Starbound: Digging a little deeper…

Stick 'em up!

Development on Starbound is still progressing at a healthy pace. Everyone’s really crunching down and it’s quickly starting to come together as a game. Pretty much any time I’m not at my real life workplace, I’m working on this game alongside the others. Some of you may be wondering what exactly am I bringing to the table for Starbound, so I’d like to clarify that for you today.

Originally I was invited by Tiyuri to help with the game’s development as early as May, as we’ve been good friends for many years and we had previously collaborated on Hedgewars (a game which I provided all the voiceovers and some of the trailers for). I initially passed on his offer as at the time I felt I wouldn’t be able to put in the necessary effort to do the job right due to our time differences and my day job. I was also admittedly worried that I would find game development boring, or that I wouldn’t be able to live up to everyone’s expectations.

As the weeks went by, I continued to keep an eye on Tiyuri’s budding project (which at the time was codenamed among the developers as “Space Hobo”). I wondered if I had made a grave mistake in turning my friend down. Eventually, as I began to glimpse Starbound’s potential as a game, I found myself being drawn in and decided to try things out and see what happened.

As originally I had been asked to provide assistance with sound for the game, I set about making some test samples. At this point in time there wasn’t really a lot of stuff to specifically create sounds for, so I decided to aim for things like general machine noises and monster sounds. A lot of the machine noises ended up being a bit too retro-styled to fit Tiyuri’s vision for the game, but some of the test robot vocals and the quality of the other machine sounds seemed to convince him that I had the ability to get the job done. His confidence in me was the push I needed.

Early Robot Enemy Tests

Since sound is typically something not done until much later in a production, Tiyuri asked me to pitch in with the game’s dungeons. He walked me through how it all was set up and then more or less left me to my own devices. As I experimented with the setup, I came to realize that I could make meaningful contributions to this project. As I got more and more invested in the dungeon room creation, I had to pester coder Bartwe into adding more handy features to give me better control over the room placement. Before long the game was taking my handful of rooms to create sweeping dungeons like the one below.

An example of a procedurally generated dungeon in Starbound!

So over the past few of months I’ve primarily been working to get dungeons set up with the constant stream of new content our talented artists have been churning out. In between dungeon work I’ve also been finding, mixing and recording sounds for the game as the need has presented itself. Recent examples include the sound on the work-in-progress teleporter many of you likely have seen on Tiyuri’s twitter. We’re not sure if we’re going to be sticking with this sound at this point but here it is for those of you who haven’t seen it yet!

And for readers curious as to what passes for music in Apex culture, I whipped up this little ditty. There are two other tracks of the same ilk that you will only be able to find in the game when it’s released!

Big Ape – Jungle Love

Most signficantly, I’ve spent the last few days converting our existing dungeons over to a new system. If you’ve been led here from the Starbound forums, chances are good you’ve seen the dungeon generation post Tiyuri made a couple of weeks ago. Whilst the core of the system is still largely the same as that which Tiyuri demonstrated, we have made one very important change that will slightly alter the workflow, but give us a better, more consistent visual experience in the game, not to mention that it will make it easier for us to add new objects to our existing dungeons post-release.

At some point after the game is launched, if time allows, I would like to put together a video tutorial showing how the system works in detail, and just how easy it will be for our players to create their own unique dungeons for their private servers!

For now, I’ll continue to do whatever I can to make Starbound the best game it possibly can be. To those of you who stuck around to the end of this post, thank you for taking such an interest in our game! I look forward to being able to share more with you in the future!

Posted in Art, Chucklefish, Design, Games, Life, Starbound | 2 Comments »