Starbound's future features outlined: includes space combat and story missions

Phil Savage at

Given that Starbound has both a grappling hook and the ability to create a cutesy rendition of the Morrowind theme, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's already finished. But no, those are just the most important features of a long and winding development road. In a new post on the game's official site, designer Finn "Tiy" Brice has outlined some of the things planned for future updates.

"We have a lot more than this in store," writes Tiy, "but Xealaz over at reddit compiled such a nice list of the stuff we HAVE discussed that I wanted to share it with you. As always, things are not set in stone."

The list includes everything from fixes and balance tweaks, including a smoother difficulty curve and rebindable controls, to long-term planned features, like space combat and planetary modifications. You can see the full thing below:

  • "NPC Spawners & Building Logic: NPCs will scan the structures you build around them and the contents of chests; they will have improved inventories/behaviors depending on how valuable their surroundings are.
  • "Macro Terrain Changes: Affect an entire planet’s terrain and weather
  • "More Planet Scanner Data: See details in the planet scanner like planet occupants/dungeons
  • "Underground: More secrets will spawn below the surface
  • "Space Combat: Way in the future, expect space combat and the ability to board other ships.
  • "Spaceship Dungeons: Very large, size of a planet.
  • "Biome Hazards: Sandstorms, icestorms, meteor showers, toxic planets, airless planets.
  • "Ore & Difficulty: Higher difficulty planets will have improved ore distribution
  • "Story Missions: Eventually each tier will end with a story mission that ends with the bosses you see now.
  • "Ship Navigator Changes: Still not set in stone; but the new idea is to give a local map with fog of war. Instead of sector buttons you have to fly out of a sector and into the next one by uncovering more of the star map. The final sector would be infinite.
  • "Smoother Difficulty Curve: Better indication of the difficulty of an area. Difficulty will change within tiers as well as between tiers. There will be fractional difficulty (for example, Difficulty 1.12 in tier 1 would be easier than Difficulty 1.52, while still in T1)
  • "Monster Generation: Right now, monster parts just have stat boosts, but eventually rolled monster parts will affect their behavior and abilities. For example, monsters with spider legs can climb walls; fiery monsters inflict burning. You might get a burning spider dropping on you from the ceiling. Projectiles may be tied to specifically generated heads. Biome may influence monster part generation.
  • "Mini-Map: Rotating circular map showing highlights only such as the location of friendly players, spawn points–but no major details. For the details you’d use a mapping item to create a map as you travel.
  • "Teleporters: Stargates between planets and eventually between servers.
  • "Dramatic Planet Modification: Not going to be implemented any time soon. Ability for players to modify huge chunks of planets through things like orbital bombardment; removing the entire first layer of a planet and leave behind a lifeless surface.
  • "Tech Priority: Eventually all techs can be active at once, but a categorization system is in the works to assign priority to conflicting techs, preventing issues. A hotkey to switch the active tech will be added as a temporary workaround until the priority system is completed.
  • "Server Commands: More server commands and control for chat and port listening.
  • "Villager AI: Villagers will aggro when you steal from them and follow you more aggressively.
  • "World Storage: Improve world storage and organize *.pak files to improve modding. Add launcher integration.
  • "Spawn Points: Change spawn points on individual planets.
  • "Controls: Reconfigure controls; keybinding.
  • "Ship Size: Upgrade ship/increase size.
  • "Racial Armor: Racial abilities will not be inherent but will be tied to racial armor. For example, Avian armor can glide downward.
  • "Capture Pods & Mercenaries: May be able to capture NPCs with pods. Summon NPC Mercenaries by using the pod as a beacon.
  • "Reduced Wipes: Working on a system to patch without requiring as many character wipes in the future. This will require one more wipe and that’s it.
  • "Other Changes: Colorblind Mode & Engine Optimization. FTL animation being revamped to reduce memory strain."

For more on Starbound, check out Cass's largely enthusiastic early impressions.