Welcome to our 114th newsletter on Star Atlas! This weekly newsletter, published by Aephia Industries, focuses entirely on the development of this ambitious game. Here, we try to aggregate all the newsworthy tidbits revealed [mainly by the team] throughout the past week.
The first month of 2024 is almost in our rearview mirror, and though there has been no big bang yet (as expected), we’ve had a decent amount of news to report on every week. This past week was no exception! Major highlights of course: the first ship release of the year and the Community Week announcement for the last week of February. On top of that, Michael (CEO) provided an overview of the work going on to improve stability and reduce technical issues, which we included verbatim.
Then, there were a bunch of smaller tidbits worth sharing, such as the Atlas Brew, Econ changes, and conferences. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
This past Tuesday, the team released the first ship of 2024 to the Galactic Marketplace: the Fimbul Sledbarge! This capital ship is the first freighter in its size class.
The total supply is 449 ships, and the origination price (set by the team) is $20,625. The first 134 ships are being sold at a 33% discount, meaning you can buy one for $13,750 in USDC or ATLAS (both sides started with a supply of 67). For the first 30 days, the secondary market is unavailable.
As we pointed out last week, this ship comes with an amazing amount of cargo space, as can be seen in the ship stats spreadsheet that Chip maintains. Now that the ship is on sale, we can see that this space is provided by a whopping total of 6 capital cargo slots!
During this first week of the Sledbarge being available, the team sold two of these ships, one on each market (USDC & ATLAS).
For your convenience, here is the description of the Sledbarge:
The Fimbul Sledbarge has a crucial historical role in the post-Convergence War era, and is known throughout Galia as one of the symbols of the reconstruction efforts and cooperation in the safe zone. This capital-sized freighter symbolizes prosperity, showing how far the trading amidst the Council of Peace civilizations has progressed, especially after the creation of the Starpath. By being one of the most cost-efficient ways of hauling massive amounts of cargo, the Sledbarge has built its reputation as a reliable freighter for all kinds of cargo. From ores to high-complexity components, it accepts and transports everything to any point in the galaxy. In the current days, the sight of one of those behemoths descending from the skies towards planetarian harbors brings warmth to the heart, reminding us that we are indeed living the Golden Era of space exploration.Sledbarge Description
After a hiatus in 2023, both COPA and the Jonin Awards are back!
For 2024, the team decided to wrap both events into a Community Week, including additional events and surprises to round out the full week. The planning is:
- Monday, February 26 – The Community Week Kickoff
- Tuesday, February 27 – Special Event
- Wednesday, February 28 – Atlas Brew #100
- Thursday, February 29 – COPA (Guild awards)
- Friday, March 1 – Joni Awards (Community awards)
One and a half years after the first (and only) COPA event (mid-2022), the team is organizing another Council of Peace Assembly (COPA) event! At this event, around a dozen DACs will present on stage, introducing/selling their guild and explaining how they are helping Star Atlas grow.
DACs have to register before February 20th and provide the slide deck used for their presentation a week later. The team will go over these decks on the 20th and 21st of February, after which they will announce which DACs are going on to the final round, where they can present on stage during the main event on February 29th.
If you are a DAC, be sure to read through the announcement to understand the criteria the panel of judges considers while evaluating the presentations.
Though the most important prize arguably is the honor bestowed upon the top 3 DACs, there are more tangible prizes this time around as well. Specifically, you can win a CSS Land plot (includes habitat) for your DAC:
- 1st place: CSS Tier 3 Land plot($17,000 Origination Price)
- 2nd place: CSS Tier 2 Land plot ($7,900 Origination Price)
- 3rd place: CSS Tier 1 Land plot ($1,369 Origination Price)
Besides the Guild event and award show, the team is also bringing back the community-focused awards this year! The previous Joni awards (December 2022) were fully community-powered, with the community both nominating and then voting on the winners.
For this second edition, the team by far has the biggest say in who wins which award, with 80% of the vote coming from them. The community can still vote (there is no separate nomination round this time) on their favorites, but their vote only counts for 20%.
Despite this making it much less “by the community,” you are still encouraged to cast your vote! Please do so before the deadline of February 9th!
The awards being given this year are:
- Community Member of the Year
- Content Creator of the Year
- Most Entertaining Video of the Year
- Best Educational Video of the Year
- Best Community Tool of the Year
- Community Helper of the Year
- Most Knowledgeable of the Year
- Star Atlas IP Project of the Year
- Best Star Atlas In-game Photo of the Year
Michael (CEO) posted an in-depth message in the Foundation Room that goes into the infrastructure improvements the team is currently working on. Instead of summarizing the post, we include it below in full (with permission from Michael):
There are really four different categories of infrastructure improvements we’re working towards right now:
- Starcomm: Redevelopment in Rust, as people are aware. This actually is not going to lead to much of an improvement in player experience, but will offer significantly higher scalability in the solution. We estimate a maximum player count in the 30,000 concurrent player range in typescript, and orders of magnitude higher in Rust. Rust debugging is also much easier for our devs, so we can resolve issues that arise faster. There is some other nuance here, as this new version of Starcomm allows us to deprecate Colyseus and the Colyseus data schema, which requires data transformation to be handled by the client. That goes away. But this update is more about future proofing the platform.
- RPC infrastructure: we are looking at creating redundances and a fallback option to our RPC service offering. This will (should) eliminate outages when we exceed rate limits or otherwise hit constraints on RPC processing. I do expect this to improve the overall player experience.
- Indexing: I’m not comfortable going in depth on this topic yet, but the team is discussing some options we have to considerably improve the time between actions taken and their representation in the client. As an example, an action like docking your fleet might take 2-3 seconds (2000-3000 milliseconds) to appear in the client. With some reworking, it’s possible we can get that down to 150 milliseconds, or almost equivalent to that of any mainstream product that doesn’t integrate blockchain. This would have the biggest impact on player experience, imo. Would feel completely real time.
- Priority Fees: given the increase in activity across Solana in recent months, the importance of setting priority fees has risen. None of our apps were architected to include those previously, because it just wasn’t a necessity. These are changes that are rolling out now and over the next couple of weeks that should ensure transaction times stay on the lower end and improve confirmations, so less failed transactions.
I think a lot of these improvements will be rolled out between end of Q1 and Q2. Should be living under a drastically different player experience by then.Michael Wagner
Michael added the following after someone expressed concern that the team may not be working on gameplay and other tools anymore:
We still have teams working on DAC platform (very soon tm) and game systems. Game systems are progressing quite nicely. There are just dedicated devs working on getting these updates out asap. Wouldn’t be faster adding any more onto the task, and isn’t really slowing anything down on the game dev side.Michael Wagner
- Last week, ATLAS and POLIS liquidity vaults were created on Kamino, a popular liquidity and lending platform on Solana! Specifically, ATLAS-SOL and POLIS-SOL vaults, which run on top of Orca, have been added here.
- Michael will present at the Solana Crossroads event in Istanbul, Turkey. This community-organized conference (specifically by Step Finance) will take place on May 10 and 11th in the Hilton Bosphorus Conference Center. Early Bird tickets are still available!
- Last week’s Atlas Brew had Chris (Head of Game Economy) and Gareth (Economic Analyst) as guests, and they discussed the Econ Report that they published at the tail end of 2023 and the current state of the economy. Though perhaps not filled with alpha, it’s always good to hear directly from the econ team!
- The team’s Biomass and POLIS accounts ran out of tokens last week, leading to ships becoming stuck in SAGE when mining Biomass and the POLIS reward being unclaimable on the POLIS Locker. Both issues have since been resolved.
- From the Brew: Starbased will come with Loyalty Points & ATLAS earnings. When this goes live, there is likely to be another reduction in SCORE rewards.
- Lastly, the econ team updated the crafting fees in SAGE to 7% this past week.
This week, beyond the Sledbarge concepts, the team shared one more art-piece related to the various guns you’ll be able to attach to your ships.
That is it for this week! See you in February!