Rocket Launch, Troubleshooting, Pricing, Disliked & Wanted Features, Outlook
PHEW, what a launch week! EVERSPACE 2’s start in Steam Early Access and GOG GiD exceeded our wildest expectations. So far, we’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from fans and press all over the world. After we started Early Access with more than 260,000 wishlist entries on Steam, we were very confident. However, we would never have dared to dream that we would land at number 1 on the global Steam Charts in no time and stay in the top ten for six consecutive days, resulting in EVERSPACE 2 becoming Steam’s #2 top seller of last week.
After a few hours, we saw over 3,000 concurrent players, which is more than double the record of the lower-priced, original EVERSPACE during its first big summer sale. With currently 93% positive reviews, we seem to have hit the bulls-eye with tens of thousands of space shooter fans. The critical consensus from the media and content creators is also overwhelmingly positive, and we’d like to share a few articles and our favorite video previews with you:
“Everspace 2 is close to being the new gold standard for space shooters | I like tinkering with graphs and plotting galactic domination as much as the next guy, but I’m enjoying Everspace 2’s singular focus on energetic combat and exploration. Even though it’s an Early Access game that Rockfish says still needs 12 to 18 months of work, Everspace 2 is absolutely worth buying when it releases on January 18.”PC Gamer
“I’m already heavily impressed by Everspace 2 and think Rockfish Games is doing an incredible job. The combat is excellent, the graphics look great, and the game naturally explains all of its mechanics in an extremely clear manner that makes it more than easy to grasp all of its many facets. The only worrisome thing is that, yes, you’re going to lose your save if you play now. Aside from that, though, the game is very much well worth picking up, as it’s a blast.”PC Invasion
“EVERSPACE 2 | The Best Space Adventure In A Looong Time. This space shooter brings along a single-player galaxy exploring adventure, fluid controls, worthwhile upgrades, and great combat.”Boomstick Gaming
“Everspace 2 – Excellent Already! Karak with ACG does a 5 point rundown of differences and details he likes in this 5 point inspection preview of the early access.”ACG
As with every “major” launch, quite a few users ran into technical issues, especially as the game is still in Early Access. A lot of the issues discovered are on our list already; some require deeper investigation on our side; for others, there are workarounds, a few are engine-related issues where we have to rely on our friends at Epic Games.
Mouse + Keyboard, Gamepad, and HOTAS Input
Some pilots have mentioned MKB input feeling laggy or sluggish, which was surprising since we had received a lot of praise for the tight shooter-like WASD-controls in the predecessor. It’s one of the few code snippets that we didn’t rewrite for EVERSPACE 2, but we made some adjustments as the sequel’s combat is slightly slower-paced. If you prefer a more direct input, go to settings->input->mouse+keyboard and set “mouse position” to “operating system.”
If you’re a veteran space pilot coming over from a classic space flight sim and just can’t get the feel of EVERSPACE’s primary gimbal weapons and twitchy aiming, we got good news for you: Due to popular demand, the option to have the crosshair always centered when using the mouse, as well as options to show or hide the mouse deadzone and a small dot indicating the screen center, will be available in the next patch. If you play with a gamepad controller and are used to it, you should feel fine with at least one of the presets that you can still customize. We also invested quite a lot of time and effort into getting HOTAS/HOSAS support right from the start. While it works fine for all Logitech (Saitek) and Thrustmaster models we tested, the devil seems to be in the details. If you run into any HOTAS issues, please try disabling Steam Input, which did the trick for quite a few HOTAS pilots. If things still don’t work properly, we kindly ask for your patience. We will look into these issues soon, but it won’t be an easy task. We plan on opening a dedicated thread on the forums regarding key binding issues, and with your help and feedback, we should be able to find out why it isn’t working for everyone.
Ongoing Optimization Efforts
Before we go into the details, please bear in mind that playing EVERSPACE 2 with max settings puts a lot of strain on both your CPU and GPU. We’ve done a fair amount of performance optimization, and while there is still some room for improvement, don’t expect any miracles when playing on older hardware. We’ve been working closely with our friends at Nvidia and ARM to performance-test builds – both rated the Early Access version with “good” – and utilize their in-depth feedback for further performance optimization. To get the best experience, always make sure you have the latest graphics drivers installed and try running the game with DX11 if your GPU is older than two years.
Most crash reports were submitted by players running EVERSPACE 2 at max settings on older hardware or Windows versions or on overclocked GPUs. Here’s a pretty good article on how to troubleshoot. Please note that we most likely will not support Windows 7 or Windows 8 as we cannot guarantee that future versions of Unreal Engine 4 will still support those operating systems.
One of the biggest discussions on the Steam forums and on social media is about the pricing of EVERSPACE 2 in Early Access. While we understand $39.99 / €37,99 might feel steep compared to typical indie games in Early Access, please bear in mind that EVERSPACE 2 is a AA production with a development cycle over 4+ years by a veteran team of 25, plus a handful of long-term contractors as well as additional external AAA art services. We feel our asking price is right for the current production quality and the amount of content and features already in the game as well as a significant discount on the full version.
If the price is not right for you, that’s totally fine. You might pull the trigger sometime down the road or never at all. To manage expectations: We plan to run only a few moderate sales between 10% to 15% during Early Access as we respect and value the financial commitment of our backers who shelled out up to $38/€35 for a digital copy on PC during our crowdfunding campaign back in 2019 when we had only a prototype to show.
Now, we noticed that in some countries, the price for EVERSPACE 2 is somewhat higher, which sucks. However, much like any indie dev, we followed Steam’s suggestion for regional pricing, and we don’t want to open a can of worms by adjusting prices in certain countries. This would inevitably cause outrage in other regions where we don’t adjust the price. Constantly monitoring and adjusting regional pricing, factoring in exchange rates, and purchasing power is big publisher territory.
Even though EVERSPACE 2 is currently sitting at a staggering 93% positive reviews out of 1275+ right out of the gate even without a day #1 patch, we’re not surprised about some negative feedback, especially from pilots that prefer a more hardcore, “realistic” space sim experience over our arcadey spacer shooter approach. We created EVERSPACE 2 with a focus on high accessibility and fun gameplay mechanics set in a game world with vibrant colors. Well, here’s the good news first: if you prefer a more simulation-style flight mechanic to cut engines and drift through space, etc., you can already do so by binding a key for this in the customize controls menu. The action does not have a default binding right now as we don’t want to confuse players who might accidentally press the key and wonder why their ship all of a sudden keeps drifting.
Now the not so good news for space truckers that are not fond of puzzles in EVERSPACE 2. In the widest sense, simple puzzle-solving, like shooting generators to deactivate shields or activating several generators on the clock to power up a service space station, has already been a side gameplay mechanic in the predecessor. Those have all been optional and were intended to add some variety to the overall combat & exploration experience while yielding special rewards without breaking the flow of playing a fast-paced arcade space shooter.
Since exploration and discovery play a much bigger role In EVERSPACE 2, we wanted to test the waters in Early Access and take puzzle-solving a bit further by having a greater variety of puzzles utilizing the new grappling mechanic. This concept was introduced during our Kickstarter campaign back in 2019:
Long story short, puzzles will stay, but also know that we plan to balance the distribution of these puzzles with combat and other gameplay mechanics we add in the future. We plan to add more engaging puzzles, but the vast majority will still be optional. However, since accessibility is also really important to us, we consider the addition of a gameplay option to adjust puzzle timers.
Furthermore, a few pilots, mostly coming from die-hard space sims, find the short loading screens when entering a new location annoying or at least immersion-breaking, and we understand where you guys are coming from. We too would love to have no loading screens and will look into further optimization towards the full release, but it is not a priority as a lot of things are still subject to change during Early Access. To manage expectations, there will always be a lot of data to be loaded into memory when entering a new location in EVERSPACE 2 for technical reasons. Since we cannot hide the loading process by riding in an elevator or traversing through a tunnel, like in other games, and as streaming is probably not gonna do the trick either as you already can see the destination right in front of you before leaving supralight travel, don’t expect any miracles to happen.
The second “disadvantage” of having a handcrafted game world in an arguably pseudo-open space game is that locations have to have boundaries because space… Well, maps in EVERSPACE 2, or locations as we like to call them, are 10 km x 10 km x 5 km in size and bigger than in any other space game featuring handcrafted locations that we are aware of. We cannot go that much further without running into severe gameplay issues at the far ends of the maps without implementing dynamic world origin shifting, which would be a huge undertaking and may even break the game.
We’re not saying that isn’t technically feasible; we think it is just not worth the effort and the risk. In fact, we’re pretty happy with the size of the locations as they are since it fits our vision to design a great gameplay experience within a controllable area, featuring great maneuvering with robust 3D collision physics while flying at high speed in open space but also inside narrow spaces, like hollow asteroids, derelict space stations, tunnels etc., precision-maneuvering in centimeters – yeah, let this sink in, it’s nuts, we know! 😀
Last but not least, bear in mind: EVERY one of those fixed locations you can see on the map in EVERSPACE 2 was carefully designed, manually crafted, and tested by our team. For the final game, we plan to have some 100, each one featuring at least one challenge or mission objective plus various optional activities. In video game development, you gotta pick your battles, especially if you don’t have deep pockets. We went for quality over quantity.
The closing sentence of the previous topic is also a great intro for this one: We already made a big leap in game development by taking EVERSPACE from an indie roguelike space shooter to an AA open-world space looter shooter with RPG elements plus endgame content. We know space game fans always want more, but there is only so much we can do as a 100% self-funded team of 25.
Consequently, big features like multiplayer (PvP, Co-op, shared online space, you name it), EVA (extravehicular activities aka Space Legs), piloting capital ships, and VR support have never been on our list. There is a plethora of technical, game design, and business reasons that have already been discussed at great length for each one of them, so no need to delve into each topic again here. We are 100% committed to the promises we made in our Kickstarter, and we’re laser-focused on our creative vision to make the best single-player open-world space looter shooter that we possibly can. Yet again, we’re putting everything on the line with EVERSPACE 2, and we don’t have any other irons in the fire. We don’t have any filthy-rich investors, big AAA publishers, or platform holders paying our bills in case things go sideways. This is just us and you, our fans! If you want to know where we’re coming from, here’s our story.
With this update, we had planned to share our high-level roadmap with you guys. However, we’re still digesting the enormous amount of feedback we’ve received so far on the Steam and GOG forums (2000+ open threads even after us merging threads wherever reasonable), our discord, and social media channels. While we’re already working on a lot of new content and additional features, we also want to make QoL improvements based on community feedback. There is some really good stuff being shared, so keep it coming!
Now, we don’t want to leave you hanging in the air with this update: System 3 is already in the works and scheduled to drop in summer because we’re not done yet with System 2! We still have some cool new stuff for Union up our sleeves with our first major content update in April. You can also look forward to piloting two new ship subclasses as soon as the update drops.
But wait, there is more! We’ve also been busy working on the first patch bringing various bug fixes, QoL improvements, and further performance optimization to be released sometime next week. Here’s the kicker: Everyone can jump right into it by switching to our all-new Experimental Branch on Steam.
The Experimental build changelog can be found here.
So, it’s fair to say that overall, things are looking pretty good. And while we will keep reading through every thread no matter if good or bad, glowing feedback like the fan video below makes our day and never gets old:
Alrighty, this is it for now! In case you are not familiar with our weekly “ROCKFISH Recap,” hosted by our one-and-only Community Ambassador and ace pilot Erik Schrader, make sure to dock on Twitch and YouTube to watch the latest dev build in action, from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm CET / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm EDT / 11:00 am to 1:00 pm PDT. 🚀👀💥🙌
See you in space!
your dedicated ROCKFISH Games Team