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

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 .

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.