We hope everyone is doing alright during these challenging times. Fortunately, the entire ROCKFISH team and our loved ones are safe & sound. We are incredibly grateful that we can work from home, and for the fact that we are still in a financially comfortable position so we can continue working on EVERSPACE 2. Sure, we’re losing a bit of steam as up- and downloading tens of gigabytes of graphic assets and test builds to and from the cloud is no joke. What used to take minutes can now take several hours. Our communication is also a bit slower, but considering the situation the world is currently in, we can be very pleased with the progress we’re making.
As we don’t expect this crisis to be over any time soon, we decided to run more key giveaway campaigns like we just did on Destructoid and PC Invasion to compensate for missed opportunities to demo the alpha and beta version of EVERSPACE 2 to our fans, content creators, and the media. So, if you haven’t already pledged on the Standard Edition or higher, keep your eyes peeled for future announcements – this is the time where you should follow us on Twitter if you don’t, already.
New Concept Art
As we promised a much bigger game world in EVERSPACE 2, we have been hard at work producing a lot of new concept art pieces. Some of you have already seen them in our weekly dev & community streams on Fridays, but we’d like to share them here, too, so none of you fine space pilots miss out on anything.
The Outlaw Viper fires corrosion missiles from afar. When closing in on its target, it switches to drone behavior and folds out its armor to fire with a battery of scatterguns while orbiting around its prey – snakey!
The Carrier is the pride of the G&B Fleet. To compensate for its low mobility, it not only features a super durable hull underneath massive plating, a small fleet of fighters and drones can launch from openings in the hull on each side to keep attackers at bay. Those hangars also serve for mining and supply vessels to land. Consequently, security measures and defense systems are extremely sophisticated to prevent any introducers from sabotaging the carrier’s supralight energy coils and its turbines.
Armed to its teeth and heavily plated, the Outlaw Dreadnought is the Frigate-style capital ship of the Outlaws. Because of its massive armor, it is almost impossible to destroy it from afar. Pilots need to dodge its high-frequency output of barrel bombs and horrifying plasma thrower turrets to find a weak spot, fly inside and take it out with a critical hit deep down in its belly and get out without being caught in the nuclear blast.
The Colonial Light Cruiser is a true masterpiece of high-tech in sci-fi warfare: It is equipped with rapid-firing rail gun turrets that do not overheat as well as EMP bombs with an enormous blast range. Thanks to its fighter hangar, the capability of making several consecutive long-range hyper jumps, and sneaking up on its target in almost undetectable stealth mode, it is perfectly suited for taking on expansive spec ops missions.
Hi-Res Player Ships
As you already know from a previous production update here on Kickstarter, all player ships in EVERSPACE 2 are based on a modular component system that allows for a large number of different combinations of hulls, wings, sterns / rear engines, cockpits, and attachments.
To prevent having just a bunch of generic-looking player ships, we spent a lot of time and effort in defining distinctive design rules for main and sub ship classes, as well as for all the ship components, so you can easily tell which sub-class a certain ship model belongs to.
But that’s not all! Thanks to our new texturing and modeling techniques, using floaters, decals, and emissive materials, you will also feast your eyes on much higher per-pixel details on the exterior and interior ship surfaces in addition to customizing your vessel by choosing primary, secondary and tertiary colors, which will impact the color of your ship’s glowy bits, too. We have even more ideas for further customization features and will share more when they are fleshed out.
Ship Devices & Device Modes
Devices in the original EVERSPACE were items that would drop as loot from various sources and could be installed into your ship’s device slots. They came in two flavors, active and passive. While active devices needed to be activated in order to apply their effect, passive devices would provide permanent stat bonuses or other benefits while they were installed.
The similarity to skills you know from traditional RPGs has not escaped us, of course. That’s why we want to take this idea further in EVERSPACE 2 and have decided to link the devices directly to the player progression. That means that once found, devices will remain unlocked and can be accessed and installed at will. Passive devices were replaced by the equipment items you install into your ship, such as platings, energy core, etc.
New Devices and Device Modes offer a variety of combination possibilities and synergy effects for pilots who want to get the most out of their spaceship.
A further novelty over the predecessor are the so-called Device Modes. These are passive extensions that alter the function of a device to varying degrees. A maximum of three modes can be unlocked per device and only one of them can be active at a time. To unlock device modes, you will need special tokens that can be obtained, for example, through level-ups or as a reward for missions. The idea behind Device Modes is to allow you to tailor your build to your taste through complex synergies with other devices, perks, items, etc.
For example, there is a new device called Annihilator Virus that infects targets with a system virus that spreads to nearby enemies and causes a massive explosion once the timer ends. One of its device modes causes it to deal increased damage for every debuff active on the target. Now, if you use your EMP Generator right before the virus explosion, the target will receive extra damage for the EMP debuff. The EMP Generator, on the other hand, has a device mode that causes affected targets to lose shield hitpoints over time. Since this is another debuff, the explosion will deal even more damage.
Being able to explore new and strange planets has always been one of the biggest dreams for many space game enthusiasts. In space simulations, where exploration for hundreds or even thousands of hours is the main pillar of the game, there is no way around procedural world generation, and we’ve already seen some great examples for this concept. However, there are some fundamental downsides to it.
For starters, working with high-quality, pre-baked global illumination solutions in procedurally-generated environments is not possible, especially if the game world is truly seamless. Secondly, game designers have much less control over gameplay and environmental design in procedurally-generated game worlds, which only gets worse when trying to implement a proper story campaign, featuring cutscenes and scripted events. In fact, we spent a lot of effort and time managing randomization and player frustration in the original EVERSPACE.
Since we dropped the roguelike formula in favor of a persistent open world with fixed handcrafted locations in EVERSPACE 2, we can now take the overall experience to a whole new level, especially on planet locations.
However, having handcrafted planetary locations with super hi-res height maps, high-quality illumination solutions, large set pieces featuring lots of surface details as well as lots of interesting activities going on in the sky and on the ground, comes at a price: They not only take a lot of time and effort to create, they are also very memory-heavy.
To manage your expectations: We really want to prioritize those features mentioned above. What it means though is that we’re not able to implement a large number of explorable planets, rather, we’re focusing on a few that are most important to the story and the overall game experience. Also, there is no way around the fact that these sections will impact load times by a few extra seconds but hey, we like to think seamless atmospheric descending is totally overrated anyway.
So, if you want to see more of the all-new planet locations in-game as well as Ship Devices and Device Modes in action don’t miss TOMORROW’s dev & community stream on Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm CEST / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm EDT.
See you online,
Michael and your dedicated ROCKFISH Games Team