Starborne: Beta Dev Blog #001

Welcome Commanders, to the very first (of many more to come) Dev Blogs from us here at Solid Clouds. Things have been somewhat quiet on our end, the month of July is typically a holiday amongst the Nordic countries, but with the team back in the office it’s time to change that!

So, what have we been working on? The short answer is a lot! But in this Dev Blog we will be focussing on Dead Zone – the short mode of Starborne played out in an evening by ~25 hopeful players. But fear not, every Dev Blog in the near future will be Sovereign Space oriented!

The State of Dead Zone

With two public play tests under our belt, some balance changes and a second iteration of the map… We are tidying up all the loose ends as our newly formed Prototype Team; consisting of Snoogms, Bjarmenzeit and Karlsborg get down to business. This essentially means getting the game mode into a production ready state that holds up over time and gives us a framework for regular forays into the high intensity madness that is a game of Dead Zone.

Core Changes

Snoogms has been dilligently dropping spoilers on our Discord but for those not hooked in, here are some of the key adjustments being made.


First and foremost the game duration is being reduced to 3 hours, down from 4. This came about from our own playtesting and the crucial feedback from almost everyone who has seen the bittersweet end of a Dead Zone weekend, either as a victor or another crushed hopeful! Four hours of pure concentration in a brutal, hyper alert state was a bit much to ask for. Therefore we’re pruning the length of the game down to three hours to get players into the action much, much quicker!

Some love for Les Apaches… In our previous play test we buffed and adjusted two of the four factions and this left Les Apaches feeling a bit behind. Their motitus movement – indeed the very essence of what the Les Apaches can bring to the table – has been modified to count as an Assault. That means bombing! It still ruffles the feathers of the rock/paper/scissors system by shifting the counters by 1.

Outposts can now be augmented, not once, but twice! This is a huge change that opens up a lot of different pathways for players to specialize their outposts and min/max the effects they exert onto the map.

All factions now have a single policy slot, and a choice of five policies to slot in there. We want to offer some element of replayability for Dead Zone contestants.

  • Heightened Security
    • Sabotaging your outposts costs 2 more spies.
    • Spy defense in your stations increased by 10.
    • Building Hit Points increased by 20%.
    • Deployment speed for all fleets increased by 30.
  • Backed Enterprise
    • Passive credit generation increased by 2000.
    • An additional augmentation point is cooled down per hour.
    • Exchange rate is lowered by 0.5.
  • Clandestine Affairs
    • Spy probe scan strength +100.
    • Spy probe scan radius +1.
    • An additional spy is cooled down per hour.
    • Your sabotage efforts no longer reveal your identity.
  • By Force
    • Firepower for all fleets increased by 20%.
    • Class Bonus for all fleets increased by 25%.
  • Solution Oriented
    • Station Bombing for all fleets increased by 25%.
    • Hit Points for all fleets increased by 15%.

It would be prudent to take all these changes with a pinch of salt. But essentially the prototype team is working, full steam ahead, to bend the rules, implement new mechanics and get Dead Zone into ship shape! Once we have a finalized list of all changes it will be included as a link here.

What’s the plan for Dead Zone?

We are having one last final public playtest this weekend on the 22nd and 23rd of August at 16:00 GMT! If you want to throw your hat in for a chance to participate click here to sign up!

After that is done and dusted, we are looking into setting up Dead Zone as a Seasonal endeavour, something that runs for a month or two with a more rigorous scoring system and an easier system for players to sign up and jump in! Watch this space!

Closing Notes

We hope you enjoyed this first in our series of Dev Blogs. Solid Clouds has always valued the feedback of our players and in an effort to be more transparent with what’s happening in the office and behind the doors of the design cave we are hoping to release these blogs every couple of weeks here on out.

The company has been restructured ever so slightly. This is evidenced by how quickly Dead Zone became a thing and is now maturing. We soon look forward to diverting our attention to Sovereign Space and hit the ground running with a new content-heavy release schedule.

In future Dev Blogs we’ll be unleashing new maps, new mechanics and the broader plan for Starborne: Sovereign Space in the coming months. The one guaranteed certainty is content. A lot of content.

Thank you for reading and as always, stay safe out there, Commanders.