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:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/313120/discussions/6/613958868350181331/

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:
http://steamcommunity.com/app/313120/discussions/6/

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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Experiments

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 —

construction_ideas_2a

construction_ideas_2

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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Update 0.03

Hi guys,

Version 0.03 is now live. See the change log here: http://bit.ly/19hbUP7

If you’ve been following on the forum, we’ve mentioned in a few threads that a lot has been going on internally. We’re reworking a few things at the moment and focusing on laying a solid foundation for the future of the game. So while that’s happening, things around here are pretty busy and we might not have a chance to communicate as much as we’d like. We know that can be unnerving and some developers have let EA users down in the past, but we want to reassure people that we’re just as excited and committed to this project as ever :)

We’ve got a lot of feelers out at the moment to help cover some areas that we don’t specialize in. Our animation and audio systems are admittedly terrible and bulky. Neither of us are animators or audio guys, so we’re looking at hiring someone to completely overhaul these systems. We’re also on the hunt for some concept artists and illustrators to help expand our vision for new craftable tools, building structures and tropical environments to find and explore.

In the coming months, we’ll be looking into improving existing features and implementing more new features. We’ve been thinking about a skills tree, but we have no idea how we’re going to pull this one off how we’d like at the moment. We really don’t want a big bulky SKILLLS MENNNU! ..but it would also add a great way to progress and be able to improve your character’s abilities. So we’ll put our thinking caps on for that one.. We’ll also be looking into creating floating structures like house boats and better rafts. It’s been on our list for a while and seems to be a regularly requested feature. There’s also the more “behind the scenes” systems tied into the survival aspect of the game, like more advanced temperature and stamina systems. The systems are actually there and functioning already and are quite advanced for a game, we just need to implement them more fully with the player and environment. An engine upgrade to Unity 5.0 is on the list as well. We’ve got a tonne of ideas and couldn’t hope to cover them in this post, but there’s plenty of good stuff that we’ll be sinking our teeth into and gives you an idea of what we’re looking at.

But for now, the March update is here with Sea Forts, multistory building, some UI gameplay changes and plenty of bug fixes. Performance is also generally improved. Enjoy :)

 SeaFort_005SeaFort_001 SeaFort_002 SeaFort_003

 

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

Update 0.02

Hi guys,

Our latest 0.02 update recently went live which was shortly followed by 0.02H1 hotfix! You can see the change log here:

Heres a couple of screenshots showcasing some of the new (mostly underwater) content.

Planewreck

ReefShark

Stingray

Turtle

 

 

 

New Website – We want you!

We have always wanted to upgrade from our blog page and give Stranded Deep a dedicated website. If you are a web designer and are interested in working with us, drop an email at contact@beamteamgames.com with the title ‘Web Design’. We would love to see what ideas you have for our website and any relevant work you’ve done previously.

 

Updates

Its been an interesting last couple of weeks. Stranded Deep has done amazingly well and grown quite a following in such a short amount of time which has been very overwhelming! We have both decided that its very important to take some time to regroup and figure out what our priorities are with what we want Stranded Deep to become and the best way to achieve that.

Updates are likely to come monthly as anything less can be really restricting to our development. We know players will agree that they’d prefer much larger and meaningful updates monthly than random ‘bits n bobs’ weekly. This timeframe doesn’t include hotfixes, which we can release anytime to address issues in between updates.

We’ve also launched a trello board for some of the public development you can follow between updates https://trello.com/beamteam 

 

Thats it from us this time, busy busy busy!

Don’t forget you can follow us on twitter: @BEAMTeamGames And also on the steam community board: http://steamcommunity.com/app/313120/discussions/ We love hearing from you.

 

Stay Alive! :)
::Beam Team

CHECK IN

Just thought we should check-in to let everyone know we’re still here again! The launch went great and we are overwhelmed by the support and fantastic community that Stranded Deep has! Thank you all so much. We’ve decided to take a small break from the normal website updates while we put our heads down and focus on punching out as much content as we can in these early days. We’re also looking into a more dedicated website, so we’ll keep you posted on that one.

In the meantime, you can always chat to us us on twitter: @BEAMTeamGames And also on the steam community board: http://steamcommunity.com/app/313120/discussions/ We love hearing from you :)

 

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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Stay Alive

Yes, we are still alive :P This month has been crazy!

We want to apologize for dropping off the radar this month. The response to the teaser trailer was amazing and we received a tonne of emails, tweets and comments! We don’t get time to reply to every comment and email immediately, but we do see every single one and we’re doing our best to get back to you. It’s something we’re working on and we’re trying to find a good balance between the time we spend with the community vs. the time we spend actually developing the game. Most of our fans understand that, but some new ones might not know how much we appreciate their support and patience :)

So to answer the most popular question at the moment – yes, we are releasing this January :)

The date will be announced very shortly!

 

Stay Alive!
:: Sam

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Teaser

After two years, we’re finally ready to show-off our first teaser trailer for Stranded Deep.
We are incredibly humbled by the response of our growing Stranded Deep survivors, so we hope you enjoy watching it us much as we did making it.

Without further ado…

Let us know which parts got you excited the most?

 

#stayalive
:: Beam Team

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Let There Be Light

This past week, I had to take a slight detour back to the fish system; Ben had been finishing up the functionality of the spear-gun and mentioned that “it’s going to be great when you can go proper deep sea fishing.”

“Yeah that sounds cool… oh wait…”

Derp.

It was something that had completely slipped my mind. The idea is that there are different fish populations for different biomes, depths, etc. Around the islands you’ll find schools of smaller fish, stingrays and the like. Go out deeper and you’ll be able to fish for the bigger, more rewarding species.

So as of this week you can actually do that!

Ben’s been finishing off the player buff system. I mentioned in a previous update that there is very little UI in Stranded Deep. We’re attempting to provide most of the in-game feedback visually and audibly from the player character themselves. You are able to actually see if you have a broken arm, cuts or infections.. You’ll hear your stomach grumble if you’re hungry, or your watch may give you the occasional beep to let you know one of your stats is low. Paying attention to yourself is going to be an important part of the gameplay in Stranded Deep as there will be no traditional UI constantly in your face.

The audio system and animation system also got a quick once over with some work to add in more customisation and variety for interaction between all the different items. As we clean up and finish more items, things are starting to look and feel better and better. One of Ben’s favourite new items is the lantern. It’s one of those items that reacts really well to the environment around it – walking around an island at night with your lantern leading the way. Per request last update, we thought we’d throw in a short clip of messing around with the lantern ..and the campfire burning away as well :) (The quality is a bit dodgy on the page so it’s best viewed on Youtube in HD ;) )

 

 

Stay Alive!

:: Sam

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Check In

Just a quick update this time around.

We’ve been doing a lot of the same things we mentioned last week – getting everything tied up, chasing bugs, squishing them, etc..

I spent more time than I should have trying to figure out why the highlighting system was broken.. In the game there’s an item highlighting system that helps you visualise what items you have selected or grouped together for crafting and building, etc. I eventually figured out that it was the LOD system we integrated last week – some items we’re flipping over to their next LOD level which uses simpler shaders… so yeahhh, there’s always fun things like that :P

I had to knock up a new burning system. The existing system is pretty great, but at the moment it’s a bit of a bulky monster. It’s likely to make a return, but there’s a few practicality/performance issues that need some more thought. So for now, a simpler burning and cooking system has been implemented and it’s working great :)

There’s a lot of boring loose-ends to tie up at the moment that doesn’t make for very exciting reading, but it’s all progress :)

Back to it ;)

 

BuildingBurning

 

Stay Alive!

:: Sam

 

 

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