New update: Temple Dungeon redo, Engineer revamp, & more

Hello fellow pilots! Now that the launch insanity has finally quieted down a little bit, we’re getting back to our regular schedule of weekly updates. 🙂 We’ll be shipping this week’s update in about 10 minutes from now, at which time you will see the servers go briefly into maintenance mode and then come back about 15 minutes after that.

Here’s what this update has in store for you:

Update to the Temple of Bast:

  • The Temple now contains Altar Rooms. On your way to the boss, you’ll find two new rooms with an altar, which will trigger a horde of minions plus an evil curse, such as:
    • +50% greater damage received
    • -90% steam
    • Zero health and steam regen
    • +50% greater susceptibility to burn damage
  • New enemies: The Altar Rooms have several new unique enemies.
  • Small improvements to existing enemy movement

Engineer revamp

Both the Engineer’s turrets and skills have been significantly revamped:

  • Turrets fire much more rapidly now, have higher base damage, and their bullets are faster too.
  • The turret gun has a cooldown now; it fires for 2 seconds and pauses for 1 second.
  • Engineer Skill 1A still causes turrets to lay down covering fire around you, but now the turrets turn more quickly and have MUCH more health when using this skill, in addition to +5% damage.
  • Engineer Skill 1B eliminates the turrent gun’s 1s cooldown (so it fires 33% more bullets – aka lots more damage.)
  • All other Engi skills (2X through 4X) have also been altered significantly, in order to hopefully present more interesting choices.

Other changes

  • Converted Blaster Skill 1A into a powerful stacking maneuver that can give you up to +60% DPS for a limited time.
  • Blaser Skill 2B ice burst now has piercing.
  • Rebel City anti-lag and anti-grief changes which include disabling maneuvers, projectiles and secondary abilities, both to speed things up and also to prevent hackers and griefers from attempting to use those things to harm an entire RC.
  • Reduced visual intensity of new Epic Paladin VFX.
  • Imperial zone Sentinel: Lower DPS, larger vulnerability window, and lower spawn rate will hopefully make these less impossible-feeling.
  • Lowered DPS of all elemental swords by 10%.


As you can imagine, the vast majority of our engineering time just went into making sure the servers were working OK. We look forward to doing more polish/feature engineering work (plus bugfixes of other types) in the coming weeks!

By the way, in case you were wondering if its “simple” to create and operate an MMO like this one, I thought I’d share the engineering dashboard that we built from scratch in order to help us monitor and improve server health. While we were getting rate-limited by Amazon AWS last week and going nuts trying to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it, we ended up enhancing this dashboard a bunch to help with the troubleshooting process (which it did.) Check it out:

This dashboard is just one of approximately half a dozen tools that we use to maintain this game’s backend (others include our database administration system, our anti-cheat system, etc.) The backend to Steambirds has cost us, conservatively, at least several hundred thousand dollars in addition to a few years of our lives. So, yeah, it’s not easy. 😉

What’s coming next?

The next few weeks will have similar updates to this one with nice new (not huge) polish / feature / balance improvements, and then at the end of September we’ll do a major update. The contents of that update are still a secret but you can be sure it’ll include some exciting, entirely new content! And then, a month after that update, we’re hoping to be able to ship the guild system (Flocks) that we’ve been talking about for a few months now.

Thank you again to all of you who played this week; ya’ll are the best! 🙂