In early May we received an information overload from the team with regards to SCREAM, their upcoming, web-based, playable game module, which is slated for release later this year.
Since then a lot of information trickled down via various media. This article is an attempt to bundle the most important bits and pieces from all sources. It is modelled somewhat after a FAQ, with small sections that are grouped into eight different categories. This should allow you to quickly find the piece of information you are looking for.
SCREAM will be a blockchain-native multiplayer game complete with economic, political, and strategic elements. This will be the first time that players can use their ships to fight for the future of their faction with fun, active, repeatable, on-chain gameplay with earning potential.
— Atlas Star Issue #7
SCREAM is dead! Long live SCREAM!
In early 2022 we reported on the team pivoting their roadmap, abandoning their initial goals of giving us access to mining and ship crafting in order to focus on allowing us to actually use the ships we acquired instead through ship missions. SCREAM was born, and at the time its acronym stood for the 3 gameplay pillars that would define it:
- Ship Configuration
- Resource Extraction
- (and) Missions
However, with Ship Configuration coming later, and Missions have tuned down significantly in favor of more strategic, multiplayer gameplay, the acronym does not really work anymore. The team’s creativity knows no bounds, however, and they found new meaning for each of the letters. Henceforth SCREAM will stand for:
- Ship Combat
- Resource Extraction
- (and) Manufacturing
This article contains a lot of information on SCREAM, which we categorized into the following sections:
- Gated Access (hangars)
- Additional Mechanics
Near the end of 2022, when SCREAM has launched, SCORE will start to be slowly phased out. This means that the rewards you earn in SCORE will start to decline (total amount of ATLAS received). At some point, after having been run a few months in parallel, the team will shut down SCORE completely after which only SCREAM will be available.
Switching between SCORE and SCREAM
You will have to delist your ships in SCORE to be able to insert them into SCREAM. Your ships will literally leave one “escrow” contract to enter another. Only by giving your ships to the SCREAM contract will you be able to use them in SCREAM.
When you have your ships in SCREAM, you can not just take them out whenever you want, contrary to how SCORE worked. Instead, you will have to fly them back to your faction’s Central Space Station, and there you can take them out of SCREAM again (to put them back into SCORE or sell).
SCREAM is all about getting your faction to control as many star systems as possible, and gaining access to various resources that are required to further expand.
Although the Treaty of Peace is officially in force, the three faction’s move their fleet through the galaxy, trying to “integrate’’ different systems into their factions, effectively creating the so-called medium risk zone.
— Atlas Star Issue #7
Just as SCORE did before, the web-based gameplay is essentially taking us slowly through history towards the status quo as described in the White Paper. The team is essentially gamifying the recent history, allowing us to participate in the global events that led to that status quo.
The premise of SCORE was that the factions tried to establish their early Security Zones (aka Safe Zones), right after the peace treaty was signed. When SCREAM arrives we will have reached the phase directly after that in history, where the factions try to bring the systems that are further out under their control, in order to establish a buffer zone. That zone is what we have come to know as the Medium Risk Zone (MRZ).
Starbases are large structures, that can be constructed in star systems, that allow a faction to control that star system. The higher the tier of a starbase, the stronger the hold of a faction on that system.
Central Space Stations are essentially oversized Starbases. Each faction will have one of those at the center of its Security/Safe Zone.
…should you choose to accept, is to:
- Construct new starbases in (most likely) hostile systems. Of course, this means you will probably first want to get rid of all hostile presence there. Additionally, you can’t construct a starbase in a system that already has one.
- Upgrade existing starbases to increase your faction’s hold on the system it’s in.
- Defend any of your faction’s starbases that are under attack
- Destroy starbases that are not under the control of your faction
The coordination of these actions, together with resource gathering and the logistics of the supply routes, constitutes the core of SCREAM gameplay loops.
— Atlas Star Issue #7
Ships can dock at a starbase and deposit any of their harvested materials. These can be used to upgrade the starbase. As a starbase progresses through its upgrades, you will be able to trade and craft refined materials while docked there. With these refined materials, you will be able to create more extensive and complex space infrastructures to support your faction.
Those systems each faction is looking to claim have been previously claimed by other factions such as the Jorvik and ECOS. As such don’t take kindly to this intrusion of their space and they will defend their homes.
In short: A significant part of the gameplay will revolve around combat (like the player-vs-environment described here), where you as the player are encouraged to obliterate any resistance in a system, and then facilitate the construction of a starbase in order to take over control.
Though the factions are at peace, this does not stop the players from invading other factions’ zones to slow down their competitors. In order to facilitate this, you will also be able to jump directly to the MRZ of a different faction to engage in player-vs-player combat.
During the Townhall, Chip stated that the objective of SCREAM is for players to establish control of each of the star systems on the map, by building a starbase [in each of them]. In order to do that, resources are required, and those can be extracted from planets within systems that are under the control of your faction. Then you send those resources (via ships of course) to the starbase, offload them, refine them, use them to upgrade the starbase, and then establish a logistics network to continue to pin down and build up [each of the other starbases on the map].
It’s like this node-control, or tower defense-like gameplay.
In order to be able to construct & upgrade starbases, a whole lot of resources need to find their way to these construction sites. The best place to get those resources is on the various planets that are in that star system. But access to those is not guaranteed. A starbase of your faction is required to unlock access to the planets, beginning with those closest to the star.
The higher the tier of that star system, the greater the zone of control and the further away from the system’s center resources can be harvested (on planets).
Planets that were once outside the faction’s influence are now being depleted of their resources to grease the war machine.
— Atlas Star Issue #7
All ships will be capable of mining/resource extraction.
Dedicated mining ships, as described in the GAO Wave 2 brochure are not meant to give any bonus in the SCREAM V0 gameplay. Their moment to shine will follow in later gameplay modules.
Note: multiple players will be able to mine the same planet simultaneously.
In SCREAM V0, you won’t control ships individually in outer space. Instead, you will control them grouped into fleets.
This means combat will be between fleets, not between individual ships. It will be resolved deterministically by comparing the combat scores of both fleets involved. As a consequence, player skill plays no role anymore after fleets have engaged in combat.
Shared Cargo Space
The aggregate cargo space of all ships within a fleet determines the cargo space for that fleet. This means that when you stock up a fleet with fuel and ammunition, that is not so much stored in individual ships, but “inside” the fleet.
This greatly simplifies managing your fleet as you can manage it as a whole. No individual ship will run out of fuel before the others do, the fleet will run out of fuel together!
Ships in formed Fleets share aggregate R4 capacity and consume from the same pooled resources. Yes, you can top off the fleet and every ship in that fleet will enjoy the extended trip duration
The above also means that you can store extra R4 into the fleet’s cargo space, above what fits into each ship naturally. Doing this could greatly extend your fleet’s operations without requiring to dock at a starbase.
Forming, or disbanding a fleet needs to happen at a starbase. You will be able to select ships that are docked there and create a new fleet. The other way around, when a fleet is docked to a starbase you can choose to disband it. Before doing so, you will have the opportunity to unload all the cargo into the starbase before disbanding the fleet. This is also the only place where you can move cargo around. This keeps everything simple, both for you, but of course also for the development team!
Since this is not High-Risk Zone gameplay, you can not lose any of your ships. If one of your fleets gets destroyed, all ships therein will re-appear at a faction-controlled starbase, where you will have to repair them with toolkits, before you can use them again.
Any cargo you were carrying around in that fleet, including your R4, will be lost to you. When a fleet is destroyed, all cargo will be expelled into space, for anyone else nearby to capture. This includes leftover fuel, ammunition and food.
If you go offline and your fleet is out there in space, it will self-defend. Additionally, you can leave your fleet to defend a starbase when you go offline.
Of course, this means you could come back later to find your fleet annihilated.
There will be individual fleet size limits. More specifically, there will be limits to how many of each size-class ship you can add to each fleet. Further details are pending.
However, there are no limits to the number of fleets you can have.
When destroyed, a starbase will spawn some of its original materials to be looted.
SCREAM is played on a single galaxy instance, where all players are present at the same time. You can absolutely pursue goals by yourself, especially if your fleet size allows for this, but oftentimes you will find that teaming up with other players from your faction increases your chance of success dramatically.
No Guild/DAC support
As there is no support structure for DACs just yet in Star Atlas, the SCREAM game won’t incorporate them either. So it won’t provide any tools and means of communication to cooperate directly with your guildmates.
Cooperation & Communication
One way to cooperate is by just navigating the map and joining other players in whatever effort it is they are undertaking. If you are in the same location as someone else, you can enter a battle together.
SCREAM won’t come with a friendslist — to begin with, so if you want to properly team up, you will have to use an external means of communication, like Discord.
SCREAM is heavily oriented toward multiplayer cooperativeness.
— Atlas Star Issue #7
Depending on how many ships you own and their size, you might not be able to move all of them into SCREAM from the very beginning. In order to balance the game and allow everyone a chance to get their bearing, the game implements a mechanic that requires each ship to have its own hangar in order to be able to operate within SCREAM. And every player will start with a limited number of these. Additionally, hangars come in different sizes and small ones won’t accommodate large ships.
As you first enter the game, you will be given access to a number of small-sized hangars (number and size TBD — will be bigger than XXS). This means that you won’t be able to bring more than that number of ships into the game initially. You also won’t be able to bring ships of greater size into the game, without spending ATLAS (see below).
It is one ship per hangar. The size limit represents the largest size ship it can accommodate, not the only size ship it can accommodate.
To emphasize the above:
- You start with more than 1 hangar
- The max-size capacity of those hangars is greater than XXS
- You won’t be able to bring in more ships than your own hangar
You can spend ATLAS to upgrade the hangars to accommodate bigger size ships. Even though they are now bigger, there is still only one ship allowed in them. And of course, smaller ships still fit as well.
Note: Upgrading a Hangar costs ATLAS, but it does not cost you time (according to Michael). Upgrades will be instant, and that means that is you are willing to spend the ATLAS, your commander ships can enter the game on day 1.
You won’t start at XXS with the default hangar space. New hangers acquired start there. And all hangars can be upgraded with ATLAS.
Adding More Hangars
You can spend Loyalty Points in the in-game shop to buy additional hangars. Note that, contrary to the hangars you start out with, these hangars do start at XXS size. Learn more about this in the Loyalty Points section below.
By playing the game and helping your faction achieve its goals (see the 4 bullets in the Your Mission section above), you will earn Loyalty Points (LPs).
Your Loyalty Points are account bound. They are not crypto-native tokens, they are simply stats associated with your account in SCREAM. You can not exchange them for ATLAS or another cryptocurrency and you can not send them to another account.
Put simply: You can only gain them through participating in SCREAM and they are account-bound!
In the SCREAM Store, you will be able to spend your LPs. As mentioned earlier, you can spend them to add more hangars to your account, allowing you to bring in more ships into SCREAM.
Besides buying additional hangars, you can also spend your LPs on NFTs and consumables to use in SCREAM. It looks like there will also be several items for sale for ATLAS, but we have no information on these yet.
Gettings Assets In & Out
Any assets you bring into the game or gather while inside of the game, are stuck in the game until you bring them to the Central Space Station, where you can take them out. If you want to sell anything, you will need to first take these assets out of SCREAM.
Note: This means it’s possible to buy any of the resources on the marketplace, bring them back into SCREAM and use them to upgrade a Starbase for example.
Items need to be moved to the Central Space Station to list on the marketplace.
Getting Ships In & Out
Like assets, ships have to follow the same procedure. However, you can never bring more ships into the game than you have hangar space. This means that in order to bring a new ship in, you either need to have acquired a new hangar (with loyalty points), or you will first have to take another ship out.
You can use all of your ships in SCREAM. There is no cap on the number of ships you can bring into the game. You just need to acquire a hanger for all of them.
All ships can perform all functions, but with varying efficiency. This also means that all ships are able to participate when combat is initiated.
A few examples:
- Racing ships will be more agile, which will help them in combat.
- Fighter ships are best at dogfighting.
- Bombers will have an advantage when targeting starbases and planets directly.
- Freight is self-explanatory, bring more R4 along or store more R20 (see the Economy section below)
- Repair/Refuel ships will bring more efficiency to storing Toolkits & Fuel (respectively) in cargo space.
Note: Advanced mechanics like stealth, siege-mode, or ship-hangars (within large ships) are not available when SCREAM launches.
The badges that are awarded to your fleets in Faction Fleet (SCORE) will give you a one-time Loyalty Point bonus. No further information was given — more to come at a later date!
The bonus from badges will be recognized in advance of the rollout of SCREAM, so you will effectively lock in any rewards we allocate as a result of participating in SCORE (still working through the specific benefits, but can confirm that you will receive a benefit in SCREAM). After we collect a snapshot of existing badges, you will be free to delist from Faction Fleet without consequence.
Offtopic: Additionally it was mentioned that these bonuses would also come to people owning Rebirth posters.
No Time Limits
There won’t be any limits on the amount of time you can play per day, or on your earnings. This means that if you play (well) for double the amount of time, you should earn (roughly) double the amount of ATLAS.
In other words, the more time you invest, the more you could potentially earn (if you work towards accomplishing your faction’s objectives).
Just like in SCORE, as you play the game your ships in SCREAM will burn through their fuel, ammunition, food, and toolkits (aka the 4 resources, or R4).
The exact number of these resources each ship requires will change between SCORE and SCREAM though, as in SCREAM they will be more closely mapped to the actual ship specifications.
Unlike SCORE, there will be no guarantees that your ship’s earnings will outweigh the maintenance costs. Instead, your contributions to the faction and your overall in-game choices will determine whether you profit or lose in your galaxy adventures.
— Atlas Star Issue #7
A major change taking place with the release of SCREAM is that the team will stop supplying us with the 4 resources needed to sustain our ships (R4). Instead, SCREAM will offer players a way — through gameplay that involves mining — to gather and/or construct these resources.
This means the market for these will transition to a player market, where the players not only buy these resources but also sell them.
A very important consequence of this is that players will be able to ignore most of the faction-based gameplay and focus on earning their keep by creating and selling the R4 instead!
There are 20 raw resources available to be mined within SCREAM. This includes all of the resources listed for each faction. These resources will be necessary to upgrade the starbases and produce additional technology in-game. (Some of) these will also be required to construct the R4.
The team won’t sell R20, all of them have to come from SCREAM.
Currently, the R4 earnings (ATLAS) don’t disappear into the team’s coffers but instead flow to the treasury that is being controlled by the upcoming POLIS DAO. With R4 transitioning to the players, that stream of ATLAS will come to an end.
The new mechanic to upgrade hangars is set to replace that income stream, by funnelling the funds required to upgrade those hangars to the DAO’s treasury instead.
What will be constant throughout the economy is that certain transactions will feed directly into the DAO treasury.
When SCREAM goes live, the emission system will change drastically. Instead of rewarding you for each enlisted ship with the exact same amount of ATLAS day-by-day, there will be 3 equally sized, capped reward pools instead, one per faction.
In order to get some of that, you will need to not just play the game, but to actively pursue your faction’s interests while doing so.
Atlas Emissions & Epochs
The game will consist of a continuous string of fixed-length time periods, called Epochs. Every epoch, each faction will reward the exact same amount of ATLAS to all players who worked to achieve their faction’s goals within that time period.
This means that all players will share the emissions for that one epoch where they were active. Unlike SCORE, where the rewards for each enlisted ship have been constant day to day, in SCREAM the amount of ATLAS earned will differ from epoch to epoch, even if you would have managed to copy the exact same activities on two of them.
This is because the emissions assigned to a single epoch will have to be divided over all the players that contributed to the faction’s goals during that epoch. And though you might have put in the same amount of effort as the day before, others might have done more, or less, meaning your reward will go down, or up respectively.
You will earn a proportional share of the rewards based on the point generating activities you complete compared to your faction as a whole.
It also means that your efforts might have resulted in a bigger payout if you would have been part of a different faction and that faction had fewer actively contributing players during that epoch.
It’s important to realize that this is not done to punish you for choosing the “wrong” faction. There is no wrong faction. Instead, this is being done to build in an auto-balancing mechanic over the factions, where under-represented factions will offer a greater appeal to new players coming in (and the rewards are greater).
In other words: Perhaps you are in the most active faction today, but this could be different tomorrow. If this auto-balancing mechanism works well, all factions should see nearly the same levels of activity on average.
LP and ATLAS
How will the game decide how much ATLAS to reward each and every player after an epoch ended? By looking at the number of loyalty points you managed to accrue within that epoch. The more LPs, the bigger the cut of ATLAS you will receive.
In fact, this is the formula used by the team:
(userLP / factionLP) * periodic reward emission
Most of SCREAM’s features will be executed and resolved directly on the blockchain. The game employs 12 different smart contracts/programs, in order to facilitate and register starbases being attacked, resources being harvested, and to keep check of the location of all fleets.
Every bit of game logic that has an economic impact will be safeguarded on-chain.
— Atlas Star Issue #7
Now clearly, having all this data available on the chain would result in significant opportunities for those that are able to read this data directly and act upon it. Information is power after all!
For that reason, in the future, the team plans to use a technology called zk-SNARKs to make sure this information is cryptographically undecipherable. However, that is not yet the case with SCREAM (at this moment), which means that blockchain analysis might well be worth your effort!