News

ELEUTHERIA and Extending Early Access

By Hannah Flynn, July 25, 2018 · Sunless Skies

Eleutheria is the third region to enter Sunless Skies. We’re looking to create a feeling of dread throughout the game, and Eleutheria itself is the main harbinger: it’s the darkest region, with the most unnerving enemies, the most oppressive atmosphere and the most threat. We’ll expect your postcards!

How to find Eleutheria

To access Eleutheria you will need to travel through the Reach-Eleutheria Transit Relay located in the Hybras segment. Go prepared and be warned; you may not be able to come back via the same route through which you enter. Permits are not cheap, they will set you back 800 Sovereigns and once purchased you’ll need Savage Secrets or Caddies of Dried Tea to gain entry.

eleutheria_1_wm (1)

What’s new in the release?

Your headlight affects your rate of Terror gain and in Eleutheria it will also affect the way agents behave towards you. Some cannot tolerate the light and will attack you when your beam shines over them, others will become wrathful when it’s off. Sleeping Grievers are a perfect example, shine your light on them if you dare. That said, even with your light off they can sense your presence in other ways. We recommend you keep your Terror low when entering their territories. It’s not a good idea to bump into them either.

ss_eleutheria_5_wm

When to use the headlight will become a fine balancing act since Eleutheria is so dark you’ll definitely need to use it to tell what terrain you can crash into. Even scouts have a difficult time seeing what’s in front of them. No matter whether they are Discerning or Oblivious scouts, they will mark all Eleutherian finds with a ‘something dark’ icon on your chart.

eleutheria_flyingheadlight_wm

Just like with Albion we’re keen for you to explore Eleutheria yourselves and we don’t want to give too much away, but in brief Eleutheria contains:

  • Seven new Stations (normal ports) and three Platforms (smaller ports).
  • Three new agents; Dousers, Grievers and Empyrean Outriders
  • Two new Spectacles.
  • New transient Discoveries: Stacks, Blind Hermits, Extinguishments, Crossroads and Amber Chunks.
  • New persistent Discoveries: Well of Wonders and Wreck of the Berrenger (content for this wreck didn’t make the cut off for release so the model is in place and the content will follow in the next update).
  • A new locomotive; the Medea-Class Destroyer is available at the Pan engine yard.
  • The Altani-Class Outrider has returned and is available at Eagle’s Empyrean.
  • New locomotive equipment and weapons are available at Pan.
  • Eleutherian Prospects and Bargains.
  • Blemmigans! The Blemmigan Voyager joins the game! This chap was unlocked as part of the community goals during the Kickstarter. This completes all of the community Blemmigan content! Hooray!

(The Undeparted, seen in the trailer, didn’t quite make it into this release, so look out for them in the upcoming Combat II release.)

A note on performance

Some of our players have been experiencing performance issues in the last few builds. We made a bunch of fixes in the Roleplay update which addressed various exceptions caused by weather and wrath that lead to an eventual game freeze. However, we found that some rare weather exceptions remained.

We believe we’ve fixed the last of the weather issues now, but like peeling an onion, once we fixed those bugs we found other performance issues lurking underneath which had been hard to detect until the weather errors were out of the way.

We’ve spent the last week continuing to peel that performance ‘onion’ and we’ve made significant improvements. However we can see there is more for us to do to improve performance across the game, so this is not the end of the optimisations.

To help us out, you can report your performance issues and provide us with your output logs. Les has instructions on how to do that in the full Patch Notes post on the Failbetter forums.

The Road to Full Launch

We’ve been considering our progress, your feedback and the time we have left before launch. We’ve decided, to ensure the game is the standard that you expect from us, that we’re going to move the launch release to January 2019.

There are two main reasons for this.

The first is that we want to do more work on a couple of areas of the game than we originally budgeted time for.

Since we worked on the Reach, we’ve gotten a lot better at designing and building regions. We’re very happy with how Eleutheria has turned out, and we think it’s important to bring the Reach up to the same standard, both in terms of atmosphere and the quality, variety and frequency of the experiences during exploration and traversal.

Although we anticipated we’d want to make some improvements to the Reach and had set aside some time for it, it’s significantly less time than we need for the full range of things we want to do. We think the Reach is a particularly important region to get right because of its position in the middle of the other three, and because it’s where players are first introduced to the High Wilderness. We’ve decided it’s worth taking the extra time to get it right.

We also want to revisit some of the survival mechanics, which in their current form don’t always shape the experience in the ways we’d like – especially Condition and Terror.

This won’t add an extra four months of work. We considered launching in November or December, but those are very difficult months to release an indie game. This is partly because of the large number of sales events, and partly because so many AAA games concentrate their releases and marketing in the run up to Christmas.

We’ll use the extra time in that four month period to make further improvements to the game, including to the UI and the reading experience. And of course, we’ll be sharing all this work as we go in regular Early Access releases.

We’ll be releasing COMBAT II as planned, in the week of 30th August. The next major update after that will be out in early October, and will include the improvements to the Reach. We’ll update our road map soon with further details.

Live streams in the dark

We’re celebrating the release of Eleutheria with another guest stream! This time you’ll find us on the official Caffeine channel with Alex and Meeks. A number of Failbetters will be there throughout, including an in-depth look at writing some of the new ports with James Chew - please drop by and say hi!

As a double treat, artist Tobias Cook will be appearing on the Gamasutra twitch channel talking about how art and level design intersect in Eleutheria. Drop by today at 12pm PDT (8pm BST) to join in the chat.

3 Comments

Leave a reply


Failbetter delays interstellar adventure Sunless Skies’ final release into 2019 – ACOG Jul 26, 12:26pm

[…] in its latest development update, Failbetter explained that it has chosen to delay the game a second time for two reasons. Firstly, […]

Failbetter delays interstellar adventure Sunless Skies’ final release into 2019 – Loopixo Jul 26, 2:58am

[…] in its latest development update, Failbetter explained that it has chosen to delay the game a second time for two reasons. Firstly, […]

Failbetter delays interstellar adventure Sunless Skies’ final release into 2019 • Eurogamer.net – Recent Games Free Jul 26, 1:39am

[…] in its latest development update, Failbetter explained that it has chosen to delay the game a second time for two reasons. Firstly, […]

Failbetter delays interstellar adventure Sunless Skies' final release into 2019 Jul 26, 1:06am

[…] in its latest development update, Failbetter explained that it has chosen to delay the game a second time for two reasons. Firstly, […]

Failbetter delays interstellar adventure Sunless Skies' final release into 2019 • Eurogamer.net Jul 26, 12:24am

[…] in its latest development update, Failbetter explained that it has chosen to delay the game a second time for two reasons. Firstly, […]

April March Jul 26, 12:16am

I guess that's a curious niggle of the Early Access model. You start the game with the starting area, because you want players to have a playable slice that makes sense and doesn't require context that doesn't exist yet. But then you develop the rest of the game and you get better at making... well, the game. Then you realize you need to go back and redo the starting areas because they're the first thing the players will see and they need to see your high quality work up and front. Cheers, good luck. The game's looking fantastic. This just gives me more time to get back to Sunless Sea (since I'm not a backer and I don't buy Early Access).

Sunless Skies adds new region, extends early access voyage | Rock, Paper, Shotgun Jul 25, 3:53pm

[…] Failbetter say that one of those regions, the Reach, is a large part of why they have again delayed the full launch. Failbetter’s Hannah Flynn explained in today’s announcement: […]

Luke Jul 25, 3:46pm

Sunless Sea made you replay the same stories over and over every time you died. That's a failure as a roguelike. Much of the time death seemed inevitable, whether due to terror buildup that you couldn't deal with, or just bad luck. I want a game with more freedom to explore, where I don't have to constantly retrace my steps. Is Sunless Skies going to be that game, or will it just be more of the same?

Recusor Jul 25, 1:51pm

Wow, this area looks incredible! Great job! I honestly dont even mind the release push back, I agree that some of the things I've seen in other regions could enhance The Reach. Keep up the great work!