencing Astrobase in more prolonged play sessions. When I’m doing audio work, I focus only on the specific element I’m implementing and how it interacts with other audio.

It’s been fun wandering around the station again and watching the crew go about its business, contemplating the universe, or just being antisocial with one another.


Dave – @Dave_Astrobase

Hey guys,

This week I’ve been living in our task tracker, planning out all the design tasks until launch! This is how we know we can deliver something awesome.

Also got back to the “RPG” feature, which will breathe life into the characters by utilizing the personality system and giving the character traits real emotional gameplay context. So the characters will do stuff in the gameworld consistent with the personalities they already have. Basically, like a procedural CRPG layer. It’s what many have been waiting for!


Adam – @adam_blahuta

Hey everybody!

Last week, my focus has been on finalizing some lighting work as well as bug fixing. With the recent wave of feature work and everyone chipping in to test save files, we’ve found a bunch of issues we wanted to knock out for the upcoming build.


Daniel – @Polygonatron

Hi Everybody!

This week for me has been split between planning, playtesting save games, and fixing some bugs on the art side for the upcoming build. Got to say that the addition of save games really feels nice to have in both from a development perspective and from a gameplay perspective.
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