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NEO Scavenger
September 11, 2013 - Daniel@BlueBottleGames

I've just finished uploading new beta build 0.977b and demo build 0.977d[bluebottlegames.com]. The beta includes the new hacking toys and items that can manually switch on/off, and both builds include quite a few fixes and UI tweaks.

Updates Included in Both Beta and Demo

Both the beta and demo include the following fixes:

  • Added a button to the message window to make it expand/collapse based on user-click, rather than mouseover.
  • Added pop-up text to battle UI's previous move icons.
  • Added code to alert player when items being stolen by AI in their sleep.
  • Added code to allow item access in battle when behind cover, even if enemy has loaded, ranged weapon.
  • Added code to degrade items used in encounters. bd
  • Changed encumbrance penalties on starvation, feeble, dehydration, and blood loss so players could still move if 2 or less are applied at any one time.
  • Changed "Long shaft" ingredient to "Large shaft" for consistent terminology.
  • Changed the way AI wounds are tracked to optimize memory.
  • Changed infected water to mostly be safe, sometimes produce gastroenter

August 28, 2013 - Daniel@BlueBottleGames

Good news, everyone! NEO Scavenger was greenlit today!


Looks like we maaade it!

I was going about my usual morning routine, when I see an email pop up in my inbox: "you just got greenlit." I stopped whatever I was typing, and immediately checked the link. Seeing that green banner across the top sent chills down my spine.

NEO Scavenger made it!

I've been sitting at rank #30 to 50 for such a long time, I figured I'd have to do a few more rounds of publicity to make a dent. I even did a tentative start last week, and was planning on resuming later this week.

Then, out of nowhere, Valve decides to slam 100 titles down the hatch at once. "Stress testing our system," they say. Well, whatever the cause, I'll take it!

What Does This Mean for NEO Scavenger?

Well, nothing changes just yet. I have to submit a bunch of paperwork to get enrolled, and then figure out a release date. So priority #1 is still getting NEO Scavenger finished.

The main difference is that I no longer have to worry as much about doing publicity pushes to get enough votes on Greenlight. Now that I'm accepted, there's a good chunk of publicity that comes free with launching on Steam. Future sale prices (e.g. holiday sale) will help, too.

I may still do some publicity pushes in the meantime, but they'll mainly be for increasing sales (and therefore, funding).

There's also a chance NEO Scavenger could be accepted into Steam's "Early Access" program. Basically, that means NEO Scavenger could go on sale through Steam as a beta, much like it is now on my site and Desura. Doing so requires that NEO Scavenger has certain Steam hooks integrated, so I'd have to figure that out before I make any progress there.

Will Existing Customers Get Steam Keys?

This question comes up a lot, and my answer is "yes." I'm not sure how it works, or how other developers do it, but I want to give existing Blue Bottle Games[bluebottlegames.com] and Desura[www.desura.com] customers access on Steam. So as long as there is a way, it'll be done!

Will Customers from Other Sites Get Steam Keys?

If you're a customer from the Groupees Be Mine 5 bundle, you should've received a Desura key, so you're covered, too.

As for the rest, it'll depend. Not every vendor makes this process easy (or even possible), so I don't want to promise anything. So for now, only Blue Bottle Games and Desura/Groupees customers get automatic Steam access.

Thank you to everyone for your support, votes, and spreading the word. We made it happen!

August 21, 2013 - Daniel@BlueBottleGames

I've just finished uploading new beta build 0.976b and demo build 0.976d to http://bluebottlegames.com/main/node/2. This update includes some rebalancing, stability and memory leak fixes, new UI tools, and new missile behaviors.

Updates to both the Beta and Demo

Both the beta and demo versions have quite a few changes and fixes, including:

  • Added code to recycle GUIFitItemResult in GUIInventory update loop, to reduce memory leaks.
  • Added delete cursor mode back, mapped to 4 key.
  • Added random encounter to help players that are unfairly hypothermic from bad luck in the first 24 hours.
  • Added mousehweel support for selecting attack modes.
  • Added code to improve spying feedback when AI approaching loot.
  • Added code to make AI seem more interesting when spying.
  • Added code to prevent messaging player when distant AI has items degrade.
  • Added message to let player know when scavenge sneak check fails.
  • Added code to message player when creature is taking or dropping items on ground.
  • Added code to make spears impale and cause penalties until removed.
  • Added .308 rifle recipes to allow adding a scope to a strapped rifle, and vice versa.
  • Added stack info to items in container preview popup.
  • Added code to default cursor to take mode while in encounters/battle, and switch back when done.
  • Added code to prevent same item from being used as multiple consumed ingredients when crafting (e.g. pill bottle counting both as container and small parts in noise trap).
  • Changed scavenging encounters so they don't spawn creatures, but rather attract nearby creatures, if any.
  • Changed the way images are loaded and stored, improving memory usage.
  • Changed the way item sprites are handled, to reduce memory leaks.
  • Changed creature zones so starting area spawns bandits instead of raiders, and 1 instead of 1-2.
  • Changed item pop-up to accommodate more longer newspaper articles.
  • Changed long newspaper article to fit better in limited space.
  • Changed Lure to be available less often.
  • Changed sleeping bags to work on ground as well as camp.
  • Changed wording in .308 rifle recipe for consistency.
  • Changed wording in "Long shaft" to be "Large shaft" for consistency.
  • Changed fur-wearing condition to use term "hide" instead, for consistency.
  • Changed container size properties so metal sauce pan can do 2x and 3x water, and bottles/cans cannot.
  • Changed loot tables to produce fewer nanorobot kits and more saucepans.
  • Changed mushrooms to degrade over time.
  • Changed HVAC recipe to accept non-waterproof sheets as ingredients.
  • Changed electric charge to not be usable as heat source.
  • Changed lockpicking scavenge option to only allow lockpicks if skilled, so player doesn't have to use skill explicitly.
  • Changed recipes requiring monocular and binocular optical zoom to only accept small or medium ingredients (to avoid using scoped rifle and other large items as inputs).
  • Fixed a bug that caused scavenging to require selecting both lockpicking skill and lockpicks when it shouldn't.
  • Fixed a bug that incorrectly nullified old object references.
  • Fixed a bug that caused crafting to break if multi-page yield included a broken object.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented player from being able to offer surrender.
  • Fixed a bug that misreported charges remaining in attack mode UI.
  • Fixed a bug that caused quick recipes to sometimes leave crafting button active after crafting complete.
  • Fixed a bug that caused quick recipes to sometimes craft wrong or missing output.
  • Fixed a bug that would leave crafting page buttons active after crafting.
  • Fixed a bug that sometimes prevented creatures from from spawning.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed non-raw meat to be cooked or cured.
  • Fixed a bug that caused item pop-up info to report wrong charge count when charges were stacked.
  • Fixed a bug in wound slots that made right and left arm appearances mirrored.
  • Fixed a bug that caused pain indicators to be on wrong side when in 1360 mode.
  • Fixed a bug that caused lights and nightvision to be unavailable in scavenge encounters.
  • Fixed a crafting bug that caused a null pointer exception when a consumed ingredient was also a tool.
  • Fixed a bug that caused stacked items to have wrong components when shown in crafting screen.


Memory optimizations should make the game more stable in games where much of the map has been explored.

Memory Optimization and Stability Fixes

One of the biggest changes in this build is the way memory is managed, particularly for items. Items should now use much less memory than before when not currently visible on the inventory screens. In practice, this should mean that the game is less likely to crash due to memory leaking as one explores more of the map.

In addition, several bugs in the crafting system have been fixed, which should reduce the number of cases where the game starts acting funny (clicking not registering, crafting failing, etc.).

Rebalancing

Another major change to the game is the way creatures are spawned. When scavenging, creatures will no longer spawn in the same hex when the player's sneak check fails. Instead, the player is alerted that they might've attracted some attention. Any creatures close enough to hear/see the player's activity will head towards the hex to see what's up.

Additionally, the creatures most often seen in the early game are now bandits instead of the tougher raiders. They'll come in smaller groups, too.

And for early games where bad random loot drops combine with freezing weather, there will be some relief against unfair hypothermia.

New UI Tools

The delete cursor is back! Now, if the player holds the 4 hotkey, they can rapidly delete items much like they would use them. Also, the mousehweel now changes attack modes.

Updates to the Beta

In addition to the changes above, the beta has the following updates:

  • Added code to scatter missed missiles in adjacent hexes.
  • Added code to transfer missile into wound slots if weapon does enough cutting damage.
  • Added code to drop missiles impaled in wounds to the ground for retrieval when creature looted/dead.
  • Added code to allow impaled weapons to cause damage when removed or over time from being bumped.
  • Added code to degrade charges when attack mode used.
  • Changed flashlight to always have either 0 or 4 batteries inside.
  • Changed slung pebble to have lower damage, so it's differentiated from stone a bit more.
  • Changed shopping cart parts to degrade with cart, instead of remaining at 100%.
  • Changed bows not to count as shafts in recipes (e.g. making spears, greenwood bow).
  • Fixed a bug that allowed junk market exploit if game saved at midnight.
  • Fixed a bug that caused missing flashlight image when wielding flashlight.
  • Fixed 1360x768 sling attack mode image.
  • Fixed box to not be wearable as a backpack.
  • Fixed a bug that caused shopping and box carts to be too big for crafting screen use.
  • Removed container property from jar of eyes.
  • Removed ability to retrieve primitive missiles immediately after firing.

Most of these changes are small tweaks and fixes. However, one bigger change involves primitive missiles. Now, primitive missiles can no longer be retrieved immediately after firing. Instead, those that miss will end up in an adjacent hex. If the missile hits, and it does enough cutting damage, it'll impale into the wound. Impaled missiles can be removed by the target, causing further wounding, or they will appear on the ground when the target dies. Blunt missiles, like stones, will simply disappear if they hit.

Hopefully, the above changes should make both the beta[bluebottlegames.com] and demo[bluebottlegames.com] smoother!

August 16, 2013 - Daniel@BlueBottleGames

I've just finished uploading beta test build 0.975t, which consists of some significant gameplay balances and bug fixes. This test build is a prelude to a full suite of beta and demo updates, assuming no major errors are found.

All beta users and Desura pre-purchasers can get access to a special "Test" build that I've uploaded today, v0.975t.


Click the text links below the download badges on the beta page to get the "Test" version.

Click the text links below the download badges on the beta page[bluebottlegames.com] to get the "Test" version. (Desura customers can link their Desura account to bluebottlegames.com to get access, using Desura Connect[www.desura.com].)

Creature Spawning

One of the bigger changes in this test build is the way creature spawns happen. When scavenging, attracted creatures will no longer appear in the same hex as the player. Instead, the game will alert any nearby creatures to the player's presence, and those creatures will approach/flee accordingly.

Also, the starting area should prefer bandits to raiders, which are slightly less well-trained. Furthermore, the number of bandits typically found will be smaller than previously encountered raider groups.


New primitive missile behavior, "destroy" cursor mode, and creature spawning.

Early Onset Hypothermia

I've also added an encounter which shows up in some early games when the weather is particularly harsh. If the player is unfairly being frozen to death and not finding clothes, this encounter should give players at least a fighting chance.

Primitive Missiles

Primitive missile weapons no longer drop their missiles to the ground after being fired. The missiles are lost unless they stick into the target, in which case they can be recovered when the target falls unconscious or dies.

Missiles stuck in a target represent health hazards from wound exacerbation and removal. Missiles should also degrade when fired, unlike before.

New UI Options

The "Destroy" cursor is back! Players can once again quickly delete large swaths of items by holding the 4 key down when clicking. Also, the mouse scroll wheel now maps to switching attack modes.

And in encounters and battles, the cursor will now default to take/drop, and return to whatever the player had before when done. I think quite a few people didn't realize they could advance encounters with a single click and spacebar, and this might help.

Crafting and Other Bugs

Quite a few bugs have been fixed in the crafting system, especially the Quick Recipe system. Incomplete crafting, null pointers, instability, and poorly-prioritized ingredients should now be much improved.

And several other bugs have been fixed, including many recipes and ingredients.

Overall, this test build should be a little bit more fair, and a lot more stable. Let me know how the changes feel, and if you notice any major issues I've missed. If it seems pretty safe, I'll roll it out to replace all the 0.974 builds!

July 23, 2013 - Daniel@BlueBottleGames

I've just finished uploading new beta (0.974b) and demo (0.974d) builds to http://bluebottlegames.com. This update is largely a collection of bug fixes, optimizations, and balancing.

Updates to both the Beta and Demo

Both the beta and demo versions have quite a few changes and fixes, including:

  • Added version info to loading screen.
  • Added code to make Stretch mode fill screen while in 800x450 mode.
  • Added code to make recipes prefer cheaper ingredients first when manually executing, instead of just during quick recipes.
  • Added small chance of random ammo to scavenge locations that had weapons but no ammo.
  • Added code to make game restore resolution prefs on launch if using downloaded version or 1360 or lower.
  • Added code to make encounters discharge items when used and appropriate.
  • Added code to restrict encounter options from being chosen if required item is uncharged.
  • Changed lure maneuver to be more useful and reliable.
  • Changed create obstacle maneuver to be more useful and reliable.
  • Changed crowbar attack to be more effective.
  • Changed all scavenge encounter to accommodate night vision and light source ingredients, instead of items.
  • Changed Allegan encounter to use ingredients where possible.
  • Changed Isotope mine to use ingredients for dark cistern where appropriate.
  • Changed Radiation Bob heal to use medkit-only with charges, rather than multiple items.
  • Changed some code to improve performance and memory usage.
  • Changed items to not be flagged as degradable if their degrade per use is 1.0 (e.g. water).
  • Changed crafting to always produce 100% condition items if those items shouldn't normally degrade (e.g. ashes).
  • Changed recipes and degraded versions of items with chance of ammo to be empty.
  • Changed battle screen to use identified weapon names if appropriate for player, instead of always using unidentified names.
  • Changed forest shack loot to always have at least one tool, instead of forest junk.
  • Changed chances of scavenge accident in forest with botany to be lower.
  • Fixed several recipes that were reversing into subcomponents instead of the items used to make them.
  • Fixed a bug that caused camp items to leave conditions stuck on player after saving/loading.
  • Fixed a bug that caused battles resulting from scavenges to only show one creature at first, even if more are there.
  • Fixed a bug that would cause scavenge encounter to end without delivering any results.
  • Fixed a bug that caused quick recipes to break.
  • Fixed a bug that caused camp stats to update incorrectly when any camp had items added/removed.
  • Fixed bug that caused fullscreen to exit when starting or continuing a game from the title screen.
  • Fixed a bug that caused boots to appear on wrong feet when switching resolutions.
  • Fixed bug that allowed shopping cart basket to be stored inside backpacks and other items.
  • Fixed a bug that caused take/drop of camps to fade out unsocketed camp.
  • Fixed a bug in the way AI switches attack modes, causing item to be in two slots simultaneously.
  • Fixed a typo in the forest shack that caused giant piles of ammo to show up sometimes.
  • Fixed inventory screen to hide inaccessible storage areas (e.g. hoodie pocket under tunic).
  • Fixed a bug that caused reverse noise trap to sometimes contain soup.


After an exhausting day of smashing bandits with stones from a sling.

Updates to the Beta

In addition to the above shared changes, the beta has the following updates:

  • Added paper scrap item to game.
  • Added recipe for paper scraps from newspaper.
  • Added guaranteed random ammo item to store each day.
  • Added light source option in hidden lake basement.
  • Added penalty for using cart basket as vehicle.
  • Changed spear and arrow recipes to require springy/flexible properties, so wrenches and crowbars won't work.
  • Changed forest resource loot to only have 1 large branch, instead of 3.
  • Changed box cart and shopping cart items to fit inside crafting window.
  • Changed shopping cart basket to only fit in vehicle slot (was causing UI overlap in hands).
  • Changed sharpened and hardened spear recipes to be non-reversible.
  • Changed all firearms to use strap wording instead of sling, to avoid ID exploit and confusion.
  • Fixed boxcart degrade loot to use small strings instead of medium, to match recipe.
  • Fixed greenwood bow recipe to produce greenwood bow instead of compound bow.
  • Fixed a bug that caused quick recipes to be randomized after a save/load.
  • Fixed a bug that produced soup outside of container in encounter reward.
  • Fixed broken compound bow w/strap recipe.
  • Fixed a bug that caused hiding and friendly greeting to abort isotope mine prematurely.
  • Fixed typo in shotgun with sling recipe title.
  • Fixed a bug that caused thrown weapons to report wrong attack mode when used.
  • Fixed a bug that caused attack mode to change when weapon is thrown, but charges are still left.

Overall, the above changes (to both beta and demo) should make things quite a bit more reliable. We should see less crashes, fewer weird behaviors, and with any luck, even some performance improvements! Plus, quite a few content bugs should be fixed now, making recipes and encounters a bit better.

As always, I look forward to hearing any feedback you might have on the latest build[bluebottlegames.com]. Enjoy!

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