Our first blog post in 2018! This year will have a lot in store for our little team, so let's start right away with all the work we managed to get done in the recent days.
We've decided to start posting our Dev Blog here as well, hence the high number. If you're interested in reading the previews editions (of which there are a lot!) you can find them all on our website.
We've only been back a week but the progress we made in this short amount of time is incredible! Some of it you will get to see next week, when we release the next patch. The patch will fix first and foremost the snapping of followers/animals. We'll see what else we can get in there the coming days because we first have to test it to see if it's stable enough to put out.
An eventful week, I spent it with preparing for an investor meetup to talk about further funding for our company, sent a lot of emails to possible business partners and also managed to be sick, but I've too much to do so I said to the virus "please get it over with" and it did, polite virus that.
This week, I've been finishing up the last UI tasks and then helped with playtesting. Last blog, I showcased one of the mock-ups of the new Needs window; now it was time to actually export all that UI to build a prefab in Unity. Same with the new Faith window, which also needed to be put together in Unity from the mock-ups.
The new Faith tab can be seen in the picture below, along with the two new buttons in our menu bar! We updated our Unity version this week, which resulted in a nasty problem with our UI; it's been a real struggle working around it but in the end, it all worked out!
This week I finished the new water system - until Emelie immediately found a bug, so it's obviously not entirely done :)
I have for the moment moved on to working on the decorator though. The decorator is what we're calling the system that "decorates" the island with trees and bushes in the jungle, and stones and cactuses in the desert, etc. It is, together with the old water system, a big part of our performance problems. The plan is to completely rewrite it from scratch with a custom culling and LOD system.
The follower actions for the berries I implemented before the christmas break are now in and working since last week. The three actions are Pick Berries, Plant Berries, and Destroy Berries. Picking berries will be a good food source at the start of the game to get your followers expansion going. Since farming will need to be unlocked, the followers will have to sustain themselves with foraging and hunting. Planting berries will require an initial investment of food that will later return a lot more when the new bush has grown.
This week I have been working on the new system for discovering and unlocking words. Words will now be ordered in a tree where words on lower branches will block the words on higher branches until the lower ones are discovered. Each word also has one ore more conditions that need to be fulfilled before they unlock. The back end code is pretty much done, but I first need to fix save compatibility and implement it in the game. Before the feature is fully complete I'll have to make the UI work, which will hopefully be done during next week.
I removed the old rain clouds and added snow clouds that now surround mountains. Before in-game rain season, clouds appear above mountains. During rain season, the clouds snow and fill up the mountains with snow. The clouds then disappear when the season is over. This feature is a visual feedback on how the water works in Crest and how new rivers are created. The other Johannes, the lead programmer, re-made and optimized the water system and these snow clouds are connected to visualize some of it. See the GIF for how it looks like at this moment!
Along with the new water system in Crest, new development tools are required. I started later this week creating a debug tool to see game objects that add or drain water to the islands. The objects are supposed to be categorized to animals, animal types, followers, farms, etc. This tool will help our designer to create a nice and balanced ecosystem.
I am back from the christmas and new years vacation and I have been a busy bee this week.
I have made the word tablet show slots where future words are placed and all words have their own unique slot, the same slot, every game. The discovered/undiscovered tabs are a thing of the past.
I have added more information to the follower popup window, displaying in more detail why followers do their actions. Instead of only displaying "because we want to", they will now say things like "because we are starving" or "because we want to feel safe".
The major change I've worked on is updating the commandment definition mechanics, which means what all commandments actually makes followers do. I have added a new action that allows followers to scare away animals from their city. To write a scare off commandment you need to place Distribute in the verb slot and an animal word in the target slot. Aside from the new scare animals action, do-verbs are now working properly. The don't-verbs still need to be looked at however. I will work on that next week.
I have finally gotten my hands on the new water system, it changes a lot on how nature is going to affect the world. I have been spending all my time tweaking numbers and watching how it affects every thing, it is quite tricky and will probably consume most of my time for the next couple of days.
When the water system is "ok" then I have to start tweaking outside sources that will affect nature such as animals, farms and seasons, so it's going to be a lot of back and forth between everything. The gif shows how it was before balancing was done, you can see that it needs work in order to feel more "natural".
This week has been full of structuring the planning after returning from the winter holidays. There has also been a lot of work to do on behind-the-scenes company stuff as well, but it is good to be back!
If you want to follow the development of our game and get the latest news, you can find us on Facebook or Twitter, support the game on Steam, or chat with us on Discord.
Have a nice weekend!