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So.. we realise we missed our 11th update. Things have been pretty hectic. We’d also like to break out of that routine, so we’re changing things up.. Instead of having to wait for one MEGA update every month, we’re going to commit to smaller, fortnightly updates and see how we go from there. Yay! Awesome, right? Well to put it simply, there will be weeks where we will have really interesting and exciting content to share with you.. and there will be weeks that have been wasted researching, implementing and testing something that turned out rubbish. But either way, we’ll be keeping you in the loop letting you know how we’re moving forward.

So.. onto this weeks update!

 

Gooey Stuff

We have always been designing Stranded Deep with a minimalistic GUI in mind, but not to the extent where it would compromise gameplay. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s hard to find a good balance between not breaking immersion and having good variety and room to grow. We had been working with a temporary rotary style menu for the inventory, but found that it was too limiting. So for now, we have a traditional slot inventory and some minimalistic context menus for crafting and building…

Inventory

Crafting

The components of the UI are still temporary placeholders and will more than likely change and improve as the game evolves, but it’s working well and gives us a lot more freedom to add more combinations and complexity in the future. As the UI is very minimalistic and there is no crafting or building menu as such, we’ve integrated some helper functionality into the crosshair. The crosshair is normally a semi-transparent dot to help center your vision when you need it without being distracting, but it will also display different symbol hints for things like being able to open context menus.

 

Whats Under The Hood

A beta of the next version of our game engine, Unity 5, has been released. This doesn’t mean much for us at the moment, but it does promise some performance improvements. One of those improvements is an upgraded physics engine, which is great because we use a lot of physics!

We’ve also run into an annoying hitch with the current version we’re using. There’s a fantastic problem where the game runs great in the editor, but the standalone version’s performance is cut in half. So we’re in the process of testing a standalone build with a more recent version to see if the problem has been fixed. Fun, fun 🙂

 

Well that’s it for now. We appreciate all your support and how vocal you were when we missed an update 😛 So we hope you like hearing from on us on a more regular basis from now on.

See you soon 🙂

 

Stay Alive!

:: Sam

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15 thoughts on “

  1. Snooze says:

    Great news 🙂

  2. atiggerx33 says:

    Yay an update! I can personally say, I wouldn’t mind getting updates, that even told us about the stuff you consider boring. Like for example the research, I would enjoy just knowing what you’re researching. Maybe some commenters, if any have experience (I personally don’t, but some might), could offer suggestions or provide links that would help. Either way, I’d prefer to even hear about the boring stuff than spaces with nothing, hearing nothing scares me (and I am sure others as well).

    The screenshots look awesome, a basic crafting system is definitely good enough for now, later on perhaps you could add features such as a special crafting menu, time elapses during the crafting process, and the possibility of failing at crafting certain items. I’m assuming our character is just an average Joe stranded on an island, in my opinion an average person may be able to make a sharpened stick and call it a spear, but might have a much harder time building a shelter from scratch. It would also take someone inexperienced at construction a longer time to build a shelter than someone more experienced, and he would fail less. Are you considering giving/already working on giving the character skills? We could start by having a certain amount of points to assign to different areas such as:

    Construction: The ability to build new things like shelters, the higher the skill the better the shelter and the shorter it takes to build
    Crafting: The ability to to create new things like spears and axes, the higher the skill the shorter it takes to build and the better the quality
    Food Preparation: This includes things like cooking and gutting fish or other game, higher skill gives a shorter time for gutting, and less wasted food, also less likely to burn food.
    Strength: The higher this skill the faster we can chop logs, the longer we can run, etc. Strength is regained by sleeping and eating, the skill level gives us our total strength (like a health bar, it can be increased in length, but that doesn’t mean it’s full, so essentially a guy with lots of muscle can do more than an overweight guy without getting tired).
    Hunting: Less likely to scare away prey, perhaps with high enough skill unlocking the ability to track prey.
    Fishing: With net, spear, and pole, high skill unlocks different items for fishing, shorter wait times when using net and pole, less likely to scare fish when using spear.
    Botony: Can better identify poisonous vs nonpoisonous plants, high skill unlocks the ability to grow a garden of sorts.

    Just some random things off of the top of my head, enabling us to have these different skills adds some realism, someone who got stranded but in their lives beforehand loved to go hunting all the time would have more success hunting on the island than someone who had never hunted before in their lives. I wouldn’t expect these skills to be fully implemented during an early access release, but hopefully eventually.

    Any news in reference to the early access release? Could you give a rough estimate, nothing set in stone, but your most basic estimate of when we could begin to hope for early access? I know this was a huge comment but I am so excited for this game, and wanted to get it all out at once.

  3. Bonder says:

    minimal UI ftw! True that you need something though. The one you are using for the time being, with transparency, might work. Better to wait to see what you end up with as you go forward tho

  4. Alex says:

    *sing* “happy…”
    😀

    great news. 🙂 i like to see and hear that the progress is still under best conditions 🙂

    hope the standalone build will be a success soon ^^. 😀

    the insights are really impressive 🙂 wanna hunt those little crabs ^^.

    Stay alive peeps 🙂

    Greetz from Germany

  5. Kalran says:

    @atiggerx33
    I think you have some really sound ideas about the game and I hope that the developers take them into account. Personally, I think I am just as excited as you and many others for this game to be released, and I hope the developers give us a rough estimate for early access.
    Keep up the outstanding work BeamTeamGames!! 😀

  6. Josh says:

    I have a suggestion for inventory, for example If you have a backpack, you would take it from your back and put it in front of you and then there would be slots and you can store appropriately sized items in it. But it would be a make-shift backpack out of stick and rags of course.

  7. GimmeMyGold says:

    Awesomeness!

  8. Matt B says:

    This is so epic! I love the minimalism idea, improves immersion so much. Also, will we have to pee or poop? I’m not sure if I want that implemented or not, just wondering?

  9. atiggerx33 says:

    @Karlan
    Thanks! I don’t want a whole “skill tree” I think that would be too much (although if implemented properly it would probably work), but just like, lets say as the construction skill builds you can construct shelters faster, use less of your energy (because you’ll be less likely to mess it up and have to make minor corrections as you go along), and perhaps the shelter get’s more sturdy (during storms less likely to collapse on you), and of higher quality (rain is less likely to come in). I think we should also be able to create a primitive tent like structure, lets say we’re exploring the island, night comes upon us and we realize we’re far away from our sturdy shelter. No worries you have a hide tent! It wouldn’t be as good as our actual shelter, but useful for when you wanted to explore over long distance, like if we were looking for a superior water source. Maybe it could be improved as well, for example using animal fat to waterproof it.

    @Matt B I never thought about it before, but I kinda like the idea having to go to the bathroom, I don’t really want it to specify, just like how the Sims has a “Bladder” need but doesn’t really go into any further than that, perhaps we could dig out a latrine (hole in the ground for waste positioned so as not to destroy the water supply). If we put it too close to the river we’re drinking from maybe we could poison ourselves. Put it too close to camp and it can get you sick (I’m thinking e. coli) so you’d have to put it far enough away that you wouldn’t accidentally step in it, but close enough so that if we had to go at night it wouldn’t be terrifying (don’t want the jungle predators catching you with your pants down). Maybe eventually (like when we’ve been living on the island for an extended period) we could build an outhouse.

    This brings up other questions though, will we have to worry about hygiene? Could be maybe craft soap out of fat eventually? Could we build a primitive shower that collects rain water? I think adding these things could only add to the realism, obviously building a shower wouldn’t be a first priority for someone stranded on an island, but maybe an eventual thing, when we can more easily meet our food, shelter, and overall health requirements.

    @BEAMTEAM I do have two questions for you guys, is the game open ended? Is there any end goal to get rescued or build a raft back to humanity? I actually like the idea of being permanently stuck on this island more. But I understand some people like a game that has an end to it, maybe you could create two modes, story and endless. Story could give us tasks to complete, kind of like missions, that end with us getting rescued, and have a minimal tutorial in the beginning. Endless would have no tutorial, no “missions”, just simply survive for as long as you can.

    Second question. Will there eventually be different levels of difficulty?
    An easy setting, where the island has more abundant food sources, you’re less likely (or maybe just won’t altogether) to be attacked by dangerous wildlife, disasters less likely to happen (like your shelter being destroyed in a storm), nutritional requirements easy to meet, start with more useful tools.
    A medium setting, normal play through with the amount of resources you’d expect on a tropical island, animals aggression is set to a normal level, start with just basic tools, disasters occur occasionally, nutrition requirements are normal.
    A hard setting, the island is more barren, easier to get injured, animals may actively hunt you, nutrition requirements still normal but on a barren island harder to meet, start with just the clothes on your back, storms that can destroy your shelter happen more frequently.
    A brutal setting?, the island is similar to hard setting, injuries more likely to get infected, and more likely to happen, animals may actively hunt you, nutrition requirements the same, start nude, very stormy weather, hurricanes? Essentially the last tropical island you’d ever want to live on.

  10. bjarkedude says:

    The UI is great!… just not for this. Don’t get me wrong, the UI is very pretty, it is just more suited for a game that doesn’t require much immersion. It looks like the interface for a slick, professional design software.

    I think what you need is a somewhat more interesting UI. The UI in Far Cry 3 is a great example of simplicity, yet following the theme of the game. What you have would work well in a game like Garry’s Mod, which is all about lists, efficiency, and NOT immersion.

    It doesn’t need to be overly flamboyant and detailed though. The UI in Skrim is also somewhat minimalistic, but it still follows the theme of the game by having an interesting font and wood carving-like shapes.

  11. bjarkedude says:

    Some more thoughts:

    The UI gives the game character. Many games can be recognized by only looking at a part of the UI or menu. Ubisoft games in particular have very great User Interfaces.

    Far Cry 3’s UI is only really good immersion wise, it is not very practical.

  12. spraycanmansam says:

    Thanks guys.

    @atiggerx33. Thanks. We’ve considered a skills tree, but maybe something that’s more implied as the game progresses, rather than something you can check on. There is an end goal that players can work to figure out, but you don’t have to. There’s no plans for levels of difficulty at the moment, but that’s something that’s not too hard to implement later on.

    @Alex. Thanks, glad you’re still around 🙂

    @MattB. No. No pooping gameplay has been added 😛

    @Josh. We had played around with ideas like that, but any UI that takes a significant time to display, even a second or two, gets tiring and repetitive very fast.

    @bjarkedude. Good thoughts, and ones that we agree with. We’ve got a few ideas, but right now we’re focusing on getting everything functional.. and then we’ll make it pretty 🙂 It’s interesting what you said about the FC3 menus.. we played around with a similar idea, but came to the same conclusion.

  13. atiggerx33 says:

    Thanks for getting back to me @spraycanmansam, I agree that a skill tree is perhaps too… I don’t really know how to put it, but it just wouldn’t fit the game. This isn’t the type of game where your character “levels up” and gets to unlock a new trait. That just doesn’t seem human, people gradually learn over time, they don’t just say “well I’ve been building enough spears and suddenly I think I know how to build a X”, but if the same person got good at working with wood, the simple carving it would take to make a wooden spear, well they might just get a bit better at building everything (again it’s just a spear, so not much better). I think every build option should be available from the start (if you have the supplies). I mean a human can always get into their head to try to build a canoe like vessel, but would they succeed at it? You might LIKE to build one early on as a promising means to get food, but is it worth wasting so many resources (once you shape wood like that it can’t be unshaped back into straight logs) for such a high rate of failure? Probably not.

    I was thinking more like… well how in Pokemon if you fight a low level Pokemon you don’t gain much experience, but in comparison with how weak you are early on in the game, that experience seems like a lot. It’s a silly comparison, but relatable, so work with me here. So when you first get to the island, if you have no skill in crafting anything, even crafting a primitive spear may seem like a challenge, yet for someone with any skill in crafting it becomes a bit more manageable, and for someone with a lot of skill, it becomes a walk in the park. So lets say you were to write into the code that building a spear earns you 10xp, well early on that’s a decent improvement, but once you get to a certain point, 10xp is drop in the bucket. I would say don’t have it pop on the screen that we gained xp (that would ruin immersion), but have it be a hidden factor. I think it’s a simple way to have us get better at crafting or whatever, yet in a way more adept at showing human learning than a skill tree. It also provides an accurate learning curve, early on you learn quickly while later on you learn more slowly.

    I would say, add into the game that before you craft something it shows how difficult that item is to craft as compared with your current skill, this is how we learn at what “level” our person is, in real life we would know if we were capable of something (I know I can’t run a mile, but I can easily walk a mile). Not like in a “you have a 90% chance to successfully craft this item” way, that wouldn’t be human; but more in a “crafting this is easy” (walking a mile is easy), it’s more of a human thought than a statistic. The game uses statistics, but we just see, “this task is easy/possible/hard/impossible”. Sure, you can try something you think is impossible for you to do (running a mile), your odds of actually succeeding though are very low. I think it would accurately provide feedback on how advanced we are in a particular skill, without seeming unrealistic. In life, we don’t have a chart that shows exactly how far we are towards being a master at something, but we all know when we approach a task how difficult we think it will be to accomplish.

  14. Anonymous says:

    When will you guys release and idea of when the game will be released?

  15. Luci says:

    I allways wanted a game like the one I played when I was young ( Stranded 1,2) but with much more content,not graphics (even if this game look incredible).I hope the team can finish it and give players a great experience.I wish you good luck and if you can estimate on an release for alpha,like this year or 2015 that would be great.Thank you

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