Starbound

Scott Tortorice

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I just find it supremely humorous that now that we own PCs capable of photo-realistic graphics and realistic physics, the most exciting & popular games are those that resemble and operate at the 16-bit level, such as Minecraft. Case in point: Starbound:

http://playstarbound.com/

About

Starbound is a brand new game undergoing active development by Chucklefish, an indie game company made up of a lovely group of dudes and dudettes. If you like what you see, please feel free to leave a comment or tell your friends. We hope this blog can be an insight into the trials and tribulations of the development process, the people behind the game, and what we hope to achieve.
A story within a sandbox

Starbound begins with you fleeing your homeworld in a space shuttle, just as it’s destroyed by an unknown enemy. With nothing to guide it, the escape pod shoots into space without direction, becoming hopelessly lost in a sea of stars. As luck would have it, the space shuttle touches down on a habitable planet and an adventure begins that will take you hurtling across the universe. Starbound contains both quests and story driven missions, buried inside its vast sandbox universe.
Endless Planets to visit

Planets in Starbound are entirely procedurally generated and filled to the brim with unique content. We went into the planet generation with one simple goal: no two planets should be the same. By procedurally generating even the smallest details, we’re doing just that. Not only is the terrain of the planet procedurally generated, but the weather, the gravity, the difficulty level, the plant life, the behaviour and appearance of alien creatures, and much more all contain random or procedurally generated elements.

We want you to feel like an explorer!

Because we’re working so hard to make each planet unique, we want to give you the tools to catalogue the things you find and make sure absolutely everything you find has depth in the world. Much like old school point and click adventures, absolutely every object in the world, right down to the trees and flowers, can be examined for a description.

See a weird alien tree? Examine it! Maybe you’ll discover something about its use! For any explorer, sharing discoveries is important. So whilst the game is fully coop (Bring your friends along! Form an expedition!) you can also record your findings in an electronic logbook. Not only that, but each and every planet has unique coordinates in the Universe that you can share online, so other players can check out exactly what you found!

Finding a new home


Exploring is wonderful, but everyone needs a place to call their own. That’s why we’re letting you claim an entire planet!

When you claim a planet as your new homeworld, a whole new aspect of gameplay opens up. Everything that makes a planet unique is at your command. Feel like changing the weather? Build a weather centre! Don’t like the terrain? Terraform it! Every aspect of the planet is under your control. Once you’re happy with it, start populating it with characters you’ve met in your travels and take care of them! They’ll have needs and desires and won’t hesitate to ask for your help if they require assistance.

This is only just scratching the surface of what we have in store for you in Starbound.
It certainly sounds good. Apparently, others think so, too:

We’ve officially sold $1,000,000 in pre-orders! Words can’t even express how grateful and overwhelmed we are by all the support you’ve shown us– not just over the past couple of weeks, but for the past year or so since Starbound was officially announced. You’re all amazing, and we’re going to continue to work our butts off to make Starbound an awesome game for you.
You can't make this up. Gaming, like the rest of the world, is clearly in a state of regression. Don't know what to make of that....What do you think? Is this trend good for gaming? Or just a sign that perhaps video games are jumping the shark? Maybe it just means that AAA gaming has killed itself by raising the production costs to unsustainable levels?
 

Wodin

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Had my eye on this for a year or so now. My daughter loved Terraria but this one has my ears pricked open aswell. Looks great. Love the art style aswell. Also love the concept.
 

Scott Tortorice

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Yeah, it reminds me of Terraria, too. Except this game seems to be going for more of a deeper, exploration and planet building system. That should make it more interesting (I thought Terraria was a bit one note).
 

Scott Tortorice

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Still keeping an eye on this one:

  • (Updated/Reworded) Each planetary system is created procedurally based on its coordinates. Coordinates will always create the same system, so you can share your discoveries with friends. Some coordinates will not actually have a system like in real life, so there should be a lot of empty space between systems. The planets themselves are generated based on their distance from their systems star, and a few other factors.
  • (Updated/Reworded) Navigation between systems and planets will take place via a visual star map on your spaceship. You will then take the spaceship to the planet. This action will require fuel.
  • It has been shown on the RoadMap that the universe is divided up into different 'sectors', each with a huge number of systems.
  • Worlds that are not infinite in size will loop around, so if you travel far enough you will end up back at your start area, as if the planet is a real sphere.
  • Worlds could possibly become completely destroyable in time, but as of now plans are in place to make it possible to call orbital strikes upon the surface of a planet. There is also a possibility they will add the ability to cause life on the planet to become extinct
  • Claimed Homeworlds can be renamed. And non-homeworld planets will most likely have 'bookmarks' you can set. Multiple planets can be designated as homeworlds, but the cost is so high in resources that a single player may have trouble doing so.
  • Some worlds will have pregenerated story elements, which have been hand crafted with game-play in mind.
  • Planet based random events will occur. Eventually, post release there will be the possibility of planetary system, galaxy or universe wide events.
  • It has been stated by Tiy that it will not only be planets you will visit. There will be explorable "man" made constructions found off planet's (space stations, derelict ships. etc.)
  • Planets day and night cycles will differ based on the planet, some may even be eternally dark or eternally light.
  • Acid rain has been mentioned, which may actually eat away at player constructions during certain quests to protect an injured npc.
  • Homeworlds can be set to not allow explosions to prevent griefing. Regular planets you won't stay on long enough to care about.
  • There will be mini-biomes inside the larger ones. Such as overgrown pools or mushroom/rose fields. This will add even more diversity to planets.
  • Temples and Pyramids will be generated on some worlds.
  • Planets will have varying levels of gravity.
  • Round planets have a super-heated core at the centre that could melt the player. But not all planets will have molten at their core, some may have other impassible barriers.
  • Below the surface, ores will be part of the background as well. - Tiy
  • A planet may be generated as infinite in size, however, only left or right, as planet depth has been capped for obvious reasons.
  • Random events such as meteor showers may destroy "throw-away" planets, but not homeworlds of course.
  • There are multiple planets per star system.
  • Mountains, Canyons, Hills, Flats, Chasms, etc are all generated on planets offering a wide variety of terrain possiblities, as well as random villages, dungeons and tunnel systems.
  • Dungeons are divided into different rooms/corridors. Each room is made of a single image. Each pixel in an image references blocks, objects, spawn points, connection points and so on. More details here.
    • There are hundreds and hundreds of these images being used to generate all manner of different dungeons, temples, crypts, etc.
    • The engine is also capable of randomising what a particular pixel means, so a single room could appear in a multitude of different ways.
    • Lua scripts can be built directly into dungeons and wiring works too.
  • Even with the top equipment, the "end game" (hardest) planets will not be "easy".
  • The sky on the planet reflects the solar system view from your system navigator. If you find a planet with 4 moons around it, those same 4 moons will be orbiting the planet whilst you're on it. Or if you go to one of the moons, you'll see the planet and the other 3 moons in the sky.
  • Sea level will differ from planet to planet.
  • For oceans, content changes as you get deeper. "The ocean floor is awesome." - Tiy
  • Non-planet celestial bodies (asteroids, moons.) will have their own set of unique dungeon types, as most have no atmospheres.
 
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