So we recently updated the experimental branch with a new build and it might look a little different than the last —

pIvKZxD - Imgur

It’s Stranded Deep… just bigger and better!

There’s been some pretty big changes with a lot of the features we’ve been talking about starting to be introduced like the new ocean, terrain and building system. It is on the experimental branch so keep in mind that a lot of the features aren’t fully incorporated or optimised!



The new ocean is probably the first thing that is noticeably different when you start a new game. It’s already looking great, but we still have a bit to do to integrate it better (removing some artefacts, optimising for different systems, etc) but when it’s finished it should easily look and perform better than the previous system. We’ve started integrating the ocean with the player movement and rafts as well which definitely adds to the experience of being stuck in open ocean in a little life raft. We appreciate that some people might get a bit motion sick so we’ve added an options slider for the effect. Eventually we’ll incorporate more gameplay elements like drowning that will make it hard to traverse open water, necessitating ‘vehicles’ like rubber and wooden rafts, life preservers, boats, etc. On that note – the raft mechanics are currently being revamped so there might be a few glitches before we push the new mechanics.



The terrain system has had a complete rework for the recent update. We’ve been torn between procedural generation and hand-crafted world design so we came up with a solution to combine the two. The new terrain system is split up into ‘zones’ where each zone has a biome with parameters that can be procedurally generated at run time or hand-crafted and loaded from disk… or a mixture of both. For now you start on a hand-crafted starting island which is mainly just a tester for all our new game elements. Eventually this starting zone, and many others will be detailed out by a level designer. The idea is to have the community involved with this process as well by allowing you to make your own custom map zones to share. You’ll be able to download any community created zones and add them to your custom world like a jigsaw puzzle. In-between these hand-crafted zones are ‘resource’ islands which are completely procedural like you’ve seen previously but are now up to 4x the size. Yay! All these changes meant reworking almost all the game mechanics.



The crafting and building system is also getting a huge rework. The new building part of the system has been introduced with the latest build. It’s in a very early stage, but it’s already incorporating new features like structural integrity and destruction. These features will be integrated more fully as the system progresses. The building pieces are just simple block-outs for now while we finalise the designs and how it will all work together with different material tiers. The building side of the crafting system is also running on the newer system while the crafting side is stuck on the old system. The ‘floating camp-fire’ bug is a casualty of the new crafting system being midway. We’re also working on a new crafting interface as part of the new system. The current menu system does not fit the new system well with placing panels and building parts so we’re sorting something out asap. There’s a bit to add and clean up with the new building system, but once it’s sorted the move to customisable rafts also shouldn’t be much of a problem.



The character model is coming along nicely and is nearly finished. Tito’s done some great work. and we’ve added a close up shot so you get an idea of the attention to detail that he’s putting into it. It should be finished in the next few days and then it’s animating time!

Character Model 2 eyes



We’ve also got lots of little bits and pieces going on the side. One little piece is new snakes —

SnakeProgress1 SnakeProgress2
These are all animated and are looking great. We’ve also got new rocks in the works, new building parts for different tiers, shipping containers, tarps, etc.
Right now we’re working on integrating the new map editor and getting the new crafting side of the crafting system incorporated.
So that’s it for this week :) If we hadn’t mentioned it enough, there’s been a lot of big changes most of which meant we’ve had to pull the game to pieces and rework every system or create new ones and we’re still in the middle of it all.
But overall, the latest update and this build is a huge leap in the right direction for us and Stranded Deep.


Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team


We’ve included the change log in this blog post as it was too big for the Steam announcement page!


Bug Fixes
Culling – Fixed a small error with too many layers being excluded from lights culling masks that may have contributed to graphical errors on AMD/ATI cards.
UI – Added tooltip functionality for settings selection.
UI – Fixed scrollbar in graphics options menu displaying incorrectly.
UI – The position for the World seed dialogues input caret and highlighting was incorrect. This has been fixed internally with the upgrade to Unity 5.2.
Ocean – Fixed ambient occlusion writing over ocean surface underwater.
Crafting Triggers – Fixed errors with objects not leaving collections. This was also causing crafted items to not ‘appear’ where they should have.
Crafting Triggers – Optimised triggering algorithm and trigger collider types.

UI – Removed settings dialogue on start. All game settings, including resolution, are now made through the in-game options menu
Terrain – Improved terrain loading times. Zones are generated on startup to reduce runtime generation and biome transition hiccups.
Terrain – Improved grass and small plant models for the follow spawn system.
Building – Changed building mode color to blue.. again!
Saving – Saving system has been reworked to incorporate the new terrain and building system.
Trees – Improved large tree mesh normal. Overall better looking trees.
Player – Improved moving platform detection for objects like rafts, should see less jitteriness and less likelihood of falling off rafts during biome transitions.
Removed – Palm tree cutting. You now collect wood from small trees and drift wood. Other cutting trees will be added in a future update.
Removed – World re-centering. Transitions between biomes should now be much smoother.

New Content
New Systems
Terrain – New terrain system! The new terrain system has large Islands, handcrafted zones, procedural content, and more! The terrain system has been rewritten to support biome zones with much more detail. Zones now allow for large island either hand crafted or procedurally generated. The world is currently limited to a size of 5×3 biomes but will expand as the system progresses.
Ceto – New ocean system! This will be in the “work in progress” stage for a while as it continues being worked on by the developer and incorporated by us.
Caustics – Improved caustics. The switch to Ceto allowed us to rework the caustic system and incorporate our original caustics again which are more fluid and dynamic.
Tides – A simple semi-diurnal tide system has been implemented. This will have more impact when buoyancy and currents have been fully implemented.
Building – New building system! This system is in very early days. Only the lowest building material tier is available to build with for now. All building pieces are placeholders.
Building pieces also have a basic structural support mechanic implemented:
– Roofs and floors need a foundation with two walls to support the next level.
– Foundations, floors and roofs can support one ‘tile’ out from themselves.
Be careful not to place something where it won’t be supported as you will lose all of your materials! The building combos are all basically a stick.. and if it needs another piece (eg: to build steps you need a foundation and a stick). Hopefully this will help everyone test things quickly.
Building – New destruction gibs! A basic system for gibs has been implemented. This will evolve as the building system progresses.
DirectX 11 – Added DirectX 11 support. This will allow users with capable video cards to run the game under DirectX 11. This will also open the way for DX11 specific optimizations like running the ocean simulation solely on the GPU.
DirectX 9 – Users with DirectX 9 can select the “DirectX 9.0” option on start-up or add “-force-d3d9” to the game’s launch options for a more permanent solution.
Reflection Probes – Users running the game under DirectX 11 will have the new reflection probes. Currently there’s an internal bug stopping probes from rendering correctly under DirectX 9 and OpenGL. The reflection probes only contain the sky at the moment.
Unity – Upgraded to latest version of Unity 5.2. According to the release notes there’s been “CPU side rendering performance optimizations across the board. We’ve seen between 5% and 30% lower CPU cost for rendering, depending on the setup.”

New Content
Foliage – New foliage! The new foliage makes better use of our new shaders with translucency, etc.
Foliage – New ceriman plant
Foliage – New banana frond plant
Foliage – New ficus trees, can be harvested for sticks
Foliage – New palm trees
Foliage – New heart-leaf philodendron plant
Rocks – New temporary rocks, cliff models
Drift Wood – Drift wood, harvest driftwood logs from driftwood piles scattered around island shores.
Effects – New HDR tone mapper and eye adaptation. The new tone mapper is much better quality than the previous built-in tone mapping we were using.
Effects – New ‘Motion Blur’ effect. This is only recommended for higher end systems.
Effects – New ‘Depth of Field’ effect. This is only recommended for higher end systems.

Known Issues
OSX – There is a bug at the moment where wave overlays aren’t applying properly under OpenGL. This affects foam, shore fading, etc.
Ambient Occlusion – We’ve started seeing some weird haloing related to the terrain. We’re looking in to the cause.
Shadows – There are a few visual artefacts related to shadow cascades. We’re looking in to the cause.
Rafts – The rafts are in the middle of a rework. There may be some visual glitches when paddling. Try to stay in the centre of the raft.

Dev Notes
Intro– The intro scene has been removed temporarily.
Atmosphere – Weather has been disabled temporarily.
Crafting Triggers – This system is in the middle of an overhaul. There is a bug where picking up an item in a crafting pile won’t remove itself from the ‘collection’. Drag them away from the pile first before picking it up.
Crafting – Crafted position. The crafting system is also in the middle of an overhaul. Be careful where you choose to craft an item. Craft items in an open space, don’t craft panels on top of stories, etc or they could go flying or get stuck.
Building – There is no collision checking for the building ghosts at the moment. Be careful of placing foundations too close to other foundations (unless they’re snapping together) as it will cause bugs with snapping connectors interfering.
Sea Creatures – None of the sea creatures have been fully integrated with the ocean yet. You may see a few popping through the waves.



Bug Fixes

– Fixed not starting with your lighter and water bottle.
– Fixed time of day not advancing.
– Fixed large rock collisions on main island.
– Fixed missing mesh for world barriers.
– Fixed sea creatures spawning under new terrain.
– Fixed crashing when dying or quitting to main menu.
– Fixed shipwreck marker bubbles not displaying properly.
– Fixed menu tooltips not resetting when in-game.
– Fixed cloud shadow direction.
– Fixed not being able to damaged steps building piece.
– Fixed detail object spawner not reloading properly.
– Fixed a potential overlapping scenario with saving.
– Fixed ocean artefacts when using binoculars.
– Fixed ocean artefacts when changing field of view in game.
– Fixed terrain generation causing sharp cliff edges.
– Fixed an error when collecting coconuts from trees.
– Fixed some trees not spawning coconuts.
– Fixed shark swimming above ocean.
– Fixed fall damage from waves while on rafts.


– Added fish system back.
– Added fish trap crafting combo back.
– Added optional ocean rotation for moving platforms.
– Added menu slider for new rotation feature under “Gameplay” section.

New Content

– Added new rocks.

Dev Notes

– SMAA is not working.

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It’s just a quick check in this week.
We’re super busy with all the things mentioned in the last update —

The new building system is beginning to take shape. I’ve been working on a crude tier system and basic structural support as well as gibs for destruction.

Our new ocean system, Ceto, is in place. Ceto is going to be a fantastic Unity asset and by far the best ocean system available for the Unity engine. However, it’s still not a drop in solution for Stranded Deep. Ceto’s current stage of development is missing a few features like shore effects that have taken a bit of work to re-introduce and integrate with our rendering pipeline.
It will be in the “work in progress” stage for a while as it continues being worked on by the developer and incorporated by us. But overall it’s been worth it and even in its current stage we’ve created a beautiful Frankenstein.

The new terrain is also progressing. At this point, there will be one island that’s been placed by hand which will primarily be a tester for placing all our new elements and trying different configurations. The rest of the zones are filled in with procedural content, or what we’ve called “resource islands”, which are similar to the islands that exist now.

There’s still a lot to do this week, but sometime towards the end of the week we’ll be cleaning up most of the loose ends and hopefully getting it out on the experimental branch :)

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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We had planned on having a new experimental build out last week, but we were hung up with some niggles transitioning from our old systems to the new systems. There’s big changes which have involved tearing a lot down, so we have decided to bite the bullet and just release the new build when it’s back together. It might be worth mentioning that this has nothing to do with the transition to Unity 5 (which has been and gone) as some people seem to think that’s what we’re still working on for some reason whenever we change something big… :?

Here’s some of what we’re working on in the new build —


Work on revamping and expanding the crafting system has begun and is well underway. In short, the main reason for revamping the crafting system is to allow a lot more variety and uniqueness in crafted tools and structures. We want to give you different types of building materials which you can piece together how you like so your creations will be more unique to you and not the same stick hut from someone else’s screenshots.

Pictures speak a thousand words —





We want your crafted items and structures to be something you can be proud of, something you can say you survived long enough to scavenge and build…

At the moment, we’re really nailing down the functionality. In the last week or two, we implemented a lot of ideas we had and realized some were going to be too ambitious for performance and maintainability… But the system we’re moving forward with now stays true to Stranded Deep’s current game play and allows a lot more variety. Win. Eventually, the structures you build will serve a purpose in keeping you warm or cool and protected from the elements too.

Once we’ve got a few more specifications finalized like building components and scale, we can really start pumping out a lot more content for the crafting system that fits within those specs.

Some people have expressed concern about Stranded Deep turning into a building-oriented game, with not enough focus on the survival aspects or an end goal. We get a lot of questions like “What’s the point?” “What’s the end game?” “Why do I need to build anything?” …

Well, the point is to survive! More specifically, the goal is to survive and to survive well. Different players will define their ‘success’ in different ways – some might see it as who has the best and biggest structure, some by their killed shark count, fish stockpiles, days survived and so on. The main thing is you can play it your way and be proud of your progress and success.

Building is just one of the ways you can choose to use your time.


The new terrain system is also progressing. One of the biggest things we’ve noticed is that height has really added an extra visual pop. Large rocks and cliffs together with the large waves out on open water really makes a huge difference.

With the new terrain system a lot of the larger islands won’t be procedurally generated but will be created by hand. With that in mind, we’re planning on releasing a small external tool to let players create their own ‘zones’ with their own maps and islands which they can share with the community. So while there might not be as much procedural content in the new system, there’s potentially endless possibilities for community content.

In addition to the crafting and terrain, a lot of code is also being rewritten and re-factored. Systems originally grew and evolved as we needed them, which was fine, but we have a much clearer picture of what we need now so we can rework a few things better.


Tito is also making great progress on the new character model —

Character Model

The design is pretty much final and just needs to be textured and rigged. Then our animator can get to work!
So there’s lots happening in lots of different areas!
We’ll keep you posted :)
Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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Wow, what a week!

So this week we moved our experimental build over to the stable branch. We’d like to say it went smoothly, but the transition was a little rough. A few large bugs slipped through the net and took us by surprise. It’s amazing how many things can pop up even after 2 months of solid testing on the experimental branch with no problems! Ironically, most of the problems were caused because people were able to run the game too well! But we’re glad to say it’s all sorted now.

We have received a lot of criticism on the new update. It was mentioned in the patch notes, but it’s worth mentioning again that this stable update is only a midpoint to some big upcoming changes so it might not look the prettiest at the moment.


Other News

We’ve hinted at a lot of smaller features that we can incorporate now that the world isn’t quite so procedural. One of those is the new global illumination in Unity 5. Basically, the new system allows you to pre-compute or ‘bake’ the lighting data and then use that data to calculate approximate indirect diffuse lighting based on the sun light’s position in real time. We’ve only just started playing around with this feature, but the results look promising —

GI Tests


We also have a new character artist, Tito. Tito has previously worked for Ubisoft on projects including Assasins Creed, Farcry 4, Splinter Cell and more. We’ll keep you posted with any progress on that front :)

We’ve got big plans for the next major version of the experimental build. We’ll be switching to our new tester island which is in it’s early stages. Obviously this means the procedural generation will be removed and exploration will be limited, but it will give players a chance to kick the tyres. There will also be new vegetation that really takes advantage of the new foliage shaders I wrote a while ago. And if all goes to plan, we’ll have the new ocean system in as well. This will be rough around the edges as some features aren’t officially implemented yet and we won’t be spending too much time on band-aids, but it will still be a good opportunity to play around with it and get an early indication of any problems we might have in the future.

We would also like to update the stable build with the new foliage in the meantime, as the old foliage is looking a little poor at the moment.

So it was a difficult week for us community-wise and the bugs stalled development a little, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of good things are in motion :)


Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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The latest experimental build 0.04.E4 is now live. See the patch notes here —

This will hopefully be the last update before pushing it out to the stable branch, so if you have any issues, let us know on the forums here —


Here’s what’s been happening lately :)


I mentioned a while back, before the upgrade to Unity 5, that we would be coming back to the crafting system. With the existing crafting and building system, we’d been getting concerned that we were reaching almost a saturation point or limit to the physical dragging mechanic – basically ending up in players just piling crap into a pile and crossing their fingers that the right combination would appear… It became apparent that this problem would only get worse with any content that we added. We needed to rethink…
So in between things, we’d been brainstorming and came up with a new crafting and building system concept. We’re pretty pumped about it as it should allow a lot of freedom and best of all, it’s essentially an evolution of the mechanics that exist now and what make Stranded Deep unique. The best way to describe the new building system is free and open building. You will be building your tools and building components now. You won’t be necessarily limited to a “foundation” or “wall” prefab. With our proposed system, if you want a foundation, you’ll have to build it from pieces. If you want to place walls, you’ll have to prop it up and fix it so it won’t fall down. It will be a universal system that will carry through from the building system to the crafting system. You will be able to choose your blades, handles and fixings, all affecting the properties of the final crafted piece.  The goal being to diversify the appearance and functionality of the unique structures and tools you create.


Terrain and Vegetation

The new terrain system is also coming along. We’ve been mocking up test islands, playing with different methods of authoring all the maps needed (height, splat, normals, etc) and nailing down the features we need in the shaders to render it all. It’s all highly a work in progress at this stage —


We’ve got a lot of assets for the environment being worked on at the moment so it will start to take better shape once they come back and get placed in the world.

Proper PBR terrain textures are also in the works —


…along with new trees and foliage being worked on too. Here’s an example concept spreadsheet of potential vegetation for Stranded Deep that is then modelled in SpeedTree —

wSD_sketches_trees a01v1-1



We’ve made mention that we’re looking into a new ocean system as well. A Unity forum member by the name of ‘scrawk’ is creating an ocean asset called ‘Ceto’ (named after a Greek sea goddess) for the Unity community —


Please note that the terrain pictured in this screenshot is not from Stranded Deep! It’s from Unity’s ‘Blacksmith’ technical demo.

It’s still early in development but we can’t wait to get our hands on it when it’s ready for beta, and we’ll be implementing it on our experimental branch as soon as we can. As you can see, it’s looking fantastic, and best of all it lets us focus on other aspects of the game.


Other Bits

There’s always lots of smaller things we’re working on in between the bigger features… Unity 5 has a nice new feature called ‘reflection probes’. Reflection probes render and store the environment around them in a cubemap which can be used by reflective materials. If you combine reflection probes with a screen-space reflections post-effect it really adds a nice bit of eye-candy —

SSR Preview 2

When the new terrain system is finshed we will be able to create a nice system to bake multiple probes around the world for high quality reflections at a minimal cost, with the screen-space reflections filling in the gaps. It’s all a work in progress at the moment, but there is a basic reflection probe for the sky implemented in 0.04.E4. Screen space reflections aren’t ready for release yet, but these features will be worked on, improved and implemented as time allows.

We do understand that it’s hard to visualise the progress when so much is happening behind the curtains, so hopefully this blog post helps a bit! :)
That’s it for this update :)


Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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We’ve just released the latest experimental build, 0.04.E3.

Two large bugs have been hanging around on the stable build, one being the unusually long loading times for OSX Yosemite users, and the second being the more recent NVIDIA driver upgrade causing consistent crashes.

The upgrade to Unity 5 on our experimental build has fixed these problems and improved performance in general. So in between working on the terrain and coop, we decided to push forward with this update and will be testing it’s stability in the next week or so as a candidate for a stable release. Bug reports are handy, so if you find any post them here on the steam forum here —


Everything else is progressing nicely. Unfortunately, a lot of it is pretty boring to read about. We’ve been running a lot of test projects for coop gameplay, testing the best ways to sync everything between players, ai, etc and the larger island tests are also looking promising.

We’ll keep you posted :)

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team



Another week, another post, here’s what we’ve been doing lately :)



If you’ve opted into the experimental builds, you probably know that all the UI has now been ported over to Unity’s native UI system. It’s all functional, but not complete. A lot of animations and effects are missing.

I had a fun issue the day of uploading our latest experimental build. I had finished porting over all the UI and went to test it in the standalone build. The menus were not appearing or they were at random locations on the screen. I managed to fumble around and start a new game, and then quit back to the main menu. The menus were now appearing correctly. Huh?

Unity’s UI system has an option to render a UI “canvas” as a screen overlay, through a camera or in the game’s world space. We’re rendering our UI elements as a screen overlay so we don’t need additional cameras or culling layers for them. In the main menu scene, there’s no need for a camera at the moment – it’s just the menus. What’s not immediately apparent is that if you don’t have ANY camera in the scene, overlay canvases will not render correctly. A Unity tech explained that without a camera, the screen overlay canvas has nothing to “overlay”. Uhh.. makes sense :P So chucking in a dummy camera rendering nothing was enough to trigger a clear and tell the canvases to overlay that and do their thing. It was an odd one, and I’ll put it down to a long day, but the 0.04.E2 build ended up being released a day later because of it. It happens.


A lot of materials were broken with the move to Unity 5 for the experimental branch. Don’t be surprised if you see objects with incorrect specular, missing normal maps or odd colors. Anything that’s meant to be glass or transparent will also display as a solid color as we haven’t gotten around to writing a glass shader compatible with the new lighting model. Handling materials in Unity 5 is also a bit buggy, which hasn’t been helping. Bug reports and repro projects have been submitted, but no news so far.


As mentioned in recent posts, we’ve incorporated Speedtree into our workflow with the move to Unity 5. It comes with its pros and cons.

It’s fantastic for our early access workflow to have full control of wind parameters, LOD’s, billboards, ambient occlusion, and texture atlasing inside the one program. Before Speedtree, this process took much longer and relied on a number of different programs, which in some cases had worse results and made it nearly impossible to make fast edits without repeating the whole process again.

Speedtree is great software but it could definitely use some improvements with its Unity integration, such as the lack of physically-based shader support and nit-picky duplicated material exports. We’ve also had issues with getting funky results for vertex normal directions for leaf meshes which we’re looking into.


We’re starting to look into coop. Co-op isn’t a high priority on our list as a feature – we’ve always said that we’re focusing on a solid single player game first – but we’re going to be rewriting a lot of existing systems, so now’s the time to get the basics implemented as a lot of the new systems will need to build on it. Basically, if we don’t lay the foundation for co-op now, we’ll end up needing to rewrite a lot of code to support it, or even worse, tack on or duplicate existing functionality for coop gameplay.

There are some problems and choices to be made. If you’ve played the game, you’ve probably noticed that Stranded Deep relies on a lot of physics, picking things up, throwing them around, etc. In general, physics and networking is a pain. We’re still looking into it, but there might be some compromises and changes. Right now we’re running tests and looking into the best way to synchronise everything.


The world in Stranded Deep is currently procedurally generated and infinite. This has worked great for development; features have been easy to add and everybody has gotten around to testing them. Soon though, we’ll be creating a large hand-crafted tile-based world. This will allow us to slowly “create” the world as we progress, adding a new tile with a new island or landmark as that part of the world is designed. There will be small tropical atolls dotted around the world (similar to now) and larger, more interesting islands as landmarks, where you might prefer to setup camp.

We also have plans to implement world building tools for the community. So potentially, you would design your tile’s terrain externally in World Machine, etc and then import your terrain data and create your own island tile with our provided tools. Other users would then be able to download your island and assign it to a free tile in their game. It’s in conceptual stages at the moment, but that’s essentially the idea.

Larger islands and coop are two of our most requested features, so we’re pretty excited to be working on both of them :) Between the new terrain system and coop, this is where most of our time is going. So hopefully you can understand that the next experimental build might not be released until we have something that’s playable. But we’ll always keep you updated on our progress on our blog :)

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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First Experimental Build

So we’ve moved over to Unity 5 and onto our first experimental build :)

For instructions on how to opt into the experimental builds, see here:

The builds are only for 64-bit Windows and OSX operating systems. We’d love to get feedback on whether the move to U5 and some changes has alleviated loading problems (10-15 mins) for Yosemite users.

There’s also now a dedicated experimental sub-forum here:

I mentioned in the last update, that we were doing a lot of custom stuff in Stranded Deep. Well the upgrade broke a lot of it! :P We had a few problems that delayed last week’s release. There’s a problem with the way we manually batch our materials through code with Unity 5. The bug has been reported but for now there’s no item highlighting. We also had a collider related problem with the new physics system that borked the yellow raft, so enjoy your free wooden one :P

One of the things we wanted to address with the upgrade to Unity 5 was the UI. In particular, the UI performance. The system we were using previously was great, but a bit of a performance hog. Unity now have a nice native UI system now. So last week was spent getting up to speed and switching over to the new UI system. It’s much better for performance, as it should be being built into the engine, but the feature set isn’t as comprehensive as our old UI system. So a fair amount of time had to be invested creating controls and widgets for the new UI that we used previously. A lot of time was also spent making sure it was setup in a manner that’s nice and scalable for the future. If anything needs to change or be added, it’s a simple matter of dragging a new control or group in and it will automatically layout everything correctly. So as of 0.04.E1, the main menu is running on the new UI. All of the in-game UI is yet to be converted.

You’ll see there’s a few pre-emptive settings in the audio menu. These will be implemented when we take another pass at the audio system. Unity 5’s got a few new audio tools we need to check out.

We’ve just started to integrate Speedtree for better trees and foliage. One of the things that’s not immediately apparent about the Speedtree integration in Unity is that there’s no official physically based shader set for them. So you have a great scene full of shiny PBR materials and trees that stand out like you know what. All the trees and foliage look horrible right now. We’re on it and trying to get it sorted out asap.

All in all, we’re seeing a nice performance boost with the upgrade. We’ve moved to a fully deferred renderer now. Garbage savings from new UI system and the new multi-core physics system is helping smooth things out too. Freeing up all these precious milliseconds mean we can spend them on more important things like effects, more complex AI, etc.

We’re also finalising plans for the new terrain system and world. We’re really excited with where it’s all heading. It’s also going to be perfect for community mods. We’ll be filling you in in a future post once we’ve got it all figured out.

So that’s it this week, till next time!
Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team


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As mentioned in our last update post, we’re going to be running a new ‘experimental’ build alongside the stable version of Stranded Deep very soon. We’ll keep you posted when the first experimental build goes live (hopefully next week sometime) and we’ll post some instructions on how to opt in. But for now, we thought we’d update you with some details of the immediate plans.

The first thing on the experimental agenda is moving over to Unity 5.

One of the biggest sales pitches of Unity 5 is the new fully deferred renderer and physically based shading. The switch to a proper deferred renderer will be great, but unfortunately not as easy as pressing the “upgrade” button. There’s a lot of custom stuff going on in Stranded Deep which was necessary to get the most out of the engine we’ve been working with. If you’ve been following our blog posts for a while, you’ll know that we are already doing physically based shading along with various other effects like faking skybox global illumination and a lot of different depth techniques for our effects. So in visual terms, the engine upgrade won’t really do that much for now. But hopefully later on we can integrate even more graphical features like dynamic global illumination, screen space reflections and such.

There’s a few new features that should improve performance though. The physics engine has been upgraded both in speed and the quantity of objects it can handle. Stranded Deep uses a lot of physics so this should be a great improvement. There’s also the new UI system that we’ll be transitioning over to. We haven’t had much of a chance to look at it, but hopefully there’s some performance to be gained. The current system we’re using has some annoying workarounds and a fairly significant performance overhead. Every bit counts :)

After we’ve ported over, we’ll get back into the guts of the game. The construction system was in the middle of a rework before the last hotfix so that’ll be high on the list. We’ve got a lot of great ideas for new systems and they all centre around the theme of scavenging. We really want to incorporate more scavenging for more unique structures and tools. We’ll fill you in with more details when we get to these, but here’s a few teasers of some concepts —



There’s a heap of other systems that will be getting re-worked as well and we’ll keep you informed as it happens. Starting from this post, we’re going back to fortnightly blog updates as mentioned in the last update. If you’re not keen on trying out the experimental build first hand, this will be a good way to keep up with the progress of the game and see what we’re working on.

That’s it from us for now. We’ll have a hotfix coming out soon for the stable build and then stay posted for further info on the new experimental builds.

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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Update 0.03.H2

Hi guys,

Hotfix 2 for version 0.03 (0.03.H2) is now live. See the change log here: 

Now, this month’s update is a small one. It’s probably the least content we’ve released in an update so far …and there’s a reason for it.
We had to make a big call for this update. We were working on some big systems this month and last week we realised we weren’t going to get them done for this update. So we’ve had to pull a lot of content from this update. This highlighted a bigger problem that’s become more and more evident as the game’s development has progressed under Early Access – working to a monthly build has been very prohibiting. Our monthly builds need to be stable enough so that you’re not losing you’re progress every update. It’s just not fun playing a game in pieces. But at the same time we need to move forward and the things we want to move forward with are going to break the game …a lot. What to do? Well starting as of this update, version 0.03 will remain the stable build and in the next few weeks we’ll be starting a new experimental branch that players can opt into. The experimental build will be just that, highly experimental. It will allow us a lot more freedom in development and will allow you to see more immediate progress of the things we’re working on. Because you won’t be seeing that progress reflected in the stable build which most players will be playing, we’ll be going back to fortnightly blog updates on our website how we used to, to keep you up to date with what we’re working on. And of course we’ll be uploading the experimental builds if you want to check it out.

  • We have a lot of big things planned. Some of them include:
  • Moving over to Unity 5.
  • Reworking the terrain system.
  • Reworking the ocean – Better and bigger wave animations and more complete buoyancy.
  • Reworking a lot of behind the scenes for co-operative game play.
  • Incorporating a proper player model with shadows and animations.
  • Creating an actual audio system.
  • A new loot system incorporating proper scavenging mechanics.
  • Improving the construction system to build on the new scavenging system to create more unique structures.
  • A tool crafting system – scavenging different handles, bindings and blades to create unique tools and weapons.
    Improving the weather with procedural cloud cover and better weather events.
  • A map editor and modding tools.
  • Heaps more…

We’ll be posting a blog post in the next few days with more details and concept art on what we have planned for the above so stay posted.

The main point of all this is that we don’t want Stranded Deep to turn into an early access game where you come back in a few months and updates time and it basically looks like the exact same game – a game where “progress” is made every month, but nothing really changes or grows into something better. It’s been a hard call to make this month, but we know it’s the right one. We have big plans and are pretty excited so we hope you’ll understand and support us as we do that :)

We’ll post an announcement soon with more details on the experimental build.

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team


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