Hi everyone. Well, a lot of progress has been done since the last IndieDB article. Between agriculture, water purification, power generation, storage, technologies and a much nicer user interface, there's a lot to go over.
For those of you who never heard about this game before, a brief summary is in order. After the Collapse is a base building game taking place in post-apocalyptic world. It's mainly featuring urban and semi-urban terrain. It's heavily focused on scavenging and current day (or near future) technologies.And while it's not really apparent yet, it is heavily inspired by games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
After The Collapse will be released in Early Access during Autumn 2018. You can get more detailed information about the game and our studio on the official website.
I finally opted for a transparent dark & green theme. What's being shown in the screenshots around this article is pretty much it. Of course, icons, menu positioning and things like that are still subject to changes and improvements, but the general look&feel should stay consistent from now on.
Optional on-screen filters have been added, alongside a game log to store important events. Game's speed can be changed. I also added an active pause that can be toggled on/off with the press of a key. Keyboard shortcuts have been added for most (if not all) commands and can, of course, be rebound to any key.
Generally speaking, it's a pretty standard mouse driven affair and anyone who played a modern base building game before should feel right at home.
While your group will likely be able to survive for a few days by looting the buildings on the map, you'll have to setup some farms for long term food production. As with all the systems I'm putting in place, it's fairly simple and straightforward for now. It will be revisited and ""deepened" during Early Access. Anyway, the player initially setup a zone for a farm to be built. A settler will then start working the terrain to make something usable out of it. This process can take quite a while, depending on the survivor's farming skill.
Then, by clicking on the farm you'll get a menu to select what kind of crops you want grow. When selected, a survivor will start planting seeds. After that, growth will be happening automatically with no other input needed. Of course, pests, water and sun requirements will be taken into consideration later down the line.
A few days later, plants will reach maturity and be ready for harvest. Survivors with the appropriate job will pick them up (and retrieve new seeds in the process). Harvested plants count as food ingredients which can be used at the kitchen to prepare new meals.
Additionally, contaminated water can now be gathered from the new water well structure. Water can be manually boiled at a camp fire at a 50% production rate. With the correct building materials and technologies, better automated systems can be unlocked. Settlers can consume both normal and contaminated water, however they aren’t stupid ans will only drink contaminated stuff when there’s absolutely nothing else available.
Technically speaking, contamination is a tag that can be applied to any consumable item. The downside of contaminated items is that they increase the “sickness” meter, which in turn increase the likelihood of a settler to become ill. When weather patterns are implemented, more methods will be added for water collection.
Since last update, the individual survivor menu has been completed and slightly revamped in the process.
Equipment is visible on the main menu and can be changed directly without having to open the inventory sub menu. Needs (hungry, thirst, etc.) are detailed with a percentage.
As promised, a sub menu detailing what's influencing a survivor's current mood has been added. It's not a very sexy menu i'll give you that, but it does its job. Speaking of mood, many more actions have an impact on it. This is kinda paradoxical given the mood itself currently have next to no in-game impact, but that’s obviously going to change soon enough. Survivors also recognize when they are doing something in a room which doesn’t have the proper equipment. For instance, they won’t be happy to sleep in a bedroom in which you built a forge, or eat in a dining room without seats.
I've always disliked the storage system used in most, if not all, base building games. Having large zones full of random items on the ground seems weird to me. After some experimentation, I’m glad to announce that we’ll be using dedicated buildings for storage. As such, everything will be weight-based (maintaining both size and weight was pretty annoying code-wise, so that’s another plus). You’ll start with the ability to build very small storage zones (basically a box) and early research will allow for more options, but with a building cost.
Each storage unit can be dedicated to one or multiple categories of items and can be renamed. This system is also interesting, because when we'll be adding things like food decay, we'll be able to easily add refrigerated storage and things like that. It's also possible to add special storage buildings for specific items and nothing else.
We also have a general storage menu, displaying in a single spot all your resources, storage buildings and their individual content. An ability to search for specific items will be added, to make sure you can't lose something.
All things considered, it works pretty well. Storage buildings have visual indicators telling you how full they are, and while you can't see their actual content without opening a menu, in practice it really doesn't come into play that often.
It’s pretty much self explanatory. I added support for power management, production and requirements. But, contrary to RimWorld, you won’t have to draw lines all over the map to do so.
Instead, we’re using a system similar to Starcraft’s Protoss pylons. Simply put, you build power relays at regular intervals to extend your coverage. It’s effectively the same, but requires less micromanagement and visual pollution than drawing power lines. After the Collapse supports both fuel based generators and solar based ones. More advanced options being gated by research.
The only ‘missing’ option is the ability to store power into batteries. Technically, it shouldn’t be a much of a problem to implement, but it will be for later.
This part is very much it's in infancy and we're only at the very beginning. Still, a way to handle illnesses and wounds has been implemented. It’s an extension of the trait system which allow some traits to last for a specific period of time. When that period ends, there’s an additional option giving them a chance to morph into another trait. Let’s take an in-game example: the “bad cough” trait (slight reduction to social and endurance) lasts for 48 hours. After that, it has a low chance to either be replaced by “common cold” (benign) or “flu” (more annoying). While it’s not the case here, we can continue this chain of cascading effects for as long as we like.
Same goes for wounds, a laceration will have a chance to get infected, and an infection will most likely lead to death if left untreated. Of course, a medical station with appropriate recipes has been added too.
While I’m not done with the hospital proper (with beds and patient/doctor jobs) or health in general, far from it, I wasn’t planning on beginning until this month, so that premature progress was quite welcome.
There's also a lot of minor improvements and features being worked on. Notably, to keep up with the post-apocalyptic theme, the map generator got the ability to damage/decay buildings and furniture. It took a while mostly because that feature require an additional sprite for each piece of furniture (one clean, one damaged).
I'm also putting the finishing touch to the chat system so your survivors can create bounds between each other. Sound effects and sprites are slowly being added and created. I’m probably forgetting a few additions, but there was also a big focus on stability, bug fixing, and stuff I don’t normally write about, as they are of little interest to the public but still need to be done.
August is going to be difficult, there’s a LOT to do and we’re headed for record high temperatures over here which makes working next to an overheating PC quite difficult mentally. Granted I don’t die from a heatstroke, I should finish the hospital and health related stuff, which is the last big missing feature in my todo list.
That done, manual orders for combat, some basic weather system and finally an event system to trigger caravans, enemy raids and that kind of things. After that, and it's hard to tell how long it will take exactly, we'll have to feed the game with data, build a quick tutorial and getting ready for early access.