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NEO Scavenger
6 Aralık 2013 - Daniel@BlueBottleGames

So there was a bit of a hiccup yesterday morning, and the launch was delayed by a few hours. However, after panicking a bit, and Lars helping me ping Valve and holding my hand for comfort, voila:

I believe "woohoo" is an appropriate caption here.

NEO Scavenger is now available on Steam via Early Access!

And now, the rollercoaster starts. Blue Bottle Games's concurrent visitor count is already multiple times normal traffic. Messages are starting to appear in Steam forums, via Twitter, email accounts, and who knows where else.

Looks like I have some work to do!

If you're an existing customer, you should now have access to your Steam key in the same place you previously retrieved your Desura key: the bottom right corner of this page[bluebottlegames.com]. You should see a Steam button at the bottom.

If you're a Desura customer, you can access that link, too. The Desura Connect[www.desura.com] feature will unlock beta access on the Blue Bottle Games website.

If there are any issues accessing it, please post in the website tech support forum[bluebottlegames.com]!

And thanks again to everyone who helped make this possible! Players, indie dev colleagues, Greenlight voters, friends, and family, you all helped make this a reality!

5 Kasım 2013 - Daniel@BlueBottleGames

I've just finished uploading new beta build 0.980b and demo build 0.980d[bluebottlegames.com], which includes a new area called The Great Black Swamp, cannibalism penalties, new items, and quick recipe improvements. Beta users also get a few new encounters, encounter updates, and new ways of getting electricity.

Updates Included in Both the Beta and Demo

Both the beta and demo include the following changes:

  • Added The Great Black Swamp to the south edge of map.
  • Added toxic water item to game, with aberrant wound healing cond.
  • Added code to quick recipes so they prefer junk before useful items.
  • Added code to reset end turn button after being pressed, and during UI update, to prevent end-turn misfires.
  • Added code to prevent running when pushing/pulling vehicle, or crippled.
  • Added code to deposit charges in items if the charge profile has negative rates.
  • Added new creature. Yukon customers will see a special effect from it.
  • Added resistance to cold weather to certain creatures, so they don't freeze as easily.
  • Added code to prefer unidentified ingredients first when using quick recipes.
  • Added water tester item and art.
  • Added generic water analyze quick recipe.
  • Added "no eyes" condition.
  • Added human meat cooking recipes.
  • Added new effects from eating human meat.
  • Fixed code which caused player money to be updated multiple times per turn, causing redundant UI updates.
  • Fixed a bug that caused encounters to remove wrong item if equipped and layered in a slot.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented items from discharging on their first turn after switching modes.
  • Fixed bark tea to count as a liquid in recipes, instead of solid.
  • Fixed bug that mislabeled encounter items in some cases.
  • Fixed a bug that caused blindness condition to pile-up and get stuck.
  • Fixed bug in enfield horror corpse image.
  • Fixed a null pointer bug on item initialization.
  • Changed quick recipes to support grouping so there are fewer duplicates. Some quick recipes will now try similar alternatives if first try fails.
  • Changed certain recipes and items to use more accurate terms (sterilized instead of pure) in prep for toxic water.
  • Changed some creatures to start wounded/tired and others not.
  • Changed yes/no encounter response items to match style of combat moves and others.
  • Changed loot mechanics to be less plentiful during large bonus drops.
  • Changed corpse spoiling rate to be faster than meat cuts.
  • Changed crafting to hide identified items until crafting finished.

The Great Black Swamp, and some of the new items in this build.

The biggest change here is The Great Black Swamp, an area along the south of the map that presents an impassable barrier to ground traffic. New hex art, encounter art, toxic water, water tester, headlines, and data files are all added to the game as part of the swamp's impact on the area.

Cannibalism has also been addressed, making it less desirable to subsist on human flesh, and for beta players, less lucrative at the market.

The quick recipe system had a few improvements made, which should hopefully reduce the number of accidental ingredient uses (like burning a rifle to make a campfire). It also now supports grouping, so there should be fewer redundant recipes listed. The game will try alternate, similar recipes behind the scenes if the primary one doesn't work.

The loot frequency has been tweaked a bit, so major piles of stuff should be smaller than before. Finding stuff tends to be pretty easy in 0.979, so this should temper that a bit.

Plus, there is a new creature out there, and it's not a pleasant one. Beware where you sleep :)

Updates Only in the Beta

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

  • Added two new, large encounters.
  • Added new, medium sized encounter.
  • Added bazaar encounter when trying to sell human meat.
  • Added Merga corpse item.
  • Added RTG "hot Brick" cell item.
  • Added RTG branches to Bob encounter.
  • Added power tap terrain resource item and art to game, for free power near DMC.
  • Added Concrete Forest DMC link and stub encounter.
  • Fixed a bug that caused hardware to discharge too much when software was installed.
  • Fixed a bug which misreported hardware prices in junk market.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed flashlights to work inside containers if switched on while holding container.
  • Fixed a bug that caused double nanobot repair kit charge removal in Bob encounter.
  • Fixed a bug that removed creatures from savegames if they were in unexplored hex.
  • Fixed DMC traffic VFX bug.
  • Changed shiv recipe to not allow corpses (causes deer to be allowed).
  • Changed augmented eyes purchase encounter to forbid surgery if no eyes.

The big news here is new encounter content. I won't spoil what it is, but there are two more major encounters, a medium one, plus a few mini encounters and tweaks to existing ones. And one of the new encounters has a major secret revealed in it.

Electricity should now be easier to come by, between Bob's "Hot Brick" and the tent city power grid. Let me know if you think the new tent city power supply is a good way to handle forest and water resources!

Overall, this build should provide a few new tricks and things to unwrap, plus several fixes and tweaks to make things smoother. Let me know what you think!

Hey Folks!

Been waiting for access to the NEO Scavenger beta[bluebottlegames.com], but a little short on cash? Today may be your day!

This Saturday evening (October 5th, 2013), I'll be giving away 6 copies of the NEO Scavenger beta. Anyone can enter, though 4 copies will be reserved for players who don't already have beta access. 2 additional copies will be given to existing customers, to be given away to the person of their choice.

Recently, an anonymous fan generously offered to buy a gift copy to be given away. Since I thought that was such a cool gesture, I decided to throw in 5 extra copies and make a thing of it. Hence, this giveaway!

Here's how it works:

  • Play the free NEO Scavenger demo[bluebottlegames.com], dodge some crazed bandits, scavenge some useful junk, die of cholera/hypothermia/pulmonary embolism a few times, and get a general sense for the world and story.
  • Decide what question you are most curious about in the world. Is there something about a character you want to know? Something about the world itself? Basically, if you were to finish the full game, what question would you most want answered?
  • Create or log into an account on http://bluebottlegames.com/main/user. Creating an account is free. Winning accounts will be granted access to both Flash and downloadable versions of NEO Scavenger on http://bluebottlegames.com. Beta access also includes a Desura key, Steam key (when available), and access to the final game (when it's finished).
  • Comment on this news post[bluebottlegames.com] with your top choice from step 2 above. You can include more than one question in your response, but indicate which is your top question. Only comments on this page[bluebottlegames.com] will be counted.
  • Only one post per person will be counted. Additional posts will not be counted in the random draw.
  • 4 copies will be reserved for new players who do not yet have beta access.
  • 2 copies will be reserved for existing players, who can then email/PM me with the person to whom they want to give the beta. (Existing customers have seen more game lore, and I'm definitely interested in their opinion, too!)
  • Respect other users. No name-calling, trolling, racism, sexism, yadda yadda. If you're a jerk, you're out. No warnings.

So please give the game a shot, see what you think, and toss your question into the ring! Your participation will help me improve the story as I work on it, and please spread the word if you have friends who'd be interested!

16 Eylül 2013 - Daniel@BlueBottleGames

I've just finished uploading new beta build 0.979b and demo build 0.979d[bluebottlegames.com], which include revisions to the hacking system, as well as several bug fixes.

Updates Included in Both the Demo and Beta

Both the new demo and beta include the following changes:

  • Added code to prefer encounter responses with more charge requirements before lesser requirements.
  • Fixed a bug in encounters that would ignore certain branches in probability-based outcomes.
  • Fixed a bug that caused hoodie pocket to disappear when dragging items.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed backpacks to fit inside backpacks.
  • Fixed a null pointer bug that occurred when discharging an item that had too few charges left.

Several of these fixes address the container issues we've been seeing, which were introduced in 0.977 and 0.978. Containers should be back to normal now, and the discharge item fix should improve stability when such items are being used.

Additionally, the demo includes all fixes in 0.978, since the last demo uploaded was only version 0.977. This should include fixes for the way encounters queue, and prevent weird interruptions there, among other fixes.

Updates Included in Beta

The new beta includes the following additional changes:

  • Added encounter options to alert player to insufficient charge for hacking.
  • Added hacking encounter branches to explain insufficient charge in target devices.
  • Changed cracking software charge usage to smaller amount per attempt.
  • Changed chances of cracking each device type to be higher.
  • Changed price of hacking software to be higher.
  • Changed laptops to be hackable via the hacking skill alone.
  • Fixed a bug that caused Hatter's security screens quest to always fail.
  • Fixed a bug that caused savegame loading status message to be hidden.
  • Fixed a bug in savegame loading that sometimes caused a crash.
  • Fixed a bug in Haggerty Health thermo treatment.
  • Fixed a bug in Haggerty Health diagnostics.
  • Fixed a bug in Zom Zom's that failed to remove iSlab when used as payment.
  • Fixed a bug that caused software to always be visible inside locked/off hardware when loading a save game.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed smartphone hacking without electricity.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed hacking with software stored on memory sticks.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed hacking without using any laptop charge (via memory sticks).
  • Fixed a bug that caused first mouseclick to be ignored after starting a hacking encounter.
  • Fixed a bug that caused SmartPhone GPS not to discharge battery.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed laptop to open in spaces where it shouldn't fit.

Most of these changes are to the hacking system, to make it both easier to use and less buggy. Laptops are now hackable via skill alone, instead of requiring special software. Additionally, hacking devices should use less energy now, and have a higher success rate.

There were also quite a few encounter fixes. Some were introduced when the new hacking code went in, while others have been more long-standing, and I finally noticed/fixed them (e.g. Haggerty Health).

Overall, the game should be much more well-behaved than in the past two builds. As usual, let me know on the forums[bluebottlegames.com] if there are any more issues using the new builds.

11 Eylül 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 gastroenteritis, and rarely produce cholera.
  • Removed auto-turn-advance when player unconscious in battle. (Possible cause of endless turns).
  • Fixed minimap zoom when switching resolutions.
  • Fixed destroy hotkey for cursor modes to match tooltip.
  • Fixed a null pointer bug in accessing creature's current attack mode when that mode no longer exists.
  • Fixed bug where items would be picked up when switching screens via mouseclick.
  • Fixed a bug that caused non-degradable items to degrade when spawned as components of a treasure item (e.g. screws, string).
  • Fixed a bug that caused items to disappear if user tried to exit items screen while dragging item.
  • Fixed a bug that caused incorrect number of charges to be removed when in stacks.
  • Fixed item stack counter to not overlap adjacent items.
  • Fixed a bug that caused some conditions to reference out-of-index values in an array when transitioning to next condition in a chain.

One of the big changes here is to the UI. The message window no longer flies open when moused over. Instead, clicking inside the window will both open and close it, so it doesn't get in the way while mousing over things. Also, the battle UI now has tool-tips for the combatants' previous move icons.

Another big change is the removal of auto-turn-advance, which kicked in when the player was unconscious in battle for 3 or more turns in a row. I'm not certain that this caused the "endless turns" bug, but it's possible. And since AI now tends to loot the player or quickly finish them, this feature seems redundant for the risk.

The encumbrance changes should be a welcome sight to those who choose the "feeble" trait frequently, and being able to access items while in cover should be important to "ranged" fighters.

Updates to the Beta Only

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

Hacker toys and paydata!

  • Added laptop, smartphone, cellphone, iSlab, and their respective batteries to game.
  • Added lamp modes to smartphone and iSlab.
  • Added hacking software for each device type.
  • Added data files that can be found in any hardware.
  • Added device-hacking encounters accessible via laptop context menu.
  • Added random unlocked, empty hardware, chance of batteries, and software to junk store.
  • Added memory stick item for carrying software and data outside of hardware.
  • Changed flashlight and night vision goggles to have manual on/off states via context menu.
  • Changed sling to only accept pebbles and stones as ammo.
  • Fixed a bug that caused player stats to be doubly-affected by some conditions when loading a save game.
  • Fixed a bug that caused sleep to interfere with loading a save game.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed player to have abandoned car encounter while unconscious.

Beta players can now find various hardware items in the game, which have random data inside. Most of the time, however, that data is locked away. Hackers, using appropriate software with their laptop, can crack these devices to get at this data. And the data can include a bit of history, humor, and in rare cases, information worth money at the junk store.

Some of these devices can also be used as tools in the field, such as lamps and GPS software on smartphones and iSlabs. In all cases, though, these devices will need appropriate batteries and charges to operate. To access special features of these new items, right-click the item and choose the desired operation.

With these new changes, flashlights and goggles have also been updated to take advantage of the right-click menu. Now, they can be switched on and off manually, instead of automatically when equipped.

There were also quite a few major bugs fixed in this version, especially having to do with loading of save games.

Overall, both builds should represent a more stable experience, with improved usability. And hopefully, the new toys in the beta were worth waiting for!

As usual, let me know on the forums[bluebottlegames.com] if there are any issues using the new builds.

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