Posted on 03/10/2014 - 17:16
I think I'm finished with planned changes on 0.985, and moving into the testing phase.
Earlier in the day, I was catching up on some forum posts and bug reports. And then, I resumed testing the new encounter. There were a few glitches in the encounter's various triggers, so it took some rewiring and condition planning to make sure that was working correctly. Namely, I wanted to make sure the various ways to trigger the encounter were triggering at the right times (based on player status and previous actions).
Once that seemed to be working, I decided to look into the DMC guards and their sniper reinforcement ability. It turns out that the snipers aren't despawning correctly, and continue to exist on the map even after gone. This results in some weird game behavior, since the player can still run into them. However, the game never sees them, so they don't update outside of battle.
So far, I think this has to do with the order in which things get handled in each turn. I may be despawning them too early in the turn, and something later on causes them to be partially re-added to the game. Tomorrow, I'm going to have to look into why.
Hope everyone had a good weekend, and see you tomorrow!
Posted on 03/07/2014 - 18:24
Been another busy day, here in the wooded mountains of Canada. I put some serious time into testing and tweaking today, and I'm pretty excited about the results.
First of all, I decided to look into the recent trend of "farming" DMC guards for their loot. Players specced for combat can often wipe out DMC guards with impunity, and that ain't very realistic. So, I decided to give them a little edge:
"Gonna need some backup, here!"
From now on, when DMC guards are in trouble, they'll have a chance of calling for backup. And that backup comes in the form of a hidden DMC sniper. The sniper acts as a creature in battle, but is almost impossible to see or hit (because it's far away, hidden, and behind cover).
It basically hoses the player with gunfire, pinning them if they're lucky, and perforating them if they're not. In theory, the sniper fire only lasts a handful of turns, but it may be just what the guard needs to escape (or win).
And if nothing else, it presents a serious threat to the player's safety.
Furthermore, if the DMC guard successfully uses this move, the player becomes "wanted" by the DMC authorities. Plan on having some trouble in the city if that's the case :)
In addition, I added a couple new moves for all creatures:
When you can't run, you walk. When you can't walk, you crawl.
Now, when a creature is fallen, they can still move, albeit slowly. There wasn't a huge need for this, though a few have asked. However, the AI has a particularly hard time doing realistic things when fallen. Most of its preferred moves are not available (especially retreat).
Historically, in these situations, the AI would just choose a random move. And this could sometimes include talking or ceasefire. And when crippled and unable to stand up, talk and ceasefire are almost the only choices. Not logical when being butchered by an enemy.
These crawl moves ensure the AI has ways of acting that are not talking nor ceasefire when in such desperate situations.
Furthermore, I decided to make a small adjustment to the faction rating for advancing forward in combat. Previously, players could advance on DMC guards who asked to talk or ceasefire without penalty, over and over. This led to players developing a strategy of advancing to melee range, and then murdering the guards in a "surprise" attack.
However, in 0.985, this strategy will no longer work. Advancing too many times while the AI is offering talks or ceasefire will piss them off, switching them to hostile.
Outside of AI tweaks, I also found and fixed two bugs. The first was one that reported wounds as "null" in some cases, and the second was a bug that allowed reinforcements to break the population caps. I think this is why the melonheads could still flood the area despite the population limits.
And finally, I continued testing and development on the new factions encounter. By the end of the day, most of it seemed to be working as designed. There are just a few kinks remaining, which I hope to address Monday.
Whew! Quite the day! I'm glad it was productive, though. Perhaps we'll be on track for a new build next week? We'll see!
Have a good weekend, all!
Posted on 03/06/2014 - 18:15
Today was the converse of yesterday, with me spending little time on PR and instead focusing a lot on development. The bulk of today's work was on the new faction's main encounter.
First, I worked on the trading post, and other services they provide. There was a little bit of work creating the appropriate conditions and items to trigger these correctly. Also, while working on this, I realized I never fixed the Haggerty Health wound dressing option, so I fixed that, too.
After the services were worked out, it came time to start dealing with all the minute details to make the encounter work. Things like handling when the player visits for the first time vs. a return visit, or when the player is an outcast vs. welcome. There were actually quite a few permutations involved.
I also needed to setup the various trigger areas and hexes, teleportation rules, and generally make sure the encounter fires when it should.
In addition, I needed to setup treasure groups for each of the branching decision points (which shows the player their options), conditions to be set when the player passes certain gates or encounter nodes, and handling areas that can be visited with different player conditions in place.
As of this evening, I've got most of the encounter detailed like this, and just need to finalize one conversation. Once that's done, I'll have to start testing it for bugs.
Besides this encounter, I also need to tweak an old encounter for new content, as well as an old illness chain.
Finally, I made a small adjustment to the UI to show 0.1% when an item's condition is so low that it gets rounded to 0.0% in the UI. This is mainly cosmetic, so players don't think the item is bugged.
As the title says, I think we're getting close! Testing could still reveal lots of bugs (I'm worried in particular about trigger misfires), but if all goes smoothly, I think we'll have a new build within the next couple work days!
Posted on 03/05/2014 - 18:23
Today was a heck of a day on Twitch. It seems NEO Scavenger's dance card was full today, with multiple occasions where 3 live Twitch feeds were streaming NEO Scavenger. Cool!
Here's a recap of the channels:
I tried to pop by here and there, and had a good time as usual. Thanks for streaming, guys!
It wasn't all fun and games today, of course. I had to tear myself away from Twitch long enough to do some actual work. And I have some good news:
I think I've found (and fixed) the faction standings bug!
It looks like NPCs were bad-mouthing the player when they talked to each other in the same hex. Normally, they're supposed to average their opinions of the other factions, weighted for leadership score. However, the function I was using to apply this weighted average was applying it to every other creature in the same hex. This basically applied the wrong values to creatures multiple times each turn (once for each creature beyond the first). Needless to say, there were some really bad opinions being passed around! It's like high school all over again.
Anyway, I think I've got this fixed.
I also spent some time working on the new faction's trading post inventory, as well as standard loadouts for the faction wandering NPCs. I even setup a few mini conversations for them, just so there's something in place when the player attempts to talk. (Testing these is what led to the faction fix above.)
I also made a few tweaks and fixes here and there based on the Twitch feeds I was watching.
A pretty productive day, considering how much time I spent socializing with players. I'm really excited to have found that faction bug. It was even in the last few minutes of the day, too. It'll be nice having that fix in the next release!
Anyway, hope everyone has a good day. And do be sure to swing by the above streams if you get a chance. They're a blast to watch!
Posted on 03/04/2014 - 18:20
I continued work on the new faction today, and focused on some of the wearable equipment they have. Similar to DMC guards, it helps to visually distinguish someone based on their clothes, even if it's not 100% reliable. Plus, it means some new toys and customization options for players!
Here's what some of them will look like in the field:
Cyberpunk browncoats? Biker cowboys? Only time will tell!
Not all will look exactly like this, of course. But many may wear such clothes and carry recognizable decorations and tools. I still need to sort out their typical loadout list, then setup their spawn region.
After that, I think I'll have enough to work with to setup their trading post. I just remembered today that I'll need to create some conversations for them, too. Even just placeholders, as I'm sure you guys are getting anxious for a new build soon :)
Rest assured that I'm trying to assemble all these pieces as fast as I can. It'll be good to get your feedback on the new faction, lore, backstory, and items!
Posted on 03/03/2014 - 18:13
Hey Folks! Hope everyone had a good weekend. It was another busy one for me, so I'm hoping to get some R&R in the evenings this week.
The early part of today involved a lot of catching up on emails and forum posts. So much so that by early afternoon, I was feeling a little anxious about having done little work.
However, I eventually got though enough to switch over to dev, and was able to get some bugs fixed to start my brain going. First of all, there was a bug in the take/drop code which allowed stacks to overlap in the same space. In extreme cases, this could cause hundreds of the same stack to be in the same space, and might be the cause of some item duplication bugs. If nothing else, it was a serious source of lag in games with such illegal stacks.
I also fixed a bug in the hex scent code, which sometimes allowed an infinite scent strength (meaning it never went away).
After those bugs were squared away, I turned my attention to some new faction items. This new encounter involves a new faction, and not only will its members carry special equipment, players may also be able to barter at a trading post.
So far, it's just four new items, though a fifth is imminent. Possibly a new container for carrying things! (Gasp!)
In any case, there should be some new items to explore along with this new culture. I plan to finish these items, hook them up with the trading post encounter, and then turn my attention to additional encounter details and/or creature loadouts for the faction. Still plenty to keep me busy, but I think I'm over the hump on this update!
Posted on 02/28/2014 - 17:51
I received a new encounter illustration today. Soon, players will finally be able to see some artwork for Haggerty Health Clinic! Here's a sneak peek:
Every player's favorite haunt.
You'll have to wait until v0.985 to see the full image :)
This illustration comes from Max Antonov. While I've been plugging away at encounter stuff, I decided to have another illustration done, and I think Max has done nicely!
In addition to this new illustration, I also worked on a few new items that can be obtained in the new encounter I'm working on. They're medicinal/protective in nature, so it should be an interesting addition to the array of existing in-game items. I'm still deciding whether or not to add any other new items here, or if I should try to wrap this one up.
It might be best to get a draft out to you guys for feedback before committing too much effort, in case I'm missing something. There's a lot of info in this encounter, and it might have gaps I'm not seeing after being so close to the work.
In any case, work continues as usual, and it was refreshing to have some non-writing stuff to add. It's nice to see former gaps in the game's art (i.e. unique hexes and encounters) start to fill in!
Hope everyone has a good weekend!
Posted on 02/27/2014 - 18:09
I think I may have finished the overall conversation structure I've been working on. One can at least start, conduct, and finish it now. And the player can do it in a variety of orders.
One thing I'll have to test is how the branch "gating" works out in practice. Technically, one can see all conversation branches if they choose the right things and in the right order. Missing a branch mostly means missed lore. And there are one or two ways to completely botch the conversation.
However, I think most folks will meander through and get more info than they bargained for. Even if some steps are missed, I worry it might be long enough to rival Zom Zom's in reading. So yeah, this may require tweaking.
I also think I've got three separate entry possibilities covered. E.g. if the player has this item or this condition, they see different paths.
What's left now is to build a final "hub" section, where non-conversation options can be chosen in any order, and multiple times. E.g. exploring the area and interacting with things. One gets here after finishing the conversation a certain way, or upon returning to this encounter location later.
And speaking of, that's another thing that needs doing. I'll need to make sure returning players have some way to get back in here.
Finally, there's still a lot of detail work to be filled in, such as hooking up items to choices, and making sure each path works in tests.
In other news, I managed to fix a bug that was reported on the forums involving water on wounds. It turns out that swapping water over a bandage causes the water to be "equipped," appearing in the paper doll's groin. Hilarious, maybe, but not effective. So that should be fixed.
I also fixed a few more reported typos in the cryo encounter.
Finally, I just heard word today that some of the copies of NEO Scavenger I donated last year are on their way to Afghanistan! Pretty cool! Operation Supply Drop has been handing out games and gear to active and recovering US soldiers for a while now, but it looks like they just completed their first drop to British soldiers. Nice work!
That about wraps it up for today. Have a good night, all, and see you tomorrow!
Posted on 02/26/2014 - 18:11
The branching dialogue work continues, and here's what it's looking like today:
He's a real conversationalist, that guy.
I'm still mucking about in the lower right quadrant in this image. Some of the branches have changed a bit, some have grown, and in a few places, branches loop back to other branches.
I'm going to see if I can set this up visually so each branch is on a separate row, and each will set a variable that prevents revisiting it later. I'm not sure how feasible that is yet, but it might make for an interesting system for getting info without the recycled text, and also without me rewriting things over and over.
I'm getting into some backstory in this latest bit, so it feels good to finally be exposing a few of the game world's secrets. I've been sitting on some lore for so long, I have a hard time remembering that only I know about it :)
More of the same tomorrow, methinks. Have a good one, all!
Posted on 02/25/2014 - 18:11
I continued work on the new encounter today, focusing mainly on a new branch. And as this one involves a conversation, more branching ensued:
I might need some emergency exits in this one.
As you can see, we're starting to get more complex. A lot of today's work is in the lower right quadrant of the image above. The player can detour into a conversation, and that conversation branches.
And branches---and branches.
This is sort of the ideal structure I picture in my head when I'm writing conversations. I have this vain hope that the player can have this natural conversation that progresses down new and interesting topics, rather than recycling the same conversation "hub" over and over. In other words, there is no way to see all branches in the same game.
The up-side here is that it could make conversations interesting and almost strategic. Planning what to say next is almost as important as surviving on the map.
The down side is, well, I have to do a crapload of work to make it happen. That, and some completionists will probably be upset about missing content in a playthrough :)
Anyway, I'm going to try and make this thing happen. So far, I'm on a pretty good roll. This new character's personality is pretty clear in my head, so I'm having an easier time writing them.
In other news, I made a slight adjustment to the battle screen this morning. A player suggested that I mirror the battle move icon that the AI just used on the battle screen. This way, when they charge/retreat/talk, the arrows and actions point in a more logical direction relative to the player. Simple change with big benefits. I like it!
Also, I noticed a bug that prevented dropping a wheelless shopping cart in battle, so I fixed that.
That about wraps-up Tuesday! Hope everyone has a good night, and see you tomorrow!