PROMETHEUS V0.0.13 SHADOW PATCH RELEASE

HELLO LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!


It has been - dare I say it - quite a while since our last patch. Tons of work have been done by our amazing engineers at that time, and we cannot be prouder of the effort they’ve put into the game these last few months. Basically, we redeveloped the entire game engine (Prometheus). Many of our esteemed team members describe the process as being immensely fun, despite the tears in their eyes. Every aspect of the game was retouched and optimized for our future needs, which will allow us to implement new features at a faster pace and keep everything far more stable. No more will we need to fear breaking a fundamental gameplay mechanic should someone so much as sneeze. The beast, as they say, is more or less slain.

On top of all the stress, bugs, and instabilities that we had to fight along our journey, we also experienced a few truly amazing things. The wives of two of our team members (Alex K and Sebastian) gave birth to new life just a few days before the patch was supposed to be finalized. You can imagine the surprise as two of our most important members were suddenly whisked away to join their loved ones in their respective delivery rooms at almost the exact same time.  Soon, two healthy and beautiful Nuggets were born. Meet Theodore Benedict Koshelkov and Bianka Bielecki. Now we have hands-on access to our research into sophisticated baby AI!

Even with all of this craziness surrounding us these past few weeks, we still managed to work on the project on a daily basis. It’s just that some of us had to make a decision between sleeping after a night of soothing screaming infants or continue helping our team to smooth out the latest build. The choice was obvious. We continued pushing to our absolute limit, and today we’re happy to say that we’re almost ready.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh, there’s that ‘almost’ again!” NO, we assure you that you will not have to wait any longer. The reason we use the word ‘almost’ is because we’re changing our delivery system somewhat, calling it a Shadow Patch Release. What that means is, you’ll have to make a few changes in order to access it. We’re doing this for a good reason, because we think that this version is quite raw.  

We’ve mentioned the many changes we made to the game (no, really, tons of things beyond your wildest imagination were fixed or updated) and we suspect that there might be more than your fair share of bugs, imbalances, or simply things that we could have missed in our tests. So, as a result, we don’t want to greet you all with what could well turn out to be a slightly... inconvenient experience. Instead, we want you to help us test out the new engine (well, the new game, really) in a separate environment and share your experience with our community on the forums. Our goal with this release is to get back to where we were in our previous build, but with all of the new goodies packed in. These include additions such as the completely new AI system, planet generation system, and a whole host of new 3D models (which look glorious, by the way).

We want to make sure that you understand that this build is probably going to be unstable, alongside a good helping of bugs and unexpected occurrences. This is a huge part of our mission: to rid the game of such nuisances. We had our fantastic Insider QA Team putting in a tremendous effort to hunt these down during the last phase. They are our community volunteers who sacrificed their personal time to make your experience better and support our team in amazing ways. We would like to take a moment and thank them for their incredible help, dedication, and passion. They are: Ryan Artz, Benny Heylens, Luke Roberts, Jordan Malas, and Jared Williams.

We have recently instituted a new Internal QA Team, and these individuals have been eagerly awaiting their chance to begin testing the next build. Now, they finally have the chance to do so. The Internal QA Team is going to have earlier access to upcoming patches and will help us make them far more stable. The team consists of our awesome forum volunteers, and if you would like to become one of them, please let us know here.
Please report any bugs you come across or share your opinions and suggestions with us on our forums at:

Alright, enough talking about how tired we are and how our poor souls are not getting enough rest. 

HERE'S HOW YOU CAN ACCESS THE NEW PATCH

CRYTIVO GAMES INSTALLER



Windows PC instructions

Go to the directory where you installed the patcher and locate the file named version.txt.
Open this file in any TEXT editor (Notepad or Notepad++ preferred). Do NOT try to open it in any office-type editors!

MAC OS X instructions
OS X users, please take note: this file is located inside the patcher`s file bundle and you will have to edit it manually using a nano editor like that from command line:
nano ~/Desktop/The\ Universim\ Launcher.app/Contents/version.txt
(This is assuming the launcher is located on your Desktop)

General instructions
Change the line with the "url" variable from this value:
url = https://edge.theuniversim.com/updates/
to this
url = https://edge.theuniversim.com/internal/updates/

Please Note - in your case, the url might begin with "http" instead of "https". While both will work we suggest you always use "https".

Save the changes and run the launcher - it will find the v13 build and patch your current version to the latest build (Prometheus).

Please note: you can roll the launcher back to v12 using the same method - just remove the "/internal" part from the url variable.

Additionally: in the event that you want to rollback changes, i.e. go back from v13 to v12, you have to delete your settings manually by deleting the file
~/Library/Application Support/Crytivo Games Inc_/The Universim/TheUniversim.Settings,json (Mac)
%APPDATA%/LocalLow/Crytivo Games Inc_/The Universim/TheUniversim.Settings.json
(windows)

STEAM CLIENT

Please keep in mind, that only Kickstarter Backers and Press Representatives can only run The Universim via Steam at this moment.


1. Find The Universim Game in Your Game Library in Steam

2. Right Click on The Universim Game and chose Properties

3. Navigate to BETAS Tab

4. In the section "Enter beta access code to unlock private betas" Enter following: motherplanet . 

5. Hit CHECK CODE

6. From drop down menu, select branch with the name insiders

7. Enjoy!


This should be everything you need to access the latest build. If you have any further questions, please ask for help here.


NOW FOR THE PATCH NOTES! 

We have outlined the most important changes to the game. Overall, there are so many more

NEW CONTENT


  • Initial Animal System implementation
  • Added: Birds now have the ability to form flocks


  • Rewritten Prometheus - planet generation engine. Faster planet generation, better optimization. This allows us to make planets bigger and render more objects in less time. Preparations made for road and save/load systems. After this release, save/load will be on our highest priority feature list.


  • New AI: The entire AI System was scrapped and re-implemented from scratch. Every single Nugget action was reevaluted and redesigned in order to make them feel more natural. Our goal in the future is to continue working on Nugget AI behaviors, improve their education, and give them better tools with which to evaluate their situation and make proper decisions. The latest AI implementation is far more dynamic and flexible for future needs.


  • Evolution tower building has been placed instead of the Epicenter (This is the foundation for the new Research System which is already in development and will be released within the next few patches)
  • Epicenter expansion system reworked
  • Completely new pathfinding system. Smarter, faster!
  • Clicking and dragging building/construction sites don’t open the building panel anymore. Additionally, when placing building, clicking and holding will cancel the placement.
  • Windowed mode added to settings screen
  • Camera controls improved
  • Localization for planet objects
  • New Weather System including clouds, such as rain clouds with new thunder effects and rain and snow particles


  • Buildings have a new transparent ghost effect when being placed under blueprint mode


  • Building tilt force: buildings lean when the mouse cursor moves in any direction
  • New construction scaffold mechanics. Scaffolds will begin being built when Nuggets deliver resources to the construction zone. Scaffolds will be fully constructed once all resources are in place and the construction is ready to be started.


  • New Nugget animations:
    • Dying
    • Gathering from bush
    • Chopping
    • Mining
    • Grabbing
    • Walking with backpack
    • Drinking while sitting
    • Drinking from Water Well
    • Drinking from Lake
    • Eating while sitting
    • Eating while standing
    • Idle
    • Patient Idle
    • Walking
    • Walking with plate
    • Walking while injured
    • Talking
    • Listening
    • Running
    • Hugging each other
    • Repairing
    • Farm planting
    • Farm harvesting
    • Witch Doctor healing
    • Forecaster climbing stairs, blowing horn, observing
    • Eatery cooking
    • Fishing Hut sailing, fishing, gutting
    • Cemetery crying, walking with stretcher
  • Nugget Thoughts: You can now read a Nugget’s thoughts by clicking on their idea card. These thoughts vary depending on what they’re doing and how they feel.
  • New 2x and 4x time speed up functionality


  • New News System implemented. Now news can be shown using only icons or with full text All messages are also color-coded now. Slider for changing that option has been added next to the news archive button. News will also now scroll if the text size exceeds the window. Links in news stories now work as well.


  • Renaming capability added to buildings: Constructors hut, Cemetery, Eatery, Farm, Fishing hut, Forecast tower, Residential hut, Pump, Reservoir, Well and Witch doctor hut.


  • Farming redesigned from the ground up. Now every crop has a preferred biome. They grow faster and use less water if within the correct biome. Crops are now planted during spring only and each has a different growth time. 


    • Farm water usage now based on the selected crop and the biome it’s growing in. For example, if you plant Panda Brains in the desert biome instead of the grasslands (preferred biome for this crop), it will use 50 water instead of the usual 25. 
    • Crops now also need regular care. They have a new condition bar that depletes over time. Farmer Nuggets will care for and help crops recover over time if needed. If the Farmers can’t keep up, some crops may die (like if there’s only one Farmer Nugget tending the crops).
    • Overall, farming has been adjusted based on your feedback. Our goal was to lower micromanagement while making it more interesting to utilise.


    • Please keep in mind that farming is still a work in progress and we need your feedback and suggestions to get it just right.
  • New planet physics system: allows us to have Nuggets ragdoll in the future
  • New optimized camera: it now conforms to the geometry of the planet’s surface. No more clipping through the ground or flying through objects. Also optimized for tall buildings such as Skyscrapers and Towers.
  • All game settings were reviewed and rewired. Let us know if you have any issues with some of them on our forums.


  • Structures
    • Shader and mesh update on cloth components to emulate wind blowing on structures
    • Some structures now light up after dark. Currently only residential buildings. Rest of them will be updated soon.
    • Fixed issue causing black spots on some buildings due to normal direction being out of range
  • Structure Placement
    • Construction menu ghoster update. Shader provides you with a glossy shape of the building.
    • Highlight ghoster. When placing a building, all objects that are affected within the construction zone will be highlighted.
  • Nuggets
    • Multiple Nuggets are combined into a single skinned mesh to allow for more at less of a performance cost
    • Shadercompletely rewritten to allow for the combined Nuggets to keep their individuality in colors, clothing, decorations, and other various elements.
    • New way of managing colors allows for many variations of Nuggets under a single draw call
    • When Nuggets die, a ghost-like spirit will leave their bodies
  • Water
    • Frozen water now depicts a better normal map
    • Samples cube map to break up environment reflections a bit
    • Calibrated freezing so water won't distort during biome temp changes


  • Trees
    • Implemented higher-quality shader on trees to improve visual appearance
    • Adjusted mesh normals to scatter light correctly
    • Added a pass to the shader to smooth trees a bit more with needing to rely on post-processing
    • Trees now pull texture information from a 2D texture array that is built during planet generation. This prevents redundant texture information from unused trees not on your current planet from filling up memory on the gpu.
    • Tree color is now sampled using a newer method allowing more color variations on all the trees on a single planet


  • New planet shader complete revision
    • Added support for normal maps
    • Near and far distance texture blending to remove tile pattern from far distance
    • Reduced snow brightness on day side preventing some items from being visible
    • Added HSL adjustments that could be used down the road for various things such as planet editor, etc


  • Environment
    • Lighting on a lot of planet objects have been resolved to prevent various things such as trees glowing at night and objects changing color dramatically as you rotate from day and night

ART ASSETS


Two types of Birds added - new models, animations, and mechanics.

New Stones
New Mountains
New Nugget Haircuts and Clothing
New Fruit bushes
Updated models:
  • 11 New Residential Huts with Night Illuminations
  • Eatery
  • Witch Doctor Hut
  • Constructors Hut
  • Forecast Tower
  • Cemetery
  • Water Pump
  • Water Well
  • Reservoir
  • Farm
  • Fishing Hut
  • Updated foliage for buildings
  • New mountains and stones models
  • New scaffold models and mechanics
  • Clouds new visuals and mechanics
  • New model: Evolution tower
  • Updated Nugget animations
  • New Nugget animations
  • Nugget death and soul flying animation


UI CHANGES

  • Removed patch notes info from MainUI (available only in settings screen and main menu)
  • Updated main menu, settings menu, loading screen, and esc menu. Font changed to Proxima, added some new elements, rearranged others ;). Added localization.
  • New simplified tutorial with new visuals
  • News panel have now fixedheight scroll bar, so it won’t shrink anymore if there is a ton of messages
  • Empty worker slots now have glowing assignment animationin all panels
  • Main Interface: Removed mating slot, because it is no longer relevant. Added play/pause and speed up (x2, x4) buttons inseasons panel clock.
  • Worker ID card: minor visual modifications. Updated font.
  • New farm panel is implemented
  • Well and Reservoir panels have a new font as well
  • MainUI: updated button animations
  • God light will be automatically turned off when entering day zone
  • Modal alert implemented. All alerts are now localized.
  • Construction info panel has now updated font
  • Cemetery panel: updated font, made a few major visual updates to support the font. Fixed Gravedigger assignment slot.
  • Construction menu has a new font
  • Fishing hut panel has new font as well
  • Nugget list panel has updated font. Also added Last Name column and changed background.
  • Redesign of Constructor’s Hut panel
  • Constructor’s Hut: added new extended tooltips
  • Worker ID card has Nugget renaming capabilities. Added Last Name input.
  • Cemetery: added new extended tooltips
  • Farm and Forecast tower: added extended tooltips
  • Residential Hut: additional tooltips
  • Pump panel has new font
  • Construction menu categories are displayed on Hover instead of on Click
  • New button added to mainUI  - GoHome: clicking on Epicenter window no longer works
  • New shader for Nugget modelin Nugget ID card
  • Updated status icons

PERFORMANCE CHANGES

  • Mountain LOD groups implemented
  • Rock formations culling
  • Planet terrain optimization
  • Planet objects now grouped in chunks, this allows us to have better performance with higher object density
  • Loading time optimization: 2x faster
  • Added LOD groups to all buildings
  • Planet atmosphere effect, optimization
  • New Star System implemented (preparation for Planet Discovery started)
  • Nugget bone structure simplified and optimized: better performance with better visuals

KNOWN ISSUES

  • Missing water FX from pump when pumping water
  • Planet generation bug: sometimes planet can’t be generated (loading bar will stop and game won’t start). Game restart is required.
  • Creator power menu and functionality are temporary disabled
  • Buildings don’t have decals
  • Buildings may be placed skew/above the ground - this is due to the missing fit to surface system
  • Nuggets are not visually removing resources when a new building is placed. Instead, resources are disappearing.
  • Sometimes AI might not be able to find the correct path to a destination
  • Sometimes the game freezes while loading
  • Entering ESC menu during the game might introduce some issues with the UI
  • Nugget animation can be jittery at times
  • Nuggets stand too far from objects they interact with
  • Most of the Nuggets are missing accessories/tools


WHAT'S NEXT

  • Load & Save system has been in production for some time now. Unfortunately, our happy boat hit a few sharp stones hidden underwater. It has been given the highest priority and we want to assure you that it’s coming soon. The dynamic nature of our game, particularly planet generation, is making loading and saving quite complex.
  • Evolution Towers: this system is the next major feature on our plate. Right now, all buildings and abilities are unlocked immediately when you start the game. With the Evolution Tower, you’ll have to go through the progression system. Nuggets will learn new abilities, create new technologies, and unlock new buildings over time.
  • Building upgrades: these help lead your civilization into the next era. You’ll notice that some buildings are already prepared for this, based on locked slots and other things.
  • Nugget Missions: more info on this soon!
  • Story Narration: you’ll learn more when you hear it ;)
  • Hunting
  • Natural disasters
  • And more...


Mini_Blog:

Bradley Mcninch

The migration over to the Prometheus build has been a very intense but absolutely necessary task for us.  The dev team has been working their fingers to the bone migrating data and resolving the problems that were holding us back in the old system. During this time, the art team has been working on various new assets and improvements since it would be senseless if we stood around and watched the engineers do their thing. These assets include new meshes, animations, textures, UI elements, and laying the groundwork for various elements to be implemented throughout the production of The Universim.  I have been keeping up with the art team as well as resolving the issues that bottlenecked us in the art pipeline in the past.
Performance:  In this patch, you may see higher requirements on the GPU side.  This is due to shader variations being set to  their highest quality settings. My goal for the month of March is to have all of these properly implemented in the quality options menu to improve performance on lower-end machines.  Various things have been completed, such as revising how texture information and other visual elements are being used to improve performance and reduce overhead.  One example is how Nuggets in the past required a skinned mesh component and were using a material instance on each one.  We have revised this to combine batches of Nuggets together and use a single shared material between all of them while maintaining the customization and variation on each.  This allows us to put around 20 Nuggets under a single draw call and potentially allows Creators to produce a more active Nugget population without the GPU exploding from having so many skinned meshes to render.
Anyways, I can keep going with pages of information on what has been going on these past couple months, but I have to get back to finishing a couple critical tasks that need to be done by the end of the day today.  We want to thank you all for your support and I hope that when the dust settles, we meet your expectations on the production of a great game.

Thank you all for your amazing feedback and support for The Universim. Our team is head-over-heels in love with the community and the project itself. We would also like to thank our team of engineers, artists, and other talents for the amazing work that they’ve done. They are hard-working people with a crazy amount of dedication. In our future updates, we will start introducing more of our team members to you. They are great talents, and we would like you to get to know them a little better. Stay tuned to be blown away by their greatness in the future! Naturally, none of us can live up to your awesomeness, but give us a chance to try.

Thanks again for your patience and support!
Your friends and family,
The Crytivo Games Team