Roadblocks Cleared, Back to Work
Went light on the PR again this morning, and managed to log some more hours against bug fixing. I think I finally figured out that save/load bug I mentioned. Looks like I was incorrectly copying values to the faction standings hash table on load, and when the save game data was cleared, so were the creatures' hash tables. This now seems to be working again.
After that fix, I turned my attention to the last few problems I was having with the conversation feature. For one thing, having multiple creatures in the same hex was causing multiple conversations to trigger in the same turn. The result was all creatures having conversations with the player serially when only one agreed to do so. This is now fixed.
There was also a bug that caused battle to occur when multiple creatures were in the hex during conversation, even though the battle was ended in order to talk. I had to make sure the ceasefire lasted long enough on non-talking creatures to finish the conversation.
A recent change for adding non-hostiles was causing allied creatures to run from and attack their allies, due to a misplaced code snippet. Basically, the AI needs a default target each turn in case they have no valid targets, and it was accidentally choosing friendlies in this case, rather than the first non-aligned creature.
Once those were out of the way, I decided to start working on some art for a new faction: the DMC police. They'll be the first faction that actively combats hostile NPCs, such as raiders and bandits, but leaves neutrals like the player alone (at least initially).
A police faction means some dedicated equipment, so I've started on some uniform-related items, and looking into the equipment they might carry. I've got some high, black boots already drawn, and I'm getting started on some navy tactical pants. This begs the question of if and how I might handle armor, as most tactical police have at least some guards for mitigating attack. I'll have to think about that a bit.
It also means I'll have to decide what they use for weapons. They're police, so they're going to need non-lethal tools. One item for sure is going to be a taser shotgun slug (basically a self-contained taser round, so no tether required). Theoretically, this could just work in any shotgun, so I won't have to make a special police shotgun if I don't have time.
They should probably have something for melee encounters, too. The idea of bludgeon batons and stun batons seems sensible, so that might be an option.
Sidearms are another consideration. Again, the existing .45 pistol could probably do fine here in a pinch, in case I run short on time. However, there is a question of whether more advanced firearms are now being used. The laser rifle will eventually be in the game, but I'm thinking that'll be a pre-apocalyptic military weapon. That doesn't bar post-apocalyptic manufacturers from also making a version, but I'm not sure if they would.
Ample electricity around the DMC, combined with microcapacitor-based batteries, could mean laser-based weapons are actually practical. Heck, people are already making laser pistols in 2013 with rangefinders coupled to camera flash capacitors. They aren't deadly yet, but they'll punch a hole through thin materials near-instantly.
On the other hand, well-understood and mature tech like a simple .45 pistol makes a lot of sense. Ammunition can be varied to fit the task, and the form factor is small. I guess one could also argue for an SMG in an urban/refugee-camp environment, though that seems unnecessarily dangerous.
Tough call. But one thing is for sure, they're going to need pants, shoes, and shirts, so those are things I can do right away :)
Have a good night, all!