The last update of the year is coming next week. We named it “Uncharted Depths”, naturally because of the environment overhaul that makes your journey into the unknown more scenic than ever. Even more importantly, this update rounds off this year’s efforts to lend our game the kind of depth its name suggests. So, let’s take a closer look – what does it actually contain?
Because this topic is not easily covered in just a few paragraphs, we wrote a bit more about it two weeks ago. Take a look here if you missed it! The other improvements in the update build on these environmental changes in many ways – more about that below.
Ever get that feeling like you’ve completed all the available missions at least 800 million times? To remedy that, we’re finally adding some new ones, with more to come soon in following updates. For now, let’s take a look at…
Destroy a nest: Now that we’re getting caves, we need cave missions, too! This mission tasks you with locating, entering and clearing out a cave. So, enter the lair, find a nest full of eggs and dispose of them. (Mind the grown monsters guarding the nest, and the brand new ones that may hatch as you approach.)
Mineral collection: As mineral spawning has been adjusted a little along with the environment overhaul, now is a good time to go prospecting. To complete this mission, you’ll need to find and collect a cluster of minerals with the aid of the newly added mineral scanner. As a bonus, you get to keep the minerals you dig up.
Activate a beacon: This is where we go deeper, both in terms of gameplay and game design. It’s always been the plan that player action can and will affect the spread of humanity on Europa, and this is how: reach, repair, power up and activate a beacon station, a small lighthouse of sorts, to pave the way for civilization. Just be careful – activating the beacon will attract a swarm of creatures, so the station will probably be harder to get out of than it was to reach.
Besides the obvious – it’s just nice to have a bit more variety – we’re hopeful these additions will also solve some problems our players have encountered, particularly later in the game. Where it may have been a bit too hard to find outposts in the late biomes, the beacon missions and the better-balanced way the map now evolves should make the late campaign a bit more forgiving, and there should always be habitation no more than a few nodes away from your position on the map.
We’re also adding new enemies to bring increased variety to your underwater struggles. These two new adversaries are particularly exciting, because both introduce behaviors that are completely new to the game.
The spineling is the first monster with a ranged attack. Yes, finally! In boring terms, it’s a medium-sized, mid-tier creature, meaner than a crawler but nicer than a mudraptor… and more interestingly, it shoots armor-piercing spikes that can pass through several decks of your sub and impale unlucky crewmembers within. We look forward to hearing about your best practices for dealing with these creatures – don’t get skewered!
This update also adds the long-awaited ballast flora (first mentioned only a few days after our early access launch, if our Discord server is to be believed!). It’s a wholly new concept in the world of Barotrauma that stretches what we typically consider an ‘enemy’ – instead of another monster fish, it’s a vaguely plant-like organism that takes root in your ballast tanks and will spread through your sub searching for sources of electricity to feed upon. Keep it in check or deal with the consequences!
Besides the environment overhaul, the missions, and the enemies, the update of course contains a bunch of other improvements and fixes – this is, again, one of our biggest updates to date. Here are some highlights for the “miscellaneous improvements” category.
- The mineral scanner mentioned earlier. This new feature of both onboard and hand-held sonar monitors (but not navigation terminals) will allow you to see mineral deposits as blips on the sonar.
- A ready check that can be used to check if everyone’s ready to depart from an outpost in multiplayer.
- Level difficulty now affects how outpost events are chosen, so you should no longer run into the more lethal ones very early in the game.
- A new bot order, ignore, to command AI crew to avoid using/repairing/taking specific items or devices.
- A new option to make non-wiring related items transparent in the Submarine Editor to make wiring easier.
- A new music track, “Wartrauma”. This track plays at military outposts and sounds, well, soldierly.
That’s all for now. Keep your eyes peeled for the update next week!