A selection of emblems made with the Astrobase emblem creator
We’ve had our noses to the grindstone working on a number of features, improvements to visualizing character behavior, and getting backer rewards up and working. It’s time for us to pop up for a breather to give you a well-deserved glimpse into one of the features we have been working on.
We’re always looking for ways to let you customize as much of the station and its crew as possible. One of those ways we’ve discussed in the past is to add personalized emblems to the station. Rather than giving you a set of fixed emblems to select from, we’ve created an emblem creator that will let you make the one you want.
The emblems will be visible in many places around your station
Using many of more than 300 different components, you’ll be able to scale, rotate, translate, colorize each to assemble a a glorious emblem with which to adorn your station.
You’ll have access to simple geometry, alphanumeric symbols, and more complex shapes to mix and match. As you can see from the examples we’ve included, your imagination is pretty much the limit. Each of these will be available for you to use in your stations. You’ll also be able to use these as templates to modify and personalize to your liking.
Novacakes: they're out of this world!
I’m a Kickstarter Backer, and I get to design an emblem, what does this mean for me?
You’ll receive an early edition of the emblem maker with which you’ll be able to design your own emblem. We’ll then add it to the list or pre-generated emblems that all players will have access to.
We put out a Astrobase Command 0.3.7 Closed Alpha Patch on April 24th, but haven’t issued an official notice to date. Here are the Patch Notes:
Emblems have been added to the game,
More planet missions added.
Cancel options added to Module builder.
New loading screen added.
Crew will now look around the station.
Game intro and tutorial has been changed.
Want to chat with us or other players about the game? Come join us on Discord.
Interested in supporting the work we’re doing on an ongoing basis? Check out our Patreon.
Remember to Wishlist Astrobase Command on Steam if you haven’t already!
Over the past week we’ve been focused on making the station and its characters more lifelike. We’ve also continued building on the story opportunities by further fleshing out the adventures the crew can have on planets.
This week I’ve been working on having the crew aboard the station look at things and each other as they go about their day-to-day. It’s nothing revolutionary but it definitely ads a lot to them to not have a thousand light-year stare. Dave (@dave_astrobase)
This week I continued with the procedural stories, and this time the focus was on “bio planets” (M class in Star Trek parlance). This will be the main source of food and other organic resources for your Astrobase from missions.
I spent the week making the characters more sociable.
Another month and an actual weekly blog post. Since the last post we have continued working on the features related to backer rewards. There’s no new build this week as we haven’t reached a point where it would make sense to put time into building, testing, and deploying it.
This week I’ve been continuing work on backer rewards. The Alien Egg/Cocoon and the Space Crystal look real neat now! Also I’ve been working on the Emblem Creator, which will allow the player to pick an existing or make a custom Emblem for their playthrough.
This week I worked on authoring the procedural narratives. Soon the characters will have a lot more adventures to go on!
This week I’ve been working on the in-game tutorial and looking into making our station crew more sociable.
Since the last post we have put out two builds to our alpha players (patch notes towards the end) and more importantly:
We have had a focus on the features that allow us to fulfill the Kickstarter Backer rewards!
This means we’re also starting to reach out to backers for some of the rewards, including: clickable book entry, helping to design a species, and helping to design a uniform, and more.
All backers that pledged at the Sunshine tier or greater (Alpha customers), you have PMs waiting for you in your Kickstarter account inbox relating to some or all of these rewards. Please read and respond when you have a chance!
To keep in mind, as we go through continued development up to release we aim to add additional uniform options, this means that the later you submit custom uniforms the more options you’ll have to choose from.
As you might expect, I’ve been working on the various backer rewards. This means I’ve continued work on the uniform customization, started work on Desk Toys and pets, helped out with the hoverable book, and various UI changes that needed to be made (specifically in the Main Menu and Species Creation).
Additionally I’ve been spending a bit more time than originally intended playtesting the builds. This has lead Cam to be able to knock out a couple of nasty bugs, and hopefully it translates to you guys having a better experience playing the game.
I’ve been working with Daniel to get all the backer rewards in as well as getting rid of a few nasty and some minor bugs. The biggest change is probably adding custom uniforms. So check that out next time you start a new game.
In addition to the kickstarter rewards, I’ve been hard at work on RPG story content. This is the “outer layer” of the ABC feature onion, because it means characters are having adventures based on their personalities and using their skills to do stuff which matters in the game world, and tying everything together. So I’ve been putting on my writing cap on and starting the tomoto timer.
Astrobase Command 0.3.5 Closed Alpha Patch Notes
Changes:-Uniform sets and uniform customization is now in. Feel free to customize your crews uniforms to your desires. Astrobase Command 0.3.6 Closed Alpha Patch Notes
Changes: – More alerts added to the game. – Fixed a bug with loading games. – Replaced the popup at the start of Species Visuals Customization in the Species Creation flow with a handy ‘?’ in the top right corner to give contextual information related to the currently active tab. – Added verification step in cases where custom uniforms have been set up (or left) in a manner that might be confusing when playing the game. – More patterns for the Overalls in the Uniform Customization have been added.
Last weeks late blog post is here! We skipped the previous week’s blog post because we spent a lot of our time in planning meetings to figure out how to best take the next big steps in Astrobase Command.
We did however have enough time to put out a couple of patches to the alpha testers, who were given that news directly in the alpha channel on discord and on the itch forums. Here’s the patch notes:
Astrobase Command 0.3.3 Closed Alpha Patch Notes
Changes: – Loading saves with missions in progress should no longer cause missions to break. – Nebulae fallback/safe mode added. This will allow everyone to play the game without crashing their GPU driver in cases of older GPUs.
Astrobase Command 0.3.4 Closed Alpha Patch Notes
Changes: – Teleporters have been added to the Astrobase! – The wheel when setting the Median Species Appearance in the Species Creation should be easier to interact with. – Your crew should now start with someone who has the physics skill. – You should no longer start with a reactor that is too hard for your crew to possibly manage.
Since the end of our planning sessions we’ve gotten back to work full time again, here’s what we’ve been up to;
Hi Guys! I’ve been working on the wrapping up of the safe mode for nebulae and getting the effects for teleporters in. Also I’ve been working on the Uniform customization with Cam, there I’ve created four default uniform Sets for the player to choose from as well as created the UI for handling it as well as a way for the player to create custom uniforms for their species.
Hey Everyone, Recently I went through what new notices we want to put into the game to help inform you what’s going on, and also characters doing things with (and to) each other depending on their relationship status.
Hey Guys, I’ve been working with Daniel to get the new uniform sets and custom uniforms in after finishing up the teleporters and safe nebulae.
This week we’re back with a new minor build (0.3.2) on the and the regular updates of what our week has been like.
First, let’s look at the patch notes from the new build.
Astrobase Command 0.3.2 Closed Alpha Patch Notes:
Changes – You should no longer be able to land a ship on the local planet without undocking first. – Datapad Applications should now be prettier and more like as if actually displayed on a CRT monitor. – Flightplan printouts location fields now print out the actual location instead of “LOCATION”. – Fixed a bunch of text bugs.
As mentioned, it was a minor patch. Here’s what we’ve been up to:
This week I started by wrapping up the work I did last week where the Datapad Screen should now feel a lot more like a CRT than it did before. I’ve been looking into fonts and explosions as well as worked on the art end of something Cam worked on last week, getting the new nebulae to not crash on older graphics cards.
This week I’ve taken a step back to look at the project as whole, and worked on design planning for the coming months. And as always, whenever I play the game and encounter a text bug that offends my eyes, I go in and fix it. Also adjusted some of the emotive names to read better when characters gain or spend them.
This week I’ve been working on the fallback for the nebulae, fixing some bugs, and getting in a new type of section to improve the on-station transportation.
This week we’re back to regular blog posts informing you about what’s going on on a week to week basis.
We managed to put out a new alpha build on the 24th along with the last blog post before this one (and we also got out a patch for some bugs on the 28th).
Between then and now we have taken a much needed break over the holidays, making this week a shorter week than usual.
Anyway, without further ado, here are our updates for the week;
This year I’ve been working on getting our ducks in a row for the new year and for the next milestone.
We’re taking a long hard look at the state of the game and the processes we used to get there in order to both figure out how to align our actions toward the goal and how to best adjust what we’ve been doing to get the optimal results moving forward.
Oh, and I’m also putting some time into fixing some minor issues that are good targets of opportunity for me.
For example the flight plan printout will no longer display LOCATION but instead it will have printed the name of the actual location. And the Datapad applications will now look more like they are actually displayed on a CRT monitor.
This week I’ve been getting rid of bugs that our Alpha players discovered as well as working on a fallback option to allow older graphics cards to show the new nebulae without crashing.
Happy New Years!
Since we’re entering 2019, I’ve been working on high level design docs for the road ahead and next steps.
Also Cam gave me a great formula for finding and fixing a category of text bugs!
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.
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.
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).
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 for things that aren’t urgent are now bundled avoid spamming the inbox.
The ships you control through the Astrofleet app show up at the station and dock with the available docks at your station.
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.
The Asteroid Shooter app is again available on the datapad.
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.
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.
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!