With apologies for the radio silence over the holidays, we’re back and hitting the ground running on Habitat!
On Steam Early Access and at shows like GDC, PAX, and RTX, 2014 gave us the opportunity - with your feedback - to refine the vision of what Habitat will become as we push onward: a dynamic, physics-based space survival game where ingenuity and resourcefulness will lead you to victory.
There are things that are working well, and then there are some things that need improvement. Combine that with the list of features we aim to complete from our Trello board and you’ve got the formula for a very busy dev team this year!
We know we've still got some orbits to complete on development, so as we exit the deep freeze of winter I wanted to share with you the updated vision of Habitat, what and how we’re planning to deliver, and - maybe most important of all - what’s right around the corner for our February Early Access Update!
How Habitat Will Evolve
From its crazy notebook-sketch beginnings, Habitat has always been about creativity and resourcefulness under pressure, with a sea of opportunities in which to build and play.
But we want more than that. Habitat isn't just a sandbox, it’s a story. One of survival, one of beating the odds, one of creativity, guts and grit winning the day and saving humanity. It’s about exploring, growing, taking risks and facing down enemies to emerge victorious.
We plan to resolve some key challenges to build that story through gameplay and improve Habitat to become a truly epic experience. Here are the big themes we are going to be tackling over the next few months:
Put Survival Front and Center: Citizens, First Class!
Since v0.5, Habitat has had a basic conception of Citizens - the people you need to save with your Habitat - but they need to matter. Citizens will play a key role in growing your Habitat, unlocking new powers, and coming out on top in combat. It won’t be a cakewalk, though - citizens can be ejected into space, blown up, virus-infected and lots more, and in the heat of the moment you’ll have to make some tough calls to survive. Who do you rescue? What will it cost? This is why you’re the Commander.
Living Systems and Crisis: Status Effects
Speaking of tough calls, we want to give you the experience of habitats being truly affected by the world around them: fires onboard, freezing, EMP bursts, electrical surges, nano-machine infections; whether it’s from unique weapon and combo effects, environmental hazards, or chained disasters encountered during combat, managing crisis needs to mean more than just watching the health bar. Fires spread, electrical spikes can drive systems haywire, EMPs can shut down whole swaths of nodes. Having particular habitat nodes respond differently to these environmental effects (and modified through combos and the tech tree) means you’ll need to build carefully and plan contingencies as crisis hits. Of course - you can also use these effects against enemies...
A Constellation of Combos: A Much Deeper Properties System
One of the things we love to see is people discovering the Tactical Mode and tuning properties on their habitats as situations change. Not as obvious is the Combo system that grants special bonuses as objects are tied together. We want to put these two concepts together even more tightly and deliver you an amazing set of combo effects that you will discover as you play; unlocking special powers for your habitats, upgrades and tradeoffs you can activate to dynamically change how you play and deal with crisis. Attaching habitat pieces needs to yield unique rewards depending on structure and order, and we want them to truly matter.
Going on the Hunt: Common, Rare, and Ultra-Rare Items
If you’ve played Habitat for a while you know many of the items that are at your disposal. But with the status effects and combos above, we have the opportunity to seed the world with rare and ultra-rare variants with amazing powers, and give you the chance to go on the hunt to find (or steal) truly exceptional pieces to make your habitat into a juggernaut. We will be creating special variants of the junk items you know and love to increase the possibilities and give you even more quests.
A Chained World: Multiple Sectors
The Habitat game world is extensive, but you deserve more. More locations, more themes, more challenges, more space and more space junk! As we develop new sectors, you’ll be able to travel between them, taking on unique missions and exploring individual environments near Earth, the Moon, Mars...well, best not say too much yet. We don’t want to give everything away!
And Plenty More...
New mission types, environmental hazards, improved physics and flight systems, a tech tree, increased customization options...we’re staying busy this year, Commanders. You deserve a truly epic space survival adventure, and we’re committed to deliver it.
The Next Update
Look forward to the very next Habitat Early Access update this month!
We’ll be delivering the start of the Status Effects system, and a number of sectors you can travel between, as well as new enemy encounters, improved physics, plenty of bug fixes, and more that we’ll announce as we get closer.
We will also be reaching out on the Steam forums to get your opinions on feature ideas to further refine the vision for what Habitat will become; we are hungry for your feedback as we develop the game. Watch for us on the forums, don’t hesitate to give us your thoughts! We’re building Habitat for you, and we know you’ll love it.
Keep on spacing!
-Charles @ 4gency