Hello again everyone, and always I thank everyone who has participated in the closed alpha over the past few months, the feedback is always extremely helpful.

This month I mainly completed everything that I wanted to in the roadmap. Unfortunately the majority of the terrain changes I wanted to make did not end up making it into the build. I did however get the bare minimum done here which is a new grass shader. I think you will see that this release is probably the most substantial release so far. We have added a ton of content to Boppio and we hope this release will be a welcomed refresh for veteran players.

Changes Overview

  • Steel is now made in its own building – the Steel Furnace
  • Technology tree updated
  • Many changes to item balance
  • New building models
  • Power improvements
  • New grass shader
  • New Music
  • UnityEngine upgrade from 2019.4.15f1 LTS to 2019.4.18f1 LTS

New Engineer Model

We have replaced our placeholder character with a custom designed engineer. We will grow and develop this character over the next few months. There will also be some basic character customizations available in a future release.

We welcome a our new engineer model into Boppio!

We got lots of feedback about the quality of the animations we were using for the engineer, so we ended up replacing basically all of the animations. Most of the new animations are motion capture animations which are more accurate to real life movements.

The engineer has new mocap animations

Most of the details of the engineer will remain a mystery for now 🙂

Interaction Feedback

All buildings in Boppio that can be clicked on will now be highlighted when you hover over it with your mouse.

Hovering over buildings will now highlight the building that is under your mouse

The main reason for this is to make connecting buildings using transport tubes much easier:

You can now clearly see which building you are connecting to when placing transport tubes.

This doesn’t yet affect trees, resources and transport tubes, but in the next patch it will. This is just an initial implementation and we’re still working out some of the bugs with this outline shader.

Power Improvements

In previous releases power was of almost no concern to the player and it was actually very confusing for most players. I agree that we haven’t given power the attention it needs until now.

Power will be a new challenge for players and it is now an integral part of the game. The power provided by the habitat has been substantially reduced and the power required by buildings has been increased. This will require you to build Steam Engines in order to keep your factory powered properly.

You can also now click on power poles to get a better idea of what is going on within a power network:

New power pole interface

In the future we want to have expandable graphs within this interface, but for now just simple progress bars are available. This is still a work in progress.

Placing Power Poles

When placing power poles, you can now see what buildings are affected by the current power pole. Buildings shaded in green are within the power pole’s effective area and consume power. Buildings shaded in blue are buildings that are within the effective area but are not power consumers.

One thing we do want to improve here is the ability to see what buildings are within a given power network. This will continue to be improved upon in future builds.

There is much better feedback now when placing power poles.

New Building Models

Our talented building artist Josh has been hard at work replacing the current models of the buildings with better and stylized buildings.

We have also introduced some new visual concepts to the buildings. Mainly indicators for power state and crafting state. Each building that requires power will have a power transformer that will be colored based on its power state. A power state for a building can be powered, underpowered or disconnected. The crafting state of a building is pretty simple as well. A building can be crafting, waiting or errored. When buildings are in an error state, they require manual intervention from the player in order to continue crafting. This typically only happens when you switch recipes for a building and it still contains items from the old recipe.

This example shows multiple buildings in different power and crafting states.

Habitat

The new habitat is a vast improvement over the old model. The old model suffered from a couple of big picture ideas, mainly the fact that it was too big and item transport tubes would constantly clip through the building. These issues have been addressed in the rework here.

The new Habitat

Assembly Machine

The new Assembly Machine model is a huge improvement over the old model as well. The building itself is quite a bit smaller now and many of the conceptual issues with the old assembly machine have been addressed (mainly clipping issues with transport tubes).

The new Assembly Machine model and running animation

Steel Furnace

This originally was not going to make it into this release but we sneaked it in as almost literally the last feature to go into this release. The steel furnace is an electric-powered furnace that smelts steel. This means that steel will no longer be crafted in the Assembly Machine and will instead be crafted in this building. The Steel Furnace is unlocked in a new technology: Steel Processing.

This is a new building: the Steel Furnace

Other Buildings

A couple of other buildings have been upgraded as well, mainly the basic furnace and the basic miner. These models haven’t changed at all in functionality, their models have just been upgraded.

Terrain Improvements

We really only ended up upgrading the grass shader and improving the terrain generator a bit. The majority of the large changes will happen in the March 1st release.

I rewrote the grass shader from scratch and the new grass shader is actually more performant than the old shader and it looks much much better.

The new grass shader does a much better job of blending into the scene

New Music

All of the original music in the game has been removed and replaced with new tracks that were written by our new talented composer Franz. Over the last month he has written 4 new tracks (including the new main menu track) that have made their way into the game. There are also many more tracks on the way for the March 1st release.

We hope you enjoy the new tracks, they are really good 🙂

Performance Changes

So I would have titled this section performance improvements, however I do think that this patch will perform worse for certain players. Players who play on systems that have no dedicated graphics will probably have a slight performance degradation this patch. This obviously varies from machine to machine. I’m doing more exhaustive performance testing especially on lower end machines, so the patch for March 1st will hopefully provide some help for these players.

Most players playing on modern hardware will notice a substantial performance improvement this patch. Its likely if you were able to play on Medium settings before you should be able to play on High settings.

Backwards Compatibility

All builds that are in the same 0.X family (e.g. 0.1.2 and 0.1.3 but not 0.2.0) will be backwards compatible. This means that you can load a 0.1.2 save in 0.1.3, however you cannot load a 0.1.3 save file from 0.2.0. In the future its likely we will do a conversion between versions where if you are on the latest 0.X version and 0.X+1 comes out we can convert your save file, however for this release this is not the case. Many buildings and technologies have changed to the point where it doesn’t make sense to load a 0.1.3 save into 0.2.0.

Known Issues

  • The saving times are fine this release but the loading times are really bad. Large files can take up to 15 minutes to load, probably even longer. I am not sure if I will release a patch to fix this or I will just fix it in the next release.
  • Destroying the habitat while researching a tech module can brick your game
  • Tube blockages still possible
  • If a non-powered building has a full inventory, then becomes powered it doesn’t turn on

Conclusion

Again as always I would like to thank everyone who is taking the time to try out Boppio early, especially those who have joined the discord and have given me direct feedback.

If you are curious about what I’m working on next, you can check out the roadmap that I posted a few weeks ago. It details the expected features for the next few months and our goals for 2021.

If you haven’t already, please consider joining the discord. I’m almost always online and available to answer questions or address concerns 🙂

Thanks for reading,

– John