Today, I’m going to compare Sunless Skies with… Sunless Skies.
OK so that may seem confusing but I played both Sunless Skies before and after early access and they felt like 2 different animals. And I felt it for one reason… distance.
I had a problem when playing during the early access; I couldn’t find my destinations whereas it was a lot easier to find them in the 1.0. All because of one reason, the distance from New Winchester, the central point, felt greater in Early Access and the further away you are, the more space to search.
Yet I LOVED the early access travel more for the area.
Why? Think of it this way, you can travel a mile in the dark in a car or a mile in the dark on foot. Which sound’s scarier?
Well this is a frontier world in the middle of civil war compared to the Sunless Sea. This is much more dangerous, you can’t swim in the air so if you fall in…
The original distance between different locations created a feeling of intentionality. Because of the way you can’t swim to shore, all locations are well lit with whole towns at each location and a re very few and far between.
In terms of mechanics, it created a more dangerous but adventurous world. Because it’s harder to find the location as it was further away, I ended up finding interesting things between. At the same time, I had to prepare as I wouldn’t know exactly where the next fuel or supply would be.
Changing something as simple as distance between key points can change a game. It can make preparations different, it makes resources either rare or plentiful as you need less to travel a smaller distance.
Going from Sunless Skies Beta to 1.0 went from a dangerous Frontier Exploration to travelling a lively thriving community.