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Update: Family Specialty
November 19, 2019


The specialty biomes, which spawn sporadically in the center of the topographic map rings, include the jungle, arctic, and desert. In this update, each of these biomes is assigned to one specialist family skin tone---they are the only people who are comfortable working there. The other families must depend on this specialist family for help in getting necessary resources from this otherwise inhospitable area. Fortunately, the resources found in these special biomes aren't needed until the later stages of a developing civilization. Thus, families can live and work in isolation for a while before they are eventually forced to find each other and cooperate through trade.

While there are only three specialty biomes, there are currently four family skin tones. The fourth skin tone has no biome specialty, but gains the polylingual ability to communicate with all the other families, so they can help with the coordination and trading efforts.

The general idea here is that as your village climbs the tech tree, you should face new and more complex challenges, including challenges that involve social interactions like negotiation and diplomacy. Transportation networks between towns will go from an entertaining diversion to a necessary component for group survival.

Specialists can also build roads and buildings in their biome to make it traversable and hospitable for other families, so trading posts and gathering areas are possible.

To go along with these changes, some new content has been added in these biomes, with a new biome-locking feature ensuring that you have to visit those biomes to interact with that content. For example, you have to visit the jungle in order to get a tattoo, and only a jungle specialist can perform the procedure for you.

The language learning system has been changed so that it always happens gradually over generations of cohabitation, at a fixed rate, and it can't be "forced" by spamming lots of training text to a baby. As long as a baby hears a single utterance in the foreign language, they learn 10% of the remaining unknown letter clusters. Even after many generations of living together, some interesting accents will linger.

A huge set of loading stability improvements have been implemented. What happens when the data files the client is expecting to find aren't present or are corrupted? It used to crash, now it doesn't.

The genetic fitness score has been overhauled to give you points based on how long you help your offspring survive beyond their own personal average. Thus, you don't get punished for having a novice baby who dies young, as long as you help them live a bit longer than they usually do. Genetic scores are much less impacted by luck in baby assignment now, but they are also unbounded in both the positive and negative direction (the scores used to naturally cap themselves between 0 and 60).
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