Almost done?

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Almost done?

After playing Neo for a while now I became a bit worried after reading the steam progression bar ->
http://store.steampowered.com/app/248860/

The game is almost complete it seems, close to 80%+ done as a whole. The reason this worries me is because I've followed this game for a long time and I was hoping for ALOT more content.

The game feels empty with very little to do. For example why can't we work as a mechanic/tech in DMC? Why can't we build an actual terrain car like a jeep or something? I mean the DMC guards can have flying hover craft but we cannot even assemble/buy a jeep? I taught mechanics would be good at this but we are only allowed to use our engineering skills to make a small trolley. In all honesty none needs to be an educated mechanic to be able to make a trolley or to attach a string to a sled. I also see no point in having both "Electric" and "Mech" perk. It would be better to have one perk called "Engineering" perk/skill.

I think there should be:
Ability to repair stuff
Fortify city/houses
Build simple houses
Create ammo (ammo press)
Make a faction/small party (Why would all stranger be hostile?)
Trade Caravans/Trade with strangers
Ability to saw of barrels on shotguns
Seeds from scavenging forests for farm (Should be rare though)
Ability to create a small farm or hydroponic area near or close to your home base (I mean this is survival after all)
Ability to plant berries for berry bushes (farm)
Hoe for farm.
Traps for defending your base/house
Ability to place containers for storage at your base/home.
Refrigerator for food.
Different seasons like winter (Increased risk for freezing)
Much more...

(Note that in order to build a car/refrigerator etc you need to find all parts or make them yourself which should be hard)

I can think of hundreds of things that would be useful for surviving. Why would I only rummage trough forests for food when I could plant some like a true survivor? Makes no sense to me at all. It seems as though the game was build around the idea that short term survival is the only thing that's viable/possible, excluding long term survival entirely. Last time I checked NEO was however a sandbox survival game. Thus in order to survive longer I need a base and a steady source of food.

Why is there only deer and squirrel to hunt? This game has been under development for over 2 years and we still don't have anything else to hunt?

Why so few areas? I would like to see underground areas with secret labs etc to discover! (e.g Fallout/Stalker ish)
Or perhaps some old military bunker installations where you can get some half decent armor/weapons etc
Maybe some underground railroad system similar to Metro 2033? Where both monsters and survivors can reside.
The possibilities for awesome areas like these are endless.

Also why is there no stat bar for weapons? Like range and damage? Why must I check the wiki for stats in order to figure out what to use? The game is very clunky like that. For example why is there no "Use All" button? It's a pain to click every food item in a stack to consume them. Or why is there no "Swap All" button? When I find a similar container with better condition I have to swap my items out manually every time.

I just wish the game was a bit more user friendly. I mean even old games like Fallout 1-2 are less frustrating than NEO. And those games are like 15 years old.

I'm fine with no quest markers as I don't like hand holding. But why can't we have a quest journal of some sort?

One thing that I personally don't like is the way you have to find the doll in order to survive the patrol in DMC. That's just unreasonable and makes very little sense. As you are told to go to the "Glow" first and not to the mines.

What lured me into playing NEO was the survival aspect of it. Originally I taught NEO was a blend of fallout/don't starve. It seems I was wrong on that notion. As you can't really build anything up (Fixing the vents in the cryo lab doesn't count)

There is so much that could be added yet the game is kinda shallow and empty. Thus I wonder is this all we are going to get? I mean the game is almost done after all. It feels to me like the game is in early alpha to be honest.

As for now I'm sticking to my other survival games and maybe I'll play this game again once it's been fully released. Hopefully it will have gotten massive amounts more content/tweaks till then, I kinda doubt that tho. Good thing it was cheap atleast.

Sorry for my bad English I'm still learning it. I hope you understood what I meant and if not I'll clarify as needed.

To build a house and it's interior it could be similar to what xcom does. You get an overview of an area you can build and place things into.

A larger house area will require more materials like cement and wood. There should be a max limit for the area you can build. Pre-built houses/apartments etc has the area set for you. Maybe they will instead need some repair work before you can use them. As you can already go inside building it should be fine to repair them for better use. In an apartment building you could perhaps remove/knock down walls (sledge hammer) to increase the space inside.

Later on you could get a generator up and running which you could hook up to utilities such as oven or lamps. (Requiring Engineering skill)

Ovens, lamps, cement and other materials etc would be scavenged throughout the world. Cement being very heavy to carry in large amounts. (Slowing the process down if you don't have a car)

It's a rough idea of how it could be done. This and you should be able to stay inside the apartments in the DMC. You cannot build anything in those apartments only add items to existing containers and use the kitchen etc. What you normally could do in a standard apartment complex. And if you don't pay rent you lose the apartment and all your items inside. Thus forcing you to continue scavenge for loot/money.

Hacking skill would be useful in DMC apartments. Hacking into wireless networks and steeling data from the government and residents. Selling it to blackmailers, terrorists or Hatter etc. Of course this would not come without risk. Getting caught means your out of the DMC.

As I said a rough ideas that would need further work but I simply just love the idea of building your own place or having your own place in survival games. Some sort of base of operations so to speak. It would expand the game drastically if anything.

I realize most likely nothing of this will ever be put into the game. I just felt like typing it out as I taught the game would look more like this.

Hey Daniel1337,

That's a fair (though lengthy!) question, and I'm sure others are wondering the same thing. I'll do my best to explain.

The short answer is that there is a limit to how much I can do.

If I had unlimited time and resources, I could add everything that I want. Unfortunately, I work alone, and I have to be picky about what to add and what to cut. Since I cannot do everything, I do my best to choose the most important things.

For example:
If I chose to add farming, I wouldn't have had time to add combat.
If I chose to add fortification, I wouldn't have had time to add the DMC.
If I chose to add high tech vehicles, I wouldn't have had time to create factions.

Basically, every feature I add uses time I could've spent on other features. Because of this, I tried to add the most popular features first. Paying customers voted for more things such as story, craftable items, save games, and higher resolution. (These last two are not listed anymore, but were up for voting early in the project, years ago.)

Another thing I tried to do was to add a little bit of many things, instead of focusing on fewer, deeper things. The game has many systems with a few examples in each. And with modding support, I'm hoping that players can customize the areas of the game they like best. There are already modders working on things like traps, fishing, and other features you mention.

Finally, I wanted to correct a few misconceptions you seem to have:

  • All strangers are not hostile (e.g. ATN, looters, DMC guards, and most NPCs can be talked to if they're in the mood)
  • There are some defensive traps (i.e. noise traps)
  • There are different seasons (temperature and rain/snow changes realistically as months pass, but the hexes look the same)
  • NEO Scavenger is not only a sandbox game. There is a story to follow, too.
  • Weapons have no stat bars for the same reason NPCs have no health bars: I wanted players to use more "gut feeling" and less stat-calculating.
  • The mechanical doll is not required to avoid police in the DMC.

Overall, I think you want many of the same things I do. I have a huge wishlist of items, just like you!

The possibilities for awesome areas like these are endless.

I agree! But unfortunately, my development time is not endless :)

Hopefully, this sheds some light on the situation, and helps answer your questions!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

True time is never enough. I knew of the noise trap and that npc's are not all hostile. What I meant is why would people not gang together with other survivors/scavengers for better success rate and loot? I guess I was a bit annoyed about that because I see other factions working together like the guards etc. Whilst I could not join anyone else... I'm totally alone, not even a dog companion (fallout). :(

It's true I should have mentioned that the game also has a story. I've never gotten too deep into it myself, I usually end up dying of blue rot before I get any closer to it.

"The mechanical doll is not required to avoid police in the DMC"
I did not know that. I'll have to try more options then. The last five times I've tried resulted in me being banned from DMC. Thus I thought it was impossible.

I'll read up about seasons. I thought they all where the same tbh... I mean I noticed the rain and all.

It never occurred to me that you must prioritize the game features like that. It kinda slipped my mind that you work alone.
Do you have any plans to hire other devs to help you with the game in the future? Or is it 100% solo only?
I don't know if the funding you get from paying customers is enough to hire other developers or not.
In the end it's your game and you know whats best for it.

I had a thought. Say you manage to make the "Interactive Ending" you mentioned in your recent post work, would that be something hardcoded or would modders have the ability to play around with the mechanics of something like that? Say to make something that resembles an instanced "Dungeon?"

An example that might make more sense that my nonsensical rambling,

Say a modder creates and encounter where the player stumbles upon an open manhole cover, the player is given the option to go about their merry way or climb the ladder down. If the player chose to go down, they would end up in a small separate map area that mimicked a stretch of sewers. Complete with possible items, scavenge-able locations, creatures, and of course an exit tile.

Hey Dan,

I just thought I should put my voice forward too for wanting something a little bit more... long-term survival in the game.

I love the short-term survival of the game so far. It's great and I keep playing new games over and over again. But once I get to a certain point, I start a new game because... well, there's little enough to do after a time other than hunt for more food, boil more water... eat drink and go collecting more resources again.

I suppose with a more complete story to follow that will help alleviate some of that. But I do love the idea of being able to make a long-term camp. A base of operations to work out of while you go exploring, or work on completing the story.

Can you imagine the progression as you start your camp with a campfire and a tarp shelter. Then improve the shelter with more branches, tarps and string to make a makeshift house.Make a firepit instead of a campfire which burns longer before burning out (and doesn't degrade, only the fire in it burns down). Perhaps improve it further to provide better weather protection (fire lasts longer still, even in rain) and provide some cover (so it's less visible to others). As you improve your house, you increase the storage area of your camp. Perhaps even being able to build some makeshift storage containers (like a wooden box), taking say 16 squares but giving you 20-25 squares of storage. Maybe making a rain catcher so you have a constant source of clean water? Set animal traps around which you only need to harvest for a chance at having caught something (can only harvest once a day). Maybe even being able to build things like work benches to give yourself access to the mechanic skill while at that location (or a tool kit to give yourself electrician, or a skinning table to give yourself trapping).

I'm envisioning perhaps making a different 'camp' location for each building you make. Once you finally upgrade your tarp shelter to a 'tarp house' it adds it as another building at that spot, with it's own inventory location. So you could designate buildings for different purposes. That's my sleeping hut, that's my storage room. That's my food preparation hut.

I love the idea of a base. At the moment all we can do is make a camp. :)

I suppose I should chime in as well, stating that I was hoping the game would have considerably more content and depth to it before the full release.

I fully understand that their are time limitations to this sort of thing, but as it is now....it's very very difficult to have any game last for any length of time, it simply stagnates after an hour or so of gameplay, so you end up just replaying the same hour over and over again until it just gets incredibly stale and boring.

It seems like this game needs more unique events, more choices, more encounters....more stuff to do.
Designing and building a base, as other users have mentioned, would definitely be a great start...I could imagine myself spending hours fortifying the Cryo Facility, adding a well, and a farm...some defenses, bear traps, landmines....etc. etc.

Now that users have mastered short-term survival to the point where it no longer poses any challenge at all.....long term survival is the next step.

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I am become death; destroyer of worlds.

This, i disagree. I mean "more events, more choices, more encounters" approach. I call it "quantative". Sure, some folks like it, though. One of "model" games of the sort - Skyrim - has tons of everything. Staggering amounts of "things" of all sorts. Especially with mods.

Neo Scavenger couldn't be like this because above mentioned reason: the developer's time. But if by some miracle it wouldn't be the case - i'd still say: Neo Scavenger _shouldn't_ be like this "more everything!" type, anyways.

Personally, i believe the best result for a one-man-made game could be only from making more from less. Not unlike demo scene folks, who manage to generate gigabytes of video data procedurally from a single .exe file of less than 65kb in size. And to this end, if i'd be Dan, i'd try to look for all sorts of events which can happen to player now and then "on their own", and add relatively lasting changes to the player character's condition (and thus ability to deal with so-called short-term survival). I'd start by considering things like adding low, but ever-present chances of

- insect bites (wasp, etc, possibly while asleep, possibly several at a time), causing considerable pain and possibly high fever and weakness for some 1...2 days;

- damaging one's foot "all of a sudden" as a result of "usual" movement from one tile to another, which would greatly reduce movement through all tiles for a period of 0,5...3 days. Rough terrain can lead to quite traumatic tripping once in a while;

- falling into a disquised pit or an underground cave, spending some 1...5 days to carve/find the way back to the surface. Could be a typical Bad Muthas' strategy to catch their "food", eagle eye and trapping reducing (but not entirely eliminating) the chance to succumb to it;

- flood/heavy_snowfall events, severely limiting mobility (except urban and hill squares!) for 3...7 days;

- hurricanes, which would come with a 3-turns prior warning, and they would tear away backpacks, duffle bags and vehicles, unless player manages to stay in a building for the hurricane's full duration - which would be some 0,5...1,5 days. Same thing but just for a few tiles, changing its location gradually - could also be made: a tornado;

- heatwaves, of the dangerous sort, lasting some 2...10 days, during which time even naked player would overheat to death - when outside - in some 4...10 turns, and the only means to "cool down" would be staying for several turns in a tile with water source or inside some specific campsites - large buildings, ATN/DMC/Dom-dom/Saginaw and such. This, as well as above "climate-related" conditions (and possibly some other "local, temporary" conditions) - could perhaps be presented simply as small icons on affected tiles; during winter, similarly, periods of great frost could be present instead - of similar duration; during which even fur coat would only allow to stay out of some shelter for quite limited time;

- few more specific sickness conditions - each having its significantly lasting and hardly (if at all) removable symptom(s) which would affect various important stats of the character. Like, one would greatly reduce character's carrying capacity for a while ("general weakness"),

- other would cause Philip to be gravely affraid of, and hurt by, the sunlight (so that no movement during morning, day and evening through any tiles without buildings would be possible at all; the condition would initially appear during dusk or night only, and not during sleep; and movement during dawn still being possible, Phillip would still have time to find shelter in some shadows). This one could last rather long, say some 1...3 weeks,

- third would cause constant hunger, greatly (many-fold!) increasing rates of hunger-bar decrease whenever it's "green", but softening to "just somewhat higher than usual" rate of decrease whenever it turns to "yellow" ("hungry"), and reverting back to normal whenever the metter drops to worse-than-just-"hungry" states. This one would probably better be a "quickie", some 1...4 days before it'd "cure by itself",

- fourth (possibly after a snake bite, happened when travelling through plains/forests?) - would make Philip's body to tremble much, making aiming at any long distance simply impossible (say, further than range of ~6), and significantly reducing hit chance at ranges of 1...6. But without impairing vision, nor without producing any other harmful effects. This illness would limit usefulness and power of ranged weapons, making the player to either rely more on melee combat, or even avoid/retreat_from fights whenever possible - for the duration of this condition (which could be some 2...5 days). This and all other "illness", "trauma" or "restricted" character's conditions could simply describe their effects in a pop-up text whenever player hovers his mouse over the condition's line (status) - much like some other conditions already implemented do. Space for extra possible statuses could be needed, and i've seen the report it's a problem already in small UI - but if i'd be doing it, i'd try to implement smaller font and, on top of it, scrolling if the list of current conditions of the character would still be "too long".

That's 10 possible "temporary changes of the game's rules" i can think of from the top of my head, all within reason (i hope), and there could probably be more.

Naturally, i'd make the game balanced quite nicely about frequency of those, so that long-term, average % of time when none of such "extra hardships" is present - would be some 60...70%. I.e., some 30%...40% of the game time, the player would need to endure effects of one or even two of the above conditions, while the rest of the time would be "happy days" when the character is not held back by any of the above (and can use such "good times" to prepare for "bad days", and/or simply enjoy life while good times last :D ). Ah, and to this end - some kinds of 1) relatively abundant, 2) very nutritious and 3) practically non-spoilable food - is very missing from the game. Grains - wheat, rice, corn, - are staple foods of the sort, in the real life. Whole human civilization is in fact risen from learning how to grow lots of these and store them for long time (years).

There could possibly be even more "conditions" in addition to the list above: i.e., in effect, some _temporary_ _changes_ to game's mechanics, changing - significantly, - rules of the game for a _while_. Obviously, not more than 2 of such events/conditions could be allowed at a time, - in order not to overwhelm the player completely. Still, even if it'd be just 10 of such "temporary changed mode of operation" conditions, - there are 45 different combinations of any 2 of them, plus 10 "singles" - i.e. from implementing just 10, one gets 55 different "challenges" for the player to possibly come through. But in combination with other (already present) temporary things - such as already implemented diseases, wounds, excess load (trying to bring in LOTS of loot to the market, etc), being in a certain part of the map which is more (or less) dangerous than normal, etc, - total number of possible combinations goes up to many hundreds, if not thousands.

This is exactly "more from less", mentioned above in this post. Without "making" or "coding" for thousands of specific conditions - but merely defining few dozens of them (and making some of them 1) unavoidable, but 2) temporary), - we'd still actually achieve having thousands of combinations of conditions in the game. The computer in the cryo lab could have - in addition to bank account info - a file with detailed description of those "new dangers of the post-collapse world", possibly created by the lab's personnel before they left. In addition, same file could be made available as a printed book, in DMC health clinic and possibly few other locations, for a small fee where applicable. This way, player would have clear picture, in advance, of all possible "i can't help it, if some of those happen - i'll have to endure through it" things, and thus would be able to stay prepared as much as possible for such events. In order to aboid a "killer start", game could force, say, the initial "starting" period of some ~3...5 days, during which none of those "extra hardships" would happen. Also helps with learning curve thing.

And this is just one method of "more from less" - it's called combinatorics. Like Tetris, which with simple rules, simple movement, tiny game area of ~10x30 ASCII symbols, ~7 distinct shapes and 5 keyboard buttons manages to achieve nearly infinite number of possible games; it does it via combinatorics "forced" into human interaction (by forcing unpredictable sequence of pieces). It didn't take long to _create_ Tetris - as a program, it's a joke, writable in a day or less, - yet millions of people still play it around the globe, despite all the years passed. Still, there are other methods as well - randomization is already used one, in Neo (for loot), but other applications for random nature of things could may be found, perhaps adding few randomizable "properties" to items - Diablo series is one well-known "randomized item fest" game; combining highly dynamic real-time mini-game(s?) with generally turn-based gameplay, to "refresh" gameplay once in a while (like swoop bike races and real-time "gun them down" scenes in SW:KotOR); adding "modifiers" and "effects" to specific tiles - not only fixed, but also changeable (Neo already has some of the former sort - fixed ones, like rivers and forests, - but the latter sort is not much present) - this is what Civilization series is making a huge use of.

Combining those and other particular methods of "more from less" all in the same time - would probably allow to create some awesome games even by a single person or a small team.

P.S. Tetris, naturally, was created by a single man. ;)

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

Being able to ''build'' a base seems like a great idea to me but farming and building wells? Not so much ://

I enjoy the game because it is difficult to survive. You have to scavenge for food and water just to get by. The game would be ruined for me if you could just go to your back yard getting fresh and clean water from your well and harvest your fresh food too.. (Much like what Project zomboid has become).

My opinion is that as soon as you add farming and base building the game becomes more bugged down. Because all you want to do is find more materials to build your base. Hoard all the stuff and bunker down. And adding farming will completely take away the survival part of the game in my opinion. Because when did Bear Grylls talk about making a farm in his survival series?..

But alast this is my opinion and I must agree with my survivalist peers that we need more stuff to do!