Dev Update (29/10/2015)

Hi everyone,

I spent last Saturday up at Hull for Fantasticon and as well as enjoying the convention conducted a Q&A panel along with Ed and Zac. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone there for making us feel welcome, the hard work that went into organising the event and of course for all the questions. Not unexpectedly Horizons was a popular topic and it was great to see the enthusiasm for what we’re putting together.

On Tuesday I took part in a live stream event looking at some of the gameplay like Skimmer combat in Horizons and also touched on points of interest. You can watch the stream here:

I’m going to expand on that in this update. On the surface there are many different things to see. Different military bases, research establishments, hideouts, starports, mining complexes, crashed ships and debris to investigate, and perhaps a few other things too. We are collectively calling these things ‘points of interest’. There is essentially a scale of items on the surface from starports and settlements, down to interesting mineral finds. Points of interest cover the encounters at the lower end of that scale, so as you travel across the surface you have a chance of encountering one of these points. The nature of the encounter will vary depending on where you are, the type of planet and the local topography and geology.

So for example you could be exploring an old mining world within the human bubble and find old mine workings, or machines. You might find a crashed ship way out beyond the frontier and who knows beyond that?

These points of interest come in a variety of flavours broadly split into two categories: natural and constructed. Natural points of interest are things that occur naturally on the planet such as mineral deposits. These themselves come in a range of elements and compounds and these feed into the new type of resource collection that we are adding as part of the loot system. Some elements of this will be part of the planetary landing release and will allow some specific modifications to your ship and SRV – we’ll have more on this coming in the next few weeks.

As well as naturally occurring formations we also have resources that can be found that have arrived from beyond the planet, but still of natural origin. These include items like meteorites that again feed into the new resource system. These will include resources that can only be found on the ground.

Manmade constructs can also be discovered on the planet’s surface and again these come in a variety of guises ranging from crashed ships to small encampments and other devices. More familiar cargo containers or other scoopable objects can be found at these encounters, so a crashed trading vessel may well have spewed the contents of its cargo hold. Or they might have something that needs scanning or data extracting from. These will tend to be found in the human habited region, but also beyond as tales of The Missing can attest to.

It’s often wise to approach these sites with caution as they can be protected by automated systems!

There are points of interest that don’t neatly fit into those two groupings, but we can leave them for you to discover for yourselves :-)

How you find these depends on your current transport. While on ships you only get a vague knowledge of whether there are points of interest nearby – this is shown as an area on your scanner. You will need to deploy your SRV and with its more specialised equipment locate whatever is there. This new equipment will form the focus for a new stream and update in the next few weeks.

As well as continued development with Horizons we’re supporting the released game and this week we deployed a server update to tackle the issue we encountered with the servers last Sunday. We are still looking into changes to address issues with the background simulation and player backed factions.