Coming Next: Habitat

Posted by acedude 7 years ago
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Sea bases have been one of Subnautica’s most loved features. Since their release in February 2015, many of us at Unknown Worlds have wanted to improve upon them. Moon pools for docking submersibles, larger compartments, glass corridor sections, bulkhead doors – All this and more has been on our wish list. Now, those wishes are becoming reality: The Habitat Update will be released soon, possibly as early as the first week of August. [Ed: As soon as this blog entry was posted, Jonas expressed concern that this was a highly optimistic timeframe. Take all release timeframes with a boulder of salt!]

Subnautica updates have followed a semi-regular pattern of ‘a few weeks’ each. The Habitat Update has taken much longer. We are very conscious of this, and decided to increase update time in return for more update goodies. Two weeks ago, we were approaching readiness to release Habitat, but something gave us pause…

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Base signage – A feature of the upcoming Habitat Update

The Habitat update is all about building an underwater habitat: A work-space, a safe-space, a personalized-space, a base for further adventures. Two weeks ago we had larger compartments, vertical-connectors, observatories, signage, bulkhead doors and a new power system almost ready to go. We held off so that we could include the Moon Pool as well.

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A Moon Pool connected to a large compartment

The Moon Pool is the big daddy of base components. It facilitates the docking of Seamoth submersibles. Pilot a Seamoth into a Moon Pool, and robotic arms will park your submersible for you!

 

The ‘Pool is also a very complex component from a technical perspective. It acts as an intersection of many other game systems – Themselves complicated in isolation. For example, it must act as an interface between water and air, and allow a player to swim and dive between the two. It has its own sounds, animations, and of course, 3D art. It must be flood-able, have attachment points for other base components, and in some cases its own bespoke connectors. This complexity is why the Habitat Update is taking so long.

Setting dates is to put oneself in the fast-lane to game-development doom. When I set out to write this blog post, Jonas immediately messaged me in our developer chat room: “please don’t include a countdown nor promise any specific day for the actual release.” Jonas’ concern is well founded. Such is the technical complexity of the Moon Pool and it’s interlocked systems that we really cannot know when the Habitat Update will be ready. It may be this week, the next week, or after the next ice age. We are working very hard to make sure it is in the former categories, rather than the latter!

If the wait really is too much, consider switching to experimental branch. You can play with all the new goodies in there already. Be warned: There are more bugs, crashes and horrific errors than you can shake a stick at. Otherwise, sign up to the Subnautica development mailing list, and we will send you a newsletter when the update is ready.

– Hugh

 

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