Preview: The Cave Update

Hello everyone!

It’s almost time for the first update of 2021 – we’re aiming to release it on the second week of February. As the title suggests, it features caves, most prominently, but there are other additions and improvements coming too. Let’s take a look.

Cave improvements

The previous update added caves, and now it’s time to flesh them out a little further. For one thing, we’re adding variety: where all the caves are now pretty icy and barren, you can look forward to exploring forest caves and bioluminescent mushroom caves. The mushroom caves will only be found in the Aphotic Plateau, and forest caves can be found in two biomes, the Plateau and the Europan Ridge.

It’s not all pretty new plantlife, though – caves are also getting all kinds of new dangerous obstacles. Think cutting sharp crystals jutting from cave walls, tangled vines that snag you up, gas vents that spew toxic fumes or drain your oxygen, spore swarms and bulbs that poison you as you pass by… Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Let us know which environmental hazard you think is the most interesting to deal with!

Cave hazard: gas vents and tangly vines.

And here’s a small but surprisingly impactful change: the mineral deposits finally look like mineral deposits.

New creatures and items

To make the most of these cave changes, we’re adding a few other new things too. First, the glowstick. This is essentially a different kind of flare: it’s weaker but lasts longer, so you should find it handy for marking your path through a cave (and why not an alien ruin as well).

A glowstick in action.

And then, did you ever wonder why newly hatched mudraptors are every bit like the fully grown ones? Yeah, so did we. Meet the newly added hatchling variants of the raptor, the thresher and the crawler – they’re almost cute in their own monstrous way, aren’t they?

Thresher hatchlings look almost meaner than their parents!

What else?

This update also brings a notable quality of life change: item stacking. Many of those items you typically have several of, such as ammo, oxygen or welding fuel tanks, or meds, can now be stacked into a single inventory slot to save inventory space. This affects character inventories, containers like cabinets and toolboxes, weapon containers… basically anywhere there’s an inventory slot. You can move a full stack, take a single item from the stack, or pick up one half of a stack.

A side effect of item stacking is that we had to make meds and buffs single-use, because otherwise you would have ended up with materials of varying conditions in your inventory, and no one would have liked that. Similarly, you no longer use items partially when crafting; we’ve balanced this by allowing you to fabricate a stack of items at once.

All these changes should make inventory management much more straightforward. Please give feedback if something feels off! We’ll probably continue balancing the inventory changes further even after the update.

Your items, stacked.

Besides your inventory, the outpost stores are also getting some improvements: we’re introducing Daily Specials and Requested Goods to make visiting stores more frequently more appealing, and to make stores, and by extension outposts, feel more alive. Each store will have its own things to buy at a reduced price (specials), and other things which you can sell for an exceptionally high price (requested), which will change regularly as the game progresses.

Besides these, there will be some tweaks to prices, price variations, and store default stocks.

Outpost store specials & requested goods.

Lastly, we’re adding what we’re calling character variant modding. This new functionality will be available for .xml modding, and we think you’ll find it a useful shortcut for creating custom monsters – it’s the same thing we used to make the new hatchling creatures.

In a nutshell, you won’t need to create a new character (=monster) from scratch – instead, you can use an existing character as the base and only change certain aspects of it. Case in point, the new hatchlings use certain values from the adult creature but look different and are weaker. With the variant system, you can give your character a different name, skin, health, higher/lower damage, and different animations than the character you’re using as the base, only you won’t have to make a whole new ragdoll. Character variant modding currently supports only non-human characters; we look forward to seeing the custom monsters you’ll make with it!

That’s all this time. Stay tuned – less than two weeks until the update!

Comments

  • January 29, 2021
    reply
    Peter Denison

    In addition to the special and requested item system, consider adding a gossip system to learn about distance stations requested items and specials and an estimated time-limit on those trades. It could be chit-chat that you can eavesdrop on or just a prompt when talking to certain people. Regardless of the method, it would be nice to have a way to know where one can sell or buy stuff at good prices ahead of time.

    • January 29, 2021
      reply
      Peter Denison

      P.S. thank you for adding item stacking. I never used flares due to the inventory clutter they make. So seeing item stacking and stack creation is very exciting for the foreseeable future

  • January 30, 2021
    reply
    Benzin

    Love the new Hatchlings! “Baby Yodas” are for pussies. Real men have Baby threshers! xD
    Great new content & features! looking forward to playing with them!
    Thank you

  • January 30, 2021
    reply
    Lars Støttrup

    Wow, love the work you guys are putting into this!

  • February 5, 2021
    reply
    Chris Weaver

    I would like to say that the ability to swap the oxygen tanks out of a Diving Suit when its in a locker would be fantastic as well as a quicker way to load and unload large objects such as duffel bags and crates since drag and drop sometimes ends with me putting it somewhere on accident such as one of the containers that can hold it such as a fabricator and losing my mind over not knowing where I left it because I was in a rush, if the second thing is an option in the game already my apologies on missing it. God speed to you all.

  • February 9, 2021
    reply
    Zaglik

    Personally, new stacking makes inventory management less managing and more hoarding.
    I guess we’ll see. Everything else looks sick, though.

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