1/25/2021 in devlog
The expansion of the universe is almost upon us: the formation of the fourth faction, the emergence trace resource deposits, the migration of commodity exchanges, and more ...
Two weeks ago, I talked about how we will move the commodity exchanges off-planet when the coming reset hits. This has several implications, for example it will nerf the existing CX planets that are currently the easiest option when starting the game. In fact, they have been so popular that we had to double their available plots last year during a major player influx event. Removing the CX from these planets will make the other starting planets more attractive. Another issue is that we need some kind of storage at the CX stations. If there are none, it will be hard to manage orders, and cancelling orders would require a ship to be present. Therefore, I looked into planetary warehouses and found that we can reuse most of their implementation. I am still working on it, but right now it looks like now every CX station will have a level 20 equivalent of a planetary warehouse. That means players can rent up to 10 storage units. For now there will be an unlimited amount of available units, and the warehouse will not be extendable. Utilizing a warehouse allows the use of CX stations as origins / destinations for local market shipping ads.
Besides the warehouses, I also worked on our world editor. With the new universe, we will change how resources are distributed. Right now a resource is either available on a given planet or unavailable. The concentration of the resource is a random value between a resource specific minimum and maximum level. In the future we will also implement trace element resource deposits. If a resource doesn't occur on a given planet there will be a small chance that it will be added as a trace element. The resource concentrations for trace elements are obviously very low, but we think it will create more varied, interesting planets eventually.
As you might have guessed from Michi's entry, last week was primarily about the new universe map. We agreed upon a rough new sector layout that I put into the world editor for further refinement. We can already reveal that the new map will be quite a bit bigger than the current one and feature a fourth faction. Next up are stars, planets, starting infrastructure, and all that good stuff.
Another thing I looked at was the distribution of resource densities throughout the universe. Some of the higher-tier resources needed a little bit of a buff to the concentrations they usually appear in, so it's actually worth establishing colonies to extract them and move them around. Speaking of which, there'll also be a new general map generation rule: resource densities of further-out systems will tend to be higher than of those close to the hub worlds, so expanding your reach should be more attractive generally.
Everything is coming together pretty smoothly on the marketing end for Early Access. I was a little nervous that we wouldn't be able to have everything come out together, but after this week, I'm pretty confident in saying that everything will be ready. Our Early Access trailer came together much faster than I anticipated, so all that is left is music from Julian. The website is also going along well and looking better and better after each addition. I know you guys are curious about the roll-out, but only a few more weeks to go!
I also was able to secure another batch of YouTubers to promote our game, and some of you will be a happy to know that Spacedock will be working with us again. We had such a great response from his subscribers, so I'm equally thrilled to have him on board for another video. Again, let me know if you have any YouTubers/Twitch streamers that you think would work well with our core audience, and let me know on Discord.
After months of refactoring and rewriting existing systems, I was finally able to actually implement one of the core features for which I started the whole backend rework in the first place: support for subscriptions! Once Early Access starts, most PRO perks (more info on the "most" part in the future) will be tied to an active PRO license. This is already the case today, but during First Access, any supporter pack granted you full PRO privileges for the duration of First Access. This will change in Early Access, and you will have to buy game time to keep your license from expiring. Our backend systems now support this new model, so if you don't want to support us by buying a supporter pack (but why wouldn't you?!), you will be able to just buy game time in 1, 3, 6 or 12 month packages. Next up will be integrating all this into the frontend as well as the game itself.