Excellent game, musings ensue!

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Excellent game, musings ensue!

Hi,Very interesting game you have here. Lots to see, do and die from! I've been wanting this exact sort of game for a long time. Survival games like this have long had an appeal. I think the first one I came across was a game called "Deus." I was a mere youngling when I played it, but I seem to recall it being impossibly hard to stay alive. You were able to sew together skins to keep yourself alive, make weapons from the stuff around you, make tourniquets and pump yourself full of morphine. It boasted of something like 40 ways to die. I can't really tell you if the game was all that good overall, but I have fond memories of failing at it.Since I started playing the NEO Scavenger beta, I've been keeping notes on ideas that have popped into my head. Before I start making criticisms all over the place, I'd just like to point out that I like this game a lot already. Wall of text ahoy!Interface, etc.

  • It'd be rather handy if we could rotate items so they can fit into containers better. For example, there is no reason why a medium sized branch can't fit into a plastic bag!
  • It took me a long time to work out that clicking on a previously discovered recipe puts everything in the combine box automatically. However, I could just be an idiot.
  • It took me a while to work out that you can move your abilities into the combine box, as it wasn't on the same screen.
  • As it stands, some of the interactions are tedious to say the least. For one thing, checking which bottles contain pure water, cola or dirty water gets to be quite the chore. Likewise with working out which tin can contains your string collection. Mmm. String.
  • I suggest putting the exact percentages of the item health in the background. Instead, perhaps keywords could be used instead? This would of course be related to the type of item. A pair of jeans would be torn, pristine, ragged, etc. A chunk of squirrel could be mouldy, reeking and so on.

Items

  • Maybe I'm weird but one of the first things I tried to do with a saucepan was put it on my character's head.
  • Am I right in thinking that perishable food such as squirrel meat or berries actually degrades slower if you've put it in a tin or plastic bag? If so, that's a good feature.
  • Perhaps there could be more types of canned goods? Dog food should be ubiquitous, as should mystery cans without labels.
  • Books. These could be read over the course of multiple game days and would ultimately give you a skill, or some other bonus. Perhaps there could be a librarian out there trying to collate all the recipes into a single tome, or sending out scavengers to find tomes of lost knowledge?
  • Underwear. Thermals would really help one stay warm. Alternatively, one should be able to charge a dogman wearing nothing but a squirrel loincloth and a pointy stick.
  • I recently noticed you can "consume" lighter fluid. I presume my scavenger is drinking it, what with the crushing despair of awakening to a long collapsed civilisation and everything. Sadly, it doesn't seem to have an in game effect, but I was greatly amused nonetheless.
  • Plastic bags are great, but they are sadly underused so far. Sewing enough together would make piss-poor clothing in a pinch. They could also help keep food fresh-ish if they don't already. Of course, they would also make handy incontinence pants for when you get cholera.
  • A spade would be really useful, so I can bury some of my loot and come back to it. Not only would it ensure I can leave my water, string and squirrel stash safely out of the hands of bandits, but then there is the possibility of it being found by my later characters. Also, graveyards.
  • A nourishing squirrel stew could be made out of squirrel (duh), mushrooms and water.

Storage

  • How about pockets? Jeans would give you space for a lighter or a clip, whilst a hoodie would let you carry a bottle of water around. Combat trousers could give you room for as much as a can of soup. Squirrely gear however, should never have pockets - it's the warmest stuff in the game, but there should be a price (in addition to the mass slaughter of the cute little rodents)
  • Satchels could be found and made out of squirrel pelts, and would be slung over the shoulder slot. I spend most of the time without a gun and melee characters don't have much use for them.
  • Belts and pouches. The slots are already there in the inventory screen though. As are slots for rings, curiously...

Game Mechanics

  • The setting of this game seems like it would lend itself well to some good old fashioned Lovecraftian horror. Of course, I'm not for a minute suggesting that Mi-go or Cthulu should make an appearance, but how about borrowing a sanity track from the pen and paper game? See a dogman? Sanity point. Dreams about the squirrels taking revenge? Sanity point. Finding out the whole world has crumbled whilst you've had a nap? Sanity point. There would be ways to lose the points and get back to normal. Hitting the top of the track would send you running naked into the hills screaming about demon bees, thus losing you the game. However, being a bit mad might give you unorthodox methods of solving encounters. Indeed, there could even be "Strong willed" and "Unstable" as starting benefits or flaws respectively.
  • Looking at the voting page, I can see that bleeding is planned. Is a full hit location system planned too?
  • Addiction could be an interesting starting flaw. You'd have to select your addiction - say alcohol, tobacco, or gelli bears - then have to consume some regularly or go cold turkey.

Anyway, that's all I can think of for now! Again, sorry for the wall of text if that sort of thing bothers you.

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Hey Lorgath!Wow, that's a lot of feedback, thanks! Let's see:Rotating items: you might've already discovered this, but the A/D keys will let you rotate an item while you're dragging it.Crafting UI tedium: Yeah, I agree, as do a number of other forum posters. Something will have to be done to clean this process up. I've heard a few ideas, though I haven't had time to try any of them yet.Keeping track of items inside items: Part of me actually likes this problem, as it would be a challenge in real life too. Which water bottle was the clean water in? Where did I pack that spare part? Often, when I was playing, I'd start to develop techniques for dealing with it, such as only placing unpurified water bottles in one bag, and purified in a separate bag. It might be interesting to add a magic marker item to the game, which lets you label/name things, though. I'll note that on my list.Item condition descriptors instead of numbers is a good idea too. A few people asked for similar treatment, and I've got that on my list of improvements.Saucepan helmets: while I don't think there's much benefit to just plopping a bare saucepan on the head, perhaps a crafting recipe for a helmet makes sense? E.g. saucepan, mechanic skill, hammer, leather strap, nuts and bolts, and rags for padding? Something like that might be interesting. I'll make a note.Perishable food in containers: actually, such foods degrade regardless of containers right now. And I think that may be pretty realistic (e.g. a steak in a plastic bag will still rot without refrigeration or vacuum sealing). I may implement special techniques in the future for preserving things (e.g. refrigerated/freeze-dried/smoked/vacuum-sealing), but for now, gotta eat things fast :)More canned goods: I agree! I want to eat dog food like in Road Warrior. Also, botulism :)Books are also a good idea. I was actually thinking books might be a substitute ingredient for a relevant skill in crafting. E.g. the how-to-fix-anything book can be used instead of the mechanic skill when repairing an item. The book takes precious item space and weight, but has it's uses. It'd also be nice to have the player eventually learn the skill with enough use.More clothes are definitely on my list too. It's even got medium support on the voting page!Sadly, the lighter fluid consuming bug has been fixed. Maybe someday I'll let the player poison himself for no other reason than to express ennui :)Plastic bags and utility: yep, plastic bags definitely should be used in more things in the future. Perhaps as a shell for a sleeping bag, a makeshift poncho, etc.Tools such as shovels are also a good idea. It's possible the player camp features could use such a tool in making camp defenses or other amenities. And since player camp is pretty popular these days on the voting board, we may see it soon!Squirrel stew: absolutely! There are a few food recipes I'd like to add, and stew is one of them. I'm trying to think of potential advantages to things like stew over just eating the raw ingredients. Morale is the first thing that comes to mind, though the game has no morale status bar yet.Pockets were originally on my list, though I never added them due to other bugs and features taking priority. It's on my list, though.Satchels and other bags are in the cards too. Part of the reason I have shoulder strap slots is exactly for this reason. Just haven't had time yet. Ditto for belts, pouches, and rings :)Sanity, horror, and the supernatural: definitely. No Lovecraft characters, per se, but I want the world of NEO Scavenger to have elements of the supernatural, and they should be both deadly and mysterious. I'm trying to strike the right balance of supernatural and science fiction, without going over the top. Low-fantasy horror is probably a good descriptor. I want voodoo, witchcraft, and monsters to exist, but most people aren't sure if it's just rumor or not. And even when they see it first hand, they're not sure if it was real or their imagination. Think early X-Files, where there's always an explanation for something, but it isn't necessarily reassuring or revealing. And a sanity status bar has definitely crossed my mind :)Bleeding and hit locations: I've recently expanded that voting feature into a full wounding system, as a lot of folks have asked about just such a thing. It should at least offer more types of wounds, like bleeding, broken bones, burns, etc. If locations are not too difficult to add, that makes sense too (e.g. concussions, broken legs, etc.)I talk a bit about drugs and addictions in another thread (I think you also posted in it). I like the idea, and it makes for some very interesting situations in a world without ready access to your drug of choice. I even thought about a some special cases. For example, a dangerous drug/gene treatment that grants some extra ability slots, but requires a treatment "top-up" to avoid gradual debilitation and eventual death. The treatments would be really expensive/hard to find, but the power (almost) worth it. But back to your point, yeah, it's on my mind.Phew! That's a wall of text of my own! Though, it sounds like a lot of what you were asking about fits with the general plans I have, going forward. Hopefully, I can keep the project alive long enough to do most of them!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games