DEV BLOG #163 - TURBULENCES
26 of January, 2018
What a week it has been! We’ve put out two patches and one hotfix since the last Dev Blog and now the game should be running smoothly again but we’ve also done lots of other stuff this week!
On Monday we celebrated the third anniversary of our first game Among Ripples and gave away the soundtrack for free. You can check it out here.
As announced last week, the price for Crest will go up today to $14.99 as soon as it has been approved by Steam. This will be Crest’s final price and there will be no more price raises. We had started at $5 and slowly went up over the years as the game progressed. Take a look at how much Crest has changed over the years:
Oh, I wish I could talk about the exciting graphic work I’m doing right now but that would be telling! Patrick tells me it has to be kept a secret for a little longer. I have a gif to show you though (also censored, teehee).
I’ve just been working on secret stuff all week, so sneaky! Hopefully I can share more with you next week.
I started this week with fixing a bunch of bugs that cropped up in the patch release at the end of last week. Tomas and I fixed some memory leaks that made the game use more and more memory every time you started a new game, unless you quit the game first.
Emelie and I have had some discussions to work out the kinks and tweak the new water system. I’ve made a new shader that’s going to replace our current default shader. The new one looks a bit fancier and has a few more features than our old one.
I’m currently trying to put an end to the ever broken save system. With some effort and luck the “failed to save” message should no longer be a regular occurance when I’m done.
The UI for the new tier based Word Discovery has now been finished. What’s left is balancing requirements for discovering each words as well as some text. The values for the requirements are visible in the text box when hovering over a word. But as seen in the gif below, the descriptions still have to be written.
The rest of the week I’ve been working on balancing the followers’ reproduction and overpopulation. In its current state, too many births occur from their own free will, which creates overpopulated cities at a fast rate. I’m now working on the AI’s decision making in an attempt to curb overpopulation. It is still up to the player to make commandments to override the AI’s decision but then you might end up with a lot bigger food consumption in the city. It’s still going to be a valid strategy to make a lot of babies, if you have enough food and plan on migrating, or if a lot of followers are dying for some reason.
This week I finished changing how food is stored in the game. When followers are generating food, it’s added directly to the city storage instead of to the follower. Followers still carry food but it’s filled only when the follower enters their home hut. I’ve also been working with the new water system and fixed some small issues here and there.
Lastly, I helped Emelie with playtesting and game balancing, like balancing the word discovery system. We are not done with that yet and it still needs some tweaking in the upcoming weeks. I’m sure this is not the last time I did some balancing stuff, but it feels nice to take some breaks from programming!
I have been working with the hotfix patch that was released only a few days ago. We fixed two game breaking bugs, improved memory management and more. Check out the patch notes.
After working on the patch I have focused on an update to Berry Bushes. They should no longer spawn in hippo habitats, which could doom an early city from the get-go. Followers should no longer plant berry bushes in hippo habitats either. Also, when followers plant bushes they are now placed in a more clustered formation that looks more natural than it did earlier. Before they made a diamond shape around the city.
I have also worked with iterating the look of the Word Tablet. There is now more spacing around words, the cut-off point where the scroll view cut images when scrolling is adjusted and the verbs now have a fancy border.
I have been working full time with the water system, it’s a complex system to balance. I have to decide how much water should drain from each tile type during each season and how fast it should be refilled by the water source (river) to make it appear natural. Another factor to think about is how much water rain brings into the mix and when a new river should appear.
All of this together makes for a complicated system but I think that I am on my way to complete it. It will be good when the island’s eco-system can survive forever without followers doing things. When it’s done then I will start add to the followers impact on nature, making sure that each action that they do will affect nature, giving the player a different kind of urgency (fingers crossed).
This week has seen a lessened focus on production from my part as I have been more involved in the company side of things. However, I have still managed to playtest the new features and balance changes that have been worked on, and I’ve got to say that it’s looking good. So look forward to the next patch update!Speaking of patches, we have taken last weeks small fiasco to heart and will make doubly sure that the next patch doesn’t break everything quite as spectacularly as that one did :)
Have a nice weekend!