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Pre-Alpha Devblog #9 (0.9 Preview)

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JB_

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Hello all,

Thanks for checking out our 9th devblog! We’ve released the 0.8.21 build to our default branch on Steam. The build introduces the beginnings of our fortification mechanic among other quality of life improvements and bug fixes.

It has been a little over 3 months since our last default update and a lot of that time has been spent improving our workflow. In the last few weeks we've adapted a completely new workflow and have begun using Jira. We're using it to streamline our time, allowing us to prioritize the 'bigger picture' by breaking the work into bite sized pieces. As most of you know, this is our first project and learning nearly everything has been a big part of it. The addition of Jira and the Scrum workflow to the team has already done wonders. We're really making headway on 0.9 as a team and for the first time we're not working with our backs against a wall. Our past workflows, most through trial and error, have been overwhelming and at most times the team felt as though there was a constant mountain to climb. The new workflow allows us to attack the mountain step by step and provides great structure while doing so.

0.9 Reworked!

Originally our plan for 0.9 was to add passive AI and hunting. Mid development on 0.8 we produced a build and for the first time in a long time spent a good few days playing the game. Not testing or developing just playing as a player would. We've realized there were issues that needed to be addressed so we took a step back from our planned roadmap as introducing animals does not solve current issues. 0.9 will focus on a nice game loop and much needed gameplay improvements. Below we'll showcase some of what we have planned for the next default update. You can keep an eye on the changelog to follow our progress.

Crafting Recipe Overhaul

Our current crafting system can sometimes be confusing. The search bar is rarely used and how the tools are used is confusing as is the recipe layout. @Jayty is reworking the current system creating what we hope is a system that's a bit more straightforward. Once the player reaches the 'Create' tab, their inventory displays the player's loot with either a [Search] or [Recipe] option. This makes it much easier to see what you can create with an item or what recipes contain the item. We'll showcase the crafting mechanic in next weeks devblog.

Headlamp and Day/Night Cycle Length

It's currently beyond difficult to survive most nights and not always enjoyable. While testing, most of us found it far too dark or dangerous to even move out of a structure at night and if the power wasn't running it was just as hard to do anything inside. We've taken steps to improve this such as shortening nights across the board covering all seasons. Along with the shorter nights and longer days we'll be introducing a headlamp as part of your starting loot. The batteries won't last forever and it's not the brightest but it should make surviving your first night a bit easier.


The headlamp can be enabled with V or via the inventory​

Starting Camps

In addition to shortened nights, longer days and headlamps, another feature we're focusing on for 0.9 is the 'starting camp'. New players will be guided to these camps via signs along the roads and in the wild. Commonly known as blazes these signs will guide new players and returning players alike to small camps. These camps may consist of a ruined cabin or tent that will eventually provide the player with a sleeping mat. This will allow them to save and log off safely anywhere in the world. They'll also include a hatchet, a harvestable wood/tinder source, harvestable bushes and some might also introduce the water cleaning mechanic with dirty water sources. All camps will have static campfires and grills as shown below (not an actual camp just the new fire). These camps should help new players survive their first few nights as they'll be bright with a fire burning. Camps will be safer than the general wilderness and much safer than any town. They should provide the player with a decent start.


New static campfire will also include a cooking surface (camps not designed here)​

Interior Redesign and Cleanup

We've started to redesign all of our structure interiors including some texture improvements. Many of you have commented and suggested that we went a bit too far with how dirty structures were. Seeing as how they're a major part of your survival and with the introduction of fortifications, structures needed to be looked back into. The rework includes updating some textures, cleaning and removing debris and just a general rework to include more shelving and space for loot. With the coming introduction of player dropped loot and placeable containers, grow lamps and traps houses needed a bit more space in them. Below are a few shots of cleaner design and the start to our structure update.








New Notifications, Hints and Hovers

We've started to update our UI to make it a bit clearer as to exactly what's interactable. The player will now see small icons at a set range when they're able to interact with a game object in the world. We've also replaced our small GUI that would pop up over items with a cleaner looking mechanic that's easier to read and doesn't impede the players view as much. We'll dig deeper into the new hint and tip notifications in coming devblogs.


The current small GUI that pops up on interactable game objects.


The new system and the new hover icons showing lock and door interaction positions. The player can now slam the door open by hitting e anywhere on the panel.


The new player hint notification informing a player here that they have just picked up a compass and should search for a map. The system will be dynamic and you'll see these hints on many items in the world.​

Placement Mode Directly From Inventory

Something many of you have asked about is placement directly from inventory. This feature will be introduced in 0.9 making placement much easier. As placement stands now, a player must first drop an item then hold e to pick it up and enter placement mode. With the next update, players will be able to hold shift while in inventory and use the place button to enter this mode directly. This will come in handy with the introduction of more traps, shelving and placeable containers!


Placement from Inventory​

We're working on quite a bit more for 0.9. These improvements and new features should greatly improve the player's initial experience. There's a ton of developing to do. We have a new workflow and we're excited for the future. We'll include more of what's to come in 0.9 in next Friday's devblog!

As always, thanks much for the continued support! If you're testing out 0.8 and the initial fortification mechanic, please report any bugs found to our tracker :)

As a reminder before we go, we'll be getting these devblogs out weekly. You can check our next set of goals and 0.8 progress whenever you'd like via the changelog. Thanks for checking in and the continued support!
 

Num47

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What? No. We can't stop here. This is bat country.
Very good stuff to digest there, the reworked parts was a smart idea and slamming doors, nice.... but stop with the good work, you make me look like a kiss ass because I praise so much :p
 

DZS

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Love the UI improvements icons are a great idea. Very pleased to see you guys are testing game from player POV. I think its something alot of company's don't do today. It will allow you to make a much more enjoyable game.

The workflow improvements are a boon, im sure will have long reaching benefits. All those sorts of improvements im a big fan of, love automation. Camps is a good idea, gives the sense your not just randomly teleported into the world and your meant to be there.
 

Wakiyan4

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Everything is shaping up wonderfully! I certainly would like to see (at the very least) a way to boil/purify water, other than pure luck in scavenging. I am getting a very good grasp on the calories aspect, but it still seems a bit much. I spend most of my time scavenging for food, and not able to enjoy the other aspects of the game. I love what you are doing with the game though. This is shaping up to be THE zombie apocalypse experience! Can't wait for hunting and vehicles!
 
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