In addition to the modding refactor we introduced before, we’ve been working on colonies, the top-tier outposts, lately, to make them feel more alive and meaningful.
Colonies are a part of the location evolution system that does its own little part in creating a sense of progression in the campaign game mode. With a little help from you, outposts can evolve into specialized outposts, and those in turn may become colonies, real Europan sub-aquatic cities.
The problem with that has been that colonies didn’t actually look very different from regular outposts, and they didn’t entirely surpass the usefulness of specialized outposts at all times. (In some cases, you might even have been headed for a research outpost to access some service it provides… only to have it evolve into a colony that didn’t stock that service while you were still en route. Sorry about that.) These things are about to change, with a few other additions to boot.
Role of colonies in the game
First things first, colonies are going to be more valuable and truly city-like with the next update. Rather than offer some better prices and services, they will now stock the best selection of everything. Thus, having a specialized outpost turn into a colony is always a step in the right direction, and you stand to gain even more from doing some jobs in an area to promote outpost evolution.
Now that colonies will be so much neater and better stocked, new campaigns will start at some slightly more remote outpost instead. It’s more exciting to begin the game in the seedy underbelly of the world, wouldn’t you agree? More importantly, starting at such a well-outfitted location would take away some of the challenge of the early game, as you would have access to a lot of items right at the beginning.
There will still be a colony to be found even in the starting biome, though – Cold Caverns spawn with one pre-existing colony, and after that, more may evolve following your actions.
Colony layout and visuals
Even with the above improvements to progression, the colony overhaul is, first and foremost, about deeper immersion and polished visuals. We’ve redone just about all textures for a nicer appearance, and new colonies will be much bigger than the existing ones.
We have also revised the outpost generation rules applied to colonies. Where colonies used to be pretty randomly generated, their generation now follows certain rules to make things easier to find. Starting with the next update, engineering will always spawn to the left of the docking module, leading to security and armory. To the right, you will find the medical department, which leads further to the research module. Up top are colony administration and, finally, the residential quarters.
Improved colony services and pocket money for everyone
In keeping with the theme of high-end urbanization, the new colonies will house several merchants, of all the different specializations. In other words, you can buy all the goods and services of specialized outposts at any colony. The specialized merchants will be located in their respective districts (see above), with the exception of the general merchant, who will spawn at the docking module for ease of access.
With the improved spending opportunities aboard colonies, it’s the perfect time to introduce crew wallets. Starting with the next update, every crew member gets their personal spending budget to use as they please. Here’s how crew wallets work, in a nutshell:
- Personal wallets can be used to buy anything (e.g. items, medical services, upgrades, repairs) from outposts, and every player gets one.
- Players with permissions can transfer money from the bank (“shared wallet”) to the rest of the crew.
- Players with permissions can choose to give the crew a salary, i.e. sharing a portion of all mission rewards with everyone.
- All players can request money from the bank, and the request is approved by voting.
- All players can also give money to each other, and loot money from corpses by grabbing them.
- N.B. At least initially, crew wallets replace the current money system entirely, and even the host/admins cannot make purchases directly from the bank. Instead, you’ll need to transfer money to wallets first.
Finally, this colony overhaul would not be complete without the long-overdue addition of interactable vending machines. Too lazy to go all the way to the general merchant for your pomegrenade extract? Buy it from the machine down the hall. Vending machines stock a modest selection of basic refreshments and common items.
New outpost events
Last but not least, the update will introduce five new outpost events, some at colonies, some at other outposts. As usual, we don’t want to spoil these for you, so venture out and see for yourself! The colony overhaul and all associated changes will be released in the Urban Expanses update, coming in a couple of weeks, and they can already be tested in the public Unstable test version now.