Welcome to our 77th newsletter on Star Atlas! This weekly newsletter is published by Aephia Industries and focuses entirely on Star Atlas. Here we try to aggregate all the newsworthy tidbits that were dropped by the team throughout the past week.
The day we have all been waiting for has finally come! Whether you were waiting for your first taste of on-chain gameplay, or to navigate a ship in the foundation of what will grow to become SAGE, late last Wednesday night (for those in the US, for those of you in the EU, it was very early morning after), on April 26th, the day finally came! It was the moment we could jump into Escape Velocity and captain our ship(s) through the Movement Test.
There was one other release that had difficulty staying in the spotlight for very long, which was the IP Licensing agreement. Perhaps less sexy to most, the services & fan-made products this enables might very well one day eclipse your enthusiasm for this early on-chain Movement Test!
Let’s dive in!
We wrote about the pending release last week, on the heels of the announcement made by Michael (CEO) during the last Townhall, and now it has arrived! Escape Velocity (EV), the official name for the SAGE Movement Test/Scavenger Hunt we’ve talked so much about this year, can be played in your browser as we speak! If you’re looking to get up to speed quickly, we heartily recommend you check out our extensive Escape Velocity Guide!
While the guide goes into the intricacies of the game, we’ll cover the latest stats, insights, and upcoming updates in this newsletter!
Test 1, 2…
For starters, let’s explore what we are exactly supposed to test. Michael and Shula (Lead Game Designer – SAGE) shed some light on this:
- On-chain, real-time movement – Does the team’s tech-stack provide responsive gameplay, and how smooth does this feel in the front end? In addition, the team wants to see how much stress this will cause on their systems and if the network can handle all the required interactions.
- User experience & journey
- Economic system design
- General game theory for applications – How exploitable/bot-able is this, and how OK are we (red: the team) with this?
- The process by which the team releases test environments – They hope to improve the release process down the line.
Loot Table Update
A major update was made to the Loot Table in between the Townhall and the actual launch of Escape Velocity. Based on feedback from internal testers, the team decided to dramatically increase the loot on the map, resulting in many more successful scans. We don’t know how much loot was going to be on the map originally, but suggestions have been made that it now is about 10 times more than before public release.
This would match with the updated probabilities of the various Loot Tiers, where the Copper Tier has gone up from 87% to 99%, resulting in the other tier’s probabilities each going down by roughly a factor of 10. The Copper Tier loot tier itself saw its values also divided by 10.
The reason for this is easily understood. The team tried to keep the amount of Bronze and higher tier loot roughly the same, while putting more loot on the map.
All in all, this has resulted in many more, but smaller loot packages (e.g. 10 ATLAS instead of 100 ATLAS) being present on the map at all times. Netto, nothing really changed with regard to the value of loot found by players. But at least now they will find loot more often, which of course, leads to a more enjoyable gaming experience!
You may wonder when you’ll get the loot you found in EV, because now it only states “processing…? According to Michael, the team is holding distribution for a little while, but it should start this week or the next. After this initial round, distributions will come more frequently (probably daily).
Stats, stats, and more stats
Before the game went live, the economists were greatly looking forward to the treasure trove of data they would receive from it. And they have been kind enough to share some of it with us!
The above graph shows the amount of EV-related transactions that took place on the Solana mainnet as a percentage of all transactions that were processed by the Solana network, as measured over the first 32 hours after launch. At a few points in time, close to 4% of transactions on the network were related to Escape Velocity!
Another interesting image is this one, depicting where people have found loot and how often they found it there. The darker the purple square (sector), the more often loot was found by people in that location.
Now it would be too simple to conclude that those are the spots you may want to park your ship on. If the team is using a decent randomization algorithm (and there is no reason to believe otherwise), the above image is really just showing where the most player activity (“scanning”, to be exact) has been taking place.
Unsurprisingly, the center shows a hotspot, but clearly, player activity favored the left side over the right side as well. Use information like this to your advantage!
For more data like this, do follow Steven Sabol (Director of Economy) on Twitter. Just this morning, he shared a short video on Twitter visualizing where (every hour) loot was found since launch, using a color scheme to denote the relative quantities.
Our very own data runners have, of course, been keeping a close eye on Escape Velocity as well, so here is some data from our own kitchen!
Heatmap – Provided by Aephia Intel – The color scale goes from black to purple, with green, yellow, and red in between
The above images may remind you of the animations shown earlier this year on Twitter by both Michael and Santi, and there is a clear reason for that. We used the style of those animations to render our own overviews of the map. The above images show the fleet density on the 101 x 101 sector map on three consecutive days. The black squares contain no fleets, the purple ones contain more than 8 of them.
Do note that this says very little about the activity of all those fleets. The only thing we can see is that more and more fleets (each one containing a single Fimbul Lowbie) have been added to the game.
At the time of publishing, there are over 19.3k fleets present, for an average of 1.9 fleets/ships per sector.
A good portion of these fleets are inactive, however. When a player stops playing, but does not despawn their ships, they will stay on the map, adding to the total.
In the above table, you can once again see the EV transactions as a percentage of the total Solana transactions. The difference is that here these numbers are compared over a full 24h hours. It’s also fun to see that Escape Velocity is generating a number of transactions that lies between 69 and 87% of the total daily transactions that take place on Ethereum (obviously a different chain, but the one every other chain compares itself with).
Another item of interest here is the Active Fleets number. As we know that there are 19k+ ships present on the map, it’s clear that at this time, only about 60% are actually active during the day. Note that activity means movement, however. There are also plenty of fleets that remain stationary and just scan the whole time. These fleets are not considered “active” by any block-chain metric, simply because scans do not create an on-chain transaction.
Lastly, despite the number of active players (really, Solana accounts) going down day after day since launch, the number of warps (movement actions) remains relatively constant, meaning there are fewer players, but they are more active. Note that these last two days were weekend days, which likely skews this data, as people have more time to play. And again, some people may simply remain stationary, which makes them look like inactive players from the chain’s perspective.
So how long will we be able to play/test Escape Velocity? Originally we heard expectations of at least one month come from the team, but we have learned since that this test may actually run for up to 3 months.
New Multi-player Mode
We won’t be playing the exact same version of Escape Velocity over the next few weeks, this game will get an upgrade at some point! The team is planning to introduce loot that comes with multiple charges. When you scan for loot, you will only loot one charge yourself while the rest remains available to others. This will greatly encourage communication and coordination with friends and (potential) guild-mates, as the loot is there for the taking!
Star Atlas: Build
Last Wednesday, about 8 hours before EV would go live, the team launched its Star Atlas: Build program! This program has been built around their new IP License Agreement, which allows you to create products and services using (some) of Star Atlas’ IP & art. A newly added webpage to the build.staratlas.com website contains all the information you need to start. It also provides access to the art assets that are currently available for use. Absolutely do check out the article the team wrote as well, as it contains a FAQ and some examples.
With the license allowing you to earn royalty-free revenue up to $1 million, this really opens a ton of doors for people seeking to sell products using Star Atlas IP. One of the first initiatives using this new IP license is Galia Merchants, a merchandise-selling initiative that went online shortly after the announcement.
The requirements are very light. In most cases, there is no preapproval required. Nor do you need to own an NFT or pay anything up front. So, if you’ve got ideas of your own, be sure to check out the website and fill in this form!
We’ve got a small bit of news regarding the Showroom, but deemed it important enough to give it its own prominent header! In general, not much attention was given to the Showroom last week, with the company aiming the spotlight squarely at Escape Velocity (and the Build program). But Danny (CPO) did reveal that the team will “go into soft feature locking” for the R2.1 build this week, after which they will polish it during the month of May. This likely means a release won’t come before the end of May or even early June.
The Social Campaign will kick off this week! We have little information about it, except for what we summarized in last week’s newsletter. Key takeaways are that this campaign “integrates with all the product launches, events, social events, and digital experiences this year” and will come with its own Loot Table!
More on this in the next issue, after the launch!
Michael shared that at present, 5% of the Faction Fleets’ need for R4 is met by the production of the current staked Claim Stakes. If all remaining Claim Stakes were to be sold and staked in Faction Claims, this would go up to 12%.
The team briefly looked at the option of introducing a hard cap on the R4 resources the DAO sells, as a first step in the transition to a player-2-player economy. However, they decided not to go there yet, as the additional R4 income through Escape Velocity is not nearly enough to make that work. Even if all the R4 loot would be found every minute, the team would need to sell another 35,000 new Claim Stakes (avg size) to make sure all the ships can remain active in Faction Fleet if no more R4 was sold by the DAO. That number dwarves the current supply, so this is not presently an option.
With Escape Velocity out in the wild, it’s perhaps a good time to look at what the team has released these past 2 years, and what else we can expect to see in 2023. To that end, we have collected and analyzed all the interviews, Townhalls, Atlas Brews, Discord, and Twitter messages since the beginning of this year (doing a lot of “reading between the lines”) and assembled a new version of the Roadmap for you.
With so much stuff going on, we upgraded from a 3×3 to a 3×4 grid, but still had to summarize some of the older releases into one item to make it all fit. And there is still plenty of smaller stuff omitted here. It is our hope that this image will help manage the expectations of newcomers and OGs alike!
The round out this week’s newsletter, let’s end with the one piece of new art that was dropped this week! Danny (CPO) shared that the team is giving Escape Velocity its time in the spotlight, hence the one image only. But it is a good one!
The team shared an image of the Ogrika Medkit last week, which is a component on the Ogrika ships that have rescue services onboard, but lack physical space to house a full medical bay.