ASTRONEER Articles RSS Feed | ASTRONEER RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Gearbox Publishing Announces New Games, Partnerships at PAX East Thu, 28 Mar 2019 17:15:44 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Steve Gibson of Gearbox Publishing, the publishing arm of Gearbox Entertainment, took to the stage at PAX East to announce details on a variety of new games and partnerships.

One new partnership is with Hopoo Games, a three-person development team behind the upcoming Risk of Rain 2a robot co-op shooter followup to the multi-million selling Risk of Rain.

The game is a roguelike built around brutal combat and the tantalizing promise of more, and greater, loot; the sequel is set to bring the series forward with high-quality 3D graphics.

Starting today, those interested in Risk of Rain 2 can download an Early Access version of the game via Steam for $19.99. Those who do will receive a free copy to gift to friends.

The launch trailer is below.

Bulletstorm: Duke of Switch Edition

Gearbox Publishing is also working with developer People Can Fly to bring the acclaimed Bulletstorm to the Nintendo Switch this year. The game is currently eying a summer release, with Gibson stating he and his team are working hard to ensure it meets that deadline. 

Bulletstorm: Duke of Switch Edition will include the full single-player campaign from the original Bulletstorm, along with the Duke Nukem add-on and all existing DLC. Gibson also promised fans this will be a high-quality version of the game, with current framerates surpassing what the team already hoped for.

A remastered edition of Bulletstorm, called Bullet Storm: Full Clip Edition, released in 2017 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The Full Clip Edition also included the Duke Nukem Bulletstorm Tour

We Happy Few Season Pass and DLC

Gearbox also provided details for the first expansion to We Happy Few, called, They Came From Below. The DLC is set to launch on April 4. 

NPCs James and Roger take center stage for a brand-new We Happy Few story. Gearbox offered an overview of the campaign:

Wellington Wells stands besieged by a robot uprising, but the mechanized menace isn't the only thing threatening to tear the pair apart. Play as Roger and team up with your boyfriend James to Find Dr. Faraday, explore a vast underground laboratory, and discover the source of the robot invaders before it's too late!

They Came From Below is but one DLC extension planned for We Happy Few, with two more coming at some point in the future.

Players can purchase the Season Pass to get access to all DLC as it releases for $19.99, or each can be purchased separately for $7.99

Trover Saves the Universe and Astroneer

Gearbox also announced new partnerships that will let them bring physical editions of highly-anticipated indie games like Trover Saves the Universe, from the minds of the Rick and Morty creators, and Astroneer to players sometime later this year.


Be sure to check out our other Gearbox at PAX East coverage, including the Borderlands 3 announcement and other reveals in the Borderlands universe.

Grinding to a Halt: Why MMOs Should Really Rebuild Their Quest Structures Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:00:02 -0500 SpaceGamerUK

MMO games need grinding to give players the ability to achieve more, and go further. The same grinding process is also the reason why people are playing MMOs less and less, even if they seem to be very interesting.

Let me be perfectly honest with you; there is no chance that there will be no grinding in games -- especially true in MMO games.

Do I think this is ok? No, not really. Grinding is boring, and some serious TLC is needed to make it bearable and interesting.

So what should really happen to make sure that grinding is brought to a halt?

For starters, a game which is not even an MMO, but at the same time is the poster boy for a bad grinding system:

No Man's Sky

Let's forget the whole discussion about what NMS was/is, and if the advertising on the Steam store was actually cheating or lying. I believe that everything has been said by everybody about Sean Murray and his vision of almost unlimited worlds -- hint: they all just appeared to be a second class cartoon with a lot of limitations.

This is not how NMS look in reality. Sorry!

What is important though, NMS is a perfect example of a game with boring grinding for no reason. Or rather I should write -- grinding is actually THE reason for everything.

No Man's Sky, due to ill design, did not present any interesting aim for the players. Very quickly it was established that there is nothing in the heavily advertised "centre of the Universe" -- the endgame for NMS. I think someone got there in the first couple of hours of the game, and was transferred to exactly the same Universe (at least it looked the same). How very sad and a boring idea for the game finale it was.

Grinding in NMS is very bad, by waving some sort of blaster taking chunks of different coloured blobs. That's it.

If anybody thinks that I chose NMS as an example of bad grinding in games because it was easy target -- this is exactly the reason! But I will not feel guilty, the grinding of the games should feel guilty of being bland.

The reason I have brought No Man's Sky is, that the grinding in the game failed badly. There was no really interesting story behind it. It seems that Hello Games people one day were sitting behind the table and decided that NMS players must grind something. Otherwise the game will have no purpose.

I think this is the worst case scenario for any game -- when grinding becomes the aim for it.

What about Elite: Dangerous?

I love the game, don't get me wrong, but repetition in Frontier's version of the Milky Way can sometimes be concerning. It certainly drags player out of the game very often.

There is an aim here though. The reason for grinding in ED is to reach Elite rank in three categories: fight, exploration, and trading. Higher ranks are also responsible for the access to some of the solar systems, and also grant access to more sophisticated space ships.

Where is the problem?

I feel that the problem is lack of variety in the quests. It is not so visible at the beginning, but with time, when players have most of the space ships and ranks it becomes very apparent; there is not too much else to do.

I am just in the middle of a passenger trip taking 6 people to some sort of Nebula. Hours of jumping from star system to star system. Nice views -- I can admit -- but nothing more. This is where the problem lies; grinding is lonely and overly prolonged.

A lot of players who are leaving ED claim that they achieved everything. Sometimes two or three times, and that is it.

I can understand this point of view and I can see where those leavers are coming from.

I didn't quit though, and regardless that I am sure there is much to say about endless grinding in ED, there is also one thing, which makes it different comparing to many other titles. The reason why grinding can be acceptable is that you can interact with other players (when you are not on your way to a nebula) and create some sort of own story.

This is an important feature of properly designed MMO games, such as Elite: Dangerous; people are never alone and they can interact not only with the in-game world but also with each other. This makes a difference and provides sense to questing and grinding.

The same principle applies to every MMO game

Let's take a look at the really big titles. World of Warcraft is certainly top of the bunch. Highly acclaimed, easily playable but still based on the old MMORPG principle of waving your sword/axe/knife or shooting, and just in world doing repetitive quests to achieve higher ranks. Mega grind in progress...

Star Wars: The Old Republic? Exactly the same. After 2 hours of playing this game I was ready to uninstall it and forget it forever. And I actually did -- until a friend, who has been playing for the last 5 years, told me exactly why he is still playing and why I was unwise to quit.

He stays in game for the people who are playing with him. It is not so much about another quest, another skill or ability any more. What keeps him coming back, grinding another quest, achieving another skill is an ability to use what he learned during team escapades against other clans or teams.

It seems to be really clear, that to avoid grinding which will put people out of the MMO game, developers must re-think the position of quests/grinding in their game design.

Quest structure should be rebuilt...

...and players should gain deeper control over their own development paths.

The easiest way to describe a good grinding system would be our real life structure.

Of course people need to work, and work quite often reminds us of proper in-game grinding. The difference is that in life we are fully in charge of our decisions and choices. Therefore we are in power to stop our grind -- change of job, move to another country, write a book, or start to write for GameSkinny (editor note -- in our JTP program hint hint)...

Good MMO games should follow a similar pattern; of course games are not real life and never should be. The popularity of sandbox games, like Life is Feudal, Astroneer, Evochron Legacy, shows quite clearly that set quests and grinding becoming rather obsolete. Players want to decide about their in-game life and what to do next.

This is the reason why in Elite: Dangerous, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, and so many other games, people are slowly adding an element of team cooperation though factions, corporations, any sort of PvP interaction, and more.

This is the way of bringing grinding back to life -- making it useful for the community and a force for good.

Therefore quest structure should rely on the choice of the players. They should be less designed as a path from A to B, and should be about choices with the support of others, skip a couple of levels, jump higher, and succeed or fail. Learn from experience, learn from mistakes. Learn from others.

EVE Online is all about players and learning

There is only one world in EVE. The world is cruel and requires you to learn from all the players. It can be a painful experience, dragging people out of the game, but they have the option to work with other people, have some advice, and above all support. In exchange they just need to be useful for the community.

A few days ago I was in my tier 1 frigate flying around. As a noob in space, I wasn't grinding. I was attacking space structures surrounded by players with tonnes of skills, and flying ships I was not be able to buy for another two years of playing EVE. I was still part of this story. It was fun. Much better than endless missions for local militia.

In many games I would need to level up for ages to even gain access to this kind of "boss fight."

I think that CCP, the developers of EVE Online, learned a long time ago that the best method of keeping your game interesting and popular is to give players an ability to mould the game and run it. This is why EVE has such a sophisticated economy system, lively corporations, and constant buzz around main alliances -- as well as  space battles with thousands of players.

There is no reason to remove grinding from a game. What should really happen is developers making sure that grinding will not become the reason for the game.

With interesting, non-linear quest design, stunning visuals, and an attention grabbing believable story behind it all, every MMO game will be closer to being a better version of real life. Regardless that many look at games as an escape, we are also hoping to find something familiar there, as well as a life changing experience which would require effort but not constant boredom.

Rolling the Dice: Do Modern RPGs Miss the Point of Team-Based Play? Mon, 13 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 SpaceGamerUK

"Online" is the God of All Gaming. Playing alone or with a couple of friends in the same room is passe. Nobody really does it any more.

It seems it was long time ago. A bunch of friends spending hours on end playing RPG games, sitting around the table with the box of cold pizza. Excited about the story, listening to the Game Master, they were completely engaged in the worlds only visible to them and their imaginations.

It was the Age of the Dice

The dice were everything, deciding every second of life and every potential death of its players. There were no re-spawns or second rounds. Wizards killed by Manticore were dead for a game's eternity.

How exciting it was, and what a truly real experience it was for all the players. Sadly, it's now forgotten -- except for a bunch of nerds still playing somewhere away from the online civilization -- like the young heroes of Stranger Things, a series on Netflix.

With time and civilisations expansion, table and dice was replaced by technology. RPG maniacs evolved.

It was the Age of the LAN Party

The dice was replaced by the zero or one code of the computer processor but still (regardless being hidden behind low resolution monitors) Wizards and Sorcerers were feasting on the same cold pizza, sitting in the same room wrapped in LAN wires.

The principle did not change -- it was all about the team effort given to win the game. There was still some sort of Game Master throwing the dice, although right now his fantasy and creativity was measured in bytes.

From social point of view this was very similar to classic RPG evenings and nights. To win, players needed to communicate and use the imagination as the graphics was not the strongest feature of the computers of late nineties. 

It seems that the most legendary title amongst RPGs played on LAN was Diablo II -- truly classic fantasy story which was mostly testing micro switches of the mice used by players. Chopping with sword or axe was the main activity although thanks to playability through LAN network, it was given the true excitement of team-based RPGs. What is probably even more important is it was designed to lead players right to teamwork.

It seems that whole purpose of classic RPG is to build up situations testing cooperative play skills more than so popular lately competition.

Regardless of overall popularity Diablo II, the RPG LAN genre wasn't destined for a bright future in computer gaming.

According to the database of LAN games available on the market -- between 1998 and 2016 -- only 21 RPG game titles were released with the option of LAN party.

Apart of Diablo II it is worth to notice Baldur's Gate (1998), Baldur's Gate II (2000) and Torchlight 2 (2012). The newest title, only one released in 2016 , Grim Down is available on Steam and has very positive opinions from players.

In overall though, LAN Party RPG is the melody of the past like table top RPG's of early eighties.

What rules the world now is much more worldwide.

It is the Age of Online MMORPG

Globalisation is everywhere -- also in the gaming world. No wonder that small LAN Parties suddenly became massive and online, transforming classic RPG idea into the MMORPG.

One could ask: so what? It is still about team based play.

Yes, it is. In principle. But certainly a modern MMORPG has much less connection with the rolling dice of classic RPGs. What modern MMO based RPGs are actually missing is this cold pizza being eaten by the members of the same team; Wizard, Swordsman, Archer, and Spy. Everyone sitting in the same room and exchanging energy of their own fantasy. What modern MMORPGs are also missing is the spontaneous ability of people to get together and find solutions to the problems. Modern games almost heavily moderate reality -- they don't allow enough space for team play by leading players exactly where the game wants them to be.

Of course we are still deciding where to go, which quest to take. Of course we are the ones creating clans, corporations and factions. But we are not the ones who are throwing the dice!

Perhaps MMORPGs are team based. Many games do have very big teams playing; like in Star Wars The Old Republic, where the teams can even have a hundred players.

There is no direct connection though which is part of what makes RPG ruled by dice so specific.

While communities of players are bigger and bigger, actual person to person connection and cooperation are not so important any more.

Tabletop RPGs really allow us to build our own charactors and stories, where the MMO took the ability to to mould an RPGs reality according to our fantasy and imagination. We are more the followers than creators now, which we were when the dice was in use.

Competition, economy, politics and influence. These replaced Game Master and the dice. We are waiting for what is going to happen and all the while are barely ever creating more than un-significant micro connections in modern RPGs.

Of course like with everything else -- it all depends on people. There are very good teams in every known MMO game, bringing back the feeling of proper team based play. Lore is finally being used for the actual creation of worlds, with background stories giving the feeling of role playing. One of the examples could be lore stories behind Elite: Dangerous or EVE Online which are driving huge communities of players, regardless that in reality both games are not dependant on the RPG behind the main storyline. You can take lore from the main missions, but players will still fly around and do random, or side missions. These games are still MMOs, although their lore does became a bit 2D due to the lack of truly deep background stories.

The good news is that the people playing massive multiplayer titles, deep down, are still the same nerds throwing the dice. They like to see the story behind the algorithm and refuse to follow line of computer systems.

It is also likely that some of them are still keen to bring their computers and put them in the same room to grasp the feeling of classic RPGs, while sharing opinions, food, and drinks. Nowadays seating in the same room is often replaced by communication, channel such as through TeamSpeak or Discord.

Perhaps this is why from time to time, regardless of the overall trend to make everything massive, developers introducing nice examples of the games which can be played by few players.

A very good example is the Astroneer, recently released as an early access game on Steam. Certainly it is not a classic RPG, but this space game is classified as sand box. Thanks to an implemented Co-Op option, it brings back an idea of team based play, with teams of 4 people being able to play. 

There is no competition between players, instead they need to cooperate to achieve success -- exactly the point of classic team-based games. Astroneer is easy to grasp, and the old feeling of tabletop co-op that there is actually dice is back! Members of the same team of Astroneers can create the future and decide where and how they will go. They can also decide what kind of the reality they will create. It feels like coming back to the core of team-based play, it feels that being part of team matters again. It feels that all depends on us again!

Do you know other titles on the market which could bring an idea of classic RPG based on team play? 

5 Space Sandboxes on Steam Worth the Dosh Investment Mon, 30 Jan 2017 07:00:01 -0500 Caio Sampaio


Whether you are looking for a fictional experience as in Astroneer or aim at diving into the hardcore challenges of Take on Mars, outer space has always been a source of inspiration to allow our minds to fly away from us as we wonder what is out there.


Perhaps we will never unveil all of the secrets that remain hidden within the stars, but that will not stop us from trying to do that in our games.


We hope this list has introduced you to a new game and that you give it a try.


Happy exploring!


Developed by Boxelware


Available on Steam


This game was released in Early Access on January 23, but it is already causing an impression, with 340 reviews marked as "very positive" on Steam. 


The description on its pages sheds some light as to why:


A procedural co-op space sandbox where players can build their own space ships out of dynamically scalable blocks. Fight epic space battles, explore, mine, trade, wage wars and build your own empire to save your galaxy from being torn apart by an unknown enemy.


The simple nature of the graphics of this games ensures that it can run on virtually any computer, so you do not need to worry about meeting the minimum requirements to play this game.


Developed by System Era Softworks


Available on Steam


This is one of the games for you to look for in 2017, if you are a fan of the mysteries of the universe.


Featuring procedural art that builds a virtually infinite number of planets to travel to, the game shows to players mesmerizing sights, that invite them to explore.


This game offers an impeccable audiovisual experience and a cooperative mode that allows your friends to jump in and help you to gather supplies and survive in outer space.


This game is a must for any player who enjoys the sandbox genre.

Take on Mars

Developed by Bohemia Interactive


Available on Steam


Most space games show sci-fi versions of what space exploration looks like. They do not aim for realism, as they only wish to entertain the audience. This game, however, goes on the opposite direction of this trend.


Developed by the team behind the Arma series, this game holds the premise of being a realistic survival game set on Mars. Even the locations players encounter were faithfully reproduced based on NASA's images of the red planet.


The objective of the game is to survive and gather as much information on Mars as possible.


You can even try to establish the first human colony on Mars, as you survive the hardcore challenges of a game that will simulate the same challenges real astronauts have to deal with -- just without the threat of death, or having to grow potatoes out of human waste like Mark Watney.

Space Engineers

Developed by Keen Software House


Available on Steam


While the previous game allowed you to create your own galaxy, this one has a smaller scale, but delivers a compelling experience nevertheless.


Players build outposts that vary in size and purpose, build ships and pilot them to get to other planets, as they use their crafting skills to survive in space. Essentially, a 3D version of Starbound.


Above all, it features cooperative gameplay, so you and your friends can help each other in survival.

Universe Sandbox²

Developed by Giant Army


Available on Steam


Most sandbox games drop you in an universe where you need to explore and gather resources, but this game takes the sandbox genre to a new scope.


In it, you will not control a character. You will create whole planets, that will become an entire galaxy. You can become the God of your system, as you create physics for your planets, black holes and even make them collide with each other, in order to create interplanetary destruction -- if you wish.


This game is the closest experience you will have of becoming God.


Have you ever looked up at the sky at night and wondered what secrets are hidden within the starts; in the confines of outer space?


While most of the mysteries of the universe remain unsolved, some games offer you the possibility of venturing into space. You actually manage to fulfill the human dream of discovering new frontiers. 


If you love the secrets hidden by outer space and enjoy playing video games, then you are in luck. We have compiled a list of five sandbox games that will let you travel through space and conquer the unknown.


Climb aboard your ship. We are about to leave orbit.

4 Reasons Astroneer is Going to Continue to Kill it in Early to Mid 2017 Sat, 21 Jan 2017 07:14:29 -0500 Caio Sampaio


While we'll have to wait to see the final product, we can infer from what we have already seen that Astroneer has the potential to become a watershed exploration game that takes the genre to brand new heights.


By making players believe in procedural generation after the No Man's Sky fiasco, adding a multiplayer mode, developing a meaningful crafting system that adds depth to the experience and allowing players to personalize their journeys through their own imaginations, Astroneer is a game that will continue to rise in 2017. And if you have not started playing it yet, you definitely should. 


Astroneer and The Sims have more in common than you might at first think. 


While the universe of Astroneer provides players with incredible vistas, the textures and the models of the in-game avatars are not truly detailed, as we can see in the image above. The game aims for a more minimalist approach to its graphics, much like The Sims.


This allows the player to insert their own imaginations into the hopping space suit they see on the screen.

As the author Katherine Isbister writes in her book How Games Move Us -- Emotion by Design:


"Astute design choices made in The Sims series help make the game extremely absorbing. The nonsense babble, and the simplified cartoony graphics and animations leave more to the player's imagination than if the game had highly polished dialogue, surfaces and performances."


The simple graphics of Astroneer allow players to project their own imaginations onto the in-game avatars, thus making it a more personal experience. This creates enhanced engagement and buy-in, making the experience that much more engrossing. 

Moreover, as Scott McCloud explains in his book Understanding Comics:


"A more abstract and stylized rendition of a character allows viewers to project more of themselves onto the character".


The author says this in the context of character design in comic books, but the same principle holds true to characters and environments in video games. The more a player can insert his or her own consciousness into the game world, the more they will become part of that world. 


If Astroneer can keep doing this for players, it's popularity will only continue to expand throughout 2017. 


After the success of Minecraft, adding crafting systems to games has become somewhat of a trope. But problems arise when developers add crafting in a context where it makes little sense. 


In Astroneer; however, the crafting system works in complete concert with the core elements of the game, adding depth to the gameplay. 


As players explore planets, they acquire more resources and craft new items, which in turn, allow them to explore more planets. This is something that many players of No Man's Sky, for example, have been clamoring for. And something that definitely sets Astronomer apart.


When crafting actually has a purpose and just isn't used as a selling point, it's not a distraction, but a major enhancement. 


Astroneer features a cooperative mode that supports up to four players. In a game with as many variables as Astroneer, implementing multiplayer is an incredible achievement and the team behind the game certainly deserves praise for how it's implemented. 


Even if the planets in this game provide players with mesmerizing sights and interesting places to explore, the fun would not be complete if your friends could not join you in your interplanetary endeavors. (Yes, we're looking at you, No Man's Sky.) 


Consequently, the co-op functionality of Astroneer will only help increase its popularity. YouTubers will create series about and share memes of their adventures on social media, boosting the game's presence; streamers will surely get together and partake is crazy adventures; and average players will be able to team up and overcome challenges that could never be completed with just one set of space gloves. 

Procedural Generation 

This was one of the biggest selling points of No Man's Sky, but after that fiasco, players became incredulous over the potential of this rapidly growing ubiquitous technology. Luckily, however, Astroneer proved it is possible to have a beautiful procedural world with interesting maps and dazzling sights. 


This adds a virtually infinite number of locations for the player to explore. Of course, some will inevitably be similar to others, but from what we have seen thus far, we can believe some repetition will not be a problem as the quality of the code (and overall design direction) in this game remains breathtaking. 


Released on December 16, 2016, in Steam Early Access by System Era Softworks, Astroneer has gathered a passionate following on the internet, stacking a total of 11,952 reviews on Steam, 90 percent of which were ranked as "positive" by the platform. 


The game is currently in its version and as players continue to explore its resources, hype only continues to grow for the full release. 


In this list, we will share four reasons why Astroneer will continue to blow everyone's minds throughout the first half of 2017 -- and beyond. 



This Is Why Astroneer is Filling the Gap No Man's Sky Left Thu, 19 Jan 2017 05:00:01 -0500 Emily Parker

"I'm a simple human.

I buy No Man's Sky.
I refund No Man's Sky.

I buy Astroneer.
I keep Astroneer."

- Tryhard Terry, Top Steam Commenter 

I'm not trying to bring up a sore subject here, but if you're still feeling a little bummed about No Man's Sky, I might have another option for you. Though Astroneer is still in "Pre-Alpha", it's already shaping up to be a more engaging and lasting experience than its unfortunate genre predecessor. The indie space exploration survival game has captured the poor shriveled hearts of the No Man's Sky community and given them a little something to look forward to. 


Astroneer's Steam Page clearly states that this game is in Pre-Alpha, but will accept your $19.99 donation and provide you with a playable version of the game. Its current state offers several planets to explore and multiplayer -- everyone wants to explore space with their buddies. 

The post-alpha goal is a diverse universe to explore and full character customization. Hunting for rare resources and surviving natural hazards will be your gameplay focus, but many users have commented that they are so charmed by their starting planet they never left. As you can see the graphics are simple, smooth, and artful.  

This game outpaces No Man's Sky in many areas already, especially concerning its survival aspects and storage system. Instead of being a chore to collect resources and explore a planet, Astroneer's approach is intuitive and fun. Collecting resources requires managing Oxygen and Power, and through crafting, these limitations become less tedious and your explorer is able to venture deeper and deeper into the planet.

Speaking of crafting, Astroneer's crafting and base building are impressive. With No Man's Sky's base building update, it's impossible to tell whether Astroneer will end up with better base building mechanics yet, but they are off to a great start. Bases are customizable and essential for progression, adding things like vehicle bays and research centers. Considering No Man's Sky didn't launch with any base building features, Astroneer will still take this category.   

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as though Astroneer will contain wildlife. Their goals only list natural hazards, so it seems unlikely that they will make an effort to introduce alien beasts in the future. No Man's Sky does have an endless supply of animal species, though discovering new ones does lose its shine a little sooner than the trailer suggested.  


Video Credit: LeiluMultipass

Twenty bucks is a little steep for the current version of the game, but it seems like a great one to support if you're into that kind of thing. Updates are incredibly frequent and the developers are responsive to the community. 

Are you still playing No Man's Sky? Will you be checking out Astroneer? Have you already? Let us know in the comment section below.

Astroneer -- What are Filters and What Do They Do? Sat, 31 Dec 2016 11:53:00 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Much of what you do in Astroneer requires some trial and error, and if you're particularly unlucky: deaths. There aren't a ton of ways to die in the game right now, but the biggest is certainly dying from a lack of oxygen. Which is where filters come in.

Filters must be researched before you can craft them, so get your base up and running and get your Research Station ready. It's time to science (research) your way to filters. Do note that there is no real indicator or requirement for getting specific research schematics -- you'll just have to research until you get the filter schematic.

Once researched, filters can be easily crafted in your backpack by using a single compound. What about from there, though?

What Filters Do

A staple of any planetary explorer or scientist's kit, filters provide extra oxygen when you're off a tether.

A filter, which as mentioned above only requires one compound to craft, can provide up to 80 total seconds of extra oxygen when you're off your tether. One filter contains four small tanks and each tank provides 20 seconds of oxygen.

Essentially, filters make exploration less risky. Once you research and have them you neither have to stress as much about your oxygen tank nor worry about how close you are to tethers. As long as you have one compound, which is easy enough to find, you can keep making and using filters to keep your oxygen up without any fuss.

How to Use Filters

Perhaps a bit of good news: You don't have to put filters on the shoulders of your backpack for them to work.

Once you craft filters and have them in your backpack they will automatically be used as your main oxygen supply, which means you're not getting oxygen from an outside source (e.g. tethers, oxygen mines, etc). Filters will even be used before your primary oxygen tanks.

When you burn through all four tanks a filter will disappear from your backpack and you'll have to make another one.

Oxygen management is the biggest survival factor in Astroneer for the time being, and filters make it super easy for you to survive in the wilds of space. Sure, you may get killed by some plants -- but at least you won't die from a lack of oxygen.

And if you're looking to play Astroneer with some friends, makes sure to check out our guide on how to play Astroneer multiplayer on Xbox One and Windows

Got any other survival tips for Astroneer? Do you think any improvements should be made to the filter system and how they affect Astoneer's gameplay? Sound off in the comments below!  

Astroneer -- How to Play Multiplayer on Steam, Xbox One and Windows 10 Sat, 31 Dec 2016 04:08:09 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Astroneer has been tearing up PC and Xbox One's indie markets for a few weeks now and for good reason. Exploring, terraforming and building a base is simple and fun, and the game is only going to see more improvements as it pushes through its pre-alpha state.

One question that comes up more than others, though, is how to play Astroneer's multiplayer. Luckily, getting a multiplayer game up and running for both Xbox One/Windows 10 and Steam players is fairly easy. Maybe a little bit too easy for Steam, as you'll read below.

But before we move forward there are a few things to note about both the Steam and Microsoft-exclusive platform releases.

  1. The only cross-play available is between the Windows Store and Xbox versions of Astroneer. All other versions are not cross-play compatible.
  2. You can only have four people in a multiplayer game.
  3. Hosting a game on PC, whether via Windows 10 itself or Steam, is very intensive. When playing on PC you want the person with the best computer out of the group to host as the host's PC will be the one handling the processing.
  4. A multiplayer world's base belongs to the host. Furthermore, save data is saved on the host's device.

These details are important, but you want to know how to do the whole multiplayer thing, so here we go.

How to play Astroneer multiplayer on Xbox One and Windows 10

Astroneer is Xbox Play Anywhere enabled, even in its current pre-Alpha state. You can play the game on both your Xbox One and on Windows 10 with the same purchase, and creating a multiplayer game is pretty much the same for both -- and is easy as pie to get going.

To make a multiplayer game on these platforms, simply invite your friend(s) to your Xbox Live party while you're in the game's main menu to have them join up.

As a reminder, all players do need to have Xbox Live Gold to use parties. On Windows 10 you can find the party feature in the Xbox app pretty easily.

It's also a good idea for anyone you're inviting to launch the game before joining to mitigate launching crashes.

How to play Astroneer multiplayer on Steam

Joining or inviting to a multiplayer Astroneer game on Steam is a little different from doing so on Microsoft platforms, but it's still a very simple process -- a huge relief considering the amount of hoops you have to jump through to play some Steam indie games in multiplayer.

All you have to do to invite someone to the game on Steam is press Shift + Tab to open up the overlay, open your friends list, right click on who you want to play and click "Invite to game."

To join someone playing, just right click on their screen name in your friends list and click "Join game." It really is that easy.

However, it's a relief whenever you run into an indie game that's easy to hop in and out of -- especially in multiplayer -- and Astroneer's got that (and much more) in spades. Despite being in a pre-alpha state, it's sweeping sandbox gamers by storm and it's only going to get better.

Space Exploration Gamers Need to Check out ASTRONEER Tue, 20 Dec 2016 08:00:01 -0500 Janette Ceballos

If the vastness of space and the ability to explore strange planets thrills you, then you should probably check out ASTRONEER -- a low-poly game that blends crafting, survival, and exploration elements that just hit Steam. The main objectives are to discover the planets and moons of space and gather resources to build elaborate bases and complex technology.

One of the game's main mechanics is the unique ability to shape the terrain of the planets you visit. Using a special tool, you can build or destroy paths throughout each place you explore. You can even choose to completely deform the planets in your search for resources!

Speaking of the planets, they are wonderful to look at. The low-poly graphics and bright colors work well together to create interesting landscapes that catch the eye and encourage exploration. Even at night the colors pop. The day and night system simulates each planet’s rotation around a star, a nice touch to the game.

So far, the current version of the game features only seven explorable planets, but each is procedurally generated to ensure one-of-a-kind experiences while you play. You can travel through caves, mountains, and valleys as you scour for resources and new, strange objects to study. If you're thinking that it sounds like a good substitute for the disappointing No Man's'd be right. 

In addition to being procedurally generated, the planets have their own biomes and whether events. For example, a dry and barren planet will more likely have sandstorms you must push through if you want to harvest resources native to that location, so there’s a bit of a survival game here that can be expanded upon in further updates.

The building aspect of the game focuses on creating and enhancing different bases to store items and research the planets. You can also use resources to craft different vehicles to travel through the worlds, each vehicle being customizable since the game has a number of upgrades for each.

A 4-player co-op mode is also available where players all get dropped on a planet, free to roam and build what they'd like together. As of right now, it’s a bit buggy though, so watch out for that. Patches are expected to improve multiplayer function.

This game is a great pick for space exploration fans because it has a sense of enjoyable exploration and uncovering secrets of the planets with your handy terrain deformer. It’s not too focused on the technical details of building and gathering resources is quick and easy. Upgrades are just as easily made, so it doesn’t seem like a chore. In these ways, players are more likely to enjoy the scenery of the planets and adventure into the unknown each location offers.

If you’re a fan of the building aspects of Minecraft and the space exploration of No Man’s Sky, definitely give ASTRONEER a shot. The early access version is available on Steam for $20, so expect further updates expanding the world and its possibilities.