Patch 0.2.9

A new patch has gone live on Steam, which brings the game to 0.2.9. It includes a ton of bugfixes and some new features. Full patch notes:

Update Version 0.2.9 Release Notes

NOTE: Lots of fixes have been put in place for the save game in this release. This does mean that previous saves will not work with the new version of the game.

Mac: There’s a known issue with some mac’s that we haven’t been able to recreate/fix yet where it doesn’t run in medium or fantastic quality, for now select “Older PC Quality” then in the options menu enable the settings suitable for your mac.

Bug fixes and gameplay changes:

Atm suspicion values fixed (no longer going into negatives)
Fix Infiltrators sword attack animations
Fix Infiltrators sword attack energy drain
Infiltrators sword attack charge distance increased to 15m
Melee kick distance reduced to 3m
Add District + Location Bonuses info in resource panel
Fix guard station not giving bonuses
Fix assassination bonus not working
Fix cctv slowdown not working (District level)
Decreased base cctv suspicion time to 3.5
Fix bug where cctv suspicion was climbing at half rate
Increased time for cctv cameras to stay suspicious before cooling down
Fix skills saving and loading
Fix not being able to run or sprint if the agent is already walking
Added vertical scale markers to status bars.
Added more user interface sound effects
Update quest logs to show all previous entries. (Collapsing individual entries still to come)
Fix not being able to spawn soldier with load and save bug.
Fix Load and Save of parked cars, fix traffic breaking after load game
Fix Brain Dead Civilians
Fix Cowering Civilians
Add Jobs and BasicInteraction to save System
Load And Save popus up a success/fail window
Fix Stuttering Enemies and repeated vocals
Stop Enemies seeing you through walls on occasion
Fix agents refusing to Move after reviving in cover
Fix 30 second pause when destroying some cover
Fix item association with facilities not saving and loading
Consolidated doctors and scientists into 1 “Researchers” category
Issue agent commands on mouse down rather than mouse up.
Orient Players to vertical when exiting car on a slope
Fix hijacked civs not using cover

Thanks again for all the input, videos and bug reports! They really help us figure out what some of the big problems are and how to fix them. :D
– Chris

Early Access release: Reactions and Discussions

A couple of days have passed since Satellite Reign has gone live as Early Access on Steam. Since then, interest in the game has spiked. A number of “first impression” articles have gone up around the web, twitter users are twittering their excitement, and the new discussion forum on Steam has seen a lot of action.

For example, @CThiefUK writes:

OK, @SatelliteReign definitely nails the feel of Syndicate so far. Well done chaps! […]

@JKashaar has this to say:

@SatelliteReign Congrats on the release! Finally played for the first time, loving it already! Very promising game :) Keep up the good work!

A consistent theme in the first reactions appear to be that this game looks great and has a lot of potential, but that it is indeed still very Early Access at this time. For example, the piece on Gamestar (German) asks whether the game is already worth buying. Their answer (my translation):

No, because too much of the gameplay elements are still missing. The controls and the interface are not yet mature, furthermore there are many bugs and significant performance problems. […] Therefore we recommend: Wait a few months and see how the project develops.

The reviewer even mentions it may be ”tight“ for the developers to release in the first half of 2015. However, it should be added that the reviewer has likely not seen all that the game has to offer at this point, as he reports that he was unable to advance after the first mission (rescuing an agent). That may have been because of a bug, or he may have simply not found out how to do it. It is easy to guess that he may have come to a different conclusion had he seen the full content of this build.

Three other news sites that have covered the release are VG24/7,, and PCGamer. You can read their pieces here, here and here. (As always, these are also added to our press coverage page).

The discussions whether it made sense to go to Steam already with the game in its current state has also been ongoing on the Steam forum. In one of the threads, a 5LS developer (I am guessing it is Brent) has given a detailed reasoning for their decision to release as Early Access at this point. The post is given in full below, as it may clear up some questions that people have at this point:

WetWired [developer] 16 Dec @ 10:37am

Early Access provides us with 3 major benefits as developers.

1) It brings in extra funds, which contray to your concerns aren’t being spent on money hats and yachts. It all goes straight back into the game to make it better, this means keeping some of our contractors around a bit longer to work on the game, none of it goes in our own pockets.

2) It allows us to extend our tester base with literally thousands of combinations different computer specs and setups, something we just can’t do on our own. The amount of bugs reports we’ve recieved over the past few days has been amazing and we’re squashing some of them already.

As an aside I’d also like to thank the people who have submitted bugs, I’m surprised at the level of detail and explaination in some of them in how to reproduce the bugs, I’ve seen less professional bug reports from people who’ve been game testers for years.

3) User feedback has been incredible and much needed, some of the feedback is based around things we’ve yet to implement but there’s been some great new ideas put forward by the community in just the few days it’s been out publically.

As a developer we can often get used to certain features or the way the game operates just because we’ve been living with it every day for the past year and a half. So it’s good to get fresh takes from people. Watching some of the youtube video play throughs has been eye opening, We here in the office will play the way we intended it to play, whereas the end user doesn’t have the bias of how it’s meant to play, they just play it the way it’s been laid out in front of them, doing things we never intended or thought could happen (this includes some of emergent gameplay and inventive strategies we hoped would come from the way we’ve designed the game). So when we see someone new playing it, it allows us to see the gaps we need to fill and flesh it out to produce the experience we have in mind.

Rest assured we have enough money to finish the game and won’t be abandoning ship halfway through development, we formed this studio to make THIS game and unlike other studios you mentioned our attention and budget isn’t fragmented between multiple projects. It’s in our best interest to make this, our debut title as a new studio as best as it can be and earn the trust of our players.

Other discussions which are ongoing at the moment are for example an achievement ideas thread, or a combat feel PROs/CONs thread, to name just a few.

Steam Early Access build is live

The Steam Early-Access version of Satellite Reign has been unleashed to the masses today. This build has the number 0.2.7 and is an updated version of what was earlier released to alpha/beta tier backers. Those people who have not backed the game on Kickstarter or later through the Satellite Reign website can now purchase Early Access on Steam.

It is worth noting that the game is still fairly incomplete and far from finished at this point. Those of you considering to spend some money on this Early Access version should be aware that this is still work in progress and that you can not expect a smooth and polished experience at this point.

First reactions from players popping up around the internet seem to be predominantely positive. Similarly to the earlier alpha-/beta-releases, people express praise for the look and the atmosphere of the game, but note lacking features, low framerates and occasional bugs (which is not unexpected in an Early Access release).

Whether 5 Lives Studios have reached their goal of releasing by the end of 2014, as stated in their Kickstarter campaign, is perhaps open to debate. While they have technically fulfilled the promise by releasing something before the end of 2014, the reality is that the game is far from done at this point. What looked like a 1.5 years development cycle at the time of the Kickstarter campaign now looks more like a 2 year development cycle, with a final release expected for the first half of 2015. We are therefore realistically talking about a delay of ca. half year, which is actually not bad compared to other Kickstarter funded games (and video games, in general).

It does seem a bit odd though that they are on the one hand insisting that this is still a “pre-alpha” build, but at the same time rushing to make it available to the general public on Steam. I would have expected this to be in “beta” and feature complete (although not yet tested and balanced) when it is released to the public. I just hope this is not a bad sign, as it could be taken to indicate that they need the additional funds from the Early Access sales to finish the game.

Early Access release coming up

Christmas will come a bit early this year for backers of the Satellite Reign Kickstarter campaign. According to the Steam website, the Early Access version will be available from 11. December, which is less than two weeks away at the time of writing. 5 Lives Studios have said that all backers will get access to this version, not only alpha/beta tier backers. Non-backers will be able to purchase early-access, obviously. The alpha and beta periods will then both have lasted roughly one month (the alpha build was released on 9. October and the beta build on 18. November).

The Steam website also has a short Q&A with some new information. First, there is this about the release date:

We plan to launch Satellite Reign in its entirety in the first half of 2015. However, we plan to continue updating the title after the full release

Furthermore, there are some details about what will be included in the early access build:

[…] The city is divided into four main districts, each one themed and controlled by different factions. This initial release contains the entirety of the first district, the Downtown District.

All of the districts have been built, but the Downtown District is designed as the first area players will explore, and so we feel it is the best area to serve as a test-bed for our core mechanics.

The following is a short list of a few of the features available in the current Early Access build.

All four player agent classes.
Agent skill and ability upgrades.
Cover-system for both players and NPCs.
Mission/quest system.
Weapon loudouts and upgrades.
Gear/item researching.
Destructible cover.

The following is a list of features which are presently being implemented, but not currently included in this build for balance and stability reasons.

Agent cloning.
Additional skills, abilities, weapons, items, etc.
Factional relationships.
Propaganda system.
Playable tutorial mission.
Iron-Man Mode.

Dev Diary #11: Release plans clarified

The latest Dev Diary is mainly about the team’s visit to PAX Aus 2014. But it also i contains some clarifications regarding the upcoming releases of the beta build and the early-access release on Steam. 5LS announced that the beta will be available as early as next week! The beta build will be available to all backers who backed at 29£ or more. Sometimes in December we will see the game appear on Steam as an Early Access title. This early access release will be available to all backers of the game!

The speed of development seems pretty crazy at the moment, considering that the (fairly rough) alpha build happened not so long ago and we will see two more releases this year. Of course, the game will not be “done” yet in December, and it will likely remain in Early Access for some time. Nothing is known yet about how long the early access phase will last and when we will see a final “1.0” release (that will probably depend on a variety of factors, including backer feedback and how many bugs pop up).

Satellite Reign at PAX Aus 2014

First of all: I am sorry for the lack of updates recently. My laptop died, and as I don’t have a second computer available at the moment I had to wait until the replacement arrived. It’s all sorted out now, though.

Satellite Reign has been shown off at PAX Aus 2014. You can find some reactions on Twitter, and there is some additional information about it in the latest Dev Diary.

The team is now back in Brisbane and (presumably) hard at work to prepare the upcoming beta release.

Pre-Alpha: Gameplay videos, RPS piece

It has been an exciting couple of days since the first ever build of Satellite Reign has been released at the end of last week. A bunch of gameplay videos have gone up on youtube which show a variety of gameplay and missions. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for notifications of new videos.

The pre-alpha build has also been covered over at RPS, where it has been met with a lot of praise – and apparently some anxiety as well, as the author seems (unnecessarily, in my opinion) worried, as “there’s so much that could go wrong”. He seems genuinely excited overall and even says that “it looks and feels fantastic so early”.

There has also been an upsurge of activity on the forum, and I hope to cover some news tidbits in a future update.

More pre-alpha gameplay videos

Here are two more gameplay videos of the pre-alpha build. They both show the first mission, in which you have to free one of your agents. It is nice to see how people are choosing different ways to solve even this very first mission.


Some more videos:

Pre-Alpha released to Transistor backers, first reactions positive

Today marks the release of the first playable build of Satellite Reign to some of the backers of the Kickstarter campaign. The build is available for download via the Humble Bundle store for all backers who backed at the tier of Transistor or above. A new sub-forum has been opened over at the official Satellite Reign forum to post comments and questions about the alpha build. Bugs should be reported through a mechanism ingame.

First reactions in the forum of backers who played the build seem to be predominantly positive. There is high praise especially for the dark sci-fi atmosphere and the music. As was to be expected, there are also plenty of bugs and problems reported, which are sure to keep the 5LS guys busy for a while.

Expect more news soon as more information and hopefully also video of the alpha build will emerge online.

Here is the (probably) first ever user recorded gameplay video on youtube:

5LS on customization

5LS developer Dean has been rather active on the forum recently. Here’s what he had to say in response to a question about customization:


Team Customisation
The team will always consist of 1 of each of the 4 classes, they will not be interchangeable/stack-able.
For example, you won’t be able to have 2 Soldiers and 2 Hackers to make up the team, this doesn’t mean you can’t bias the entire team towards a specific play style you prefer, it just means each agent will have unique skills and ways of achieving goals in your chosen style.

Agent Customisation
There are a plethora of skills, items, weapons and augmentations which will allow for a wide range of game play styles.
You will be able to spec out the entire team to be heavily defensive, heavily offensive or any mix in between.
Even within these broad archetypes the class system allows for subtleties per agent.

Agent Visual Customisation
Given the scope of the title and the resources available to us we need to be very smart about what we invest in creating. With such a small team going crazy on character customisation was a luxury we couldn’t afford.

The following is what we felt was a good balance:

– Each of the 4 agents can be either male or female
– Agents gain the head/hair model of any person they high-jack and clone which allows for a wider range of face/hair/racial combinations
– You will be able to change your teams colour palette
– Each weapon has a unique model
– Certain backers tiers will have an alternate skin
– Certain backers will have their names and/or face in the game

In the scheme of things visual character customisation for a title such as this, while adding to mood, doesn’t add much to game-play and when balancing our time between tasks which can make the title more attractive and tasks which can make the game play better we air on the latter.


Later down in the thread, he followed this up with the following:

As mentioned in my previous post above we will have the ability to tint the agents.
– Skin
– Hair
– Primary clothing
– Secondary clothing
– Glow/Trims

These will be palettes I create (not individually accessible) and you will access them most probably at some period during the cloning process, although we haven’t finalised this yet.