We’re starting off this new year with a look at what we’ve got coming up and we’ll take a look into one mechanic that’s seen quite a bit of an upgrade.
Ship Computer Update
Let’s take a look at one thing that has seen some big changes recently. It’s the Ship Computer!
We wrote a little about it in an earlier update, but here we have Creative Director, Alex Beachum, discuss some of the major changes.
“One of the big things we’ve been trying to solve for a while now is how to communicate to new players what sort of a game Outer Wilds actually is. Pretty much everyone has a good time flying around and visiting all of the planets for an hour or two, but some players don’t realize that the Nomai text they keep finding is actually giving them clues that can be used to reach secret locations and solve the game’s mysteries.
Instead they assume the text is purely narrative, which is understandable considering that’s the case for a lot of games. As a result, they bounce around between pieces of surface content without ever diving deeper into any of the curiosity threads and eventually grow bored.
To combat this, we’re adding a new (optional) detective board mode to the ship computer that maps your discoveries by how they point to each other instead of by their physical location. For example, if someone in the village tells you that Gabbro went to Giant’s Deep to investigate the Nomai statues, the ship computer will draw an arrow from the village entry to a new ‘undiscovered’ entry for Gabbro.
At first the detective board will only have a few entries and connections, but eventually it’ll grow into an intricate web of photos and clues. Hopefully it helps a wider audience realize that the game is actually a mystery they can try to solve."
What's in the New Year
With the start of a new year, it’s about time for us to finish the game! Let’s take a look at some of the remaining things still left on our to do list.
As Alex stated above, the Ship Computer is an integral part of the Outer Wilds experience, but through playtests we’ve been having some issues conveying this to players in game. However we will be testing the new system in the coming months to resolve this issue.
Finishing the Final Art
Last year saw a lot of art progress and planets being completed. Now, the Comet and Brittle Hollow are the last two heavenly bodies! We’ll post more about their progress in future updates.
Once we are officially content locked, we’ll enter a period of optimization for the game. We’ll be looking into making the game run smoothly on as many computers as possible.
While all the in game music is done for the most part, we still need to get and refine much of our SFX. Though the process hasn’t been as smooth as we would’ve liked with the team being swamped with other tasks, it’s our hope that we’ll be able to accelerate the SFX implementation now that many other aspects of the game are coming to completion.
One of the biggest accomplishments from last year was the completion of our new character models. Which means it’s time to get them animated! We spent quite a while trying to lock down are character pipeline, but it should all pay off and help our animation process run smoothly.
That’s all for now. As always, stay tuned for more news in the next two weeks!