Captain’s diary #2: Alpha preparations

Ahoy! Captain Filip here, welcome to our second Captain’s diary post. As we have mentioned in our previous post, we are aiming to provide you with bi-weekly updates on Thursdays, so here is the next one!

Research labs

We have new tiers of research labs that the player upgrades to during their gameplay. We had to redesign the initial tier of the research lab as well because we needed to increase the size of the building to make the taller upgrades look a bit more substantial. We think that they are looking great!

As you might have noticed, the 3rd tier is ready to accept products – laboratory equipment. This is not plugged in yet, and might not happen for alpha but we are planning on having it eventually. So advanced tiers of labs will require lab equipment in order to operate.

Cargo dock improvements

When we designed the cargo dock we forgot that in the future the cargo ship will consume fuel :) And we had no facility in the docks to connect the building to a fuel source from the player’s factory. So we have created a new module to facilitate cargo ship refueling in an automated fashion. It currently works the same way as fuel for the main ship in the shipyard.

Languages support

We have added the necessary functionality to load translations made by our community into the game. This means we are ready to push all the translation files into alpha and keep them up to date.

Currently we have 3 languages 100% translated: Dutch, German, and Spanish! Czech and French are above 90%! Thank you!

Settlement tiers

We’ve been asked why the people on the island are living in such terrible conditions – container houses, while they have capability to research and launch space rockets. The answer is that we had no time to design more housing tiers. But this is changing now as we are designing the 2nd tier, here is an early preview (colors are temporary as well).

Vehicle bridges

While small vehicles like trucks can drive under the conveyors and pipes when they are high enough, large vehicles such as excavators cannot drive under them, so there was no easy way to route long transports around mines. This problem is now solved since we are adding a vehicle bridge that allows all vehicles (incl. excavators and tree harvesters) to cross any transports. One bridge has room for 3 transport lines under it.

Other preparations

We are also improving some mechanics for the alpha. So for instance, we have redesigned how ship repair works. Initially, we had a fixed cost for ship repair but that did not scale well with upgrades. So we now calculate repair cost from the value of the ship (including upgrades).

We have been also doing some balancing here and there. For example, we have reduced the capacity of the second tier of trucks but also reduced its fuel consumption. We are also playing with an idea to introduce an oil rig upgrade to enable better scaling of crude oil import. So we added the functionality as a prototype and we are going to test the balance of it during our next testing session.

Transports (conveyors and pipelines)

Continuing from the last update, for the last few weeks we were working on improving transport building to be more user friendly and the work is nearing completion. While we were at it, we also rewrote our transport path-finding algorithm that was quite slow, which could get quite annoying when building more complex factories. It would also fail to find more complex paths due to its implementation limitations.

The new path-finder is still based on A* algorithm, but it is heavily optimized for this use-case. The old one was more of a generic A* implementation. Here are some preliminary benchmark results that show just how much faster the new path-finder is. So far we see around 100x speedup, see the visualization below.

Times (in ms) to find a transport from [0, 0] to the coordinate given by the x/y axes.

Discord roles

We have distributed discord roles to all the backers who supported us via Kickstarter and our website. If you haven't received one yet, make sure you join our discord server to get it. For any new pledges done through our website, we will distribute the discord roles automatically on a weekly basis. Please reach out to us if you should have received a role but got none.

Thank you for reading and see you in two weeks! And don’t forget to wishlist us on Steam, if you haven’t already done so.