DISCLAIMER: All of the content below is heavily conceptual and may never be in the game. All images and text are stand-in. Please read this before taking the images out of context!
PAX West 2019
I’m writing this as I wake up from a three-hour drive home after attending the 4-day long nerd convention in Seattle called PAX West. It’s a lot of work for us to pack our things and head out there, and even more work to have a booth, but it’s worth it. Connecting with you guys is an absolute joy.
A tremendous number of players from our discord stopped by to say Hi, and when they did, we asked them to make their mark on this sign. I'm not saying that everyone who played the game signed this. Only those really dedicated players. The ones who made the trip all the way out here to see us. And this picture was only taken on Day 2.
Special commendations must be awarded. Both Anclet and Stranger Days came in full dress uniform representing their respective factions, and Stranger Days even donated a warden flag to the booth, claiming it indisputably for the wardens for the duration of the entire weekend, which you think might be hard to top. But Eevee and his friends came to see us all the way from Iceland! For us. That has to be the farthest anyone has ever traveled for Foxhole. Devs included.
And last but definitely not least, Loxen, who brought us Bmats, Rmats, and Crude Oil for the booth. And that's just the physical things. He spent the entire weekend basically doing our job for us, and with more enthusiasm than we could ever hope to muster ourselves.
And of course, it wouldn't be a proper PAX without meeting fabulous celebrities. I Saw A Bear was doing a video the whole time which I won't talk about because that would be spoiling it. Some of the other people in these photos may not want to have their in-game names attached to their faces so I won't say. However if you look closely enough at the signatures on the sign, maybe you can figure it out.
And we of course played some games. How could you not? It's PAX. But everything paled in comparison to our booth. I'm just saying.
After the show we did a get-together at Melrose Market. Nothing fancy, but loads of fun for us. We ate pie (I told you we would), and drank, and loitered around like we owned the joint. Thanks again to everyone who came. We hope you had as much fun as we did. And hopefully, we'll see you all again next year!
Logi Town Restructuring
Sometimes, when you're in the throes of production on a particular feature or update, a curveball comes your way and you just sort of have to work with it. During the development of update 26, after we had built/revised all the layouts on the new maps, our plan for the logistics update changed and—near the end of the line—we had to go back in and add 'logistics' towns. Since it came so late in the process, we never had a chance to audit or really plan these changes, and while some of these towns were successful, many of them didn't work from a practical level.
It's hard to know how things are going to play until they're in heavy rotation so, now knowing what we know, I'm going to revisit each of the logi towns as part of the upcoming fall update.
To break down some of the changes, I'm going to use Buckler Sound in Stonecradle as an example. This is one of the prime Warden back-line hubs and sees a ton of action. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most cluttered, strangely built spaces in the game.
I have a few goals going forward:
1: There needs to be room to maneuver a bunch of vehicles, in and out, without hassle or feeling like you are going to murder someone.
2: As a pedestrian, you need to have a clear path to get out of the way.
3: There needs to be a place to organize supplies/vehicles outside. 4: Flow from structure to structure shouldn't be a huge pain.
Here's Stonecradle now:
I think it's pretty clear why Stonecradle is so cluttered and hard to work in.There are obviously some problems here. Firstly, nothing about building placement makes much sense. I see what we were trying to go for here, but everything's sitting at obtuse angles, and really no one builds anything this way. It's bizarre and makes it quite confusing to get around. Secondly, all the logi buildings are crammed into one little space, and they are all facing in opposing directions.
The Storage Facility literally clips out onto the road. I don't know if the collision blocks anything, but psychologically this is bad for players. Most will try and avoid it anyone, thus causing more congestion (Not to mention, the area is littered with props). Lastly, there is no flow. The Logi buildings almost work linearly here. Anyone trying to weave between multiple structures will have no choice but to contend with oncoming traffic.
Now, this is also a tricky subject, because someone (probably multiple someones) put quite a bit of work into this scene and obviously, I don't just want to trounce all that hard work. So my goal here will be to maintain the overall styling of the space while markedly improving this space. Logi towns are essential and need to be utilized better.
This is how I've revised the space:
I've tried to reorganize the space to make more sense for driving in and out and not getting in each other's way. Obviously, things are different. For one, I squared off the space. Believe it or not, the entire area actually takes up less real-estate now. There's a reason most cities/towns are built on grids and along roads: It's more economical. On top of that, I removed a lot of the superfluous objects cluttering the road and made sure there was more than one way to approach each of the different structures. Generally, I pushed things away from the main streets, which I maintain must be kept totally clear.
When a building which sees heavy use is put against the road, it then has the domino effect of pushing everything back, blocking pathways and generally pissing people off. Sometimes we let what we think are aesthetic choices get in the way of function when really, the functional approach is often the most pleasing anyway. People love to organize, even when they're not trying to. I kept some of the well scene and moved it closer to the Town Hall, and squared off some of that area too. There I found another well, which I felt was unnecessary. So I consolidated two scenes into one and made much better use of that space.
As for the rest, I made a couple small tweaks to theming, changed some garrisons to match the more rural setting, and I wanted to give the logi folks a pub for all the hard work they're doing. Everyone deserves a pint. Logically (no pun intended) it makes sense and is an excellent beefy garrison to have in the vicinity.
One thing that you might have noticed is the little patch of gravel at the top-left corner of the map. I'm calling these 'lots,' and every logi town is now going to have one. It's designated for organizing things outside of stockpiles and storage facilities. You cannot build on these patches so they should be used to organize vehicles and shipping containers and the like.
It's my sincere hope that these kinds of changes make running logistics a little less painful from a purely mechanical standpoint. I've taken it upon myself to make sure these spaces are far more user-friendly and make a bit more sense from a gameplay perspective. One of the big challenges going forward is to make sure each logi town feels different while ensuring a sense of design continuity.
With that said, I'm committed to improvement in this area. During Dev branch, for those of you who participate, if you find anything that just isn't working, let me know and we'll take another look.
Keep on trucking and stay foxy. — Matt
Feedback and Quality of life
Foxhole is a unique game and as a result, sometimes we can’t foresee how players will use a new feature. Often our first iteration is the simplest form of the feature and—based on how players use it—this allows us to get a sense of whether or not things are working.
The community offers valuable, problem-solving feedback and solutions to the game in its playable form. While we, the developer are focused on creating an experience and a game that pushes the envelope on persistent world, massively multiplayer games. Making early access games requires us to kill our darlings and experiment with new paradigms of development in order to deliver a better game in the long run.
This does not mean that we don’t care about the day to day issues that players encounter! We would love to implement every quality of life features that pop up, but we have to choose wisely how to spend our development time. At times there is some free time in development when a programmer, having a few days to spare, can work on a backlog of amazing requests that you, the community, have surfaced. One of which is this polish feature which was resurfaced by Reddit user: AdorableOrk. He so wonderfully and succinctly reminded us of essential information that was lacking from crates and stockpiles. You can see the elegant solution he mocked up above. We are working on a way to display the item contents on the crate icons, show the number of items in the hover menu, as well as displaying the item limits of certain stockpiles. Here is what we have so far:
Keep your feedback coming! I can ensure you, we’re reading it on a daily basis :eyes:
Foxhole Devstream 2pm EST - Every two weeks (alternative between blog posts) Tweet Devstream questions to @Matt directly on Discord or Twitter