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Post news RSS 2022 In Review

It's been ages since I wrote a proper dev update, and as we enter into 2023 I think it's a good time to take stock of the past year and have a look at what we've managed to achieve over the past 12 months.

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In terms of game updates, we pushed 24 release builds to Steam, in addition to 252 development builds. If you average it out that's actually 2 release builds per month, which is a pretty decent release cadence.

We also opened up our first fully public playtest, which was downloaded by over 3,500 people and garnered "Overwhelmingly Positive" reviews on Steam. This perhaps helped with our other big achievement, which was coming third place in IndieDB's "Best Upcoming Indie 2022"!

Content-wise the game has evolved a lot in 12 months. By far the biggest addition was the new galaxy system, which enabled truly game-changing features such as;

• A true 1:1 scale galaxy, based on real astrophysics and featuring real galactic regions.

• A galactic navigation and coordinate system.

• Seamless real-time travel around the whole galaxy with no loading screens or transitions.

• Stars moving in real time outside of the ship.

• Real-time labels for stars and planets in 3D space.

• The addition of our first batch of real-world stars from the Hipparcos catalogue.

We also made the galaxy a more interesting place to explore;

• All new planetary surface shaders with upgraded details and more variety.

• A new system for planetary rings, with textured surfaces and dynamic planet shadows.

• New VFX for stars, including active coronas and mass ejections.

• Added multi-lightyear scale volumetric nebulae.

• Added procedural black holes.

• Added Sagittarius A* at the centre of the galaxy.

The interior of the ship also saw a lot of new additions;

• All new Bridge design

• New Helm console with support for keyboard flight controls.

• New 3D Orrery Map which tracks the ship's location in real-time.

• All new A Deck interiors.

• New VIP Lounge

• Interactive Door Panel Controls, including a lock system and various operation modes.

• Interactive Window Controls, supporting polarization and projected nature scenes.

• Interactive Room Lighting Controls, supporting brightness and colour temperature.

• Added a detailed Ship Customisation system.

• Added ability to sit in chairs, some of which can be wheeled around.

• Added a new prop system that supports thousands of props at once.

As well as the player character, which was sorely in need of an update;

• Switched to Character Creator 4 and made all new male and female models.

• Designed new crew uniforms, including dynamic name tags, country flags, and a mission patch.

• Added a new character customisation system.

And then finally a few other miscellaneous items that are worthy of mention;

• Migrated the project to Unreal Engine 5.0.

• Implemented significant lighting optimisations.

• Built a whole new front-end and menu system for the game.

• Built a new website for the game.

• Added a multiplayer chat system.

• Updated all major systems to work properly in multiplayer.

• Added an automated save game system.

• Fixed hundreds of bugs.

This definitely wasn't everything I wanted to achieve for the game in 2022, but looking back I think we made solid progress towards something resembling a viable Early Access release.

As we now look forward to the next 12 months, my new year's resolution is to make an effort to produce more social media content to help generate more buzz around the game. It's been literally a year since I made a YouTube video, so that will be the first on my list. I will also try to incorporate proper live streams into my schedule, and also write more regular dev diaries.

Happy New Year everyone!

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