No cars, really? Boo...

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No cars, really? Boo...

I love this game, and I've been playing it a lot since I bought it (about a week ago). However, I've recently gone to the wiki for some mild spoilers, and...

... and there are no cars in this game? But... but the vehicle icon is a car! I was so looking forward to Mad Maxing it up in the wasteland with my very own jalopy. I feel so betrayed :(

Seriously, though, it would be so awesome to have cars, and scavenging for gas or parts could be both fun and a good balancing factor for the obvious advantages (fast movement speed, carrying capacity, maybe even combat options?) Cars would be such a cool springboard to a lot of new types of loot, maybe even new encounters... not to mention more uses for the (currently not that great) Mechanic skill!

I understand that the game is mostly finished, so my dreams of having cars officially added to the game are unlikely to become a reality... but would modding the game with cars be a possibility? It seems like it would be a really fun and rewarding option. Has anyone played around with modding, do you know if that would be possible?

Oh man, if you only knew :)

I totally wanted cars, too. (Hence the pickup truck on the vehicle button.) But as time wore on, the possibility of adding them in any meaningful way diminished. Eventually, ambitious features like that got the axe in favor of finishing/polishing existing features.

I'd still like to tackle vehicles one day. In fact, my current prototype is heavily centered around spaceship design and maintenance for that reason. It's possible I can use what I learn there in the sequel when the time comes.

For reference, there were a few problems to sort out:

  • Roads - NEO Scavenger's map doesn't have roads because they were too complicated to add. If you look at HexSheetSummerDay.png in the game's image folder, you'll actually see some road hexes in the middle row, near the right side. Those four hexes are just the ones necessary to do a north-by-northwest road. There'd have to be southwest straight and curved sections, not to mention intersections for all combos. And that's just for roads through forest. If you wanted urban/suburban roads, it'd be another dozen or so hexes each. This is also why you see no rivers on the map :)
  • GUI and Functionality - For all the cool things a car would add to a player, there needs to be a feature and GUI for each. Extra seats? Cargo capacity? Travel range? Weapons? Armor? These are all solvable problems, of course, but they each take time and effort to build.
  • Gasoline - Gasoline has a fairly short useful shelf-life, so scavenging gas isn't really realistic in the game's timeline (decades after civilization's collapse). This could potentially be "solved" the way food is (fictional hyperpreservatives), but more likely, cars would've had more sustainable power sources in the future. E.g. fuel cells
  • Self-Driving - There's a major push towards self-driving these days, and it seems likely that the future will have few human-operated cars for safety reasons. Not a deal-breaker, necessarily, but something to consider.
  • Hover Vehicles - Hover vehicles exist. They're not ubiquitous, but they're around (in the DMC, and you can find wreckage on the map), and used by law enforcement, long-haul transport, and other specialized groups. If the player gets ahold of one of these, who's to stop them from leaving Michigan? (I.e. the state I barely had enough time to add content to)

Again, these aren't impossible to solve. They just take time and effort to make. And the list of features I wanted vs. the time I had to add them didn't match :)

It's still a cool idea, and I still want to have a NEO Scavenger game with them some day. Here's hoping the sequel has more room for this kind of stuff!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Ah, that makes a lot of sense, thanks for the detailed reply! I didn't really consider all the potential difficulties. And I gotta say I very much like your sense of game design; I'll definitely be keeping an eye on your future project(s). The whole Robinson Crusoe vibe is really doing it for me. And I love FTL too, so I'd be all over any game that touches on similar themes.

Still, I'd suggest that the vehicle icon be changed to a shopping cart, maybe? The current icon gives the player a false expectation. I wouldn't miss cars nearly as much if it hadn't made me expect them!

I'd actually considered this, and was discussing it with a friend the other day. The short version was, you could have two cars-a pickup or a van, both purchased from St. James Parkade; trying to buy a hatchback would have the proprietor patiently explain "there ain't no roads out there, and a body lift on that would be more than it's worth." (I mean, you COULD build a Subaru Impreza WRX, but that'd be very light on cargo capacity.) Mechanically, they'd be considered a campsite added to any hex you occupy; you'd have double actions until you got out of the car by dequipping the steering wheel from the Vehicle slot, at which point you'd have half the actions left.

Refilling the battery would require spending money-on 4x4 Large Power-if you try to refill it at an Unlicensed Power Tap, the guards show up, shut off the tap, and everyone in that hex gets pissed at you.

Scrap metal, tires (4x4 "Small tires" and 5x5 "large tires", I ain't gonna do all the tedious permutations of 14-inch or 15-inch or 16-inch rims and 69/420/13 tires etc etc etc), and maaaybe intact glass panes would be added as loot, though you'd be more likely to end up uparmoring your car.

The van could traverse flat ground, intact cityscapes, and marshes; the pickup could do all that and climb hills, explore crumbling ruins with a chance of tire damage, cross rivers if it has a snorkel, cross forests, etc.

I prepared Explosive Runes this morning!