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Town Hall Report – February 27, 2024

R2.2 Test

The first Town Hall of the year (#42) happened during the Community Week. Santi (Community Director) and Michael (CEO) were joined on stage by Chris (Head of Game Economy).

Below, you can find our report/summary of the event. If you prefer to listen/watch back, then do check out our recording.

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Santi opens the meeting by going over the Community Week schedule.

Michael shares that he will go through the roadmap for the team for this year. He notes that Dominic is working on a written roadmap, that will contain some previously unannounced projects the team is working on.

He then mentions that the company is in a much better position right now, with everything they have built. He is extremely excited about the year ahead of us.

The Roadmap will not be in chronological order. Instead, Michael will go over each individual project one by one.

As a side note: Jacob (CTO), aka Bravetarget, just had a third baby, so he is out for a few weeks. He will work on the memory distributions for phase 2 of Never Alone once he gets back.

Timelines are not promises or guarantees!

Sunsetting Faction Fleet

This coming Thursday, a major change will take effect, affecting Faction Fleet and SAGE:

  • Reduction of faction fleet rewards by another 33% (so 50% with regard to where it is today)
  • Increase of SDU’s/minute discovery rate by 33%. SDUs will see a new ceiling of 2000 units/minutes.

This will balance resource extraction with the redemption of RFRs.

This is an interim step only! When Starbased goes live, Faction Fleet will be sunset.
This means that Faction Fleet will be fully deprecated and will not yield ATLAS anymore.

No changes will be made to the Faction Claims program at this stage. There is not yet an update planned to get Claim Stakes usable in SAGE, so Faction Claims will keep operating for the foreseeable future.

Fleet rental programs are in development right now. The team is in discussion with the teams working on getting those available in SAGE and beyond.

SAGE: Starbased

Starbased will kick-start the transition out of the solo-style gameplay SAGE offers today!

This week, the private test server will start using the same testers as before. The team is looking to improve test access qualifications going forward, but not before this test run.

John (XCode) and Michael have been brainstorming ideas to gamify the testing phase a little. They are considering doing something like setting up a race between the three factions, to be first to get 3 different (specified) Starbases to Tier 5.

Depending on the result of the private tests, the team is looking to go live with Starbased in 3-4 weeks. This time, unlike the initial SAGE release, Michael wants to ensure the game is a bit more polished before launching. Meaning that the private test feedback could very well delay the release.

Gameplay

The big difference with Starbased is that you are now going to collaborate with the rest of your faction to upgrade the Starbases that are on the maps.

Faction ownership of the various star systems (and their starbases) remains as it is now. However, all of the systems will start with a Tier 1 Starbase. The home system will still contain a Tier 6 Central Space Station.

New gameplay:

  • Upgrading Starbases
  • Maintaining Starbases (“upkeeping”)

It’s up to the players to upgrade Starbases to higher tiers, all the way up to Tier 5. The reason for doing so in this version is to unlock additional crafting recipes. Tier 1 Starbases offer only a few basic crafting recipes. Upgrading to higher tiers will open up additional ones. Note that the CSS will offer all crafting recipes.

Another piece of gameplay is maintaining Starbases. There is an upkeep that has to be “paid” to keep them operational.

Upgrading will cost components and compound materials that need to be crafted. Maintaining a Starbase requires Food and Toolkits.

  • If a Starbase runs out of Food, all crafting is paused.
  • If a Starbase runs out of Toolkits, its upgrading processes are paused.

Starbase Upgrading and Upkeeping requires coordination and collaboration to accomplish. Both processes will be very expensive. But it’s a community goal, not a solo one. You’ll have to do this as a faction.

Due to this, Chris expects to see a lot more freighting taking place in Starbased.

There will be Character Progression. There will not be Council Rank restrictions, but the progression system will go live with Starbased. You will be using that to level your character, so that in the future, when the restrictions go live, existing players are well prepared for this.

You will also level up licenses (mining, crafting, scanning) in the background. You will not see this.

Econ Changes

You will no longer be able to redeem Council RFRs. But that is not all: you will also no longer be able to redeem ships until the actual ship crafting mechanic is introduced.

Right now, ATLAS is emitted at a constant rate per ship in the Faction Fleet. The same can be said for RFRs; the amount of ATLAS is constant. There is no competition for that ATLAS.

SAGE Starbased will see a fixed ATLAS emission curve. The total amount of ATLAS that can be earned per day by the whole community is fixed. The team is currently looking at setting this to 1.5 million ATLAS per faction per day (totaling 4.5 million ATLAS/day).

Because the ATLAS emissions will be fixed, the team can, and will, uncap SDU emissions. SDUs will be required to upgrade starbases (and hence to earn Loyalty Points and subsequently earn ATLAS). This should balance SDU’s.

Star Atlas – Pearce X5 animations [shared during the Town Hall]

Loyalty Points

In Starbased, players will earn Loyalty Points (LP), called so because you gain them by helping your faction. You can earn these by contributing to upgrading and maintaining Starbases.

You can spend LP during any epoch (currently looking at having an epoch last 24 hours) to get a portion of the ATLAS earmarked for that epoch.

Your faction alignment will determine which pool you are getting your ATLAS from. In the long run, this will encourage people to choose the faction with less player activity, because LP earned there will get them a bigger piece of that faction’s ATLAS allocation.

If you want, you can ignore aiding your faction and simply go to the secondary marketplace to earn your ATLAS there with any assets you produce in-game.

Chris gives an example: Let’s say you’ve earned 100 LP and want to spend them to get ATLAS. During that epoch, your faction spends a total of 10k LP, which means the amount you spent amounts to 1% of the total LP spent. This means that you will receive 1% of the ATLAS reserved for your faction for that epoch.

Experience Points

You will be earning Experience Points (XP) for nearly any activity you perform in SAGE. Note that XP will be locked to your account. You can get these points for things such as (but not exclusively):

  • Exiting a planet after mining
  • Mining
  • Traveling
  • Contributing to Starbase
  • Nearly everything you can do

There is an XP ceiling in place. This means that each account can only earn up to a maximum amount of XP per activity per day. Players with decently sized fleets should be able to hit that relatively easily. This levels the XP progression path somewhat.

Council Rank

Through XP, you will attain new Council Rank levels. In the future, this will give players points that allow them to upgrade parts of their account (allowing bigger ships, bigger fleets, more fleets, etc).

Though these restrictions won’t yet be live in Starbased, you will start earning these levels (Michael called this “pre-leveling your character”). This will allow players to be less bothered by the restrictions when they go live with the next iteration, when combat is added to SAGE.

Licenses

In the background, players will also level up various licenses, such as crafting, mining, and scanning. Licenses are account-bound and will only start to play a role further down the line.

New Resources & Recipes

Starbased also introduces three new resources to SAGE:

  • Titanium Ore
  • Silica
  • Nitrogen

These will replace other mineable resources that are already on the map, while ensuring that every resource will remain minable.

There will also be 5 new recipes:

  • Titanium (input: Titanium Ore)
  • Toolkits 3 (input: Titanium)
  • Frameworks 3 (input: Titanium)
  • Aerogel (input: Silica & Nitrogen)
  • Field Stabilizers (input: Aerogel & Crystal Lattice)

Field Stabilizers are required to upgrade Starbases.

Asked about crafting Framework 1, 2, or 3, Chris replied that they all have the exact same outcome, but higher-numbered recipes will produce more XP.

UE5 - Weaponry
Star Atlas – UE5 Weaponry [shared during the Town Hall]

SAGE Migration

When Starbased goes live, you will need to migrate your assets out of the current game (through the CSS) into the new galaxy (game). You will have to pay for the fuel and transportation to do so.

After Starbased is live, the team will modify the mechanics of the old (still current) game at some point. This will enable unlimited distance warping with no cooldowns for the old game. However, note that the costs remain. You can exit quickly, but it is not cheaper than it is at this point in time.

Update: After receiving community feedback, the team has scrapped this mechanism. Cooldowns and warp distances will stay in place as is! Prepare accordingly!

You still have a couple of weeks, so you can position yourself right now to make sure you are well-prepared to exit.

Note that when Starbased goes live, scanning and mining will no longer produce anything in the current game.

SAGE – Combat

The next iteration, after Starbased, will be introducing combat!

This update will also introduce Starbase construction and destruction. This is when borders are evolving and can move.

Some work has already been completed for combat. However, it still needs to be integrated, and the front end still has to be built. Then it has to be tested. It could come approximately 4-8 weeks after Starbased launches.

It’s unclear at this moment if this release will require a new game migration.

Note: After combat is integrated, the team is looking to potentially bring utility to CSS plots/habs into SAGE.

Player Profile / SA Account

The team is trying to finish a limited set of utilities for the Player Profile to go alongside the release of Starbased. Specifically, the team is working to allow players to manage a game session’s hot wallet in SAGE, next to a hardware/safer wallet that stores the actual assets. This hot wallet could then be allowed to auto-approve transactions.

If this is not out with the release of Starbased, it will come immediately thereafter.

[REDACTED] Surprise

The team is working on something related to SAGE 3D, that should be face-melting. The team plans to release a teaser video in April, that will show off this secret new feature.

Star Atlas Crew

As we know, crew cards will have multiple applications:

  • Avatar in UE5
  • Part of ship loadout (for SAGE & UE5 R2.2)
  • Used in Mobile app

The team envisions crew support in SAGE as follows:

  • Immediate: Bring Crew into SAGE at the CSS – Can be used for Crafting at the CSS
  • In the future: Enable transportation to transport crew to other Starbases

Michael shares some numbers: Dropping crew to the owners of existing ships out there would require the team to drop 2.1 million crew. Around the time the “snapshot” will be taken, Michael expects this number to have gone up to 2.5 million crew members.

That said, the team likely will mint a total of 10 million crew. Most of these cards will be common, with around 10k of those being legendary, and 500 will be anomalous.

All members will have a truly unique backstory! Jose is building a massive timeline of events in Star Atlas and is using AI to generate unique backstories generatively for each and every one of them.

Michael notes that in the future there is a possibility of there being multiple non-unique crew members. He specifically points at the two current crew members already available: Anna Tolle, and Sammy Banx. Those will see duplicates of the same crew member, retaining their rarity levels.

Higher rarity means more aptitudes available.

Distribution

If you own any ship, you are eligible for the crew airdrop and the ship’s associated components. In the future, after the drop, when you buy a ship, it will come with Tier 0 default components for anything the ship needs in order to fly. These components can be upgraded and replaced. R2.2 will introduce ship-configuration that supports this.

Crew will never come with the ship; crew members will need to be purchased, which can be done by buying a Crew Pack.

Crew distribution will be completely randomized.

Ship Conversion

The team is still in the middle of R&D but is currently looking into compressed NFTs, which is looking promising. The benefit of cNFTs would include compatibility with other marketplaces. It also reduces the costs of minting these crew members.

There won’t be an actual snapshot of ships. Instead, the team is working on a conversion program. You can think of it like a currency exchange. You take your ship, send it to the program, and get the individual parts back: hull, components, and crew members. The input gets burned.

The Marketplace will see a major update at the same time this program goes live. The team will remove all their primary sales and put back in new ones that will be cNFTs.

The team expects to bring this live around mid-April of this year.

The team still has to look into how to handle pre-redeemed ships, as they do want to continue to support trade in them.

Mobile App

The Front-end development is done, but the team still has to work on the blockchain side of things.

The team is trying to figure out when and where they can remove capacity on the blockchain team to work on this.

A late Q3 launch is likely.

DAC Platform

The team recently released the full MVP of the DAC platform. A recent update made the DAC platform mobile-friendly and easier to use.

Upcoming changes (no timeline):

  • Add multi-sig DAC treasury, allowing DACs to manage collective guild resources. This will likely be built around the solution from Squads,
  • Allow borrowing & lending assets among guild members
  • Include links to socials (probably added first)
  • Provide an overview of the assets a DAC applicant owns

DAO Platform

The team has not yet even begun discussing prioritizing the DAO. And this likely won’t happen before June.

That said, the team expects to work on the platform during H2 of 2024, and finish the proposal and voting mechanisms during that time.

With those in place, the DAO treasury (a few million dollars worth) will be unlocked. Despite various suggestions from the community, the team does not want to access the treasury without the official system in place.

Revenue Distribution

From what Michael has seen in other game projects, revenue distribution seems viable. Michael can see a proposal going through to distribute a portion of the treasury to the stakeholders. Other games require some governance participation in order to become eligible for that, however, and Michael was charmed by that approach. This would encourage the community to vote and partake in governance.

Perma Locking

The team is also looking into adding a perma-lock structure. This would lock one’s POLIS permanently, which basically amounts to burning it. However, such a lock structure would convert the POLIS into a significantly higher amount of PVP. Michael suggested it could see something like a 15-25x multiplier.

The team thinks about all these things daily, but they lack the capacity to work on them at the moment.

Showroom R2.2

Stresstest

Massive multiplayer through MetaGravity’s tech is one of the biggest feature releases in R2.2. The team has been running tests internally, but they want to do this with real players. The first stress test with real players (mid-Jan) saw spotty performance, but a new test is coming up!

A new, undisclosed game mode will be available for that next test, which will see faction-based competition and new mechanics for jetpacking.

R2.2 Test
R2.2 Test – Faction Competition

The goal would be to have the second stress test in March (could move to April). The team will have to work around GDC (3rd week of March – which they will attend).

The target for this second stress test is up to 2000 concurrent users. The team will track player participation and reward it with ATLAS and Crew Cards. The team is looking at distributing Crew Cards as possible rewards, associated with the faction that wins.

The exact rewards will scale with the number of users that participate. If the team gets less than 500 users in there, they will distribute base-level rewards based on time spent. For each 500 increment in users, they will upgrade the loot to the next level. Higher levels mean more ATLAS in the reward pool and higher rarity Crew Cards.

Timeline

The team targeting the launch of the R2.2 private beta on June 30th. It could very well slip to July or even August. This private beta will likely run for about 2 to 4 months. If all works out, the official release should occur at the end of Q3 of this year. This would allow the team to launch it around/during Breakpoint in Singapore in late September.

Once it is live, the very first iteration of the Star Atlas MMO will be operational 24/7!

Private Beta

Your current game access key will not give you access to the private beta. Instead, you will have to qualify to become eligible to participate. The team is planning some exclusive loot to incentivize people to qualify and join the beta.

Central Space Station

The team hired 2 ex-Star Citizen level designers to re-initiate work on the Central Space Stations. They are starting on the ONI CSS but will also move to the other two.

At the end of the year, Michael hopes to allow players to go into the Central Space Station, select a plot of land, set up their hab, etc. This would also open up possible commercial opportunities, such as brand integrations.

Loose notes

There will be R4 burn in R2.2

Questions

Q [Funcracker]: Talking about brand integrations: What is the status of collaborations with Honeyland and potentially other partners?

The team is having a number of open conversations with other builders, especially on Solana (such as Shrapnel), to create opportunities to craft items for their games directly from within SAGE. However, they had to sideline this integration due to their work on Starbased. They did not want to conflate the new recipes with 3rd party ones when going live with that.

That said, Michael expects support for 3rd party craftable items to go live shortly after the release of Starbased.

Q [Zelldan]: Can I set up a new hot wallet for my child, with name and progression tied to that wallet, while having the assets in a cold wallet?

The goal is to get highly customizable profiles, characters, and permission management. The goal is to allow for things such as this.

Q [Virtuwul]: Will the Mobile app allow XP progression for crew members outside of racing?

Nope, racing only.

Q [Bodhi]: How are different contributions weighed in Starbased in terms of LP rewards

Players will earn more LP when they provide scarcer (more difficult to produce) assets

Upgrading a Starbase will reward more LP as well than helping with its upkeep, as maintaining a Starbase is a simpler procedure.

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