Sunday, November 5, 2023

Starbound: Fossils Guide

Starbound is an established open-world game with that nostalgic 2D side scrolling gameplay. Among the many activities (include building your own bases, getting a space mecha, main story quest of saving humanity and all space races etc), a player could also dig and collect fossils to display them in nice looking shelves.

The fossil hunting / excavation part could be a bit confusing initially since there isn't any explanation. It is actually quite simple. When the player sees fossil like symbols underground, the player could activate a fossil brush on these symbols. This activates a mini-game with a screen shown below.

Starbound - Fossil Excavation Start Screen

In the initial screen, the box on the left would have two "soil types" of different colours. The player needs to use the brush (1 of the 5 tools on the right of the screenshot) to brush away loose soil. This would reveal the fossils pieces (and possibly a treasure box as well). The screenshot below is what the player sees after initial brushing.

Starbound - Fossil Excavation Process
The loose soil would be gone, and the remaining are 'rocks' to be dug / knocked away. This is when the player needs to do some planning. Based on the tools (the other 4 boxes on the right showing tools and their dug area that are almost Tetris looking shapes), player could select the tools to dig remaining rocks. There would be clues on screen, i.e. those revealed bones.
Fossil Excavation Tools

The end result is that the rocks are 'cracked / dug' but the player still needs to use the brush to brush away the cracked / dug soil. This would reveal the underlying hidden parts which may include the fossils. After a few tries, the player would know the standard shape of the hidden fossils. The minimum is 9 parts (which would always form a T shape) while the max I have seen is 17 parts. In the screenshot above, 9 out of 11 (9/11) have been revealed. If the player used a tool on the reveal fossil, this cracked the fossil and excavation failed. Likewise if all tools have been used and the entire fossil is not revealed, the exercise failed too.
Revealed Fossil - Successful Excavation
A successful excavation means the entire fossil is revealed and the player gets the random assigned fossil. If the treasure box is also revealed, the player would also get some free items. Initially it is normal to have a few failed excavation but once the player gets the hang of the min-game, especially after recognising some of the standard fossil shapes, it is not difficult at all.
Starbound - Piece of Ixodoom Fossil

The fossils would form part of a collection - some collections are a singular fossil piece, e.g. a fossilized egg or a mysterious skull. A number of the humanoid types collection comprise 3 parts, while the larger versions e.g. T Rex would need 5 parts to complete a fossil collection. The result from each excavation seems to be random - I had some challenging puzzles that gave 1 piece penguin fossil while there were also simple 9 pieces puzzles that gave 1 of the 5 parts complex fossils.
Completed Penguin Fossil - Single Piece
The player still needs to build a fossil display shelf to put the fossils before Starbound recognises the achievement. Yes this is needed even for the single piece fossils. Upon completion, the Collection could also be viewed in the Collection side tab. A completed fossil display would have a red barrier placed in front of the glass shelf. 
It is a fun activity to put all the Starbound fossil collections together, almost similar to a real life museum collection! I've yet to complete all the fossil collections, which I think Starbound would give me an Alien Archaeologist achievement. Have fun!

Starbound - Fossils in Display Shelves

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Bondee - Latest Mobile App for the Metaverse

With all the hype around the concept of Metaverse, it is no wonder that more companies are developing apps to connect users to a metaverse of their own creation. The latest is Bondee, which has ranked top among the free apps chart on Google Pay with more than a million downloads since the launch on 15th Jan 2023. It is developed by Metadream Tech, a Singapore based company.

Bondee Screenshot - New User

Bondee allows you to connect with friends, chat, and visit each other's rooms in a neighborhood setting. Signing up is pretty easy and the usual process of ID creation is smooth. They do need birthday details, and officially only those who are 13 and above of age could create an account. Providing a phone number would also make it easier for your friends to locate you and "add friend" to their accounts. There is a two step verification via SMS to ensure that the phone number is indeed linked to your mobile phone.

After registration, it is time to create your customised avatar! There are plenty of options (hairstyle, accessories, clothes etc) and if a step-by-step process of tweaking every detail is too tedious for you, you could always choose one of those pre-setup options as a base to simplify the avatar customisation process. After that, it is time to add some friends! You could share your own Bondee QR codes or IDs via chats, and I've shared mine on Instagram, to make it easier for friends to find me.

There are two nice features of Bondee (at least to me), and one of them is the ability to decorate your own room. Similar to the avatar creation, there are also two more options to pre-fill a room in a certain style to speed up the process. Many of the items are marked as "Limited Free Trial" and I wonder how much would they cost (eventually) to own them. Or, having selected them now, would they be taken away past this time period? There is also an option to add / customise the items using your own photos, which is a nice touch beyond just cartoony furniture.
Once the room is set up, you could view your room in the neighbourhood setup in an isometric style. You could visit your friends' room and leave post-it notes on their walls too.

The other fun feature is a sailing option although I'm not sure what is the background story to such a 'sea sailing' feature. Upon sailing in the small boat, the user could meet other users or even pick up bottles with notes inside. Thus far I've only met 1 other Bondee user while I was sailing.

Besides these two features, the normal functions of the Bondee app as far as I can see, is to chat with friends via both a personal chat, as well as group chat. You could also indicate your current status via a number of options e.g. charging up, sleeping, chilling, playing with sparklers etc.
I guess these apps would be attractive when more and more friends use it - currently I have less than 10 friends on Bondee, and maybe I could add more in the coming days (current max of 50)! Bondee have yet to add Paid features but I guess that would be inevitable at some point.