Rust has been drawing players in for years on PC, providing gamers with the chance to take in what many see as the ultimate survival experience. But now it’s also made moves onto console with the team at Double Eleven picking up Facepunch Studios’ idea and pushing it out to console. As that move was made we had the opportunity to find out more, with Matt Philipps, Lead Programmer on Rust Console Edition, happy to divulge some little secrets…
Hi, please could you introduce yourself. What is your role at Double Eleven and in the development of Rust?
Hi, I’m Matt, the Lead Programmer on Rust Console Edition.
For those who aren’t immersed in the PC scene, could you explain a little about the history of the game?
Rust PC launched on Steam in February 2018, following 4 years in Early Access on the platform. The brutal survival game that finds you starting your new life on a beach, in the nude, is still exceptionally popular in 2021; offering players a more purist survival experience than some other titles within the genre, it made over $2 million dollars across 2 separate days in January this year thanks to some well-known streamers showing a renewed interest in the title.
Rust is and forever will be the baby and brainchild of Facepunch and we’re extremely grateful to be able to take what they’ve done and create our own Console Edition of their game. Our Console Editions of Rust are certainly Rust as people know it but under the hood, where we’ve spent the last few years, we’ve created a completely different animal designed for consoles and their players.
And why should Xbox and PlayStation players now be interested in what is on offer?
Rust can offer a unique, some might say purist, survival experience. It’s rewarding, brutal and frustrating in (almost) equal parts. There’s no story, there’s no real endgame (though you could argue that living as long as possible could qualify) and it can be played solo or with a clan of friends to combine resources and share the pain. As with the PC version there will be monthly server wipes, presenting players with a clean slate and a fresh start. Rust is a raw, brutal experience, grounded in post-apocalyptic times whilst offering a core survival experience that the player can take in whichever direction they wish to, be that alone or with friends by their side. There’s no denying that it’s punishing but it can be just as rewarding for players that are willing to dig deep, learn the ropes and build on their experience to thrive in island life.
Could you tell us more about how the move to bring Rust to console came about? Why do you feel now is the prime time to open up to Xbox and PlayStation players and how do you see these communities fitting in with those already present?
We first started talking to Facepunch in 2016 about the idea of creating a console version of Rust and how that could work. We knew early on that the two games would need to be in separate universes given that the PC edition can expand as it needed to and performance would be maintained so long as people continued to upgrade their hardware while consoles of course have finite resources that need to be more closely managed. Following these conversations and an internal evaluation, we didn’t actually start development until 2018 due to the challenges we faced in the evaluation phase, making sure we’d be able to deliver a fun, unique and high quality Rust experience for console players.
Rust Console Edition is a completely separate product from the PC version and although we are planning regular content updates to keep the experience fresh and keep players engaged, it will not follow the same trajectory as the PC roadmap. We’ll be able to talk about this more in the very near future and will be revealing more through our Twitter and Discord! Rust Console has its own community and given the fact that it is a separate experience from PC and there’s no crossplay between PC and console, we’re unsure how much crossover there will be between the communities.
How does Rust differ from the other survival games on the market? What is unique about how this plays out?
Rust Console Edition does things slightly differently from other survival games; 100 players are thrown into a server and forced to either get along, or fight to survive. What makes Rust Console Edition unique is its regular server wipes, which help to keep things fresh, as all players will have to start again from scratch. Each time a wipe happens, a new map is also created, so that players can explore a completely fresh environment. Rust Console Edition also features a complex, yet easy to use building system that allows players to create spectacular bases of their own design that other players are able to raid and destroy.
Is Rust on console totally in line with the PC offering? What are the main differences between the versions? Are there any special goodies lined up for Xbox Series X|S players over those on Xbox One?
Rust Console Edition is an entirely separate product from PC and the content update roadmap is also completely different. Although there isn’t content parity between the PC and console versions, we’re committed to regularly adding content to the Xbox version to refresh the experience and keep it exciting for players.
We were primarily focused on ensuring the best experience for Xbox One and PS4 players for launch, which was only a short while ago, so whilst the game runs through backwards compatibility on the current gen consoles, we haven’t yet dedicated any time to implementing optimisations for them. Now that launch is behind us, although we’re patching to improve the current experience on last gen, we will soon be spending more time looking at how we can optimise the experience for current gen consoles.
How does cross-play work? Can console and PC players be found exploring the world of Rust together?
There is crossplay between console players but not with PC due to the fact it’s a separate game and experience; there are no plans to implement this in the future.
Could you talk us through the different gameplay elements that are available in-game? Survival seems to be at the heart of the action, but what is there to complement this?
Everyone starts on the beach with nothing but a Rock and a Torch, and from that moment, survival will always be your primary concern, so a lot of the gameplay elements tie into this aspect. Exploration plays a big part in gameplay, and there are many abandoned monuments scattered across the map that have loot for players to find and fight over. Another main element is Base Building, where players construct ever more elaborate bases to protect the treasures they find. Other players will also gather raiding supplies, such as explosives, to blast into enemies’ bases and steal their things. There’s also a Players-vs-Environment element, where players can take on animals, NPCs and even harder challenges in order to find and hoard more and more loot.
For a new console player coming into Rust fresh, what one piece of advice would you give them?
There are so many pieces of advice that I could give to players but I think the biggest thing players need to make their peace with is that they’re going to die. A lot.
Where do you see Rust going next? What is lined up for future development and will any additions and amendments roll out to all formats simultaneously?
We’re committed to supporting Rust Console Edition and adding regular new content to keep the experience fresh for players. We’ll be sharing a roadmap in the not too distant future through all of our channels with the details so watch this space!!
What has been the trickiest developmental issue that has arisen with the move from PC to console?
PCs can just deal with all objects in the world existing at once, but on consoles we can’t afford the memory or processing cost, so we spawn objects in and out based on a radius from the player. We don’t care about a missing falling animation on a tree that has been felled 8 miles away by another player, or that a bear is attacking a deer on the other side of the map, so we only keep the content relevant to the player’s immediate surroundings in memory at any one time and allow the server to keep their states up to date instead. This comes with a few complications of its own, because once you do get close to those things, your console needs to both spawn them in and update them to their states at the current time. It’s been a bit of a nightmare trying to coordinate memory usage, the cost of spawning things dynamically, and keeping them in sync.
A quick glance of the Steam page points to Rust being ripe for additional content. Will all currently available DLC that is present on PC make its way to console?
Rust Console Edition, whilst the same core experience for console players, is a completely separate product to its PC predecessor and should be considered as such. We have aspirations to keep adding monuments and content to the console versions for the foreseeable future, as well as fixing issues and making improvements to the player experience wherever we can – and we will soon be rolling out a content update roadmap through our social channels where we’ll expand on what we’re adding when. Players who bought the Ultimate or Deluxe editions on console will be able to take advantage of upcoming new content on the public testing branch before it officially gets added to the game!
And finally, we understand Rust can be an extremely addictive affair, with players throwing hundreds and thousands of hours of playtime into it. What is there to ensure that things are consistently kept fresh no matter how much of our life we decide to throw in?
Rust Console Edition is unique in that regard as servers are consistently wiped. This means, aside from the knowledge of items you’ve researched, everything that players have accumulated – as well as their base – will be destroyed. This encourages players to come back to use up their resources and weapons on the old server, and get a head-start on new wiped servers, as the early-game of Rust Console Edition is often classed as the most exciting; players don’t yet have access to top-tier weapons and most players are scavenging to survive, which makes trying to stay alive even more thrilling and terrifying. This is as well as constant feature updates that bring new items and gameplay mechanics to the game.
Massive thanks go out to Matt for giving us some of his time in order to find out more about Rust Console Edition. If you wish to pick up a copy of the game then it’s the Xbox Store which will provide access to Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S players.
Be sure to give our full review of Rust Console Edition a read too.