A Sci-Fi Building Simulation from Double Fine Productions
Spacebase DF-9 Buy Now Early Alpha Access

Not too much new in the way of super shmancy screenshots this time round, but we’re happy to announce Team Spacebase has a new addition: Mr. Ben Peck, a programmer on loan to us from the Broken Age team!  He’s already added some cool things to the game - see the shot of our new pause screen above, which adds a Message of the Day and clickable links - and is currently overhauling and expanding the game’s “event system”, which is responsible for queuing up things like immigration, raider attacks, meteor strikes, and generally guiding the game’s pacing.

We’re thrilled to have his powerful brain among us, and with his help we’ll be able to get some more goodness into Alpha 5!

We’re now knee-deep into the work on Alpha 5.  Above, some early WIP (bugs visible!) shots of two new additions: a defense turret that can be built inside or outside your base that fires on any hostiles, and a mock-up of a “breaching ship” used by raiders to forcibly enter your base’s interior!

Gosh, it took us this long to post an animated GIF… we’re really gonna have to step it up.

Spacebase Alpha 4d released

  • Fixed: Citizens sometimes get stuck in doorways.
  • Fixed: An occasional pathfinding-related crash.

Spacebase Alpha 4c released

  • Demolish functionality has been divided into two new tools: “Tear Down”, which works much like the existing tool, and “Vaporize”, which marks everything in a tile for demolition, including the floor.
  • Citizens who are in rooms that are slated to be breached by demolition will leave the room.
  • Added names for recent Famous Citizen / Stargazer / Extradimensional Entity customers.
  • Fixed: Various crashes.

Hello again!

Hi!  We apologize for the quiet time since Amnesia Fortnight ended.  Rest assured, we’re still working away on Spacebase!  Alpha 4c should be out any day now, and contains improvements to demolition tools: we’ve separated the Demolish tool into “Tear Down” and “Vaporize”.  The former works much as the current tool does, while the latter destroys everything on the selected tile(s), which should make for much easier strike operations.

Looking further ahead to the next major update, Alpha 5 is due roughly one month from now.  It’ll feature lots of new possibilities for hazards - such as raiders breaching your base - as well as ways to keep your citizens in one piece, via doctors and infirmaries.  More info soon!

We also now have a clear road map for the next few months of Spacebase development, which we’ll be sharing more about in the coming weeks.

Spacebase DF-9 Alpha 4b released

  • Fixed: Various pathfinding issues.  Some of these fixes greatly improve technician efficiency.
  • Fixed: Modified Oxygen Recyclers don’t affect the capacity display.
  • Fixed: Various crashes related to Spaceface logs.

Spacebase DF-9 Alpha 4: “The Terrible Secrets of Space”, has been released!  See the patch notes for a detailed list of changes.

This video comes on the eve of Amnesia Fortnight 2014, a game jam-like event we do here at Double Fine in which you, our players, vote on which prototypes we make and then watch us livestream the process of making them.  Jeremy, Matt, and myself are all on different teams for the two weeks, but rest assured once the amnesia clears we’ll be back to work on Spacebase!

Alpha 4’s marquee feature is the new Research system, which allows you to build Research Lab zones where Scientists can research new things to build and improve your base with.  There’s also some cool visual enhancements, work on citizen personalities, and the usual huge raft of bug fixes and minor improvements.

(Apologies for the video being a few days late, we ran into some technical difficulties getting it recorded on Friday!)


Spacebase DF-9 Alpha 4a released

  • Fixed: Several crashes loading old save data.
  • Fixed: Builders get trapped in rooms.
  • Fixed: Mouse panning doesn’t work when window is resized.
  • Fixed: Some Spaceface log text gets cut off.

Spacebase DF-9 Alpha 4: "The Terrible Secrets of Space" released

Video coming tomorrow :]

  • Research Lab zones can be constructed.  Citizens assigned to Scientist duty research new projects here.  Discoveries can result in new things to build and new equipment for workers, including but not limited to: level 2 oxygen recyclers, heavily armored doors, more efficient demolition beams, better armor for Security personnel.
  • Datacubes containing research data can be discovered aboard derelict and docking ships.  These can be marked for collection by Scientists, who will carry them back to a Research Lab to redeem for research progress.
  • Starfield backdrop now uses multiple layers to create a parallax effect of stars, nebulae, and procedurally generated planets.  Each new base that’s created gets a different composition.  See our earlier blog post for more info.
  • Citizen morale is now apparent from their walk animation.  Several citizen animations have been improved.
  • Citizens now choose Spaceface logs appropriate to their personality traits.  Added and expanded several personality traits that are now shown in the “Psych Profile” inspector tab.  See our earlier blog post for more info on this.
  • Replaced accordion-style tab interface with horizontal tabs.  Makes better use of limited vertical screen real estate and provides access to more functionality within same.
  • Hovering/clicking on a room’s walls now hovers/selects that room, making it much easier to select rooms.  Likewise for plants and hydroponics cultures.
  • Disabled “center on room” room selection behavior.  If anyone misses this behavior we can re-add it as a user option later.
  • Citizens can now mention randomly generated creatures on Spaceface.  Examples include: “Venusian Fuzzy Mollusk”, “Land Bird”, “Venomous Beefalo”, “Tralfamadorian Hen”.
  • Spaceface logs are now added to a queue and citizens post the highest priority one(s) within an update period that varies a bit based on their “chatty/quiet” personality trait.
  • Added several new types of Spaceface logs, and reintroduced some of the generic logs from the Amnesia Fortnight 2012 prototype.
  • Citizen inspector now shows the date a citizen became a citizen of your base.
  • Citizens get morale bonuses or penalties based off a rolling average of recent room satisfaction.  At the moment, dead bodies are the only thing that negatively affect a room’s morale score.  Citizens comment on nice surroundings in Spaceface logs.
  • Plant “healthy” and “sickly” states now match up with their visuals.
  • Citizens no longer display in their own friends and enemies lists.  “Self esteem” is shown in the new Psych Profile tab.
  • Healthy garden plants now produce a small amount of oxygen, roughly equal to 1/5th of a level 1 Recycler’s output.
  • Revamped various inspector UI button layouts: door controls, room controls.
  • Demolish button in object inspector now shows amount of Matter that will be reclaimed.
  • Door inspector now shows door state: whether it is open or closed, broken, vacuum-locked, etc.
  • Added a mode for players with red-green colorblindness, available in options menu.
  • Rebound “back” in all menus from X to ESC, and backspace to “cancel” in the construct menu.  Game can no longer be paused from non-top level menus, eg construct, roster, etc.
  • Derelicts and docking ship layouts are more interesting and better-decorated.  Dead bodies now appear on some.
  • When a depressed citizen has a positive interaction with a happy citizen, they become happier and post to Spaceface about it.
  • Cutaway mode now works on asteroids.
  • Starting citizen duty proficiencies are now determined by a “skill point” system, so most citizens are now more likely to be skilled in at least one duty, and few citizens are likely to be highly skilled at everything.
  • Stoves can be placed anywhere in a Pub now, no longer just against walls.
  • Fixed: Friends and Enemies lists in citizen inspector overflow.  Lists are now capped at 5 entries.
  • Fixed: Various bad scrollbar behaviors.
  • Fixed: Alarm Panel uses Fire Extinguisher icons in UI.
  • Fixed: Monitors and signage on right-facing walls appear to hover.
  • Fixed: Many docking ship attempts fail due to broken module data.
  • Fixed: Since Alpha 3(?) citizens don’t post Spaceface logs about eating meals in pubs, or get the morale bonus for eating a cooked meal.
  • Fixed: Camera location isn’t written to save game data.

While Matt finishes some UI code work necessary to make our Research system happen, I’ve been improving the Spaceface log system.  The end result is that citizens now have rudimentary personalities!

In Alpha 3 and earlier builds, the process by which citizens would post to Spaceface was simple: when a given type of event happens - getting tired (rest need crossing a threshold), eating a meal at a pub, gossiping with someone - they’d refer to a list of lines written for that particular event and pick one randomly.  The first screenshot above shows the selection of lines for “duty need reached a critical level” in the Dialog Database tool we’ve used for every Double Fine game since Brutal Legend.  (Aside: this tool also provides a framework for translating the game into different languages, which we absolutely want to do at some point!  See our Frequently Asked Questions list for more on this.)

The deficiency of this purely random approach is that citizens in the same circumstances all tend to sound the same.  We might write a range of lines, each expressing different quirks and viewpoints, but citizens would appear to flit randomly between these voices, losing out on any real sense of characterization.

Before we even launched Alpha 1 I had a plan for how to improve on this, and only just recently had the time to make it happen.  Now, citizens have a table of personality variables (debug text in the second screenshot above) which the log system cross-references with tag data we’ve added to lines (right-most column in the first screenshot) in order to rank the available lines and determine which one best fits their unique psych profile.  They’ll also refer to other status attributes such as their morale, current duty, and needs levels.  It’s very easy to add new tags, and now that we have a range of personality traits we can, in future updates, have these traits influence the decision-making process.

So now we can, for example, write a log about a miner doing their duty while thinking about delicious sandwiches, and next time a miner is mining and wants to log about it, the system will pick that one if their hunger level also happens to be high.  The strength of the system is that we don’t have to write lines for every possible permutation, just tag ones that jump out as being appropriate for a specific voice.

I also added queue functionality for new logs, so that if a citizen tries to post lots of logs within a certain interval the system will only post the most important or appropriate ones.

This system is entirely compatible with the writing we’ve already done, and the only extra work now needed when writing new lines is to just tag them appropriately.  The flavor and uniqueness of the Spaceface logs now has the ability to scale with our resources for writing new lines.

What sort of things would you like to see citizens posting to Spaceface about?  What kind of personality quirks do you think would make for interesting writing?  Let us know in the Spacebase forums!

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