Boundless since launch:
Since launch we’ve been focused on delivering updates to Boundless every 2 weeks. The main focus has been on improving stability and performance of the game clients and server. We’ve also got back into the process of releasing versions to Testing so that players have a chance to scrutinise updates, offer feedback and report issues before they’re released to Live.
Given that Boundless is a live universe we didn’t want to follow the standard model of delivering bigger updates every 3+ months. The aim of updating every 2 weeks is to make sure that Boundless is always improving. We think that a constant stream of quality and features is a much more suited to Boundless. There will be a natural cycle where some updates will focus on quality and the next may contain a bundles of features.
In between focusing on quality we’ve also found time to start expanding the game. We’ve released an initial set of props to decorate your builds with the first table and chair models and expanded the range of signs. We’ve also put in place a system for timed events that was used for Halloween. The first event was an experiment and we’re planning to build bigger events with more variety in the future. Based on community feedback we’re also going to push the events more into the Boundless universe whilst still being inspired by the real world.
Balancing Boundless has been a big challenge. Many features are configured to embrace the sandbox nature of Boundless, and this means that systems can often be quite open ended. We can’t predict exactly what players will discover about how the sandbox can be manipulated. Watching players counteract creatures by manipulating the sandbox is particularly satisfying as it rewards players who experiment with tactics. But there are also times where we’ve realised that there have been mistakes and issues with the systems that we’ve concluded risk seriously unbalancing the game. Ultimately we want players to be rewarded for following many different paths. If the unbalanced systems are left unchecked then we risk losing the sense of freedom that we believe makes Boundless unique.
We’ve definitely learned that we need to bring everyone with us when working on the balance. No one likes surprise updates that change the balance without warning. We’re trying to share more details on the forum and requesting feedback before we commit changes to the releases. The simple idea is that if the majority of the community agrees that a particular area is under or overpowered, then they’ll be onboard when the changes land. We also need to be careful about making changes that could dramatically change the balance of the game. A safer strategy is to make a collection of small steps rather than dramatic changes - focusing on evolution, not revolution.
What’s in development?
Whilst we still have a big focus on improving the quality of the core game, we have already started working on new features and we’d like to share a few details here. Feature development can often take more time that you might expect so we have a few things going on in parallel.
Body Paints: We’ve been working on a set of Body Paints to give everyone more options to customise the look of their characters. In the past we called these tattoos but this makes them sound like a permanently part of your character’s setup. We’ve switched over to body paints because you can freely switch between them as you can for your masks. (We also wanted to avoid any issues with game ratings.)
Guilds: The biggest feature currently in development is a new Guild system. The aim is to create a system for everyone and not just the hardcore players. This includes a new set of controls for managing the guild’s privileges and factions. You’ll be able to align or control beacons directly from your guild. This will allow players to group together to form a guild and align it with their settlement. As the settlements change your settlement and guild with continue to maintain its identity. The collective endeavour of your guild is rewarded with a new set of buffs affecting everyone. Expect more guild details in the future once it takes more shape.
Winter Event: We have a Winter Event coming that will run for a couple of weeks up to New Year. The Halloween event was based on gathering and this event will be focused on combat. More details closer to the event launch.
Hunter: She’s coming. Prowling up on you. The Hunter’s AI is in development and she’ll be unlike any of the other creatures already in the game. Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap.
Messaging: To support the guilds we’re also working on a significant messaging expansion. Players in a guild need a channel to communicate when they’re scattered across the known universe. The system will also support (if configured) messages reaching out of the game via email so that you can respond to messages when you’re outside of the game, desperate to get back in again.
Keep an eye for announcement posts of features going to Testing. These features are already in development.
What’s coming next?
There is a long list of features that are all jostling for attention. After the guilds our current thinking will be a Boundless version of Farming. Don’t expect carrots and cabbages. We’re exploring ideas that bend farming into something that complements the Boundless universe and unlocks new sandbox options.
Of course, this is very much just the beginning of our plans for Boundless. We’ve got plenty of features planned for the future, and your feedback will be invaluable as we continue active development of the game. We love talking with our players on the forums and social channels, so don’t be shy about championing the features you want to see in the future of Boundless.