Preview: Hoist the Sails update

Hello everyone!

The next update is almost here, so let’s take a final look at everything in it – from performance improvements and submarine changes to overhauled game tutorials and more.

Performance update

We’re updating Barotrauma’s .NET runtime to a new version to improve overall performance, and we’ve also been working on a number of optimizations to address specific problem areas, such as large numbers of items, talents and physics. These put together should result in significant performance gains.

We wrote more about the .NET update and related things a few weeks earlier on Steam. Take a look!

Changes in the shipyard

New Barotrauma transport submarine "Camel"
The Camel, our newest Transport sub.

The bulk of the Hoist the Sails update involves submarines, and we wrote about these changes in more detail in the previous blog post. In a nutshell, look forward to…

  • A new vanilla sub, the Camel – an early-game Transport submarine.
  • A sleeker submarine upgrades system: fewer upgrades for greater gain at a time, and the introduction of some class-specific upgrades to make the submarine classes stand out better.
  • No more Deep Diver. This class offered little advantage besides being able to take you through the last levels of a campaign, so we decided to remove it altogether. Deep Divers become Scouts, and you will be able to finish the campaign on any ship that you have upgraded enough.
  • A new submarine tier system. Besides being of a specific class, subs will now be ranked into tiers (I–III) depending on how advanced they are. Tier is assigned based on a submarine’s price and can be adjusted in the Sub Editor. Tier and class together determine the maximum limit for upgrades for a sub, making it more advantageous to buy new subs as well as upgrade existing ones.
  • New and bigger guns!

Tutorial rework

Barotrauma tutorial rework: role selection
The new tutorials are split into basic and role-specific, and the role tutorials can be done in any order.

As we are getting closer to our 1.0 release, we’re paying close attention to making Barotrauma easier to get into (but ever hard to master, we hope). To this end, we’ve replaced the in-game tutorials with brand new ones. 

The new tutorials have been split into two parts: First, the basic tutorial to get a new sailor oriented to the controls, movement, inventory and aiming a welding tool, for example. After that, you can access a more nuanced role tutorial… which you can play in any order, skipping any roles you don’t want to learn at that time. Since we’ve covered the gameplay fundamentals in the basic tutorial already, these role-specific tutorials go into a bit more depth about the purpose and tasks of each role than our old tutorials did.

Barotrauma tutorial rework: Captain tutorial
Excerpt of the new Captain tutorial.

This should make it faster and less overwhelming to get into the game and begin your first real round with a better understanding of the responsibilities of your role. The tutorials will continue to be polished and fixed later this year based on your feedback.

The new tutorials are made with the scripted event system which we also use for events elsewhere in the game. This means that the tutorials are now moddable, so makers of complex mods can even build an in-game tutorial for their custom content!

Barotrauma tutorial rework, new writing
More new tutorial snippets.

What else is new

As usual, the update contains a long list of fixes and tweaks besides what we’ve elaborated on. Here are some more noteworthy changes coming up.

Draggable item UIs. Tired of the UIs of your linked fabricator, deconstructor and cabinets overlapping or being placed in a less-than-optimal way? You can finally drag the UIs around and place them as you see fit.

Barotrauma draggable user interfaces

Using devices while on a ladder or sitting on a chair. A small but not insignificant improvement!

Re-adding the legacy voice / radio chat keys for those who want to switch back to the old behavior.

Deconstructors show what an item deconstructs into. The lossy deconstruction we introduced in the previous update made it costly to check this by deconstructing an item, so this mitigates that loss.

Barotrauma deconstructor improvement

Fixed brief freezing when monsters spawn nearby, which spoiled the surprise of incoming attacks. Now you will be caught off guard again, as intended.

Networking fixes and improvements, e.g. fixes to some missing entity errors, significantly faster file transfers, and more.

Reactor improvements. We’ve been working on making reactors a bit more engaging to use manually. Automatic reactor control is very popular, so we’re not removing ARCs or making them non-viable… but we do hope more players will give manual operation another try once it becomes a bit less of a chore. Changes coming up:

  • Overvoltage makes devices perform better.
  • Intentionally overvolting devices becomes more worthwhile: We’ve added measures to prevent all boxes from breaking at the same time, making overvoltage less of a pain to deal with.
  • We’ve added buttons to immediately increase or decrease reactor temperature for a brief amount of time. This allows players to react to load fluctuations very quickly and conserve fuel by operating the reactor at a lower fission rate.
  • Signals no longer set the fission and turbine rates of the reactor instantaneously, giving automated reactor circuits a slight flaw. Together with the added incentives for manual operation, this should make automatic reactor control still perfectly viable but no longer the objectively best way to run a reactor.
Barotrauma reactor improvements

Hoist the sails!

This update marks the last big content update before Barotrauma 1.0 (barring any unexpected delays), so now is a fitting time to say thank you once more to everyone following our progress over the years!

If everything goes well, we will still release one smaller update later this year and then sail out of early access with a major content update early next year. That won’t mean the end of updates, though – work continues even after we reach our full release.

Hoist the Sails is coming next week. Be on the lookout!

Barotrauma Hoist the Sails update


  • September 30, 2022

    Nice :O finally this great update is close

  • September 30, 2022

    is there will be more mobs or wrecks soon?

  • October 1, 2022

    Taking the updates’ names from such low res images for the YT Thumbnails kills me everytime xD
    I wish we had a .png or a larger resolution image :crying:

  • December 3, 2022

    There’s an EXTREMELY simple way of making manually controlling the reactor actually appealing and worthwhile: Have it give skill points. As it stands, even if you decide to operate the reactor manually, unlike virtually EVERY OTHER TASK in the sub, you get absolutely nothing for it. Zero. Zilch. Nada. This is a HUGE part of why automatic reactor controllers are so popular. You can ditch the job that doesn’t reward you in favor of doing other task on the sub that actually have a tangible benefit: Shoring up the electrical system by adding dynamic controllers to batteries and supercapacitors, building and adding new systems to control the behavior of doors and ducts, etc. And, of course, bring your arsenal of depleted fuel ammunition and the rapid fissile accelerator to bear on the enemy.

    All of these are fulfilling and rewarding. Being the reactor monkey is not. Rewarding players for expected behavior is fundamental game design.

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