Sunless Skies Roadmap

Below you’ll find the roadmap for the production of Sunless Skies. Like many developers, we work in 2-week periods called ‘sprints’. This roadmap will allow you to see which general features we’re working on from now until Early Access (we’ll update it with more sprints once we enter Early Access!).

There are a few important things to note:

  • Whilst the tasks and features have been outlined and planned ahead of time by our producer, Lottie, game development is quite a fluid process.
  • Some tasks turn out to be more complicated than anticipated.
  • It is also very rare, for example, that we would complete a huge component of the game, like all combat, art or writing, within just two weeks. Large features will be developed across multiple sprints.
  • Time for polish at the end is also key. Since game development is iterative, production schedules are basically set as a skeleton of what needs to be achieved. Once we start getting player feedback, we can confirm what is working and what isn’t, make adjustments, and then flesh everything out with final art, prose, audio and animation.

Once a sprint is completed, we’ll update the information below to reflect more specifically what was accomplished, and link it to the individual development blog, in case you’re curious to know more!


last updated 29 August 2017

Sprint 9 – Traveling Through the Reach: APHELION Part I
ART: initial UI pipeline set up, initial locomotive designs
CONTENT: initial region work on The Reach
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: beginning mechanics on hunger/death/fuel/time, procedurally generated movement through the game world

Sprint 10 – Traveling Through the Reach: Part II – APHELION Part 2
ART: terrain pipeline
CONTENT: Port: Traitor’s Wood
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: implementing fuel/hunger, initial work on Terror, beginning character progression

Sprint 11 – Traveling Through the Reach: Part III – BIG BANG
ART: beginning art and animation greyboxing
CONTENT: vessel classifications
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: combat AI specifications for tactics, error report capturing, hold management

Sprint 12 – Combat in the Reach: CHROMOSPHERE
(Extremely hot red part of planetary atmosphere. Our first heavy combat sprint!)
ART: terrain types within the Reach, player locomotive animation prototype, AI agent animations
CONTENT: wrecks & discovery content, Legendary Wreck Parzifal, randomised loot system work
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: first-pass at combat implementation, title screens, storylet-UI, collision damage, first sound effect commissioning

Sprint 13 – Combat in the Reach: DARK MATTER  
(The mass that explains all the astrophysics we can’t explain. First part of combat complete and first bits of audio.)
ART:  Traitor’s Wood, collision animations, welcoming a new artist!
CONTENT: Old Tom’s Well, Hybras, Magdelene’s, art briefs
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: pathfinding implementation, first SFX, enemy agent behaviour, combat AI implementation

Sprint 14 – Populating the Reach: EXOGENESIS 
(Theory that life originated elsewhere in the universe and was then transported to Earth. People of the Reach!)
ART: Hybras, Titania, Scrive Spinster, Tackety Scout, art UI pass
CONTENT: Port Prosper, Leadbeater & Stainrod, Officer spreadsheeting, Non-Player Locomotive names
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: long distance pathfinding implementation, implementing tooltips, balancing survival mechanics, gazetteer work, sand implementing agents.

Sprint 15 – Populating the Reach: FORTUNE
(Dante’s personified cosmic intelligence responsible for Earth. People/denizens/character sprint.)
ART: Leadbeater & Stainrod Nature Reserve, Magdalene’s, Inconvenient Aunt, locomotive vessel classes
CONTENT: locomotive pitches, first Ambition content
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: operating system versions, storylet service, implementation of AI agent passions, character creation and progression specs, closed-alpha preparation

Sprint 16 – Enriching the Reach: GANYMEDE
(Jupiter’s largest moon, and the ninth largest object in our solar system. A smorgasbord of tasks all aimed at enriching the environment of the Reach.)
Art: Royal Society, officers, locomotives, improved docking
Content: Albion outline, Polmear & Plenty
Gameplay: Wrath, heat, armaments, shop mechanics, and UI

Sprint 17 – Enriching the Reach: HYPERGALAXY
(A usually spiral galaxy surrounded by smaller satellite galaxies, like the Milky Way and Andromeda. Smorgasbord fleshing out the outlines of the Reach.)
ART: Ambiences, Decorations, and a UI pass
CONTENT: Early Access tutorial, New Winchester faction system creation, base content for Albion
GAMEPLAY: bug fixes, weapons, in-game chart with fog of war, implementing UI and HUD systems

Sprint 18 – Enriching the Reach: INVARIANTHEORIE
(Einstein’s preferred term for special relativity. Fine tuning the Reach!)
ART: Reach ports, ambiences, icons and decorations
CONTENT: Experience accrual design, Kickstarter Backer Rewards for Correspondence and geographical location names
GAMEPLAY: Implementing melee attacks, trade loops, scenic spawns, plus character progression work

Sprint 19 – Enriching the Reach: JANSKY
(A unit of spectral irradiance; a big bright burst of light. Heading towards Early Access!)
ART: Implemented labels, ambiences, icons and port polishing
CONTENT: Revising port area names, port pitching, death storylets, mechanical QA
GAMEPLAY: ‘Options’ panel for audio and font scaling, character progression work, Cantankeri and Tackety Scout AI design, adjusting player variables

Sprint 20 – Heading Out of the Reach: KEPLER
(Planetary motion and celestial physics. Beginning to tackle the next region’s tasks)
ART: In-game chart art pass, art polishing across the entire Reach
CONTENT: Mechanical QA, editing the Reach storylets, locomotive equipment and scout content
GAMEPLAY: CMS improvements, loot implementation, dock loading, Chorister Bee and Scrive-Spinster AI design, store page set up for Early Access, QA, and bug fixing

Sprint 21 – Heading Out of the Reach: LONGAEVI
(Gothic angels from C. S. Lewis’s medieval world-model The Discarded Image, floating somewhere between humans and God.)
Art direction for Albion and ongoing bug fixing, game balancing and other Early Access prep work. The accompanying blog describes what players can expect initially in the game for Early Access and which bits will be coming later.


We’ll need to take some time to analyse the player response to the game once we go live. The initial player response to the game will affect both the development schedule and how we inform you of it in the Development Roadmap. Therefore, the first few weeks after our Early Access launch, our team will be busy with internal discussions before deciding on a designated path forward with this page.

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