Subnautica: How to get daily updates

Posted by Hugh 4 years ago
subnautica

Some say that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.” That’s stupid. The real definition of insanity is “automatically publishing the contents of your game source repository to a public Steam branch twice a day.”

What the hell does that even mean? It goes like this: Each day, some of us break things. We might do this by changing some code, adding an animation, or pouring coffee on our computers. We add these changes to a ‘repository’ – A fancy word for a bucket of files and folders sitting on a server somewhere.

Twice a day, an automated system ‘builds’ Subnautica from the repository. This means all the files and folders in the repository are mushed together (this is called ‘compiling’) and spat out as a program that will run on Windows, Mac, or whatever other platform we are trying to build for.

subnautica

Steve fixing something broken

If we’re lucky, Steve has fixed everything the rest of us broke before the automated build runs, and the game is playable. If we’re unlucky, we’re left with a steaming pile of poop. Whether it’s playable, a pile of poop, or somewhere in between: The ‘build’ then gets uploaded to Steam.

When you first purchase Subnautica, you will receive a weekly build. This is our weekly attempt at ensuring the game is playable and generally improved from the previous week. You can, however, choose to receive a pile of poop/playable mixture instead: The twice daily build.

To do this, go to your Steam library. Right click on Subnautica and select ‘Properties.’ Go to the ‘betas’ tab. Don’t be fooled now, this is no beta, this is some raw early-development stuff! In the ‘select which beta you would like to opt into’ dropdown, click ‘experimental.’

subnautica

The interface of our automated build system, with Subnautica entries visible

And that’s it. You will now receive twice daily builds! You may have to restart your Steam client for the first update to take effect.

Generally, even we don’t know what has gone into each experimental build, so you won’t see a changelog. In future, you will be able to see our ‘check in messages’ at subnautica.unknownworlds.com. A check-in message is a piece of text we enter whenever we change something in the Subnautica repository. Sometimes, these pieces of text even have something to do with what we change!

Another problem with experimental builds at the moment is that they are hard to tell apart: The watermark in the lower right of the screen always stays the same, and only changes with our weekly ‘stable’ build. This is something that we will be improving soon.