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Surviving Mars: Below and Beyond is the brand new expansion with Paradox Interactive reviving the game under a new developer with Abstraction and there's a free update too.

“We have one of the most supportive and creative communities in gaming. We know that, with these expanded features, our players will blow our minds with their ingenuity,” says Magnus Lysell, Product Manager for Surviving Mars at Paradox Interactive. “We give our players the tools they need to overcome challenges and create their story. With Below & Beyond, we’ve given players a lot to work with and I’m sure they will come up with some incredible colonies.”

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Main DLC Features:

Underground
  • A new area to explore right beneath your colony. Uncovering what the Martian Underground has been hiding from us, perhaps we can even find something rivaling our wonders.
  • Expand your colony into the Underground, providing shelter against the hazards from the surface and bringing you closer to richer deposits.
  • Be careful, as there may be underground marsquakes that can lead to dangerous cave-ins.
Asteroids
  • Venture to asteroids as they fly past Mars, giving you a limited window to visit them.
  • Set up temporary mining outposts to extract as many rewards as you can from each asteroid.
  • Bring back Exotic Minerals, a new resource exclusive to asteroids, to improve your colony on the Martian surface and its underground.
  • Some asteroids may not be as they appear and have a mystery to solve while you are on them.
Recon & Expansion tech
  • Unlock multiple specialized buildings, rockets, and upgrades in the underground and on asteroids.
  • Gain benefits and upgrades for your entire colony.

The free update available for everyone adds in a new building for colonists and tourists, some UI improvements like leak icons, more options for colony control and some balancing adjustments. See the full patch notes for more.

In true Paradox style though, it's come with plenty of bugs across all platforms. On Linux specifically, it will repeatedly pop up error message boxes. You need to tap the ignore all button to continue the game, otherwise (in my testing) it keeps taking focus away from the game. A bug has been reported on this. Until they solve this, I would wait on it.

If you don't own Surviving Mars it's available for Linux from Humble Store, GOG, Paradox and Steam.

Update - after the article was published Paradox Interactive made Surviving Mars free to claim and keep on Steam until September 8th at 7PM CEST / 5PM UTC.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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Supay 8 Sep, 2021
Quoting: Anza
Quoting: SupayParadox sacked their entire publishing QA department last year with very little warning and didn't even tell their other departments. They outsourced the work instead. They kept their own development QA who I believe work on their own PDS titles but there seems to have been some overlap on work and overall Paradox release quality has really suffered since then with significant bugs in most titles.

EDIT: There have also been issues reported with interal problems including bullying and harassment, and their CEO just suddenly quit citing irreconcilable differences with the board over the company strategy. Seems their incredible growth over the last few years is resulting in some issues, along with similar abuse and discrimination coming out of most game companies.

I was curious and looked up some sources as I wanted to know more. There's this moderately lengthy article in Rock Paper Shotgun: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/paradox-interactives-qa-staff-allege-poor-treatment-low-pay-and-mismanaged-layoffs

For CEO changing, there's this: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-09-02-paradox-ceo-ebba-ljungerud-leaves-due-to-differing-views (there's not that much detail in that one)

Sorry, I meant to add the sources. The RPS ones were the articles recommended by Paradox's union rep as the most balanced and accurate.
Supay 8 Sep, 2021
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: Supay
Quoting: FergleFergleson
Quoteit's come with plenty of bugs across all platforms

This is something I was especially concerned about for this release. Paradox has had a lot of quality problems in the last few years and IIRC this is the first update for Surviving Mars not being done by the original SM team. All of the good SM work up to this point was done by Haemiont Games but for whatever reason they're out and someone called Abstraction is in.

This is definitely a release I was excited for but also definitely one I'm waiting on. :(

Paradox sacked their entire publishing QA department last year with very little warning and didn't even tell their other departments. They outsourced the work instead. They kept their own development QA who I believe work on their own PDS titles but there seems to have been some overlap on work and overall Paradox release quality has really suffered since then with significant bugs in most titles.

EDIT: There have also been issues reported with interal problems including bullying and harassment, and their CEO just suddenly quit citing irreconcilable differences with the board over the company strategy. Seems their incredible growth over the last few years is resulting in some issues, along with similar abuse and discrimination coming out of most game companies.
It's so often trouble when some good outfit grows big enough that the suits come along and start making it over into a "proper" corporation (which is to say, a bunch of aggressive, short-sighted greedhead assholes).

Actually, some of the largest criticism in their staff surveys has been around a divide between the old guard and the newer staff, where older hands are given far more leeway and excused for behaviour that would be considered inappropriate. Poor pay and lack of support for staff including ordering them to drop matters distressing them, again mostly the new staff, were also stated as issues. Check the RPS articles as they apparently have the most accurate info.

I also saw a lot of anger on their forums and other places regarding Johan, one of their oldest members, due to a series of games he worked on recently that have all had serious issues: Imperator, and the Leviathan expansion for EUIV are the ones I remember but I think there was another. Paradox backed him heavily and rejected the criticism, and the stuff people were saying did become nasty and personal, but I have no idea as to whether those issues were due to his handling or other problems in the company, or whether this is really an old guard vs new blood issue.

They do seem to be suffering some kind of growth/culture shock following their rapid expansion. And bizarrely, many of the issues they are being accused of regarding abuse, transparency, crunch time, fairness to staff etc are areas they have always generally been thought to excel at, and ones they themselves have been very vocal about. They have been one of my favourite developers/publishers for many years and I have played/owned pretty much everything they have done since EU2. They have always been good at Linux support as well. So I hope they can resolve whatever is going on and improve where they need to.
lelorrain 8 Sep, 2021
The bug is not so terrible ... the debug box that comes out is seen mostly at the beginning of a new game and very occasionally later on. On thing that is most annoying is that a lot of mods are not compatible with the new version. Although I noticed that some mod have been incorporated in the new version of the base game. Also old save games are not recognized by the game (format change?)
Alm888 8 Sep, 2021
Quoting: lelorrain…old save games are not recognized by the game (format change?)
Location change.
Previously it was
$XDG_DATA_HOME/Surviving Mars/Save/
Now saves are in
<game_install_dir>/AppData/Save/
So, no more "XDG Base Directory Specification" compliant.
In a nutshell, the update is very bad and is riddled with bugs. I'm glad I saved previous version installers as GOG does not allow to roll back.


Last edited by Alm888 on 8 September 2021 at 5:22 pm UTC
Nod 9 Sep, 2021
I picked the wrong time to be in the middle of a play through. I have 78 hours play in the last 2 weeks. First up my savegames were missing, I worked out how to fix that but there are so many bug reports I'm hesitant to continue playing. I'm going to give it a few weeks, hopefully they are responsive. Its a great game so its really positive its getting updates but it seems the new team have not done an adequate job testing.
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