More Quality of Life Fixes, Triage, and OOO Monday

I spent most of today working on more UI/workflow streamlining, "quality of life" (QOL) features, and triaging my wishlist/buglist.

First of all, I finally finished changing the opening cryo sequence to allow scavenging the facility after exiting. Instead of using eagle eye and medic to search for items during the encounter, they can be used in a scavenge attempt after leaving the facility. Scavenging also gives the cryo window as default loot, allowing the player to re-enter the facility later.

The thinking here was to make the looting process more consistent with the rest of the game, plus to capitalize on the new player's first tutorial on scavenging. They see instructions for how to scavenge, and are immediately presented with a hex to try it on.

Returning to the cryo facility will still allow the player to use those skills to get any items they missed in scavenging, since the scavenge encounter can only happen once (or else we get multiple windows, multitools, and first aid kits).

One additional tweak I made was to make sure the usable window item is never available when the user is inside the cryo encounters. Some users were confused by this, since using the window has no immediate effect while inside an encounter (e.g. when getting the multitool, they see "use/consume to re-enter the cryo facility," but clicking it has no effect). So now, the window disappears as long as one is in the encounter, and reappears when leaving.

I also finished up the changes to the scavenge system, so now getting loot doesn't require users to go back to the encounter and hit "confirm" to continue. After getting a successful loot message, visiting the item screen will auto-close the encounter, freeing the player to continue without the tedious extra screen.

The skill selection screen text now reads "Click the abilities (blue-colored) you want from left and place into available spaces at right." It used to say "Take the abilities..." which some users interpreted as drag+drop. But drag+drop requires a full click in NEO Scavenger, not just a mouse-down. I'm hoping this will help reduce the number of users confused by that.

Hex resources (forests, rivers, lakes, etc.) now all work like the unlicensed power taps near DMC. They are now containers, and start filled with their resources. They can be emptied out into the tile's ground slot, and using them will generate more inside. This should help new users who were confused about needing to craft those items to get resources.

This change means that the resource-gathering process no longer takes time to do, which might be unrealistic. I'm leaving the crafting recipes for them in place for now, though their duration is set to 0 so they equal the "use" option. We'll see how they work out in practice.

I added a special property to some items so the quick recipe system will ignore them. Namely, the talisman, certain quest items, pistols, and those sorts of things. They still work in manual recipes, but hopefully this reduces the number of accidental revolver burnings or talisman splints reported :)

I also spent more time triaging the mega wishlist of features and bugs. I only made it through the first 50-60, so I have a ways to go yet.

Finally, I will be out of the office on Monday. Nothing special, just a day off. I've been creeping towards 10-hour days the past few months, and I think it's taking a toll on my productivity. So I'm toying with the idea of maybe doing 4-days of work per week, 10 hours per day. It'll depend on how much of a difference this day off makes.

One alternative might be to force myself back to 8 hour days, 5 days per week. But I have a hard time ignoring work once I wake up :)

Anyway, hope everyone has a good weekend, and see you Tuesday!


Kaaven's picture

I have a question regarding natural resources/power tap - why do they need to be containers? Why not simply right click -> Use (maybe renamed to Gather Resources) to generate the items on the ground?

It seems overly complicated, as adding the "items inside resource" step seems totally pointless (player needs to empty it out to the ground to use them anyway) as well as not very intuitive (emptying the forest? or a lake?).

<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
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Melvarius's picture

In practice, you'd never spend a "whole point" of a turn by harvesting woods and lakes, so I don't think that change would do anything too bad. Most of my time harvesting is spent returning to camp with the wood and water. I guess if you were gonna camp on a lake for a day to boil water and wash out your wounds, it might take a whole point of a turn, but I think the boiling part would take most of the time anyways.

~The Pirate

dcfedor's picture

@Kaaven, it's more of a kludge than a choice. The resource items piggyback on the "charges" system that electronics use. Basically, instead of draining charges when they're used, they have negative charge costs, which adds "charges" to them.

I agree that it would be ideal if they just added resources straight to the ground, I'd just need to build a new system for that. It might not be hard, either. I suppose it'd just be a flag in the ChargeProfiles table that says whether the charges should be added to the item itself, or the container the item is in.

@Melvarius, yeah, I think you're right. The resource gathering recipe only took about 0.05 turns (roughly 3 minutes, in-game). So in practice, it shouldn't change balance much. More of a UI change than anything.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

srl's picture

Hey, Dan.

I've registered to tell you that the game is very cool and I really like that you post updates about the development regularly (some game developers don't, which is often frustrating).

Keep up the good work! :-)

Commander Cupcake's picture
Commander Cupcake

What do you mean by Quality of Life Features?

Melvarius's picture

Stuff like making things more convenient for players. User-interface-wise I'm thinking.

~The Pirate

dcfedor's picture

@srl, thanks! It's my pleasure!

@Commander Cupcake, Melvarius has it right. I'm mainly talking about stuff that improves the player's "quality of life" while playing the game. Old-school web developers (like Jakob Nielson) called this "usability" or UX (user experience).

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games