Bug Fixing and UI Improvements

The last few days have been pretty travel-heavy, so today was the first day "in the office." I put that in quotes because I'm working on my older laptop, and that can be a bit rough. 512MB RAM isn't really enough to run Windows XP, FlashDevelop, and a browser concurrently (especially if that browser's running multiple tabs with spreadsheets.) And when the debug version of NEO Scavenger fires up, well, let's say pagefile access gets pretty intense :)

With that in mind, most of my work today was changing data, and less-intense bug-fixing. It was still surprisingly productive, though.

One of the bigger changes was to the encounter screen. When an encounter gives a single item to the player, it sticks to the cursor until the player puts it down. There has been no shortage of confused new players as a result of that quirk. Many times, players assume the game has stalled and they can't continue. This is especially true of items that are small, like the flash drive, recipe hints, and other 1x1 grid items.

Even when multiple items are granted, the only warning the player gets is in the encounter text and some floaty items moving quickly across the screen.

Sticking the item to the cursor was meant to help the player notice that they got an item, so they didn't leave the hex without it. But since it was more confusing than helpful, I decided to change it.

My first thought was that I should just add a treasure grid to the encounter screen, so players could see, up front, what they got. And before they continued, they would have to find a home for those items. However, that seemed to present new problems of its own (inconvenience and UI space among the bigger ones).

Instead, I decided to add a new button just below the "confirm" button when treasure has been awarded. All treasure, even single items, now just goes straight to the ground space, and this button will appear with a light on it. It looks just like the "Items" screen button, and it just goes to the Items screen. Hopefully, this should provide a very obvious visual cue that items are available for pickup, without interrupting the flow of the encounter. No more items stuck to the cursor!

I also made a change to the text for AI behavior when it's tracking the player, so it talks about following player "tracks" instead of "scent." As some players pointed out, "scent" sounds more animalistic, so "tracks" should cover both human and non- cases.

I also made quite a few fixes to crafting recipes, such as food, ash, and HVAC/lighting items being usable in the rough splint. There were also a few items with missing or extra properties causing problems, including variants of the rifle and the t-shirt. Thanks to everyone who found those weird cases!

Speaking of variants, the last change I made today involved the treasure system. I made a slight change to the way it lists items, so now it's possible to have a treasure referencing another treasure.

Previously, each treasure was just a list of items, the quantity expected, and the chance of getting said item. It was also possible to get one out of a group of items by specifying something like 30% chance of 1x item A OR 70% chance of 1x item B. That worked for a while, but now that I'm adding more variations of similar items (more types of rifles, pistols, clothes, etc.), it'd be a pain to have to update each treasure when a new item was created.

Instead, now I can create one treasure for something like "any random shirt," and have other treasures point to it. So the bandit's starting equipment, the mobile home scavenging loot, and the junk store can each point to "any random shirt." And when I add new shirts to the game, I just edit that "any random shirt" treasure group, instead of all three locations.

Small change in code, but big benefits now that variations are being added.

So that's it for today! As I said, it actually was pretty productive, despite the slow computer. Hopefully, tomorrow proves to be the same. Have a good night, all!