Social Combat Fixes, and the Salvage Loop
Hey Folks! I was able to get a little bit of work done today, mostly focusing on bugs with the social combat UI. But I also just wrapped-up a really fruitful chat with the other contract developers about what's next. I'll start with that.
Initially, this was a conversation meant to get everyone in sync after my vacation, since we hadn't chatted in a while. And I thought I'd create a document to help illustrate my plans for the project scope and dev schedule, so everyone was on the same page about what we were aiming for.
It was probably a bit tedious listening to me explain each milestone, but we had our moments of humor and shared nerding-out about lore and science. However, we hit upon a really interesting topic just afterward.
Chris was asking why I had NEO Scavenger's inventory screen UI added so late to the schedule, as it seemed like a really compelling feature to add sooner than later. And I explained that I was worried it didn't offer enough mechanical gameplay to support the initial salvage gameplay loop.
As he talked more and more about using tools to overcome derelict obstacles, and choosing which loot to take vs. leave behind, that feeling, the one NEO Scavenger players will find familiar, started to become apparent. Combined with Michael's suggestions about limited "dive" times based on O2 supply, temperature, radiation, and other hazards, we really started gushing about how much fun that loop would be.
We might actually be pretty close to a NEO Scavenger-like early beta if we focus on that salvage experience. And so, we're each going to ruminate a bit overnight and see what each of us thinks is the crucial next few step or two to get there. Which seems likely to reprioritize a few things. But that's what's great about small teams!
What about other activities in the game, you might ask? Things like crew management, smuggling, exploring, or prospecting? Those are still on the table. If Ostranauts pans-out as I hope, we'll have time to gradually add more game loops like the salvage one, and each one will amplify the others in an expanding cluster of game activities. But until we are sitting there enjoying ourselves in the game, getting at least one game loop running is priority #1.
It was a long chat, but it left me feeling reinvigorated and excited about what's next. And what's more, feeling confident again that this thing is going to be fun once folks get their hands on it.
Also, it is super awesome to see other contributors to the game get jazzed about what it's becoming, and armed with purpose. The combined excitement is fuel for pure awesome, if we can sustain and direct it :)
Anyway, that was the highlight of my day! The social combat UI stuff was mainly figuring out scrolling text, early abort bugs, or UI stuck on screen bugs. Not quite as heady or exciting to talk about :)