Experimental Branch Update! v0.3.1 + Dev Blog

Greetings Pioneers!

We massively appreciate the feedback we’ve been receiving for the experimental branch we released to you last week, so we’ve launched another update! Please refer to our previous blog post for instructions on how to access the Experimental Branch.

We’ve been working hard to resolve some of the more pressing issues such as restoring saving and loading functionality and giving a use for the tents that you build. The good news is, we have fixed saving! And a whole bunch of other things..

Additions

  • Tents now have working respawn point functionality. You can place many tents in the world and have one set as default at any given instant.
  • Added new crosshairs for Guns, Modules, Melee and Build modes.
  • Added the “Boot sequence”, which should help tutorialise the HUD elements.
  • Added brief UI explaining your broken Build Module.

Changes

  • Improved visuals for Suit Integrity UI.
  • Updated icons for Gold, Quartz and Silver.
  • Removed button prompts for empty loadout slots.
  • Replaced placeholder satellites with destructible crates within the Dam.

Bug fixes

  • Fixed the issue where saving and/or loading your game wouldn’t work
  • Fixed not being able to build on the Tower.
  • Fixed icons for Circuit Board, Metal Pole, Super Capacitor and Unstable Power Source
  • Fixed an issue where selling a structure with a build module that’s out of energy would stop the module from working again
  • Fixed an issue where terrain decals would show up on your character’s armour if you stood over them
  • Fixed an issue where saving and loading the game would respawn most items in the world
  • Fixed an issue where the large pipes on the Dam surface would have LOD issues
  • The Silo doors are now correctly locked
  • The radiation zone in the drop pod will now give you a notification that there is radiation
  • Removed the Rogue pioneer from outside the drop pod.
  • Fixed the issue where you are unable to enter tents you build.
  • Fixed an issue where you could walk through doors before they have fully opened
  • Fixed an issue where your arms would look blurry when you enter a radiation zone
  • Fixed an issue where pickup markers would appear at the end of a scrap metal
  • Fixed an issue where you couldn’t reload your gun when using a controller
  • Fixed an issue where the Emergency Workbench would display the incorrect name when you approach it
  • Fixed some collision issues to do with support beams on top of the Dam.
  • Fixed an issue where destructible crates would clip into each other.
  • Fixed some level design bugs where there would be random dips in the terrain.
  • Fixed some collision issues to do with rocks around the icy river.
  • Fixed an issue where certain floor assets would look too shiny.
  • Fixed an issue where the player would get stuck on invisible collisions by the road towards the Dam.
  • Fixed interactions with open doors, when you shouldn’t be able to use them

Also! Here’s what is still to come/what we’ve been doing:

John – Lead Designer

So our experimental branch is now live on steam – I’ve been keeping priorities in check for this across the team. But we will be updating it as frequently as we can with fixes and improvements, of which will mainly be driven by you guys!

As a pre-warning to anyone seeing this for the first time, the game in the experimental branch is very different to the current game in the main branch, purely due to it missing some integral features, and being broken in places. More information on further updates will be coming soon!

Matt – Art Director

Lots of art fix ups, with the large majority of placeholder assets being swapped out for their finished assets at this stage. Good example of this is the new pipes and tall remote lights that line the older road structures that you’ll find throughout the world.

We’ve been adding in missing drop items so that when you drop a single item of value that you’ve crafted.. That actual item visual appears in the world at your feet, in the form of a three dimensional object! magic.

Lee – Technical Director

I have continued debugging AI this week specifically around navigation and working on a few issues with the turrets now they use fuel. I’ve also been looking into setting up our build machine to push builds to Steam to make the process a lot more automated.

Joe – Lead Artist

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been fixing lots of UI bugs in prep for our experimental update! As far as new additions go, I have implemented the first version of the HUD Boot sequence and a new UI element to add a bit of context to the player’s current predicament. I’ve also reworked the Suit Integrity element so it looks a little nicer and is more efficient. A load of icons that were bugged in our release have also been fixed up and improved.

OG Tom W – Lead Designer

The last couple weeks have been super busy as we got the experimental branch out alongside continuing development on the game. Mainly I have been fixing up bugs and other error that some of you in the experimental branch may have come across some. One major problem was our doors were a little broken and that allowed you to get places you shouldn’t bet, yet, but those doors are now locked and guarded.

The crafting is an element that is always changing and we’ll be continuing to add items, shift things around and balance the progression throughout the development. This week I have added more key materials to the start of the game and added name tags to those items that don’t have models yet so you can tell what you’re picking up. Also this week I have different versions of our breakable crates so that you have the chance to loot material, components, weapons and other items from various crates in the world.

Tom – Designer

Re-balancing the difficulty of the AI so it’s not just as simple as walking off at the beginning of the game and being able to easily tackle certain enemy types. Helping to encouraging the curve of upgrading and getting better stuff first.

Katrine – 3D Artist

Hi everyone. This week I have been finishing up the health packs models. I have also started a fancy new protein squishy bag. It is really exciting to see it all coming together!

Tom H – Designer

After I was on holiday last week I have hit the ground running this week, making tweaks and fixing issues all over the map. I have fixed collisions on the surface of the Dam as well as inside, allowing players to build in these areas. The Transmitter has also been tweaked to allow players to build primitives from the Tower outwards into the world. I have also been using the build system to create outposts and buildings that will already be spawned throughout the map.

John S – Developer

Been adding fuel to turrets so that they now start with a set amount of fuel. They’ll eventually use fuel at a slow rate by default, and increased consumption will happen when they fire.

Charlotte – Concept Artist

This week I have been focusing on creating some UI pre-visualisation for when you will need to repair the MATA-Tool, which will pop up with a visual on the right side of the screen. In addition to that I’ve been taking some very pretty in-game screenshots which is all super exciting!

Yves – Senior Developer

The save system was totally broken, it neither saved or loaded, so I fixed it. We had an issue which turned out that environmental effects on the player were not being carried out, while fixing this I improved the stat system.

John T – Environment Artist

For the past week I have been mainly focused on producing and assigning the dev built structures around the map. These structure will function similar to any pre-existing structure in terms of loot but will also allow the player to destroy elements of the building, claim the building and even modify with new building components.

Ricky – Lead Developer

Looked into handling some of the coop bugs with recent updates and getting the upgrade trees for utilities functioning once more. And sorted a few crashes along the way as I continued working down our fix lists and the bugs found by the community.

Ryan – Developer

This week I have been trying to smash out more bugs and crashes, around the modules, building and fuel. I have also finished work on passive energy regeneration that will burn through fuel to refill any lost energy, this burn rate will also vary depending on the current energy stored.

Mike – Developer

Continuing on from last week, I finished working on the tents and finally added them into the game so you can now respawn at different locations around the world, not just the start point. After that I started working to fix the game freezing issue for the quit to main menu button, the issue was with an outdated piece of middleware that has now been updated. The game no longer locks but we’ve now lost the loading screen itself. This will hopefully be resolved shortly.

Will H – 3D Artist

This week has been spent continuing to replace placeholder assets, starting with a tall floodlight for various areas in the game. This needed to be destructible, so keeping mesh pieces separate was needed to get a breakable feel to the model. I then moved on to replacing the support beams seen mostly in the dam area and stairs. Then onto refining the visuals for the radiation boundary. Particle effects were causing too many performance problems, so a previously experimental mesh version was implemented.

Marcin – Designer

Recently I was focused mainly on bug fixes and supporting other team members with solving problems with the features they’re working on. I was helping the programmers and artists with the logic and user interface for such mechanics as: the new respawn shelter building, the objectives updating when they should, the items remembering whether they have been picked up or not, and making changes so that new buildings can be built on top of the non-destructible structures that make up the world.

Lauren – Lead Animator

These past two weeks I have been helping out with various bugs, cleaning up more animations and playing about with some funky post process materials. It was also my task to write the mother of all changelists, It is surprising how much of the game can change in a year!

Andy – QA

This week I have been signing off various bug fixes. Have been helping Jamie look at some of the AI spawners in the world to check which ones are working or not. Also I have been testing where you can build and how much you can build using the in-game build modules.

Jamie – QA

This week I’ve been testing out the new tweaks to the AI behaviour which has made them more aggressive and fun to fight. I’ve also been testing out the fuel system some more to compare how much fuel each fuel source gives and how fast fuel drains from utilities. Lastly I’ve been testing out building structures on the tower to see that it works as intended.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

Experimental Branch Update! v0.3.0

Greetings Pioneers,

Today we are opening the experimental branch with the latest version of the game in all it’s incomplete and slightly broken glory.

Why are we doing this?

You have asked for a release, and although we know it is not ready yet, we have been changing so much, we need your help to thoroughly test the new elements and help us with feedback and balancing issues before we release the fully public version to the main branch.

PLEASE DO NOT SWITCH TO THE EXPERIMENTAL BRANCH IF YOU WANT TO PLAY A COMPLETE AND FULLY FUNCTIONING GAME!!! 

Only continue to download if you want to help us test the incomplete current progress.

  • Right click on the game in Steam
  • Click properties
  • Go to the Betas Tab
  • Select Experimental Branch from the drop down list
  • There’s no password so hit the check code button
  • Restart Steam and wait for the game to update

So, with that disclaimer out of the way, and before you start to cry…

“WTF HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY GAME!!!???”

Please give us a chance to explain ourselves and the FULL vision of what we want from the core gameplay loop;

  • We have listened to your feedback and have been working on implementing more of the story, objectives and ‘end game’ goals that you have asked for.
  • Many of you asked for a reason to be playing once you have upgraded everything, as you were left with little to do. We have been working on core gameplay loops so that there will always be something to manage, maintain and work up to, but also reason to travel and explore by adding buildings in the environment with loot and story drive behind them.
  • You may find the new Eden Star to be vastly different from the game you have played before. You no longer start as a combat ready Pioneer, but instead you begin as an abandoned Crew member, equipped with a low-grade Tool that has been damaged (along with your drop ship) by an EMP. You must now learn to survive before you can dominate.

“WHY IS THE WORLD SO BARREN???!!!”

There is a good reason the world is a Mars-like landscape, and the simple answer is – it’s for a core goal that is not yet ready to share, but we owe you an explanation, and so please read on!

This is a massive shift that leads to the core game objective; to bring back life to a dying world.

The next major goal for the team is to fully implement the ability to terraform the landscape and claim it from the indigenous lifeforms, turning huge areas (Zones) of land from a dead planet into a lush landscape, capable of fully sustaining human life.

Currently you have access to a single Zone. In each zone is a huge underground facility that hides an experimental technology known as an Eden Terraforming Unit (ETU). This will probably sound familiar to those of you who have played the game to date. (Side note: We felt Terraforming and the Eden Kits were a cool feature, we just wanted to make it a FAR more significant “thing” you interacted with. You still have the ability to build Eden Kits, just now they’re called Temporary Atmospheric Generators (TAG Units), which fulfill the role of the original Eden Kit in building).

When you find and ignite an ETU it will trigger a huge hoard of enemies that will attempt to destroy the energy source, so prepare and build defences, as the ETU’s Teslinium Core takes time to fully activate. If you manage to successfully defend the ETU it will transform massive areas of the desert into a lush, material-rich landscape, full of new dangers…

PLEASE NOTE; as this feature is not ready, the first “Silo Station” is currently inaccessible, although you’ll be able to find it if you look hard enough…

There is no tutorial currently for what to do at the start of the game. There is nothing to talk you through your MATA – Tool Module being broken or how to repair it, nothing telling you what has happened to the rest of your team or what you might want to do next… There are a lot more story components to be implemented such as data logs to find that will give you further exploration objectives.

You will see broken vehicles in the world but you will not be able to drive or build any just yet…

Temporarily disabled for this release version – It is still a focus of the team to deliver a bigger and better multiplayer experience. Our goal to deliver this a long side single player will not change going forward.

“WHY HAS THIS TAKEN SO LONG???!!!”

  • Previous engine updates had broken features that we needed to fix in order to deliver a version of the game that is at least as good as the current version. There are still some features that are still broken, such as the flying AI and we simply haven’t had the time to fix them up. These will be fixed up in later releases, along with adding remaining missing features, listed below…
  • As stated previously the game has not been worked on full time by every member of the team, though there are a few members of staff working on it full time.
  • We have external client projects that support our development on Eden Star so that we can take our time to get things right without having to rely on game sales to fund development, unfortunately this means client projects take priority with the majority of the team working on AAA titles to be released in the near future…

“WHERE IS MY SCI-FI GLOVE GONE???!!!”

  • New starting state and player progression

Fists of glory

  • You no longer start with the fully functioning MATA – Tool as you did in previous builds
  • You will still be able to build and upgrade to all previous levels of awesomeness and beyond, there will just be more stages to this. At least now you can punch aliens in the face, you know you’ve always wanted to do this.. 😉

Makeshift crafting

  • The new on player crafting will allow you to create makeshift items on you before you have built any crafting utilities and structures.
  • Collect scrap metal and other materials around the world in order to craft makeshift weapons that will help you survive against the many hostiles that are out and about…

The focus at the start of the game is now upon survival and hand to hand melee combat – however you can still find weapons, ammo, and work yourself up to the higher level MATA – Tool modules and weapons we had in previous builds, it will just take more time…

Makeshift Weapons

Makeshift: Axe

This weapon allows you to swing at enemies with slightly more range and power than your bare fists. Use the left mouse button to swing the axe or hold it to charge up for a power swing.
You can also use it to block incoming attacks by pressing or holding the right mouse button.

The Axe can also be used for breaking down more durable metal and mineral nodes for more materials.

Makeshift: Flare

This is a temporary light source you can craft that lasts for a short time before burning out. Hold Left mouse button to light the flare and release to throw.

Makeshift: Shiv

A piece of scrap metal with a point at one end makes a temporary knife you can use to slash and stab with.

Makeshift: Spear

Combine scrap metal with a pole and you have yourself a longer weapon. Press left mouse button to quick stab, hold left mouse button to do a power/ lunge stab. Hold and release the right mouse button throw the spear.

There is also a more durable axe you can craft later in the game…

MATA – Tool, changes to modules and crafting stages

The Modules have now been split up into separate components that can be crafted in various stages of progression. There are no upgrades to these modules YET.

Emergency build module

Allows you to craft simple structures to assist in your survival and the first workbench crafting unit

Emergency Laser

Hold to fire a laser beam that can cut through wreckage, rock and organic matter (similar to the previous laser tool however this now replaces the previous right mouse button mining functionality)

Colony Build Module

Allows you to craft habitable structures and the TAG unit in order to set up a more permanent base…

Military Build Module

Allows you to craft higher tech weapon fabrication stations and Turrets.

Kinetic Manipulation Module

Allows you to use the laser and grab and smash enemies.

New Stats

  • You will now have to manage your oxygen when traversing external environments. This stat will replenish itself when in internal environments but can also be replenished by using O2 canisters you find when out in the world.
    Fuel
  • You will now have to manage the fuel stat both internally on your person and inside utility buildings that require it…
  • Pioneer Fuel will deplete insite oxygen environments as your scrubbers work to extract and filter the oxygen. Higher level energy tech modules will also consume fuel…
  • Craft power cells and consume them to fuel the player or select the power cell inside your inventory when looking at a utility building in order to enable the option to ‘fuel’ it.

Updated Utilities

  • TAG unit (Temporary Atmospheric Generator) – This will produce a safety bubble of oxygen around its location and prevent building decay. Similar to the functionality of the previous ‘Eden Kit’

New World

  • We have replaced the map we had in the previous build for an entirely new one. In this map there has been greater emphasis on environmental storytelling.
  • The new map currently consists of 6km2 of playable space but this will be expanded in future releases…
  • There are areas of the map that we have blocked off to the player with radiation zones (you can enter but you will not last long)
  • New scattered debris and scrap metal to be found around the world. Explore, break down or build from abandoned found structures.
  • New internal areas and huge structures to explore, just watch out for the roaming mites that have taken over the space…

Updated Behaviours

  • Ground AI have had a lot of work to get them to behave a little better. They will no longer come at you relentlessly, chase you forever or repeatedly swing at you with the same humdrum attacks that felt similar across all the AI.
  • AI now back away if they feel threatened, have attacks that feel a lot more varied, and each AI has a specific feel about them that cause you to have to manage tactics of how you engage with them.
  • The AI are now a lot more reactive to attacks and can be staggered in different directions depending on the direction of the swing. All in all this helps expand the whole melee and combat experience to be more immersive, tactical and fun.

Known Issues

AI

  • There are currently no night time raids! This is a bug and so we’ve currently taken them out of this build.
  • There’s a chance that not every enemy will spawn into the world;
  • Most enemies don’t re-spawn after being killed;
  • Some enemies might not attack you until you engage in a fight with them;
  • Huntermites won’t follow you through doorways;
  • Mites can sometimes get stuck when leaping over a body bag;
  • Mites can also get stuck when they leap at you and miss;
  • Enemies on the damaged bridge appear to float above the ground;
  • Huntermites will sometimes struggle getting to you inside the Dam;
  • There’s a small chance that Splintermites will fail to shoot out spikes after charging their attack;
  • Splintermites will sometimes follow you and not attack you;
  • Splintermites in the Dam can’t follow you over railings on the ground
  • There’s a chance that Stalkers won’t know what to do when you are on a ledge above them;
  • Flying AI is temporarily disabled

The Player

  • When the game is loaded you will start back at the Pod instead of where you saved the game;
  • Some terrain decals will show up on your armour when you are standing above them;
  • When you interact with a door you can walk through it before it fully opens;
  • If you have a chest armour piece equipped and you run with nothing else equipped the armour will stretch in front of your camera;
  • You can jolt up and down in midair by jumping and crouching at the same time;
  • You are able to punch while putting on your breather mask;

Building/Crafting

  • Every time you add fuel to a utility block the amount of fuel that goes in is doubled;
  • Buildable decorations don’t snap rotationally;
  • Fuel doesn’t deplete when you use a utility block;
  • You are extremely limited to what you can build on the tower;
  • Not all items are craftable due to resource nodes not being added yet;

Animation

  • There are no 3rd person animations for melee attacks with fists;
  • Releasing the crouch button snaps you back to standing;
  • Your hand disappears when you move with any build module equipped;
  • Sometimes in 1st person you can see through your arms when you are cutting through a tree;
  • Switching from a pistol to a build module while in 3rd person will distort your arms for a few seconds;
  • Equipping a gun and dropping it from your inventory menu will cause your hand to get temporarily stuck in the gun-holding animation;

UI

  • Some enemies have their health bars appear in front of the them before they become active;
  • Sometimes the hologram of a picked up item can hover by your leg;
  • Item markers appear in the intro sequence;
  • Sometimes item markers will disappear when harvesting metal nodes;
  • In 3rd person, the gun reticle disappears when you aim down sights;

Weapons

  • Saving and loading the game resets your weapons’ durability;
  • Throwing a spear when next to a wall will cause the spear to collide with the wall rather that being thrown forwards;
  • You are able to shoot through doors;
  • Weapons don’t cast shadows when you are in first person;
  • You cannot reload guns while there’s a controller plugged in;
  • Spear clips through walls when you have it equipped and face a wall;
  • Clicking on a weapon in your inventory and clicking equip will move it to your hotbar but you won’t have it equipped;

Consumable/Items

  • Holding an active flare and mantling something will leave you with an infinite flare until you unequip it in your inventory;
  • Dropping an item and then saving and loading the game will get rid of the dropped item;
  • You can pick up items through glass;

The World

  • If you find a destructible crate on top of one another, destroying the bottom one will leave the top box floating;
  • Bullet decals are the same no matter what surface you shoot;
  • Pressing ‘M’ to show the map currently shows the old map of Pharus 7;
  • Textures on the side of the large Pipes on the side of the Dam are missing;
  • Upon saving and loading the game, some consumable items are replaced even if you had previously picked them up
  • Metal nodes sometimes take too many hits or don’t fracture when you hit them;

Temporarily disabled features:

  • Multiplayer

Enjoy!

See you in the fray.

– Team Flix

August Development Update 4!

Greetings Pioneers!

There may or may not be something in store for people to test soon, hint hint. We’re really pushing to tie up some loose ends with the gameplay, adding back in pre-existing destructible outposts and really focusing on making the mining feel better. We’re really excited to see how people engage with the new crafting levels, so it’s closing to the point where community feedback is going to be essential.

Here’s what we’ve all been upto:

John – Lead Designer

Triage is the word of the week. At the beginning of each week we make sure that we have the priority bugs and tasks in order so that we can get maximum gameplay value out of the improvements we’re making to the game as a whole. The final tutorial elements for the beginning of the game is going in, which explains why your RMD (Tool) is damaged from the beginning (due to the protonic EMP blast suffered as you make landfall)

Matt – Art Director

I’ve been processing the new mineral rocks for use in engine. We’ve had a few playthrough reviews that have come back which have meant a few changes to the rock sizes and chunk amounts. We’ve managed to get it pretty much nailed down as to what we think feels best..

Before there weren’t enough chunks to break off on minerals with the assets also being too large. So we’ve scaled those down and re-chunked them to make them more interesting to mine! It’s actually feeling very similar to what we had on the current steam version.

Lee – Technical Director

Been looking at and mostly scratching my head over issues with some of the AI floating in particular area of the levels. Good news is this isn’t a game breaking bug! I’ll be helping Lauren implement sounds for the Stalker soon as well.

James – Environment Artist

This week I finished working on two additional rocks of awesomeness that the player can mine for some sweet minerals. A gold and silver rock. Those lovely golden nuggets, too bad they aren’t filled with sugar.

Joe – Lead Artist

More small bits for the UI this week, I carried on with the boot sequence and got it to a stage where it can be disabled/enabled easily and added the art for a notification pop-up that’ll let you know when you’ve discovered a new Data Log entry. Lots of bug fixes too!

OG Tom W – Designer

This week I have been testing and analysing the new crafting and building systems and the progression through them. This has lead to a slight redesign of the crafting progression to include more of the original buildables and items alongside new components.

Captain Tom – Designer

Looked at clean up work on our sandy material along with how it blends with the current rock. Including some finer details such as glistening particles.

Katrine – 3D Artist

Hello everyone! This week I have been working on some health crate assets, to make sure you are all keeping healthy out there in space. It is not done yet, but I will add some renders of it in next weeks blog post!

Tom H – Designer

This week I have been placing new spawners for our AI creatures around certain areas of the map, these areas act as points of interest for players when they are exploring the harsh environment in this world. These sections include wreckage sites from ships, tree locations and interesting rock formations. Be careful when exploring these areas as these creatures are not to be underestimated!

John S – Developer

Had Ricky review the additional work I’ve put in for the fuel system. It’s about 70% there, there’s quite a bit of UI work to go in to inform players of their fuel consumption next. Then this all needs testing!

Will H – 3D Artist

I have spent this week starting on replacing some of the placeholder assets, primarily for the Dam area. This week was focused on creating a modular pipe system that the player will be able to walk around in.

Charlotte – Concept Artist

This week I made a few minor changes to the boot sequence in addition to concepting up a Relay Unit, ready for James to model.

Ryan – Developer

I have worked with Joe to add the data log entry notifications and environment oxygen alerts. I have also been fixing more bugs and crashes with modules and buildables.

Mike – Developer

Diagnosing and prioritising bugs for release. This week my priority has been working to fix the pause menu functions such as saving and loading and exiting to the main menu.

John T – Environment Artist

This week I have been busy producing all the droppable items for the fabricator. These small items will represent the craftables when dropped from the inventory. I have also started to produce the in game points of interest using the Dev scrap building modules, which players will be able to modify and adapt to their own use. Or just smash to pieces…

Andy – Lead QA

This week I have been clearing up the list of known bugs/fixes. Testing more of the guys fixes and testing out the new fists melee that has been implemented.

Jamie – QA

This week I’ve been testing out the first implementation of the new fuel system and along the way I’ve been finding new bugs and crashes for the Dev team to fix. I’ve also been testing some new changes for the build system and interactions in the game.

See you in the fray!

-Team Flix

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Eden Star is a product of the GamesLab West Midlands programme, developed by Creative England and supported by the Regional Growth Fund.

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