Dev Diary #10

Greetings agents!

We’ve been slogging away at Satellite Reign for over a year now, and we’re happy to announce that backers who pledged for Alpha access will be getting their hands on the game early next month!

Strictly speaking, Satellite Reign isn’t actually in alpha yet, so what you’ll be getting your hands on is a pre-alpha version two months ahead of the game hitting Steam early access. It will have a handy dandy in game button for submitting bugs, so you will all be able to help QA the game, there’s also some integrated analytics (disableable) to help us balance gameplay, and smooth out difficulty bumps.

So, what can you expect to see in this first-access build? You’ll be able to explore the first of the four main districts of the game, with all four agent classes. You’ll be able to sneak or fight your way into any of the compounds, and get a feel for the direction we’re heading. Again, this will be pre-alpha, so it’ll be buggy, and lacking some optimisation work, but there’s more than enough to keep the alpha access backers happy.


Here’s a brief overview of what our (very busy) timeline is like for the rest of the year.

PAX Aus is just over a month away, and we’re getting things sorted to show Satellite Reign to anyone who walks past the 5 Lives booth! We’re planning to have two PCs set up, which will be running an updated build of what our alpha-level backers have been playing. We’ll be releasing this build to our alpha and beta-level backers shortly after we return from PAX. Then, we’ll be stuck into getting our Steam Early Access build ready for a December release. Steam Early Access will be available to everyone who backed us for a copy of the game.

User Interface

After a year of putting up with Mike’s programmer art, we’re finally starting to see some actual nice UI elements in the game, courtesy of our UI designer Liz Ballantyne. Implementing it all is going to take some time, so next month’s pre-alpha release is going to still be predominantly programmer art, but you can have a look at what to expect in the later releases below:



Which is a bit of an improvement over what’s currently in the game:



Our composer Russell Shaw has been working on the audio side of Satellite Reign, and we just had to share one of the ambient music tracks he’s made. It’s such an awesome, moody cyberpunk tune. We’ve popped it up on SoundCloud for your listening pleasure.


To whet your appetites, here are a few shots of the Downtown District, which is where the pre-alpha release takes place.

24-09-14_05 24-09-14_02 24-09-14_06


Code Update

This month in code-land, we finally implemented the AIs keeping track of their needs and wants and reacting to them, so when they get hungry they can go buy a burger, if their bladder is full, they go relieve themselves (and potentially get arrested for public indecency). If they are stressed, they can go find somewhere to unwind. Mike even fixed the bug where your agents could get hungry in the middle of a battle and suddenly run off to join the queue at a noodle bar.
Mike has also been battling with cramming the whole city into memory at once and keeping the performance up. We are running in about 1GB at the moment, so he is pretty happy with that.

Chris has been working on the quest system, which gives you things to do other than just causing chaos. Some of the main objectives (like breaking into the big facilities to steal gear, technology and weapons) have already been set up, and will lead onto some of the more procedurally-generated objectives for you to discover or unlock. This system goes hand-in-hand with the VIP system, giving some civilians VIP status, which allows them to have extra info/items for you, blackmail opportunities, or access to key-codes or special software upgrades.
Also zipwires! You can now find sneaky routes into compounds with the zip-wire ability.
And lots of bugs, both fixing them and adding new ones.

Website and Forums

As some of you may have noticed, our website and forum was a bit broken when the last update went out. Between WordPress bugs and our web-developer being away, it took longer than anticipated to fix, but it’s all up and running again now. Please let us know if you continue to have issues.

Pre-Orders on the Humble Store

Satellite Reign is now available for pre-order on the Humble Store! From now until launch, it will be 10% off the final retail price, and will include access to the public release on Steam Early Access.


In other news, some friends of ours have launched Kickstarter campaigns of their own.

First up is Reflex, a fast-paced, competitive arena FPS with the heart and soul of a 90s shooter, featuring 1000Hz input polling and in-game collaborative map editing.

You can see the Kickstarter page here.


Next is ZVR Apocolypse, designed for VR by Sean Edwards, creator of one of the top Oculus games, Lunar Flight.

You can see the Kickstarter page here.

That’s all for now! Expect to hear from us again fairly soon with details on how to access the pre-alpha build!

– 5 Lives Team.