Blog - Devblog #9 - Sound, Pressure, Inventory and Modules

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Devblog #9 - Sound, Pressure, Inventory and Modules

Holiday season is upon us and January is just around the corner. Today we want to cover sound propagation, environmental controls, inventory tweaks and various station modules and upgrades. So put on your pressurized suits, turn off gravity and enjoy!


Sound propagation


Sound is probably one of the last things you notice while playing a game, only when it’s gone do you realize how much it adds to the immersion. As you all know it is almost impossible to hear anything in the vacuum of space and realistic sound propagation was one of our goals from the very beginning. So we found ourselves in a bit of a problem, how to realistically implement sound in a space sim without losing the atmosphere it brings to the table? It was not an easy feat but we did manage to come up with a number of interesting solutions.


All in game sounds dynamically change with your environment. As the pressure around you drops from 1 bar to 0 the sounds you hear will reflect this, allowing you to accurately judge your surroundings without looking at any of the environmental monitors. In vacuum sound can only be heard in the form of vibrations when you are in contact with a resonating surface. Loud noises like gunfire and explosions will change based on proximity and the type of surface you are in contact with. The following video will demonstrate how several sounds (elevator, doors gunfire) change according to environment.


For best experience we recommend using headphones and turning up your bass



Environmental controls


So far we’ve shown you what happens when you lose all pressure in a room, now we are going to focus on environmental controls. Every ship and station needs a basic life support system for the crew to feel a minimum amount of comfort. Walking around in a pressurized suit 24/7 might be safe, but it is far from practical. The environmental control interface allows you to monitor and change parameters like gravity, pressure, air quality and temperature. These settings are room/module specific and allow you to selectively adjust the conditions throughout your ship or station. Another thing to note is that shutting down life support in a large module is an effective way to conserve oxygen and power in case you are running low.


Environmental panel


Inventory system


Inventory system is designed to be functional and immersive. All suits in the game except a cryo-suit have a number of equipment slots that vary among the suits according to design. These slots are divided into several categories, essentials like helmet and jet-pack, utility, ammo, primary and secondary slots. In order to store any item you must have a free suit slot of the correct type.

Moving in vacuum is difficult and having a bunch of items on your character would shift your center of mass considerably and unbalance the maneuvering system, making any accurate movement impossible. Therefore every suit has a carefully balanced inventory in order to maintain the center of mass and allow easy movement. Picking the right suit for the job is essential if you plant to stay alive and use your available resources efficiently.


Inventory menu




Modules, the building blocks of stations in Hellion. Some of them had already been covered in some of our earlier blogs, so this time we will only do a quick recap.

Let’s start off with the life support module. Life support comes in two variants basic and full. The basic version is what you might consider a starting module. It features two cryo-chambers, basic life support system and a number of solar panels. It is self-sufficient in terms of power but its capabilities are somewhat limited compared to the full version. If you add any additional modules to your station you will require a full life support module in order to maintain stable conditions throughout the station.


Starter module


Full life support module features four cryo-chambers and a complete life support system that can easily maintain acceptable conditions for a large number of linked modules. This version however is not self-sufficient and will require a power supply unit in order to operate.


Life support module


Power supply module is essentially a large fusion reactor. It can generate a vast amount of power using hydrogen and helium isotopes as fuel. If you plan to build yourself a large station, you should probably start looking for one right away.


Power supply module


Cargo-bay module features a massive storage space, an airlock and a built in refinery system that allows you to process raw resources into usable ones, most notably fuel for engines and reactors. It can also be used as a hangar for small vessel and comes with a number of docking ports that can be used to expand its functionality via external upgrade modules.


Cargo bay


The Command module is the nerve center of any large station. It is by no means essential but provides a central control point for the entire station allowing you to remotely change various parameters. It is also equipped with a powerful sensor array that can track any approaching objects. The module itself is split into two decks where the upper section contains the command and communications centers and the lower section serves as a junction with four docking ports.


Command module


Corridor and intersection modules are used as junctions between various station sections. Some large modules like cargo or power supply are bulky enough that fitting them into the existing station layout would be impossible without a correct corridor section. By using them in a smart way it is possible to create choke points that allow easier station defense in case of boarders.




Airlock module, no station would be complete without it. It serves as an exit and entry point and allows ships to safely dock with the station. Its primary purpose however is to equalize pressure when you enter or exit the station. This is the only way to leave or enter a pressurized station without decompression and atmosphere loss.




Well that’s all for today, happy holidays and see you in 2017!

Zero Gravity team

Posted by Zero Gravity team