New Beta Test Build: New Options Screen, UI Polish, and Gameplay Tweaks

I've just finished uploading new test beta 0.986b, which includes new options and help screens, increased creature spawns, gameplay tweaks, and several fixes and UI enhancements. I've also promoted the previous 0.985b test build to default build status.

The build is available to anyone who owns the beta at bluebottlegames.com, or on Desura and Steam. Desura (and therefore, Groupees) users can use Desura Connect to gain access here, or even get their Steam keys and try it on Steam.

To access the test build on the official site, simply visit the beta page, and click any of the download links below the usual Windows, Mac, and Linux buttons.

Steam users can access the test build by opting into the beta for it.

IMAGE(http://www.bluebottlegames.com/img/screenshots/screenshot-2014-04-04.png) New options screen with audio/video settings.

Updates Included in the Test Beta

Test beta 0.986b includes the following changes:

  • Added new AUTO layout mode, which chooses a resolution that best fits the screen.
  • Added new 4:3 layout mode, which fits 1024x768 screens and other standard aspect ratios.
  • Added ability to adjust music, sound, and master audio levels independently.
  • Added ability to limit framerate from 10fps to 60fps, for machines that struggle with performance.
  • Added new weather/time of day icon to UI, to replace old "dawn/day/dusk" text.
  • Added messages alerting player to time of day changes.
  • Added precise time and date info to weather icon when timepiece equipped (e.g. active phone, tablet).
  • Added code to forbid AI from entering/spawning into certain areas. (E.g. ATN).
  • Added new help screen, with links to wiki and manual.
  • Added exit button to main menu, for closing the app.
  • Added encounter to alert player when they are ambushed in their sleep.
  • Added warning message to title screen if save system cannot save data. Click link for more info, or try again.
  • Added code to creature's dropitem method to try camp if ground is full.
  • Added code to spawn creatures nearby if scavenge results fail to redirect nearby NPCs.
  • Added code to restore fullscreen on game launch if player ended in fullscreen last session.
  • Added code to silently degrade certain items (food, bracelet) based on property flag.
  • Added night vision goggles to DMC sniper loadout.
  • Added "flame source" as a forbidden property on the "medium shaft" ingredient requirement.
  • Added sweating condition before heat exhaustion, with thirst, and sleep effects.
  • Added min max safe temp changes due to sweating and shivering.
  • Added sweating effects to other overheating conditions.
  • Added slight fatigue to shivering.
  • Added rollover text to next/prev buttons on crafting page.
  • Added ATN warrior conversations to avoid sudden endings when offering or accepting to talk to them.
  • Added male ATN warrior spawn point.
  • Added large deer pack spawn point.
  • Added code to make any item screen access auto-close scavenge results for convenience.
  • Added default scavenge locations to each hex, so forests and cryo facility can start with some options.
  • Changed overheating condition thresholds to be slightly higher.
  • Changed "Esc" key to only exit fullscreen, since that cannot be changed in Flash.
  • Changed main menu hotkey to F1, so it wouldn't conflict with fullscreen.
  • Changed resolution modes to be small, 4:3, and big, instead of 800x450, 1360x768, etc.
  • Changed time of day to include a "morning" and "evening" stage as buffers between daytime and sunrise/sunset, respectively.
  • Changed terrain resources (e.g. river, trees) to be usable items that generate their respective resources.
  • Changed terrain resource names to explain "use" or "craft" in tooltip, to reduce confusion and players trying to take them.
  • Changed opening cryo encounter to reveal "window" item only when encounter done, to avoid confusion.
  • Changed opening cryo encounter loot (knife, first aid kit) to be available via scavenging, to teach new players about scavenging faster.
  • Changed the behavior of "use" to ignore items inside container if container itself can be used (e.g. lakes).
  • Changed delete cursor to trash icon, so it doesn't confuse players by looking like an X (close window) button.
  • Changed battle GUI so last move shows targeted creature sprite instead of creature name.
  • Changed battle screen enemy move icon to no longer be mirrored, so it points at target sprite correctly.
  • Changed attack hit chances to use effective range (skilled vs. non) instead of base range.
  • Changed hiding to no longer auto-camp switch as it can be confusing to have items auto-moved from under player. Can still manually choose preferred camp before confirming.
  • Changed item slots to blend with GUI background better.
  • Changed backpack slot and backpack to be narrower to avoid overlap with contents.
  • Changed resting and sleeping conditions to raise the minimum and maximum safe temps, to simulate inactive body cooling.
  • Changed bottle loot to match new liquid stack limits.
  • Changed yield prev next buttons to be clearer and bigger.
  • Changed water and whiskey stacking limits to be double original values, since bottle looks like 500mL, but only stores 250mL worth.
  • Changed ATN revisit intro to suggest more defensive traps and traffic.
  • Changed skill selection UI text to say "click" instead of "take," to prevent confusion about drag and drop.
  • Changed resource items (forest, lake, river, etc.) to have $0 value, so they don't show loot icons on hexes (misleading to some players, and redundant).
  • Changed quick recipes to ignore certain rare item types, like talisman, revolver, and quest items.
  • Fixed graphics options to save preferences and load them more reliably.
  • Fixed a bug that caused camera to center to whole screen instead of just the visible map area.
  • Fixed typo in m_fWaterComsumptionRate property and conditions.
  • Fixed a bug that caused fullscreen mode to exit when changing game states (title, game, game over screens).
  • Fixed a null pointer bug when quitting during skill selection.
  • Fixed a bug that caused DMC location buttons to appear in message log.
  • Fixed a bug that caused image to get stuck if dragging an item while clicking "use" on the context menu of an item underneath it.
  • Fixed color of status message when chewing bear root.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed click-swapping an item with a ghosted item below it.
  • Fixed a bug in ranged combat that doubled weapon range when unskilled instead of halving it.
  • Fixed a bug that caused Michelle conversation to end prematurely.
  • Fixed a bug that caused Michelle conversation to have zero options if Michelle repeats question.
  • Fixed dead-end in looter convo.
  • Fixed a bug that caused tannin tea effects to be permanent.
  • Fixed missing price on balaclava.
  • Fixed a bug that caused AI to still offer talks in next battle after leaving the first battle.
  • Fixed a bug in the DMC guard loadout which included electronics without batteries that could still work.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed scavenge location to be exploited over and over by choosing Exit first, and then locale.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented encounters from removing items on the encounter's first node.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented 2 and 3 hotkeys from working on items screen after getting scavenge loot.
  • Fixed a bug that caused DMC guards not to despawn when they should.
  • Fixed a typo in Concrete Forest food truck encounter.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed entering ATN freely from northeast.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented identifying of bear root.
  • Fixed a bug that caused stack orders to be reversed when cloning items. (Caused mismatched items in crafting screen.)
  • Removed ring slot. Wasn't used.

As you can see, the big focus in this build was improving the user experience. I've taken a lot of feedback about confusing UI and tried to make improvements where I could. Some enhancements are for new players, to make it easier to recognize and manipulate things, while others are for power users.

The new options screen is also a pretty big overhaul, which should hopefully provide more useful audio/visual settings, and remember them better. The new help screen is also more complete, now that it includes both quick reference and links to more detailed info.

Finally, quite a few gameplay changes and fixes made the cut. For example, spawn rates should be slightly higher again, gathering natural resources should be easier, bottles carry more water, and death by "spontaneous combustion" should now be a thing of the past.

These changes should hopefully take NEO Scavenger a step closer to more professional quality and stability. As always, let me know what you think of the changes, and if you notice any issues with the new build!

Comments

Grelko's picture
Grelko

Awesome, was hoping there was going to be a new release soon :) Looks like you got quite a bit fixed/switched, can't wait to try it out. Downloading it now.

Kevinfu510's picture
Kevinfu510

i am always surprised at how good you are at keeping track of all the Things you've changed/fixed in these news...
Good job as always! :D

<a href="http://www.indiedb.com/games/apocalypse-scavenger" title="View Apocalypse Scavenger on Indie DB" target="_blank"><img src="http://button.indiedb.com/rating/medium/games/26390.png" alt="Apocalypse Scavenger" /></a>

matsy's picture
matsy

I'm glad you've taken sometime to look into the UI (insert other design acronyms here) of the application! Although it hasn't been the most exciting read, as I'm half way through a redesign project myself. ZzzZzzZzz...

I've seen so many games being developed solely around new content, Project Zomboid was something I felt suffered from this for a while!

minorthreat777's picture
minorthreat777

When are you going to add some kind of crazy hard way to "beat" the game. That is the only thing keeping me from playing all the awesome updates you work so hard on. I know there is a way to "beat" the game but it's way too easy to get the tape and kill the monster at the cabin. Aside from that, this is the best beta purchase I have made and I've bought a lot.

navon37's picture
navon37

I've never "beaten" the game in any way, I didn't know it was possible. What happens when you kill the thing in the cabin? I'm looking for youtube videos as I'm not quite up to playing a new game just to do this.

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Thanks, guys! It's true that UI changes aren't the most sexy, but UI is also the one thing you notice when it's done poorly. Hopefully, the UI gets less "noticeable" in this respect :)

And the secret to the changelog is a gigantic text file I update after every task gets complete. It takes some practice to remember to do it each time, but one eventually gets used to it!

@minorthreat777, that's a good question. What would you expect "beating the game" to involve? I'm trying to design the game with a non-linear plot, so players can choose what they do next. So with that in mind, there isn't necessarily a "final boss" to defeat.

However, some players have made it their goal to defeat the Merga Wraith. Others consider access to DMC the end game. Still others seem to make it their goal to collect all possible augmentation upgrades for their character.

In my mind, I always considered the main goals of the game to be solving (or at least investigating) the mysteries you're faced with from the start: who are you? Why were you in cryo? What happened to the world? Why is the Merga Wraith stalking you? And what is the talisman?

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games