Update 6: Hostile World
Update 6: Hostile World
First of all, hope you’re all safe with all the turmoil in the world. But yet with all that going on, we have a new update for you! Its new features will surely shake things up quite a bit especially in the survival department.
The main feature in the Hostile World update is definitely the colony combat. Up until now your colonists have been mostly plagued by catastrophes, but that’s going to change. Hostile wildlife has taken over many of the deposits, requiring you to clear them with a Specialist so your colonists can work in peace. Fierce beasts might also attack unprovoked and cause harm to your people.
Bandits, fanatics and desperate people have grown more aggressive, and you must be ready to defend your colony if you don’t give in to their demands and push comes to shove. Upgrade and man the Gate with Guards in hopes of thwarting their assault or dwindling down the numbers. If the Gate is breached, enemies proceed to attack your buildings and colonists until stopped. Colonists will fight back but specialists are your best hope for dealing with any enemy inside the colony.
You’re now able to control Specialists directly and issue them orders to move around and attack enemies. Regular resource deposits can have wildlife guarding them too, so have your Specialists scout the area and defeat them early to save a lot of trouble from your colonists.
As is the custom, we interviewed a member of the team for this dev diary as well. Anssi is one of our game programmers working on new features and fixing old ones, and has been concentrating on combat in particular.
For the last three months, I’ve been working full-time on everything combat-related, with the new gate combat as my main responsibility. This includes the AI and how it responds to the player, how specialists and colonists fight, how enemies are spawned, and what’s the logic behind the attacker strength, combat calculations and so forth.
It’s been challenging and sometimes a bit scary creating a brand new feature to a live game. There’s a lot already done and working, so you don’t want to mess that stuff up while developing the new feature. But there are both pros and cons to this – there’s a good pre-existing pathfinding routine in the game, for example, so I could just add in a few new bits for combat. But while adding these new features, we have to make sure not to break the old ones like Colonist movement, for example, as it uses the same pathfinding system. So using existing features makes things faster but more complex.
Specialist and Colonist death is another feature to consider as combat inherently creates new cases for both. Normally our colonists work all day and sleep or entertain themselves at night, but attacks interrupt this. Now we have to handle how the Colonist reacts and how he or she returns back to work (if still alive). The existing system on the other hand already handles the loss of Colonists and can shuffle people around for work slots.
In both personal and game development it’s a good idea to prototype a lot. Work on small projects or test out neat ideas and features on your own, and challenge yourself in ways you might not have to at your current project. If you’re working on a colony builder, try messing around with a side-scroller or a first-person shooter in your free time. There’s no rush to get stuff done, so take your time. It gives you perspective which might provide an outside-the-box solution to a problem of a different nature.
If you’re just starting out and looking for your first job as programmer, learn from video tutorials, make a Pong, or try recreating a platformer level with the engine of your choice (we use Unity). Then, create a completed super-simple game. Learn not only how to start projects but how to finish them. In a team, try learning everything you can from senior programmers. This goes the other way too, as sometimes fresh recruits can assist in problem-solving with their new ideas and perspective. Programmers are generally in high demand but usually, companies are looking for seasoned people
Along with improvements to hygiene in general, we’re adding a new starting level building to deal with it – the Outhouse. This small and cheap structure provides relief to your colonists and keeps the early game dirtiness in check. This is especially important now that some conditions prevent your colonists from working. There’s also a new Gate level to help you boost your defenses.
Improvements to bartering and trade continue. Reputation is now back with special trades from various Societies. They now occasionally offer deals for resources they have in spades while requesting certain goods they need. So you can both get stuff for cheap and sell some of yours for a large profit. All this affects your Reputation and in turn the prices they offer to you.
Two new vehicles have been added to the World Map. The modest Van offers a reliable way to transport people and goods around while the Offroader represents the peak of exploration and performance. Additions to UI include a notification for ongoing research, better category icons, and backgrounds for individual discoveries in the Tech Tree. Buildings also stop working when they are critically damaged.
To reduce visual clutter, we’re redone some of the ground and grass assets. The new look should be clearer and easier for the eyes. Other smaller additions include a 3D flag in the pregame selection and colonist chatter, where they react to various events from babies born to starting Catastrophes. The constant chime of Happiness sound effects has also been reduced. Sorry about that.