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2013. január 24. - Captain Deathbeard

Here's my news on the upcoming big update, v 0.40.

Most of the initial core stuff is now in place, its just down to a week or two of fine-tuning and bug-fixing. You've got mining, farming, brewing, electricity, research, and wall building. Soon after in another update I will add weapon and armour crafting too.

It's not going to feel complete yet. I've been playing it and it feels a little slow. You wait around a lot waiting for things to build or produce. Then every now and then bandits run in and kick your ass. Its still fun, but I can make it much better, so here is the plan for the updates immediately after 0.40:

You will be able to organise your characters and assign permanent jobs, eg a builder will make sure all buildings are complete, a worker will make sure your production line is always running etc. This will free you from micro-management and allow to base to run itself for long periods of time.
You will get remote notifications of attacks, idle workers, events etc. This will keep you constantly informed on the state of your base, even if you're not there watching it. That way you won't feel uneasy about leaving it unattended.
There will be a "surrender" button. When you find yourself getting wiped out by a stronger force, you can surrender, meaning they might push you around, raid your goods, take some money etc. But they will leave you alive, which will be vital to surviving in the early game before you get your defences up.

All this will mean that you can happily set your base up with a crew and then take an adventuring squad off to explore and trade and do things while your base progresses. Then you can come back later and build some more stuff, make some upgrades, rest, then set out exploring again. Eventually it will become a stronghold where you can retreat when things are going bad, or war breaks out or you anger a major faction. If things are going well you could then venture into more dangerous lands (coming soon) and build an outpost, which will be easier this time when you have better technology and skills.

But I haven't added numbers 1, 2 and 3 yet, they won't be in version 0.40. I'm not going to delay the update further for that, because people can still have lots of fun playing it in its current state, and the whole game is similarly incomplete anyway. Its an alpha after all, if I start thinking like that then I'll end up holding off every update until it reaches version 1.0.

So as usual, have fun when it comes out and remember it will continue to get better.

2013. január 8. - Captain Deathbeard

As I said before, I'm keeping my head down for a while so I can get some serious coding done. So not many updates or forum presence from me, I better give you guys another progress update.

So I'm still working on the big big 0.40 update. In a previous post I talked about the new research, mining, farming and brewing features. Since then, I have added some more stuff.

Certain buildings need power to operate, and this is supplied by your generators. In 0.40 there will be simple generators but in later updates they will consume fuel, which you will either import from other towns or mine it yourself. There will also be an alternative option of building wind turbines instead. This will give you the option of 2 alternative research paths. Wind generators will be less powerful and a less reliable source so you will also need to build batteries to smooth out your supply, but the plus side is you don't have the dependance on fuel supplies.

Generators can break down or be sabotaged, leaving a town more vulnerable to assaults. When I eventually add sneaking to the game, this will give you a good approach for attacking bases.

The AI traders and civilians now actually shop around to buy food and drink in the towns. You can set your own town to be open to traders who will come by and buy stuff.
Also you can buy a building in an existing town now, and open a shop there, or just use it as a safehouse.

Starting Situations
When you start a new game now you will have a choice of starting situations. You can start as a retired soldier, who has decent combat skills but is enemies with the Holy Empire, meaning he has to watch his back and protect his teammates.
You can also start with a group of characters and a supply of building materials. This sets you up to start with a base right off the bat, if you prefer the RTS side more. It still won't be easy mind.You can also mod your own in quite easily. Later on I will be adding lots more starting options, like a farming village in the grip of bandits, a slave, a farmer, a group of refugees, fun things like that.

Finally the game will have a proper shadowing system.

And of course, all the new artwork is still coming along, although only the buildings will be in the 0.40 update. Here's a new WIP shot:

I'm sure you all want an estimated release date, but I'm not sure. It depends how much I want to add in before release, I know people like the regular updates but I work very fast when I take the time out to do a bigger one like this. I would guess around 2-3 weeks from now. I will release a test version first on my forums, which I will call 0.39, and then that will probably give me another weeks worth of bugs and fine-tuning to do.

2012. december 4. - Captain Deathbeard

The next update will be 0.40. Its going to add mining, farming, cooking, brewing, and research. It might also add in-town building rentals, and opening shops and bars, we'll see how I feel.

Let me show you some of what I have so far.

Ignore the bright green line. The cool looking machine is your stone refinery. Your guys or workers slave away at a stone mine, then put the raw stone in this machine, which will then turn the stone into building materials. Then you can use the materials to build more stuff.

In the above picture you have a well in the foreground. This is where you get your most vital resource, water. On the right hand side you can see a farm, where you can grow crops. You then take the wheat to one of the silos at the back to turn it into flour.

Then you can make some more useful stuff here. You can use flour and water to make bread at the stove, or wheat and water at the still to make rum. Rum can be traded for good money at towns, or can supply your own bar.
So its a little like Dwarf Fortress here, your guys will be ferrying stuff around a lot. Don't worry about the micromanagement though, the AI can handle most of the little things and collect goods etc as they need them.

This is just the first step, of course, the game isn't all about farming, that's just an option open to you. These first parts are being done to give you some more options for making money other than random fighting and looting. Later I will add stuff to make it a bit more like Stronghold: ore mining, weapon and armour crafting, walls, turrets and defenses. Everything will need researching, X-Com style, and as your machinery gets upgraded it will give faster results and need less manpower to run it:

Its going to be a good few more weeks yet until its ready for release, I find I work a lot faster this way, I keep my head down and just work and work. No mini-updates, no news, just working on the game. To you guys it always looks like I've given up or something, but its actually when I'm working the most, when you don't hear from me.

So there's my quick overview on the new features, the first steps to a whole new side of the game.

2012. november 16. - Captain Deathbeard

0.32.0 is now available via the games' auto-updater. If you don't have the game you can download it from http://www.lofigames.com. The main purpose of the update is bug-fixing, but I also added a night/day cycle, with a clock in the corner of the HUD.

It doesn't look awesome yet, I will still need to get some HDR effects on the sun, and add in shadows and town lights at some point.

The main reason for the adding the day cycle now is that I need the game to have a concept of time. The next update will be adding mining and possibly crafting, and I also need to do the "Harrasment & Taxes" update. These need a concept of time, partly for the gameplay so you can have bandits saying "Have our money ready when we come back in 4 days!". And partly because it helps me tune the input/output rates of all the machines and resources to get things balanced.

Next update: Mining!
It won't be too long either, because I'm nearly done already.

Here is the official changes for the newest update:

0.32.0 "Night & Day"
-Added night/day cycle. Its only cosmetic for now, but it gives a concept of time, which is needed for next updates. Make sure you have "Fancy Shaders" turned on in the options to avoid ugly graphics bugs.

-Fixed bug with buildings not showing fully again after entering them
-Reduced the occurence of the bug when enemies don't go into ragdoll mode when they should.
-Minor performance boost, and possibly better stability in multi-threaded mode.
-Fixed inventory held by mouse cursor sometimes vanishing in certain curcumstances
-A few crash fixes
-Fixed bug where sometimes a character can't move after getting up from ragdoll state
-Fixed newly recruited characters being un-clickable
-You don't get bounty rewards from using your own cages now, and can only claim a bounty on a character once.
-Unconcious enemies no longer vanish when you save/load. This might slow performance if you hang around in an area for a long time and the bodies start piling up. Will add body decay or burial next update.

2012. november 10. - Captain Deathbeard

Remember, you can buy the game now in its alpha-stage from http://www.lofigames.com. Buying it now means you get it cheaper, and you will be supporting the development.

I'm making some plans for the overall world design at the moment. I consider the current world map and population a placeholder really, so I'm gonna give you my ideas for the final thing. Its not what I'm working on for the next update, I'm just sharing my plans:

  • Firstly, I'm going to make things more dense. A smaller size of the map will be loaded at one time, which will allow for more NPC population, encounters, and towns can be closer together. There will be less uneventful long-distance running.
  • I'm going to change the actual terrain map itself too, there's a lot of map not in the game yet, so I'm going to add the cool new areas, size down some existing areas, and try to have less empty space like the endless dunes and the flat zone in the south west.
  • The world map will have more distinct zones. These zones will have different faction domination, races, different danger levels. Some zones will be impossible to survive until you are very strong. Eventually these zones will also have different creatures and biomes (eg grasslands, marsh, snow possibly, etc).
  • I want some zones to have less of a focus on towns, and more on other stuff. Like ruins, creature nests, natural formations, things to explore.
  • The different map zones may have rare resources that are vital to certain areas of research. This might force you to build a protected mining outpost to further your research, rather than one single mega-base.
  • Originally I was going to expand the world map to be 4x bigger, but I might reduce that now. As the game has a focus on building static structures that's going to take away the practicality of long-range exploration, you aren't going to want to travel vast distances away from your home base. A smaller, denser map will also mean if your characters are split up across the map they can run to each-others aid a bit easier, so you can send out rescue parties, reinforce your HQ during attacks etc. It will still be a bit bigger than the current map however.
  • Once I have all the new character models and armours, the factions will be overhauled. There will be a greater number and variety of factions and they will be more interesting.

    Speaking of the new character models, here are the finished hi-poly male and female base-models:

    There will be an updated character editor too, with controls for the face shape, new face skins, hair and beards.

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