|Update: Family Mine|
March 28, 2020
Each family now gets a few iron mine locations along the ley line of their first homeland well site. These uncovered iron veins offer a bit of bare-hand iron ore, then more accessible with various increasing levels of mining tech (pick, then stanchion, and finally a diesel mine). Finally, manual mining with tools has become hungry work.
The goal here is to make iron a more precious and carefully-managed resource, instead of one that is practically infinite as it is scattered randomly around a practically infinite map. This also reduces the "wander around searching" gameplay pattern.
This is a huge change, because iron is something like the spine of the tech tree. Some adjustments will been needed over the next few days and weeks.
Biome expert way stone frequency has been doubled, to further reduce wandering around searching.
Dangerous animals can no longer be warded off simply by standing on an occupied square---they now can attack as they pass over the square you are standing on, even if they don't land where you're standing.
Arrows now have a quiver, which allows you to reload the bow without setting anything down on the ground. This will help you hunt those now-more-dangerous animals.
Babies have been changed to only consume food when starving. In between full and starving, they refuse food. This makes baby-mother communication a bit more necessary than it used to be. I'm still working on this part of the game, but I'm trying to reduce the feeling that you might as well go AFK for a real-life snack break during the first three minutes of your life. What you do when you're a baby should matter more than it does currently.
Touching a property gate will give you an arrow pointing you toward the closest owner. No more locked mystery gates.
March 19, 2020
Lots of new stacks. Thirty, in fact. You can also rope pigs and sheep.
You now get a notice above your head when a hungry work action fails due to hunger.
Navigation arrows now have a priority system. When you're actively following an EXPT or MAP arrow, it doesn't get replaced spuriously by BABY arrows pointing back home.
Still working through the remaining reported issues. Only 86 to go.
|Update: Known Homeland|
March 12, 2020
Specialty biomes, and the expert families that go along with them, can provide a kind of social puzzle. If you travel to find one of these families, are they going to help you with what you need? There's a language barrier to deal with, but even if you are able to communicate with them, do they know how to get what you need from their biome? And if they do, are they willing to get it? Are they going to ask for anything in return, and if so, how are you going to get what they need? What if they ask for too much? What if they outright refuse? What if they simply ignore you?
The idea is to build a more complex and varying challenge. It's not enough to understand how to make what you want to make. It's not enough to gather there required resources from the land. You must navigate the whims of intelligent entities (other players) in order to succeed. You can't just memorize one solution and apply it over and over. Depending on the social situation, it may not even be possible to succeed.
This isn't a puzzle that needs to be solved by every player in every life, but instead a transgenerational puzzle that needs to be solved by someone in your village several times over the life of your village.
Here's the problem: where are they? The people that you need to interact with---the experts for the biome you need help with---how can you find them?
Wandering around randomly isn't interesting problem-solving. Hearing a distant bell, and chasing it down to discover that it was rung by the wrong family isn't interesting problem solving (not to mention the 18 hours you need to wait before a bell tower can even be built).
Now the location of each expert family is common knowledge to all. Each specialty biome has new Expert Way Stones in it, placed along the same ley lines as springs and oil wells. Touching one of these will point you toward the closest expert for that biome.
So, now you can find other useful families right from the beginning.
But this introduces a new problem: if you all move into one central village from the very beginning, no interesting social geography will develop over time. You won't need to take the road to the north to find these folks, nor will you head south through the desert to find these other folks.
I want you close, but not too close. That other family should be just down the road, and you should know how to find them, but they shouldn't be right on top of you.
Each family now has a homeland around their well. The place where the water tastes sweet to them. A family only feels comfortable enough to have babies in their homeland. Elsewhere, they are too homesick to breed. Building more well outposts means a bigger homeland, of course.
Due to spring tap-out, wells can't be any closer than 200 tiles apart, which means the village next door will always be at least a 50-second walk away (much shorter by road, horse, or car).
Because you can find each other so easily, it won't be hard to build villages close to each other. Gone are the days when you have to travel 2000 tiles to find the expert family that you need. Short-range transportation networks can be useful in this new world, stitching together the fabric of the new social geography.
And of course, a bunch more issues have been fixed. The most noticeable thing is the new Lab Table, which you can use for non-food bowls, like various chemical solutions.
Only 94 issues to go.
|Update: Table It|
March 6, 2020
Someone observed that you can't put plated omelettes on the table, which is weird. Of course, no plated food is containable, because you can't shove it in a backpack or storage box---it's a plate of food, after all. The table is also implemented as a container, which means that plated food couldn't go on the table. Up until this point, an object was either containable or not, and beyond that, the only granularity was the required container slot size. Tables and storage boxes can store larger items than backpacks and baskets, for example. But there was no way to say, "plated foods can only be stored on the table."
This week, I added a named tag system for containable items that can only go in certain types of containers. All the plated foods are containable, but earmarked to only be containable on the table. This new property was added to 39 objects, so there's now a huge variety of new table-top items.
This feature can also be used in the future for other special types of containable items.
Let there be green paint and green walls.
Behold, a much-needed Dung Box.
May you plant sapling cuttings directly from your shears.
May letter stock be three times more plentiful.
And several other fixes.
Still working my way through the list of reported issues. Only 108 left.
|Update: Black Wall|
February 29, 2020
Still working my way through the remaining reported issues. Only 123 left!
Highlights from this week: an overhaul of the tool-slot system to make it less error-prone and consolidate some of the dead-end tool choices, less-griefable rails, removable roses on hats, and black painted walls.
The biggest change is the way that committing to learning a tool works. While you're in the process of learning, you now get one free use of every available tool. After using a tool once, you've almost learned it, but you haven't yet committed to spending a tool slot on it yet until you use it one more time. This dramatically reduces the feeling of wasting a valuable tool slot on something that you learned by accident.
I'm also in the process of phasing out the "eating bonus" that was put in place during the first big Steam sale. This means that the food supply will get a little bight tighter over the next few days, and the game will be a bit more challenging. Keep in mind that this is balanced by a reduced rate of food consumption. So even as the value of each bite of food is reduced some, the frantic feeling of "needing to eat constantly" won't resurface.