Alpha 0.14.5 patch update is now live on Steam! This is a smaller update to fix and improve various elements of Mercury Fallen while development continues on the planetary exploration content update.
The updated new game interface offers new map sizes. Map sizes are now 80×80 (Small), 100×100 (Normal) and 150×150 (Large).
The global inventory display now has a background and additional options. You can choose to view in list or category mode, toggle the display of items with zero quantity and sort alphabetically or by quantity.
Tiles marked for mining and deconstruction are now visually distinct.
Notifications are no longer hidden behind open info windows, but instead will slide out with and show to the left of info windows. Edge scrolling now works on the right screen edge with an open info window and diagonal edge scrolling at the corner of the screen now works as well. The screen panel on the medi-bed will now light up when a doctor is treating a patient.
Thank you everyone for the feedback and excitement regarding the planetary exploration content update. Be sure to follow/join on Twitter, Facebook and Discord for the latest development information and screenshots. Check out the full release notes below for all the changes and fixes.
Alpha 0.14.5 is now available on the Test Build branch. This is a “small” update/patch while work continues on the planetary exploration update. The planetary exploration update is coming along very well, but more development time is still needed.
Some of the new changes in Alpha 0.14.5 include new mining/deconstruction selection graphics, updated map sizes, HUD inventory options, colonist priority improvements, updated UI elements and more. See the release notes below for the full list of changes and fixes.
For information about accessing the Test Build branch click the link below:
As many of you know, my current focus is to build the foundations for planetary exploration. In the last two developer logs, I covered how the planet surface is generated and a bit about vehicles and resource discovery. There has been a lot more progress on vehicle construction which I will cover here.
Surface exploration will require vehicles that need to be researched and constructed. Vehicle templates are created using the vehicle designer.
There are different vehicle types that determine various base attributes of a vehicle, such as its speed, cargo space, battery capacity, the number of passengers it can accomodate, and more. Additionally, you can apply various equipment and upgrades which will further increase the capabilities of your vehicle.
Different types of vehicles, equipment and upgrades will need to be discovered/researched before they can be used. Different parts will determine the build/upgrade cost of your vehicle.
The engine affects the vehicle speed and power drain.
Sensors affect both analyzing speed as well as visibility range. Visibility range is the number of tiles around the vehicle that will be uncovered when the vehicle is moving.
While I plan for various uses for exterior equipment, the initial release will allow for mining lasers to be attached so that ore resources can be mined on the surface.
Each vehicle type has a fixed amount of upgrade slots. Many different types of upgrades will become available to increase various vehicle attributes.
Once a vehicle template is created, it’s available for construction in the vehicle assembler, which is built in the assembly room. After the vehicle has been constructed it’s visible in the vehicle bay. Vehicle templates can later be updated in the vehicle designer allowing for existing vehicles to be upgraded based on its template.
You can access the vehicle bay by clicking your primary facility on the planet map. You can then embark a vehicle from your list of created vehicles. This involves choosing the colonists that will ride in the vehicle as well as any items you want to take with you. Once the vehicle is ready, you can select it and choose where it will go. Vehicles will uncover parts of the map as they move around.
While some details are still in development, and may change, the current plan is that vehicle distance will be limited by food and power. Each vehicle has solar panels, which allow the vehicle to recharge should it run out of battery power. When transporting human colonists, you will need to bring food, which will denote how much time, in days, the vehicle can be out before colonists will start dying of starvation. I do plan to allow for robots as passengers, which will not require food. Robots, however, are not able to do all the things a human colonist can.
The initial release of surface exploration is expected to include uncovering your surroundings, analyzing and harvesting resources. Analyzing resources will take time and better sensors/upgrades added to your vehicle will decrease this time.
While there is still a lot of work left to do, development is coming along very well. I can’t provide a definite timeline, but I will say that there are at least several more weeks’ worth of development work ahead to build up the content for the next update. I greatly appreciate your patience, as this update will take longer than the previous ones that I’ve released. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on vehicles and planetary exploration? I look forward to hearing your feedback.
Hope everyone is having a great time at or watching E3! Some great stuff is being announced. In Mercury Fallen news, I’ve been working hard on the implementation of planetary exploration and resource gathering.
In the previous developer log, I covered the procedural generation that creates the planet’s surface. The surface map also contains many resources, such as ores, flora and fauna, and there will be new resources found only in certain biomes on the map, in varying degrees of abundance.
The initial focus on the surface will, of course, be to explore your surroundings to find and analyze resource nodes. While icons will show the basic resource type, you’ll need to analyze resources to find out specifically what they are and how much is there.
Exploration on the surface is done using vehicles. Vehicles will require colonists to operate, but are directly controlled by the player. New biomes, areas and resources will need to be uncovered before they can be used. Different types of vehicles will be required to navigate some areas such as oceans and mountains.
I’m developing the foundation of planetary exploration, which means that when planetary exploration is released it is only the start of even more content to come. There are various features I I have planned for surface and underground game play that are too big to pack into a single update, so I’m working to divide up the new content in manageable releases, as I’ve done with previous updates.
Vehicle construction is performed in the assembly room with the new vehicle assembler, coupled with a surface-level vehicle bay used to assign colonists to vehicles and where vehicles must return to be upgraded.
You’ll be able to choose the vehicle type and the equipment that goes in it. Vehicle slots will allow you to customize cargo space, seats, engine, utilities and more. The vehicle type will determine the basic look and attributes, as well as what, and how many, slots it has.
For those that are interested, I’ve set up a Discord server where players can meet to chat about Mercury Fallen. There are some great people already there, and I’ll be there, when I’m not busy creating new content. 😉
Alpha 0.14.4 is now live on Steam! This update is another small patch/content update while development continues on the planetary exploration/expansion update.
New help buttons have been added to various section headers which open the game guide to the relevant guide section. Some of the guide content has been updated and a new guide section on mining has been added.
Since migrating over to Unity 2017, a few versions back, the look of water wasn’t all the great. The water has been updated and looks more watery now.
I fixed up a critical issue that caused time of day and research progress to break. If you loaded/started a game after already starting/loading a game the issue would appear. Thankfully this issue has been resolved and research/time of day should work correctly again.
Alpha 0.14.4 is now available on the Test Build branch. This update was originally just going to be a minor patch update to fix a couple of bugs, but I couldn’t help myself and added in some minor content updates as well. There are new/updated game guide sections, new look to water tiles and new help buttons on various interface section headers.
Progress on planetary exploration is coming along very well. For the latest screenshots and info regarding what I’m working on be sure to follow me on twitter.
For more information about the 0.14.4 test build, including release notes:
What is the Test Build branch?
Alpha 0.14.3 is out of the test build branch and now live on Steam. This is a small update while I continue development of the next big content update.
The craft queue and robot assembler interfaces will now show available ingredients highlighted in green and unavailable ingredients highlighted in red.
As objects get constructed they will now dissolve in. This has the benefit of looking cool and illustrating the build progress.
Thank you all for the awesome feedback and support. Keep an eye out for future developer logs where I’ll cover progress on the new planetary exploration features in development.
Be sure to follow Mercury Fallen on Facebook / Twitter for the latest news and updates:
As mentioned in the last dev log I’m focusing work on the planetary exploration/expansion system. In the mean time I’ll be pushing out some smaller updates/patches. These smaller updates will add, improve and fix various things while I continue work on the next major content update. Alpha 0.14.3 is now available on the Test Build branch and has some great updates/fixes.
For more information about the 0.14.3 test build, including release notes:
What is the Test Build branch?
Alpha 0.14 was a big update with a lot of new content and now that it’s out the door I’m back to the grind stone working on the next major content update. Something that has been asked a lot, and that I’ve teased in the past, is how and when surface/planetary exploration will be added to the game. There is still not a concrete answer to that, but I’ve been putting a lot of work into getting the planetary content out of prototype and integrated into the core game. I wanted to cover the progress so far and go over various aspects of the how and what of planetary exploration.
Planetary surface exploration will be handled on a separate planetary map that will be accessible via the Facility Management interface. The goal of the planet map is to offer a good deal of variety as well as a somewhat accurate, and fun, representation of an alien world with a variety of biomes, details and events. Similar to the players primary facility the planet map is procedurally generated to offer a good amount of extended game play and replay value. The map itself is a large hexagon grid where each hexagon represents a location on the map.
I decided to base biome generation on the Holdridge Life Zones which uses temperature and moisture levels to define biome types. For any given cross section of temperature and moisture a biome can be determined, for example the hottest and wettest areas would be akin to a tropical rain forest and the the hottest driest areas are desert. The first step was creating temperature, moisture and elevation maps using procedural noise. The temperature map also considers elevation and latitude so that areas at higher elevations or further north/south are colder. The elevation data is also used to determine both mountains and sea level.
The final break down is a 5×5 grid to divide temperature and moisture values ranging from hottest to coldest and driest to wettest. Sampling the temperature/moisture values for each hexagon grid location into the biome chart gives a biome sector. Additional biome sectors are generated for oceans, fresh water and mountains for a total of 28 biome sectors. The final biome for a tile is based on a biome definition that is mapped to a biome sector and has a predefined frequency of occurring. Using this method I can have some biomes that very commonly generate within a sector, but also include special rare biomes that have a lower chance of generating within the same sector.
The final biome definition also defines the color, texture and details that occur for that biome as seen in the image above. The above image only shows part of the 48,000 tiles on the complete map. Map size may vary depending on game starting options, but testing is being done on large scale maps.
Additional biome details are currently being added to provide more visual distinction between the various biomes.
Upon first opening the planetary map screen the only visible area will be immediately surrounding the players primary facility. Building and sending out exploration drones will allow you to explore the map and uncover new resources, story content, points of interest and expansion opportunities.
I’m still working on designing the systems for exploration and expansion, but it’s coming along very well so far. Stay tuned for further developer logs where I’ll cover points of interest, outposts, expeditions and more.
The new planetary map game play will take a bit of time and releasing all of it’s content all at once is not the goal. The core of planetary exploration will get added first with further updates to add additional content. I have quite a lot of content planned for the planetary aspect of Mercury Fallen and it won’t come all at once.
I’ll also be focusing on releasing smaller game updates while work continues on integrating the planetary map features.
More developer logs will be coming to cover the planetary map as they get implemented so stay tuned. I’m really excited about the new planetary map content. What are your thoughts on planetary exploration/expansion?
Alpha 0.14.2 is out of testing and now available on Steam. This patch update addresses a couple of bugs, but also adds the ability to change the order of objects in the construction build queue.
The new Set High Priority button in an objects build info window will set the object to be first in the build queue. Other objects may still get built first if materials are not available for the object. Further improvements to managing the build queue are expected in future update.