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"The Excavation Update" - October 12th, 2017

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Astroneer's Pre-Alpha Early Access will be updated to version 0.4.10215.0 (The Excavation Update)

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Steam 'Early Access' should see this update out now. 

Xbox 'Play Anywhere' users will receive this update at around 12PM PT Thursday October 12th, 2017. 

The Pre-Alpha "Excavation" Update includes new modules & items to craft, an entirely new core gameplay loop, and quality of life updates. It also includes some crucial fixes for vehicles and tweaks to research RNG ahead of Research 2.0 changes. We would like to sincerely thank Early Access players for their feedback in the Experimental 002 test, as that information helped us make changes that eventually made it into this update.

Disclaimer: Up until this point, we have worked hard to make sure older saves were compatible with the newest versions of Astroneer. While old saves will be "compatible" with our newest update, we highly recommend you start a fresh save. Use old saves at your own risk, and please keep bug reports limited to savegames that were started fresh during 215!

Updates
You can find these updates in 0.4.101215.0, the current build of the game.

Added the new "Reusable Canister" item

The Reusable Canister is an important part of the Excavation Update. You can now print these canisters from your backpack for one Resin. In 215, they serve as the primary way to store collected soil and refined hydrazine from the new Hydrazine Catalyzer. In the future, we would like these canisters to hold all of the liquid resources Astroneers might encounter or create. 

[AS-1130] - Mineral Extractor Module now available to build

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The Mineral Extractor is a completely new module used to extract resources from all of the terrain beneath your Astroneer's feet. It works by taking sediment gathered into Reusable Canisters and filtering it, resulting in the resource of your choice. To create resources, simply gather sediment into reusable canisters using your Terrain Tool. Then feed that gathered soil into the module's reservoir, and place a sample in the center of the centrifuge. Upon activation, the Extractor will fill its canisters with soil, and extract out the requested resource. Mineral extraction has entirely new ratios for output, and now includes additional resources not found in our experimental test. The output values and list of resources available will most likely change in the future.  

[AS-1131] - Hydrazine Catalyzer Module now available to build

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The Space Pizza Oven Hydrazine Catalyzer is now available. The conversion of Hydrazine from a crystalline deposit to fully refined resource in a container was never the intended final experience for gathering fuel. Now, when you would like to fuel a shuttle or thruster, use your terrain tool to gather ammonium crystals, and then catalyze them in this new module. Resuable Canisters are also required to store this newly created Hydrazine fuel. In the future, we hope to possibly use the catalyzer for the conversion of other minerals. 

[AS-1566] - New Boost Mod Augment is now available.

The boost mod is a new tool used to gather sediment and/or deform terrain quickly. Printable from your backpack, this augment allows for rapid deforming, at the cost of drawing power from your backpack battery. 

Fuel Condenser changes

The fuel condenser now requires multiple charges to create a full canister of refined Hydrazine, and also reusable canisters to put that Hydrazine in. The good news is, this is now our first automated module in the game. Attach medium storage units to this and all of the new modules, and watch them pick and place items when necessary. 

New Power Dynamic has now been implemented

There have been significant changes to the backpack power system to better suit our intended progression path. Changes listed below:

  • Deforming, flattening, or removing terrain no longer uses backpack battery power. Deform forever!
  • The backpack no longer "trickle charges". That means if you run out of power, you are out until you can generate or find more. Be careful!
  • Printing from the backpack printer now draws power
  • Augments also now draw power when activated on your terrain tool.

There is also a big change when it comes to portable power generation! The solar panel and small generator have swapped places. Now, the most accessible power in the early game is the non renewable organic based small generator. Printable for one compound, these generators run on foliage gathered from the world. (If you never noticed, grass and bushes with bright colors yield organic.) Although this might seem like a cumbersome change, the small generator allows you to create power both above and below ground at any time. Rather than wait at your base till the sun comes up, you can head underground knowing you will almost always be able to find organic. Removing the trickle charge, and making the small generator more prominent decreases the amount of time you are just waiting around for power to come back, and lets you make deliberate choices about what you want to do. 

After playing for a bit and unlocking the smelter, you can then make the necessary copper to unlock the power of the sun. We feel like solar energy in the early game made progression too easy, and didn't present any interesting choices related to power. Most people made small solar panels for their base and themselves within five minutes of every new game and never really had to think about power generation ever again. 

Deforming with the drill head fills connected canisters

The drill has long been a great looking piece of machinery, with very little practical use. Now, whenever a drill is used on a vehicle, any connected reusable containers on any slot of the vehicle will fill with the deformed terrain.

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Other Excavation Update Changes

  • Adding terrain now requires stored terrain from reusable containers
  • [AS-1575] - Added a new Soil Hose to the Deform Tool to show Soil usage between the Deform Tool and Canisters in the Backpack.
  • [AS-1576] - Added Soil gauge to the Terrain Brush
  • [AS-1579] - Updated Deform Tool to have a burn off valve to indicate lost terrain when Canisters are full
  • Revised Soil usage to have a 1:1 relationship with changes made to terrain. ‘Flatten’ mode now collects or consumes Soil contextually.
  • [AS-1572] - Opening Backpack while the Deform Tool is equipped will now pop out the Deform Tool automatically. Likewise, closing the Backpack with the Deform Tool popped out will automatically equip it.
  • Pressing the Deform Tool ‘equip’ button/key while the Backpack is open will toggle popping out the Deform Tool instead of closing the backpack and equipping it.
  • [AS-1573] - Indicator slots can now pull resources from Deform Tool in addition to the the Backpack.
  • Deform Tool slots are now available when quick-storing items to the Backpack.
  • When dying, any items attached to the Deform Tool or Backpack’s Auxiliary Slots are dropped with the Backpack itself instead respawning with the Player.
  • [AS-1583] - When respawning, the Astroneer will now descend from the Space Station in their Habitat. 
  • Added new tutorial sequence to introduce Soil collection and changes to power usage. (Note that new saves will have to complete this tutorial before all starting recipes are made available)
  • All Augment recipes now (temporarily) unlocked until the new Research System is released. Have fun!

Edit: 11:37PM

  • Research has received a tuning pass to make it a bit less punishing, in anticipation of Research 2.0 changes.
  • Medium Solar is now unlocked for every new save

Audio Changes

[AS-1614] Mixed, Mastered, & Implemented new music assets

Our composer Rutger has submitted some new music for Astroneer. You should be hearing this new music in-game intermittently. 

Bug Fixes

[AS-1450] - The Thruster now plays sounds when it activates and deactivates
[AS-1516] - Fixed an issue where audio occasionally did not play when removing terrain
[AS-1549] - Fixed an issue where Beacon icons would become inaccurate while viewing from orbit
[AS-1554] - Partially fixed an issue where dead Astroneer backpacks would use world lighting, making it difficult to see what it is on them in low light situations. Future updates will have a more complete fix. 
[AS-1709] - Beacon collision model has been changed so it is no longer spherical. No more escaping Beacons!
[AS-1720] - Driving past conduits on Rovers no longer pops attached objects off the front and back connectors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!1
[AS-1740] - Fixed an issue where Rovers would fly into space when loading a save from a rover seat
[AS-1742] - Fixed several issues with Rovers displaying inconsistent physics
[AS-1745] - Fixed an issue with Rovers not having the power to perform basic intended functionality
[AS-1758] - Sandstorm Attenuation should now be working properly
[AS-1763] - Fixed an issue where Rovers would load in incorrect positions when quitting to Main Menu then reloading the Saved Game. 

The team heard your feedback about rovers and worked during our bugfix week to fix them up. As always though, we want to remind you that they are a work in progress! Thanks to the community for reporting, documenting and triage-ing bugs for us to smash!

PROTOTYPING ROADMAP HIGHLIGHT

The following major features are continuing during development, but are not included in this release. Since we are (mostly) out of the prototyping phase, we can start calling this section the roadmap highlight, where we talk about some of the major work being done behind the scenes.  

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated servers are moving along nicely. Carl spoke to us on the vlog about what he was specifically working on at the time, including demoing 8 Astroneers on one dedicated server build here locally. The player number is still TBD, and to be fair none of those 8 users were moving or deforming or any of the other things users might do. We can say though that since then we have made great progress, including figuring out the plan for UI and the systems necessary to allow dedicated servers to work within Astroneer. Now we need to build them. Lots of work yet to be done, but some intrepid discord users noticed that SES has uploaded something into the tools section on steam. ;)  

Terrain 2.0

T2.0 is now in engine and deformable. That means work has begun to figure out the new authoring tools, as well as optimizing it so we can start creating the interesting terrain that this new, much more efficient system will allow for.

Modularity

While the team was working on this newest update, We didn't want to completely drop any of the boulders we have been pushing towards. To save time and not take away too much from development, Samantha made a paper prototype to work out the modularity game loop. We will have more details about the results of that prototype soon!

Wow this was a SUPER long one. Go forth and live off the land now. Have fun and we can't wait to hear about what you think!

-jt

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I didn't see the patch notes so had the joy of panic of going I've only got a generator, I've got to research tethers.. only to find out I wasn't following the tutorial :o)

 

Talking of tethers they drop oddly with the terrain tool out as per righthand side of picture

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Steam - Win8.1 64-bit - Mouse/Keyboard - Intel i7-3770 - 16GB  - Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti - MBAudio MSI B75MA E33 - Seagate ST2000DM001 2TB SATA

Edited by CuriousCabbit

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I can´t build canisters at gamestart. So i can´t plan terrain. But i always build my base at plan terrain and don´t want it different! So THIS UPDATE SUCKS!!! 

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3 minutes ago, Feuerwalze said:

I can´t build canisters at gamestart. So i can´t plan terrain. But i always build my base at plan terrain and don´t want it different! So THIS UPDATE SUCKS!!! 

You HAVE to build the small generator in your backpack first, in order to unlock the recipes.

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[AS-1720] - Driving past conduits on Rovers no longer pops attached objects off the front and back connectors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!1 :D:D:D
 
Thanks as always for the update. I like the direction these changes are taking the game to, it bodes well for the future. And the new modules look ace and their animations look really polished.

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funny while flattening terrain to build my base on I kept running out of sand funny enough I'm trying to flatten a hill so why am I using sand and not filling the canister. yah hooray for a complete lack of in house testing the canisters is a shite idea I said it during the experimental and now I have still no reason to use augments especially if all they really do is cost energy. this update makes no sense to me what so ever. it fixes a few small glitches but only adds crap I don't like from experimental. copper generators made more sense than compounds. judging from the rate of development it will be another 2 months before the next update that really wont change much other than another nurf to a resource that served to make you stand at your base longer than exploring for the resources. you stood at your base because you keep getting filters and power cells instead of blueprints for not at all usefull unlocks like the closed 3 seat on a solo game. reloading a save from this update and I'm falling from space. wow this update is crap

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1 minute ago, Shawn Schaaf said:

funny while flattening terrain to build my base on I kept running out of sand funny enough I'm trying to flatten a hill so why am I using sand and not filling the canister. yah hooray for a complete lack of in house testing the canisters is a shite idea I said it during the experimental and now I have still no reason to use augments especially if all they really do is cost energy. this update makes no sense to me what so ever. it fixes a few small glitches but only adds crap I don't like from experimental. copper generators made more sense than compounds. judging from the rate of development it will be another 2 months before the next update that really wont change much other than another nurf to a resource that served to make you stand at your base longer than exploring for the resources. you stood at your base because you keep getting filters and power cells instead of blueprints for not at all usefull unlocks like the closed 3 seat on a solo game. reloading a save from this update and I'm falling from space. wow this update is crap

Have you used a FRESH save created in this version? The issue with flattening sounds like you didn't...because it doesn't do that for me.

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yah brand new save I even deleted all the old ones before starting it after I respawnd from the fall I now have 2 pods (habitats)at my base

 

 

and now a third habitat pod I sufacated not 20 feet from my base and it did the entire drop sequence again. and nothing to complain about with sounds on my end its the cant flatten terrain if I have an emptied canister

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4 minutes ago, Shawn Schaaf said:

yah brand new save I even deleted all the old ones before starting it after I respawnd from the fall I now have 2 pods (habitats)at my base

 

 

and now a third habitat pod I sufacated not 20 feet from my base and it did the entire drop sequence again. and nothing to complain about with sounds on my end its the cant flatten terrain if I have an emptied canister

Extremely strange because it even filled up the canister for me when flattening (in caves, at least...there needs to be enough terrain around it).

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47 minutes ago, Shawn Schaaf said:

yah brand new save I even deleted all the old ones before starting it after I respawnd from the fall I now have 2 pods (habitats)at my base

 

 

and now a third habitat pod I sufacated not 20 feet from my base and it did the entire drop sequence again. and nothing to complain about with sounds on my end its the cant flatten terrain if I have an emptied canister

Flatten Mode does consume or collect soil contextually, but there's an issue that causes Flatten Mode to be disabled if there's no soil at all in an attached canister. If you have even a little bit available, and Flattening is only removing terrain, than you should find canisters start filling accordingly. (Technically, the amount of soil collected or consumed is 1:1 with the net total change in terrain, so if you're both removing and adding while Flattening, then the amount of soil in your canisters should effectively hold static).

Also confusing the matter is that added terrain doesn't change color if the change is below a threshold. So even if you don't see any grey terrain, it's possible that small amounts are still being added (and consuming soil from canisters in turn).

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Uuhh, takes some time to get used to Terrain as a resource.

 

atleast 9/10, as usual. Too bad they didn't had time to fix Wide augment :( 

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Ha, just played for about 4 hours and I LOVE IT!

What I really really like:

  • Small generator, mods, and the oxygen tank from beginning. That's awesome. Easy but weak power supply, and oxygen tanks which quickly allow to do longer explorations.
  • Sound in caves has more echo now, right? Sounds awesome :)
  • TAR balancing is WAYYY better than the first shot in the beta. Quite like it! Even if you run out of terrain (in canisters) it is quite easy to get some fresh from a wall to build a ramp. And the balance still allows to fetch tons of that stuff to create resin/compound relatively quickly which I used to create some storage's and fill the shuttle with some basic elements.
  • The cursor which shows the tank-usage is pretty nice. Would not have came up in my mind, but that's a very cool solution! 

Uncool:

  • Tethers are obstacles again for the truck. Not sure if I like it *g*.

Bug's found (exists since months):

  • Playing on Windoof 8, Steam. As soon as I come close to one of those "constant resource rocks" (power, compound, resin) the view becomes very strange. Seems to be a buggy FX filter from the engine or something. Never seen bug reports regarding this. And not very important at all :).
  • If there is one of these black'n'white balls next to you moving items becomes very weird. Not important as the balls have no real meaning in the game.
  • Still having this weird jumping-cursor-behavior on non-terran planets, I think I have to wait for Terrain 2.0 to leave my home planet :). 

Overall I really appreciate this update. I think that the game made a good step towards getting playable (again)! Well done chaps and gals! Enjoy your weekend!

Greez
R

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Forgot to mention:

  • Research path: way better!
  • Like the power usage. Power on the backpack is not useless, but not too restrictive.
  • From my point of view the sediment filtering process and the fuel-production from ammonium could take way more time. Very like the vivid red color of the "fuel reactor tower" when in progress. Therefore it is very easy to see from quite some distance whether it is finished or not. If it would take more time that would need some more planning (press start button, load your shuttle, when finished fill your shuttle and leave ... or something).
  • Sound and animation: very pretty!
  • Maybe I was just lucky but I have had quite some ship wracks around my start base. Was fun to climb the mountains to get the resources out of them.

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Definite +++ from me, its now feeling a bit more complete, still not played around enough to find any bugs, thanks SES

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I hate nearly everything in this update.  Most of it is just another layer of micromanagement.

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Just began playing couple hours ago, I'm on X1 only so I've not played experimental. Not liking many of the changes but that's expected. I will have to give myself time to adjust, before I can arrive at any real conclusions. A few notes though:

-Too many things weighted to copper in the backpack. When you're first getting started, exploring etc (that time when you don't have a base built or haven't added a smelter yet), you don't know what you'll find in the environment. It's certainly not going to be 99% copper. So PLEASE make some other items craftable with alumnimum! Not many of us (if any at all in fact) are going to be using a Terrain Analyzer right out of the gate to color our bases & surroundings. I'm pretty sure we're all going to be focused on learning the new system and trying to survive, build useful things, etc :D Of note, I do recognize the fact that "unlock all Tool mods* at the beginning part" was likely done to help ease the transition to the new style of play, so this may have something to do with it, but no matter, still needs some balancing with the ores used in crafting in pack. 

-As someone who likes to smooth their base to a glass finish as one of the very first things they do in the game, I'd much prefer this be left alone and not included in the whole TAR project upgrade. I'm not sure the is feasible (I don't know much of anything about game programming, computer coding, or the like), but I have an idea or two Perhaps at the very start of the game, there could be a very short window of opportunity in which we could use the flattening tool around our base (perhaps limit how far we could go, out to a predetermined distance). This would be more than sufficient now that we can use infinite power without need of solar (it would be accomplished much faster without being tied to the need for solar power), I would throw in the caveat however that this would apply only as long as we stayed within that pre-determined range. How best to determine that range then? Just off the top of my head, one way this could work would be to use the hab's initial spawn location (x,y) as the center, and base the calculations off of that. It's simple math then, calculating area of a circle and what's acceptable, so long as it will encompass most bases excluding those who run huge lines of extension nodes off in one or multiple directions (I'm only talking about a core base plan in this regard). Any flattening outside of this predetermined "area" would have to meet the game's TAR restraints. This "grace period" should be limited to the initial spawn location  (when we get around to placing satellite habs, we should be familiar with the TAR resource system so an initial grace period for them shouldn't be necessary). It also makes sense that, when returning to a previous game save (for this new patch specifically), any further refinement to the initial spawn location in terms of flattening should require adherence to TAR restraints. When considering a minimum area, I'm sure that wouldn't be exactly easy. I know I certainly make a fairly large base (I extend out a minimum of 3 nodes in the 4 cardinal directions and create hubs off those in what resembles a crystalline lattice of sorts). I actually call it my "Snowflake Base" and it works incredibly well because all the repeating units make it quite flexible and adaptable to terrain features like trees & other obstacles, and well as things like caves/canyons etc. Still, I think it would be possible to define an area most users would be satisfied with, and something is better than nothing. Any exemption at the start would be such a blessing. As it stands now, it severely hampers smoothing a base (something y'all had said had been tweaked and balanced, but I'm sorry to say it still feels way to punishing and limiting).

-While the repeat "Capsule fly-in on death" feature is kinda neat in appearance, truth be told it wastes time when you've died and you just want to get on with the game. Sorry folks :( Nice effort there, but we gamers often are just an impatient bunch lol what can I say? Not sure why this was instroduced? To see where we died better? If that was the case, adding a further zoom out setting would have been preferable, perhaps. Right now, this is I'm afraid a distraction and frustration.  Just want to get back to base and start finding my stuff.

-Losing all perch items (upper backpack slot items) and all Tool items. NOT happy about this. Sure it might be more realistic, but it's also much more punishing. Here we are, with a LOT to adjust to, and we now lose everything. It's irrelevant how easy some things are to craft, it's about making the game less enjoyable and more a grind. Please, just don't do this sort of thing. Not many games make you lose every single thing upon death. In fact, I don't think I play any that do. Says something about how I feel about such mechanics. But interested to hear what others think.

-When I go to tap resource reservoirs like power and oxygen using Terrain tool, there's some off sort of double vision or ghosting with the view. Appears to be some bug. I'm sure others will report too so I won't go into more detail.

-IMPORTANT! This is one issue I've been saying over last few patches needs fixing and I'm here to say again. Please FIX tethers so they stop being knocked over in storms! How are we supposed to survive in the world if our vital link is destroyed somewhere else? And yes, they do get knocked over "out of sight" which breaks oxygen supply (now more important than power supply). Storm damage & repair were discussed a long time ago, and it was put on the back burner so to speak. Nothing with regards to storm damage was included in patch notes (I've re-read them to make sure) so this has to be a bug. It's incredibly disruptive. Please just fix this ASAP.

-I haven't built or experienced using any of the new base buildings/modules, or field-tested the vehicles yet, so I can't comment about them. I was "trying" to smooth around where my base will be, I kept running into resource issues, and that's what prompted me to come write this. I am playing a new game. I don't think we should be restricted to resources when smoothing around our base initially; an exemption would be appropriate and appreciated. I went to hide in a cave during a storm near my Hab location, and I almost suffocated because the storm blew out the tether system attached to my base (the tethers affected were out of view, I did see the damage once I emerged from the cave). That's definitely NOT supposed to happen.

I will give more feedback once I've encountered more of the update. As always, love the game, always excited to see updates and uncover all they contain, keep up the great work! :) I ❤️Astroneer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*no matter how much you want us to all call them "Augments" I'm sorry but to the general playing community at least on console, people are going to call them mods not augments lol, no offense though :P)

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Shadow Echo said:

*no matter how much you want us to all call them "Augments" I'm sorry but to the general playing community at least on console, people are going to call them mods not augments lol, no offense though :P)

Well all slip in the word "mods" tbh.

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WTF!!! where's the small solar panel & tethers? All I get, is the small generator. I don't want the small generator, I never use it. What ever happen to having a choice in building what you want. Why do you guys keep BREAKING this game. You're going to completely remove any challenges and motivation to be creative in this game.

The question I keep asking myself, is why hasn't anyone been FIRED yet!

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41 minutes ago, Mak-a-Face said:

WTF!!! where's the small solar panel & tethers? All I get, is the small generator. I don't want the small generator, I never use it. What ever happen to having a choice in building what you want. Why do you guys keep BREAKING this game. You're going to completely remove any challenges and motivation to be creative in this game.

The question I keep asking myself, is why hasn't anyone been FIRED yet!

As with one of the above comments, build the generator, more appears :P

 

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I just lost a four hour long session with friends because the game refuses to save at all. What IS this?

Note: on Windows 10, tried entering both the habitat and rover. Any advice?

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I love everything of the new update, you guys finally balanced the initial part of a game, which was really too easy imho.

Can't wait to play and discover all of the new things!

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