More Talk, Less Do

Hey Folks! Things were a bit slower today. Tiago and I tested the latest build, noted a few persistent user experience issues with precision placement, and reassessed how to tackle that. We also chatted achievements, and a few other things.

In terms of actual change, the only thing I checked-in today was code to fix item position when one stack is added to another and an overflow happens. On mobile, there's no current cursor position since the user's finger hovers over the screen. So I added some code to move the resulting overflow stack to near the last drop point, where it was more visible. Otherwise, it would sometimes appear in the top left corner of the screen, and be missed.

I also tried mucking a bit with stack count fonts, but I think my attempts failed to improve anything. The legibility is pretty bad at some resolutions, and we may need an alternative font or representation there.

One bit of good news, however, is that after testing the latest build on both iPad and Android phone, no new bugs were found. It was mostly new info on old bugs, and that's hopefully a sign the game is approaching the end!

And that, in itself, is scary. The idea of launching on mobile feels so foreign, and I don't want to screw it up. I guess the worst case scenario is that it sells poorly, and I've basically paid money to upgrade the engine from Flash. It now runs on iOS and Android, and NEO Scavenger 2 is basically ready to start at any time. Not a terrible outcome.

But finances are getting thinner if I don't launch something successful in the near/mid future. So if there's anything I can do to tip the odds in my favor and give me a sales boost, I'd like to pull that lever. Particularly since amplifying a launch is a heck of a lot easier than building a new game and trying again :)

Comments

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

Nice, can't wait to play Neo Scavenger on mobile. And by Neo Scavenger 2, is that the space one you've got in mind or the sequel to Neo Scavenger? Lol.

ganimedes's picture
ganimedes

maybe philip went into space in order to escape from the wraith cult thing :P

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

The space one I think focuses on going around the Solar System with a group of people on ships in space with stories and drama and stuff. Phillip never goes into space from the first game's ending. He's still on Earth

ganimedes's picture
ganimedes

maybe he strapped some rockets to his UAV and went to space?

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

Nah, don't think that would be it.

ganimedes's picture
ganimedes

what about magnets? i mean... how do they even work? i bet he used magnets. the new game should be called "Magnet scavenger, the NEO frontier"

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

But he goes into Illinois.

linibot's picture
linibot

You know, I was thinking, Mobcrush is now a thing... :)


NEO Scavenger: FAQ
10 Ways (not) to Die - A beginner's guide

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

@spacemedic and ganimedes, when I say "NEO Scavenger 2" I mean a new game with Philip, based on Earth, with mechanics like NEO Scavenger. I usually try to throw the word "space" into any mention of the planned space game, which you are correct is a parallel story in the same universe. Man, I really need to nail down a name for that :)

@linibot, interesting! I wondered if there was a mobile equivalent to Twitch. Very cool!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

ganimedes's picture
ganimedes

hehe thanks for the clarification but i was just joking with @spacemedic :P i thought the name was already set... it was already claimed again or something? i would like to submit the name "Magnet scavenger, NEO frontier" to the posible names list then XD

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

@ganimedes, oh I know! A lot of folks still get confused, though, so I try to clarify wherever I can.

And yeah, I thought I had a name, and was wrong again! Part of the problem with choosing an accessible name in a popular genre, I guess :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

ganimedes's picture
ganimedes

well im sure you will figure it out. btw i just want to say that you are doing a great job, i can see you are really talented and pasionate about what you do so... keep it up :)
no real reason to say it just wanted you to know it :P
see you around!

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

I just wanted to add that I kinda guessed you were joking. I was getting a good laugh off of the magnetic boots thing.

@dcfedor, that sucks. I can bet that it must be damn hard to find a name for your space prototype game, since most of them are copyrighted and that would be a lot to spend money on just to use one word or whatnot. Also, is it weird that I thought NEO Scavenger's apocalypse had happened partly because of global warming? You know, since it is plausible lmao.

Also, I'm guessing just putting New Earth Ostracon: A NEO Space Story or something wouldn't work?

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Oh I'll name it alright. Even if it has to be "No Air Up Here, Wha?" :)

And thanks! You guys keep me going. Like players at a weekly D&D table session. With a really, really, really big table :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

@spacemedic, yeah, the low hanging fruit in that genre's pretty much all taken. More esoteric names still work, but I lose the familiarity bonus if I go too far.

E.g. "No Man's Sky" is a great name, and evokes a clear picture of sky/space frontier. "RimWorld" also works well. We know it involves a border planet, and that implies a lot. Even "Prison Architect," while generic, is crystal clear and enticing.

I'm sure there's something we can use, though.

New Earth Ostracon: A NEO Space Story has some elements of what I was thinking. "...A NEO Scavenger Story/Ostracon/Tale" is definitely something on the short list. That way, I get a lot more leeway on the main title, since the subtitle clarifies.

But I think I want the structure to be more "Main Title: A NEO Scavenger Story," rather than "New Earth Ostracon: A NEO ___ Story." New Earth Ostracon is the setting, like Shadowrun, Planescape, or Spelljammer. So I'm thinking of sticking with naming conventions that match those RPG roots.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

@dcfedor Apparently No Man's Sky made a lot of people angry but I'll try not to get into that whole mess lol. But yeah, all those titles are simple and they still get the word across in a sorta catchy but short way.

I'm sure as time moves along you'll figure something out. I believe in you!

Also, not sure if I've told you, but I saw your little September interview thing on Youtube. I really liked it and it made me wanna ask a bunch of questions. But I'll wait, since I don't wanna distract you and since you're still working stuff out with the space prototype and with the mobile device NEO version.

Asthepanda2iscool2's picture
Asthepanda2iscool2

It would be nice if good, clear names were still accessible readily to developers. Naming a game, I think, is possibly the hardest thing to do, since you can't just go with a Latin name (such as the scientific names of animals, pretty much all prescriptions now days, etc.). But I'm sure you'll find something good enough eventually.

Rar! Rar rar rar! Thanks for reading :)

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Thanks, guys. And feel free to ask if you have any questions! Quite often, they force me to think about things I may not have considered. And if not, it gives me an opportunity to add info where others can find it later.

And if I'm too busy or don't notice the question, the worst-case scenario is that nothing happens :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

Welll, ever heard of Starship Corporation?

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Yeah, that's the game where you're building starships to pass a series of tests, right? I remember it being isometric view, somewhat stylized, and you were running a corp that tried to make ships that sold well.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

Yeah, that's the one. Made me wonder if the space game you're making would have not tests but random missions, but I'm guessing so since you said it would be going from point A to point B. Made me think about what if someone decided to go to Pluto just for the heck of it lmao.

That and the news article in Neo Scavenger about the Galilean Confederacy being overthrown. Like, it's hard enough I bet to live on Europa and Ganymede, because of radiation and temperatures, but the fact that they're torturing colonists? I wonder if that would ever be a thing in the space game thingy. You know, either trying to go help the Confederacy against the coup or rescue a few colonists?

I feel like I'm thinking too far ahead though.

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Well, my first instinct was to let players tool all around the system. So yeah, Pluto, the primary belt, the Jovian system, maybe even out to the Kuiper belt. The main stage for the crew management/drama aspect is during these long voyages in the system.

Though, as ship design gets more complicated, I'm starting to wonder if there needs to be a way to run simple tests on it before committing a crew to it. E.g. does it hold atmo? Withstand Jupiter's radiation? Provide biological needs for the crew it requires, and for how long?

It'd stink to spend hours on a ship design only to find out you forgot a breaker in the power system, and it shorts out minutes after launch :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

Oooh. So basically anything from Luna all the way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt? Well, you've got me even more interested as usual. :)

And yeah, I was wondering about that too. Well, two things. But about that one, I would think so. I mean, maybe before a ship takes off you could make it where they test the gauges of different things and see if everything works, along with checking supply of things like fuel and food? As far as radiation protection goes, I'm not sure about that. Radiation in space from cosmic background radiation and from gas giants like Jupiter is always a threat, me thinks. Maybe some sorta ship test simulation before taking off.

The second thing I thought about while taking a bath about thirty minutes ago was more of a thought of how the game could be kept interesting. I mean, with NEO Scavenger at least for me, I never felt like I could become complacent. Complacency is usually a bad thing in a survival situation because it makes you more vulnerable, of course. And I think that's going to maybe a challenge as well? Cause sometimes survival games set in space or otherwise have some sorta strategy, and once someone figures it out, they don't have the challenge and become complacent. And I was thinking that if there's always that threat of a tank exploding, radiation, illness, micrometeroids, ect., then one will always have fun because each play through is a brand new story.

I hope I didn't get too off topic with the second thing I wrote there. But yeah, just wanted to put that out there, lmao. I doubt you'll fail to get me hooked. In fact, I'm sure I'll be damn blown away.

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Yeah, the pre-flight check is something I've always enjoyed in space sims. Even if it was just for show. I liked the role-playing aspect of it, and the idea of skipping it in an emergency. So that's one safeguard against flying a ship that isn't spaceworthy.

And I agree failure is part of the fun in a game like this. Watching things go wrong can be interesting, and provides a down beat against which successes feel better. The it feels good when you know the game won't forgive your mistakes, and yet you survive. So there should never be a point where the player feels like they've exceeded the grasp of danger.

But if NEO Scavenger has taught me anything, failure needs to be carefully balanced to feel deserved, and not random (or at least, not so random as to be beyond the player's control). The sense of fairness needs to be almost as sacred as the fun :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

Yeah. That's true. I agree that one shouldn't feel like they've exceeded the grasp of danger while making sure it's fun and not like some sort of unforgivable brutal game on Extremely Difficult mode LOL.

Another thing I had in the back of my mind was: Will there be characters like Phillip? Like a pre-set group of characters? Or will it be more like, "Here, custom make your crew's appearance and names and make their own backstories and jobs" type thing with traits and stuff!" Or a mix of both?

For me, I don't think I'd mind either. As long as it's real enjoyable and I get the chance to laugh at my mistakes while crying about watching my crew die from a rector on fire because the coolant tank stopped working.

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

It's subject to change, but my first instinct was to let the player make one custom character as the captain, and the crew would mostly be randomly-generated NPCs that they must choose to hire in various locations/events.

It's possible that maybe the starting characters are 2-3, more like Rimworld or FTL, too.

Or maybe even the player simply designs a ship, and a random NPC "buys" it, and that's the first character?

The one that wins is whichever turns out to be the most fun in practice :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

spacecowboy's picture
spacecowboy

That made me think: A cross between custom design and randomization like Rimworld? I also like building a ship and waiting for an NPC to buy it, to start off as Captain. And then hire a few crew. Maybe a little bit of all? Haha.