Locked Crate UI

Hey Folks! Decided to tackle the UI for unlocking a crate with a PIN code today. Plus, Michael's off and running on his crate inventory grid. And Bjørn is starting to look at footstep audio based on tile material!

I spent a fair amount of time thinking about the lock UI, and scaring myself from working on it, before I decided to just dive in. Currently, I want the game to support a few different lock types, for use on different items. Some things require little security (a locker), while others should be near-unbreakable (access codes to a ship helm).

As a result, I've arbitrarily decided on these lock types:

  • Mechanical combination lock
  • Mechanical key/tumbler lock
  • Electronic PIN lock
  • "Q" Locks, which are a form of QKD encryption
  • RFID locks, or chip readers

For now, we just need a PIN lock, but I wanted to think ahead a bit. Both for gameplay and world-building reasons.

Anyway, I setup a UI the object can spawn if the user chooses to unlock it, and then the fun begins! Normally, in this case, we type the 4-digit PIN into the keypad, then choose to lock or unlock, as needed. The indicator will change if it worked, or reset the digital readout if not. (I realize showing the PIN numbers is insecure in real life, but I don't yet have a * character in my 7-segment UI widget.)

And so far, this works at a basic level. I can lock or unlock any PIN lock UI in the game with "1234" :)

However, I still need to hook this up to in-game objects. And then I have to figure out how to make each lock generate a unique PIN. And then, how to sprinkle clues around the ship, if needed.

Meanwhile, Michael has a good start running on his crate inventory grid. You can walk up to any object, spawn a UI that shows the correct number of objects in a grid, and you can drag them around. They snap to grid, prevent overlapping, and you can move the whole grid around and resize the window for it. Pretty good! (And already a bit of an advancement over NEO Scavenger's static grids.) He's going to work on getting appropriate item sprites next.

Bjørn has started looking into footfall sound, and is figuring out how to get floor tile info to generate appropriate audio for each step.

Chris is back from his other job's tasks, and ready to resume salvage loop user stories.

And in a surprise email, Josh has mentioned he's interested in revamping the title screen music! I'm more than a little excited to see how that evolves. I always enjoy new track stuff from him.

So I guess this was a pretty busy day! A lot of stuff mid-completion, so I can't really show it off yet. But definitely an interesting step forward in gameplay on the near horizon!

That's all for this week. Have a good weekend, all. And see you Monday!

Tags: Ostranauts


Rovlad's picture

Somehow I doubt that we'll be using 4-digit number codes to unlock safes in the space-faring future; hell, we're not using these even now. :)

dcfedor's picture

I was thinking about that, too. How will secure access work in the future?

Also, what's a good balance between plausible and usable?

I decided in this case (i.e. a space Pelican case with locks), we're still probably using a combo or PIN lock. The gun locker or valuables safe might be a different story :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Rovlad's picture

I just think it'd be cool if Ostranauts were a bit different from every other game, most of which just use 4-digit number codes because it's a video game trope by now.
Maybe regular "stringy" passwords, but with numbers being used as letters (e.g. 1 is abc, 2 is def) could be a good balance between usable and plausible; they could also have arbitrary length, as to denote their difficulty.
Hidden bonus is that this system is very rarely used in games so it'd work as a bit of a novelty. It wouldn't be too hard to write up a blurb or two as to why this system is being used in-universe; maybe it's some superstition or their ship's OS offers this as a default security measure.

dcfedor's picture

On one hand, I agree! I really enjoy taking well-worn tropes and turning them sideways. And just about every new thing that goes into a game, I ask myself, "is there a way to make this more interesting?"

On the other hand, I'm always asking if I can make things more interesting, and I eventually run out of time doing so :)

That said, these aren't meant to be the only types of locks in the game. Rather, they're just the easiest to implement right now, freeing us up to build upon them. Now that we have "locked things," we are able to add obstacles that require some problem-solving, and ways to circumvent them.

Long-term, I foresee at least a handful of other lock types that befit the value of the thing they protect. From old-school mechanical locks, to RFID readers, to QKD readers for the absolutely-cannot-steal-this stuff (like a ship's CIC room).

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games