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Update: Distant Explorers
November 24, 2019

https://i.imgur.com/vEhXxpz.png

This week's update focuses on new ways to find each other, in light of the fact that you now need each other for long-term survival.

First, there's a new tool in place for sharing long-distance navigation, and for helping people find your village. Way stones were inspired by forum member SirCaio's suggestion. They act like permanent maps that anyone can use simply by touching them. If you're looking to interact with foreign explorers, you can make your village easier to find by planting way stones in a radius around it. Just like maps, way stones can have long titles, which means they also can function as informative sign posts. Way stones can also be used to duplicate maps, but they can also be used in village center to make sure that important destinations are known to future generations---no chance of the map getting lost if it's literally etched in stone.

And now, when you pick up a map or touch a way stone, your character speaks a distance estimate along with the title. No more wandering in a vague map direction and figuring out that it's actually too far away.

Next, rideable objects, like horses and cars, protect you from the effects of bad biomes. No more long, circuitous routes. If you're riding, you can plow right through.

Along with these exploration updates, there have also been huge improvements to wall-building.

First, pine walls now require a lot less resources, and pine floors are possible, making them viable for early-stage camps. Being indoors adds a huge reduction to your food consumption rate, so building a few primitive buildings might be worth considering as part of your bootstrapping.

Next, all walls now auto-orient, freeing you from the tedium of cycling through the various wall orientations when building. You can put walls down wherever, and your building will look nicely connected, guaranteed. Fences also auto-orient, even relative to walls.

Finally, springy doors now open automatically when you pass through, and they don't interfere with path-finding. Being indoors is no longer a navigation inconvenience.

Beyond those content changes, a bunch of bugs have been fixed, and an exploit in the fitness score system has been cleared up. Committing suicide when young no longer allows you to reap a score benefit from a long-lived mother. Your mother and grandmother still count toward your score, but only if you live longer than they do.

Even with this exploit removed, some rather high scores are possible, and such scores make the tool slot limitations irrelevant. I've updated the mapping formula to a sigmoid, as shown in the following graph:

https://i.imgur.com/RCC6pyg.png

No matter how high your genetic fitness score goes, you'll never have more than 19 tool slots.

The recent Steam sale brought in a lot of new players. I'm deeply grateful to the existing players for helping all of these new people to learn the ropes.

There will be one more content update on Monday, and then I'm on vacation for Thanksgiving.
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