Welcome to our 111th newsletter on Star Atlas! This weekly newsletter focuses entirely on the development of this ambitious game and is published by Aephia Industries. Here, we try to aggregate all the newsworthy tidbits revealed [mainly by the team] throughout the past week.
From all of us at Aephia Industries, we wish you a Merry Christmas! While we are all celebrating, the team is enjoying their yearly 2-week holiday. However, they did not leave us before launching some awesome new shiny toys! The spotlight no doubt shines brightest on the 2.1.9 release of the UE5 Showroom, but the economic updates and the surprise launch of SAGE Labs V2 are worth your attention as well!
As the team has now started its holiday break, this newsletter will take a 2-week break as well, as there won’t be much (if anything) to report on over the next two weeks.
The team will return to the office on January 8th, 2024, and issue 112 of this newsletter will find its way to your mailbox one week later!
Enough with the intro; let’s dive in!
SAGE & SCORE – The Economy
The team implemented a major economic overhaul by moving some of the Faction Fleet (aka SCORE) incentives to SAGE Labs (for now). In short, they:
- Reduced Faction Fleet ATLAS earnings by 33% across the board
- Introduced a new redeemable asset, the Council RFR, which can be sold to the team (Star Atlas Merchant) for exactly 2 ATLAS on the Galactic Marketplace.
Note that while Faction Fleet earnings have decreased by 33%, the earnings of Faction Claims have not been changed.
The Council RFR redemption recipe requires the following components:
- R4 (Fuel, Ammunition, Toolkits, Food) – To offset a (potential) decrease in SCORE participation and subsequent demand for R4, Chris made sure to add an R4 sink to the recipe
- Starbase construction/upgrading materials – In the near future, constructing/upgrading Starbases will result in Loyalty Points, which will be through which players can earn ATLAS in the game. This means that these same resources can be used to earn ATLAS in SAGE Starbased, making the transition more seamless.
- 1 SDU each – This is the team’s core lever to limit/steer ATLAS earnings. At this point, there are still only 1500 SDUs that can be found every minute in SCORE, and its inclusion in this recipe means, similar to Golden Tickets, that knows the theoretical maximum amount of ATLAS that could be earned by players per certain amount of time (like an hour, or day).
If you would like more insights into how this big change came to pass, Chris (Head of Game Economy) sat down with Krigs for an interview that is well worth a watch!
The full patch notes for v1.3, which introduced the above-mentioned changes, are below for your convenience:
- ATLAS Emissions in SAGE Labs
ATLAS emissions are being implemented in SAGE Labs Starting today. To support the health of ATLAS, in addition to adding emissions to SAGE Labs, we have uniformly reduced emissions in SCORE (Faction Fleet) for all ships by 33%. Craft a Council RFR in SAGE Labs (the recipe is not available in the 3D version of SAGE yet) and sell it in the marketplace to the Star Atlas Merchant for a fixed amount of ATLAS! Note: We currently have an update in progress to make sure a fee or Buddylink isn’t applied when selling your Council RFR to the Star Atlas Merchant.
- Reduced ATLAS Fee when Crafting
We’ve updated the ATLAS fee for crafting to be 7% of the trailing 7-day craft market in-game price (Adjusted from 10%)
- Crafting/Redemption Recipe Updates
Select ships have received an increase in the necessary resources it takes to redeem them:
- Calico Maxhog (3x increase)
- Fimbul Mamba Ex (3x Increase)
Honeyland Collab Delay
As mentioned last week (and the week before), the Honeyland collab in SAGE was supposed to kick off on Tuesday, December 19th. Unfortunately, the Star Atlas team did not manage to get this in, leading to them delaying this collaboration to January. An exact date has not yet been communicated.
SAGE Labs – V2
Beyond the economic changes, the team had a big surprise for us during the last Town Hall. The second iteration of SAGE Labs was dropped, bringing the game closer to the SAGE 3D feel (not the looks, though).
The most important aspect of V2 is the new interactive map. Not only can you zoom in, pan, and select fleets, but the map also shows all fleets participating in SAGE in real time!
Some of these fleets are circles, meaning they are stationary. Others are arrows, meaning they are in transit. You can click any fleet to see their composition and the resources they hold.
Due to V2 running into some issues right after release, the team also made V1 available again in parallel. This means there are now 3 ways to play SAGE. You can jump into Labs V1, Labs V2, and SAGE 3D. Because they all share the same state, you can alternate between them at your convenience.
Meanwhile, most bugs seem to have been solved, so definitely try out V2 if you haven’t already!
Here are the official patch notes for V2:
- Upgraded the dashboard with a focus on improving gameplay seamlessness through the Galia map
- The Galia map is now alive. Added a “Show Other Fleets” toggle to view fleets in real-time with their status (warping, idle, extracting)
- Added the ability to click on live fleets on the map to view the fleet’s composition and cargo
- Added the ability to view which fleets are occupying a selected sector
- Added a “Show Overview” toggle to view the legacy asset overview
Showroom (Pre-Season) Release 2.1.9
This past Friday, literally the last day they were hard at work this year, the team launched a big patch for the UE5 Showroom, R2.1.9. You can check up on all the updates and patch notes in the Medium article the team published, but below, we list some of the highlights!
Note that the new multiplayer environment the team is building alongside MetaGravity is not yet here. That also means that many things that rely on improved multiplayer capabilities are not in this patch. This means that multiplayer ground racing is not yet in.
That said, the team highlighted four areas where you can expect improvements or completely new gameplay:
- Volant Station Environment and Racing
- Ships and Character Configuration
- Bot Battle Arena Third-Person Shooter Experimental Mode
Race Against AI!
The race track has been extended significantly and now forms a closed loop, allowing for races that take multiple laps. The new track extension runs straight through the Volant Station’s (previously inaccessible) basement and comes with new pitstop areas and broadened tracks.
The racing mechanics have also changed, as the team overhauled the hover mode from top to bottom, offering a more realistic experience.
But arguably, the most important update to players is the addition of a single-player race mode against local AI-driven opponents! And this new mode comes with access to various experimental race tracks as well!
The Volant Station did not only receive a basement but is now also home to a brand-new Hangar Module. This module allows you to view and customize every ship available in Star Atlas. It’s not as expansive as R2.2 will be, but it’s a great start to show up in style for your races!
In addition, players can also find the new Companion Studio! This will allow players to create millions of different combinations of playable characters. Besides humans, this module also offers Mierese character options.
Arguably the least expected -but now that it’s known, most anticipated- addition to gameplay the R2.1.9 patch introduces is a new experimental game mode dubbed Shooter Arena. This arena offers a Third-Person Shooter (TPS) game mode, where players can hunt (and will for sure be hunted by) AI bots.
There is a broad array of weapons available, but the features that make it stand out -compared to other such games- are, without a doubt, the jetpack dash and slide mechanics. On top of this, players will also need to figure out the optimal use of the game’s shield dynamics.
Similar to Ground Racing, this game mode will get upgraded to a truly multiplayer experience with the upcoming R2.2 patch.
Lastly, the team has implemented numerous other upgrades to the Unreal Engine client. The game has been optimized and now also comes with DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling – Nvidia proprietary tech). More interestingly, all ships available on the Marketplace are now playable (in various states of progression), and ships locked into SAGE can now be summoned in UE5.
On top of this, the Dogfight map has been upgraded, and the Floyd Liner now comes with a testable turret station!
In short, the team added a lot of good stuff all around, which is worth exploring over the holiday season!
Besides the above breakdown, we also included the full patch notes for the sake of completeness:
- Added new hangar view for ship selection, ship configuration, and ship viewing
- Added new crew studio for character and skin selection
- Added “Studio Theme” toggle to Crew Studio and Hangar
- Updated Space Dogfight map
- Added several new weapon types from ship manufacturers
- Ogrika Niruch, Calico Scud, and VZUS solos have all reached a more refined art state
- Added ALL current marketplace ships and made them flyable (At least in clay state)
- Added new over-the-shoulder camera toggle
- Refactored hover mechanics and added advanced secondary motion on most hover ships
- Expanded Volant Station track
- Added a basement level pit-stop zone to Volant Station track
- Added new ship and character shield mechanics
- Added new turret station to Floydliner for testing
- Added new testable Mierese character
- Ships being used in SAGE will now be summonable in UE5 without the need to withdraw from SAGE
IMPORTANT: Experimental Mode features are not optimized and can be CPU intensive. Please keep that in mind when testing.
- Added new 3rd person shooter mode against bots
- Added multiple gun types including: Pistol, Assault Rifle, Shotgun, and Light Machine Gun
- Added new grenade
- Added 3rd person shooter and racing mini maps to player HUD
- Added new combat racing mode against bots
- Added new pickups in combat racing
- Added a new rewards and progression sneak peek
- Added multiple performance optimizations
- Added latest DLSS
- Added multiple VFX and SFX improvements
- Added multiple enhancements to p2p multiplayer
- Volant Airtrack, Ground Track, Flight Trainer Track and Track A won’t trigger a start.
Economic Report Q4
The team released their Q4 Econ Report last week, which is clearly a bit early as Q4 has not yet ended. They likely wanted to give people something to read over the holidays, however.
Key Highlights, according to the team, include:
- Daily SCORE participation shifted above the mean trend for the first time since the start of its decline in 2021.
- The ONI and USTUR factions waited for strong ATLAS/USDC price action to re-enter SCORE, while the MUD faction consistently re-entered over time.
- Aggregate census wealth grew by 302%.
- SAGE Labs supported 1,550 daily active wallets on average throughout the quarter.
- Surpluses of Golden Tickets produced by USTUR and ONI found a market in the MUD faction, leading to a substantial wealth exchange.
- Food, fuel, ammunition, toolkits, and survey data units showed incredible strength in their USDC valuation throughout the quarter.
This report shows a lot of comparisons between factions, which is definitely interesting to see. Two interesting observations (tipped by Aephia’s Data Runners):
Dwindling SAGE participation
The above graphs clearly show that SAGE participation (in terms of ships) peaked in mid-November 2023, with roughly 150k ships inside the game. From that point on, however, this number started declining, until right before the report was released, with only about 40k ships being in SAGE.
This movement coincided with the value of ATLAS going up, leading to people putting their ships back into Faction Fleet (SCORE). It’s then clear that something had to happen, which is exactly what the team did with the above-mentioned economic changes.
Golden Ticket Redemption per Faction
The above charts paint an interesting picture, where the Ustur and ONI produce (redeem) a good portion of the Golden Tickets, whereas the MUD faction is forced to buy them, as they do not produce enough to satiate their demand. The Econ Report explains that this led to 20 million ATLAS changing hands between the factions.
Of course, there are many more interesting insights to be had from reading the Econ Report. We definitely recommend you browse through it when you have a chance!
Golden Ticket Conclusion
The raffle for Week 8 of the Golden Ticket event has concluded! This was the last-ever raffle using Golden Tickets, with the total prize pool totaling $185k in VWAP value.
Previously, we reported the team was contemplating some potential new utility for Golden Tickets, but nothing concrete seemed to have come from that. During the Carnival (weekly meeting during the raffle draw), Michael (CEO) did mention that they may allow people to get their input materials back. None of this seems to be on the roadmap, however.
Though the team released a slew of interesting things these past few weeks, a lot is still forthcoming. The very first release expected for 2024 is the DAC Platform, which did not make it this year.
During the Town Hall (see below), Michael mentioned that they are also pushing the Mobile App and Crew (Packs) to the middle of 2024, to focus on Starcomm, SAGE Starbased, and Showroom R2.2.
Based on all the information released, our estimation (not confirmed by the team!) for the roadmap is currently as follows:
- Q1 2024: DAC Platform – Should be January unless prep-work for the new year takes too much time
- Q1 2024: SAGE Starbased – This is for the version without combat. If the team wants to add combat rights away, then we don’t expect to see this before Q2 of the year.
- Mid 2024: Showroom R2.2 – Massive Multiplayer, Multiplayer Racing/Shooting & Account / Ship Progression
- Q3 2024: Component/Module/Crew Airdrop – This is tightly coupled to the next item.
- Q3 2024: Mobile Companion App & Crew Packs – Crew is needed before the mobile app makes sense. It looks like we won’t see both before Q3 of 224
The 4th and last Town Hall of the year was held this past Thursday, where Michael and Santi (Community Director) were reminiscing about 2023 and looking forward to 2024. Star Atlas TV recorded the event, which you can check out here.
Additionally, we wrote down a summary of the event, which you may want to read up on if you prefer to save some time. The Town Hall, of course, came with some product announcements, which we already covered above.
CORE – Alt Cover #11
The alternative, limited-edition cover for the CORE Issue #11 (Act 2, episode 5) was released on the Galactic Marketplace this past Thursday. You can now acquire it for 3170 ATLAS, which was roughly worth 20 USDC when the team published the edition.
Star Atlas – CheckPoint #2
This past Saturday, three guild leaders, Witticus (ROME), Whitemane (The Unseen), and Funcracker (Aephia Industries), sat down with Santi (ATMTA Community Director) for a talk show hosted and moderated by the well-known content creator, Metaverse Explorer.
During this 2-hour show, the group discussed various low-, and highlights of 2023 and went over a good few of the more controversial topics within the community. If you missed their live stream, then it’s definitely worth checking the recording!
One year ago, at the tail end of 2022, this community initiative broadcasted its very first talk show using this format, though with a slightly different composition. If you want to reminisce some more during this holiday period, then you may find it worthwhile to check out that 2.5-hour episode as well.
Another interesting community project that launched last week is the $PURI meme-coin! A small group of community members conceived the tokens and have been putting in a lot of effort to distribute them ethically. So far, 65 of the top 100 most active Discord users have been sent a bag of $PURI, while the top 100 POLIS DAO contributors have also received a distribution. The community members are planning to ensure distribution to developers and content creators as well.
Meanwhile, they added liquidity on Raydium and sent the corresponding liquidity tokens to the Star Atlas DAO.
With that, we’ve reached the end of our last newsletter for 2023! Thanks for reading, and if you would like to receive these in your mailbox (if they are not already), make sure to subscribe!
If you appreciate some more light reading over the holidays, we recommend checking out these 12 stories the Star Atlas community wrote this past month for the story-writing competition we organized for the whole community.
Happy Holidays, and a wonderful 2024 to you!