The day we’ve all been waiting for is here - the Harvest Era is upon us! This is by some distance our most significant single update to Boundless since release, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you all. Some of you will have been experimenting with the features in our public testing build, but for those who aren’t familiar with what the Harvest Era brings, let’s recap…
Farming is, on a very reduced level, about sowing and harvesting different types of Crop. Of course, there’s more to the system than fields of wheat, and the Boundless version of farming has some very cool and unique angles that we think you’ll enjoy. Some of the things you’ll be able to cultivate include;
- Organic crops, including the classic Earthyams and Starberries, but also a set of new items. Some of these will grow from the ground, but others will grow from hanging vines, so think vertically when planning your farm!
- Inorganic fuel crops. Combustion Fraction and Kindling Mass can be cultivated in underground setups, grown away from the sunlight of the surface. These subterranean farms will need to be planned very differently from overground farms.
- Goo - when searching Gem or Lucent Exoworlds, players will be able to gather Kernels from Goo. These are then planted in, and will grow down from, a cave roof. Goo Pigments are harvested from these, If they have been planted in Gleam they’ll even take on its colour. These are then used in Colour Sprays - a whole other system which we’ll discuss in a moment…
Of course, all this will need a new suite of tools, and the Harvest Era provides several new pieces of kit to try out. The Hand Tiller will become a constant companion above ground, preparing the soil for crops, and the two new Fertilisers will help increase the yield of said Crops.
There’s a lot more to farming than meets the eye - it’s easy to get started, as it’s simply a case of planting a seed and coming back later, but for those looking to optimise, there’s a lot more depth to be found. Locations will have to be carefully scouted out, and prepared for optimal performance. There are many modifiers in place which will affect the success and productivity of a farm, such as soil type, nearby vegetation, and proximity to water. The right combination of each of these will allow crops to grow faster and more abundantly, so green-fingered Citizens will have plenty of room for experimentation. There are also new Skills to build in farming, allowing characters to become specialists in this area of the game.
Irrigation is an important part of farming, whether that be water for above ground Crops, or Lava for some of the more exotic offerings. Now, what kind of a farming system will we have made without allowing you to plan for this? On that note, we’re very excited to unveil our next feature for this release…
For the first time in Boundless, players will be able to manipulate and place water and lava in their builds. This obviously ties closely into the farming system, but it doesn’t end there. We’re looking forward to seeing spectacular water features in city centres, aqueducts set up to funnel water between sources, and even fiendish lava traps around your builds. There are a lot of possibilities here, making this is a pretty major addition to the Boundless universe.
This involved us essentially redesigning how fluids behave in the game, so you’ll come across far more flowing rivers, underwater caves, and so on in the worlds now. Water and Lava are collected with a new Forge Boon, ‘Liquid Breaker’, and are then available to be redeployed by the player. Water can also now be turned to Ice, and Lava to Igneous Rock, with the ‘Solidifier’ Boon - that has big implications for exploration on dangerous worlds.
We’ve also introduced some brand new liquids to the game, with Primordial Resin and Petrolim available to be harvested and used in Crafting. These are used for Fertilisers, and can also be solidified into Amber and Bitumen respectively.
Of course, that system left unchecked could easily be open to griefing, so placing liquids is restricted to Beacons only, and only for those which have been in place for longer than one hour.
Let’s go into more detail about that Goo we mentioned earlier, and the Colour Sprays that can be obtained via them. Once you’ve grown your Goo, you’ll be able to harvest Goo Pigments from them. If growing in Stone or Sponge, these will have their original tint, but planting them in Gleam will see them take on the colour of that Gleam.
Once you have one or more Goo Pigments, head to the brand new machine, the Pigment Processor, to mix them into Colour Sprays. These will have their own colour, but can be mixed together to create a new tint - there’s plenty of room for experimentation there.
These are then applied to blocks of natural materials, such as Wood, Rock, or Brick. This is a great way to add a dash of flair to your builds, and with such a wide range of colours to choose from, it’s a big addition to the Building and Farming side of Boundless. Colour Sprays can also be added to yet another new machine, the Spray Tinter, to colour large batches of blocks at once. Of course, all these are both Craftable and able to be traded, so although creating them is a skilled art, even beginner citizens will be able to repaint their Builds.
This one’s a little more technical, and those who want the full specs of what we’ve done will be able to find them in the release notes (testing notes here and here) but essentially, we’ve reworked how material rendering works in the game. The upshot of this is that colours and textures will look a lot closer to their intended appearance, so some surfaces such as Glacier, Water, Metal, and Decorative Blocks will look extra cool now. It’s a great time to head out and explore the universe and see what spectacular sights await!
Naturally, we’ve also put out the usual wide range of bug fixes, quality of life changes, and general small tweaks - which can be found in the full release notes.
Thanks everyone, and enjoy the Harvest Era! Let us know how you get on, and be sure to share your best screenshots as you go!
P.S Here are those release notes, just one more time…