Learn more about The Universim's Steam release: what to expect and what's coming next.

Dear Community

We would like to take a moment of your time to have a pre-release chat with you about The Universim. We wanted to approach it as somewhat of an AMA session, where you can hit us with any questions you might have about the game. We want to ensure you know exactly what to expect from the Early Access launch. Your enthusiasm and excitement is amazing, and we don’t want you to dive in without hearing all the facts. We’ll be discussing the content included in the August 28 release and chatting about our future plans.

Here’s some good info to know: 

The Universim is a planet management god game, merging some ideas from god games with city building elements. You are charged with guiding a new species, called the Nuggets, through the ages. You don’t control Nuggets directly. Instead, you influence their decisions by placing Key Buildings and selecting research paths. Nuggets will then construct buildings, perform the research, and unknowingly do your bidding. 

There will be four distinct eras in the game, each bringing unique challenges and new mechanics. These include the Stone Age, Medieval Era, Industrial Age, and Space Age. Currently, you’ll be able to progress up until the Industrial Age (end of Medieval). While your  guidance is more important in the Stone Age, you’ll see the civilization advance and become more autonomous in later eras. The Industrial and Space Ages are still in development, particularly the colonization and exploration aspects of the Space Age. You can see some sneak peeks of alien planets and wildlife on our social channels.

Every star in the sky will eventually be a seed for a new procedurally-generated planet you can visit and colonize. Alien planets will have varying conditions and diverse environments and wildlife. Some will be more difficult to tame than others, but the rewards might just be worth it. Use your technology and powers to alter the climates of planets you discover.  

In fact, the very first planet you’ll be playing on, Mother Planet, is procedurally generated. The planet will change every time you replay the game. Resources on planets are finite and easily depletable. By aggressively pursuing advancement and industry, you can consume every last resource on a planet, leaving it in ruin. If you deplete your home planet’s reserves, you’ll be forced to begin colonizing others or face extinction as the planet crumbles around your civilization.  

There are currently two game modes in development

Story Mode - This is the main campaign of The Universim. You’ll guide the Nugget Civilization from stone to space, helping them to evolve and expand. You will receive quests to perform and  see the story develop as you play. At this stage of development, we only have a bit of narration and a few voice lines implemented for our in-game Narrator, named Seed. We are not ready to introduce the main story yet, as our focus is on completing the various eras, but you’ll pick up on a few things here and there. We don’t want to spoil it with little pieces here and there. We’re considering releasing it in chapters or all at once when it’s ready. Until then, you can enjoy some VO that doesn’t relate too much to the core story.

Creator Mode - This will be our version of a sandbox mode. You’ll be able to customize settings that affect the difficulty of the game, including how much micromanagement is required. There’s a good reason for this. Our community consists of two types of players: fans that love a more involved management experience, and fans that enjoy kicking back with a more relaxing experience. We hope to please both of these groups. In this mode, resource values will be tweaked, there won’t be any quests, and advancement through the ages will be handled differently than the traditional research tree approach we developed for Story Mode. 

Development progress and plans

The Universim has been in development for quite some time now. Our team has concentrated on the in-game simulation engine that powers all of the complex systems in the game, such as procedural generation, AI interactions/behavior, weather systems, and so on. It was an enormous undertaking, but we never wanted to compromise our vision of creating organic, living worlds. We didn’t want to have yet another static backdrop upon which you play; we wanted worlds where everything is connected and reacts to a multitude of actions. 

For example, every tree on the planet plays an important role. By cutting them down, you alter the oxygen levels on the planet. This eventually leads to a global rise in temperature, which influences water levels in oceans and lakes, affects wildlife, and so on. By hunting too aggressively, you can cause certain animal species to go extinct. You really need to be careful with how you treat the planet, if you intend to be a benevolent god.

We are very proud of our achievements in this area, even though it took us longer than we initially planned. In our defense, we don’t know of any other project with the same scope and team size that was developed faster. 

Is it a god game or a city building game?

The Universim is a mix of both. It’s a very unique game, and we didn’t want to limit ourselves creatively by making it “just like that other game”. We wanted it to be a fresh experience, even though we certainly draw inspiration from some of the greats of yesteryear. If you loved games like Black & White, Spore, Civilization, SimCity, or Populous, you’ll probably love The Universim.

What’s next?

Following the Steam release, we will return to our monthly patch schedule. This means we’ll be rolling out new content, features, bug fixes, and more on the first day of every month (if there aren’t unforeseen delays or some extra polish being applied). We might need a day or two more if new systems require some additional work, but we’ll do our best to stick to the schedule. 

Our team is already hard at work on the Industrial (modern) Age and assets for alien planet generation in the Space Age. However, there are a few larger systems that still need to be implemented:

Satellite Editor: 
You’ll be able to build and launch satellites prior to sending a ship to scout or colonize a planet. We want planet discovery and colonization to be an exciting and rewarding experience. It will certainly be a major milestone for your civilization.

Rover Editor:
Every planet possesses natural resources, but identifying which planets are worth your time will require a rover to analyze its properties. You will be able to customize and equip rovers with powerful tools to get the job done.

Rocket Editor: 
Similar to the Satellite Editor, you’ll be able to customize your spaceships. Equip them with special engines, shields, fuel tanks, and so on. Every planet will have unique characteristics that will require certain gear and attachments before you can safely send Nuggets to it. 

Nugget AI improvements and automation: 
We plan to continue working on Nugget behavior to make them even more quirky and believable. We’re looking into adding a crime system that involves prisons, executions, and rehabilitation centers. They will also have more interesting behavior when out of a job, like playing cards outside, having picnics, staring at clouds, drawing pictures, and communicating with their fellow Nuggets. We also want Nuggets to celebrate certain events like major achievements, the beginning of a new year, and so on. 

As a god, you’ll be able to choose how much you want to be involved in their day-to-day lives. Nuggets will construct most of the buildings on their own, if you decide to leave them to their own devices. However, they’re not going to make perfect decisions (we all know they aren’t the brightest creatures), but you’ll be there to help out if needed. They’ll almost certainly need it at some point.

Religion and Exile Villages: 
Based on your actions, or lack thereof, Nuggets might leave your village and form their own. You will not have control over these (but you can always throw a disaster or two their way, if you so choose). These villages will not be hostile from the very beginning, but they might eventually threaten or attack your budding civilization. You can intervene or allow your Nuggets to handle it. Of course, they might bring something positive as well. Keep an eye on the situation.

In addition to this system, we are also planning to introduce worship behavior to Nuggets. This can involve sacrifice or prayer, which generates extra Creator Points for casting powers.

Campaign and story development:
As mentioned, the main game will have a story to tell. You’ll hear the voice of Seed, who will advise you and comment on occurrences or milestones in your civilization. There will be a number of quests to complete of varying importance. We believe that The Universim will benefit  greatly from this addition, as it will add a whole new layer of life and fun to the game.

A Brief Roadmap:

After the Steam release, you can expect the following systems to start rolling out:

  • Nugget Leaders, election process, and law system
  • Exile Villages, which might attack or initiate trade with your main city
  • Nugget Government System: jails, executions, and rehabilitation centers
  • Plastic, Glass, Metal, and other types of Factories
  • Industrial Age buildings
  • Alien planets, Satellites, and Rovers
  • Rockets and Colonization
  • Campaign Story

This is a very small summary and only roughly in order. We will have a more detailed roadmap for you at a later date.

What’s coming in the Steam update:

  • Completely reworked Research System. Our goal with this is to add more choice for players, such as which buildings to unlock or skip.
  • New Quest System, along with several quests. Each Prayer Quest has a number of possible outcomes, and it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll help or not.
  • Dramatically reworked AI.
  • Reworked Farm System. Additionally, all bushes are now dynamically generated.
  • Narration and commentary. We’re rolling this out now, but it will not have main story content enabled yet. You will be introduced to “Seed”, without spoilers.
  • Redesigned and improved Tudor housing system. All Medieval Era houses are also generated procedurally.
  • 3 Types of Electricity generation added: Wind Turbines, Kinetic Electricity Generators, and Gas Plant (with Gas Mines). You’ll be able to select which route your civilization take, environmentally friendly or resource intensive. You can only unlock one type of electricity generation at a time.
  • Creator Mode improved and updated. We will continue working on it to improve the experience further.
  • New dynamic tips/tutorial system. Now you’ll get tips when a new feature is introduced or a new building with complex mechanics is constructed.
  • Completely redesigned Cemetery AI
  • Completely redesigned Engineer’s Hut AI
  • Improved Hunters Hut AI
  • In-game Wiki panel. It will offer all the useful information you might need.
  • Quest event attention system. If you hear the Narrator commenting on something, or you’re reading a quest, you can now click on the eye button and the camera will fly to the point of interest automatically.
  • Town Hall with Nugget Shifts and auto-assignment system. The Town Hall is the building that will introduce automation to the game. A Governor Nugget, if assigned, will enable the Nugget work assignment process. This means that buildings with empty slots will automatically be filled with the most suitable free Nugget, without your intervention. This is one of the systems we mentioned that will allow you to control how much micromanagement you want to have. Later, you’ll be able to assign other Minister Nuggets that will handle the automation of other tasks.  For example, the Minister of Agriculture will be able to place and construct Farms and Eateries, while the Minister of Water will construct Water Pumps and Reservoirs.
  • Shift System. When the Nugget Shift system is introduced after the placement of the Town Hall, Nuggets will work without interruption until the end of their shift. This means they won’t suddenly leave their work to eat, drink, or mate. Instead, Nuggets will perform personal matters after their shift once the next Nugget arrives to take over.
  • Improved Nugget visualisation system. Now, when Nuggets get old, their hair will turn white to indicate their age; their skin will turn green if they are sick; and later, a Nugget’s skin tone will be transferred via genetics to their children.
  • Ability to drop resources on construction zones. You are now able to help with construction by picking up and dropping resources directly onto construction zones.
  • Season Change Power: now you can change seasons if you have enough Creator Points. This is quite useful if you haven’t properly prepared for winter.
  • Nugget resource gathering redesign. Nuggets will make smarter decisions when they gather resources for their tasks.
  • Improved animal spawning across the planet.
  • Dramatic performance improvements.
  • Hundreds of bugs fixed (believe us, it’s a lot).
  • Residential block construction improvements. Nuggets will now build houses closer to neighbors and the Epicenter.
  • Water Pumps will no longer pump water if local temperatures drop too low and water sources freeze. Reservoirs are your friends! Use them to store water for cold months.
  • Faith system reworked. More info will be available at a later date.

This is just a small summary of the most noticeable changes in the game. There are tons of other things that were changed, improved, fixed, or reworked behind the scenes. We are so proud to see our in-game Prometheus engine working better than ever. There are hundreds of complex operations happening in the game every frame, and it’s handling it all superbly. This includes things like all of the Nugget/animal AI, building logic, biomes, weather + climate (temperature changes), seasonal changes, resource usage affecting the planet, and so on.

The Universim is a unique and challenging experience. We hope you’ll love everything about it, and we hope all of this info gives you a better understanding of the effort that has gone into the game and where the project currently stands. We are sure there will still be some bugs that slip through, and you’ll notice some unpolished features. However, we promise to work closely with you to fix all of these issues in a timely manner.

Come August 28, we hope you have a better idea of what to expect. The full patch notes will be released in August to let you know everything we’re adding, fixing, and removing. Again, please feel free to ask us any questions regarding the game and our plans for the future. Our team is crazy busy preparing for the Steam launch, and we truly hope you find a lot to love, even in its  Early Access state. The Universim has a very special place in our hearts, and we’ve spent years getting it to where it is now. We look forward to having you join the community!

Please treat this thread as a Q&A on the topic of The Universim’s Steam launch. Feel free to ask us a few questions and we’ll answer them as soon as we’re able. If you want to drop us feedback or suggestions, please head on over to our forums here. We’d love to hear from you.

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