We made an announcement on our last post, but with only 4 days to go before Elysian Fields goes live on Kickstarter, we thought it’s about time we make it official.
It’s been a few months since we introduced Elysian Fields and a lot has happened since then. As we make the final preparations for the Kickstarter it’s time to take a quick look at what’s happened in Elysian Fields since our first post.
The art style has had a revamp, taking on a cel-shaded style, giving more details to our crops and animals – most evident in our sheep and bushes. In addition, our chickens are a little more active, even if hopping is still their favourite mode of transport.
The Plorb is looking a lot more inhabitable, and is on it’s way to being the perfect home for some new residents. Perhaps one of them could be you to help run it all?
Space exploration has become a little more challenging and now that your initial rocket is coloured and ready to go, it’s time to take on some of the universe’s less friendly occupants.
Space isn’t all hostile though, and there’s still plenty of friends to find out there. Even though we’ve already introduced you to a few potential friends, we have a lot more for you to meet, with details of a few of them coming out soon.
That’s all we’ve got for now, but there’s a lot more information coming on our Kickstarter, planning to go live 7pm BST on the 21st of August, 2019!
With enough support hopefully we’ll see you all in Elysian Fields!
Be sure the stick around for an extra announcement at the end!
Elysian Fields is designed around the combination of two game types, the casual farming simulator, and the space exploration role playing(-ish) game. While both elements are very different, they do tie together -money and resources earned from farming can be used to further explore space, while exploration may uncover ever more weird and wonderful crops and animals to futher improve your farm. Today, we’ll be covering the space side of Elysian Fields.
Transport in the great expanse
Well, to move around in space, you probably need a space ship. Luckily, due to the nature of the solar system one thousand years in the future, space ships and parts for them are plenty, so why not build your own?
Elysian Fields will feature a ship building system, where you can find, buy and/or create ship components, which you can then put together and style however you want to build a ship that’s uniquely yours. Want a rocket ship? How about something from your favourite sci-fi? How about representing your favourite chicken? If you can imagine it, you can probably build some facsimile of it. But what if you don’t want to build anything and you just want to get out there? There are tons of blueprints you can also find and buy which you can use to make pre-designed and tested ships, or use them as the basis for something truly unique!
Where to indeed? The solar system is vast, but there are only really so many places you actually want to visit, so everyone in Elysian Fields is limited to these sectors of space. You try to fly into the great unknown? Your ship will just bounce you right on back. That’s not to say you’ll ever hit the edge of a sector though, as they can be quite massive! Elysian Fields consists of a large number of sectors, and each sector may contain one or multiple plorbs you can visit, resources to mine, enemies to fight and secrets to discover. You can travel to each sector by flying through a portal, forming a portal network. And if that’s too much hassle, you can probably eventually upgrade your ship far enough to feature a built in fast travel system, who knows?
In any case, while sectors are indeed quite vast, Elysian Fields ensures that there’s always an ‘up’ and a ‘down’ in that sector, so flying a ship is more like flying a plane or piloting a submarine. It makes navigation easier without you spinning and rolling every which way. Over time, you’ll come to recognise landmarks in these sectors as well, which should further aid in navigation, and inhabitants may leave helpful beacons scattered around as waypoints and markers.
But we haven’t really answered the main question have we. Where to? Well, wherever you want, of course! Elysian Fields starts out with a pretty linear progression just to ease you into it. From the start of your journey, you can only really travel to the Phobos sector, whereupon you find Solbreak and its inhabitants. From here, you can get quests to explore elsewhere, and while you do need to pass some quests to unlock some further out sectors, you don’t really need anyone’s permission to go where you want. Well, except for…
The solar system of the future isn’t the safest place around (ignoring all the usual permanent vacuum and cosmic ray stuff, anyway), and a rouge faction of AI machines patrol various sectors with the sole intent to cause trouble. Seriously, sometime in the recent past, a collection of AIs had their programming corrupted and they promptly became the equivalent of high school bullies, harassing organic beings and even other machines. I guess it’s time to teach them a lesson.
If you enter the (shockingly close range) awareness of a drone, they will almost definitely start combat. From here on, they’ll be shooting at you, so it’s probably best to shoot back at them. Unlike normal exploration, you’re now limited to moving vertically and horizontally, and can aim independently of where you’re moving. And really, all you need to do is shoot the enemy while dodging their attacks! Thin out their numbers and the battle is won, with you claiming their spoils in the form of cash and resources. If your ship is destroyed, you’ll be booted back to the nearest spaceport where you can repair, rearm and get out there once more!
From the start of the game, you will only get some basic plasma cannons – suitable for basic defence and mining asteroids, but not much else. Later on, though, you could potentially equip your ship with advanced weapons and tools, such as homing missiles, lasers and more exotic things to make battling easier.
Oh, and don’t worry about the AIs. They were remotely piloting their drones, and destroying the drones just gives them what feels like a kick in the pants. Hopefully they reconsider their ways. They probably won’t though. They’re not too bright.
And another thing
As an extra announcement, we’re excited to announce that we’ll be starting a Kickstarter for Elysian Fields soon, aiming for a start date of the 21st of August! This will be to raise the funds necessary to polish up the game to a standard we are proud with, as well as set up necessary distribution platforms and pay for various licenses. This Kickstarter isn’t just for us though, as we have a number of backer rewards that we hope you’ll be excited for. And, if the Kickstarter proves to be extremely popular, we can add additional features to improve Elysian Fields well beyond our initial plans.
In any case, we’ll provide more details nearer the time. But for now, we hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look into the space exploration side of Elysian Fields. Until next time!
– Novadawn Studios
Elvina ‘Silver Eye’ Gale
The infamous human pirate known as Silver Eye, Elvina has gained quite the reputation over her relatively short time as a pirate. Attacked by a band of roaming thieves at a young age, this young pirate vowed to become one of the strongest in Mars space – and in just a few short years – she did. By collecting a large crew of outcasts from all species, she amassed one of the strongest multi-species pirate groups around, leading to her immense infamy and respect among the other pirate clans.
Elvina and her crew tends to reside around the pirate neutral zone, Firefly. Firefly is a plorb that was originally used as a manufacturing hub, before degrading into a hive of piracy. The various clans decided to make Firefly a neutral zone, granting pirates, renegades and thugs from all factions the ability to discuss matters, trade, and generally interact without the fear of getting a plasma bolt thrown their way. The nearby asteroid fields? Not so much.
Qzard En Dee V’a’ll
Qzard is an Ursovon, shunned by his people for his rejection of their militaristic ways, who found himself alongside Elvina during her early days. Qzard instantly became her protector, body guard and adviser, leading to his current role as her first mate and HR manager. Together, they built up Elvina’s crew and reputation, and he continues to be her calming presence and a source of sound judgement.
Shu is not a source of sound judgement. Shu is a crazed Jallan who joined Elvina’s crew early on, and very promptly netted himself a place as her primary pilot and navigator. Unlike the calmness of most Jallan, Shu was born with a insatiable need for flying fast and flying dangerously. He quickly bought the fastest ship he could and took part in many questionably legal races. Despite this, Shu has never once crashed or even damaged a ship he’s piloted (by his own direct actions, anyway), and his immense skills proved immediately desirable to Elvina and Qzard. They just make sure not to listen to any of his non-flying plans.
Now, managing your own plorb is great and all, but basic plot setups aren’t fantastic, and things can certainly be improved. How, you ask? By using you’re collected resources to make upgrades of course!
In Elysian Fields, almost everything can be upgraded, be it animal pens and crop fields, to your ship, yourself and even your own workshop tools! To upgrade, simply head over to your workshop with some materials in hand – say from managing your farms or mining in space – and get to work!
Your workshop contains a number of machines, left over from the old owner of this plorb, including a saw bench for handling wooden materials, a furnace and metal working station for handling metals, an electronics bench for handling circuitry and a 3D material printer for creating complex products. Luckily, most of this work is automated – all you need to use these machines are the raw materials, a recipe and some time. Select your recipe, wait a short while, and enjoy your new products!
Some examples of upgrades would include such things as better fences for animal pens, soil monitors for fields and automatic resource collectors to remove the tedium of visiting each plot in turn. Unfortunately, your workshop machines as they start out are not perfect, and some recipes prove far too complex, so why not upgrade those as well? Obviously you can just buy upgrades from the market, but these feature a massive price markup, and some upgrades can only be created by your own hands at any rate, so it’s best to invest in your own workshop. And who knows, you might make some new discoveries along the way?
Products are not just for upgrading, though. Raw resources that have been refined tend to be worth more than their raw counterpart, and if you plan on maximizing profit on the trading markets, it would be wise to at least refine your metal ores into metal ingots. Upgrades themselves also tend to be worth more than their constituent parts, but the market buys them at a greatly reduced value if it even buys them at all, so it’s probably not worth the effort for a tiny bit of extra cash unless you happen to have surplus.
So that’s it for this week. We know this was a small update, but crafting and upgrading are planned to play a pretty large role in Elysian Fields, primarily facilitating the farming side of the game, rather than the ship exploration part, although some ship upgrades will also require crafting, and many crafting resources require ship exploration, such as mining asteroids or raiding treasure plorbs. Wait, but what are treasure plorbs? You’ll have to find out in a future update!
Tonight we bring you our first video of some actual Elysian Fields gameplay!
Whilst adventuring there are plenty of friends to find scattered throughout the cosmos (but we’ll talk more about exploration later on). They may wish to trade, have mission offers, or just want a good chat.
Once you land on a new or familiar plorb, Elysian Fields switches to a VN style dialogue and menu system. For example, the video shows off Solbreak, and talking to Inovo in particular. Even though parts of the game still need a lot of work, the core mechanics of the dialogue and trading system probably won’t change too much, even if the design gets an overhaul.
Internally, we’re using Bolt, a visual scripting tool for Unity, to make creating branching dialogue and options easy to handle, as well as handle any additional logic dialogue may cause (Transferring items, starting a mission etc). As development continues, we hope to add more dynamic sprites, and already have a system underway to handle complex animated sprites when we we’re ready to add them.
Almost everyone on Solbreak is open to trading, but as you explore the various sectors some people may be less inclined. Some people may even only be willing to buy and sell special or rare items with you, or they may even buy goods at a massive markup from the common markets, meaning that travelling to the edge of the universe might be worth the journey.
In addition, Elysian Fields will feature shifting markets, meaning that over time items may become more valuable, or there may be a sudden demand for certain products. Of course the opposite is also true. If you manage to sell 50,000 eggs in a week, the prices will drop to meet the new demand. Who needs cryptocurrency when the egg market is this volatile?
That’s all for this week, but there’s more info coming soon!
Inovo is a young human woman and self titled “plastic witch” (or simply “plastiwitch”) residing on the small plorb township of Solbreak, making her a somewhat outsider in the eyes of society. She is obsessed with the history of the solar system and its many artefacts, especially those made from various plastics. Why plastic? In the thousands of years since out time, plastic has become an extremely rare substance given the numerous invasions and occupations by alien species. Most plastic and plastic-like products of what can be found are arguably useless remnants from earlier times. This doesn’t stop Inovo, though, and she’s dead set on acquiring plastics and turning them into something useful, hence her title. “Plasticians”, the official title for people like her, could be considered something akin to alchemists of the past, except instead of dealing with lead and gold she deals with polypropylene and silicone (Which she also considers a kind of plastic).
Inovo was born on one of the capital plorbs found in the oribit of what was once Earth, and quickly gained a thirst for knowledge on the history of the solar system. Eventually, she managed to land a place on the University of Europa studying human history, and during a social gathering it’s where she met you. You soon became fast friends, but before long you both graduated and went your own ways throughout the solar system, you lingering around Jupiter while Inovo moving back solwards, eventually ending up at the burgeoning town of Solbreak. You wouldn’t see Inovo again until you finally built up your funds and bought your own plorb – Elysian Fields.
Despite the somewhat outcast nature of plasticians, she’s made a home in Solbreak in the aptly named “Plastiwitch’s den”, a small house with the ground floor re-purposed into a workshop. As a matter of fact, the other residents of Solbreak are actually happy to have her mild eccentricity present in their otherwise mundane lives, and her bubbly cheerful attitude never fails to liven up people’s days. Her unique skills and knowledge make her the local expert when it comes to technologies and materials that aren’t normally used by the local farming populace or ship yard. This has also, inadvertently, made Inovo one of Solbreak’s de facto scientists, albeit one visited mostly by adventurers bearing weird, alien (or terrestrial) artefacts. If you find something odd in your travels, it’s best to head her up first for some insight into what it might be. In addition, she’s usually swimming in myths and rumours of things around the solar system, making her a prime source of questionable news and interesting requests.
Elysian Fields is set approximately 1000 years into the future from our present time. After 11 different alien occupations and invasions, our solar system is very different. Many of the planets we recognise have been destroyed creating Micro-planets called Plorbs.
After saving up you’ve finally got enough to nab yourself a farming plorb in a sector known as Elysian Fields, but due to your price range it’s a little run down.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at the world of Elysian Fields.
Elysian Fields currently contains only one Plorb, run down and spit up into crumbling climates, this plorb is your new home to grow, improve and cultivate.
A small human settlement in the Phobos zone, designed to feel like old Earth. The closest Plorb to Elysian Fields, Solbreak is the first port of call for farming goods and ship upgrades.
Known as arguably one of the “safest” cities in the entire solar system, anyone who doesn’t know firefly would never guess the plorb is inhabited by bandits, outlaws, thieves and pirates.
A strict ceasefire put in place centuries ago still operates on Firefly, unfortunately the dense cluster of asteroids surrounding the tiny planet didn’t sign the peace treaty.
A large species known for their militaristic intelligence were the first Alien race to make contact with earth entirely by accident.
Also known for their ability to only see colours on the blue-purple spectrum, this species declared war on earth and prepared to destroy the planet before realising that it was all a big misunderstanding, and their enemy was several stars away. Some are still embarrassed about the whole incident to this day.
A peaceful race of aquatic like creatures that only discovered space travel as a species as recently as humans. Despite only becoming acquainted with humans in the last century, they have made themselves known as good traders and philanthropists, but nobody can really say anything about their home planet. Most have come to see them as a somewhat secretive race, but some people believe their home planet may have been destroyed centuries ago.
Despite looking almost exactly identical, humans quickly discovered that this species is split into several warring nations, however their quarrels are less militaristic and more… fashion based.
This species prides themselves on their looks, and the clothing choices of an individual is the easiest way for a human to determine what faction the member belongs to.
Farming is one of the two main gameplay components of Elysian Fields, and arguably the more calmer and grounded of two. Naturally, as the name implies, this involves elements of farming on your little planet orb (Plorb). This includes maintaining things such as crops, orchards and farm animals, both land and water based.
So, how do you farm? Simple! Your plorb features various regions (Unlockable over time with money and resources), and each region has a number of empty plots, ripe for specialization. There are four base plot times you can specialize into:
Fields – For planted crops
Orchards – For tree based crops
Pens – For land based animals
Ponds – For water based animals
Once you’ve specialized a plot, it’s time to fill it! You have a sizable inventory that can be filled full of stuff (Don’t worry, you can’t hurt your back, even if you’re carrying eight trees, fourteen chickens and some space ship parts. Space technology solves that!), and from that you can plant or place that stuff into the various plots. Crops, when planted, slowly grow over time and can be harvested when they’re fully grown, while animals will slowly produce resources over time like eggs and wool. Don’t worry about your little animal pals, you cannot harm them when getting resources, we’re in the distant future and all animals produce sustainable regenerating products!
But your job isn’t over when you’ve planted your crops and placed your animals. You still have to make sure the soil is properly fertilized for your plants to grow bigger, and animals need to be fed and returned to their pens should they escape. Unfed and unmaintained animals will eventually leave your plorb entirely of their own volition, so you’ve got to make sure they remain happy (Animals won’t die, they’ll just migrate to a plorb with better accommodation. You’re more like a landlord to them). Animals also slowly age over time, and retired farm animals eventually leave to go towards a farm animal retirement sanctuary, so be sure to raise their children and grand children too!
Still, we want the farming aspect to be relatively low maintenance for you, and you can reduce that maintenance further using money and resources gained. Using these, you can manufacture upgrades for your plots, which improve general plot health – taller fences to stop your sheep escaping and sprinklers for your crops, for example – and even start automating things such as automatically harvesting and replanting crops. Be aware though, automation isn’t a straight upgrade – there’s nothing like a person’s direct maintenance for the best yields.
Over time things can and will change. You might want to swap an orchard out for an animal pen, for example, and you’re able to do that at any time – minus a small cost. Eventually, though, you’ll start getting into the more lucrative resources, such as electric sheep wool (Do they dream of androids?), flaming hog lava (Great for heating!) and the mysterious ‘void’ resources. Animals and crops can be swapped out at any time, although be aware that pens and ponds only really accept one type of animal, while crops are placed in rows that can be mixed and matched. With proper maintenance and control, your dusty little orb can become a farming powerhouse, netting you tons of cash and resources, which can then be used to manage the space exploration section of the game, but that’s for another post.
We hope this has been a bit insightful into part of what we want Elysian Fields to be. What we’ve written here is what we’re aiming towards at the moment, but things may change if we find other things to be more fun. We hope to bring you even more details about Elysian Fields soon.
– Team Novadawn