Apsis Online V5 introduces the #Marketplace board to @Space. Now players can buy and sell in-game items while the bulletin board system functions as a sort of public ledger for these transactions. I’m also excited to begin development on the origin code which will be the focus for V6. It is the algorithm that intends to “awaken” the game “world” despite there being many. As such it would more aptly be titled the Big Bang or something similar.
It’s also getting warm again! At least down here in New Orleans. Which got me thinking about biomes and the weather in Apsis Online. Sounds boring, right? But wait! This isn’t a devblog on meteorology so much as it is about how climate and weather might affect a multitude of things I’d like to detail today.
It is night time on the small temperate planet below. You’ve just arrived with a ship full of drones ready to do your dirty work. You’re starting a new frontier company with some friends and you needed the tools to execute. This is a strip-mining operation. Except it’s raining, acid, oops! That wasn’t in the report.
This sort of scenario puts your equipment at risk for starters. Worn items will receive penalties which can be reduced with repairs. I’m considering a ghost stat that determines how many times an item can be repaired or a part reused. In addition, the aforementioned scenario may degrade the mined resource.
The good news is, the drones found several large caves and other rock formations that double as both mining candidates and shelter. We’re a bit off the landing site but…
At one point the drones had a more prominent role. But I removed them in order to focus on being able to do planet-walking. Soon, I plan to experiment with different types of automation again. Allowing players to have frontier companies staffed by machines for example.
I have not yet figured out the UI which will take the longest. I could borrow it from F*cked, Inc. But I want to open up organizational mechanics in a way that allows both public and private collaboration. So there will be some experimentation happening in regard to ownership of FCs, how resources are managed and how moderation and leadership are handled.
Speaking of experiments I’ve been looking into how stable the genetic modification code is. There’s been some talk about the possibilities over in the Discord. Looking forward to getting feedback on some of the morph-types. Referring to body types spanning mammalian and reptilian to various forms of mechanical.
There’s a whole swathe of written features lacking an ASCII UI. I thought about recruiting some of the ANSI art folks to help out on that front. We’ll see!
A generated summary of events will be automatically reported via some space news agency I haven’t decided on a name for yet. These reports will be published in the #Frontier board under the username of that agency.
I tossed around the idea of spaceports and putting one above Bromius II. But would prefer player feedback regarding the purpose of such a thing before committing. Since I’d rather add most of what would be in a spaceport to the array of tools planned to be available aboard your own spaceship anyway.
But you tell me. Apsis Online is a long-term project and will always adapt to feedback.
Also, for the record, @Space is technically pronounced RogueSpace and was originally meant to be a collaborative classic roguelike-making engine. The planet generator used to just spit out blank slates that any user could spin up, edit then let other people play. Then the plan was to reward those players or something for some reason. Didn’t pan out!
Lore Changes & Other Features
New changes to the game canon include the history behind @Space itself, being a more meta edit. The built-in social network was created as a way for crew aboard sleeper ships to engage with each other across different sleep cycles. Like a sort of Facebook for space-farers to communicate. I find this to be a charming idea and one that I’d like to continue expanding on. The social features present are at the core of the game engine after all.
As mentioned there was an interesting but currently missing feature being drone operation. Specifically, in the past I had allowed players to scout planets before landing and subsequently embarking. This and other more ship-oriented activities will be the focus of the subsequent V7. As well as performance upgrades when it comes to leaving the spaceship and walking around planets. It remains to be seen whether or not the latter can be instead solved by upgrading to a dedicated server (an expensive proposition). But all tests have proved this to be the case so far.
Edit: Up until now this blog has been an light-edited copy I wrote back in October 2020. Since then I have expanded on the network infrastructure quite a bit. Better servers provided an incremental decrease in latency but there’s still work to be done there.
Now about testing. I’ll have the first build of v5 for Linux ready as soon as this weekend but I’m not sure how public that will be. There will be an update about that once it happens. One of the biggest issues I’m still facing is latency while planetside. I was able to get some better servers but it only incrementally improved performance. So chances are I’ll be doing some optimization through Sunday.
That said, I’m going to get back to it.
If Apsis Online interests you do feel free to check out associated projects like the short story (WIP) Winternet on Wattpad based on the AO universe. Or drop a line in-game and say hi. We’re always looking for more voyagers!