Welcome to our 90th 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.
This past week has been a true rollercoaster! We reported on the bombshell announcement in last week’s newsletter, which was followed by mild panic among the community. But then, this past Wednesday, the team hosted a special “Townhall” meeting where Michael (CEO) shed some more positive light on the new reality going forward, including the team’s runway and their product lineup. Danny (CPO) then elaborated on some of the upcoming features for Showroom R2.2 that they previously kept under wraps.
Good stuff! So, let’s dive in!
This past Wednesday, the team hosted a special “Company Update” meeting (or ad-hoc Townhall) instead of the regular Atlas Brew. We recorded the whole event for those who missed it or would like to rewatch it. If you have the time, it is definitely worth checking out in full! However, if you prefer to read an extensive written report instead, we published that as well!
Note that this newsletter is mostly a summary of this report, so if you want to learn more about anything you read below, be sure to check it out!
During the meeting, Michael shared that they have a conservative runway estimate of 12+ months after the reductions. This estimate did factor in a light revenue stream going forward but excludes revenue growth in any way from new asset releases, such as crew members, or new ship sales.
On Friday, he shared on Discord that they ran through the updated financials and found that their runway estimate is now, in fact, 18+ months without any new revenue or investment.
Michael also shared that with the smaller burn, the team should be better positioned to hit break-even with their financials and be more appealing to investors.
Changes & Timeline
A few things changed with the restructuring:
- UE5 and the DAO have gotten deprioritized. The DAC MVP is nearly here, but future updates thereafter have been deprioritized as well.
- CORE, the Graphic Novel, will continue uninterrupted. Tim McBurnie is still employed by ATMTA.
- The Showroom R2.2 update has an updated target date of late Q4 or early Q1.
- Starbased still requires 2-3 months of work in order to hook up the UI to the middleware.
- The Star Atlas Companion app will be worked on after Starbased is live
- Instead of waiting for Starbased, the team is releasing their internal test tool (simplified, 2D UI) to us within 3 weeks: SAGE Labs!
During the Townhall, Michael and Danny mentioned that Sperasoft and Vertpaint were still providing support with their product development. Danny added that they still needed to finalize conversations with both companies, and it was not yet clear how many individuals would remain co-developing with the team.
Those talks seem to have wrapped up last week as well, with Michael sharing the following message:
We [..] locked down some incredible talent retention with Vertpaint, Sperasoft, and The Lost Pixels. We still have 36 people working on the Unreal client and within Product team.Michael Wagner (CEO)
Michael announced that, though Starbased was going to take a bit longer, the community would soon (within 3 weeks after the Townhall) be able to get in on an intermediate SAGE product: SAGE Labs!
SAGE Labs offers all of the gameplay features of SAGE: Starbased, but comes with a very simplistic, 2D interface. It’s quite literally a somewhat prettified version of the team’s internal testing tool.
Though this won’t be very appealing to the mainstream market, it will go live on Solana mainnet and come with the full economic gameplay originally slated to arrive with Starbased. As such, it will likely be enough for spreadsheet enthusiasts (any EVE Online fans?), but others may not find this all that appealing.
Michael compared the interface to OGame, which is a little ironic given that this is also what the team compared the anticipated browser game to near the end of 2021, before the switch to WebGL.
The team is going to kick off a big promotion when SAGE Labs launches, allowing players to win $150k worth of Star Atlas assets (VWAP) every week! This promo will run for 10 weeks straight, meaning the team will distribute over $1.5 million (in VWAP) prizes to players.
To be able to participate in a weekly raffle, you will need to get your hands on Golden Tickets. There are two ways to get these:
- Craft them in SAGE Labs. You will obviously need to gather the right ingredients for this.
- Earn them through the new referral system (see below).
More details will be shared closer to the launch of SAGE Labs!
The team will share their Typescript code with the community, which is used by Starcomm to communicate with the on-chain programs. This will enable developers in the community to create their own UI/application to interact with the game. And, as the on-chain programs will be used in all upcoming SAGE products going forward, these community-created applications will also remain functioning after future updates to SAGE.
Star Atlas Companion
The team will work on the integration of the mobile app after the release of SAGE: Starbased (meaning, the addition of the UI to SAGE Labs). We already know the app will be a “fitness” app, providing move-to-progress functionality where you can level up a single crew member (until a certain ceiling) through walking, running, or cycling.
However, we did get a new reveal: It will come with Free to play mode!
Free to play
This mode will allow people to download the app from the store and get to business right away. They can immediately level up their default crew member’s skill by moving around. However, they won’t be able to use the crew member in SAGE or UE5 unless they mint it first. This way, they can just use the app without spending any money until they decide it’s worth it. And, of course, they are not required to mint at all if they don’t feel the benefits are worth it.
On Discord, Michael shared that there are a few things holding the team back from dropping crew members to ship owners, some of which also hold back the mobile app. Optimally, they would like to:
- Get ship configuration online to allow for crew slotting.
- Allow for the minting of NFTs, in addition to SFTs, on the Galactic Marketplace.
- Get procedural trait generation going (either developed in-house or through leveraging existing tech).
- Add NFT support to the Galactic Marketplace, which is currently built for SFTs only.
- Get a whitelisting mechanism online, so the community gets first dibs at the crew minting functionality before other communities and, lastly, the public.
The team’s goal is to have all crew-related releases in a relatively short span of time. No matter which comes first, ship configuration, fitness trainer mobile app, crew drops to current ship holders, or crew (new) minting, the others should follow quickly thereafter.
Another surprise announcement from the Townhall: The referral system will be overhauled somewhere in the next two weeks! The team has had a good relationship with the team at LadderCaster (an experimental web3 game), who have recently launched BuddyLink, an on-chain referral program.
BuddyLink allows Star Atlas to add additional instructions to a transaction, creating a bond (buddy) between two accounts. After the bond is made, this relationship and future earnings through it are visible on-chain. If they so choose, ATMTA will also be able to transfer tokens immediately to the right accounts whenever a purchase is made by a buddy on the Galactic Marketplace. Note that the team has not yet provided any details on the technical implementation.
The team will launch their StarPath V2 referral system, built on top of BuddyLink, very soon!
When the new program goes live, You will get a Golden Ticket for every person you refer, which you can redeem in the weekly raffles that will start with the launch of SAGE Labs (see above). But that is, of course, not all. That is only the start. In addition, you will receive:
- 30% of the purchase price whenever an asset is bought by the person you referred from the team directly (also called: primary market sales)
- 30% of the fee the team collects on every secondary sale, where your buddy is the buyer. Every secondary Galactic Marketplace sale has a fee attached (of up to 6%), of which the team collects 2/3 (with the remainder going to the DAO). Example: If a seller has no ATLAS locked, the team collects 4% of any asset sold by them, which would translate to 1.2% of the purchase price going to you (when someone you referred buys that asset).
Danny used the opportunity during the Townhall event to lift the veil for R2.2 a good deal further! Not only will it get us ground racing (aka hover racing) in, they are working on a lot more! For one, the requirement for a key will be dropped. Everyone will be able to just download the Showroom and play. But then there is also Ship Mastery!
The biggest reveal: You will be able to improve your skill with handling specific ships through racing and dogfighting in the UE5 environment. This progression is stored on-chain and is tied to your account.
You can progress your skill for a specific ship over several levels, up to level 10. Each new level you attain will unlock a new kind of reward. You can think of weapons, shields, charms, posters, or skins related to that ship. Level 10 will earn you a legendary ship skin!
It’s likely that not all ships can be mastered from the get-go. The team considers enabling new ships over time to keep things fresh and allow them to still release small updates to the Showroom next year.
The deal with MetaGravity is not affected by the recent changes and has been priced into the latest runway estimate. In fact, the MetaGravity team will start this week on improving the integration and building out the multiplayer capabilities of the Showroom.
Danny clarified that having a robust multiplayer system will make it a lot easier for them to release new gameplay modes. He hinted at an “arena shooter” variant coming in the future, where players would be able to use (and shoot with) ships.
In order to use crew members and the components earned with Ship Mastery, it is necessary for Ship Configuration to be available as well! Danny mentioned that the Gameplay Ability Systems (GAS) for this are already in place, but it still needs to be built out further.
Race Event Scheduler
Another thing the team still has to work on is a Race Event Scheduler. Having everyone in the same instance is awesome, as it will allow hundreds of spectators to witness races inside the actual game! However, this also means there needs to be an event scheduler where people can sign up for future races. This feature will, of course, be built on-chain!
Note that it will also be possible to race in a private instance.
Known Web3 Gaming influencer CryptoStache sat down with Michael last week, a day after he co-hosted a show called Around the Metaverse, where he appeared very skeptical about Star Atlas’ chances of survival. Of note: this interview had already been scheduled before the team’s announcement; it was not in reaction to that broadcast.
In this interview, Michael is giving Illuvium a lot of flack. This is possibly in response to the aforementioned Around the Metaverse show, where Andrew Wall (Host & Executive Producer at Illuvium), a guest on the show, shared his strong skepticism about the project (and the space as a whole) as well.