FortressCraft Evolved

FortressCraft Evolved

DjArcas  [developer] Jan 30 @ 5:49am
Pre-patch note summation of P18.
Remember, after the patch is live is TOO LATE for major feedback. This post should sum up the majority of the changes to Patch 18.

I'll be adding pictures and formatting to this before the official release of these notes, which is planned for approximately 2 weeks time.

Rooms

As FortressCraft has grown and grown, I spend large amounts of my time optimising the game. Sadly, the main effect of 'doubling the speed of the game' is 'people build bases twice as large', so to a degree it's a losing battle. At a rough guess, FortressCraft can maintain a base 25 times large in P17 than it could when it left Early Access at the same framerate. However, despite some horribly complex vis systems, people still manage to beat the frame rate into submission. So, what's the solution?

There's a few. One of them is a cascading segment-based view system, but that is quite a lot of work, and the end result doesn't change or improve the game, barring the framerate. I plan to move to Unity 5.6 before too long, and that will give access to DX12 and Vulkan, both of which should substantially improve the drawcall overhead without much work from me.

The solution I've moved towards, and have implemented the first pass for P18, is that of Rooms. A room is defined as a rectangular area, encased in walls, a floor, a ceiling, a Room Controller, one or more Inner Airlocks, each of which is connected to an Outer Airlock. Inner and Outer Airlocks must have a gap of exactly 3 metres between them.

Once established, a room has one major, MAJOR technical advantage over randomly covering stuff up with walls - if you're outside the room, the inside of the room doesn't render, and if you're inside the room, the outside doesn't render!

Now, sadly, I find that giving players tools to help themselves doesn't always work. To that end, I hope to move FC towards a much more Room and building-based layout, but for this patch, players will be required to build rooms only for the new Hydroponics and Medbays.

It should be noted that the Rooms are a major, MAJOR change to the feel of FortressCraft. I hope for the better, but NOW is the time for you to weigh in with your opinion. I'm still sore from Patch16, which introduced major changes, I spent weeks showing pictures, videos and talking about the changes and the moment it comes out, everyone descends on the review section telling me how much they hated it. Your opinion is important, and I absolutely do listen - even if I don't always agree! ;)

So, in short; Room advantages - they look cool, they have predictable lighting, they speed the game up, and if you're on the surface, they also make the air warmer.

Do not attempt to enclose your CPH in Rooms. Also be a little wary of making skyscrapers diagonally too close to your CPH. If Rooms take off, I will be revisiting the concept and implementation of the surface attacks.

Room limitations!

  • Inner Airlocks connect room to Outer airlocks, which connect rooms to the outside. The outside can be covered up. This is the only supported paradigm. The airlock->airlock area should be covered, or vis will break. This is Your Responsibility.(Think of Rooms and Buildings - you aren't forced to have all your rooms as little 'sheds' out in the wilderness)
  • Room controllers can share multiple segments, and multiple room controller can share a single segment. Really tho, I'd spread it out a little bit.
  • You CAN leave holes in the floor and the ceiling. If you do this, it'll look stupid. I don't care. Don't build it so it looks stupid. The MAIN thrust of this feature is a player-controlled portalling and occlusion system. This is Your Responsibility. I've erred on the side of allowing the room to work whilst looking broken, as opposed to forcing the player to exactly adhere to every single little sub-requirement.
  • You cannot put machines into the walls. The exception is the Induction Charger on the floor.

To get things in and out of the room, use Room Grommets. These are supported by PSBs and Conveyors.
  • A PSB touching a Power Grommet will transfer power to any power-receiving machine directly opposite it.
  • A Generator (PTG, Solar) touching a Power Grommet will transfer power to any power-receiving machine directly opposite.
  • A conveyor touching and facing a Logistics Grommet will transfer any items to any machine that normally accepts items from conveyors. Conveyor and Storage Hopper are favourites. This is infinite speed, so you can essentially build room walls straight through existing Conveyor runs without affecting your logistics.
  • MineCarts can go through walls. It looks stupid and I'd like to address it in the future.

Suggested uses, initially, are for segmenting your base into logical groups; Smelting, Research, Assembly Lines, Sorting, Storage, etc. Putting all of your base into these rooms WILL MASSIVELY IMPROVE YOUR FRAMERATE.

Note : Putting all of your base into one massive room won't achieve anything. This is obvious - right? The current maximum size of a room is +-64m from the room controller, so about 129x129x129 metres. I won't stop you doing this, but if you do, you might have slightly missed the point.

Medbay and Health changes

One of the changes to P18 includes stopping players using the 'deathport' exploit. Players aren't bothering with logistics, lifts or teleporters, and are just dropping down a shaft, grabbing ore, and killing themselves to teleport back to the surface. To this end, the health system has changed. If you take small amounts of damage, you won't see any difference whatsoever. If you receive major damage, it will take quite a while to sell-heal; it's about 10 minutes to recover to 100% health from 1% health, but it's only about 20 seconds to heal from 90% to 100%.

To combat this, the player has a couple of current options. The first of which is the MedBay - this is a cheap machine that MUST be built in a room, and heals you if you stand near it, it heals you. Secondly, there's the Ampules. These work very much like the Power Boosters - stick it in your hotbar and left-click to use it. Different grades of Ampules will give you a different level of healing boost. Right now, the Ampule Dispenser machine must also be built inside a room, and will generate 1 Ampule per 10 seconds. This is planned to change, but I'm not sure if it'll make it into P18.

Hydroponics and plants

Back in Patch 16, I completely re-did the surface rendering and generation, taking advantage of Unity's new Instanced Rendering system. New for Unity, that is - FortressCraft used Instanced Rendering on the Xbox 360...

The main upshot of that were plants. A lot of plants. Patch 18 adds in the very first start of being able to use the plants.

  • There are 7 types of plants, and 7 colours, for a total of 49 possible combinations of final plant.
  • Plants are currently locked to their spawn colours. Future work will introduce breeding of plants from the current 7 types to the total of 49.
  • The player cannot plant plants outside, but CAN Harvest them with RMB. Plants outside grow/regrow very very very slowly.
  • If you want to harvest plants quickly and automatedly, then use the new Herbicors. They will pull in any plants within approximately 256m. Tests have shown that this will net you approx 8k plants (yes, and will speed the game up a bit). The disadvantage is that Herbicors destroy the plants that they harvest, so this is not renewable.
  • The player can place plants into a Hydroponics Bay, or an Advanced Hydroponics Bay. The plant will then grow much faster, and can be harvested and re-harvested regularly.
  • As of P18, there is no fully-automated way to renewably obtain more plant material. The ConstructoBots in the Adventures Pack will cover this. There may be other methods implemented to do so.

As of P18, right now, Plants have no use. The Ampules are planned to rely on specific plants, and I plan to add more effects than 'Faster Health Regen' in the future.

What effects or uses would you like to see? With 49 plants, I'm not likely to run out!

Base Monitoring

As well as rendering, part of the advantage of Rooms is that I know the player's PC will have plenty of spare grunt to do more complex things. (An example would be shadows-on-lights-in-rooms)

As part of my bid to teach players to be more brilliant at playing FortressCraft, I've implemented extensive monitoring of every ore, bar and all of the power generation of a player's base. The first 45 days of play is recorded (Haven't decided if I'll just write-over the data or stop recording at that point yet). The player is able to analyse this data by placing Base Scanners (name pending) inside rooms. Placing ore, bars or a PSB inside the hopper will then let you monitor only those ores/bars or power.

The Base Efficiency rating is feedback to the player about their relative Ore/Bar production. If your Base Efficiency is less than 100%, this means you are extracting more Ore than you're dealing with (This includes manual schlepping of ore!) - I hope to use this metric to hint back to the player that having collected 30,000 ore really isn't helping them progress.

If your Base Efficiency is OVER 100%, that means you're burning through your ore reserves making bars, and will eventually run out. Balancing this number to 100% means you're making the most efficient use of your automation time.

Low Tier Lenses

Currently the first 4 tiers of Lens (Diamond, Sapphire, Topaz and Emerald) are mostly available to the player whilst they have T0/1/2 lasers. As these lasers provide very low PPS, a percentage-based increase doesn't give much difference. As an example, a T0 laser with an Emerald in it gains 30%. 30% bonus to 1.16 PPS is 1.508 PPS. In larger Tier lasers, all Crystals provide a wonderful boost - but by the time the player get T2/T3 lasers, the Organic Lenses have far outstripped the lower-tier Crystal ones, and thus are pointless.
  • T0 - 1.16 PPS with Emerald was 1.5 PPS
  • T0 - 1.16 PPS with Emerald is now 31.5 PPS
  • T3 - 320 PPS with Emerald was 416
  • T3 - 320 PPS with Emerald is now 360 PPS

This should make early-lenses more useful, and means that a T0 Laser with a Sapphire Lens is now a massive 101 PPS - but you will have to put in some manual time searching to get that reward.
  • Diamond is 15 PPS bonus
  • Emerald is 30 PPS bonus
  • Ruby is 60 PPS bonus
  • Sapphire is 100 PPS bonus

I reserve the right to re-balance these in the future. ;-)

As ever, I will be making a snapshot of P17 for people, so you will not be forced to run P18 with all the new exciting toys. Uh. If you want.
Last edited by DjArcas; Jan 31 @ 1:51am
< >
Showing 1-15 of 247 comments
Siro Jan 30 @ 6:25am 
This is all great, but I think what we're all really looking forward to is a mk4 quad turret. :D
Rivaryn Jan 30 @ 6:27am 
My only concern on the new health system is... it's not really going to stop people from abusing deathport, if that was the goal, and here is my reasoning why:
  1. I go deep to say, toxic caverns, taking some fall damage through the cold caverns. or perhaps teleporting to my T2 extraction area and then working down to the toxic caverns.
  2. I throw down a lift somewhere and hop on, to get to biomass with no damage.
  3. I mine some biomass by hand (because I haven't gotten power down there) using Arthur power and my suit.
  4. I deathport back to base and how have virtually no hp for the better half of 10 minutes.
Now I have two easy choices: The ampules I've built up doing this allow me to just do it again. Or I just do the same thing carefully, not taking any fall damage (teleport and a single unpowered lift for example), and this makes it even easier to deathport, because I'm already at a fraction of my health.

I'm not saying it's not going to be noticible - one has to be more careful getting somewhere to avoid dying early. But the ampule system counters the change.

Alternately, I can just do stuff around my base while regenning, and then go do it again.

My personal playstyle is to not use deathport, both here and other games (Minecraft with keepInventory) because I consider it cheating, however I do not see how the changes aimed at preventing it actually do so. But that's just my opinion, take it however you will.

As for the other changes, I really like the lens change idea - this makes a lot more sense to me and should help with early-game progression, which is a sore point for new players I think. Also more monitoring tools are always appreciated - I have a few mods for that, but having it right in the base game is great. The rooms idea.. I'm 50-50 on. I don't overbuild my base though, so I haven't encountered chugging framerates, and I play on Simple graphics because anything higher the AA makes text blurry to me.

Finally, the plants idea isn't bad, but I have a mod to strip out plants because I found them quite annoying. But I guess having a machine to harvest all them in a large area is equally good.
Siro Jan 30 @ 6:43am 
"I mine some biomass by hand" - *screaming intensifies*
Landon Jan 30 @ 6:52am 
I love it. A worries though: I'd be tempted to never build rooms on the surface due to attacks and possibility of being 'in the way' of both the bugs and my turrets. Maybe have the CPD be 4 blocks taller? I'd be willing to make shacks if its not in the way.

Secondly: I would make a lot of use of rooms if you also implement blueprints. Layout a room, fill it, get a blueprint of it, save to HDD so next time I need same room same or next game (bar to research pod room I'd need for each material?) I would just plop down a blueprint constructor, give power and blocks and it will make it for me.

Long term: It would be pretty facinating if rooms could eventually be bigger on the inside than the outside, would allow a lot of logistics changes to base design if one could even one day squeeze a room down to a block. Pipe in power, materials, get out a product. Or if not bigger on the inside, wire in teleporters with rooms?
Grommets: any plans on making them interact with anything but conveyors and PSB? For example direct LPT input, but importantly: ANY thing faster than conveyors... like tubes, minecarts, but especially hoppers. By forcing grommets to only interact with conveyors you severely lower input/output to lots of machines, pretty much everything beyond T1.

Plants / ampules ideas:
-boost gun damage
-boost walk speed
-boost jump height
-boost suit energy transfer rate (1 sec to use a PSB or something)

To prevent deathporting; have the ampules be either Health Over Time, or have the player force to stand still to heal, basically be in a sickbed / hospital or something. Death should be a punishment on ALL modes, not just Clumsy and above. Like Rivaryn mentions, if you implement in current plans: nothing stops player from just going down again, healing on the way.
Or: make the game semi-clumsy from the get go (easiest setting) where on death you only drop ore + biomass, not coal though due to torches.
Demerzel Jan 30 @ 7:14am 
Originally posted by Landon:
I love it. A worries though: I'd be tempted to never build rooms on the surface due to attacks and possibility of being 'in the way' of both the bugs and my turrets. Maybe have the CPD be 4 blocks taller? I'd be willing to make shacks if its not in the way.

Secondly: I would make a lot of use of rooms if you also implement blueprints. Layout a room, fill it, get a blueprint of it, save to HDD so next time I need same room same or next game (bar to research pod room I'd need for each material?) I would just plop down a blueprint constructor, give power and blocks and it will make it for me.

Long term: It would be pretty facinating if rooms could eventually be bigger on the inside than the outside, would allow a lot of logistics changes to base design if one could even one day squeeze a room down to a block. Pipe in power, materials, get out a product. Or if not bigger on the inside, wire in teleporters with rooms?

You aren't forced to build rooms on the surface as far as I know. I think it's unreasonable to think that every room should be on the surface. They are taking up a lot of space. And the walking between rooms even on reinforced blocks is tedious after a while.

In my opinion after testing the rooms. Now it's better to build layers into the ground. For example, Power generation at the surface. Defense at the surface, Smelting below 0m. Production below -10m.

Especially now that the WFE is cheaper to run. Not to mention that It's likely that everyone has a big cavern close to the CPH but above the Mynocks spawn point.

However, unfortunately, the ♥♥♥♥ing Mynocks are ruining the fun at a certain depth. :D
stub Jan 30 @ 8:01am 
If rooms are going to be rectangular, I'd really love some way of digging out rectangular spaces.

Rooms may be a gateway to blueprints...

What happens if I encase my resin farm in a room? Will the resin grow towards an airlock as if it was open space, or will it grow through the wall because it can't see an exit?

How do rooms interact with cryoplasm? What happens if it tears down the walls?

Can I place airlocks in the ceiling and/or floor and have a lift go through?

The P18 notes don't mention what is supposed to happen when a laser power transmitter targets a power grommet.

Will it be possible to mount the large solar arrays directly on top of rooms? This would make it more attractive to put refineries in them.

I think the lens changes are great.

The medbay doesn't interest me. It just seems to add a bit of grind, and I'm being punished for how others choose to play the game.

Plants are an interesting doorway to lots of gameplay that will likely never be implemented :) I'm sort of surprised they aren't patreon stuff, with the gameplay stuff they unlock targetted to the adventures pack.

- Feed the normal 7 plants into the laboratory to research the helpful breeds.

- Grow particular plants on a bed of T4 ore and harvest to convert to a usable form.

- Convert particular plants to a paste that is needed to mine superhard rock. Or an alternate recipe for nano-disintegrators.

- A suit upgrade that wards off worms, fueled by stinky plants.

- A breed of plants you can place to steer attacking swarms and/or the exploding bugs, but not more than 45 degrees off course towards the hub. Lets you guide them around mountains, through falcor covered areas and killzones.

- A ward against cryoplasm. Maybe needs to be grown in the magma caverns for all the sulphurous goodness.

- A resource required to terraform the cryo caverns. More than just pumping in heat, you now need hydroponics to grow plants to be replanted around the caverns by bots. But that probably requires gameplay post cryoplasm.

- An alternative to particle filters (boy, did I ever get sick of building particle filters over and over again). Grow plants in the right cavern, harvest, convert into something to go into the compressor or bottler.

- Organic replacement for threat increasers and decreasers. A little more effort to setup than just slapping the machines down wherever you have some spare power.
Rivaryn Jan 30 @ 8:01am 
Originally posted by Siro:
"I mine some biomass by hand" - *screaming intensifies*
Pfft. If you play RTS games, teching up is one of the most important ways to surpass your opponent. Teching up in this game is getting resources before infrastructure, so you can place upgraded infrastructure first instead of having to place the basic version once and upgrade it 3 times.

Originally posted by Landon:
Long term: It would be pretty facinating if rooms could eventually be bigger on the inside than the outside, would allow a lot of logistics changes to base design if one could even one day squeeze a room down to a block. Pipe in power, materials, get out a product. Or if not bigger on the inside, wire in teleporters with rooms?
"It's bigger on the inside!!"

Originally posted by Ecclesia86:
Or: make the game semi-clumsy from the get go (easiest setting) where on death you only drop ore + biomass, not coal though due to torches.
IMO this still doesn't solve the issue. I just deathport, unload all my ore to 50 hoppers in a big grid by mashing T, and then go down again. Players will find ways around it if they're determined enough.
Originally posted by stub:
The medbay doesn't interest me. It just seems to add a bit of grind, and I'm being punished for how others choose to play the game.
This is why DRM is such a failure - it punishes those that follow the rules, while those determined to break the rules will find ways to do so.

Quick question - do rooms block wasps? Can they be destroyed by tunnel nukers? This seems like it could lead to using big rooms as "walls"...
Last edited by Rivaryn; Jan 30 @ 8:02am
Tarrot Jan 30 @ 8:07am 
Questions:
You mention rooms and segments, is there an option to support a room controller with paste needed for walls/floor/ceiling, to prefab the room into a segment? (less air-lock, since the UI for that is too complex). We'd still need to attach airlock where we thought it was best to attach.

Do / Will mobs spawn in rooms? Will we need to implement room defenses?

Can teleporters work as intended into a room, form a room, room to room?

Is it possible to implement a device to respawn not in by CPH, but instead in a room (assuming device has power)?

A prefabbed non airlock-door controller? those doors look nice, and would be *ahem* neat in places they don't belong. :)
Last edited by Tarrot; Jan 30 @ 8:10am
DjArcas  [developer] Jan 30 @ 8:07am 
Originally posted by Ecclesia86:
Grommets: any plans on making them interact with anything but conveyors and PSB? For example direct LPT input, but importantly: ANY thing faster than conveyors... like tubes, minecarts, but especially hoppers. By forcing grommets to only interact with conveyors you severely lower input/output to lots of machines, pretty much everything beyond T1.

'Conveyors' includes Tubes. I also covered Minecarts.

MineCarts can go through walls. It looks stupid and I'd like to address it in the future.

Lasers wouldn't work with the Grommets - The Grommet system works by having machines adjacent to a Grommet essentially move in space to be touching. Lasers follow a very different paradigm. All it means, realistically, worst case, is 1 extra PSB *or* Laser in a run into a room.
DjArcas  [developer] Jan 30 @ 8:11am 
Originally posted by DjArcas:
Originally posted by Rivaryn:

IMO this still doesn't solve the issue. I just deathport, unload all my ore to 50 hoppers in a big grid by mashing T, and then go down again. Players will find ways around it if they're determined enough.

This is about gentle iterations to make some things more attractive, and some things less attractive. If I wanted to drop a stone hammer to stop people doing something, I absolutely can do so. ;)

The idea of 'dropping ores and bars but not critical survival items' is a great one, and I wish you'd thought of it 3 years ago.
Originally posted by Rivaryn:
Originally posted by Ecclesia86:
Or: make the game semi-clumsy from the get go (easiest setting) where on death you only drop ore + biomass, not coal though due to torches.
IMO this still doesn't solve the issue. I just deathport, unload all my ore to 50 hoppers in a big grid by mashing T, and then go down again. Players will find ways around it if they're determined enough.

Hahaha, fair enough. Okay then the only solution seems to me: don't allow the player to pick-up any ore besides the initial copper + tin xD

Edit: no wait a minute: you said, 'I just deathport', but what I suggested was that ore wouldn't transfer with you to the surface.
Last edited by Ecclesia86; Jan 30 @ 8:26am
Rivaryn Jan 30 @ 8:21am 
Originally posted by DjArcas:
Originally posted by DjArcas:

This is about gentle iterations to make some things more attractive, and some things less attractive. If I wanted to drop a stone hammer to stop people doing something, I absolutely can do so. ;)

The idea of 'dropping ores and bars but not critical survival items' is a great one, and I wish you'd thought of it 3 years ago.
Oh don't get me wrong, I certainly know you can. My opinion is its a sliding scale: on one hand, making it too easy (no penalty) means people abuse it. On the other hand making it completely game ruining (forcing Ironman style) means people won't play it, or be too scared to do anything. Finding the balance to make most players not abuse it, but not so terrible that people cripple their game play to handle it, is extremely tricky.
Tarrot Jan 30 @ 8:23am 
Originally posted by Rivaryn:
Originally posted by DjArcas:

This is about gentle iterations to make some things more attractive, and some things less attractive. If I wanted to drop a stone hammer to stop people doing something, I absolutely can do so. ;)

The idea of 'dropping ores and bars but not critical survival items' is a great one, and I wish you'd thought of it 3 years ago.
Oh don't get me wrong, I certainly know you can. My opinion is its a sliding scale: on one hand, making it too easy (no penalty) means people abuse it. On the other hand making it completely game ruining (forcing Ironman style) means people won't play it, or be too scared to do anything. Finding the balance to make most players not abuse it, but not so terrible that people cripple their game play to handle it, is extremely tricky.
Isn't this scale attached to the difficulty level in the first place, or did I miss something?
Rivaryn Jan 30 @ 8:25am 
Originally posted by Ecclesia86:
Hahaha, fair enough. Okay then the only solution seems to me: don't allow the player to pick-up any ore besides the initial copper + tin xD
If the game wasn't already confusing enough to new players, lets add arbitrary limitations. /sarcasm
I think your heart's in the right place, but more thought (perhaps its own thread) might be necessary to work out a solution that doesn't make it ever harder to get new players into the game (and thus cut down on negative reviews).

Originally posted by Tarrot:
Isn't this scale attached to the difficulty level in the first place, or did I miss something?
I think DJ is tired of people abusing the 'easy' setting, because I expect 98+% of players play on no penalty death mode.
Last edited by Rivaryn; Jan 30 @ 8:26am
< >
Showing 1-15 of 247 comments
Per page: 15 30 50

Date Posted: Jan 30 @ 5:49am
Posts: 247