Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes. It always blows us away and makes our collective day to see hundreds of people chime in to wish us well like you’ve done, this past week.
As we mentioned in the birthday post, the next update is en route and in fact very close – we mean to release it next week, so now is the time to talk about what you’re going to find in it. Introducing: Thunder Under The Ice!
Mission variety is one big part of the game we’ve been working on bolstering this year, and in keeping with that, this update brings several new missions. They’re roughly divided into three types: the many subtypes of escort missions, overhauled cargo missions, and the entirely new pirate missions.
Initially planned as “taxi missions”, we took a long good look at this and decided it needed to be more than that. So, instead of simply ferrying NPCs around and making sure they don’t wander off, there are a few different kinds of missions that fall under the “escort” umbrella:
- Personnel Transport, the good old-fashioned taxi mission.
- VIP Transport, similar but you’re charged with the safety of someone important and their armed escort.
- Prisoner Transport, because this is Europa we’re talking about.
- Terrorist Stakeout, or where escort missions really get interesting: assume the role of a simple transport sub to ferret out outlaws in hiding.
Where the mission cargo has thus far spawned unceremoniously on the floor, from this update on, it will spawn on shelves and in the special Unit Load Devices of cargo-class submarines. If you lack shelf space, you can still transport cargo on the floor in smaller quantities, for a smaller paycheck. So, it now pays to have a properly outfitted cargo vessel for cargo runs!
Just like abandoned outposts introduced squatting outlaws, we’re now adding a new kind of sub-vs-sub battle missions where you must take on a submarine controlled by pirates, a new brand of hostile NPC. In addition to giving you a good reason to use your many new guns (read more below), this has offered Barotrauma’s art team a chance to come up with new and suitably rugged looks for Europa’s newest villains. What do you think?
Lastly, you can finally have multiple missions per round. The simultaneous mission count is capped at 2 by default, but you can edit that number when starting a new campaign. Combined with the side objectives we added in the Embrace the Abyss update, you can now potentially complete a lot of objectives on the same stretch of road, which should make for less back-and-forth. Let us know how this works in practice!
Over the years, adding new guns to subs on the go has been requested many times, and now we’re finally able to introduce this feature: whilst docked at a colony outpost, you can modify your submarine’s offensive capabilities. For the time being, this only concerns weapons, but if it seems to work well, we may consider adding similar functionality for other submarine devices in the future.
Besides adding more guns to your boats, we’re adding brand new kinds of guns and ammunition:
- Pulse Laser, a large pulsed chemical laser attached to a turret, capable of firing intense beams of energy. Even more dangerous when used with the special Pulse Tri-Laser Fuel.
- Chaingun, a powerful multiple-barrel turreted weapon, based on coilgun technology. For added lethality, use the special Physicorium Chaingun Ammo.
- Canister Shell, a new ammo type for the railgun: basically a huge shotgun shell that can be refilled with lead at a crafting station.
Lastly on the topic of submarine facilities, we’re making submarine upgrades you’ve bought apply to all your subs instead of being applied to each sub individually. This will save you some money, but more importantly, it should encourage you to switch subs to meet your changing circumstances in the game, and crucially, it will allow you to change subs even in crush depth zones as intended, provided you’ve invested in the proper hull upgrades before.
More events, less ordering, and other improvements
To promote even more in-game variety, we’re adding 12 new station events in this update. We don’t want to spoil them for you, so venture out to outposts and colonies and see for yourself!
Meanwhile aboard the submarine, we’re adding a highly requested improvement to crew management. This should be particularly important for singleplayer but pretty handy also in MP: order persistence between campaign rounds. What this means is that your crew, both bots and player characters alike, will retain the orders they had at the end of the previous round, so you don’t need to assign every order all over again when the next round starts.
Another change we’re making to orders is displaying “current task”. You may have struggled sometimes with knowing what a bot is actually doing, because at times they will need to do something other than what you ordered them to do (such as find safety, for instance). Now, you should be able to figure that out a little more easily by looking at the crew list, where this will happen if a character’s current task is not what they’ve been assigned:
To wrap it up, here are some upcoming miscellaneous improvements that we’re particularly excited about:
- Carry diving suits and toolbelts in your hands, without equipping them.
- Sell items directly from the sub via a new store tab – you will still need to walk over to the merchant NPC, but you don’t need to lug all the clutter you want to sell with you. This is currently only available for singleplayer, but we will probably implement something like it for MP too, later, if it works nicely.
- Destroy ice shards and exploding mushrooms in caves with weapons and explosives to get past them.
Thunder Under The Ice is planned for release next week, and the final build is currently testable in the public unstable beta. Join us there now, and see you all next week!