Astrobase Command, 1 Year On

The Ant Farm view: your astrobase at a glance.

What a year!

Just about a year ago, we were excitedly watching the numbers rolling in on our first ever crowdfunding campaign. Even though we didn’t manage to pull in the funds we were hoping for, we promised you all that Astrobase Command would go on.

And go on it has. The project is currently moving along at a good speed, and the team has grown since the early days when Adam and Dave were feverishly working on the project in the back of an Samorran deep space freighter.

Space is a dangerous place

The art has certainly come a long way since Adam’s early space-nouveau designs, with Daniel bringing a keen Swedish sense of design worthy of the finest offerings of the Spacekea catalogue.

Build the space station of your dreams

 Some new stuff

In addition to improving the heck out of everything you saw in our campaign pitch, we’ve been hard at work developing some awesome new features that will let you truly experience a new game every time you play.

Daniel has devised a procedural face generator that will piece together a unique face for every crew member. It is still very early on, but the results are already quite promising. Improvements will include hair, facial hair, more variations in eye and skin colour, as well as variable positioning of the features.

Face, the Final Frontier

Dave has also made some tremendous progress on our most exciting feature, the AI Storyteller. It builds sentence-by-sentence, and in some cases phrase-by-phrase, stories that link several events together. Each of these are threaded together to follow a story arc that will allow you to really get to know your characters, particularly since the results are generated as a consequence of the character’s traits and abilities. This means that two characters presented with the same situation will see it play out completely differently. As an example, here are two scenarios that were generated entirely by the Storyteller putting two different characters through the same situation:

Chief Blahuta

Chief Blahuta began to worry he was getting lost out in the middle of the frozen lake. He started to reprogram a portable probe to act as a locator beacon, but the circuits couldn’t handle the power differential and it caused a minor explosion. (2 Energy Damage) (Character has died)

Crewman Zezelic

Crewman Zezelic neared the completion of his journey through the frozen lake. He paused to admire a shimmering effect and realized a fine powder of naturally occuring ceramics was storing heat from the red sun. His mood changed for the better. (Collected 1 Ceramics)

find out more about the storyteller at: http://astrobasecommand.com/?p=3488

What’s in store?

We’re pushing hard towards a closed alpha test that will begin soon(TM). If you’re interested in taking part, make sure to swing by our forums to find out more when the time comes.

As most of you have probably heard, we were successfully greenlit on Steam Early Access before the end of the Kickstarter campaign. After talking with other devs, we’ve come to the conclusion that we need to make sure that Astrobase is sufficiently polished and developed to give players a decent play through before putting it up. Once we’ve had the chance to fix the problems our testers find and make sure everything is shiny enough, we’ll be putting it out on Early Access, so you’ll want to keep an eye on our Greenlight page for updates, too.

We need your help!

We are trending upwards on IndieDB (currently 45 of 20K+) and there is a vote going on for Indie Game of the Year. We’d really appreciate if you could take the time to pop in and vote for Astrobase Command.
That’s it for now!

Musings on Mining, Harvesting, and Resources – Astrobase Command Dev Vlog Update

A little while ago, I took a camera to one of our team meetings. It turns out we were mining intellectual gold at the time, waxing poetic about the mining, harvesting, and general resource dynamics that Dave is developing for Astrobase Command.

Although the intention at the time was to capture some B-roll footage for an upcoming game trailer, some of the information helped address a question that Ethan asked us on our forums. It has the added bonus of showing something slightly more visually interesting than what we’ve been posting in our first set of vlog updates. Indeed, viewers get to spend a little over five-and-a-half minutes basking in glorious HD shots of Dave and Adam talking. A rare privilege any way you look at it.

So, without further ado, here’s the interview.

Academic Writing: That Feeling You Get When…

I did it! I’ve completed my paper! It’s so exciting to reach a culmination in one’s work. It feels like you are at the top of the world. Well, almost. As you may recall, I’ve been tackling a profound issue as a side initiative at work. A few years ago, I became interested in concepts relating to the technologies that are being developed that may be directly  integrated with our bodies and help us perform more effectively than we otherwise would be able to. You’ll probably already have heard about cybernetics, and gene therapy, so it should be no surprise that very smart people are working on making the stuff of science fiction reality.

I am looking at a very specific subset of  this technology and its ethical implications. In the process of exploring the topic, I’ve had the opportunity to share ideas with some of the leading minds in the field, which has been a great experience. I feel I’ve even helped develop some new ideas that should help move the field forward.

And this is where I get back to the “almost done” part of this entry. It doesn’t matter how great a paper is, until it gets published in a peer-reviewed journal, it doesn’t mean very much. I’ve found the journal I want to submit it to, but now have to modify seventy-plus references to comply with a text format that is slightly different from what I had been using. Strangely, this seems more daunting a task than the months I’ve spent reading into the topic, digesting the ideas and writing the manuscript. Yet, it must be done if I am to submit the paper.

The devil is in the details!

Kickstarter in Canada Launching on September 9th

Canadians will be able to start their own projects on Kickstarter as of September 9th.

Here are the requirements that must be met by aspirant project leaders to be eligible for the service:

  • You are a permanent resident in Canada either creating a project in your own name or on behalf of a legal entity with a business number.
  • You have a Canadian address, Canadian bank account, and government-issued ID (driver’s license or passport).
  • You have a major Canadian credit card.
  • You are 18 years of age or older.

Here’s to Canuck creativity unleashed!

The Dark Sorcerer: Quantic Dreams E3 Demo (not suitable for younger audiences)

If you haven’t caught it yet, here’s Quantic Dreams’ demo of the Dark Sorcerer. It is a technology demonstration being used to test out some next generation capabilities for the PS 4. With any luck, games will look like this in real time in the (relatively) near future.

Even if you’re not into the technology of game development, it’s worth watching the video for the humour that has been profusely laced throughout its twelve fantasy-packed minutes.

Some thoughts on leadership and accountability in a development team on CodedGamer.com

The Codedgamer.com website was taken offline to sort out some of the inevitable issues relating to pre-launch development. It is now back online.

I’ve taken the time to re-publish my thoughts on leadership and accountability in terms of achieving peak development team performance.

Go check the articles out, if only to be amazed by masterpieces such as this one.

Go check the articles out, if only to be amazed by masterpieces such as this one.

A great primer on Film Noir lighting from FilmakerIQ.com

Many thanks to my brother for finding this primer on the basics of lighting film noir by filmmakerIQ.com.

There are 92 other videos on the site at this time, with more being regularly added, so if you’re a movie buff, it will be worth your time to take a wander down there.