They Are Billions Coming Soon to Steam Early Access

Real-time strategy game They Are Billions is coming soon to Steam Early Access with the addicting survival mode. Get ready to play the game everyone is talking about!

Pleb’s Sled Devlog – Week #1

Pleb's Sled Devlog - Week #1
The first week of our new game’s developing progress.

UPDATE 0.38! GYROCOPTER STORY GOAL, UV SYSTEM AND MORE!

Hi everyone,

A new stable build 0.38.00 has just been released!

This build transitions our latest work on the experimental branch to the stable branch. If you haven’t been following the progress of our experimental branch, we’ve recently replaced the previous environmental effects with a better UV system and introduced a new craftable Gyrocopter as part of the end-game scenario!

We’ve covered the new features in the patch notes below and you can also read more on the new features in our previous experimental patch notes here:
0.37.02 NEW GYROCOPTER STORY GOAL, UV SYSTEM, ALOE AND MORE!

A short recap —

This update adds more to our end-game scenario. It has always been our plan for the player to be rescued by helicopter after completing a series of objectives, but recently we thought ‘Why don’t we let the player build their own helicopter?’ …and so in this build you can now build your very own Gyrocopter in true MacGyver style! You will need to collect all the parts to build the Gyrocopter which you can do by completing the new missions. The Gyrocopter will eventually form part of the final end-game story/event.

This update also addresses the controversial new environmental status effects. After seeing how they were playing out and listening to player feedback we realise we took a few missteps. The most obvious is that players weren’t able to manage the effects other than limiting exposure, which meant hiding under a tree or sitting next to a fire for x hours – not fun. The flu was just annoying so we’ve removed it and focused on making the sun a better and more manageable threat.

Please see the patch notes linked above for more info on the new UV system, but TL/DR:
– The risk of sunburn time is 10am-3pm.
– The higher the UV index, the quicker you burn.
– Find Aloe to cure Sunburn.
– Craft Aloe Salves to prevent Sunburn.

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

0.36.00-0.38.00 STABLE CHANGE LOG
CHANGES

– Added Sunburn status effect.
– Removed Heatstroke status effect.
– Removed Flu status effect.
– Added Vertical Swimming movement with [Jump] and [Crouch] controls.
– Removed Shark respawning.
– Removed Firetorch and Refined Axe from loot.
– Removed [Jump] button cancelling vehicle operation.
– Increased Underwater Breath by 15 seconds.
– Increased Water Still refill time from 0.2 hours to 1.0 hours.

BUG FIXES

– Fixed Atmospheric and Underwater Fog drawing over transparent effects – crafting ghost, smoke, etc.
– Fixed display name repeating for empty Fire Torches.
– Fixed different sound effects for Drinking and Eating.
– Fixed Quick Crafting and Crafting menu not refreshing Hud UI on close.
– Fixed Player Status Effects not saving correct display names.
– Fixed teleporting to operating position when first operating Rafts.
– Fixed being able to place Bed Shelter in mid air.
– Fixed being able to place Farming Plot in mid air.
– Fixed terrain generating sharp edges on Shorelines.
– Fixed player Super Jump when jumping near shorelines.

NEW FEATURES

– Added new Aloe Plant to cure Sunburn.
– Added new Aloe Salve to prevent Sunburn.
– Added new UV Index display on Watch.
– Added new Heatwave display on Watch.
– Added new Gyrocopter craftable vehicle!
– Added Gyrocopter Frame mission reward!
– Added Gyrocopter Seat mission reward!
– Added Gyrocopter Motor mission reward!
– Added Gyrocopter Cockpit mission reward!
– Added Gyrocopter Rotors mission reward!

DEV NOTES

– Changed Player code structure to support multiple players in a scene in the future.
– Changed Watch to load from external bundle to support custom watches in the future.
– Optimized Buoyancy by calculating wave positions for all buoyant objects in a single batch.

News on the Upcoming December Update

The following is a note from our creative director, Raphael van Lierop.

*****

Hello everyone,

The team’s hard at work on finalizing the (still un-named) December update and with a bunch of new players joining us thanks to the Steam Autumn Sale, it seems like a good time to preview a few of the treats we have in store.

Mooooose!!

First off, you’re all waiting to hear more information about the Moose. The model, animation, audio, and core behaviour is all finished. We’ve populated the world with Moose — it’s a pretty rare animal so don’t expect it to be easy to find — and we’re now just tuning the AI behaviour and some of the Moose’s unique capabilities to make sure it feels balanced.

This guy does not look happy to see you.

Keep your eyes for these scratches on the tree bark; this might indicate Moose are in the area!

We’re excited to hear your stories about Moose encounters once we roll it out into Survival Mode. This is the first new animal we’ve been able to add to the game in quite a while, and it shares characteristics of both the Deer and the Bear, so…it makes for a pretty interesting creature. We have a new Affliction and a couple of new craftable Gear Items associated with the Moose, so on the whole this should add some interesting depth to your Survival Mode experience.

We have some other fun updates to Survival Mode coming in December, but I’d like to talk about a couple of things we’re doing for Story Mode in the December update.

WINTERMUTE Experience Modes

A common piece of feedback we received after launching WINTERMUTE was that the first two episodes were far too easy for our experienced Survival Mode players. This made the introductory segments feel slow-paced and too “tutorial-y”, and yet these sames parts could be quite punishing for players who didn’t know anything about the game. It was challenging to balance Episode One for brand new players, and also players who had put 1000s of hours into the Sandbox, and we were reluctant to add the notion of “difficulty modes” for the Story experience, because we wanted everyone to share that experience the same way. Also, having multiple “difficulties” would create a ton of additional tuning and bug-fixing overhead for us while we were trying to finalize our first two Episodes, and we were nervous about taking that on in addition to all the other finaling tasks on our plates.

However, we really want everyone who plays WINTERMUTE — new or veteran — to have a great experience with this narrative mode, and we were sad to hear so many veteran survivors just didn’t enjoy Episode One as much due to the level of challenge, so in December we’ll be rolling out three new Experience Modes, specifically for WINTERMUTE. These loosely map to “difficulty”, and are similar to how we tune our Survival Mode Experiences, but to be clear, these are specifically tuned for WINTERMUTE (i.e. they are different from the Survival Mode experiences of Pilgrim, Voyageur, etc.).

Three new Experiences should provide a good range of choice for WINTERMUTE players, from the Greenest to the most Hardened survivors.

This should give both the newest, and most veteran player of The Long Dark, a little more control over the type of experience they have when playing WINTERMUTE. (Please note the new Experience Modes for WINTERMUTE will only work on games started *after* the December update.)

WINTERMUTE Save System

Another issue we encountered, post-launch, were challenges around our implementation of the Save system for WINTERMUTE. Unlike Survival Mode, which is Permadeath (i.e. once you die, we delete your game), WINTERMUTE has a two-slot save system. Saves were triggered using the Bedroll or resting in a Bed (as in Survival Mode), and also by Autosave (as in Survival Mode), but we found that this introduced too many restrictions for players, discouraged experimentation, and also often resulted in players getting “stuck” between two bad saves, sometimes in an irrecoverable situation. This was terrible for some people, and we feel really bad about it.

So with the December update, we’re rolling out a completely overhauled Save System for WINTERMUTE. You can now save pretty much anywhere, with between 20-25 save slots (depending on platform) shared between WINTERMUTE, Survival Mode, and Challenges. We also let you reload from an Autosave, or a Checkpoint (these are triggered by mission progress), so between those systems, we feel that players will have LOTS of choices in terms of how often or how rarely they want to save, and will have a much better chance to recover from a bad situation, or create their own “branches” when they want to experiment with different things in a given Episode.

For anyone that already has Saves for WINTERMUTE, this revision doesn’t change anything. You’ll find your existing saves in the list, and you should be able to create new saves using the revised system.

And to be 100% clear — WE HAVE NOT CHANGED THE WAY SAVES WORK IN SURVIVAL MODE (or the Challenges). Both are still permadeath experiences.

In addition to Milton being playable in Survival Mode in December (mentioned in our October Dev Blog), we have some other cool stuff we haven’t shared yet – we still want you to be surprised! — but hopefully this outline gives you a bit of a better idea of some of what you can look forward to in the December update.

Thanks for reading! We’re really excited to see how you like the December update, and to all the players who are joining us for the first time — Welcome to the Quiet Apocalypse!

– Raphael

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