Homeworld and Strata Selection
Hey Folks! I apologize for the lack of news yesterday. I had an afternoon meeting off-site, and wasn't back until late. I did still get some work done, though, both yesterday and today.
Emily sent her first few main menu mockups to me for guidance, as she figures out the best composition, color, and lighting. Those are coming along nicely, and I look forward to sharing her progress there.
I also sent Michael some more specifications for the next writing task: more interaction variety. I'm hoping he'll be able to expand the AI "social vocabulary" a bit more, so I can get a better sense of how to proceed with AI interactions, drama, etc.
On the dev side, I was able to solve that bug I mentioned in the pronoun/appearance selection UI. Right after I mentioned it in the news, in fact. It was a case of the ship layout using sink item data from the save file, which lacked the new UI stuff I added. Deleting the old sink and re-adding a fresh copy worked. Going forward, this might become a more common issue, and warrants revisiting.
With that fixed, I was able to change my appearance and pronoun preferences, and it would be saved to my character's stats! Pretty painless once I figured out that save/fresh issue.
The next step, as you can see from today's image, is to do homeworld and social strata selection. The metaphor I'm going with for now is a phone kiosk, since it's a fairly recognizable way to choose both a region (area code) and payment method. The chosen region will be the player's homeworld, and will set appropriate stats on them. E.g. Tharsis Landing on Mars is slightly higher gravity than Ceres, so you'd get maybe a lesser penalty to strength or other health benefits from growing up on that planet.
Note that these are just starting attributes, and can be changed via career choices and lifetime hobbies in a later step. I'll have to decide if it's worth trying to balance these all, or maybe just make them as-is, sort of like choosing hard mode or easy mode. I feel a bit like NEO Scavenger's balancing was redundant in the end, as some builds were easier for folks to play, and maybe they should just be allowed to build what they want?
I'll think about this some more. There are a TON of new stats in this game, so balancing would be hard.
The payment method component here sets your social strata. "Credit" is meant to be like a citizen, who has the luxury of a credit history, can borrow money, and is generally trusted by businesses. "Prepay" means you have the money, but you're not as established, so you have to pay now. Sort of like an immigrant/visa holder. Finally, the screwdriver is an illegal. No money. No records. Just jam that thing in there to make the call.
Overall, not looking too bad so far. I think the one thing I overlooked was background information that might be useful to someone making this choice. Things like which stats you get with each choice, so you don't end up having to navigate a bunch of menus to see the effects. There's a certain amount of space in the UI for typing this out, alongside each button.
However, it might make more sense in this context to put notes in the margins using graffiti. Like, if you choose "Calico City," the graffiti all over the phone changes to say things like "go home belter" or "off-worlders have bones of glass." Basically, like a stat listing, but spiced-up a bit. And contextually logical.
Just a thought. I may have to do something more boring, too :)