Making games really is not that hard when compared to diving 128m down on a single breath. Since number 20, Subnautica builds have had names. This week’s build, 39, is called ‘Molchanov,’ after a free diver of that name.
If you have purchased Subnautica Special Edition, then build 39 will download automatically via your Steam library. This is a weekly milestone update. At Unknown Worlds, we use these weekly updates to measure our progress against various criteria (performance, aesthetics, gameplay…). There is nothing inherently special about this update, and it doesn’t have a theme. However, seeing as Subnautica is now publicly playable, it seems appropriate to summarise some of the stuff we got up to this week.
This is not an exhaustive summary. To see most of what was done this week, head over to the Subnautica Trello board, and look at the”Done B39 Molchanov (Nov 6)” column. In future, you will also be able to see our ‘checkin’ messages (messages we write when we add and change things on Subnautica’s source repository) at subnautica.unknownworlds.com.
Louis has been animating a funky creature called the ‘Mesmer’ – It will be some time before this critter can be engineer for interesting gameplay, but we not have animations for it.
Your reports via the inbuilt feedback system have been very useful. We love hearing about what you like, what makes you laugh, what is broken and what gives you rage face. Lukas has been working on making the data display interface more readable. He’ll continue to do so next week, adding filter and sort options.
The feedback system isn’t just for bugs, but we have been fixing a few bugs that have popped up a lot. For example thanks to Steve, Stalkers will no longer send Seaglides flying off into the sky. Funny piece of trivia: The Stalkers we doing this because they are attracted to shiny things. The SeaGlide is shiny. Suddenly: RocketSeaGlide.
Steve and Lukas spent a significant part of the week upgrading our version control system. We use a system called Plastic SCM, and an upgrade went a little bit sour on Tuesday, causing us to have to slow down changes to the game. After some heroic fixing by Lukas, we’re now back in tip top shape.
Charlie has been working on a new input scheme, which could reduce the number of keys that Subnautica uses, and make more logical to do things like pick up a fish while holding a tool. Rather than clobbering it with a flashlight. Or accidentally stabbing it with a knife (very unfortunate)! At time of writing, it wasn’t clear if these changes would go into B39. If they did make it in, you will notice quickly that the ‘e’ key is doing new stuff.
Brian, Steve, and Colin have been spending hours this week with their heads locked together, attempting Vulcan mind meld over something called ‘Inverse Kinematics.’ It’s all about as complicated as sending a Blue Whale to Mars, but suffice to say the work they are doing will help deal with awkward feedback reports like these:
Sometimes game development involves stuff that’s not actually part of the game. We do, after all, have to sell copies to stay in the business of breaking avatar elbows. That’s why Hugh (me – I’ve never worked out if I should go first person in these posts…) spent many hours improving the ability of people to find and buy Subnautica this week. As proof, here’s another link: http://subnauti.ca.
Just how many buy links can one page handle, anyway? I also ran some performance tests. Here’s graph of frame times we achieved on our recommended spec in build 38 (Last week’s build) at the moment. Ignore the build name, it’s meant to be ‘Australis.’
Seeing people play Subnautica for the first time is very valuable, and we got to do just that at Double Fine’s Day of the Devs last Saturday. You can read some thoughts on that here.
If there’s one thing Colin likes to do, it’s animate really unique and tricky creatures. And pose them up in silly ways for the camera. Here’s what he is up to with the Coral Snake. The Coral Snake is one of the first creatures Cory concepted, in the early days of Subnautica. It’s exciting to see it coming to life!
Speaking of creatures, how’s this for a pleasant companion to find on your arm?
Pretty gross, but not so scary when you see inside it. Brandt has been working on the Bleeders’ animation rig:
That’s it for this little report, but don’t be fooled, it’s not all we’re up to. Check out the Subnautica Trello Board