The end of the year is near and we’d like to offer you some insight on what’s going on around Perpetuum, tell you about what’s currently in development, and get you a glimpse of what the near future will bring. Be warned, it’s a long read, but I didn’t want to miss anything - and I’m sure you’ll have many questions even so.

Behind the scenes

We know we’ve been a bit quiet lately, and this has its reasons. In the past months much of our development power has been put into things that are not directly related to the game itself.

For one, we’re of course getting ready to release Perpetuum on Steam. This involves a lot of paperwork, preparing marketing materials, and not to forget about getting the game itself fit for releasing it to such a broad audience.

Steam Greenlight - a highly public event - happened during the autumn, however we've been spending most of our time since the Gamma Expansion working on getting Perpetuum the extra funding it needs so we can take a quality leap forward in terms of world content. We realize that to create the type of content that would allow Perpetuum to grow to the next level requires a team much larger than ours, and all of us are working very hard on making that possible. This process involves all of the devs to some extent, and is mostly why we've been so quiet during these last months. These things however take time, and the new year will see us continuing the effort.

Meanwhile we’re working on the game itself as well of course, so in the rest of this blog I’m going to talk about what’s coming up. The time for small changes is over, we’re getting the big guns now.

As we stated after the gamma expansion, we’d like to focus on the PvE part of the game for a while, since that part is in desperate need of some fresh blood.

We’ve chosen three large systems currently in the game, the ones where we feel that reworking them would substantially make the game more fun to play: the kernel research system and the knowledgebase, the assignment system, and the new player experience with emphasis on the tutorials.

So let’s see them one by one in detail. The ideas presented here are still work in progress and may change as we work out the smaller details, and of course we will consider your feedback as well.

Research revamp

What’s wrong with the current system?

  • Random research results are not fun. This is especially true when a technology line in your knowledgebase is close to complete, at which point kernel research becomes vastly irritating. Due to the randomness the system doesn’t allow for any serious planning or strategy.
  • There are too many types of kernels. Kernels have been partly intended as a second income besides plasma, but their sheer number fragments the kernel market and has a negative effect on their trading potential.
  • Corporations are not a part of the system at all. They are forced to feed one or two of their agents with kernels to stay competitive. This is very risky, as losing those agents leaves the corporation with close to no prototyping capability.
  • Research has much more potential. Why waste it simply on prototyping, a feature used by not many players?

The new system:

  • Point-based. Instead of getting technology directly from kernels, you consume kernels to gather research points (RP). You then spend these points in the knowledgebase for specific item technologies.
  • Choose your research goals. No more random results - you choose what you want to spend your RP on, using a fixed technology tree. It’s completely plannable, research only what you really need. I’m sure you’ve seen such a tree in many games already - just imagine a branch with many expanding nodes, starting out at the base from the lowest tier technology, and unlocking your way up to the most coveted items.
  • Reduce the number of kernels to 6 main types. They all hold a different type of RP, which accumulate into separate pools. To help keeping the system calculable, kernels will always contain a fixed amount of RPs. To keep scalability, NPCs will drop not just one of these, but many, depending on their ranks.
  • The RP technology types are: nuimqol, pelistal, thelodica, common (used for industrial too), hi-tech and “new-tech”. Unlocking item technologies in the knowledgebase will use a varying mix of these RP types, depending on the item’s faction, tier, or even novelty. (Nasty details: the latter is what “new-tech” will be used for, and we’ll always use it when we introduce new robots or modules into the game. When the time comes where “new” items become “old”, and we’re ready to introduce a new batch of technology, accumulated “new-tech” points and kernels will always be converted down to hi-tech points and kernels - this is to prevent unlocking new technology on the first day by prior RP accumulation.)
  • Separate knowledgebase for individual agents and agent-independent knowledgebases for corporations. Agents always accumulate RP to their own knowledgebase, but they will have the option to donate any amount of unspent RP to their corporation at any time. The corporation-level knowledgebase can then be researched using the donated points by anyone with the necessary access.
  • Having an item researched in an agent’s own knowledgebase will unlock prototyping option for it (like it is currently), and having an item researched in a corporation’s knowledgebase will allow every member with proper access to prototype that item.
  • Here’s the twist: having the same item researched in your own knowledgebase AND in the knowledgebase of your corporation as well will provide a factory production bonus for you. We think this provides an incentive to develop both knowledgebases, your own and your corporation’s as well.

So what will happen to your current knowledgebase when this gets into the game? Well it will be wiped of course and you’ll have to start over, ha-ha. Nah, I’m just kidding, once we figure the exact RP value of every item in the new technology tree, we can give you the matching amount of RP for your actual knowledge, so you can basically rebuild your knowledgebase from scratch. Now, we can’t guarantee that you’ll have the same amount of “raw research value” after that, but I’m sure that being able to select specific technologies to research will mostly provide you with a better result overall. We still have to figure out what happens to unresearched kernels, so we’ll get back to that.

Some of you have been also wondering what happened to the promised new tier of items using colixum. Well, this happened :) We didn’t want to build upon a broken system and create an even bigger chaos. This new system will allow us to introduce new item technology in a much cleaner and nicer way, and that’s what we’ll do once it’s ready.

A new assignment system

I’ll be honest with you: the current assignment system is something we put into the game almost 3 years ago just to have an assignment system. There wasn’t much concept behind it, and it shows - it’s bland, grindy, and not really fun.

At first the main problem is that the player is presented with a huge list of available assignments. This can be quite overwhelming and you just don’t know what to do. Later on you figure out which assignments are the easiest to do or give you the most rewards, and then you’ll grind those over and over, effectively destroying your own game experience. And then we introduce the 6/10 rule - insult to injury.

So we’ve been planning a complete revamp of the system for a while now, and unlike in the case of research, randomness could be our friend here. This is a huge undertaking, and luckily we can separate it down into two stages: the first stage will use the current assignments, but will change the way they are provided and accepted, and the second stage will change the assignments themselves.

When you open the assignments window in the new system, you won’t see a list of specific assignments, only some buttons for types of assignments - combat, industrial, transport, and so on. These will be arranged into a grid, where rows mean assignment levels and columns mean assignment types.

Once you click a button in this grid, you’ll be assigned a random assignment of the selected type and level. Then you can either complete that given assignment, or you can choose to abort it, in which case you’ll be given a penalty. However, that penalty is not a deduction of relation points like now, rather a penalty multiplier for your next assignment’s reward. This means that the more assignments you abort in a row, the less rewards you will get for the assignment which you finally complete. The penalty will be cleared after a certain time or when you complete an assignment.

So this random assignment provider would be the first stage. The second stage is where we also randomize the objectives within the assignments. This system is still heavily under development, but it would use assignment templates, where we only set the number and types of objectives that you have to do. The exact NPCs you have to destroy, or the minerals you have to mine, or the items you have to transport would be randomly selected from a pool of objectives around a certain radius of the location where you take the assignment. This would maximize objective variety and minimize boring walking time. In the new system we also plan to scatter small assignment terminals around the islands, so you will be able to take them there too and not just in the big bases.

Assignments in squads

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the current mechanic for doing assignments cooperatively in squads, which is far from being optimal or useful.

As it stands today, the members of the squad and the assignment they are doing have a very loose connection. Everyone is doing their own assignment, it's not shared among members. One member's objectives are not completed if another member does them. The only actual mechanic is that you can share the money and relation reward among your squad members if you chose to do so when accepting the assignment.

We had a little poll on the forum where I asked you which of the two new squad mechanics you would prefer. While the result turned out not really decisive, it turns out that in a system where assignments are given randomly, only the first option makes sense, because there is very little chance that the squad members can get the same assignment.

So we’ll stick with option number 1, where every member of the squad is working on a common goal and contributes to one shared assignment, the squad leader’s one.


I left this for last because frankly this is the topic where I can share the least details - it’s very much work in progress. However I wanted to tell you as early as possible that instances are coming.

Before you pick up those torches and pitchforks and yell that instances have no place in an open sandbox world, I’d like to explain why they are needed, and what for.

What we definitely don’t want is to drain population from the open world into an infinite number of hidden pockets - the islands feel empty even so, we don’t want to make it even worse.

However there are a number of features and mechanics where we just simply can’t go around instances without having a negative impact on gameplay experience. In an open world you can’t set up a preset game event without pitfalls, however carefully you plan and script it. There are so many unknown variables that a single speck of dust can break the machine.

This is especially critical for a new player - when he can’t finish a tutorial objective because someone mined out all the titan ore before him, he will rarely ask for help, and probably leaves for something else. That’s why first and foremost we’ll use instances for our tutorials, where we can be (almost) sure what happens to the player, and where we'll have much more options than in the open world. Think for example temporarily giving a heavy mech to a new player just to give him a taste what the future holds for him, or to let him try various factions before he makes his actual choice.

Of course it would be a waste of technology to use instances only for a tutorial. It holds many possibilities, like small dungeons that you can scan down and enter from the open world to clear out, or controlled PvP arenas with proper limits, teams, timers and everything.


That’s pretty much all I have for you right now. These are the features that we’ll be working on in the next 2-3 months, to give you a rough timeframe. Of course once we’re ready with one system we’ll patch it out, you won’t have to wait for all that time.

And don’t worry if all of this is a bit hard to grasp now, I’ll post a follow-up to this blog a bit later when we already have some GUI-mockups and stuff.

Post your opinions and questions below, or feel free to create separate feature discussions on the forums, and last but not least, we wish a Happy New Year to all of you!

Following on the trails of the massive three-part series about structure networks, today we’ll dive into the scary depths of industry and make an attempt at explaining why it was necessary to turn it upside down. Be warned: it’s long and there is some heavy number-crunching ahead, but luckily there is a tl;dr at the end.

Mineral field and geoscanning changes

As mentioned in the first PBS blog, we’re changing the current fixed position mineral fields to random spawns, where the fields won’t get “refilled”, but new fields will appear instead, once the current ones are depleted. The change is first and foremost required due to the new terraformable gamma islands, because fixed mineral fields would interfere with the nature of free terraforming.

However, we’re doing this not only on gamma islands, but on all alpha and beta islands too. The only difference is that on alphas and betas new mineral fields can only spawn on passable terrain, but on gammas they can spawn anywhere on the island, and you will have to terraform your way to them (this is a change since the terraforming blogpost). Our intention with this is to make the process of scanning for minerals more meaningful, maybe even to the point of turning it into a profession in itself, as opposed to the current system where you just need to find and map out all the fixed mineral fields and return to them like they were some kind of candy dispensers.

Now, with the need for constant geoscanning for new fields you may think that it would be a very tedious task with the available tools, and you’re right. That’s why we’re replacing area-based geoscanner charges with brand new directional scanning charges. These will show you the direction to the nearest tile holding the charge-specific mineral, but not the distance. It’s somewhat similar to artifact scanning, but it will require different tactics. Notice I wrote “nearest tile”: it’s equally possible that it will guide you to a tiny residue, or to a tile which is part of a large field. Once you’ve found your spot, you can use the good old tile-based scanner to find out whether you hit the jackpot or not. In the long run, this system will require miners to do a “clean job”, as randomly scattered residual spots will soon make directional scans less and less efficient.

This ties into the generation of new mineral fields: the system periodically checks the overall amount of minerals on each island, and if this gets under a certain threshold value, a new mineral field will be generated in a random spot. However, if the mineral map of an island gets too much fragmented by haphazard mining practices, the spawning of new fields will probably slow down, since the overall mineral amounts will be there, but scattered all around the island in lots of low-yield tiles.

We’re also changing the mining process itself: the current method of storing “mining cycles” in ground tiles will be converted to a more straightforward system. Tiles will hold the exact amount of minerals you can get out of them, so there won’t be a “loss” of minerals when someone with less advanced equipment or extensions mines them; he/she will just simply extract less over time, without wasting any potentially minable minerals during the process.

New minerals, factional redistribution

So far there hasn’t been much difference in the availability and usage of minerals and commodities among the three factions. Of course we’ve tried to make specific minerals more abundant than others, but this was a fragile balance, as the components used for manufacturing didn’t have such separation among the faction technologies. With the coming expansion we’re taking a big step to stir up this uniformity.

Factional differences for raw minerals

Each of the three factions will have one distinct mineral that is representative in their specific technology. For Pelistal this will be Silgium, a brand new minable raw mineral, for Nuimqol it’s Imentium, and for Thelodica it’s Stermonit.

Titan and HDT will have a role as common basic minerals used by all factions, and Titan will be reinstated to Beta, but these two will be still more abundant on Alpha islands.

In the high-end mineral department, Epriton and Noralgis will be accompanied by a new mineral available only on gamma islands. At first this will be used for building higher tier PBS structures, but in the future it will be required for new robots and equipment as well.

Furthermore, faction-specific minable and harvestable minerals will be distributed in a way that each faction will have certain minerals that are not available on their islands, at all. The aim of this system is to stimulate trade and transport between islands, while avoiding monopolies. This is how it looks:

  • Silgium and Triandlus: available on Pelistal and Thelodica islands, but not present on Nuimqol islands
  • Imentium and Helioptris: available on Nuimqol and Pelistal islands, but not present on Thelodica islands
  • Stermonit and Prismocitae (yes, it’s finally harvestable): available on Thelodica and Nuimqol islands, but not present on Pelistal islands

Commodity types and component diversity

Of course if we differentiate raw minerals this way, we also need to do the same for the commodities that they are refined to, and consequently it will be also reflected in the equipment they are used in.

  • Common basic commodities: Titanium, Plasteosine, and 2 new commodities
  • Nuimqol specific: Statichnol, Chollonin, Polynitrocol
  • Thelodica specific: Metachropin, Prilumium, Polynucleit
  • Pelistal specific: Isopropentol, Vitricyl, Phlobotil
  • High-end components I. (epriton based): Briochit, Alligior, Espitium, Hydrobenol
  • High-end components II. (gamma mineral based): 4 new commodities

Commodities will also get categorized by their role in manufacturing. This can be either basic component, offensive/weaponry component, defensive/armor component, or electric/energy component. Besides bringing more immersion into the game, this should also make it easier to remember what components you generally need for a type of module, and it should also help industrialists in specializing in a specific type of equipment. Both faction and type will be displayed on the icon of commodities.

All this juggling with the components has the consequence that pretty much every robot and module will require completely different commodities compared the current setup on the live server. We did this in a way that the final price of things generally shouldn’t be too much different than what you’re used to, but be aware that there will be some changes. There is an intended “trend” too, namely that robots will require slightly more materials than before, and modules slightly less.

Is your head spinning yet? Well we’re not stopping here, it’s time for some Hungarian Maths™!

Recalculating the industry - the new facility point system

One major issue with how the current industry in Perpetuum works is its rather bad scaling: novice manufacturers have a very hard time keeping up with veteran industrialists, and the main reason for this is the tremendous gap between their efficiency. This makes it near impossible for beginners to have at least a small chance at providing goods at competitive prices.

Of course, experienced manufacturers with high-tech facilities and tools should always keep their leading edge, but we’d like to lessen that efficiency gap and at the same time make the entry into the industry a less painful experience.

This is where our newest obsession comes into picture, convergent functions, or the term you’re probably more familiar with: diminishing returns. (I say obsession because it’s something we plan to apply to various other parts of the game in the future as well.)

Simply speaking, we’re turning all the facility-related calculations into the same point based diminishing system like the way armor resistances work for robots. Facility base efficiencies, your related extensions, your faction relation, etc. will all have a point equivalent and the sum of these points will be your final efficiency. Like in the case of armor resistances, this point value can be converted into a percentage value, which will always converge towards 100% efficiency, but it will never reach it. And similarly, the more efficient you are, the more harder it will be to improve on it.

Production point and facility efficiency graphs

The graph on the right should help you understand it better. When accumulating production points (horizontal axis), it’s relatively easy to reach a good efficiency, but it will gradually get harder to really stand out. Factory efficiency for example starts at 150% time and material needs (compared to “perfect” efficiency), and closes to 100% from upwards. The recycling plant’s efficiency starts at 25%, and the more it closes to 100%, the more commodities you will get from items. The money you have to pay at the repair shop begins at 75% and converges to 0%, but will never reach it.

The system makes the current level-classification of facilities obsolete, as their efficiency will be measured in production points from now on. For “fixed” (NPC controlled) alpha and beta terminals this won’t make a real difference, but in the case of gamma islands where you can attach any number of facilities and facility upgrades to the main terminals, it can be any number in between (and over!) the old level equivalents, too. Of course these points will still be displayed in the terminal information windows, so you can easily compare them from anywhere in the world.

CTs and production in the new system

Calibration templates (CTs) deserve their own paragraph here: their efficiency will be also measured in production points, but the hard limit we had at 100% in the old system is completely gone. The point system makes this possible, because as I explained earlier, the overall production points “thrown” into the pipeline can be quite a lot, but your calculated efficiency still won’t ever reach 100%.

Since the limit for improving CTs doesn’t exist anymore, you will be able to combine CTs in the new gamma-only calibration complex (mentioned in the 3rd part of the PBS blog) infinitely. But remember that it’s only production points what you’ll be combining there - the final efficiency in the factory will always boil down to something less than 100%. This also means that there will be a point where combining two CTs will gain you such a small efficiency increase that it won’t be worth to do it any further.

The production point system also has a nice peculiarity: since efficiencies start to get better already at lower point values, it’s enough to have a really good CT to reach satisfactory results even without access to high-level facilities. Similarly, if you have very good industrial extensions, you can get away with mediocre CTs and facilities, and so on. But the important part is that there will always be some room for improvement.

The manufacturing process itself will also change a bit. First off, factories will not just provide a boost to production times, but they will again have their own material efficiency bonuses. Second, the currently separated cycle and quantity in the factory will be merged into one, and CTs will be degraded with every item production cycle. To compensate for this, CTs will degrade much less in these cycles, and we have also boosted the extension that controls the maximum number of manufacturable items in one slot at a time to 10 per level (so 100 at level 10).

There are still a lot of small details I didn’t cover, but this is already getting too long again, and we’ll also happily answer any specific questions in the comments below, should you have any.

But wait, there is more

Still, there are two things that are not directly industry-related, but they are important enough to share with you.

One. Scarab Mk2. 900U cargo space. Needs gamma minerals to build.

Two. Navigation extension is dead. Since speed is such an important aspect of the game, it has always been a must-have extension for everyone, which is bad game design practice. It will get removed and everyone will have “level 10” by default.


  • Fixed mineral spawns replaced by random fields
  • Area scanning replaced by directional scanner
  • Minerals, commodities, and components redistributed among factions, with the intention of creating diversity and inducing trade and transport
  • New gamma-only mineral and commodities used for PBS and future stuff
  • Production point system - completely new industry calculations using diminishing returns, for lessening the gap between beginner and veteran industrials, while still retaining the possibility for the “leading edge”
  • Scarab Mk2 \o/
  • Navigation extension gets removed, everyone will have full speed by default

Oh, I almost forgot: all of this will come together with Player-Built Settlements, and as most of it is already done, you'll be able to test it on the public test server soon.

I like that word.

Welcome to the third and final instalment of our blog series showcasing the upcoming Player-Built Settlements (PBS) system. This part will tell you about the new island layout, the various building types and their purpose, and the concept of control and assimilation. If you haven’t read the first two parts, it’s highly recommended to do so, in order to better understand the things I’m about to explain here. The first part about terraforming is here, and the second one about building and planning is here.

24 new islands to explore and live on

There’s been a lot of speculation going on on the forums about how many new islands there will (or should) be. Some said an absolute minimum of 12, some argued we shouldn’t stop under a few hundred :)

The new teleport network layout

While we’d love to have the latter number in the future, for now we have settled for 24 new terraformable gamma islands. We feel that this should provide ample space for our current and anticipated playerbase without creating a vacuum. Of course we’ll be ready to add even more islands in the near future if the demand arises.

We’re not only adding new islands, we’re also revamping the entire connection network of the current alpha and beta ones. Some of you have voiced your concerns, and we also feel that the current teleport network is so dense that it makes the world feel rather small. Being able to jump quickly from one end to the other also renders any kind of long-range transport routes near obsolete. The same is true for living on beta islands, with the main trading hubs (currently the alpha terminals) being just a few minutes away.

The basic concept and the reasons for the the new layout:

  • Less complex teleport network: can’t reach “anything from anywhere”, gives individual islands more importance and makes them more unique.
  • Breaking up the Alpha 1 triangle: factions get more meaning, and the trading of faction-specific items should be more induced (this will be complemented by further industrial changes, details in the next blog).
  • Inserting Alpha 2 between Alpha 1 and Beta islands: this is intended to give Alpha 2’s a middleground role between the starting haven Alpha and the total hell that are the Betas. Alpha2’s have higher level NPCs, and those venturing there should already be aware of the dangers that Betas hold.
  • Strategic variance in Gamma island connections: we have both relatively easily reachable islands with many entry points, and hard to reach “hinterland” islands with more defendable entries. We’re very curious which ones will be more craved for, and how they will be used.
  • No island with only one entry point by design.

We also intend to create an unlock mechanism for opening the new islands, so they won’t be available from the get-go, and we’d also like to provide certain exploration rewards for the first pioneers. We’re still looking at our options on how exactly this will work, so I’ll get back to you with the details as soon as it’s settled.

The structure network planner

The structure network management and planning interface

I have already shown you a crude concept of the network planner in the previous post, and before I start with the explaining of various building types, I’d like to show you our progress on it. As you can see, it all happens on a new tab in the world map window, and it’s available when you’re inside a terminal or out on the terrain, too. One grid cell in the planner is equivalent to one tile on the terrain, so buildings are shown accurately as they occupy an area.

Types of buildings are mainly identified by their icons and their size, but there is also the optional name-tag, and you can even rename any of them. You can also select an individual building to bring up an information panel with all its parameters and settings. We have a number of connection types between buildings (energy, control, booster, etc.), each of them having a specific shape and color for easy overview.

Building plans are displayed just like completed buildings, but in purple color. There are various options to help you in planning your network, the proper connection distances and validating the terrain where you intend to deploy a building. As said, it’s a fairly complex system and I could go on forever but I’d rather continue with the rest of the features. You’ll be able to read all about the details in the game guide and test it yourself :)

Building types

As you already know, the basic concept of PBS is a network of interconnected buildings. There are a number of building types, each of them having a special role within a structure network. In this section I will tell you a few details about each of them, and I hope this will help you get the big picture on the whole system. There is one important fact to remember while looking at the list: structure networks are limited by the number of connection slots of each building in the network, and by the balance of generated and consumed energy. Note that names can still change and some of the more specialized buildings may not make it into the first PBS patch.

Main terminal

The central hub of your network, everything starts and ends with it. You can dock into it, equip your robots and store items, just like in any other NPC terminal. It doesn’t need any upkeep or energy to work - once built, it will stay there until someone destroys or deconstructs it. (Oh yes, it will be possible to deconstruct your buildings.) The main terminal comes in three different sizes, varying in number of connection slots, amount of HP, and physical size.

Another important role of the main terminal is that it provides ownership, or in other words, broadcasts control to all its connected buildings, which in turn further broadcast it to their connections and so on. If a building loses the chained control link with your network, it stops providing whatever its role is and you won’t be able to change its parameters until you regain control of it. More importantly, it’ll become open prey for an enemy network to “assimilate” it.

Control tower

Like the name suggests, control towers broadcast control, and they can do this through relatively large distances. They can be used to create watchposts or mining outposts far from the core of your network and your main terminal. Control towers themselves do not need energy to operate, however they don’t transfer it either, so you need to build a reactor at your outposts too, in order to operate the surrounding buildings.

Control towers also function as defensive bastions, which I will explain further in the control and defense section.



Reactors provide the necessary energy for your buildings to operate. They work very similar to a robot’s accumulator, but since they’re much bigger, they are also much slower regarding recharge (think days here). Like robot accumulators, they also have their peak recharge potential at 50%. However, a deployed reactor starts with 0 energy, thus the recharge starts out very slow, and if you connect many consumers to it at this point, it will never “kick in”.

There is also a quicker but more costly way of generating energy in your reactor: by fueling it with certain commodities, like vitricyl or prilumium. You can use this method if your reactor or reactors can’t provide the necessary amount of energy for your network, or if you want to kickstart a newly built reactor. Reactors can also be fed from other reactors, so if you already have a working energy network (with the necessary surplus energy), starting a new reactor should be easier too.

Energy transfer nodes

These little nodes are used to transfer energy from the reactors to all of the consumer buildings. They have a certain cycle time for this, so energy propagation through the network takes some time. There is also a little bit of energy loss when it goes through them, so taking energy via a long chain of nodes will “leak” a small but notable amount on its own.

Energy transfer nodes come in two sizes: the large one can transfer large amounts of energy per cycle, and they have bigger connection ranges (can be linked together from further away), but have only a few connection slots. These are intended for your main energy lines, the “backbone” so to say. Then there are the small transfer nodes, which are pretty much the opposite: small throughput, small connection ranges, but more connection slots. These will be your endpoint distributors.

Standard facilities

Basic main terminals don’t include any industrial facilities, you have to get the DLC for them. What this means is that you need to build the factory, the prototyping facility, the refinery and all the other individual facilities, and connect them to your terminal; only then will they appear in its facility menu. The trick here, of course, is that the main terminal has a limited number of inward connections.

Facility upgrades

Facilities have low efficiency on their own, but luckily we have facility upgrades to boost just that. Naturally, the increased energy consumption will not make it as easy as it sounds.

Special facilities

We’ll introduce two brand new facilities, which will only be available to be built on gamma islands. One is the Calibration complex, which will let you combine calibration templates of an item to get a higher efficiency CT. The other is the Decoder forge, and as you can probably guess, it will combine lower level decoders to provide you with a higher level one.

Defensive turrets

Your trusty watchdogs when you’re not home. They hit hard, and they hit far. In their current implementation they work with pure energy, but later on we might convert them to ammo-consuming beasts too, so you can chose your damage type.

There are three basic types: EM turrets have the highest dps, missile turrets have very long range and have the highest burst damage, and laser turrets are the most accurate at the cost of damage.

Mining tower

Mining tower

The name may be deceiving, as it’s not something that does the work while you’re not there. Instead, it works as an aura to allow you to exploit a new type of mineral, available only on gamma islands. This new mineral will be used to manufacture higher tier buildings.


Provides a masking aura for the robots in its range, making them harder to detect for other robots. Has no effect on buildings.

Repair nodes

These can be connected to any building and they will automatically start repairing any damage done to them, provided they have enough energy to do so.

Booster nodes

Currently, booster nodes can have either of the following functions: reduce the cycle time of turrets, increase the range of turrets, or increase the armor resistance of any building. Once you have a working booster node, you can simply select which one of those functions they should provide, and you can change this any time later on too.

As said, not all of these may make it in the first round, and we still have more ideas, for example solar panels which generate energy depending on the time of day.

Control, defense and capture

As I mentioned above at the main terminal details, control linking is a very important aspect of holding your network together. If you build parts of your network in a way that they depend on a single junction point, it will easily become a weak spot that you’ll have a hard time defending, even if you surround it with turrets of doom. When you lose such a junction point, you risk losing control of entire parts of your network, together with any connected defensive buildings, so redundancy will be pivotal in planning a solid network.

It’s not just a matter of losing control, but you may even find that the neighboring network snatched away your buildings. Such assimilation operations will be entirely possible: if there are any “orphaned” buildings in the connection range of your own network, which noone has control over, you can simply connect them to one of your buildings and they will start working for you.

Of course, losing parts of your network is one thing, but losing your main terminal with all your assets in it can be disastrous. Thinking about various defense mechanisms that allow you to get some sleep while not worrying to lose your main terminal made me write this post on the forums. While the idea of making the main terminal invulnerable as long as any other building is connected to it sounded good at first, it also made us realize that it makes a capture mechanism near impossible. If you have to destroy everything first in order to break control, there won’t be anything left to capture. This is especially true for the expensive high-efficiency facilities, which are connected directly to the main terminal, with no way to break control other than destroying the terminal itself.

We also tried to avoid any timer mechanisms, but in the end there is no way we can control the number of players attacking a base, and there needs to be some kind of solid attack window that you can count on as a defender.

So the final concept of the main terminal defense mechanism looks like this: as I mentioned above, control towers function as bastions, which means if at least one control tower is connected to it, the main terminal is invulnerable.

Once there are no control towers connected to the main terminal, you can start shooting it. When its armor reaches 50%, its emergency shielding activates, and once again it becomes invulnerable. This state lasts for 3 days, plus an optional 0-24 hours that the owner can set before it gets into emergency state. This makes sure that the defenders can set their own time of day when the terminal comes out of its emergency state, and becomes vulnerable. Once an emergency phase ends, it cannot be activated for 4 hours - that’s the window when the attackers can finish it off. The time when the emergency period ends can be scanned the same way you can scan for outpost intrusion times.

The combination of these two mechanisms should make sure that a lone terminal can’t be lost overnight, but it also makes sure that complex networks with many control towers and extensive defense systems will be much harder to take down, and then some more.

It's the little things

Besides giving you the possibility of building your own empire, we're also trying to add in some little extras that will make you stand out, and let you feel home. One of these things is that every corporation will be able to set a signature color, and this will be used for all the owned buildings' tint stripes, as well as the terminal inside background color.

Furthermore, what is an empire good for if you can't show it off? From the beginnings already, we really wanted to show territories in some way. Now with PBS, the occupied area of buildings finally provides a way to actually make your territory visible on the world map. We're aware that this is not something everyone would like, since it obviously gives away some strategic information, even though no individual buildings will be visible, just a colored "blob" (which also uses the color mentioned above). So this feature will be optional, CEOs can decide whether they want to show off or not.

We need your help

By now you should probably have a rough idea of the sheer complexity of this system. Since we are still merely a group of 10 people, it would be pretty much impossible for us to test it on our own. The outcome would most likely be an unbalanced patch, crawling of nasty bugs.

We have already set up a separate test server and as soon as we are finished with all the features, you’ll be able to come and fiddle with terraforming, planning and building before we deploy it to the live server. How and when exactly this will happen will be announced soon, stay tuned.

Well, I think that’s about it regarding the basics of PBS. Of course I’ll try to answer any questions, and I’m sure you have a few of those.

In the next blog I will tell you the tale of how we turned the industry upside down, to the extent that we probably should call it Industry 2.0.

I love cliffhangers.

Hello everyone, we’re back with the second part of the Player-Built Settlements show, please take your seats. In the first part we have taken a look at how you can terraform a suitable place for your buildings. This time we’ll see how the building process itself looks like and how you will be able to plan a network of interconnected structures. Please note that some of the details discussed here can still change as we are closing to completion and start the testing process.

Acquiring buildings

The basic line of standard Syndicate-issued buildings will be available directly from the market. However, the Syndicate will also provide the option to relieve itself from the tedious task of manufacturing these buildings, so every corporation will be able to acquire the knowledge to manufacture them on their own as well. This will be achievable via new special kernels, available from Syndicate Supplies for either assignment tokens, or special artifact items. (These artifacts will be available throughout all islands.)

Later on we’ll also introduce higher tier buildings, but manufacturing those will need a new type of mineral, available only on gamma islands - more on this in an upcoming industry-themed blog.

Starting a settlement

Large player-buildable main terminal

PBS will work in a network system, and every one of them will have to start with a central control node, the main terminal. All other buildings will have to be connected to the main terminal via an energy link or a control (~ownership) link - more on this a bit later.

So let’s say you have the building blueprint item for your first gamma terminal in your cargo. You pick a nice spot on one of the gamma islands, and start to terraform the area to be suitable for building (if necessary). To save you from insanity, buildings won’t require perfectly even areas for building; small slopes below a certain threshold will work too.

There will be a few no-build areas, e.g. around teleports, but currently we have no other limits planned for placing main terminals. The only limit regarding them is that one corporation can only have one active main terminal per island. The activation/deactivation and unattended defense mechanisms (the usual timezone issues) are still being worked out, but our aim is to prevent multi-headed dragons, i.e. redundant networks that are very hard to destroy, while still allowing relatively easy upgrading of your central terminal.

The building process

Once you’ve found the right place for your main terminal, you simply deploy the blueprint item from your cargo. This will place a kind of holographic version of the building onto the tile you’re standing on, and at the same time, push you and everyone else out of its construction radius. (Construction radius is an outline area around all buildings, and no two can overlap each other. This prevents building very dense and impenetrable settlements.)

After the blueprint is out anyone can start building it, this is not limited to the owner corporation’s members. Construction is done with building modules equipped on their robots, which use building charges available from the market, but they are also manufacturable (this part is still heavily under discussion). Any number of Agents can help in the completion, the goal is to reach a certain number of building cycles until it’s finished.

When the building is complete, it’s still offline and it has to be brought online to be operational, and this is something only the owners can do. The main terminal is a special building in this regard, because it can be activated on its own. However all other buildings will need to be connected to the main terminal before they can be brought online.

The main terminal

In case it’s not evident for everyone, I must stress that you can enter a player-built main terminal just like any other NPC terminal. So once your terminal is finished and online, you can hop in, store your stuff, or equip your robot. The available base facilities include private and corporation storages with all their features, robot equipment, the market, and robot insurance. All other facilities like the factory or the repairshop need to be built as separate structures and connected to the main terminal.

The reactor

However, nothing works without energy (the only exception being the main terminal), so the next thing you want to build will be a reactor. This is a separate building, but you can’t just place it anywhere. Apart from the terraforming requirements, all your buildings need to be in the control range of another owned building, and for your second building this means the main terminal. (Well, that’s only half true: you can place your buildings anywhere, but you won’t be able to connect and activate them if they are not in range.)

The control links will generally also mean an energy link at the same time, but since the reactor is the building which is generating the energy in the first place, it will only need a simple control link.

Planning your empire

So now you have a main terminal, and a connected reactor, generating energy (not for free, mind you). This is when things will start to become complicated and the need emerges for some delicate planning.

Mockup of PBS planner and maintenance window

Granted, planning and maintaining an extensive network of buildings just by walking around it on the terrain would be a tad difficult, so we’ll introduce a new schematic map into the world map window, intended specifically for this task. The picture you see on the right is a crude mock-up of how the layout will look like, the final design will be of course much prettier.

The left main area is where the planning will happen. Not only that, but here you will be able to connect your buildings and watch over their health and energy levels as well.

The planning process itself will be somewhat like a puzzle (in the better sense of the word). You grab a building plan on the right, and drag it onto the grid. The grid represents ground tiles, so when you place a building plan, it will snap to this grid. When you’re satisfied with its position, you will need to finalize the plan, which will check whether it’s a suitable location regarding terrain, construction radius and all that stuff. At the same time it also places a marker onto the terrain, so you will know where to deploy what building blueprint. This way you will be able to make plans for an extensive network of structures before even laying a brick, and your crew can work towards your goals using the terrain markers.

Advanced networking

Example of a PBS network

The picture on the right is something DEV Alf has thrown together for your amusement. To be able to understand it, you have to know that every type of building will have a fixed number of inward and outgoing connection slots. A connection can be anything: a simple control or energy link, but it can also mean a functional link, like in the case of facilities connected to the main terminal. The important thing here is that all types of connections are using the same limits, and it will be up to you how you play them in order to have a logical and working network.

Since every building has limited connection slots, and because the area around the main terminal will soon become crammed, you will eventually need to use energy transmitter nodes. These buildings function like hubs: they broadcast both control and energy, but they too have limited connection slots. You'll even be able to set the energy priority for each node, so in case there is an energy shortage (because, say, someone destroyed one of your reactors), your critical buildings can remain operational. Our aim here is to provide you with basic building blocks and use your imagination and creativity to create extensive and efficient connection networks.

The picture also shows various other types of buildings, which I’m sure you’re eager to hear about, but unfortunately you’ll need to stick it out until the next part :) In that one we’ll have a look at all the building types you can create (even some never before heard facilities), and I’ll also try to explain why it will be good for you to own a gamma base in the first place.

Until then, let your anger or approving thoughts roam free in the comments or the forums.

Many of you might have already heard bits and pieces about Player-Built Settlements, or PBS in short. As the name suggests, it’s our system which will allow players to create their own settlements, a place that they build with their own hands, shape to their own needs, and where they can really feel at home - basically a system which takes our sandbox to a whole new level. It’s a fairly complex system and we’ve been working on all the details for quite some time now. Today I’m happy to tell you that we have arrived at a point where we are confident enough to share our ideas with you.

Due to its complexity, this will be a series of blogs, likely at least a three-parter. We’ll start with terraforming, an essential feature and a prerequisite to building structures. Later on we’ll also take a closer look at the basic rules to building, and the various types of structures.

Gamma islands

Shaping the ground to your liking should be a fun thing to do, but I’m sure you understand we have to set up some limits. The current alpha (and to some extent, beta) islands have too many interconnected systems which could be easily disrupted if we would allow you to create hills and holes wherever you like. Since the world of Perpetuum feels still rather small, the most efficient and future-proof solution is to create new landmasses with their own set of rules. So before I dig into terraforming, let’s have a look at gamma islands.

When creating the concept of new islands, one of the main conditions we set for ourselves is that their time to completion needs to be improved considerably. Although even our current islands have been all started by procedural heightmap generation (which can be done in a very short time), in order for them to be ready and usable they needed a lot of manual work.

Terraformers, meet your canvas

With gamma islands, in many ways we have it a bit easier: we don’t have to worry about passability, since you are supposed to work on roads and paths with terraforming. We don’t really need to place decorational buildings either, that will be your job too. However, there is still the issue of mineral distribution and NPCs.

Currently all the mineral fields are hand-painted and fixed by location. This wouldn’t really work on a terraformable island, because they could easily get out of reach or be blocked by buildings. I think we have already hinted that random mineral fields are on our todo, and some of you have also suggested it on the forums. We already have a working version of it and it seems to work pretty well.

There was one interesting question regarding random mineral field placement - should it consider unreachable areas, or should we leave it to the players to terraform their way to the new fields? The latter sounds fun at first, but with time as players skim down hills to get to the precious fields, it would likely induce completely flat islands, which is... undesirable. It could also get a little frustrating if you already get the third epriton field in a row on top of Mount Doom. So, the current version of the mineral field generator neatly looks for passable areas and avoids tiles blocked by buildings as well. We think terraforming by strategic, construction or decorational purposes will give you enough work as they are.

An important thing to note here is that we will introduce random mineral fields not only to gamma islands, but to every existing island as well. Of course this will have the unfortunate effect that your current geoscan results will become obsolete, but we feel this will make the miners’ life much more interesting, and give geoscanning a real function. I’ll do a separate blog about this and other impending major industrial changes after the PBS series.

So, that should cover the mineral question, but what about NPCs?

As you can imagine, due to the ever-changing terrain, fixed spawn points would not be feasible. Even our current fixed-path roaming caravans could run into problems. This left us with the solution to have only completely free roaming NPCs on gamma islands, so Agents can experience the real wilderness there. Of course the spawn generator will have to check for passable and large enough areas so they don’t get trapped, but that’s pretty much the only limit for them.

In the end, random mineral fields and completely free NPC spawns should take off a lot of tedious configuration work from our shoulders, since we only have to set the type and amount of minerals on the island, the type and number of NPC spawns, and the island is pretty much a go.

Diggin’ up Nia

Now that we have covered where you can terraform, it’s time to see how you can do that.

The game has supported terraforming from the very beginnings, but so far it has only been a privilege to us devs. One issue that we had up until now was that terrain texture cover had to be regenerated after every modification of the terrain heightmap, in order to have rocky textures on steep walls, grass on plains and so on. This texture mask was then stored in a special bitmap, which had to be patched out to the live client. Even if we only modified one tile, we had to update the whole island’s map, so whenever you saw 100+ MB patches, it usually meant that we updated these maps.

But now that DEV BoyC is working on the complete revamp of our terrain-engine, he could come up with a solution that allows for real time updating of terrain textures based on slope and elevation. This means that when you start to raise a mountain, the ground texture will gradually change from grassy to rocky, all in real time. Not to mention that we can scrap those old island texture masks too, and that means less memory usage, smaller patches, and a smaller datafile.

The terraforming process itself will happen with help of a terraforming module of course, which will use different kinds of charges, depending on what you want to achieve. The basic raise/lower charges are self-explanatory, these will simply pull up or push down the targeted area by a fixed height value. Then there is the leveling charge, which tries to pull the surrounding tiles to the targeted tile’s level, within a small radius. Finally we have the smoothing charge, which can turn sharp edges and spikes into smooth ground, and also works on a small radius.

Terraforming charge types and their effects

The terraforming module will also check for plants in the area, and will first try to kill them before modifying the ground. This however will be a very slow process (and a waste of terraforming charges), so plant bombs or “manual gardening” will still retain their importance.

Due to various position updating issues we had to make a rule which will not allow terraforming if anyone is within a 1-tile border of the terraformed tile or area (“safe area”). Unfortunately this rule (and some other factors) does not really make this kind of terraforming suitable for group efforts, and is only intended for smaller fixes or touch-ups here and there.

However we have plans for another, team terraforming feature. We’re still working out the details of this one, but the basic idea is that a player could use the same terraforming brushes like we devs can to create a kind of holographic terrain blueprint. Then, terraforming beacons need to be deployed inside that area, and a team of terraformers can start charging the beacons using special modules from outside the area. In effect, the terraforming beacons will start to “pull” the affected area towards the form of the blueprint.

There will be a few global limitations to terraforming, even on gamma islands. First and foremost, there will be a few predefined non-terraformable areas, which will generally mean the vicinity of fixed teleports. We don’t want anyone to get trapped on the other side, or allow to shut off complete islands from the rest of the world. Another important rule is that you won’t be able to modify the shoreline of islands. And lastly, there will be limits to how high or low you can dig, and the maximum steepness you can achieve.

In our next episode

Well, that’s pretty much all there is to the basics of terraforming. We’re still working on some of the details, and we’re of course eager to get some feedback from you as well. In the next part we’ll have a look at the basic rules of building structures and how you can connect them to each other.