Captain’s diary #9: Beta updates

Ahoy! Filip is here to give you an update on our progress. We are currently working hard on beta and time is flying incredibly fast. So let’s jump right in!

Screenshot from player Burnrate titled “Progress”

Nuclear power

We have converged on the final design of a nuclear reactor and we also have a model of spent fuel storage in progress. We have also realized that with nuclear power one needs to be able to handle lots of steam and our existing turbines would not scale well. So we have redesigned them and introduced advanced versions. Together with advanced generators, the final setup also provides more efficiency.

On top is a setup for production of 1.5 MW of power and right below is the new upgraded 4MW production. We expect one nuclear reactor to be able to pull 3 of those to generate 12 MW in total.

Work on content

We are working hard on new content and redesigning our existing chains. We even ended up reshuffling several things in the early game. For instance Construction parts I now need concrete from day one. CP II will need copper instead of concrete. And CP III will need steel instead of copper (as that moved to CP II). There is so much more. This also means we have many more models in the queue so it will be tight to make it all to beta but we hope it will be exciting for everyone!

Redesign and improvements also led us to introduce many new semi-products such as cement, fuel gas, ammonia, carbon dioxide, digestate, sludge, sulfur, toxic slurry, filter media. That does not even include nuclear chain & already planned electronics products.

We have also introduced a new desalinator to provide players with independence on coal. The new one takes steam instead (any kind of steam). This gets exciting with a combination of alternative sources of energy.

4 desalinators working hard to deliver 24 water / 10 sec to handle even the most demanding farms.

Improved terrain designations (technical)

TL;DR: Designations are now 4x4 tiles (down from 6x6) and they no longer lag the game update and rendering. Keep reading for more technical info.

We have identified that terrain designations are causing large performance issues, both with rendering and in simulation. On every terrain change (during mining on dumping), corresponding designation visuals needed to be updated and this was taking a whopping 1 ms. For comparison, rendering of the entire game view takes around 10 ms. And there could be many designations updated every frame.

The fix was not simple. We have created much “smarter” rendering that re-uses some data structures from the terrain which reduced the update time to nearly zero and rendering is 5x faster. However, we had to align terrain designations to the terrain and terrain is rendered in chunks of 64 tiles. The old designation size 6x6 was not working well, it needed to have a size of either 4x4 or 8x8 tiles. We have decided for 4x4, mainly to allow greater flexibility in designing mines and steeper ramps for digging deeper mines!

Plot that shows 5x rendering performance improvements for terrain designations. The y axis is frame render time and the three distinct areas are (from left to right) new implementation, old implementation, and baseline (no designations).

Update from the community

While we are busy with beta preparations, our community is not failing to amaze us! A discord player ‘autocracy’ published the first “speedrun” of the game, finishing all the research in the alpha in 3 hours and 59 minutes! Check out his video here. This time is quite impressive and we are looking forward to seeing how this changes in Beta with much more to research!

Another achievement was done by ‘jacklockwood’ who played the game for 1000 in-game years! See his screenshot below! For reference, one year takes 6 minutes at 1x speed, or 2 minutes at 3x speed. That being said, according to Steam statistics, 3% of players played the game for more than 100 hours!

Player ‘jacklockwood’ reached an in-game year of 1000! In their own words: “A brave new Millennium. 1000 years of potato and corn!!”.

And this is it! Thank you for reading! Captain Filip out :)