We are proud to announce that After The Collapse is now available on Steam Early Access!
Please, do not forget that is the first public version and we are in Early Access. In other words, it's only the beginning. Regular patches and updates will follow on a regular basis. Our next article will detail what the future holds for the game. Meanwhile, don't hesitate to come to the discord channel or to the Steam community forums for help, to post suggestions, discuss the game, or yell at us (in a calm, polite fashion).
Steam Store Page
The trailer is a bit dated now, and we'll add something a bit more eventful as soon as we can find the time to do so, but it's still showcasing the user interface in a fairly complete way.
While most of our work this month was spent polishing the game and making sure it's stable and running well, we still have 2 new features to showcase.
Technically, what I'm about to describe here is a menu driven placeholder for actual expeditions in the in-game engine. However, with proper care, it really has the potential to be a mini-game or even a standalone (small) game of its own (much later down the line, obviously).
Anyway, once you've researched the Exploration tech, you can build a station called Expedition Planner. Once built, clicking on it will land you on this menu:
This is where you select the people you want to send away, their destination, the duration of trip and what kind of resources you want them to focus on. Each location has its own loot table and difficulty rating. While the exact details are hidden, it's relatively straightforward. The closer to the center of the city, the more dangerous it is. Places like the commercial district are more likely to contain food than the industrial zone. You might also notice, in the bottom left corner, three indicators: offensive, defensive, scavenging power. On their journey your survivors will encounter various events, most of which will be testing one or several of those values.
Initially, you'll only be able to send 3 people at a time. With the appropriate technology (Live off the land) you'll be allowed to send more people at once.
Once everything is to your liking, you can press the Start Expedition button. Selected survivors will exit the map. And until the expedition ends, clicking on the Expedition Planner will display this menu instead:
Expeditions have three phases. Firstly, your group will travel toward the destination. On the road, they will periodically come across random encounters. Some good, some bad. Depending on the event, they will generally have to pass a skill check. If they succeed, they'll get some loot, or other bonuses. If they don't, someone might get sick, injured or even flat out killed. Your destination has a direct influence on the difficulty of those encounters.
Then, what's left of your group should arrive at destination. They will start searching the place for loot. Here, the scavenging skill is critical, people with a low skill are much less likely to find anything of value. And finally, they will head back home. Knowing the route, they won't encounter any event during that phase (at least for now, might change that later).
What your people can bring back is limited by their carrying capacity (based on strength), so they might come back will less stuff than what is listed in the log.
A lot can be done here. New techs could further expand the group, allow them to re-roll bad encounters, increase the likelihood of finding rare loot, and so on. All of this being fairly easy to implement. It just depends if we want to keep that system in the long run or not. I know it's difficult to convey the feeling in written form here, but in-game it's pretty fun. When you're lacking some crucial item, and send an expedition to (maybe) get it, it's hard not to stay glued to the menu. Which is why expeditions logs are also copied to the normal game-log.
It's still a high risk, high reward system. People *will* die and get sick, but it's intended.
Traders have been implemented, and they will come in cars. Yes, cars, those might become a thing for you too later on. But right now, I'm testing the water using the traders as a test case. For traders to come to your base, you'll just have to place a trading zone somewhere on the map and wait for the related event to fire. When the car is parked, clicking on it will trigger a menu like this one:
Merchants are specialized. In the menu above, it's a weapon dealer who will sell you weapons, ammo and armors. They'll buy raw materials, food and medicine. Generally speaking, merchant won't buy items of the same category they sell. For instance, the food trader won't buy ingredients or crops, but it will happily take your weapons. Buying and selling rates vary slightly from a merchant to another too.
Note that this is not a bartering system. Money is handled. So even if you're not interested in buying wares from a specific trader, you can still sell some of your surplus and wait for someone with more interesting goods.
While we were not able to put a full tutorial in place for this release, we added instead multiple help panels that will show up when something important happens or is being clicked:
We also added the ability to repair damaged structures, added colors in the game-log and made it clickable (clicking on an event like "X is getting sick" will center the camera on the survivor). And obviously, more content, techs, items (we have beer now!) and events.
After this first release on Steam, we'll take a week or two off to recover from those last months of crunch time, and, more importantly, to let the dust settle a bit before making decisions regarding our next patch. Of course, we'll still be there to handle the community and respond to questions. It just mean that our next article will be dedicated to the game's road-map and development plans instead of being a plain devlog.
In any case, we hope you'll enjoy this first early access release :)