The weekend before the last, Barotrauma turned three… well, our stay in early access on Steam did. We of course are much older than that already. Even then, now’s a good time to reminisce and look ahead. How has Barotrauma changed in the past three years, and how is it going to change after today?
The road so far
Barotrauma was quite the different game on June 5, 2019, as you can still see in our original feature trailer that dates back to our early access release:
Below is a list of some of the more memorable things we’ve added or changed since then and until today, in order of appearance!
- Dedicated server with anonymous SteamCMD support
- One-click server hosting to forgo the need to forward ports manually AKA networking overhaul vol. 2 (vol. 1 was before early access and vol. 3 is still to come!)
- Karma system for griefing moderation
- Overhauled Traitor gamemode
- The in-game Character Editor
- Server browser and lobby rework with server playstyles and more
- Power rework (vol. 1) and new signal components for building more complex electrical devices
- Character customization and job overhaul vol. 1
- Creature AI improvement pass
- Complete user interface overhaul
- Explorable wrecks and Thalamuses… Thalami?
- Submarine Editor test mode and autosave
- Contextual commands for submarine crew
- Support for dismembering non-human creatures
- Explorable outposts
- Outpost event system
- Progression system for submarines in campaigns: upgrades and availability
- Persistence for AI crew members between rounds (persistence for AI orders between rounds came a year later)
- In-game economy overhaul
- Campaign map redesign
- Visual overhaul of almost everything
- Gardening, cleaning, and other downtime activities
- Undo/redo for the Submarine Editor
- Environment overhaul
- Abandoned outposts
- The single most contentious addition of our time on Europa: Jovian radiation as a mechanic
- Abyss overhaul
- Talent system
- Complete overhaul of all human characters
- Overhauled alien ruins
- Outpost medical service
- Creature AI, spawns and behavior improvements pass vol. 2
- Overhauled colony outposts and improved outpost evolution
- Personal wallets for crew members
- Modding refactor and new modding documentation
- 3 issues of The Europan in the Barotrauma Supporter Pack
- 17 new or remade submarines
- 69 new or remade missions
- 43 new scripted events
- 33 new or remade creatures
- 60 updates, patches and hotfixes released on Steam
- 8852 tickets closed in our issue tracker.
And these were just the big things. Want to see our entire version history? Check it out on the wiki.
As you can see, there is a mildly frustrating number of things we have overhauled more than once. Besides a combined changelog that would probably be long enough to take us to Europa and back to Earth again, these three years have been full of lessons learned about how to develop games and not break them too badly. We want to thank you for being there all this time… not just to cheer us on but also to help us make the game better, and for being patient when we don’t always get it right the first time.
The way forward
So how much more is Barotrauma going to evolve before we call it fully released? Are we still going to overhaul massive systems and add a fleet’s worth of new submarines?
We’re not. In fact, if everything goes as planned, we’re on the last leg of the journey now, which is why we’ve been making more fixes and less new content of late, and the same trend is going to continue in the updates coming later this year.
In other words, Barotrauma is largely feature-complete at this point, but there are a handful of new additions and significant overhauls still coming that we believe are crucial to the experience that we want you to have with our game. Let’s take a quick look at those.
Overall game balance
Now that we have built just about all the systems that we wanted for the game, and many we didn’t initially think we were going to have, it’s time to fix, balance, polish and optimize everything. Countless number values have changed and are going to change under the hood this year (and some will change many times before they’re done).
Barotrauma is still a little notorious as a game that’s hard to get into, and not only in a good way. We want to strike that balance of easy to learn, hard to master, and are reworking the tutorials to that end.
Who are the Jovian Separatists and do you support them, or the Coalition? Besides the two main factions vying for control over Europan territories, the husks and clowns have their own agendas that may involve you and your crew. The faction overhaul will be released in the 1.0 update, with details kept under wraps until then.
Not quite a fleet, but we’ve still got a few more new vanilla submarines planned before 1.0. They’re intended to fill gaps in the roster to make campaigns enjoyable as designed in all vanilla, if you so choose.
We’ve been quietly building the ending of the game for many months already. To keep things exciting for everyone, the endgame will remain a secret until its eventual release and will not be uploaded to the Unstable beta for public testing. For now, let’s just say there will be a new kind of location, with previously unseen story within. We can’t wait to let you play it and hope you will find it a fitting conclusion to years of development!
The birthday update
Today isn’t just about looking back – we’ve also released an update that focuses on quality of life, fixes and optimizations. Find out more about the update on Steam, and one more time our heartfelt thanks for sharing this adventure with us!