Subnautica Dev Update 2

Posted by acedude 10 years ago

Another week has passed: A week in which we did absolutely nothing, except roll around in the piles of cash from Subnautica: Special Edition sales. Game is finished, right guys? … Before we end up on the front page of Kotaku, IGN or RPS, I should clarify that the previous sentences are not true. Here’s a rundown of some of the stuff we actually got up to this week. It is by no means comprehensive: To see almost everything, check out the Subnautica Trello board, and new for this week, the live checkin and changes feed.



The new ‘changes and checkins‘ section

Speaking of changes and checkins, let’s start with the backend. Lukas has done some mean web work this week to improve it. In the feedback tab, you can now filter and sort according to various fields. For example, you might only want to see Angry reports about framerate. In the new ‘checkins and changes’ tab, you can see every change any of us makes to Subnautica’s ‘main branch.’

This ‘main branch’ is where daily experimental builds come from. That means this tab is effectively a giant rolling changelog. Be sure to scream at us on Twitter if our checkin messages are not descriptive enough!


Stalkers savagely attacking a school of Peepers

Charlie ran some sadistic experiments involving dropping carnivorous aquatic lizards in amongst a school of defenceless, adorable peepers. At first, we fired him for being so cruel. But then he reminded us that he is the CEO of Unknown Worlds, so we can’t fire him, and besides the response from the SN community has been overwhelmingly positive. Not all of his experiments made it into main branch, but you can bet we will be working on more inter-creature behaviours!

Besides the fish killing, Charlie has been working on a development and release schedule for Subnautica. When should we release on Early Access on the Steam Store? Sooner? Later? Tomorrow? 2018? These are important questions, and will define what the rest of us are working on over the coming weeks. If that sounds too boring for you to care, wait until you see this:


Terraforming in Subnautica is basically hard drugs. The US Drug Enforcement Agency is going to come after us. There is something so addictive about digging up sand that it must be illegal. While at first, Subnautica’s sea floor might appear static, it is in fact a dynamic voxel world. Steve has put huge amounts of work into the underlying technology: This is not stock Unity Engine stuff by any means.

At the moment, terraforming is rudimentary and if you push it too hard, by say giving yourself infinite oxygen and digging down a gazillion metres, you will eventually break the game. Baby steps people, baby steps.



We’re not entirely sure Jonas knows what this picture means, either.

Even if sand digging isn’t actually drugs, some of our creatures have tended to look like they’re not exactly sipping water. While their animations are mostly tip-top, erratic changes in direction cause them to look a bit unnatural. Jonas has been floating about covered in complex equations to cause creatures to swim more naturally, and this will make a big difference to how Subanutica looks and feels. Jonas also fixed the crazy constructor ‘bug,’ which quite frankly myself and many others thought was a fantastic feature.


No Dushan, it’s not a Tron Cycle

The constructor has made other appearances this week. Until now, the orange floats at the base of the constructor have been inflating prematurely, as soon as the device is fabricated. Dushan commented that we had done a great job of including a Tron Cycle in Subnautica. Brian and Brandt stopped all this silliness this week.



Not all good news, but not terrible either

In running our weekly performance tests, I discovered that we have slipped a little bit in pursuit of our goals. If you are interested in Subnautica’s performance and the process we’re following to make it awesome, check out this in-depth blog post.


Want to cuddle, friend?

An amazing co-incidence has befallen Subnautica development. It is widely accepted that the Natural Selection 2 Gorge is the cutest creature to ever feature in any game, ever. Only one other creature has ever come close to achieving Gorge levels of ‘dawwwww.’ Incredibly that creature is in Subnautica: The Cute Fish. Cory, Sergey, and Brandt have updated its rig & model, and it might be swimming about in the world soon. And yes, we really do need a name for this little munchkin.


Unknown Worlds: Saving poly count with headless avatars since 1973

Captain headless here is demonstrating tweaks to the way the Seaglide behaves. This personal watercraft has been somewhat of a tricky bugger to properly implement, behaving in odd ways and generally making a nuisance of itself. Work done by Colin, Brandt, and Brian this week will go some way towards getting it to behave more naturally. Oddly, it still increases strafing speed along with forward/backwards speed! Looking at you, Charlie…


Much better.

Finally, we’ve updated all grass in the game to be ‘better.’ We hope you’ll all enjoy the new variety of grass colours that Sylvain has created.

As usual, this is not everything. Doggy-paddle on over to the Trello board, and checkout the checkin list, to see more of what’s going on. For extra credit, sign up to the Subnautica mailing list and get a weekly digest of Subnautica development news.


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