How We Approach Story - Subnautica

SystemSystem Members, Super Administrators, Reinforced - Diamond Join Date: 2013-01-29 Member: 182599Posts: 466 vanilla

imageHow We Approach Story - Subnautica

Hi everyone, Narrative Designer Jill here. As you know, we’re changing the story for Subnautica: Below Zero. I wanted to give you an idea of what goes into this process....

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Comments

  • theMadPigstertheMadPigster Members Join Date: 2019-11-22 Member: 255791Posts: 2 Fully active user
    I can't wait to play the new update when it releases
    Littlemugger
  • NovasVanguardNovasVanguard Members Join Date: 2020-04-17 Member: 260133Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Will there be any primary involvement with Alterra? Personally, I think having Robin find out secrets about what Alterra is, having her team up with Al-an and Marg, and trying to fight against it would be a great addition to the story.

    Also, will there be any more backstory on the Architects/Precursors/ Al-An's species? I'd love to learn more about them and dive in deeper into the lore of the games!

    You guys are doing an amazing job!! I've loved your games for years and am on the edge of my seat to see what all is in store for the future! Thank you!
  • SnoopyfighterSnoopyfighter United StatesMembers Join Date: 2020-04-17 Member: 260134Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    I keep wanting to buy the game but am trying to patiently wait till it's full release! keep up the good work!
  • A_WitcherA_Witcher Members Join Date: 2020-04-17 Member: 260135Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    it's always satisfying to read something like this, peak behind the curtain of game developers, especially story development. thanks for this blog entry and I can't wait for new updates, both in the game and as development posts.
    Littlemugger
  • Markinat0rMarkinat0r AlaskaMembers Join Date: 2020-04-17 Member: 260136Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    I have a question about updates but first I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to write these so the community is involved with the creation and just not stuck waiting for the end result! Anyway, I’m on the epic games launcher and I’ve seen some videos of youtubers who have this on steam that are getting a bunch of little updates along the way, like the intro and the recycler and things like that. but on the epic games launcher I don’t have the option to update the game. So I was wondering if I have to wait until dull release for any changes or will there be like another update like the lost ship update soon that includes all the things you guys have done recently?
  • virtualdonvirtualdon Members, Forum Admins, Confirm Email, Subnautica Developer Join Date: 2019-11-22 Member: 255783Posts: 11 mod
    @Markinat0r Epic store doesn't support multiple branches of the game, so we're not able to enable Experimental there. We will be doing another Early Access update like Lost Ship soon!
    LittlemuggerAyden769
  • LootedLooted Members Join Date: 2020-04-18 Member: 260142Posts: 1 Fully active user
    Unknownworlds sounds like such a good place to work at, you guys are really putting effort in on the stuff that matters and refining the key details that will impact user expierence as a whole which brings a smile to my face. Everytime I see an update for this game it's not like you guys are shooting for some sub-par content but you're going for the whole enchilada. Keep on doing what you do best !
    Ayden769s0me0ne
  • jaan127jaan127 Members Join Date: 2020-04-18 Member: 260143Posts: 2 Fully active user
    GeForce now doesn't allow experimental mode either. Could you possibly do current version lost ship style? Please and thank you.
  • ryttu3kryttu3k Members Join Date: 2020-04-18 Member: 260144Posts: 1 Fully active user
    Looking forward to seeing how it all shapes up, and I'm glad that Marg is staying! (She's a bit too unforgettable to leave out!) Will we be hearing what happened to Ryley after returning, at all? I know he doesn't necessarily have Robin's 'working inner life', but a lot of people have got very fond of him despite his canonical traits being 'dumbass and hair gel'.
    Sheogorath
  • SheogorathSheogorath Members Join Date: 2020-03-01 Member: 258420Posts: 2 Fully active user
    So, Kitewing Skyray cut?
  • LoochLooch [email protected]Members Join Date: 2020-04-18 Member: 260145Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Thanks for the small peek into your writing process, Jill. It's great that you feel comfortable sharing with the community (it puts trust into many of those who might be worried about the new girl in town).

    I have a small feature request (if you wouldn't mind considering it). When making water bottles from bladder fish or cooking/curing fish, often we spend a lot of time hunting them down to make as many as possible so that we can then properly plan for a mission/adventure. But then we have to sit there and click/wait, click/wait... over and over while making each item. Can you offer an option to "cook all" or "make all"? One way it could be done without changing the game mechanics is by having the user hold down the action key/button to make/cook and after a specified time a conditional window could appear asking the user to either ["make all" or "make one"]. By doing the "hold action button" and waiting to trigger the new action, it wouldn't break any existing mechanics in the game thus keeping consistency and it could also potentially be used for other "make" functions if applicable to the item.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to share with us! I've been enjoying the daily updates in the online changelogs :smile:
  • Shady_oneShady_one Members Join Date: 2017-04-08 Member: 229491Posts: 13 Fully active user
    edited April 18
    Main question I had while playing experimental build is "Where did everyone go?", and, more exactly, why Robin doesn't care about that.
    She was infiltrating a planet Alterra has a research mission on, but found an abandoned planet and not even wondering about that.

    From the old story we know they've been evacuated to Vesper because of meteor storm, but there are no hints in the new one. Moreover, Robin even notices "I'm not as alone as I thought" in one of entries. Why would she even thought she's alone?

    Second - what did Robin expected to do after the landing? Luckily, there were no Alterrans on the planet to arrest her or interrogate, but how did she know there won't be? How did she expect to find out about Sam without asking other people? Shouldn't she prepare some kind of cover like "Hi, I'm one of Alterra's contractors, may I ask you a question?".
  • HerobrinesbestminionHerobrinesbestminion Members Join Date: 2019-12-07 Member: 256209Posts: 38 Advanced user
    you are certainly doing your best with the story and people have their own minds.... so here is the list (correct me if I miss something):
    1. Just another crash: jeah okay I have some problems with that, too. But on the other hand, it's way more chinamatic (okay just ignore my gramar, please) and we get to see the planet from space again :smile: the alternative would be let the game start in a tiny base robin build after landing and that would be... insert old intro dissapointment comments here :wink:
    2. Robin has to much personality: that thing was there before the changes and will never go away (there will always be one rotten fish in the ocean) the problem is that this game is more storybased than the last so a sillent MC won't work this time
    3. To much cut content: this one is totaly mine, this game feels like DLC (okay it was first planed as post 1.0 updates or DLC before it became a second game) unlike the first game, that had much more content even with more cut content.... okay this one is also easy to debunk first I know how much work goes into games but you did it before... well, debunk failed whoops second it is the arctic after all... there normal isn't that much life... so that's that (okay maybe you take your deadlines a tiny bit to seriously?) but I still would love to sea (haha) like one more biom and a few more animals for like the gleasial (shut up gramar) basim (I don't Carar about the Icedragon just give me a little bit more content)

    I would be happy to see your comments to this list since I even tryed to find an explaination for my own problems (that wasn't easy) and ofcourse would like to explain other peoples problems as much as I can
  • Misa_NexusMisa_Nexus Members Join Date: 2020-04-18 Member: 260152Posts: 1 Fully active user
    Hi, i love Subnautica Below Zero and i really want back base Zero at start of game, and i miss Jeffreys very well. Thanks for this game and developers too. I look forward next update.
  • TehanRTehanR Sri LankaMembers Join Date: 2018-08-02 Member: 242613Posts: 1 Fully active user
    Kharaa: I. AM. INEVITABLE!
    Covid: R U CHALLENGING ME?!
  • Ayden769Ayden769 Members Join Date: 2018-01-23 Member: 235495Posts: 3 Fully active user
    edited April 18
    I love Below Zero, but I feel like there a bit of critiques I could make when it comes to the game, if you'd mind hearing me out. The first Subnautica was based around a completely silent protagonist. You had to tell the atmosphere from your own eyes since Ryley didn't actually provide any insight. If this game follows a more heavy narrative beyond data pads, somewhere that could be followed up with her reactions, there could be more life to the narrative. When I first encountered a leviathan that wished to bite my head off, Robin was unusually quiet. Normally, she is jumping up and down with Al-An trying to decide which plant species is the cutest and what his favorite color is beyond the spectrum, but in the jaws of a being that is dozens of times larger than her? Not a peep, nor a gasp, nor a single word. I feel like when you encounter a beautiful sight or a nautical shipwreck, she could react with, "Oh my Gosh," or "How did this happen", or "This planet holds so much beneath the waves". More interactions, narratives and comments could boost the players attitude of what they should be feeling. Nothing would chill me more than hearing Robin say, "What was that noise?" and then encountering a bright red monster the size of multiple Reapers. That sets fear, adrenaline and even curiosity for newer players.

    Another thing that could be addressed is the above ground set. I know this is getting a rework, but I just want to toss a couple suggestions into the pot. Above ground should have a little bit less scaling and vertical plots of land. It felt like an enormous chore trying to find my way up and around each slope and hill only to find out it didn't hold any value. It felt usually large, even with the hover-bike, where every time to try to get through the largest parts of the map, this needle nosed son-of-a-reaper bumps you off until your bike is either destroyed or you get so tired of trying that you walk several miles on foot where its not scary nor tense, just annoying that you can't avoid most of its attacks, you just have to walk forward continuously for little to no reward on plot or materials. For this part, I feel like the ice zone could be a bit more simplified for directly walking off the watery soil of regular content.

    For something that sounds odd, I just wanted to try and add in my own idea on how the story could be changed some. It becomes clear that you *SPOILER HERE* >>>
    are not alone when you meet Marg.
    In my own side of opinion, why not take this a bit further by actually adding in small outposts or trading hubbles in the midst of dangerous locations such as a leviathan breeding grounds or extremely deep locations that require a mech and pure guts as you travel deeper and deeper, where its a rewarding adventure as you can get new ores, trade in manufactured food and water for equipment or just see a friendly, alive face and leave you wondering, "How did they survive out here for so long?". This small bit of detail can usher in new atmospheres instead of inevitable loneliness when surviving without having an objective.

    That was my main critique for this game in its current state. Covid has forced everyone to have to work in un-ideal environments and that can slow or even halt game progress such as The last of Us, and the fact that you guys and gals in the dev team have come so far to deliver an amazing game that is bound to surpass its first shows both improvement and love for this project. I will support this game through every update and speed bump. Love you dudes, keep up the great work! <3
    Rainbeetle
  • FanBoyJimFanBoyJim Birmingham ukMembers Join Date: 2020-04-20 Member: 260244Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Hello avid game player here, I genuanly felt the need to write a comment of pure love and respect for the subnautica series and the devs of these games. How many years later I've played subnautica for the first time not knowing anything about what lies beneath....... The direction of the origanal subnautica is sublime, the game let's you figure everything out on my own and everything in sight is interesting and a pleasure to explore. The games main storyline came naturally and didn't force me to do anything, all the desicions I made were mine and incredibly rewarding to achieve while uncovering the mystery you guys have came up with. I had no idea this game existed 3 months ago and now I'm obsessed and can't wait to see what you lot come up with in this new installment. I can gladly say subnautica is one of the best games I've played (I've played alot of let downs) and the game reeks of the hard work, passion and originality that this game industry needs. You guys are really on to something big. Keep up the hard work guys Im hanging on for that sweet release there is no rush on quality.

    Love fan boy Jim x
  • MardyMardy Members Join Date: 2019-03-09 Member: 251615Posts: 12 Fully active user
    Couple of points -

    Sack the voice actor and get a good one - far too wooden
    Get rid of the woke agenda it is ruining the game and will loose you so much money there will never be a third Subnautica - keep it as a game not a statement
    Don't overdo the voice - the current voice actor is simply bland, wooden and annoying and I turned the sound off in the end just so that I didn't have to listen to her
  • Ayden769Ayden769 Members Join Date: 2018-01-23 Member: 235495Posts: 3 Fully active user
    Mardy wrote: »
    Couple of points -

    Sack the voice actor and get a good one - far too wooden
    Get rid of the woke agenda it is ruining the game and will loose you so much money there will never be a third Subnautica - keep it as a game not a statement
    Don't overdo the voice - the current voice actor is simply bland, wooden and annoying and I turned the sound off in the end just so that I didn't have to listen to her

    Can you uh... chill some, it's a voice actor, not the end of the world, and what even is this... "woke agenda?"
  • jaan127jaan127 Members Join Date: 2020-04-18 Member: 260143Posts: 2 Fully active user
    Mardy,
    I Believe the qwoke agenda works well in games, it's so close to reality.
    Not for nothing we are probably on the same )page(
  • FootureFooture SwissMembers Join Date: 2020-04-21 Member: 260260Posts: 4 Fully active user
    Hello

    As first i have to tell how much i love Subnautica. Im still in love with it and its one, no its my favorite Game yet.

    I love how the game feels. From the beginning, i feld completly lost in a big, dungerous World. An ocean that has to be explored. An Alien facility, that background has to be uncovered.
    The Game didnt have that straight on Storyline. It just let you do.
    Leviathans are a pretty big deal. Terrifing, big creatures that growls. Cant wait to catch you.

    Below Zero, on the other hands, doesnt have much similarity.
    You arent alone. But this isnt really a problem. Its ok to see something new.
    There are your sister, marg, even AL-AN.
    The World isnt that bad. I like the Twisty Bridges, Lilipad Island, even the purple Vents.
    What i am really missing is the danger.
    Iceworms and Chelicerate arent that dungerous as reaper and ghost was.
    Cryptosuchus, on the other side, are just too much. They growls way too loud for theyre scale of Thread.
    That should be the growl of a big, scary leviathan.
    The other Problem, i have, are the Bioms. While in Subnautica, every one doesnt look like the other, in Below Zero, almost half looks like to other.
    There isnt an invisible line trough them and that makes the world a bit boring.
    I mean, arctic and spare arctic, twisty brigdes and shallow twisty brigdes they are big, but looks like the same.

    All in all, im pretty ok with the game. Just look what was the best on Subnautica, put it in BZ and it will be awesome.

    Greets, one of your biggest fan.
  • BoffBoff SwedenMembers Join Date: 2018-08-12 Member: 242804Posts: 58 Advanced user
    Thank you Jill for your lovely post.

    I shamefully happy that you added in your professional nature, as a new member of whatever team you find yourself in, is that your first goals are to give love to what the developers have done already and find the love that the gamer's have in the project so far. You should perhaps lead with that next time :)
    But with my online experience of judging reactions, I could be very wrong ;)

    From a previous life that ended for me 3 years ago, I was a struggling dyslexic low-level developer and then for a quick year QA-manager / tester;
    I had the pleasure and stress to be sat with various ad-hoc but very professional teams.
    From those years 15 years of experience, I've often battled online since 2012 with the gaming public, (of which I *do* include myself).
    to try to calm the over-reaction from of the most vocal of the public who are willing to make their opinions known due to;
    1) subverted expectations created in their minds since the last public build cycle / iteration
    2) Changes that were brought about by the multitude of internal test build and cycles.
    3) time taken between public builds and announcements.

    And as a Half life who bunkered down on the steam-powered-user-forums as a vocal consumer but then after a few hard-earned break-downs with various teams,
    I started to stick up for "developers". I had my work cut out for me over HL2:Ep3 -> HL3, which ultimately honed my online Trolling skills after having to take my fight to the Steam-group A-call-for-communication and operation crowbar that my friends from the forums had started. Groups that number in the hundreds of thousands.


    For years, It feel like I'm a stuck record on whatever forum/comment seciont I find myself in, as new there are always new consuming that are born and who enter this mad amazing and imaginative worlds that we all live in as gamer or tv and movie consumers.
    World which we build with our minds; landscapes, characters story beats all from the hard work of the creative developers.

    I've battle for the ordinary gamer to understand the creative process, because no matter how well a "creator" tries to convey the ever changing organic and cyclic nature of development, it often feels that there are those who,
    just don't get it or just refuse to get it.
    There is some truth to just passing it off as a the emotions of the flight/flight reaction blocking the cognitive thought.
    All because of the anxiety that something they are accustomed to (and like) is being threatened by change.

    Maliciously, though, I started to form the opinion, that there is a disconnecting wall between a pure consumer and content-creator / developer.

    An arbitrary threshold creating a "them and us".

    And until you have had the experiences of being along for the development journey, you might not have the relevant experiences so that your hippocampus can base its interpretative perception of the happenings of the exterior world outside your central-nervous-system.
    Thus leaving your conscious brain clamoring to the "next-best" and strongest feeling to perceive the input.
    Which for the pure green-consumer, boils down to the fight/flight reaction to changes.

    So what experiences changed me from consumer to developer?
    The joy of nailing something that you, the team are happy with and are beaming with pride and the public really take to it.

    The shock of how much on-boarding simple (and obvious) things actually require.

    The initial soul crushing experience of having something your love getting negative feedback from colleagues or testers.

    The experience of something you did that you aren't proud of (or dislike) receive praise.

    The amazement of how sound and visual feedback to existing mechanics and/or beats of a game can dramatically enhance the experience.

    I made a platform game, but it was boring the stakeholders claimed, and I was told to make it more fun for the next meeting the following week. I barely had the dev-time that cycle to figure out and add into the engine the little "+5 points" pickup sound effect and animation. I had no time to add the No gameplay or mechanics they had suggested.

    Shockingly, I had delivered a fun-filled experience which received wild praise and pats on the backs from stake-holders.


    Or the final nail in the coffin of loosing your favourite baby at the end / start of a develop and build cycle.
    For good reasons be it:
    -a bad idea,
    -a good idea but does not fit in *this* game,
    - good idea on paper that falls flat on-screen as the gameplay isn't there.
    - Just the ugly nature of arbitrary time and budget constraints which are not enough to to let your baby grow to the potential you envisioned.
    - having a someone else's more popular baby get the priority over yours.

    Then the final experiences;
    Getting so damned numb to the job with "create/iterate, build, can-it or move on"
    That the elation of "nailing it" fades to just a mildly satisfactory pride and then just plain relief in a good-job because it's one less to-do in the next cycle.

    Gabe Newell's preface in Half Life 2's raising the bar screams of this of the pain and misery behind the doors.
    And when asked recently of his favourite Valve game, he claims Portal2 (which he bragged about on it's release), as it the game he's had least amount of input as a developer and experiences the game a product, and not as a developer looking at the doors not taken.

    And, now working as a (trainee) auxiliary nurse, about to go into the hospital in these covid-19 days, I can say, I still miss it and I'm jealously hang out and get a bit down when I meet my old comrades from the trenches, but every time I dust off and update my old tools, or write a feedback post in one of the many beta forums i'm in, I am reminded as to why my soul can't go down that path (at the moment) anymore.

    Again thank you Jill for your lovely post.
  • Simi_SlakkinenSimi_Slakkinen Members Join Date: 2019-12-08 Member: 256236Posts: 11 Fully active user
    Any progress on Xbox sync error 0X83860012 for the first game. Please please fix this. Subnautica is great, I really want more of it, but I'm not going to sink time into a new game until I can be sure of not losing the save.
  • virtualdonvirtualdon Members, Forum Admins, Confirm Email, Subnautica Developer Join Date: 2019-11-22 Member: 255783Posts: 11 mod
    Will there be any primary involvement with Alterra? Personally, I think having Robin find out secrets about what Alterra is, having her team up with Al-an and Marg, and trying to fight against it would be a great addition to the story.

    Also, will there be any more backstory on the Architects/Precursors/ Al-An's species? I'd love to learn more about them and dive in deeper into the lore of the games!

    You guys are doing an amazing job!! I've loved your games for years and am on the edge of my seat to see what all is in store for the future! Thank you!

    Thank you, @NovasVanguard! Here's an answer for you from Jill on this:

    "Robin will be piecing together a mystery by digging up information about Alterra, and she’ll be negotiating a rather complicated relationship with Al-An, as he borrows space in her body and mind, which will require her to find out more about Architects. So yes, on both counts!"
    Ayden769
  • Love_SubnauticaLove_Subnautica 23 Baker StreetMembers Join Date: 2020-04-23 Member: 260328Posts: 2 Freshly registered user
  • Love_SubnauticaLove_Subnautica 23 Baker StreetMembers Join Date: 2020-04-23 Member: 260328Posts: 2 Freshly registered user
    When? Multiplayer? Maybe you could add some more lore on the Torgals like finding Bart's Skeleton covered in a new bug which you need to make a new upgrade for the SeaTruck?
  • BenbindyBenbindy New Zealand Members Join Date: 2020-04-23 Member: 260329Posts: 1 Fully active user
    edited April 23
    I feel like in order to create a linear story within an open world game. a relationship should be established with marg and she has some kind of quest system where she asks for resources for information in return or something along those lines. this would give objectives to complete and therefore you can travel to each zone FOR A REASON. and it ties into whatever the overall story is. for eg. marg asks for ion cubes you then get Al an in your head. then idk the iceworm is like the boss fight because it killed her sister lol idk anyway thats my opinion.
  • AgathoSAreSAgathoSAreS CHMembers Join Date: 2018-12-05 Member: 245172Posts: 2 Fully active user
    I keep my expectations of the story low, even if it's, in addition to the rich world, the main reason i bought subnautica.

    As far as I'm aware Jill Murray has always a strong focus on character development.
    Which is an important, but also only a single peace of the puzzle.
    I fear she will not be able to think outside the box and create a touching ending, that isn't fundamentally rooted in character, but rather a circumanstance of the world.

    But ofc i could be totaly wrong here.
    She brings experience of story games to the table, with assassins creed black flag series f.E. or the new Thomb Raider, and ofc, we all remember these game for their amazing story arcs, which not only come from character development f.E. from an edward or a lara croft.
    And I'm confident the story will not end with Robin seeing her loved ones again, or Marg suddenly show her soft side.
    Ayden769
  • BrainsphereBrainsphere DubaiMembers Join Date: 2020-02-19 Member: 258051Posts: 1 Fully active user
    In PS4 two player split screen available
  • narfblatnarfblat Utah, USAMembers, Forum Moderators, Forum staff Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216799Posts: 747 mod
    No, there will not be split screen, co-op, or any other multiplayer option. They considered multiplayer at one point, but they realized it wasn't going to be worth the investment. (As a small company, there is limited staff, limited funds, etc. - they have to put everything where they think it's worth it.)
    Subnautica stuff:
    Official Subnautica discord chat: https://discord.gg/subnautica
    For updates on Console progress for both Subnautica and Below Zero, check the favro page, here.
    How to clear your Cache, by 0x6A7232.
    How to use console commands.
    Stuck, and just want to most recent base/Cyclops? Use "Warpme" command. Want to get out of the ceiling? Press F1 and note your camera postion. First number is North/South, second number is up/down, and third is East/West. Reduce the 2nd number by 10, then use "warp x y z" (where x, y, and z are the position you want to be).
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