Hey everyone! I'm back with another update today. This is the shortest time span between updates since I started writing these (two in one month)!
At the end of my last post, I mentioned that I would be shifting my focus to work on new features that are more interesting, and have a bigger impact on gameplay. Today I want to introduce the first of these. This is comprised of 3 new systems that are closely related, player experience, player skills, and victory points.
Before I delve into those though, I want to quickly go over two other smaller changes I made.
I added a message log to the bottom left of the screen. It logs the last 20 messages and is color-coded. This should make it easier for the more important messages to catch your eye.
Also, you might have noticed a new icon on the right side of the screen. There are actually two changes here. The new pause icon at the top brings up the menu for options, saving/loading, etc, that was previously displayed by clicking the "P" icon. The "P" icon now displays the player skill UI when clicked. (This, along with the UI for experience and victory points, can be displayed by pressing the F1-F3 keys).
So first up is player experience (F2 key).
Almost every action you can take in the game will be a category that you can gain experience in. There are currently about 10 exp categories, such as how many tiles you've explored or how much money you've made, but this will quickly expand to somewhere between 50 and 100 as more game mechanics are implemented into the game.
Each exp category displays its name, level, total, and a progress bar with the current and needed amount for the next level. However, as you can see in the above screenshot, when you first start out, all of the categories are unknown and are displayed with questions marks. The order is also random.
After you gain a level in one of the exp categories, it'll be moved to the top of the list and its info will be fully displayed. The amount of needed exp for most of these categories scales at double the previous amount, so it'll be increasingly more difficult to level them up. I'll explain what gaining a level in the exp categories does for you in the next section, and in the section after that, I'll explain why they have different colors.
Player skills (F1 key).
Gaining a level in any of the exp categories will gain your character 1 exp point (see screenshot below).
So in addition to all of the different exp categories, your character also gains experience and levels up. The exp needed to gain a level is tied to how many exp categories there are. So the player can level up by gaining one level in each category, or by gaining more levels in some and less in others (which will be the more likely scenario). When the player levels up, they will gain skill points that they can spend to boost different abilities.
In the current setup, the player gains 2 skill points at level 2, 3 points at level 3, and so on. There are currently 3 areas that can be leveled up to increase max HP, max Energy, and the player inventory's capacity. This will expand over time as more features are implemented. The player will need to decide what areas to boost to best benefit their play style.
In addition to the skills that can be boosted with skill points, there are also skills that the player can acquire through a variety of means. Some of the ways that I have in mind are, gaining a certain level in each of a specific set of exp categories, completing quests, and finding secret items. The first of these is already implemented, and it's how the two skills in the above screenshot are unlocked.
The Mountain Climber skill allows players to walk over the normally impassable mountain tiles, and the Deep Water Builder skill allows players to build bridges over the dark blue, deep water tiles (allowing access to islands that were previously inaccessible). Most of the acquirable skills will be unknown to the player, and will need to be discovered while playing.
Lastly, victory points (F3 key).
Among the many exp categories, some of them will be randomly selected at the start of the game to be victory conditions. Gaining a certain level in these categories (the default is level 10) will earn you victory points towards completing the game. Bringing up the victory points UI filters out and displays only these categories.
At the top you can see how many victory points you have and how many are needed to win. As I mentioned before, you probably noticed that different exp categories have different color bars. As you can see in the screenshots above, the different colors correspond to their different tier levels, gold, silver and bronze. The exp categories that are blue are not victory conditions, and cannot earn you victory points.
The gold categories are the main objectives of the game. There is currently only one, earn a certain amount of money, but I may or may not increase this later on. Gold categories will earn you 5 victory points, and are required. This means that no matter how many victory points you have, you cannot beat the game without completing these.
Next are the silver categories. These will be largely business-related categories, and are randomly selected at the start of the game. Silver categories will earn you 3 victory points, and none of them are required to win.
And last are the bronze categories. These are randomly selected at the start of the game as well, from bronze-tier exp categories. Bronze categories are relatively easier to achieve, and only earn you 1 victory point. Like the silver categories, none of them are required.
There will be more categories available than victory points required, so the player will be able to aim for the ones they want to complete in order to fill out the remaining points they need to win.
You will still be able to continue playing the game even after beating it. The idea behind the victory point system is to give players certain goals that they can complete each playthrough. I also plan on allowing this to be adjustable, so that the player can tailor how they want to beat the game. You'll be able to opt for a short, medium, or long game by choosing how many victory points are required, the level needed to gain a point, and which categories are victory conditions (either random or selected by the player).
Well, that's all I have for this update. Hopefully it wasn't confusing, but if you have any questions, please post them below. Next I'm going to be working on revamping the resource harvesting system. This isn't going to be a largely UI revamp like for what I did with the crafting system, but rather, this will be a complete overhaul of how resource gathering works. I think most of you that have been following The Frontier might be surprised with the end result, some of you potentially even against it, but I'm excited to get it implemented and share it to see what players think. Please look forward to it!
Also, I recently started a twitter account. If you like, you can follow me @nikku_nomura and send me any questions or comments you have through there. I'll occasionally post screenshots and tidbits of what I'm working on in between the bigger updates.
As always, thanks for reading!
If you're interested in The Frontier, please support it by checking out its Greenlight page and voting to see it become available on Steam: The Frontier - Greenlight. Many thanks to those who vote!
If you would like to try out The Frontier, you can download an older version from the link below. *The features in this update are not included in the older demo.