After lots of time spent polishing, fixing bugs, and improvement usability, it was time to work on making the game more interesting than it was. The team felt the gameplay was a bit too straightforward, lacking in meaningful choices and challenge. While the game was enjoyable, there was really only one way to progress and player choices didn’t have enough consequences.
All this is now changed. A lot of time was spent balancing all aspects of the game, and a few new mechanics were introduced to create a more varied and interesting experience. Players now have several ways to progress and improve their colony, such as improving infrastructure, through research, or scavenging missions.
Below are a few of the bigger changes.
Keeping survivors fed is now a much bigger challenge. Farms are more expensive, and resources are more limited. Players must choose between building additional farms, defenses, weapons, or research. Farms also require constant tending now, so more advanced food production with higher yields is essential to free survivors for other tasks.
Distances & Pacing
The pacing of the whole game was increased. It’s now interesting to play even in normal speed. Survivor’s work speed, how fast they become hungry or tired, how fast they heal, and the pace at which enemies get stronger - have been increased. The only thing that was not increased as much is walk speed. Survivors also become hungry and tired much faster, spending more time walking from their tasks to the food table or beds.
The direct consequence is that time spent traveling is a much larger portion of a survivor’s schedule, making base placements and the random map much more meaningful.
The way research is done has completely changed. Previously, players had to collect literature through scavenging and then perform relatively short research tasks. Now, survivors constantly perform experiments and practice science to gain research points. These research points can then be spent to unlock new technologies. Some technologies still require additional materials only available through scavenge and combat.
This new research mechanic demands that the player properly balance survivors’ time between unlocking technologies, collecting materials, improving infrastructure, and tending to needs.
In addition, several new technologies were added, doubling the size of the research tree.
A new resource has been introduced - Drinking Water. Survivors constantly drink from the colony’s water supplies, so the player has to keep an eye on the supplies and make some time for gathering water from the local well as they start to run low.
This new mechanic requires even more balancing between tending to survivor needs and improving the colony. Colony placement also has a new interesting aspect - keeping water supplies nearby so that precious time is not wasted walking back and forth. Additional wells can be built later on after unlocking the required research.
To ease all these new balancing, a new resource bar has been added to the HUD, displaying the stored food and water, and the accumulated research points.
In addition, several new alerts have been added, to notify the player when food or water are starting to run low, relative to the amount of survivors that need to be fed.
New Promo Art
As preparations for a public alpha proceed, we’ve done some work on our promotional materials. We worked with a talented painter from Ashen Labs, who made some new box art. A brand new logo was commissioned as well.
More survivor portraits
More variety has been added to survivor portraits, with a total of 54 different portraits. It is unlikely now that players will encounter characters with the same portrait in a single game.
Clothing, hairstyle and color, and body color are still randomized adding even more variety.