Social Loop, Preview Text

Hey Folks! Still plugging away at social UI changes. A lot of today focused on getting the social UI to tell us more useful info, and cleaning-up the social actions to be more logical. Also, Chris has merged his camera tweaks into mainline, so we have smoother camera action!

For now, the social UI will reveal all stats on the participants, so we can see what we're doing. As you can see with Benjamin, above, that can get a bit overwhelming. But we can at least see if our actions have any affect on him.

I also changed the way characters are initialized, so their starting conditions are more logically consistent. E.g. they won't end up starving yet stuffed, or prefer Viceroy cigarettes if they don't smoke.

I temporarily removed a bunch of non-social interactions, like trade, hiring, and debug skill reveals, since they were just noise in our testing. I also removed some old social interactions that either seemed anachronistic (trying to defy someone before they do anything) or impossible (offering to buy a drink, despite there being no drinks or bars in game).

On the other hand, I added a few more old social interactions that were originally meant as replies. Things like insulting, encouraging, and threatening are all perfectly-fine ways to initiate contact. And we should start fleshing these out so they are first-class things we can do on the regular.

And one of the bigger changes today was making social UI loop back on itself. Previously, it would close once the current exchange ended. Often after a single reply. This caused problems with not seeing stat results of an action, as well as feeling really jarring and disjointed. There was no conversational flow.

Now, once the exchange ends, we are left with a new round of actions to choose from. I think once we start making this list dynamically based on stats, consumable actions, and increase the rarity on some, it'll be a lot more engaging. And I added a crucial "Leave" action to get out :)

One last thing I've added was to make the preview text dynamically-generated, so we wouldn't have to manually update a huge list of interactions any time we changed the stats on them. It's a little crude-looking, but at the same time, reveals a lot in the stats that I might not have noticed before!

We're making progress. We still have a few steps to go before this feels like a game loop, but it's already made some leaps forward!

Tags: Ostranauts


Josh_A_Culler's picture

Why not arrange the personal stats into expandable/collapsible categories?

Then you can group a bunch of relevant stats together (Skills, Rivalries, Likes, etc.) instead of just having a massive list for everything.

Also, you might be able to abbreviate the most common ones like: Human, Male, Healthy, etc. and put them into a small status bar right at the top

dcfedor's picture

Collapsing categories might be a good approach. Or something like tabs.

And yeah, there's probably a strong case for certain stats being mainline ID info along the top or something. The old crew UI that we had did something like that, and maybe I'll just port that code over to this UI.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games