Devblog 42 - Inventory Improvements | Lock Improvements | Team Changes++

Friday June 25th,


Hello everyone, thanks for checking out this week's devblog. The team has been busy working on quality of life improvements and fixing issues you’ve all found in the 1.8 builds. Our next couple of updates will focus on getting these issues fixed and the early game improved and more importantly more fun.


Inventory Improvements


While we really do love our clean HUD and lack of anything on the screen most times, it can be really frustrating and rather confusing when your stats get critically low. This week James has set out to improve this issue. In the coming 1.9 build you’ll notice these changes, any critical stat will show on the screen. This should help when it comes to knowing exactly what’s going on, you’ll be far less likely to get caught out when you see a critical stat pop.


Along with this improvement James has implemented the ability to adjust stats directly from the stat read out in the inventory booklet. You’ll notice a search function now when hovering over any of the available stats. This really speeds up the process and makes sorting through the inventory for a required item far less time consuming and tedious.



Lock Improvements


If you play the game you know it can be a real pain to open a fully locked structure door. It’s also no walk in the park to open a container with more than a single lock. Our lock mechanics have been improved. James has introduced a system that allows the player to open all the locks on a structure door or container at once.


In 1.9 all locks that a player has access to are now automatically unlocked where possible. They will also relock in the event that they were unlocked using this new system.


The main consideration when adding this was regarding clunkiness without adding complexity. Initial concepts introduced a ‘Hold' function on doors/containers but this required extra hover information and added a step to opening the door which arguably made things once again clunky.


Ultimately James implemented the lightest weight system possible and given the easiest use possible. For all intents and purposes the player shouldn’t have to learn anything for this system to work. It should make the locks feel like a supplement overall instead of a required hindrance.



Team Changes


In 2015 we took on our second batch of interns from the Netherlands. Included in that group was a 6’7 beanstalk of a boy. Jos joined the team, fresh out of school 18 and confused most of the time he fit right in. Over the course of the last 6 years he has become family and done an amazing job working on Survive the Nights. The lion's share of the level design in Survive the Nights has been done by him. From the smallest details like trash piles right up to the latest POI's like the prison.


We’re very proud and excited to announce that Jos (affectionately known as 'Sausage' since his first day) is moving on, today in fact will be his last day with a2z Interactive. He has accepted a job with a much larger team using the skills he has honed, he’ll be working as part of a level design team at a much larger studio! We wish him all the best of luck in the future and he knows he always has a home here with a2z (not really, we actually already burned his desk/chair but don’t tell him that).


That being said, there’s no need to fret. Our team has always been small and with our focus switch to game polish, the timing hasn't hurt the project drastically. Once we phase out of Quality of Life and general polish we will be looking to hire a new level designer! This post will be advertised on our main company page.


Discord and JB


As most of you know, I’ve been the community manager for a2z forever. I’ve spent 7 days a week nearly 365 days a year on Discord answering questions and dealing praise and hate alike. Back in the early concept days and up until Jos took lead with level design, I filled that position. With Jos moving on I will be filling that role for the time being, and I’m quite excited about that. It has been a blast being around for all of you but I’d really like to get my hands back on Unity and back into development. We’ll likely be changing discord a bit. Making it more of an information hub than a ‘hangout’. We’ll always be around for questions, comments and general banter but I’ll not be as responsive and available as I have in the past.