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Barotrauma is a 2D multiplayer resource management game published by Undertow Games and FakeFish. The game was released for free as a pre-alpha version on 2015-07-31, and has received regular updates since.
An Early Access commercial release was launched on 2019-06-05, on Steam, with the game's full release on 2023-03-13. The game's source code can be found on GitHub.
After the success of Joonas ("Regalis") Rikkonen's SCP - Containment Breach, he was encouraged to begin pursuing a career in game design and to start his own company, Undertow Games. He would later begin working on an entirely new game which deviated greatly from his previous works. Barotrauma draws inspiration from several different sources. The resource management aspects of the game were inspired by Space Station 13, and may have intentionally given Regalis the idea to make the game two-dimensional rather than 3D. The horror aspects and underwater setting of the game were inspired by Pressure. Pressure is a game concept that originated from 4chan's video game board /v/. The game would've taken place in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, inside a research lab. The lab would be attacked by underwater sea creatures, and it would be up to the player to try to escape the lab. Several developers have attempted to make an actual game based on this concept, but so far none have been completed. The idea of having Lovecraftian monsters be the main threat in the game most likely inspired the enemies in Barotrauma as well. The game's art style is said to be inspired by Link-Dead, a 2D side-scrolling shooter which had also been in development for a while before being presumed dead. The game's wiring mechanic was inspired by Minecraft's redstone mechanics and MechComp in Space Station 13.
Barotrauma takes place in the distant future, during an era where humanity is technologically advanced enough to achieve manned interplanetary space travel. The setting of the game is on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, which has become colonized since its initial arrival in 2022. Over many decades, colonies and outposts have been forced to establish under the layer of ice covering the surface of the moon, due to the surface being too irradiated for survival. Beneath the ice layer is a vast ocean, used as a transport network between colonies and as a source for natural resources. The ocean also allowed for the creation of transportation shafts that interconnect the colonies throughout the moon. The ocean itself is inhabited by a number of aquatic creatures, as well as naturally forming cave systems.
Over time, the colonies of Europa became more distant and disconnected from Earth, until fifty years ago (putting the present year reasonably at around 2100 - 2200), sometime after the initial colonization of Europa, all contact was mysteriously lost with the rest of civilization for reasons unknown. The people stranded on Europa were left to fend for themselves, cut off from the supply chain of Earth. With limited resources and the ever advancing Jovian Radiation, the abandoned settlers were forced to delve deeper and deeper into the vast, deadly oceans of Europa.
See: Controls Menu
The primary objective in the Campaign game mode in Barotrauma is to maintain and build a Submarine. This is done by hiring and controlling all crew members individually. Each crew member can be given a specific Job; the job chosen affects which skills the character excels at and performs badly at, although the actual percentage is randomized within a set range. In addition, there are aquatic creatures—arguably the antagonists of the game—capable of damaging the submarine and killing crewmembers, both intentionally and by consequence of damaging the ship. Defending the submarine from these creatures and repairing damage they inflict before the vessel sinks could be considered the secondary objective. The game includes other Game Modes, with different goals or styles.
A crew member's inventory consists of sixteen slots (medic uniforms have three extra slots). Six of those slots are for specific equipped Gear, as indicated by the icons displayed on them—one slot each, from left to right, for a Toolbelt,Outerwear, Innerwear, Headgear, Headset and ID card. The other ten slots house any unequipped items. An item can be equipped by double-clicking on its icon, clicking on the small bar above its icon, or using the numbered hotkey assigned to its slot. The character can also carry items in their hands if they're not full of other equipment. Some items may not fit in the inventory slots due to their size; for example, Storage Containers can only be carried in hand, Crates require both hands to carry, and the Diving Suit can be carried or worn in the suit slot.
Main article: Store
In the Campaign game mode, the store allows the player to purchase items, ammunition, electrical components, new crew members, and certain installations. The supplies are purchased using Marks, a form of currency rewarded to the player for successfully completing a task in the Campaign game mode. In the Multiplayer game mode, however, crew members can't be purchased.
In order for any installation in the submarine to work correctly, it needs to be wired. To enter the wiring system, a screwdriver is required. Pressing while in proximity and highlighting the desired installation will open up its connection panel. (A feature that can be disabled during server configuration or inside the sub editor).
While the connection panel UI is open, one can remove wires by clicking and dragging it out of the socket, which will disconnect the wire on that side. Unplugging one side of the wire will disable its functions as expected, and will leave a loose, sparking wire. To completely remove and recover the wire, one has to unplug it on both ends and drag it to one's inventory or outside of the connection panel UI.
To connect a new wire, the player needs to have a screwdriver equipped in one hand, and a wire in the other. When these conditions are met, opening an installation's connexion panel will display the new, loose wire at the bottom of the interface. Once again, connecting it to an unoccupied socket is done by drag-and dropping it. Once the first end is connected, the player can safely exit the first installation's connexion panel and repeat the process on the second installation, using the same method. While walking towards the second installation, left-clicking anywhere on the wall will attach the wire to that specific location. In case of mistake, right-clicking cancels the last action. While this feature may appear purely cosmetic, it can also help visualizing and keeping track of elaborate wiring systems. To that same end, different wire colors may be used as well.