Objects in Space - [505 Games] Taikobo
Version 1.0.7 Patch Notes

Mac:
  • Put a fix in to stop the game crashing on load on certain systems.
Windows:
  • Fixed an error causing mods to not load on some versions of windows.
Linux:
  • Fixed an error causing news and infopedia articlse to not load correctly.
General:
  • Re-wrote the docking routines to stop problems docking in auto-pilot using certain configurations of engine or RCS.
  • Fixed another bug causing Betty to spawn erroneously.
Objects in Space - [505 Games] Taikobo
Version 1.0.6 Patch Notes

Alterations:
  • Added ability to bind any commands open to serial protocol through the config file.
  • Added ability to bind keys to increase/decrease main drive power.
  • Added a warning message when docking at higher than safe speeds.
General:
  • Fixed a crash when jumping out of a sector using a jumpdrive with a torpedo inbound.
  • Stopped the ability to manually hail starbases or ships when comms are disabled - emergency or incoming only.
  • Fixed a bug where you could dock at high speeds.
  • Fixed a bug causing spawn issues in the story 'Bad News Betty'.
  • Fixed a typo when talking to Heather Price.
  • Fixed a bug where authority ships would sometimes engage each other when one was attacking a pirate.
  • Fixed a bug which allowed you to undock by typing 'burn off' on your ship's system terminal.
  • Fixed a bug where the player's name was not being displayed on the Mechanixx terminal after loading game.
  • Fixed a bug where Mona Al Ajwi would still attack you even after you paid her back.
  • Fixed a bug where ships would attack you in Maru for too long after you'd helped Casey Croma escape.
  • Fixed a bug which caused you to never be able to drop off Gursharan Cass if you'd never encountered the SS Platypus.
  • Removed a spot on the Narail Space Station where you could click on a wall near the mechanic and it'd take you back to your ship.
  • Corrected several news articles' which had duplicate names.
  • Added many additional news stories.
  • Fixed a bug where Sofia Lang would send you an email for having failed her mission prematurely.
  • Doubled the amount of time you're allowed to take to complete Scud de la Vinci's sand deal.
  • Added a conversation with Scud de la Vinci for when you've taken too long to complete his mission.
  • Moved an NPC on Port Dava Sobel which was blocking the use of the Wire terminal there.
Objects in Space - [505 Games] Taikobo
Hello everyone,

As some of you may have already noticed, the native Linux version of Objects in Space is now officially available for download on Steam and GOG.

Some players reported that the game was still running on Proton despite the fact that the version is supposed to be native: if this happens to you, please disable the Steam Play option in the Steam client settings and perform a clean installation of the game.

If you need help or have any question, please send an email to the devs at objects@flatearthgames.com.au

Have fun and thank you for playing Objects in Space!
Objects in Space - [505 Games] Taikobo
Version 1.0.5 Patch Notes

Alterations:
  • Allowed mapping of backspace in the configuration screen.
  • Allowed de-selecting of icons from trade terminals, power screen, engine room, etc, by clicking against on the selected tile/module.
  • Flagged that buying a new ship would sell all your existing contents and cargo more clearly.
  • World map uncovering / knowleding now stays when you buy a new ship.
Arduino:
  • Fixed a crash when calling the CAN_TAKE_SHIP and CANNOT_TAKE_SHIP functions.
Linux:
  • Fixed a library error affecting some Linux distributions.
General:
  • Fixed a bug when sending emails to the player after they purchase a new ship.
  • Fixed a bug where RCS rotation speeds were inaccurately depicted on sales screens.
  • Fixed a bug which could cause a crash when destroyed with time compression active.
  • Fixed a bug which could cause a crash when general attrition was applied to an invalid module.
  • Fixed a bug which could cause a crash in the sound system if you are destroyed while listening to music.
  • Fixed a bug where autopilot would continue when the helm, RCS or main drive systems were disabled.
  • Fixed numerous spelling errors in the text.
Objects in Space - [505 Games] Taikobo
Version 1.0.4 Patch Notes

Arduino:
  • Now stripping CR characters from incoming lines so that libraries sending CRLF instead of LF should still be legible by the hardware interface.
  • Added 'hardwarecrlf' option to use CRLF as the line delimeter.
General:
  • Fixed a bug causing bounties to commit suicide in asteroid fields.
  • Fixed a contract payment bug.
Objects in Space - [505 Games] Taikobo
Version 1.0.3 Patch Notes

Alterations:
  • Hitting escape when zoomed in on a monitor now simply takes you back to the main view, and does not bring up the tablet in case you press it again.
  • Changed the repair functionality so if you repair any part of your ship's hull, any broken/damaged monitors are also fixed, instead of only when you repair the bow.
  • Moved the emergency alert messages to the top third of screens.
Arduino:
  • Added TUBE_6_SELECTED, TUBE_7_SELECTED and TUBE_8_SELECTED
Windows:
  • Fixed a problem where the game would sometimes honour extremely low valid resolutions for the game.
Mac:
  • Removed 'tab' menu option which could crash the game.
  • Permanently hide dock and menu bar when fullscreen is selected from options.
General:
  • Fixed a bug where transitory star bases were appearing in the PDA map when they shouldn't be.
  • Fixed a crash when being hit by a torpedo with an empty / destroyed module in place.
  • Fixed a bug where an intercom message while using a station BBS could freeze up your comms terminal.
  • Fixed a bug where completing a contract would sometimes result in the wrong contract being completed instead.
  • Fixed a bug where you could crash the game by clicking repeatedly at the precise point your ship is destroyed.
  • Fixed a bug causing issues when you jumped out of a system while a torpedo was flying in the sector.
  • Fixed a bug where probing the moon of Alm wouldn't complete Mirza Susic's mission.
  • Fixed a bug where Betty would remain standing on the space station where you drop her off indefinitely.
  • Fixed a bug where Betty would remain on your ship indefinitely after you complete her mission.
  • Fixed the PDA Note in Betty's story so it gets removed properly when you take her out of the Union.
  • Moved the January Hernandez and Black Annie Bolan missions to take place later in the game so it syncs up with the Rolond Consortium being opened.
  • Fixed a bug which caused a crash whenever the player tried to interact with Mariska Howarth.
  • Fixed a bug causing some story ships to not appear more than once after dying.
  • Moved the SS Platypus to be more likely to intercept the player during Hilary Tempkin's mission.
  • Altered the game logic so players can deliver Gursharan Cass even if they never encounter the Platypus.
  • Fixed bugs in the interaction with the SS Platypus.
  • Decreased the difficulty of the mission to destroy the SS Hammerhead.
  • Allowed players to buy/use as many weapons as they want during the SS Hammerhead mission.
  • Changed position / orientation / hailing range of the SS Hammerhead to increase the likelihood that it'll interact with the player.
  • Fixed a bug where Qingqi Farr would sometimes congratulate you on a job well done before you'd completed his mission.
Objects in Space

You can't do anything on one screen in Objects in Space. It's not a space game like Elite: Dangerous or Star Citizen, where you sit in a sleek cockpit with every control at your fingertips. In Objects in Space you have to get up and move around. The map is on one terminal, comms on another, emails another, battery management another, repairs another... It's as if you're flying an old submarine, where there are different panels and buttons for everything. Only here, you do it all alone.

There's tactility because of it. You make repairs by unscrewing panels, lifting the lid, swapping components, closing the lid, rescrewing the panel and reconnecting the component to see if it works again. You hear the clack of a keyboard while arrowing through the news or emails, echoing the noise your own PC keyboard is making. And you press big dramatic buttons to do big dramatic things, like put your ship into EmCon (emissions control) mode to make yourself as space-invisible as craft and components allow - shutting off engines, comms, thrusters, anything which could emit a scannable trace in the void. Even your music player.

It looks as retro as it sounds. You never see outside space-action in 3D, the way other games show it. Here, it unfolds as small pixelated blobs flying around a 2D map. What the outside of your ship looks like you can only imagine; all you ever see are interiors, which you move through one screen at a time - either on your ship or on the space stations you dock at for cargo, repairs, passengers or supplies. The characters you do see are starkly polygonal, pulled from an early era of 3D, and all the conversations you have - almost all of your interactions with the game, really - are handled chunky via old-school text.

Read more

Objects in Space - [505 Games] Taikobo
Between yesterday and today, two updates were pushed to the game. Here you can find the patch notes for both of them.

The latest update should also fix the pirates-not-attacking bug that has been reported by some players. Should you find it still occuring in your game, please refer to this topic by Elissa to report it and let the team know it's still happening.

Version 1.0.2 Patch Notes

Windows:
  • Fixed a bug with mods.
  • Fixed a bug with the in-game InfoPedia.
General:
  • Fixed a bug where authority and pirate ships sometimes didn't respond to a player after loading game.
  • Fixed a bug which sometimes caused a crash when the player was threatened by a pirate.
  • Fixed a bug which caused a crash when moving your mouse over a weapons module when your ship is destroyed.
  • Fixed an issue causing changes to the ad shells on space stations to sometimes crash.
  • Fixed an issue where bounties wouldn't clear when going back to main menu.
  • Rolond Consortium can now be exited
  • Rolond Consortium no longer appears until it's narratively meant to during mid-November
  • Altered the welcome email from the Developers
  • Fixed a bug where you could accept the contract from Mahuika Ngata and it wouldn't appear on the Orai Contracts terminal.

Version 1.0.1 Patch Notes

Alterations:
  • Made the tablet-in key force the tablet to move back into position if you are mid-conversation.
  • Darkened the default conversation font colour.
General:
  • Fixed a bug causing a crash sometimes when you die in a scenario.
  • Fixed a lighting bug on the Remora-class shuttle from the tutorial.
  • Fixed a bug where the power draw/generation metres were not showing correctly on Remora or Enceladus class vessels.
  • Fixed a bug causing problems rendering ads on space stations periodically.
  • Fixed a bug where the delivery bonus for contracts were not shown correctly in the Notes section of the PDA.
  • Notes app on the tablet were incorrectly listing old contract features no longer relevant.
  • Fixed a bug where the EMCON and Main Engine lights on the Christmas Tree on the Proxima were reversed.
  • Fixed a bug where having an advanced new game pane open and selecting a save game did not show the correct scenario text.
  • Removed erroneous mention to VASIMR drives.
  • Fixed a bug where an SOS beacon and tow could drag you to a non-commercial station with no repair facilities.
  • Fixed a bug where number of the seconds taken after a scenario was sometimes incorrect.
  • Removed erroneous 'Time taken' text at the end of scenarios.
Mac:
  • Fixed an NPC rotation issue on Intel-GPU based macOS machines.
Objects in Space

I've got a hold full of helium-3 canisters destined for a station in the Maru sector, but there's a question mark ping on the nav map. Whatever it is—drifting cargo or debris, a merchant or a pirate, or even just a sensor ghost—it's between me and the station. Between me and that mystery object is a gas cloud, and as I cross the border I get a notification about its density: 9%. Objects In Space is the kind of game that tells you the density of gas clouds expressed as a percentage.

My sensor wave suggests the ping is something with a reactor, which means a ship, and as I get closer the ship turns red on my display. That means they don't have an IFF active, the friendly handshake protocol that lets anyone passing know your intentions are pure. The dust cloud might be hiding me a little, but not enough, so I hit the EmCon (emission control) button and start running silent, everything lit up red like a submarine. The ship and I get closer and closer to each other, then pass by. It doesn't attack. Whether it didn't see me or was simply a random trade freighter with a malfunctioning IFF I'll never know.

All this happens on banks of monitors with a retrotech look a bit reminiscent of Alien. Developers Flat Earth Games call this look "modempunk," everything deliberately clunky and square-edged. Objects in Space is a game where you never see your ship silhouetted against the stars, never even sit in a cockpit. You move between computers, setting destinations and checking readings and pressing buttons and, if something breaks, unscrewing plates to replace parts. 

Lead programmer Elissa Harris, a veteran of flight sims like Knights of the Sky and Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, wanted Objects in Space to feel physical. "We wanted that kind of emotional attachment," she says, "like, you knew when and where you bought that busted old ship, jump drive, weapons system or whatever. You repaired it while in the outer rim somewhere that time, too. So when you lose it or it gets damaged, we hope that the player gets to feel it more."

...we'd never release Objects until it was properly finished, no major cuts or compromises.

Leigh Harris

According to lead designer Leigh Harris, her brother, "I think for me it was more about getting to customise and tinker. To go to the engineering section and play around and really make it yours. That side of things always appealed to me in old games like Lightspeed, and I wanted to create that here."

The advantage of this approach is that it creates stories another game wouldn't. "Just yesterday I was testing a story mission where I had several torpedoes coming at me," says Leigh, "and one took out my main engine so I couldn't apply reverse thrust to stop myself at the jumpgate and safely escape the Cansa star system. I panicked, ran to engineering, gutted my comms module for a spare Hap Node and quickly shoved it into the main engine just in time to get it working again."

It makes me think of Han shouting at Chewie about where his tools have gone while he's pulling the Millennium Falcon's guts out, or any scene on an engineering deck with alarms flashing and sparks flying. As well as simulating what it's like to fly a rustbucket that's a cross between a submarine and a space truck, Objects in Space lets you dock at stations where you trade goods, buy parts, take contracts, and talk to shady characters who might have illegal work for you. Suddenly it's Wing Commander: Privateer, as well as Silent Hunter and also Euro Truck Simulator but, you know, in space.

Objects in Space is ambitious, especially for an indie project. Flat Earth Games has been working on it since 2013 and it was in Early Access until recently. As Leigh says, "we started it in late 2013, and at the end of 2014 made a handshake deal that we'd never release Objects until it was properly finished, no major cuts or compromises. Accordingly, we delayed it again and again and again and ran out of money four times during production."

As of March 1 it's finally out of Early Access, and with that launch Objects in Space gained multiplayer ("designed for co-op or head-to-head scenarios," Elissa says), mod support, and twice as much "narrative content." Its open world has bespoke story NPCs scattered across it who you can track down to follow their questlines, or you can just plot a course and keep yourself going by buying and selling.

Two things keep the scale manageable. One is that space is 2D, a flat surface like in Asteroids or Battlefleet Gothic; the other is that there's a hard three-month time limit on the campaign—after which you can replay it and make different decisions, of course. Even with these limits, it's still more than you'd expect from a studio made of two siblings.

...this had to feel tactile and mechanical, even if you were playing solely with a keyboard and mouse.

Elissa Harris

"We spoke about scaling it down," says Elissa, "but it still ended up massive. At the same time, there was no doubt ever for me that we would finish this by hook or by crook, even if it had to be finished on weekends over years. Which more or less happened at a few stages in development."

Objects in Space's specific timeframe means the world feels like it's in motion, independent of your actions. Type NEWS at one of your terminals and you can read up the latest events, whether terrorist bombings or pirate warnings or calls for traders on the outer rim. The people you meet are affected by those same events. "We really explored what non-linear could mean with this game," says Leigh. "There's no main quest line and time is always moving forwards, so we experimented with having NPC quest-givers only exist for periods of time in the game world which were narratively appropriate."

Some characters have jobs that depend on exploiting a war between rival space nations, and those jobs will only be available during the conflict. But there needed to be enough missions that players could find things to do no matter the time or place.

Leigh explains, "if they spend all their time in Galileo, for example, there has to be enough news, characters and situations in Galileo alone for players to have fun there. Although, having said that, players are meant to fly around and explore. We didn't want a hero's journey where you're the saviour of the universe or anything, but we did want the player to see through the in-fighting, the xenophobia and the regressive politics of the game world—to be unlike the NPCs they encounter who are mostly stationary and have lived in one place most of their lives." 

It all comes back to the spaceship, the thing that marks the player out, that gives them the freedom to roam the stars and see the bigger picture. To make that ship even more real, there are blueprints on the website players can use to fabricate their own controller setup. Think custom Kerbal Space Program controllers, as an example. If you don't want to use mouse and keyboard you can construct your own consoles, pick up some Arduino microcontrollers and model a mini engineering deck on your desk. At conventions the Harris siblings demonstrate their own setup, complete with toggles and switches just like spaceships on TV. "I remember being really delighted first seeing peoples' eyes light up when they'd walk past us at a show floor, seeing all the blinking lights, rumbling sounds and alarms going off," says Elissa.  

People liked playing it even more. "The first time people turned the key to boot up the spaceship obviously had a big impact," she says, "and so did flipping up the safety catch and mashing the fire button once they finally got a lock on an enemy in our demo scenarios. To be honest, while we always knew what we wanted to make with the game, for me personally seeing people react to the tactile experience helped solidify that even more—that this had to feel tactile and mechanical, even if you were playing solely with a keyboard and mouse."

Having played it that way myself, I can confirm that it does. Closing the airlock doors, smashing the EmCon button, dropping nav points around asteroid fields, it all makes me feel like Wash on Serenity, or Jet on the Bebop. Right now I have to go request permission to undock, then hit burn till I make cruising speed.

Objects in Space

Objects in Space is unlike most space sims. It's a stellar sandbox that shares Elite Dangerous' predilection for trade and exploration, but actually flying a ship feels more like commanding a submarine in a game like Silent Hunter. You're crammed into your vessel where you'll stare at a multitude of in-game monitors, your main window into the galaxy, and you'll probably spend a lot of time hiding from other ships. It's tense, claustrophobic and left Early Access today.

Frontier's space sim might let you sit back and enjoy the galaxy unfolding before you, but Objects in Space exchanges fancy space scenery for utilitarian rooms full of screens and machinery. Who has time to look at space when there's a strange ship on the sensors and you've got to turn off everything, from your engines to your music player, to avoid being noticed? 

I avoided combat at all costs when I took the Early Access version for a test drive. I just wanted to earn a living ferrying stuff between stations, which is dangerous enough as it is. Ships require a very hands-on pilot, who also has to be the engineer, comms officer and whatever other roles need filling. There's a lot to manage and a lot of ways for things to go wrong, leaving you stranded in space. It's paradise. 

Despite standing around in rooms without a good view, Objects in Space still manages to find ways to remind you when you're hurtling through the void, even if it's just the shuddering of the ship as the engines push it forward. It feels more like a real place than the cockpit of most space sims. You have to move around. If repairs need to be made in the engine room, you need to head there and get your hands dirty.  

Now that it's hit 1.0, the devs are working on achievements and trading cards, along with a few new features. Procedurally-generated derelicts, merchants in uncharted systems, bounty hunters and more multiplayer scenarios are in the works.

Objects in Space is out on Steam and GOG now. 

...

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