Astroneer - survive, explore and build in a low-poly galaxy


#1

It’s here!

Astroneer, a game I’ve been looking forward to, just entered Early Access. Yeah, I know, EA is a dirty word, but I still wanted to put up a topic for it because it looks awesome: at the risk of beating a dead horse, Astroneer looks like it achieves a lot of the goals No Man’s Sky was aiming for. In case you aren’t familiar with Astroneer, it appears to be a game set in space where your goal (maybe just the first goal?) is to escape the planet on which you’re marooned. Oh and you get a big ol’ digger/builder tool which lets you deform the planet. So maybe that’s a bit of Minecraft thrown in?

Here it is on Steam:

A lot of streams have hit YouTube recently; I’ve tried to keep away from them to avoid any potential spoilers (tell the truth, I don’t know if there is any kind of plot or if it’s simply a survival game. But I do know that a lot of the fun of games like this is the type of serendipitous discovery you have, which I don’t want to spoil… too much).

I did watch a couple minutes of Scott Manley playing. Here’s his stream. He’s played a bit in an earlier session, so it shows come construction already there instead of him bootstrapping himself from the very start. I watched about 10 minutes and it looked awesome.

From what he was building, it looked like there was a decent number of building components, which I assume you assemble to make buildings. There’s also a research function, where he found unknown items while out exploring, and had to haul them back to the base and put them in the “research building” to discover their functions. Once he did that he could construct them.

The building reminded me of Subnautica, to be honest (actually, come to think of it, a lot of this game reminds me of Subnautica). Anyway, Scott Manley’s stream:

One cool feature is actual multiplayer - the launch videos on Steam show a multiple people coordinating on a base. And look - multiple people in a screen shot! What a crazy idea.

Here’s another shot. The green circle in the shot below is the footprint of the digging tool. From what I’ve seen, once you have the digging tool, you don’t need fuel to dig (it doesn’t appear you do - I could be wrong).

Another interesting feature shown in the above shot is how the base works - when you’re close to the base (like the guy just above the green circle), you get life support from the base - that’s the white line connecting the guy to the building. So you don’t need to worry about oxygen or whatever. But if you move too far away, the white line breaks and you’re running off life support. I did notice that the planet Scott Manley was on had areas in the world where there were blue “crystals” embedded in the ground/walls. When he dug those areas out the blue crystals were sucked into his character and replentished his oxygen tanks.

I really like the aesthetic of the game - the characters almost remind me of Playmobil toys, with their blobby, rounded shapes. But it works in the game - everything feels stylistically united. And though it might look like “Babby’s First Space Survival Game” it doesn’t seem to be that way from what I’ve seen of the game.

I love how the backpack shows up as an item on your back with 6 or 8 slots in it, and to put stuff in your backpack, you attach the item to one of the empty slots… and then it shows up on your character in-game. That’s way cool!

See the inventory slots below? And how the player is moving stuff onto the backpack. And you can see, without opening your inventory, how many free slots you have, and (sort of) what you’re carrying… what a great idea.

Anyway, so the game is out… EA out that is. Overall reviews appear positive, with most of the negatives being performance related. I have high hopes for this one.


#2

Okay, this looks really lovely. I’m seriously digging the low-poly style and totally agree that it looks unified. From what you’ve said here the mechanics sound great, and multiplayer too! Wishlisted. Cheers @Charlatan.


#3

Sweet! Hmm, I wonder if this is early early access or impending early access…

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“It is hard to estimate exactly how long Astroneer will be in Early Access, though we are aiming for a year or two.”

Oof.

-Tom


#4

I just… I just can’t do any more of these EA survival crafting games. I’m done.

This looks good, but my eyes were rolling up into my skull almost from the get-go of the video.

I’m out. Maybe in two or three years, I can come back to a couple of these.


#5

A year or two will go by in a flash. We’ll already have another Assassin’s Creed game by then as well. It’s not that long a time.

The game could be interesting.


#6

Thanks, @Charlatan, I’m adding this to my watchlist so I can keep tabs on it. I really dig the aesthetic and am interested once this matures a bit.


#7

You know Kerbal Space Program is a real game now.

Tom Mc


#8

I can only assume that the biggest Endless Access fans are kids with plenty of free time. How would you even pick out which one of the hundreds of pre-release games to follow?

It was fine in the 90s when I had one roguelike to follow. But now I can’t even imagine.


#9

Oh, I love this.


#10

I’ve been using it for a couple months now hoping you’d notice!

I mean, I get it. Some games are perfect for ongoing development where you’re just adding content and systems. You could argue that Paradox games are the same way. They just put it out as 1.0 earlier than most. And if you’ve found the exact game you’ve always wanted to play, then it makes sense to clear out your calendar and stick with it for a couple years to watch it change and grow.

But saying “oh, this looks interesting, I’ll keep an eye on it” seems like a good way to become neurotic. The games always take years longer to finish than you expect. Game development is too slow and messy and indie developers are too disorganized to get your hopes up. For my personality type, I’d rather forget it even existed until it’s released. Put me in stasis until the game hits 1.0 so I can get in, get out, and move on to the next thing.

There are already too many games, and now they’re trying to clutter my brain with promising ones that won’t be out for years. My head explode.


#11

Not really, it’s just a button you push on Steam. Every now and then you’ll get a notification about a big advancement in development or whatever. It’s not really much different than subscribing to a website’s RSS feed back in the day and reading the occasional preview of a game that you’re interested in.


#12


#13

ikr
I think the last one I was picked up Space Engineers. I played around with it, and then wondered why I had.

I’m thinking that you have to be Twitcheer to really enjoy these games.


#14

By the way, if you’re interested in this feature, this is an Xbox Play Anywhere title.

You can purchase it for Xbox One or Windows 10 Store and you get the other copy for free.


#15

Haha, I’m sorry, @TimJames. I sincerely hope that wasn’t what I did to your head. :) Or what you want to drop on my house…


#16

Was just watching some video of this and it looks like fun.


#17

I don’t see any “survival” aspects in this game, at least not yet. No space zombies or over-protective flying bots. It’s currently an exploration/build/research game.

I went looking for an explanation as to why there’s an XB1 version but nothing for PS4 and found this. Apparently Steam has Early Access and Microsoft has Game Preview, while Sony lacks such a program.

Astroneer could end up on a Sony console at some point, but for now we can only work with platforms that support our development process and that means Early Access and Game Preview.

With the way Sony courts indie developers, seems a bit shortsighted to not allow this.


#18

There are some things you have to deal with while searching for resources and they can be quite nasty. I’ve also been killed. By the wind.


#19

Apparently, this is only true if you watch three hours of Scott Manly videos.

-Tom


#20

I like Manly videos. Who doesn’t? ;)

I think they’ve come a great ways since early access there are honest to goodness tutorials and a help system in game. It’s not exactly the manuals we’d get with flight simulator and Falcon but at least they had come around and tried to give us something helpful. I actually did learn from those tutorials, at first. When it came to rendezvous and other slightly more complicated bits than simply keeping from coming crashing back down I turned to Scott and the internet.

Tom Mc