Dev diary №21 - Expansion of colonist mechanics, ice and new interfaces

15 Mar 2024
by Oleg Simukov

New idea service and plans for the summer

Hi, everyone!

After the last festival, where we presented the latest demo, we took a short break from information updates to prepare for the launch of our campaign on Kickstarter. Now we are ready to share the news again!

Let’s begin!

Ice location on a global map of the Moon

We've introduced an ice map into the game, with the main concentration situated at the lunar poles. This means that to mine a significant volume of ice, players will need to embark on a journey to the moon's poles. To facilitate this, we've added a new unit to the game - the Ice Harvester. It's a large autonomous machine constructed at the heavy machinery factory, requiring fuel for both mining and movement across the global map.

We've been eager to implement this mechanic for two reasons: realism and replayability. Just like in real lunar expeditions, where people need to establish bases near the poles or organize ice logistics from the poles to other lunar locations, players face challenges and various gameplay opportunities.

In The Crust you will have to create a new place for human habitation and you will start with your lunar base. It is the extraction of ice and the creation of systems for obtaining water and oxygen will be the main stage that will allow you to accept colonists - hired professionals, with their skills and features that open access to a new technological stage of development, improve the efficiency of production and participate in expeditions on the global map.

Why is ice mining so important? Ice is the main and only source of water on the Moon. And the presence of water makes it possible to obtain two other vital resources - oxygen and fuel. These two elements will be the basis of your future life support and logistics system. Throughout the game, you will have to take care of the needs of your colonists, such as sustenance and comfort, but if you are unable to keep your life support systems up and running, your lunar venture is unlikely to be a success.

Lunar poles are areas where sunlight reaches least, creating gameplay constraints on the use of solar-powered equipment. Avoiding a journey there is not an option for players, as the underground deposits around the Elevator will eventually deplete. This mechanic contributes to a rich gameplay experience both in campaign mode and sandbox mode, where players choose a landing site for their base.

Expanded colonist mechanics and new interfaces

Colonist mechanics remain a top priority in the development - everything related to them is being refined, their functionality is gradually expanding, new modules and interfaces for managing various aspects of their lives are being added.

Each specialist can be assigned a priority task according to their skills, allowing players to control the employment process by assigning the most relevant tasks to colonists based on their current needs.

We've also introduced a new interface for interacting with laboratories, allowing players to manually select specialists for different areas of research. However, by default, colonists automatically occupy the best positions for work or research based tasks on their skills.

Ensuring the survival of colonists will be one of the player's main tasks in the early stages of the game. The uninterrupted operation of life support systems, timely payment of wages, caring for their health, and maintaining comfort levels will directly impact the productivity of living employees. The higher the skill level of a specialist, the more expensive they are to maintain. Additionally, each colonist comes with their own quirks, character traits, and even skeletons in the closet, which may be revealed later on.

Just like in real life, choices won't be without their challenges - colonists will become part of the dynamic event mechanics, where players will make difficult decisions that have consequences. Sometimes these consequences are immediate, while other times they unfold later, but they inevitably occur and create a multitude of variations in the gameplay, adding variability and replayability to each session.

We've aimed to create the feeling of an extraterrestrial colony where employment is always associated with risk, without which the colonization of the Moon would be impossible.

Despite the crazy days associated with preparing and running the Kickstarter campaign, we continue to work hard on the game. Right now, our focus is on expanding expeditions, refining the internal systems of residential blocks, improving the visual aspect, and working on sound design. Gradually, we're adding new animations, VFX, and updated 3D building models to the game. We're also constantly catching and squashing bugs that our community periodically sends our way, for which we're immensely grateful!

We also want to tell you about our new idea voting system, which is now live on our website:

We're transferring the most interesting ideas and suggestions gathered through Discord, the feedback form, and the Steam community to this platform. It's still being populated, but you can already vote for the implementation of any idea or submit your own.


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