Populating the Reach: FORTUNE

By Failbetter, June 6, 2017 · Alpha Sunless Skies

Our latest sprint FORTUNE continues the work of populating the Reach! Both character creation and character progression specs have been designed. Meanwhile, Tech was focused on finalising the storylet service, a fundamental piece of code which enables the player to interact with stories in-game. Both Art and Content have been continuing their work on filling out ports, locomotives, wrecks, characters and even our first Ambition!


Both artists have been working at full steam this sprint. While Paul has been busy with the Leadbeater & Stainrod Nature Reserve, Toby worked on a port called Magdalene’s.


Pulled from the art brief: The glass spires of Magdalene’s pierce the clouds like swords stuck in the firmament.

If you’ve been enjoying our FBG Podcasts, you may have seen a sneak peek of Paul’s updated version of the Inconvenient Aunt during our art podcast. Here she is in all her inconvenient glory.


Toby has been bringing a few more locomotives to life. As we continue development, you’ll see various classes of vessel. Previously, we’ve shared a Tackety Scout. This sprint we have a Reach Marauder! A ship captained by the sky-maddened: those who have looked too long at the stars.




This sprint James was tasked with creating pitches for various locomotives that will be seen throughout the High Wilderness. Each vessel is pitched with a name, an outline of their fiction, an art brief, a difficulty tier, and proposals for their behavior.

Chris and James also began work on the first ambition for Sunless Skies. This ambition resembles the ‘Retire to a Life of Luxury’ ambition from Sunless Sea.

Unlike in Sunless Sea though, players don’t have to retire in only London. In addition to accruing a big retirement fund, players need to purchase accommodation suitable to the manner in which they want to retire, and they can do so in any of the major hubs: London, New Winchester, Pan or the House of the Feather.

Gameplay and Design

Quite a bit of tech work this sprint went into preparations for the closed alpha. For example, Mac ensured there were versions of Sunless Skies across all three operating systems: PC, Mac and Linux.

Liam and Mac also worked on the storylet service, which has many different pieces that allow the storylet content to function. These may include the functionality of how storylets update or how available storylets are called up when a player enters a port.

Meanwhile, Barry has been implementing passions, which are what control AI behaviour when not in combat. Passions can have a wide range of effects: the possibilities include making a pirate hunt trading vessels, or causing a creature to seek out others of its kind, or visit particular features (like wells or wrecks). Note that these are just examples: we haven’t decided exactly which ones to implement yet. We’ve designed the system to be flexible and easy to extend.


Our next FBG Podcast will be Friday 9th June at 16:00 BST, where we’ll be happy to take your questions. In our next sprint, GANYMEDE, we’ll be working to enrich the Reach with audio, legacies and scouts!

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