Starting Ship Changes, Condition Accounting Fix

Hey Folks! Hope everyone had a good weekend. We had what actually felt more like a vacation than any other weekend in a long time. We had friends over one night for dinner and games, and pretty much spent the rest of the time just sitting around outside, enjoying the weather. It's been a long time since we were that chill for a whole day, let alone two!

And what's more, back at the office, I got actual development done!

First of all, I reverted my threshold accounting changes, as it turned out they didn't address the problem. Instead, the old way was actually pretty close to correct. I just needed to ensure I was adjusting the relevant condition by the same amount as the thresholds, so it didn't have any effect during the threshold change. Then, I could walk that condition back to the unadjusted number, triggering thresholds as it goes.

E.g. Let's say we have threshold rules like StatPain 1-5 is "fine," 5-10 is "ouch," 10-15 is "yowzers" and our current StatPain is 9. We are currently in the "ouch" region. If we adjust the thresholds to be 80% of normal, this means the new thresholds are 0.8-4, 4-8, and 8-12. Basically, we lowered our pain tolerance.

But a value of 9 in this new threshold is "yowzers," and the game still thinks we're "ouch." If we proceed normally from here, the accounting will be all wrong. The change I made adjusts the original 9 by 80%, as well, so it becomes 7.2 (still "ouch"). Then, once the new thresholds are in place, it walks the 7.2 back up to 9, so we are now "yowzers."

It's a really boring bug, but also really insidious. And it's fixed now!

A more interesting change was to adjust the way character generation works. Namely, careers.

For one thing, it was possible to choose careers that didn't ever grant a starting ship, breaking chargen. I've made these unavailable with "Coming Soon!" near them, to illustrate this better. NPCs can still have them, but players won't break chargen by choosing unfinished content anymore.

Also, I had careers occasionally grant a screen where you get to choose a ship from a list, or continue your career. My thought was this is where you'd preview possible ships, spend some money to customize them, then start the game.

Unfortunately, this was really confusing, and didn't fit at all with the very first origin story I wanted. Shipbreakers make more sense if they start with a salvage pod, and use that to peruse ships in the junkyard, and play the game to rebuild those ships in real-time. Basically, it was robbing the player of gameplay! And confusing them.

So now, you just get the salvage pod, and a mini explanation of what to do next. It stays more in-character, and avoids confusion.

Long-term, I'd like for these events to be more interactive, like NEO Scavenger encounters. But for now, this gets people into the game with a little more of a nudge.

Tags: Ostranauts


Rovlad's picture
You should do something about the faces, I remember you mentioned that you've toned down their facial expressions, but what I'm seeing in the screenshots is not reassuring. It's far into anime or being suddenly violently choked to death territory, which is probably an acceptable form of greeting in Japan.

...wait, did Japan ever make it into space? I remember you promising us a wiki or something for the lore.

dcfedor's picture

The faces are still pending changes. I started reworking the animations, but found that it broke on some sprite combos. I think they're going to need a deeper mesh rework, which is more involved. Hence the delay.

As for the wiki, there's setting info up here:

Far from complete, but it should grow over time. But to answer your question, there are Japanese people in space, and possibly even a Japanese station. But they represent a relative minority of the population.

From memory, the biggest were Chinese, American, Brazilian, Indonesian, Filipino, and Nigerian. Largely due to the location and economic backing of the three space elevators.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games