Item Weight Fixes, Roof Balancing, and Save Game Change
Small changes today, but a few of them will have big impacts. Read on for more info.
Demo Build 0.916d
First off, roof accidents have been balanced. I adjusted chances of roof collapse to be lower in most cases, except for ruined buildings. This should mean roof collapse during scavenging is a little less ridiculous, though still possible. More tweaking will likely be needed, but this seemed like a pretty straightforward and necessary change, based on feedback.
Also, item weights got a few fixes. Containers would often misreport their total weights, due to stack counts changing inside them. Furthermore, some items were double-counting the weights of their contents, particularly in cases of nested containers. These issues should now be fixed. Also, item weights should now only be reported to 2 decimal places, instead of nanograms.
Beta Build 0.926b
As usual, the beta build includes all demo fixes. It also includes a fix which should address injury weirdness when loading a savegame that includes the toughness skill. Perhaps more importantly, though, it includes a subtle, but significant change to the save game feature.
Save games are now deleted on player death. Furthermore, the escape menu no longer includes "Load", "Save", and "Quit". Instead, it only has "Save+Quit". What does this mean? Well, in practice, it means it's still possible to save your progress, leave, and come back later to resume your game. However, it is no longer possible to die and then reload your game, nor reload if things go bad (at least, not without some cheating).
Why the change? Mainly because I think it makes for more interesting gameplay, and better fits the spirit of the game I set out to make. If every in-game decision one makes has consequences that they're stuck with, those decisions become more important. Setbacks are more significant, and so are windfalls. The game plays more like the pen and paper rpgs which inspired it.
When I set out to add save games, it was mainly a feature of convenience for players who don't have unlimited time to sit and play NEO Scavenger. I've played games that don't respect the user's time, and they become tedious and frustrating. It bothered me that if I was on a raid in WoW, and I got a phone call or visitor, it could ruin all my progress. Similarly, I didn't like games that forced me to rearrange my life schedule and come back at timed intervals (e.g. FarmVille, and guild obligations in MMOs). I wanted my game to respect my time, and be there when I wanted to play it, and gracefully go away when I needed to do other things.
Save games are a way for NEO Scavenger to let users walk away when they have to, and come back when they're ready. Users can make dinner/see their family/go out with friends/come home from work/etc, and not have to worry about losing hours of progress in NEO Scavenger because the browser window closed.
Conversely, savegames have never been a means to make the game easier. NEO Scavenger is a game of difficult challenges, but also of meaningful rewards: one's feats of adventure come with a badge of honor. Heck, merely surviving is a badge of honor. The thing that makes NEO Scavenger unique and interesting is it's challenge, and it's current major flaw is the lack of fairness and balance in that challenge.
Rather than use save/load as a fix for difficulty balancing, I'd like to focus on in-game tools and options for players to solve in-game problems. This can mean more interactive combat, allowing the player more control over how the fight goes, and even if there is a fight at all. Similarly, the way wounds are dealt and mended can be expanded such that clever and determined players can deal with them. And as we find other causes of inescapable death, we can look for features and in-game tools to add that might give players a fighting chance.
The bottom line? NEO Scavenger should be challenging, but it should also give the player the tools they need to deal with those challenges. Save games, however, are a tool for players to adapt the game to their busy lives.
I hope that's a reasonable explanation for most, and you can see how it fits with the overall NEO Scavenger philosophy. As always, thanks for your patience, and for your participation!