Relationships and Interactions

Hey Folks! Still plugging away at the PAX 2020 demo here, and the goals are the same as before. We have a few fun updates to talk about, though, so I thought it was a good time for devlogging.

One of the bigger changes, and one I've just checked-in, was formalizing the role of relationships in interactions. It's now possible to limit interactions to people who have (or do not have) certain relationships. Some examples of this include preventing AIs from asking for a hug to strangers, or offering to cover a shift for a non-crew member.

Another important part of this change is to allow interactions to change relationships. If you chat or otherwise have enough "good" interactions with an NPC, they change from being a stranger to an acquaintance. It's just a random chance now, so not a perfect simulation. But it creates some nice challenges when you don't get lucky on your first few chat attempts.

Kind of like being at a bar and chatting-up a stranger, and realizing it isn't going to go anywhere :)

Anyway, one of the more interesting applications of this is to limit AIs accepting a job if you aren't at least an acquaintance. If you literally walk through the airlock onto a station, stride up to a stranger, and offer them a job, they'll say "no. I don't think so."

But if you play your social moves right, and get a little bit lucky, they'll come around to being acquaintances, and will agree. And once the game's content is closer to complete, this should become more strategic. You'll have special moves you can use in cases where things go south. Or you might want to save them for important conversations you anticipate later.

The reactor UI hasn't changed much since I filmed it for the trailer. But I had a few strangers try it out lately, in preparation for the demo. And they really enjoyed it! They didn't understand much of it, of course. But they didn't feel frustrated, which is a good sign. I'll need to put some guard rails onto that before the demo to ensure it's a bit more friendly, but signs are pointing to this being in the PAX demo!

Chris is working on a similar set of changes to the nav station. It is even more unapproachable than the reactor UI, and a bit flaky under the hood. He's bringing his considerable math and coding skills to bear on making it a more fun and accessible experience, so we can hopefully give people a taste of that in the demo, too.

Michael's been working on some UI/UX improvements. The latest of which is a progress bar for your current interaction. It's one of those things you don't think much about before you see it, but now that it's there, it really enhances feedback. Just knowing how much time is left on an action is a huge step. And once he gets that working on larger task progress amounts, it should be even more handy!

He's also working on getting the objectives to be a bit more streamlined. Collapsing similar ones to fewer entries, and making the overall UI easier to know at-a-glance.

In music news, Josh has completed a handful of bonus tracks that will be available on the special edition OST! They're a really nice complement to the tracks in-game, and establish a similar mood.

For reference, the rough plan here is to include the OST in ogg format with the game (what the game will use to play music). The separate OST will include higher quality versions of those tracks, plus bonus tracks, and whatever else we feel we can cram in there. I think Steam also lets you bundle things like this, so maybe we can do a game+OST bundle. We'll have to research that more once the time arrives.

Anyway, lots of fun stuff in the works! And getting excited/nervous for PAX!

Tags: Ostranauts