New guy on the block

Added on 25 February 2015 by Silberspeer.

Hi everyone! New guy on the block is actually me and I am making this introduction by myself since now it is my job. So, my name is Sergey and I am a new PR and marketing manager for AtomicTorch Studio.

The main thing you need to know about me is, that I am really passionate about communication of any sort and from now on I will try to reply to everything you will ask or say to us. I've been working in game development since 2004 and started in GSC Game World (the same company that made S.T.A.L.K.E.R.) as a level-designer for their strategy projects, such as Cossacks II. In the past ten years I worked in a number of different companies. And, well, made an almost four years break to work as a criminal reporter in a major Ukrainian newspapers.

Now I am here to make already great communication between the community and our team more effective, and I am almost always in touch. Yeah, sometimes I sleep, but it happens to people. You can contact me at our forums (the Silberspeer guy), or just write me at info.atomictorch@gmail.com

Pre-release vacation!

Added on 14 February 2015 by Lurler.

What? Holidays? Now? Right before Steam release?!

Yup! :) Starting tomorrow, people in Asia will start celebrations of arrival of the new 2015 lunar year, the year of the Sheep (or Goat). And as you may know our company is also located in Asia. So, we are also going on holidays, starting February 15th until February 23rd with part of the team going back on 27th.


Frankly, we'd prefer to continue working, but alas, our office building will be closed during the holidays and we have no other choice but to partake in the celebrations :)

We will still try to be in touch during the holidays, but if we can't get a reply from us right away, don't worry, once we are back in the office we will be up to speed in no time!

Yup, that's us on the photo next to a traditional "new year tree". Happy holidays!

VoidExpanse Mod Spotlight: Co-Pilots

Added on 5 February 2015 by Lurler.

Today we are looking at a mod, or rather three different versions of the same mod, called "Co-pilots".

Here is a description straight from the author:

It can get lonely in the vast expanses of space. Here at Voidspace Recruiting, we offer a well trained team of professional co-pilots for you to take on your journeys through the star-systems of the Far Colonies!

The mod is compatible with the latest version of the game, so if you think it's somethind you'd enjoy - just head over to our forums and grab it!

VoidExpanse v1.0.1 is here!

Added on 2 February 2015 by Lurler.

Is it really that time? I can't believe it, honestly, but VoidExpanse is finally going to be released!

Yes, this version is very close to being the version we will send to "Gold", both on Steam and on our website. There are still a few small issues to fix, add achievements and such, but essentially the game is finally complete!

And here is our boxart for the game. To be honest I really like how it turned out to be :)

And yes, you can grab the game in our Store!

Anyway, we will have another blogpost when we release the very final version, so for now I would like to just share some of the changes in this version.

Here we go!

  • First of all we went over the entire game changing the balance to a lot of things. Few examples would be the experience system and how fast you progress, as well as mining, weapon stats and other elements.
  • We have finished the localization system and now the game could be translated to any new languages either by us or by players themselves. It will also ship with Russian language support built-in, so all of our friends from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and other countries using that language could enjoy the game as well. And hopefully we can introduce more languages later!
  • AI has been improved as well, making pirates and other enemies a bit smarter - now they won't engage in futile fights with other NPCs and try to retreat if they are taking heavy damages.
  • Target unlock is now also possible.

As always you can read a detailed list of changes on our forum where we list every small detail that was modified.

But the primary goals of this update were, of course, the stability improvements and bugfixes! We are not quite there yet, but the game is definitely very stable and almost bug free. Give us another week or so and it will be perfect in time for release :)

Now, I'm sure many of you now ask, - "But WHEN is the release?". And to that I can say - it's going to be very soon! But before we can release we need to take care of a few things and make sure we have prepared everything for a good press coverage, so the game has better chances of being seen by the media. And if we have good sales it will mean we can continue working on the game for a long time! And that is our goal, to continue making it even better and I hope together with your help we will be able to achieve this!

VoidExpanse Goes Beta!

Added on 14 January 2015 by Lurler.

Now is your last chance to grab VoidExpanse for $9.99!

Yes, VoidExpanse officially goes beta! Though, it is mostly just a name change. The game has been stable for many months already, we just didn't feel the need to change the status, since it really doesn't matter. But now that the official release is fairly soon we felt it is time to finally do so :) So, the next small patch will transition the game into "Beta" state with the subsequent release on Steam shortly after that and getting a "gold" (released) status.

But what does it all mean? It means that the game will no longer have "early access" discount and will be available for the full price at $14.99 USD, so if you were thinking of grabbing the game for cheap (just $9.99 now!) - it is your last chance! We will update our Store page with the new pricing in one week from now, so don't take too long! :)

But some of you might also ask "but what about the future of the game?". And it is really simple, actually. We would definitely like to continue working on the game even after the release! For as long as people are interested.

And lastly, we all at AtomicTorch Studio just want to say big thank you to everyone who supported us and our project! Without you we wouldn't have been able to achieve all this!

VoidExpanse - Update v0.15!

Added on 31 December 2014 by Lurler.

And the new update is now officially out! The game has finally transformed into something we wanted to see from the very beginning when we started this whole project.

So, what is new this time? We've already touched on some of the features in previous blog posts, but here I would like to give a detailed list of every major change. So, here we go.

The biggest change of course is the new User Interface. The whole game was pretty much redesigned from scratch.

The game can now be completed. Yes, the quest lines for all factions have finally been finished.

Public servers now use announcement system allowing them to be neatly listed in the multiplayer menu with search features, history, favorites and other goodies.

Tutorial system has been added as well.

And many, many other features as well. As always you can read the detailed list of changes on our forums.

VoidExpanse: Unique characters

Added on 16 December 2014 by Lurler.

We've finally implemented unique character portraits for the key NPCs in the game. The rest of the characters will still have random portraits, but certain NPCs will now have a specific portraits like the one you see below.

Can you guess who that guy is? You can leave your guesses in the comments, but I'm sure it isn't terribly difficult to figure out :)

VoidExpanse Mod Spotlight: Ships

Added on 15 December 2014 by Lurler.

Today we are looking at three new mods for VoidExpanse all of which add new ships into the game. Simple? True, but quite fun to have some variety.

So, here they are:

  • Banshee Type-0 - a super-light interceptor hull based on the Banshee design
  • Nebula-1C0 - superheavy freighter hull, based on Shuttle design
  • YT-1300 - the Millenium Falcon - this one, I believe, requires no explanation :)

So, there you have it.

As always you can find more stuff on our forums, or share your creations for the game as well.

 

VoidExpanse: Tutorials

Added on 1 December 2014 by Lurler.

We are continuing working on the game, making it ready for the big release, including release on Steam. And considering how massive the game is already, and how much there is to discover, it is essential to have a comprehensive tutorial for people who may find it useful.

Surprisingly implementing the tutorials didn't take long, so here it is! There are a few other important additions too, but I will leave it for next time.

VoidExpanse: New UI

Added on 24 November 2014 by Lurler.

It really should have happened ages ago, considering that it didn't take THAT much time to do, but man, it makes a world of difference!

What am I talking about? The new UI!

Take a look below. I think it looks gorgeous, no less than a "triple-A indie project" :)

We've implemented similar new UI style throughout the game significanly improving overall look and feel.

Let us know what you think about the new UI here in the comments or on our forums.

More VoidExpanse Sketches

Added on 11 November 2014 by Lurler.

Currently we are working on VoidExpanse victory screens for different factions with different possible endings, and as a part of that our artist Andrei drew a few sketches. The one below is a sketch for the Fanatics faction. Even though it is a very simple and rough sketch I think it really gives a vibe of what the fanatics are. Especially notice the Xengatarn pendant on him.

Anyway, it is just something neat I wanted to share :) Stay tuned for actual news soon!

VoidExpanse: Voice Acting

Added on 4 November 2014 by Lurler.

We are back with another small update about VoidExpanse development. This time I would like to talk about the voice acting for VoidExpanse.

Some time ago we already did some simple tests of that system, by including some voice events into the game and it proved to work out pretty nicely. So, this time we are doing it for real. We are collaborating with one prominent YouTube star that goes by the name Cr1TiKaL and he is voicing all computer phrases in the game.

If you watch his channel (Note: viewer discretion advised, some NSFW content) he has quite a unique way of pronouncing things. And if you combine it with a few "robotic" filters you get a pretty cool result.

Here are a few examples. It isn't the final version yet, but I think it gives a good idea of what the finished voice will sound like in the game.

(Voice: autopilot disengaged)

(Voice: access denied)

(Voice: energy level critical)

What are we up to?

Added on 22 October 2014 by Lurler.

Just a small update on what's going on with VoidExpanse. We've been working on many separate things required for the Steam release and it proves to be a lot more work than we anticipated initially, aside from that we are also working on the game itself.

So, here's what we've been up to recently:

  • Localization system implementation is progressing nicely. Localization of UI, items and pretty much everything else except quests/topics is fully implemented. Quests are a bit more complicated, but we will get to that as well. We want VoidExpanse to be available as many languages as we can. Below is an example of a game running in a different language.
  • Steam integration is a bit more difficult as it requires us to change how authentication is handled. It is extremely important for multiplayer to protect your identity and make your connection to the server secure among other things. Right now it is handled by our own secure server, but in case of Steam it has to be changed.
  • Steam extras such as trading cards, badges, emoticons and other such things have been completed. I really like how everything turned out to be. And I'm sure you will find it fun collecting all that stuff. Here's a small preview of one of the cards.
  • Story - we've finally finished the story for VoidExpanse. Yay! But it doesn't mean it's working as intended... yet :) It requires some more polish before we can call it finished. But never the less it's a huge milestone being able to complete the game. And remember, we have a completely separate storyline for each faction. So your choices will determine what actually happens in the galaxy and not all of these choices will lead to a happy ending.
  • And many, many other things.

VoidExpanse: Music, long version!~

Added on 14 October 2014 by Lurler.

This time it's a long one :)

We are continuing working with Konstantin Glazunov, our composer for VoidExpanse to bring even more different music to VoidExpanse, but aside from that we decided that it might actually be interesting to have an in depth explanation on how music is created for VoidExpanse, and here it it.

Konstantin Glazunov:

"Music creation starts with a simple basic idea, where and when a particular piece of music should exist. Some text description, a few screenshots, maybe sketches, pretty much anything goes - as it helps to start the creative process. It is very important, at least for me, to actually like the game I am creating a music piece for. Even if it's a simple concept on paper.

For VoidExpanse we decided to use darker style, you will rarely hear elements like peaceful modulations of “heaven bells” in major key or something similar. The reason for that - the game universe, according to the backstory is a dark place, with many uncovered mysteries and tragic events. Everywhere you go is danger, such as pirates or hostile aliens. But there is definitely a place for heroism of the main character or interactions with other people and many wonderful places to discover. Music follows the story, sometimes it is heroic, sometimes insinuating, and there are some places where it is completely special – for example, in the “dump” star systems (that piece of music is one of my favorites).


I have two methods for writing – to use some music parts created earlier or to compose completely new one. For VoidExpanse I opt for the latter. I start to improvise, using my digital piano or MIDI-keyboard, to see what I can come up with. We, musicians, sometimes call it "to rave" :) But thankfully the more I work on a particular project the easier it is for me to generate interesting ideas in improvisation. The most difficult thing is definitely to start, create one or two first tracks. Though there may be hard tasks at any stage of work. So, I catch good ideas from my improvisation and create some sample or draft record (or several records). The sound used for improvisation is also very important, therefore I first try to collect rough sounds for my project and utilize them in this draft.


Then it is a long way to get this piece of music into shape. The main goal is to obtain intermediate version of the track which I can send to developers. And this version, first of all, must convince me. Choosing right samples and sounds takes the majority of the time in this process, and writing instrument scores is comparatively fast. All work is done in Cubase. I use different virtual synths, samples and sample libraries. I like to combine samples of classical instruments, such as strings or brass, with modern pads and effects. This gives music depth of symphonic orchestra, while at the same time modern “acid” sounds accentuate and diversify this symphony. In VoidExpanse many technogenic sounds are used, in addition to different kinds of variable frequency filters, stereo delay, phaser and flanger effects. This adds “space” character to the music. And, of course, it complicates selection and combination of sounds for arrangement, it is much easier to work with traditional instruments.


Maybe now I need to mention, what an “arrangement” it. It is the creation of all scores (melodic or rhythmic “lines”) of all the instruments in the music piece. Process of arrangement differs from track to track. If composition has expressed melodic line or written according to “classical” scheme (for example, “contrapunctum”), then I try to denote all scores for the whole track at once and don’t care about perfect selection of sounds, because main idea is obvious anyway. Sounds will fit together a bit later. Examples of these tracks: outpost station theme (“Mechanical Realm”), combat theme “High Energy Particles”, science station theme (“Tree of Eternal Evolution”). In other cases I compose only a part of the track but use the right sounds and make this part nearly complete, in order to hear the final music "picture". Then I compose the next part, and so on. I often use improvisation to create an instrument line, selecting the most appropriate version of the score after that.


And the last stage – finalizing of arrangement and a rough mastering. This happens after developers approve my version of the track. Often all work is done towards this moment except some details; the more filled is arrangement, the easier it is for me to deliver music idea to customer. As for mastering, this is volume and frequency levelling to make the track shine and to comply with some technical specifications requested by the developers. The stage of mastering is very important, but it’s not so critical in case of game music, it comes much more critical while creating music albums and singles.


And this is how music composition for VoidExpanse comes out."

Well, that was definitely an in-depth explanation. I personally found it extremely interesting to read and I hope you did too!

VoidExpanse - Update v0.10!

Added on 8 October 2014 by Lurler.

And here it is! The final update inside alpha branch. The next update will bring us beta! But let's not get ahead of ourselves and concentrate on what we have now :)

This update was meant to be a small content addition while we are working on the big features for beta release, but we realized that we can also push some of already implemented features here as well. So, what's new this time?

Female characters

We were able to finally add female characters into the game along with a complete overhaul of the avatar system. Now each face feature has a different chances for generation (no more aviators on 90% of people) and different filters making characters look more realistic.

We also touched on the graphics as well, improving overall look of all characters in the game.

Alternative controls scheme

We've been asked to introduce an alternative control scheme for quite some time to allow for more casual play and here it is. You can choose between classical mode or switch to a new simplified one, where the ship automatically follows your mouse.

Navpoints and autopilot system

Yes, no true space game can be without autopilot! We've introduced a navpoin system where you can put markers on all system maps for easier navigation (they will show up on your radar) as well as selecting autoilot destination both on system and on galaxy maps.

All new graphics for items

Up until now almost all items in the game had placeholder graphics. Not anymore. Every single item now has a completely unique icon associated with it.

And much, much more!

You can read the patchnotes on our forum, as always. And while at it, feel free to join the discussions! We are always glad to hear more feedback as it really helps us see the impact of all the changes we make to the game.

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