Dev Message and PAX East Demo Videos!

Hey Folks!

New video day! You've been very patient, waiting for a new video since...gosh, was it December? With the rush to get ready for PAX, my video game has been lax. (Sorry, dad pun+rhyme combo.) So to reward your patience, you get TWO videos!

Dev Update Vlog

This first video is a personal message from the developer, found on a derelict Ryokka tug outside of K-Leg:

Ostranauts: Developer Update, March 26th 2042 [RENBAO-COMPATIBLE]

In it, I talk about how PAX went, recap what Ostranauts is about, and the road to Early Access Launch.

PAX East 2020 Demo Walkthrough

The second video has me narrating a walkthrough of the demo from PAX East 2020, for those who couldn't attend:

PAX East 2020 Demo

It includes a demonstration of the captain creation process, salvaging a derelict, starting the inertial confinement fusion reactor, screening prospective crewmates, and the experimental flight controls.

If this sounds interesting to you, please wishlist Ostranauts on Steam here. Wishlisting is one of the most effective ways of helping the game succeed before launch, as it tells Valve this game is going to be a big deal!

And if you know anyone else who might dig this type of game, let them know! Spreading awareness is something everyone can do to help me continue to make games like this.

Thanks for your time, and stay tuned for more spacelife news!

Tags: Ostranauts


Braderunna's picture

Is ostranauts gonna have different levels of power required for certain parts of the ship, and is the reactor gonna be upgradeable to be able to power more ship functionalities?

And what about a way to redistribute that power around the different ship systems, without having to rewire the ship?

Much like Faster Than Light, if you ever played that.
A system like that makes for some VERY intense tactical gameplay decisions, and i think it really could too in ostranauts, with its deeper simulation.
Having to shut down the oxygen to keep powering up the shield in a severe asteroid storm, or having to choose between powering the med bay to heal you crewmember, or keep firing the guns at the enemy shield to keep them vulnerable and not let them recover, and a multitude of other interesting situations.

Ofcourse, any good ship has enough power to have all systems on at the same time, but if you recently found a good deal on some powerful weapon, and you havent upgraded your reactor and weapons systems, or if somebody zaps half your reactors worth of power, then the tactical decisions begin.

FTL is definitely one of my favorite games. It brilliantly designed, in terms of actually being a "game" in the sense of a game like chess and the like. Simple tactical decisions. But in FTL they have a cool context.

Would love to see something like what FTL has done, in ostranauts. The longer-time-per-playthrough nature of ostranauts would be a good addition to that style of game. If you havent played FTL, please, i urge you to check it out!


dcfedor's picture

I have indeed played FTL. And I agree! I enjoyed it a lot.

So far, what you're describing could be the case, since each system requires power to run, and the power produced by the reactor is finite. And systems can be enabled/disabled to adjust power usage.

However, the one thing that makes this tricky is that I've modeled the reactor to be powerful enough to produce 1g of thrust for a ship massing thousands of tons. That means it generates terawatts of energy.

Of course, generating terawatts of thrust is not the same as generating usable power for on board equipment. So I have a generator attachment which recaptures some of the thrust to make energy (the MHD seen in the control panel). But even the tiniest fraction of that diverted to power the ship could power multiple cities.

That leaves me with limited options. I could decrease thrust to make it more interesting, but that makes travel much slower, and artificial gravity much weaker.

I could also depart from reality a bit and bend the rules, but I prefer to do that as a last resort.

There is, however, one case where your power management comes into play currently: when the reactor is off. Without the reactor, the ship runs all systems off of backup battery, and those can drain quickly.

And eventually, I plan to make running the reactor anywhere near populated places illegal, for safety reasons.

So if there are enough times when the reactor is not an option, it could get interesting!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Braderunna's picture

Well, thats some really nice info. I like it :)!

I get what your going at. I like the idea of reactors being illegal in crowded areas a lot! The more times you can force the players to make hard tactical decisions, the better.

Maybe you could have smaller reactors for smaller ships, only capable of powering what is necessary, hence the need to upgrade them sometimes?

If you have ever played Elite from 1884, theres a guy who developed a game using the sourcecode. Its called Oolite, and really very enjoyable. It has that bare necessities feeling, the HUD is purely functional, no pretty swirls or nothing. Its great. Just thought id spread the word.


dcfedor's picture

I was a huge fan of Frontier: Elite II back in the day. I remember scarfing down whole handfuls of Christmas chocolates as I jumped from system to system on my Atari ST.

I seem to remember there being an Oolite project. I can't recall if I ever tried it, but maybe I should take a look!

On a similar note, I remember being enchanted by the Orbiter sim a while back. I think the thing that impressed me was following the take-off, orbit, and de-orbit tutorial for the advanced shuttle. All the control panels started making sense, and I felt like I was really riding the limits in my bucket of bolts :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Braderunna's picture

Space sims can be some of the most intense experiences, just floating through space can actually be terrifying, if they get it right.

What i enjoy most about Elite in general is the HUD, specifically the radar. The way they tried to visualize a 3D sphere as your radar range, with your ship in the center. Its brilliantly minimalistic. Just the hud in general is. And combined with the janky controls, it makes it feel like youre actually trying to control a spaceship, dumb as it may sound.

The thing about the HUD is: if you compare it to something like the X game series, (which is qualified as having "good graphics") where you see the interior of your ship, the "controlpanel" is just a mess of random blinking buttons and screens, none of which actually do anything. The most important information as shield levels, are centered around your crosshairs, and it just takes up space in the center of the screen, and its a bit annyoing to see the control panel wasted. As soon as you need to use the HUD, you have to bring up weird screens, instead of just using the space on the actual "control panel" of the ship, as Elite kinda does it. Even though X space sim is graphically much more capable of having a great functional hud, it just didnt use any of that potential.
Only for blinking meaningless buttons, meant to look complicated...

Ill have to check out Frontier: Elite II ! I never actually played Elite the original game, only Oolite, but Oolite simply adds textures and some expanded mechanics to the game, but not much really. Oh, an it makes it very moddable. Lots of great mods for Oolite.

The only thing about Oolite that lacks behind, is the AI in fights (specific situations). If the AI is hit, it will try to make dodging maneuvers at all costs (which makes sense). But when you get really close to enemy ships, the most effective way of hitting anything, is to become an almost stationary turret, spinning around, trying to aim at the enemy ship. The enemy AI simply reacts by flying around you, not being able to stop and attack as you keep hitting them (because they MUST keep evading as you keep hitting them). As soon as they ACTUALLY TRY to stop and attack you, YOU hit THEM, because they slowed down (in order to face you and aim), and they just continue their cycle of trying to dodge, stopping to aim, getting hit, trying to dodge, stopping to aim, getting hit, trying to dodge, stopping to aim, getting hit... And you're just there, being a stationary turret.

The only way to avoid this pattern, is to avoid close range combat and make very fight into a "chicken race", where you fly towards each other shooting, again and again. Which of course is suicide, as the AI is exceptional at aiming from far away.

Thats my only complaint so far.
Otherwise its almost perfect in a sense.


dcfedor's picture

Yeah, I remember clicking the actual landing gear lever on my ship in Elite II, and seeing indicators on the dash that actually meant something. Even things like red and green landing lights, which don't technically matter to the game, but are attention to details that would mean something in the world.

I was close to buying into the Star Citizen game for those reasons. I think Chris Roberts genuinely loves spaceships and attention to detail, and wants every single piece to matter. It kind of turned into a thing I wasn't sure I wanted anymore (at least for that kind of price tag), but I still watch the occasional video of it to recharge those batteries :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games