Welcome to this weeks Skywatch development update!
We have some treats for you this week. Let me begin with some news about the open development community. Our latest game build was shared with our existing open development playtesters yesterday! This is the biggest update to the game so far, and brings a lot of the early gameplay loops much closer to how we envision them in the final game. There are still lots of placeholder art, assets and mechanics, but overall the early gameplay experience is now feeling much more like where we want it to be at, so it's been a super exciting (and busy!) period for the team over the last few weeks to get that ready and we can't wait to hear the feedback from our playtesters.
This leads me on to the next bit of news regarding open development - the next wave of open development invitations will be going out next week! The outreach to the people who have been selected for this wave has already begun, and some of you will have received a Discord DM congratulating you on being selected. I'm still reaching out to people, so if you haven't received a DM just yet, there's still a chance you've been selected. NDA's will be getting sent to the people who have been selected in this round early next week.
If you don't hear from me however, don't fret! We'll be following up with a smaller wave of invites in a couple of weeks time! This will be the final wave of invitations before we break for the holidays, but when we return in the new year there will be plenty more opportunities to get involved in playtesting. If you'd like to find out more about how you can sign-up to playtest the game, click here.
With that out of the way, let's jump in to today's Skywatch!
As usual, our character team have been working on some awesome stuff these past couple of weeks. Character customisation is now in the early stages of development, and the latest game build that was shared with our open dev group yesterday has the initial WIP implementation of a character creator, with the option to choose between a few different hairstyles, as shown in the screenshot below. This is obviously a super early version of the character creator, which will be much more fleshed out once the game launches.
The following images give a look at some early concepts and renders of masculine and feminine character face variations.
Finally from our character team this week, a look at our updated Saborian rifle and shotgun models, which have both now been fully textured.
Just a couple of updates from our shipbuilding team this week. First up, the video clip below shows the updated hologram effect for ship panels during crafting. The hologram effect has been made more transparent, since during internal playtests some people thought that the blue panels would have collision and could be walked on (not the case). The extra transparency better conveys that during crafting, the panels are not solid.
The clip below shows our shipyard collision detection. As the 'arms' of our Saborian shipyard unfold, they'll stop when they come in to contact with a collideable object.
The final update from our shipbuilding team this week is a look at the early greybox model for our research table.
Our island team have been hard at some seriously impressive content. First up, the video below is a showcase of the new tutorial island, that players start on in the latest build of the game.
Next up, we've shared some of the circular patterns and symbols that are characteristic of the Gall culture previously, and the in-game UI actually incorporates a lot of those same shapes and symbols. The images below though, show some ideas on how Gall glyphs/symbols might have been used as a language. Inspired by Japanese Kanji and Egyptian Hieroglyphs, the idea is that the Gall language utilised simple mathematical equations and rules to determine how the symbols would link together to form words.
First up from our art team, we have these lovely illustrated 4K wallpapers to share with you, which have been done by our talented Jonathan Betts. These landscapes are inspired by the tutorial island from the latest build of the game. You can right click the images and select 'open image in new tab' to view the images in their full resolution.
Next up, the concept piece below is of the Ark computer. As we've mentioned previously, when you begin playing Lost Skies, you'll spawn inside a crashed Ark ship (a concept for which can be seen in the second concept piece above). The Ark's were Gall 'lifeboats' that were intended to preserve humanity after the destruction of the old world, and in the concept below for the Ark computer, you can once again see the signature circular Gall glyphs engraved in the surface of the machine.
Below is a look at some of the UI icons our UI artist has been working on. We're going to post a UI themed Skywatch in the future, once the UI is nearer to completion that will show a lot of the UI concepts right through to implementation into the game, so consider this a sneak peak.
The image below shows some of the in-game pick-ups that you will serve as ingredients for various crafting recipes in the game.
The following concept art is for our scanning spike, which will be used to scan for resources on an island.
The images below show our fully textured cave creature model.
And finally from our art team this week, the shot below is one of a selection of artistic shots that our team have been capturing, thanks to some new cinematic capture tools that were developed by one of our developers, Tom Jackson recently that allow us to capture some fantastic in-game screenshots for future promotional material.
I just wanted to share a quick update from the marketing side of things, which I know is far less interesting than the development updates, but for the benefit of anyone who may not have been keeping tabs on our socials over the past few weeks: below are a few gameplay clips that we have recently shared across our social media channels.
We have lots more content that we plan to share across our social channels before the end of the year, so keep an eye out!
Island Creator Showcase
And finally, it's time to showcase a couple of our community islands. First up, we have Monorail Express by UgLY.
A leftover carcass of the great Saborian expansion."
We love the main point of interest on this map, which is of course the monorail train. As always, UgLY's attention to detail is incredible!
Our second island showcase this week is Alcatraz by mastermagpie.
An abandoned Saborian prison, lost to time. Restore power to claim the treasure left behind and maybe discover some secrets along the way."
Where to even begin with this one? The screenshots we took were during the day and an abandoned prison is eerie enough even in broad daylight, but we can't imagine exploring this one under the light of the moon, can you? We can't wait to uncover whatever secrets this imposing island holds.
And that's a wrap for today's Skywatch! We have lots more to share with you all soon and as mentioned at the start of this post, make sure you're keeping an eye on your Discord DM's as I'll be reaching out to people who have been selected to participate in the playtesting community soon!