Posted on 10/24/2014 - 16:53
Got some ragged jeans and a dirty old hoodie? Saving up those plastic shopping bags and ketchup packets in the kitchen drawer? You are? Well then, you're ready for the 2014 NEO Scavenger Halloween Cosplay Giveaway!
This Halloween, I'll be giving away copies of NEO Scavenger to the best NEO Scavenger cosplayers who submit their photos. Simply dress-up like someone from the NEO Scavenger universe, and email me your photo. Then, NEO Scavenger players will vote on the results. The 5 highest voted photos win a free copies of NEO Scavenger on Steam!
"Hey guys! Who wants some chips?"
How to Enter
To enter the contest, you need only dress like someone from the NEO Scavenger universe. It doesn't have to be exactly the same clothes as in the game, just in the same spirit. Factions and monsters are fair game, too. And if you've got friends who want to do a scene with you, even better! Creativity is king.
Here are the contest rules:
- Only photos of NEO Scavenger cosplay will be eligible.
- Photo size can be anything, but ideally 640 pixels wide or larger. JPG or PNG formats are acceptable.
- Send photos to , and include a title for each submitted photo.
- Photo submissions are open from now until 12pm noon (Pacific Time) on Monday, November 3rd, 2014.
- Voting will be open to members of bluebottlegames.com for exactly one week following the closing date.
- If too many photos are submitted for consideration, I reserve the right to choose a smaller number from that list, and put those up for voting.
- 5 winning photos will be selected, based on player votes. Winners will each receive a copy of NEO Scavenger on Steam.
- Group photos will get a NEO Scavenger Steam copy for each participant, up to 5 per photo.
- You may submit as many photos as you want.
- Only one copy of NEO Scavenger will be awarded to each entrant.
- Anyone submitting a photo must have the permission of all people in the photo to submit it to this contest.
- I reserve the right to disqualify any entries for any reason, especially those that appear to be offensive or illegal (e.g. nudity, racism, copyrighted/trademarked materials, personal info).
- If you submit a photo, you give Blue Bottle Games (a.k.a. Daniel Fedor) non-exclusive rights to use the photo for promotional purposes, free of charge. In practice, this will likely mean my posting the photos on this site and/or my twitter feed, Facebook site, and other NEO Scavenger related materials.
Sorry for the long list of rules, but it's always best to be clear so expectations are in the right place.
I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys and gals come up with! Have a great weekend!
Posted on 10/23/2014 - 15:53
NEO Scavenger is now officially updated to v0.9942b! Since the test builds have been relatively stable, I've just finished updating the default builds to 0.9942b on all sites. The "test" links are no longer necessary, and have been removed for now.
This updates the following builds:
- Flash version on the official site
- Downloadable versions on official site
- Steam default builds
- Desura client and stand-alone builds
- DRM-free downloads at Humble Bundle, ShinyLoot, and IndieGameStand
The changes included since 0.9937b are pretty numerous, so I've wrapped them in spoiler tags to save space:
Added new encounter location where plot ends.
Added new ending screen, triggered when final encounter is done.
Added two new side-missions.
Added roadmap item, art, and loot tables.
Added potato chip bag, foil item derivatives/recipes, and chips items.
Added new human faction.
Added "Enervated" trait as an opposite of Athletic.
Added text hinting at other humans after escaping cryo for first time.
Added text message to alert player if they are sneaking while moving.
Added new condition effect "EndGame" which triggers the game ending screen with specified encounter ID.
Added code to change or remove map and minimap labels via encounters, instead of just adding them.
Added new condition field aThresholds, for making conditions overflow to new conditions at certain thresholds.
Changed Hidden Lake encounter to be less arbitrary and more fair.
Changed DMC guard support move to only flag target if target is visible and conscious.
Changed urban ruins hexes to have more guaranteed scavenge locales on first visit.
Changed Stoat conversation to give different starter items depending on choices.
Changed King Eli/Liza to never use "ditch vehicle" move. (To avoid duplicate treasure bug.)
Changed GPS encounter structure to better support new entries.
Changed random encounter mentions of gangs to be less well-informed.
Changed AI battle move priorities to be more effective.
Changed eastern glow appearance to only happen if player hasn't used GPS to locate Detroit already.
Changed game over screen to fade out when new game started, instead of abrupt.
Changed melonhead reinforcement move to have lower priority (used less).
Changed skill select screen to use take/drop mouse mode instead of drag.
Changed document items to be stackable to 20, and ignore subgroups when stacking.
Changed random clothing loot table to be "or" instead of "and" for each type listed.
Changed Saginaw "Bleeding Internally" condition to disappear immediately, so only the message log remains.
Fixed a bug that prevented forest shacks from starting with scavenge sites.
Fixed a damage calculation error when attack penetration exceeded cut armor value.
Fixed a bug that caused ChainCondition and SetImmunity to remap incorrectly in mods.
Fixed a bug that caused rotting human corpse anywhere in ATN to trigger cannibal banishment when visiting market.
Fixed a bug that crashed game when loading a mod with missing images.
Fixed a bug that crashed the game when a mod defined a new camptype.
Fixed a bug that caused game to crash when loading a game saved during encounter w/treasure.
Fixed a bug that caused running to deduct fill move cost when run moves left was <= 1.
Fixed a bug that caused manhole encounter to ignore gas masks and filters.
Fixed a bug that caused game to re-apply encounter treasure, conditions, creatures, and teleport when loading a save game mid-encounter.
Fixed a bug that allowed AI to move into some forbidden hexes.
Fixed a bug that caused creatures to drop any item instead of specified type in LoseRandomItem feature.
Fixed a syntax bug in King Eli/Liza's starting treasure w/sled.
Fixed a bug that called solo creatures "leader".
Fixed typos in ATN encounter.
Added batch of new audio for Paul: headwear, fire, scopes/binocs, metal drum/canister, etc.
Changed scavenge loot chances to be lower in urban buildings that are not damaged, to compensate for recent increase in available buildings.
Changed number of urban scavenge sites to be slightly less, since many hexes had 5-7 sites initially.
Changed isotope mine intro to be less aware of the past.
Fixed a bug that caused search move to be unavailable in battle.
Fixed a bug that caused Martha's Army conversations to repeat endlessly.
Fixed a bug that prevented death ending from killing player.
Fixed a bug that prevented black detector object from being usable where it should be.
Fixed a bug that caused hardware to sometimes randomly change contents between saves.
Fixed gray shirt and hospital gown sprites to layer more cleanly.
Fixed a null-pointer bug when retrieving a random newspaper item.
Fixed a UI bug in the run moves remaining text.
Fixed a typo in Stoat offer.
Fixed a bug in the random container loot table that caused extra potato chip bags.
Added ability to use mechanic skill in scavenging buildings to reduce accident chances.
Added cooldown period to melonhead reinforcement ability, to prevent over-use.
Added reinforcement cooldown as a default condition on newly-spawned melonheads, to prevent cascading numbers.
Added exit function to GPS.
Added single dose Blue Rot cures to Saginaw basement loot.
Changed scavenge loot for households to be more appropriate (e.g. no night vision goggles).
Changed tooltip pop-up width to be wider, so newspaper text isn't too long to fit on screen.
Changed hiding button tooltip to mention start/stop toggle.
Changed run button to disappear when run moves remaining <= 0.
Fixed a bug in the ParseConditions code that would allow NaN values in aModifiers (causing errors like immunity to wounds).
Fixed a bug in Grayling that would cause dead-end when returning to outside fence area.
Fixed a bug that caused weather icon to appear on wrong screens during battle.
Fixed a bug that caused Clearbone basement to duplicate upon revisit.
Fixed a bug in Hatter deal that didn't take Blue Rot sample nor pay player.
Fixed a bug that caused markets to restock multiple times during first hour of each morning.
Fixed typos in Isotope Mine, Haggerty Health, and other encounters.
Fixed bug that prevented reverse-crafting compound bow w/strap.
Fixed weight of copper beads on a string.
Fixed typo in datafile.
Fixed bug in DMC interrogation that caused premature ending if player was flagged by DMC guard.
The major changes to watch out for include:
- It is now possible to finish the plot, and see an ending.
- New side missions.
- New items.
- New faction.
- New "Enervated" flaw.
- DMC Guard balancing.
- Hidden Lake balancing.
- Scavenging rebalancing.
- New sound effects.
- Melonhead rebalancing.
As always, if there are any issues with the new build, let me know on the forums!
Posted on 10/22/2014 - 16:49
For those following along, Adam's posted the second installment of his NEO Scavenger Diary. The bit where he dwells on plastic bags for a paragraph gave me a good chuckle. Especially with the American Beauty clip playing in the background.
St. James Parkade seems to be working now. As expected, it was a bit trickier than the food truck. The tricky part was making sure the player's stay was limited to 24 hours, and handling clean-up once that expired. The game does not like campsites being removed, so I had to make some new plumbing for that.
Now, however, I can rent one of three different vehicles for the night, each with varying amounts of amenities. In the best case, one gets heat/AC, a dome light, and a sleep bonus. But even the worst case is at least sheltered from rain and strangers.
It occurs to me as I write this that I may need to add the ability to extend one's stay, rather than let the rental lapse. Right now, it has to expire before one can rent again. But maybe I can add the ability to top-up the rental for another 24 hours. I'll note that now, so I remember tomorrow.
Finally, I wanted to see if I could add certain basic recipes to the starting quick recipe list for players. Things like getting rags from clothes, lighting a fire with a lighter, and other simple recipes are common knowledge, and many have asked for this. The good news is that this is pretty easy, and seems to be working.
The bad news is that skill-based recipes are harder. Technically, they're as easy to add as the basic skills. However, since the player can add and remove skills during skill selection, this would allow players to theoretically add all of the recipes to their quick recipe list before starting. It won't break anything, since they still cannot use those recipes without the skill. But it would be cleaner if they didn't clutter the quick recipe list unnecessarily.
I'll look into this more tomorrow, though. For now, dinner!
Posted on 10/21/2014 - 16:48
Some of you may have noticed that Rock Paper Shotgun is running a "Survival Week" special. And guess who's featured? That's right!
Adam Smith has started a series where he journals his experience playing NEO Scavenger, ironman-style. The first piece is called "The Clothes Off His Back," and it's off to a gripping start. Head on over and take a look, and welcome RPS readers!
Today, I managed to finish the "Last Chance" Canteen, and it seems to be running smoothly. It offers 5 different dishes ranging from large snacks to full meals, as well as bottled water. Beware the gastronomical aftershocks, though :)
So far, it's going to be a place one has to stumble across to discover. There won't be any signs to it. However, given its location and the small size of the sprawl, I think most players will find it with ease.
Similarly, I'm going to start work on the St. James Parkade tomorrow. This one will be a little bit out of the way, and it may prompt me to put some sort of rumor or dialogue into the game to direct folks towards it. We'll have to see if that's actually necessary, though.
Finally, I did a bit of bug fixing today, too. There were a couple bugs involving
That's about it for today. I heard from Humble Bundle that they updated their copies of NEO Scavenger to v0.9942b today, so once Desura tells me the same, I'll post news to that effect.
Have a good night, all!
Posted on 10/20/2014 - 17:02
Hey Folks! Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. I'm having trouble remembering what I did. That probably means I didn't do much. Or aliens.
I've been working on getting the v0.9942b test build uploaded to all the necessary places, as that's going to be promoted from "test" to "official" status. I've got all the files uploaded to Desura and IndieGameStand, and I've alerted Humble Bundle and ShinyLoot as well. Once everyone approves the new content, I'll switch over the Steam and BBG site builds, and send out news updates so everyone can be on the same page again!
NEO Scavenger on Facebook!
That's the thing I did this weekend. Now I remember. I officially started posting NEO Scavenger stuff on Facebook!
I've been slow to move onto Facebook so far, mainly because I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with yet another social outlet. However, Richard's fan page was really starting to gain followers, many of whom had questions and comments. So it was finally time to start participating, and Richard helped to get me up to speed. Thanks, Richard!
So if Facebook is your tool of choice, come on over!
Finally, I spent some time this morning working on two services for the DMC Sprawl: the "Last Chance" Canteen, and "St. James" Parkade.
The "Last Chance" Canteen will be a fast food joint in the sprawl with some...questionable food. But it's cheap, and readily available. For those who are desperate.
And "St. James Parkade" will be a sort of flophouse made out of an old parking garage. Players will be able to buy a place to sleep for the night, with varying amounts of shelter to match their budget.
The Canteen should be pretty straightforward, as it can likely use the same flow and logic as the food truck in Concrete Forest. The Parkade, on the other hand, will need some experimenting. I'll have to make sure I can pass game hours safely, avoid AI theft as appropriate, handle insomnia, and paying for rooms. However, these two services are long overdue, and have been requested by many of those unable to enter the DMC.
That's all for today. Have a good night, all!
Posted on 10/17/2014 - 16:34
Work on the skills overhaul continued, including the latest round of feedback, and here's how it's looking:
Simplified UI, and hopefully more intuitive.
I think there were some excellent points made in yesterday's feedback, and I was able to incorporate most of it in this new layout.
First of all, I decided to change "Skills" to "Abilities," and "Traits" to "Flaws," for clarity and accuracy. Strong is not a skill, per se, and "trait" isn't necessarily negative to the average person. "Abilities" and "Flaws" are more accurate for what we're talking about here, so I changed the language. (Code and game data references still use the old names, however, for compatibility reasons.)
Secondly, I took the suggestion to make the page more symmetric. Now both flaws and abilities simply flow to the right, so it should be clearer where things go. I removed the "Default" flaws, and gave the player free points to start instead, as you guys were right that it was confusing.
I also replaced the wordy instructions with simple arrows, which I think say pretty much the same thing in way less time. Stuff on the left goes to the right. And the green/orange "Amount Used/Left" text tells you how much you've used vs. have left. I've removed the Flaw total text, since it was kind of redundant. And I decided to leave the warning for Flaws, as it was important information not communicated elsewhere.
One of the invisible changes here is the first moddable game variable: starting points. As some of you suggested, it'd be nice to mod the number of starting points available. So I created a new data table called "gamevars" which stores name/value pairs for use in the game. Right now, it's just that starting points number. However, I think I can move some other stuff into there when I have time (e.g. starting date, starting hex coords, maybe even combat modifiers for strong, etc.).
A large chunk of the day had to be spent on fixing the various skill/trait functionality elsewhere in the game, now that traits don't use slots anymore. In particular, I had a lot of rewiring to do in Haggerty Health's eye augmentations, and some Yezinka clean-up.
Overall, this feels like a significant improvement in both UI and game balance, and I'm excited to try it out! Before that, however, I think it's time to promote v0.9942b to default build status. It has a few bugs, but seems otherwise stable. So I'll be working on that next week, so we can begin testing this next wave of test builds.
Have a good weekend, all!
Posted on 10/16/2014 - 16:50
Yesterday's skill overhaul proposal garnered some really useful feedback. As you'll see if you read the comments, I was trying too hard to make the skill system fit into the item/container paradigm, and was unnecessarily complicating things. (Not to mention, cutting off some customizability.)
So taking that feedback into account, I revised the new skill system to be point-based instead of size-based:
Balancing numbers instead of fitting shapes.
In this new system, both skills and traits are items that go into spaces, and the player simply has to make sure they balance their skills against traits. Each skill/trait has a cost, indicated by dots in the corner of the sprite. The total cost of chosen skills cannot exceed the total cost of traits chosen, or else the Confirm button will produce warning saying so in the message area.
I also decided to highlight the Skill Total in green when the total is okay, and orange when it's too high, for convenience.
One other change was that I made the "Basic Human" traits into "Default," and each of them are worth 5 points. The player starts with 3, which should produce an average number of skills in the new point-based system.
This new approach should be a bit easier to understand. What's more, it also allows a wider variety of builds than yesterday's size-based system (such as all negative trait builds).
So far, I think it's a good way to go, and agree with yesterday's feedback. Let me know what you think!
Posted on 10/15/2014 - 16:40
With the latest test build up, I'm waiting to see if it has any stability issues before making it the default build. In the meantime, I'm continuing my investigations into skill rebalancing.
Previously, you might remember me talking about relative skill and trait costs. In that system, each skill and trait would have a different value in the game, so I want to see if I can reflect that in the skill select screen. I had a spark of inspiration today, and here's a rough draft:
One way to have variable skill costs.
One thing you'll notice right away is that I flipped the relationship between skills and traits. Instead of traits containing skills, I reversed it. Why? Well, as some of you pointed out, variable trait size might cause situations where there is wasted space. E.g. you might have two extra spaces in your "Feeble" trait, and choose an additional small trait to add 2 more spaces. If traits are containers, this new space cannot be combined with the leftover space in "Feeble," causing you to have two sets of 2 spaces, instead of a big set of 4 spaces.
If we flip the skill/trait relationship, this problem diminishes. You choose the skill first, and "pay" for it by filling it with traits. And if we break up the "basic human" freebies into smaller "filler" traits, we should be able to support any build the player wants. (There is one build I can think of that won't work, and that's if the player chooses all the "small" skills. There aren't enough free skill points to buy that loadout, and the big traits won't fit.)
Also, it's pretty ugly :) I'm not sure what the best way to represent skills, traits, and free points might be. I considered making the traits look like electricity or something, so it was like we were "charging" skills until they were full. But I didn't want that to be too confusing with electronic items.
If you've seen good ways of representing this type of system, let me know. And as always, I'm open to feedback on the idea!
Posted on 10/14/2014 - 16:23
I've just finished uploading new test beta 0.9942b, which adjusts balance and fixes issues still found in v0.9941b.
The build is available to anyone who owns the beta at bluebottlegames.com, or on Desura and Steam. Desura (and therefore, Groupees) users can use Desura Connect to gain access here, or even get their Steam keys and try it on Steam.
To access the test build on the official site, simply visit the beta page, and click any of the download links below the usual Windows, Mac, and Linux buttons.
Steam users can access the test build by opting into the beta for it.
Updates Included in the Test Beta
Test beta 0.9942b includes the following changes:
- Added ability to use mechanic skill in scavenging buildings to reduce accident chances.
- Added cooldown period to melonhead reinforcement ability, to prevent over-use.
- Added reinforcement cooldown as a default condition on newly-spawned melonheads, to prevent cascading numbers.
- Added exit function to GPS.
- Added single dose Blue Rot cures to Saginaw basement loot.
- Changed scavenge loot for households to be more appropriate (e.g. no night vision goggles).
- Changed tooltip pop-up width to be wider, so newspaper text isn't too long to fit on screen.
- Changed hiding button tooltip to mention start/stop toggle.
- Changed run button to disappear when run moves remaining <= 0.
- Fixed a bug in the ParseConditions code that would allow NaN values in aModifiers (causing errors like immunity to wounds).
- Fixed a bug in Grayling that would cause dead-end when returning to outside fence area.
- Fixed a bug that caused weather icon to appear on wrong screens during battle.
- Fixed a bug that caused Clearbone basement to duplicate upon revisit.
- Fixed a bug in Hatter deal that didn't take Blue Rot sample nor pay player.
- Fixed a bug that caused markets to restock multiple times during first hour of each morning.
- Fixed typos in Isotope Mine, Haggerty Health, and other encounters.
- Fixed bug that prevented reverse-crafting compound bow w/strap.
- Fixed weight of copper beads on a string.
- Fixed typo in datafile.
- Fixed bug in DMC interrogation that caused premature ending if player was flagged by DMC guard.
One of the bigger changes here is the addition of the mechanic skill to scavenging, to help reduce accidents in buildings. Now that scavenging tends to have more accident risk per item of loot, it made sense to add some way to mitigate that risk. Plus, it makes mechanic more valuable!
I also toned-down the melonhead reinforcements a bit. Now, they should use it more sparingly, and newly-added melonheads cannot use reinforcement calls right away.
There were also quite a few fixes to encounters for things like dead-ends and typos, as well as some UI tweaks.
The likelihood that this version of NEO Scavenger will work with previous saves is: likely.
As usual, the older the save game version, the less likely it is to work.
As always, let me know what you think of the changes, and if you notice any issues with the new build!
Posted on 10/10/2014 - 16:28
I decided to do some more playtesting this morning, to get a feel for scavenge drop rates. The recent change has caused more than a little concern among players, so I've been watching for signs it's too easy or hard.
After about an hour, I found that my playthrough was achieving a pretty steady trickle of loot and wounds. I was finding just enough to get by, plus some things to sell at the junk market. But on the other hand, I was also getting pretty banged-up from scavenging accidents. In retrospect, this actually makes sense given my judicious use of strong and crowbar when available in scavenging.
Most importantly, I still felt like I was having a steady supply of windfalls and challenges, and had to be clever to solve issues as they came up. I think that balance is still about right, despite the increase in scavenge accidents. (Maybe even better? Now we have more wound treatment as a risk of more scavenging reward.) I'm inclined to leave it at current levels, and tweak smaller elements like types of loot or more item variety.
While I was testing, I ran across the bug with newspaper headlines not fitting in large UI mode, so I fixed that. (Decided to resize the tooltip so it needs less vertical space.)
I also playtested Kaaven's Mini Mighty Mod of Doom, as he was seeing some weird bugs. Apart from having too much fun, I stumbled across the bug he described. It turns out that a condition in his mod had a typo, and the game's data parser didn't handle the error correctly. The result was NaN propagating through the creature wounding system, eventually breaking it down completely.
Since conditions are one of the most often used components of the game (and mods), I added some data validation to help avoid this in the future. Hopefully, the game will fail more gracefully in the future!
Finally, I should point out that this weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, so I won't be at work on Monday. I should be back on Tuesday, however. For those celebrating a holiday weekend, enjoy!