This week we are starting a new intermittent devlog feature called "From The Forums" where we will highlight some of our favorite questions posed by fans on our official forums. Check out some of our answers from the previous month.
Tyler Owen: This is definitely something that we have considered, however, there are two sides to the blade of realism. Mars is very large and our previous rovers are spread out over vast distances on it's surface. If we want to be pedantically realistic then it would be impossible for us to reach those other man-made structures from the region where Lacuna Passage takes place (namely Holden Crater). We will see how we might be able to find a balance here since so many people have expressed a similar desire.
Owen: It is still very early, but generally we would like to have the game run well on low settings on a 2012 MacBook Pro. That is the Mac we have for testing so that is our goal. I think if you have a desktop that is less than 5 years old you should be okay, but even older might be reasonable. We really want the game to scale for many different machines.
I don't want to really quote any real system specs and get caught with my foot in my mouth later (but hopefully in the near future we will have more details).
Owen: The first show that we are planning to attend is GDC 2014, but we may hit a few more if the budget and scheduling allows for it (potentially PAX East).
Owen: Our goal is to never cut away from the first-person perspective. I look to games like Half Life for their ability to tell a story entirely through a first-person perspective.
As far as body awareness goes, it will be difficult for us to achieve an animated body with the limited resources we have.
Owen: Since the story of the game is almost completely non-linear we have quite a bit of freedom to have lots of randomly generated events and little details. It's more about what we have time for than anything. We would like to make lots of elements unpredictable so that everyone will have different survival experiences and so that the game is more replayable.
Owen: We are still experimenting with a save method that we think will fit the gameplay best. Our intent right now is to save the game every time you "sleep". This adds a bit of danger to exploration in that you could lose your progress if you don't keep track of your resources. This could change though. It depends on what feels best for gameplay.
Owen: Almost all of the habitats and capsules will be exploreable. We have not confirmed any usable vehicles however. There are some limitations for us to consider.
Owen: Here are the survival elements that we are currently working with:
And here are a few things we are considering or currently testing:
Owen: This is something we plan to support 100%. I also play many PC games with a 360 pad so that's how I plan on playing LP myself.
Owen: That is a very good question. I would personally like to have some of our characters react in ways that I find more realistic (swearing, discussing mature themes, etc), but we may decide to offer a "clean" version as well.
Most of these astronauts would probably be very professional in their conduct, but if you had all communication cut off from Earth with no way to return I think almost anyone would slip a little. We aren't looking to include mature content for shock value. We just want to avoid the "censored for TV" effect, where it's more noticeable when someone reacts inappropriately because they *avoid* swearing/etc.
Owen: Jessica's character development is a huge part of your journey on Mars. We are going to be focusing a lot of time and attention on her motivations for becoming an astronaut as well as what keeps her going when it seems like all hope is lost.
Owen: We haven't finalized anything for the Kickstarter bonus content ($25 level), but here are some ideas we are working with:
Blueprints for some of the habitats
Playlist of Jessica's favorite music
A mini-game playable on the datapad
A book/short story/poetry that Jessica brought with her
High-resolution maps of the mission area
3D-model viewer of mission equipment and previous Mars rovers
Unique in-game HUD colors/reskins
This is NOT a list of what we have planned, just ideas. From that list though I hope you can see that we are trying to stay away from anything that could be consider direct "story" content relevant to Jessica's journey. We still have a year and a half to sort it out and get feedback/suggestions/think of more stuff. There is a thread in the Backers Only board where you can give suggestions and feedback for the exclusive Bonus Content.
Owen: I would like to at some point in the near future, but we want to pin down a few performance issues so that we put our best foot forward. I'm open to a simple walk-around demonstration though. Any bit of time we spend on extras takes away from development on the final game however. We will try to balance requests with requirements.
We love all the discussion that has been going on in our forums and we thank you all for your great questions. If you want your question to be a part of our next "From The Forums" feature then get on over to the forums now!