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subROV News

Update 0.7.31

Hello subROVers! We've updated the game to v0.7.31. Along with the planned improvements, this update fixes an important bug we discovered just a few days ago -we'll discuss it first and then we'll go over the update itself.



[h3]The Bug[/h3]
The bug we fixed was making all moving seafloor creatures show up in wrong places. In practice, it was as if the game had no bottom dwellers at all: no sea cucumbers, chimaeras, grenadiers, etc.

A Grenadier, one of the "missing" creatures

There are several reasons why we didn't spot this earlier, mainly that the issue only happened in a game build, and when we tested builds, we were not specifically searching for these creatures. Since they are scarce, their absence didn't raise any suspicions; it was only after we made a change to make them easier to spot and track that we realized they were not showing up at all.

This is not to say nobody noticed: We were reading the comments in reviews that the seafloor was barren figuratively, as "there's the odd creature, but not enough", when they were literal reports. In hindsight, this also explains why there are no players' screenshots or feedback on these creatures to date.

Now that the bug is fixed, you should start coming across these creatures from time to time. They are still scarce, but scarce as intended, and we are already working to increase their number, density, and variety.

We feel very sorry for not spotting this issue earlier, and are heartbroken that the game has been missing these important creatures for so long. We are also immensely grateful for the positive reviews in spite of it -this makes us hopeful for the future of the game 😀

[h3]Certification 03[/h3]



If you follow the certification dives, 03 is when you first reach the seafloor. This should be a special moment that fills you with excitement, but we had made the certification dives barren to remove distractions during the tutorials, resulting in you arriving to an almost empty, featureless world.

In the spirit of giving you a warm welcome to the seafloor, we've reworked certification 03, which is now at the forefront of all dives in several aspects:
  • The terrain is completely new and anything but flat.
  • We've applied new techniques to bring more variety and detail to the terrains, both geometry and texture-wise. In particular, we've improved the transitions between sand and rock (the little patches of sand on top of rocks specifically), and have better control on the textures' distribution.



  • We've also improved the distribution of objects over the terrain (e.g. not placing them on the outer rim of the map).
  • We've increased the amount of already existing objects overall, and added many new ones in the form of small stones and particularly trash (cans, masks, etc). This is not something we've been necessarily happy to do, but we'd like to present the seafloor as it is, not as we'd like it to be.



  • Sea cucumbers are now placed independently from the general pool of bottom dwellers. Because of the aforementioned bug you won't notice this as a change, but it increases both the number of cukes and other dwellers.

Most of these changes currently apply only to certification 03; the other dives are pending a revision to bring them in line with 03 (see below).

We hope that new players will get a better first impression of the game after these changes -if you've already completed the dive, you can revisit it from the Dive Log in your Profile (you really should!)

[h3]Bottom - Dweller Tracking in the map[/h3]
We've made a couple changes to make roaming seafloor creatures easier to spot and track:
  • When the sonar highlights one of these creatures, the "biology" icon stays active for 30 s instead of the usual 10. You will see all icons disappearing except for one that moves -that's the creature.
  • When the sonar highlights one of these creatures, an icon will appear on the map, same as with the water column creatures, and will stay for as long as they are reasonably near (about 50 m). That way, if you lose sight of a creature, you can zoom in on the map and track its location there.


[h3]Moving Forward[/h3]
  • We'll most likely use cert03's location for all the other certification dives.
  • We'll revise all the dives to incorporate the improvements made to 03, particularly in what refers to objects and creatures' distribution (more of them, better distributed).
  • We've noticed that some dives (cert03, tokelau) are taking a toll on the frame rate when you're exploring the seafloor, and we'll take a look at it.
  • We'd like to add several new creatures to the water column and the seafloor.
  • We'll keep working on the Hoel wreck, which most likely will be the next new dive.

The plan is to release several betas and an official update when all the items above, except the Hoel, are completed, to then move full-time on to the Hoel itself.

In-engine WIP

[h3]Full Log[/h3]

New Features/Improvements:
  • Dives: Reworked Certification 03 - terrain, object distribution, object density.
  • Dives: Partial revision of every dive's terrain (tessellation, smoothing, global texture).
  • Dives: Added small stones and over 50 types of trash items (in cert 03 only at the moment).
  • Dives: Increased seafloor creatures' icon time and added map icon.
  • Dives: ROV close light made white and brighter.
  • Other/Internal: Refactored sound config (simplified audio state management and external/ROV camera positioning).
Bug Fixes:
  • Dives: seafloor creatures are not spawning in the intended locations (only in builds). This affects the following creatures, which in practice are new to players: sea cucumber, filetail catshark, blobfish, chimaera, angler fish, abyssal grenadier, and faceless cusk eel.

[h3]Get In Touch[/h3]
Here's a list of the many ways in which you can reach us:
  • From the game -press F8
  • Through the forum right here on Steam
  • Through our Discord Server,
  • Through Twitter,
  • Through mastodon,
  • By email (info 'at' sqr3lab.com)

[h3]Support subROV[/h3]
If you enjoy subROV and would like to support us, please consider leaving us a review. Steam is a deep ocean, and reviews really help us stay afloat!

[h3]Acknowledgments[/h3]
We've like to say, once more, thank you to TheNorseman, who tested the betas, and to everyone who's sent us feedback.

Happy subROVing! 😀

[h3]PS[/h3]
Again, sorry about the bug! If you now find one of the sea floor creatures, please post a screenshot!

v0.7.31 quick news - but important news!

This version revamps the certification 03 dive site completely (go give it a look even if you've passed it!).

Also, it fixes a bug we discovered just yesterday that was preventing ALL seafloor creatures from showing up in their intended areas (in practice, from showing up at all!). This is why we're pushing this version up as soon as we've tested it, and we'll publish a proper news update with more info tomorrow or Monday.

As always, thank you for playing, and we hope that you'll enjoy finally seeing life at the bottom of the ocean! 😀





Update 0.7.30

Hello subROVers! We've just updated the game to v0.7.30 😁



This update brings together all the additions and improvements we've made since 0.7.25, most of which were already available in the Beta branch. Let's take a look!

Gas Sampler and Tools transport

The all-new gas sampler, docked on the Experiments Platform

The Sampler is a modular tool made of several identical units connected to a common funnel. Each unit consists of a bottle connected to a valve system operated with a handle that rotates into three positions: closed (handle’s arrow points up or down), open (arrow points right), or purge (arrow points left). To sample a gas seep, you rest the sampler directly on it, and open any of its valves. A blue light blinks while it's filling up, and turns green when it finishes. The same light turns red if you happen to sample a second source with the same bottle, indicating an invalid mix, which should be discarded. To empty any of the bottles, you set the valve to "purge".

Opening the valve. It is not necessary to fit the grip with such precision, but it does fit

Currently, the Gas sampler can be found on the South-East vent site at the Rise of the Vents dive, though we'll gradually incorporate it to more dives, where you'll use it to sample gas seeps, gas leaks from pipes, and fuel/oil leaks.

X marks the spot!

We've also made several fixes and improvements to the arm and grip, and devised an automatic system that keeps tools in place while they are being transported on the Platform (in real life they would be secured beforehand), plus we've improved handling of tools (the platform, the sampler) so they are less prone to "break through" the arm's grip while held when the ROV moves fast. This will become increasingly important as we add new tools and objectives that require transporting them to different sites, or if we eventually allow deploying and retrieving the platform itself from the ship.

Control Tweaks for players using Gamepads

We've changed the "main click" from the "A" button to the Right Trigger (X and R2 in a playstation controller); during gameplay, "A" is now bound to the sonar ping. In this way, sonar and scan controls are next to one another and going through menus and the game controls is more comfortable.


Note that this change will apply automatically to the controls in the Main Menu, but not to the gameplay controls (to avoid overwriting your custom bindings). You can either change these bindings manually (if you want to, that is), or just reset all the bindings in the options menu.

We've also changed the Main Menu scroll controls (gallery, settings) from the DPad to the Left Stick, and tweaked the scrolling speed, which was way too high.

Revised Time Control

Time Control is the feature that allows you to descend and ascend rapidly between 50 m depth and 50 m altitude.

We've revised this feature to remove (or noticeably reduce) the frame rate drop experienced in some computers at the maximum setting. We've also renamed it to "Turbo Lift" because this describes better what it does, and we've substituted the "timesX" indication with triangles representing steps.

Added Leatherback Turtle, and fixed the Tube Worms

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2927247494
Most of the work in this update went towards the Gas sampler, but we've added the Leatherback turtle to the water column, and we've fixed two bugs that were preventing the Tube worms from being scanned, and kept them with their plumes permanently hidden in the tubes. You can find the worms close to the gas sampler, in the Rise of the Vents Dive -try touching them with the arm and see what happens 😀

And more!

There's a new option to disable the "camera wobble" while playing. This comes after a request from someone who wrote it was triggering their motion sickness. When this option is active, the main camera won't move, and its field of view will also be slightly bigger to cover all the panels at once.

The sand in the corer is a bit darker now. This is also after feedback that it was difficult to see.
The marine snow (particles surrounding the ROV) is much denser now. Again this comes after feedback that sometimes it was not dense enough to give a good sense of movement.

We've tweaked the ROV's main light: if you're close to something you'll see more of it's "natural color", and as you move away from it it will shift to blue, as the light gets affected by the water in between.

[h3]Full Log[/h3]

New Features/Improvements:
  • Dives: Time Control renamed to Turbo Lift. This feature has been revised so that the game doesn’t need to go further than 4X real time, avoiding frame rate drops.
  • Dives: Added the Gas Sampler Tool that allows the player to take samples of gas seeps, and added a dock to the Experiments Platform to transport it.
  • Dives: Added Gas seeps.
  • Dives: Revised the arm’s setup and collision volume.
  • Dives: Revised handling of the Experiments Platform, especially when loaded with other tools.
  • Dives: ROV turn speed reduced when the arm is extended.
  • Dives: Arm’s grip now has independent extend/retract speeds (for faster retracting).
  • (feedback) Menu: New option to disable the "camera wobble" while playing. The main camera won't move, and its field of view will also be slightly bigger to cover all the panels at once.
  • (feedback) Dives: Darkened the sand in the corer.
  • (feedback) Dives: Increased the amount of marine snow around the ROV.
  • Dives: ROV’s main light shows objects with their natural colors when close by and shifts them to blue with distance, simulating the effect of the water in between.
  • Dives: Added Leatherback Turtle.
  • Menu/Dives: Gamepad default “select” binding changed to Right Trigger.
  • Menu/Dives: Gamepad sonar ping biding changed to A.
  • Menu: Gamepad Scroll up/Down bindings changed to Left Joystick.
  • Menu: Gamepad scroll speed reduced (e.g. in the Gallery).
Bug Fixes:
  • Dives: ROV arm moves back and forth with ship’s motion when ROV is docked.
  • Dives: Arm's grip doesn’t stop closing when it touches an object.
  • Dives: Retracting the arm when the grip is opening closes it again.
  • Dives: Exp. Platform’s handle sometimes goes through the ROV’s arm grip when moving or turning.
  • Dives: Can’t scan tube worms.
  • Dives: Tube worms’ plumes are always retracted.

[h3]Get In Touch[/h3]

Here's a list of the many ways in which you can reach us:
  • From the game -press F8
  • Through the forum right here on Steam
  • Through our Discord Server,
  • Through Twitter,
  • Through mastodon,
  • By email (info 'at' sqr3lab.com)

[h3]Support subROV[/h3]

If you enjoy subROV and would like to support us, please consider leaving us a review. Steam is a deep ocean, and reviews really help us stay afloat!

[h3]Acknowledgments[/h3]

We've like to say thank you to TheNorseman, who tested the betas and pointed out issues when handling the Gas Sampler, to FlyinJ, who sent constructive, helpful criticism about the gamepad controls, and to everyone who's sent us anonymous feedback.

[h3]Teaser[/h3]


Happy subROVing! 😀

Patch 0.7.29 (Beta)

Hello subROVers!

We've received feedback (thank you, TheNorseman!) that the gas sampler's handle was breaking off the arm's grip when transported, so we've issued this patch to fix it. In brief, once you close the grip and start transporting the sampler, it should now stay in place unless you ram it against the floor (in which case it does make sense that it breaks off).

Aside from this fix, we've also made a few other improvements, as planned:
  • There's a new option to disable the "camera wobble" while playing. This comes after a request from someone who wrote it was triggering their motion sickness. When this option is active, the main camera won't move, and its field of view will also be slightly bigger to cover all the panels at once.
  • The sand in the corer is a bit darker now. This is also after feedback that it was difficult to see.
  • The marine snow (particles surrounding the ROV) is much denser now. Again this comes after feedback that sometimes it was not dense enough to give a good sense of movement.
  • We've tweaked the ROV's main light: if you're close to something you'll see more of it's "natural color", and as you move away from it it will shift to blue, as the light gets affected by the water in between.


The two last items will probably need some tweaking (the snow might be too dense now). We'll appreciate it if you could test them and let us know what you think either here, on in Discord.

If nothing changes (🤞), the plan is to spend the next couple days testing this build and possibly adding a new creature, then roll out .30 to everyone during the weekend.

Happy subROVing! 😁

Update 0.7.28 (Beta)

Hello subROVers!

This Beta update adds a new tool, the Gas/Liquid Sampler, which allows you to sample Gas Seeps (also new to the game), storing the samples in independent bottles.

The all-new gas sampler, docked on the Experiments Platform

The Sampler is a modular tool that consists of several identical units (three, in the current configuration), connected to a common funnel.Each unit consists of a bottle connected to a valve system, which is operated with a handle that rotates into three positions: closed (handle’s arrow points up or down), open (arrow points right), or purge (arrow points left). To sample a gas seep, you rest the sampler directly on it, and open any of its valves. A blue light blinks while it's filling up, and turns green when it finishes. The same light turns red if you happen to sample a second source with the same bottle, indicating an invalid mix, which should be discarded. To empty any of the bottles, you set the valve to "purge".

Opening the valve. It is not necessary to fit the grip with such precision, but i does fit

Currently, the Gas sampler can be found on the South-East vent site at the Rise of the Vents dive, though we'll gradually incorporate it to more dives, where you'll use it to sample gas seeps, gas leaks from pipes, and fuel/oil leaks.



After adding the Sampler to the game, we've made several fixes and improvements to the arm and grip, and devised an automatic system that keeps tools in place while they are being transported on the Platform (in real life they would be secured beforehand); we've also improved handling of the Platform itself so it is less prone to "breaking through" the arm's grip while held, if the ROV moves or turns around fast. This will become increasingly important as we add new tools and objectives that require transporting them to different sites, or if we eventually allow deploying and retrieving the platform itself from the ship.

In-editor capture transporting the Platform, loaded with tools

This update touches some of the most finicky systems in the game, so we'll keep it in the Beta branch for a few days while paying extra attention to your feedback. The plan is to keep testing it while we add a few low-risk tweaks and assets in preparation for v0.7.3, which we'll then roll to the main branch.

Update: The latest version of the manual is now online, with a new section on taking gas samples (p.32).

Happy subROVing! 😁