Branching Out In Novel Ways: Astrobase Command Dev Update – 15 Dec 2017

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=== Incoming transmission ===

Hi everyone,

Astrobase Command’s special focus on procedurally generated character stories provides a wonderful canvas for  powerful storytelling. Most importantly, our vision is that there is no single story for your crew to follow. Instead, you are free to live your own adventure in your own universe.

As a way to celebrate 2018 and our upcoming transition to open alpha, I’ve taken up the pen (keyboard) in my spare time to capture Astrobase’s flavour in novel(-ish) format as a means to highlight the rich stories our game can deliver, as well as a way to explore possible concepts for other storylines. As a special challenge, I’m using our procedural character AI’s framework to guide characters through the high, low, and desperate events of their story arc.

You’ll find a draft sampler of the novel’s opening paragraphs below. My ultimate goal is to publish this adventure as a fully-fledged Astrobase Command book (with shiny book cover art and everything!).

While this as yet untitled story is under production, you’ll be able to get your hands on the draft chapters, which will be published on a monthly basis if you are one of our $5 a month or higher Patreon Patrons. Higher reward tiers get additional perks, like an e-copy of the final book and even a say in how the story develops.

Lieutenant Sanmar Mandroma flipped through the pile of reports that had been deposited there while he had been in the mess hall enjoying dinner. Enjoying was perhaps overstating it. It had been the same processed nutrient goo from the long term survival rations that they had been eating since the last supply shipment failed to arrive after raiders had picked it off near Theta Omicron III. Ensign Kyra, the astrobase’s Duryan supply officer had assured him that the flavour would grow on him eventually. Even though his two hearts fluttered and skipped a beat every time her metallic blue eyes turned towards him.

But even her stunning smile and flowing white hair were insufficient to clear the rations’ lingering muskiness from the back of his throat. He picked up the nearest folder, a supply report, and tossed it back on the desk with a grimace. There was no way he was getting through his work tonight. He poured two fingers of Dargosha, a stiff liquor that made his eyes water, into a white mug bearing the Command’s crest stencilled in black. He hesitated slightly, as he glanced at a dog-eared photograph of his wife tucked into the corner of the desk mat, then poured another splash of the amber liquid.

Downing the drink in one swift movement, he deposited the mug carelessly on his desk with a hollow thud. He didn’t mind the fact that he’d spilled a some Dargosha on his daily supply summary. No one was ever going to bother looking at it again after he’d approve it and file it away.

Pushing back from his workstation, he barely noticed his chair’s wheels smoothly rolling over his quarters’ polished crystosteel floors. Such details were beneath his notice. As long as the astrobase’s low-slung utility bots continued picking up any refuse he happened to drop on the floor, he was happy. He stood crisply and turned towards the the hatch, not bothering to straighten his uniform.

The deck seemed to lurch suddenly as he made his way towards the nearest lift. He reached out to the bulkhead with his right hand to steady himself. As much as he wanted to believe that the station’s gravitic stabilizers needed an overhaul, he couldn’t dismiss the heavy veil the Dargosha cast over his mind. He welcomed its warm yet numbing embrace as it smothered his thoughts. He had been on this wretched collection of tin cans in the back end of nowhere for a long time; a very, very long time. Despite his career’s early promise as a member of the Fleet’s Security Division, and the praise his superiors had eagerly heaped upon him away mission after away mission, he had long since suffered a reversal of fate. Without sparing a glance, he mechanically stabbed at the button labelled “Command Deck” on the lift’s control panel as the transparent doors swished shut behind him. He shut his eyes, vainly attempting to savour the fleeting moments left before he would be thrust back into the harsh reality of Second-in-Command of the universe’s most insignificant astrobase. Scratch that. Acting Commander of the universe’s most insignificant astrobase.

If you like what you see, or want to help support our ongoing innovation please drop by our Patreon page.

– Max

=== Transmission Ends ===

Moving on to the weekly update

Max – @Max_Shields

Hi space comrades!

In addition to poking away at the project above, I’ve spent the week refining our alpha sound design. This involves tweaking a big spreadsheet with all the possible elements that will need a sound, their triggers and constraints. I’ve also started plugging some sounds into the list and created a few more bespoke effects. Although there’s still a way to go before I can bring them into the game, the soundscape is starting to come together.


Daniel – @Polygonatron

Hi Everybody!

This week I’ve been working on the same secret thing I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks now. It’s technical by nature and I’ve run into a couple of technical snags. I’m sure I’ll work them out soon enough, because they are indeed holding back some pretties at this point.


Adam – @adam_blahuta

Hey Space-Friends!
I’ve gotten as far as I can with saving character brains without contextual information, like the station, tasks and other people. So I’ve started the process of saving the station itself. Progress!


Dave – @Dave_Astrobase

Hey guys!
This week I took a step back and focused on the product vision for Open Alpha. Speccing out the feature list, formalizing the game loop, and ensuring the game will be ready for prime-time.

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