1 - When did the game release?
Hardspace: Shipbreaker’s Early Access period launched on June 16th, 2021 and was in Early Access for just under two years, before its full release on May 24th 2022.
2 - Will Hardspace: Shipbreaker be released on consoles?
Yes it will! We are working to bring Hardspace: Shipbreaker to Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. Unfortunately the complexity of the physics simulations in the game proved challenging for the CPU-bound architecture of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so the game will be available on current-generation consoles only.
3 - Does Shipbreaker have a competitive game mode?
Yes! We have a feature we have called “R.A.C.E” which allows players to compete asynchronously on a global leaderboard for the highest score in dismantling a new ship every week. It’s a great way to test your skills against the community!
4 - Why is there no Co-op?
We dreamed about how awesome co-op could be when we began the game, however we also tried to be fairly cautious from the start when talking about the possibility of adding co-op to the game.
Unfortunately, the complex physics and cutting simulation at the heart of our shipbreaking experience would require us to sync hundreds of physically simulated, free-floating objects and their associated collision meshes between clients. That’s a pretty hairy problem to solve, especially for a smaller team. The complexity of these simulations is also one of the reasons the game couldn’t be brought to previous-generation console systems.
We tried flipping the problem on its head and briefly looked at various hacks and workarounds, such as split-screen and/or remote-play, thinking that if everything is running locally on one machine, we could cloud-stream a video feed to the players.
In practice, however, each of these solutions came with significant downsides that degraded the experience to a point we didn’t feel was acceptable. Ultimately, we made the decision to use the time of our tech folks elsewhere, such as the launch feature of being able to save your salvage in progress.
5 - Why is there no user-generated content, Workshop or modding?
Trust us, these are features we would have loved to include!
Unfortunately, behind the scenes, creating one of our ships is not as simple as assembling modular prefabs and calling it a day. The complex interplay of physics systems, elemental systems, and pressurization systems in Shipbreaker requires a huge amount of manual setup and adjustment, as well as optimization for performance and stability in a fully physically-simulated environment. You can watch this GDC Talk from our Tech Director if you’d like more details!
We also found ourselves using a mix of licensed third-party programs, and bespoke internal tools as we refined our processes for making ships throughout development. Packing everything necessary for modding together as a freely usable public toolset would add another layer of legal complexity.
That’s a lot of words to say this is something we thought was possible at the very early stages of development, but we realized it would be next to impossible to implement as time progressed. We didn’t manage expectations as well as we should have, and for that we apologize. What we’ve learned is that in the future we need to be more transparent about these issues and explain why certain things may not be possible. We’ll do better in the future.
This has been a learning experience for us though, and we’re taking the lessons learned into future projects. The goal moving forward is to do our best to plan for these features from the very beginning, to make sure technical limitations don’t stop us from creating features that we care about just as much as the community does.
6 - Why is there no VR support?
Shipbreaker would likely make for a unique experience for the folks who can stomach the zero-g induced motion sickness of salvaging ships in full 3D in the depths of space, so we understand why it’s such a requested feature!
Creating a high-quality experience in VR is very different from creating one for a standard display, however, and the added cost and time have to be weighed against the potential sales VR support may add. Shipbreaker is too physics and CPU-heavy to run well on the Quest 2, for instance (remember, VR games have to render twice; once for each eye), and tethered VR headsets or Quest 2 headsets connected to a PC make up a much smaller percentage of the market these days.
Unlike additions like adding co-op or modding, VR adds significant optimization and design challenges. The game needs to run twice as efficiently to render in 3D. How the Player interacts and moves around needs to be redesigned and re-implemented from the ground up. Just the amount of work a VR port would take balanced against the ability of that port to justify its own budget doesn’t add up.
There might be a case for us to revisit this idea in the future as VR and the market around VR continues to evolve. We’ll be honest with you, we really do think this sounds cool as hell as well.
7 - Why did you include a story mode? Is that where new players should start?
It’s really up to you, there’s no right or wrong way to play! You can focus on the competitive R.A.C.E. mode, or you can enjoy Free Play to relax and do your best to salvage your choice of ship with upgraded equipment.
Giving you options was important to us, but so was offering a story mode with characters and real stakes. Part of the vision for Shipbreaker has always been to leverage the gameplay loop at the heart of work simulators in order to have us reflect on our complicated modern relationship to work - hence calling for a mode that provides more narrative structure. Players who enjoy a more free-form approach focused squarely on the mechanics can focus on the R.A.C.E. or Free Play modes though!
8 - Why aren’t there more ships?
Each one of those beasts are real frickin’ hard to design, create, and add to the game without breaking any of the existing rules or content.
Every new environmental hazard or gameplay system added during Early Access created a variety of expected and unexpected interactions and edge cases as we tested them and listened to player feedback, and those situations often forced us to revisit previous ship designs to make sure everything was working as intended. There isn’t a way to drop a brand-new ship into Shipbreaker, after all. The systems work together so tightly that dropping each new model into the game almost meant taking a new pass across the entirety of Shipbreaker.
9 - Will there be more new ships and/or tools in the future?
We would love to continue expanding the ship roster and tool selection in the game, however now that we have reached the end of Early Access, the team’s focus has turned to bringing Shipbreaker to Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5.
10 - Will you be making DLC?
There are no current plans for DLC, but anything is possible if Shipbreaker becomes popular enough!
11 - Will you make more games from the Hardspace universe?
We would love to! It will all depend on the public interest! So if you love Hardsapce and want to see more Hardspace games be sure to share it with your friends!
12 - Will there be any more updates after launch?
There will be ongoing bug-fixes, quality-of-life improvements, and tuning while we work on porting and optimizing the game for Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5.
13 - Can I send the dev team feedback? And if so where?
We love hearing from our players, and the best place to send us feedback is on our official Shipbreaker Discord or on our other social media channels for Blackbird and Hardspace: Shipbreaker such as our contact page, or the game’s Twitter account.
14 - How big is the Hardspace: Shipbreaker dev team?
We've fluctuated between 20 to 30 developers. Although for the first couple of years the team was less than 10 people!
15 - What is Hardspace: Shipbreaker’s gameplay loop?
In a nutshell:
- Salvage ships to earn credits and increase your Rank at LYNX Corp.
- New Ranks unlock new tools and upgrades
- Use your new tools to tackle continuously larger, more difficult and more dangerous ships.
16 - How much debt do I owe Lynx at the start of the story campaign?
1,252,594,441.92 Credits. But don’t worry, we believe in you!
17 - Do credits made from salvaging ships go straight to paying off debt or do you have an option to pay debt or buy upgrades?
Currently credits go directly to paying off your debt. Certain supplies can be purchased at the Kiosk in your bay that will add to your debt. Upgrades are purchased with Lynx Tokens, the Lynx Corporation’s currency that they reward you for hitting your salvage goals.
18 - Does each ship have a time limit?
That’s up to you! If you wish to play with no time limit, pick the “Open Shift” career mode. In Open Shift you can play at your own pace and you can also disable oxygen drain if you’d like.
If you like the challenge of having a timer, pick the “Standard” career mode or next higher difficulty options. With Standard or higher, the moment you enter the bay, the clock starts ticking and the full shift is 15 minutes long. However you can take as many shifts as you need to complete a ship. Just remember LYNX will charge you a bay rental fee for each shift you take so efficiency pays.
19 - Is it possible to deconstruct an ENTIRE ship?
It is! Every single part of every ship is a dynamic physics object -- which means that no part of the ship is "baked" into the world just for decoration. Sometimes you need to seek out weak points to sever the denser structure to pull the ship apart, but you can certainly "clean your plate" as we like to say.
20 - Are there player customization options?
When you begin a campaign, you can choose your character voice, and later on you’ll be able to unlock stickers that you get through achievements and can apply onto your own tools. Beyond the character, you can also customize your HAB space, by displaying posters on the walls that you may have collected during your shift.
21 - How long is the campaign?
The campaign is designed to take approximately 20-30 hours for the average player. However the length will vary based on your skill as a salvager and how efficiently you chop up ships.
22 - The cutter seems to cut simultaneously with 2 lasers that move to opposite directions. How does this version of the cutter work?
The cutting tool (actually called the Splitsaw!) is a rail-guided handheld laser-cutting tool. Lining up your cut for the perfect split involves wrestling with zero-gravity drift, explosions, decompressions, and a variety of other hazards. You'll have full freedom to bisect objects into two pieces from any angle you wish -- and some objects may even have other surprising reactions to being cut! Be sure to pay attention to the Splitsaw’s reticule to avoid accidentally cutting unintended objects …
Technical addendum: Our physics simulation relies on all individual objects to be convex, (or a collection of convex pieces). By allowing our cuts to be planar in shape, we can always guarantee that no matter the angle a convex object is cut, the newly created object(s) will also be convex. It's part of what allows us to have thousands of dynamic physics objects at once!
23 - Is there a definitive goal in the game aside from just salvaging because you want to?
At a high level the goal for the Player is to pay off their debt to LYNX so they can break free of their contractual obligation and forge their own way out in the Solar System. However, there is a full story in the campaign for you to experience and we don’t want to spoil it, so you’ll have to play it and find out for yourself!