By Michael Fontanini / January 29th, 2015
Starbound is getting a huge update, known as Upbeat Giraffe, today! Many thought the game was perhaps dead simply due to how long it’s been since it last received an update of any kind. This update has a very big change list (from the previously mentioned new playable race, the Nova Kids, to the new large flying and aquatic monsters and the new modding features).
Today’s Starbound update features new biomes and minibiomes (above and below ground), as well as a new oceanic planet type that comes in several different flavors (tropical, arctic, toxic, and magma). There is also a new barren type of worlds and asteroids that are rarer and have no monsters. These are great for mass-building projects without monsters always in your hair.
There have also been improvements to both terrain generation and the parallax backgrounds. Players of Treasure Adventure Game/World will recognize the boat in the image below. Even the Starbound universe as a whole has been reworked a bit.
The cosmos of Starbound is now one big map, rather than being divided into various sectors. Along with this, star and planet types correspond to difficulty. This allows the player to encounter increasingly more extreme worlds as they progress in the game.
There are even changes on the player’s ship in Starbound now. For one thing, coal won’t power your starships anymore (ships are instead powered by radioactive ores or the new fuel, Liquid Erchium, which appears in moon biomes). Flying around in a coal-powered starship was rather amusing though. On top of this, the fuel costs of space travel have been reworked. It no longer costs anything to fly between planets in the same system. Fuel costs to fly to other systems are proportional to the distance they are from the system you are currently in.
Your ship also now has a set of upgrades that are specific to your race’s space ship, allowing you to expand your ship as your adventure progresses. Your ship has a new AI avatar that is specific to your race, too. It gives you access to your techs, missions, 3d printer, and many ship-related commands. The ship’s navigation interface has been greatly improved as well.
This still isn’t even close to all that is included in this massive update. The techs system has been reworked so that techs now come in four types (head, body, leg, and suit), allowing you to equip four techs at once. There are tons of new techs, as well as a new tech-unlocking system that makes more techs visible each time the player upgrades his/her ship. The player can then use Blank Tech Cards to unlock these techs and use them.
The universe of Starbound even has a new civilized hub that has shops, quests and various other services. This is, of course, where you can get quests and missions or upgrade your ship to make it that much more awesome. The outpost also has a sign store that was based on the popular custom signs mod. The sign store allows you to design and print custom signs to use in the game. During key points in progression, players will even get special missions.
Missions take place in small, instanced dungeons that have special monsters and bosses, and rewards that can’t be obtained any other way. The update page on the official site says some missions can be pretty difficult, so being prepared before heading out (or teaming up with a friend) is a must on harder missions (unless you like dying).
Some other aspects of the gameplay have been changed around a little as well. The Matter Manipulator can now be upgraded as the player advances. These upgrades can increase its area of effect and mining power, and allow it to collect liquids. So what does this mean for pickaxes and drills, though? Well, they have been made more powerful, but with lower durability. They also cannot be repaired, so they won’t last forever. Also relating to mining, underground areas now have rare smashable rocks that contain richer deposits of certain ores.
The battle aspect of the game has seen some changes as well. For example, energy now regenerates rapidly when not in use rather than slowly regenerating over time like before. Also, if you use energy that exceeds your energy supply, you will not be able to use energy for a few seconds until it regenerates.
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