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Update: More Fixes
July 24, 2020


I spent the week clearing up some of the reported issues that had accumulated.

The biggest change is to how killing and posses work. First of all, if you try to join a posse, but cannot for some reason, you get a DING message explaining the reason.

Next, there's a new exception to the posse and exile requirements---something like "live by the sword, die by the sword." Someone who kills becomes vulnerable to being solo killed, without being exiled or having a posse form against them, for 60 seconds (the same amount of time that they are stuck holding the non-sword murder weapon). This helps people deal with the "evil leader" problem. The current leader is the most powerful in terms of being able to exile, which means that dethroning them requires quite a bit of political willpower. If that leader goes on a unilateral killing spree, organizing collectively to de-follow them---to strip them of power---can be really difficult. One of the early ideas for justice in the game was "safety in numbers." As long as the citizens outnumber the griefers, the citizens should triumph. That idea resurfaces as we differentiate good killers from bad killers. The good ones will need to be protected by others while they are in their post-kill vulnerability state. The bad killers, who are acting alone and without the approval of the group, become fair game for everyone. The 60 second window of vulnerability is a live server setting, and may be tweaked in the future. It could be even longer than the murder weapon hold time.

Feast tables have been tweaked so that they are no longer kick-started by pumpkin pie, allowing these pies to be stored on a table without forming a feast table.

This week, I'm also kicking off a new community content feature. Congratulations to Fred Struggs, whose modern berry farm is featured in this week's VOG Shot:


I'm on vacation next week.
[Link][3 Comments]

Update: Pipeline
July 17, 2020


Long-distance pipelines can drain the new diesel oil well from afar, and also give you more oil per well than the Newcomen pump.

And pipes, for both sprinklers and oil, can pass through property fences now.

This might seem like a simple change, but with all those different pipe orientations and and flow directions, it's actually pretty complicated, requiring 125 new objects this week to stitch the whole thing together and make it work. Long distance flow requests and responses, with no code changes needed to make it happen.
[Link][1 Comment]

Update: Paved Roads
July 11, 2020


Over the years, a few people have complained about what is shown toward the end of the trailer. When the game shipped, these people were apparently expecting atomic powered robots and monorails.

However, the end of the trailer is supposed to represent a possible future for the game, when I say, "Who knows where we'll end up?"

And that's what these weekly updates are about. Along with improving the core of the game, and fixing problems, I'm also slowly adding more and more advanced technology. There are already hundreds of things in the game that weren't shown in the trailer. Just not robots, yet.

Today, we inch a little bit closer to some of the stuff shown toward the end of the trailer, with the advent of paved roads. But these roads, with the way they are constructed, and with the way the seamlessly connect together with branches and tees and crosses, go far beyond the straight horizontal highway shown in the trailer. Spaghetti junction, here we come.

You can also add elbows and vertical sections to the layout of your sprinkler pipes, allowing you to build more compact fields that are served by a single sprinkler pump.
[Link][19 Comments]

Update; Green Revolution
July 4, 2020


New this week: diesel-powered plows and irrigation systems.

Through these industrial farming techniques, you can use water, soil, and iron much more efficiently.

The third-party tech tree (OneTech) can now be reached from a button on the Login screen.
[Link][7 Comments]

Update: Crave Spice
June 27, 2020


Last week, a bunch of new foods were added to the game, pushing the total up to 64. Pickles were among the new foods added, and they make a perfect example of a pressing design problem. Why do people eat pickles in real life? They don't have much nutritional value. Maybe they eat the lacto-fermented type for probiotic benefits. But they're mostly eaten because they taste good.

As I work toward my goal of making the largest and most comprehensive crafting game of all time---a true love letter to our civilized world, which is so full of all the amazing things that people make---64 foods is just the beginning. But why would people bother to make these foods? They can't actually taste things in the game. Players will likely gravitate to the most efficient food, and make only that, after the novelty of making a food that looks like a hand-drawn pickle wears off. To put it another way: ice cream has been in the game for over a year, but almost no one eats it.

In facing this problem a while back, the YUM system was a good solution. Each novel food that you eat in your lifetime contributes to a growing bonus multiplier, boosting the value of each additional novel food. This is an abstract representation of "nutritional variety" or something like that. A long YUM chain is much more resource-efficient than a mono-diet of even the most efficient food in the game.

However, YUIM only takes us so far. Analysis by community members has shown that an optimally-scheduled YUM chain of just 24 foods---the 24 most-efficient foods---is enough to last a person all the way through their life. What about the other 40 foods? For players who strive for efficiency, the back 40 are effectively dead content.

But sometimes, you just feel like having a pickle, right?

The new craving system solves this problem in a way that can scale way beyond 24 optimal foods. Each family is assigned a sequence of foods that they will crave, one after the other, with foods chosen based on how advanced they are. Eating a craved food gives a bigger YUM multiplier boost---double the usual increment. Of course, for some hard-to-get foods, a double bonus might not be enough to make the food worthwhile. In that case, the craving will persist, even across generations, until it is finally satisfied. For each generation that goes without the craved food, the bonus increases. Eventually, even the most difficult to produce food will be worth making, as the bonus keeps growing.

In a given lifetime, eating a series of craved foods will be even more efficient than a standard YUM chain. However, if you get stuck on a food, or decide not to pursue your current craving, your craving sequence gets blocked on that food. So even if the craved food is not worthwhile for the initial bonus attached to it, it might be worthwhile so that you can continue eating other craved foods that will come later.

To expand your craving possibilities, the raw spices added last week have been used in a few additional recipes---spiced versions of shrimp and mutton that provide no additional food value compared to the non-spiced version. You probably won't bother making them, unless you get a craving for them.

And to aid you in preparing all this stuff, tables have become much more user-friendly, allowing you to transform objects that are sitting on the table without removing them from the table first. So you can make pie crusts, chop ingredients, and season meats, right on the table.

To prevent mother overload, mothers are now blocked from having more babies if they currently have four living children. This will allow them to focus their attention on helping those four survive. This is a soft block, which will be overridden if all mothers on the server have more than four living children. But in general, it should help quite a bit to smooth out the variance that sometimes saddles one mother with loads of kids.

And speaking of kids, since male characters don't have any babies themselves, their nieces and nephews count toward their genetic score---men are treated as uncles. People have figured out that women in the game can avoid genetic offspring by leaving their homeland to remain infertile for their whole lives. This has been fixed by treating any childless women as aunts---their nieces and nephews will also count toward their genetic score.
[Link][11 Comments]

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