Fixing Dogs, Shoes, and UI

Hey Folks! Hope you all had a good weekend. It's Christmas gift scramble season here, as we try to figure out which gifts to get for various family members. And in some cases, ourselves! Always seems like a challenge :)

It looks like the v0.9960b update was received well, though it has its share of problems. Some things are misbehaving, and others are in need of balancing. But I'm glad to see that most think the changes were each a step in the right direction!

Some of the first things I addressed today were shoe issues. The flip flops had the wrong sprite for left shoes, and I needed to set that image to mirror. Also, UVDs could be used as shoe soles in crafting, which was unintended (too brittle!). So I fixed that. The flip flops also had a bug which caused not only themselves to fly off occasionally, but any subsequent shoe worn on that foot later in the game. Worse, they disappeared entirely! Oops! That got a fix, too.

Some folks mentioned that the hex tooltip was too intrusive, and the image inside was redundant. I agree, so I'm going to try removing the image and leaving the text. So far, it slims down the height of the tooltip a lot, even though it's still a bit wide. However, this might be enough to be unobtrusive, so we'll give that a shot.

The new barrel fires were able to be deleted, which is incorrect. They should behave like regular camp items in the next build. And some of the special skills I recently added were being duplicated on save/load, so that needed some fixing (and may have affected other conditions using the "threshold" feature).

Finally, dogs. Dogs have some issues. First of all, they were missing some faction data. It didn't have a huge effect on gameplay, as unintelligent creatures treat all non-faction creatures as enemies if no relationship is specified. However, now it has a defined faction, for completeness. Dogs were also using some battle moves they shouldn't be using, so I made some adjustments there.

I'm also hearing reports from many that they're too common. This may be due to them having three spawn groups of 1-4 dogs per group. The three spawngroups mean they are chosen more often than others, like Bad Muthas. This part alone may be fine, since it's probably better to have more feral dogs than trained killers near the cryo facility.

The 1-4 per group, however, may be an issue. I was thinking 1-4 may produce more pack-like groups. However, it may shoot the population up too high, too quickly. And besides, the grouping AI doesn't seem to work as I expected, which might require some looking into, as well. This warrants more work tomorrow.

The dogs are also a poor combination of aggressive, easy to defeat, and rewarding in terms of meat/fur. I made them occasionally frail due to them seeming too tough in early testing. I still think that may be okay, but I agree the risk/reward is out of whack, especially if they are not running away like deer. I've already adjusted their meat/fur content to be less than deer, so that should be a start.

Some players have suggested rabies as a risk factor, and I think this is a great way to address the problem. The trouble is that this disease may be tricky to simulate. From the saliva-based transmission, to the bizarre symptoms (hydophobia, terror, partial paralysis, hallucinations, rage), it'd probably be hard to make accurately. Each of those symptoms would require some clever system design, instead of using already existing ones like headaches and nausea.

Still, I think it'd be worth a shot, and would transform the current parade of furry dog meat into a game of fight vs. flight depending on whether they showed symptoms.

There are other bugs and changes to be made, too, but these are the highest priority. I also want to make a formal announcement about the launch pricing, since some will appreciate a warning before a price increase. My current plans are to make the release version $15 instead of the current beta's $10. And that will likely change in the next week, pending a stable build. I'm thinking tomorrow may be a good time to announce that, which should give folks a few days warning.

It's shaping up to be a busy week! Hope everyone has a good night, and see you tomorrow!


Zaero's picture

Headbutting dogs has never been so fun! I mean, seriously, how would it look like headbutting a dog? The same goes for leg tripping.

Scavenger's picture

I must say I have strong reservations about rabies. Aside from issues you've mentioned, I just don't think it's as necessary compared to other ways to balance dogs. There were some decent ideas in the comments of last news and for example, I'd still be all for actually making dog packs even bigger, but not only far away from DMC and other hubs of civilisation (thus decreasing importance of the 'loot' as it'd be rather hard to transport/find an use for all of it) but also with lesser number of groups in total.

Big enough group should pose a considerable threat, even with realistic traits of frailness. I also guess it wouldn't be too weird to provide dogs with even greater mobility, especially when they chase the player character. Running away could also kick in only if player is at the clear advantage - and then all members of the group could run.

dcfedor's picture

@Zaero, there are definitely some move+target combos that make little sense!

@Scavenger, I agree that a pack of dogs would be formidable in itself. The trouble is that I'm not confident I can force that pack behavior on the AI in the remaining time. I thought I had pack stuff already for dogmen, but it seems not to be working as expected. I still think I'll try, though.

As for rabies, I did some more research this morning, and I think there may be a way to make it work. I probably won't bother if it turns out to be too complicated, but I'll see how my first test works.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Banjo's picture

As a guy who actually suggested "rabies", I do agree with Scavenger that the main issue with dogs is the loot; reducing their meat and fur is pretty much the main "fix" I think they need.

I certainly don't think they should be any tougher; the game NEEDS a "weak" enemy for starting players to cut their teeth on (no pun intended!). Making bigger packs of them *in more isolated areas* (I'd hate to get mobbed by packs right at the Cryo, it would be like the early beta Dogman issue again!) would be cool, though.

As for rabies, I do like the idea, but I'd say only if:
1) It's not ALL dogs that have it; that would make them too much like Blue Frogs, IMO. However, there being a CHANCE that a dog might be rabid is to me realistic and suitably scary rather than annoying ("meh, just another dog, I'll just... oh shit, it has rabies!")
2) It wasn't hugely complex, to the detriment of the rest of the conditions/diseases; making it so a rabid player can't scavenge water or had increased rage (reduced passive combat options?) would be realistic (and darkly funny), but I'd be more than fine with rabies as just something that harms, cripples and kills you. Simply, it's a reason to be careful of otherwise-weak dogs, and not get too comfy chowing down on their meat.

My Mods:SaveMan|Fishing|Shouldered|Bottles