Devblog 48 - Compass and Chat Improvements++

Friday August 13th,

Hey everyone, happy Friday the 13th! We’ve spent the week working on issues and game improvements for 1.10. A lot of what’s being done for these updates isn’t very devblog worthy Unfortunately, bug fixes don’t make for very exciting devblogs. We’ll discuss just a few of our planned changes below, what we’re working on and what’s to come.

Compass Improvements

Currently in the game you have two compass options. A DIY compass you can craft with a few bits and a found compass. The only difference between the two currently is the speed at which your position is displayed. The DIY compass is far slower than the one you can find in the world. When the player opens the maps, the compass takes time to calibrate. The time it takes is the difference between the two. This system works and it’s pretty unique but it’s not very intuitive and for the most part, takes far too much time and effort. We’ve decided to concept and start implementation of a new compass system. Once the player finds a compass in the world or crafts one, they’ll be able to see their position on the inspection menu. Currently the inspection menu is defaulted to ‘F’ . It's the menu that comes up when you want to inspect anything on your person or your stats. The current concept includes the ability to display a graphical N,E,S,W compass on the top of the screen. Along with the general direction, Andre has included the functionality to add icons of all kinds.

We’ve yet to decide what this new implementation will mean for the dual compass types. Our current ideas include DIY compasses showing fewer or limited icons with the opposite being true for the found compass. The video below is a showcase of a work in progress feature and may not represent the final product. If you have any ideas for improved compass features please feel free to share them with the team.

Chat Improvements

Andre has made further progress on chat improvements this week. The task is actually harder than it may seem. We’ve tied a lot of important ends and odds into the chat system and converting them all to a new and improved system takes a bit of time. The job is getting sorted now and Andre made great progress this week. The concept you saw a couple of weeks ago has been implemented and it’s currently being tied into all of our chat based mechanics.

Tools of the Trade

A lot of what we do first needs doing if that makes sense. Unity is a fantastic tool and we’ve relied on the community and numerous assets during development. We’ve also created a fantastic amount of in house tools from fence and power pole placement systems to loot spawners and general design managers. We’ve essentially developed a game engine inside of a game engine mostly out of need but also with the idea of modding in mind. If we make tools that are easy for anyone on the team to use they should be no issue for a player to use further down the line. Below is an example of a tool Andre has created for the dynamic help system. This system will allow any of us to easily extend the help system. Ideally we’d have a fully integrated in-game help system so you’re never leaving the game to get assistance.

Using the Unity timeline feature Andre has made a simple cation system possible. The ability to easily add captions to any gif/video will allow for quick and easy feature expansion. Like a lot of the tools we create, this one is future proof (for now at least).

Unity timeline and help video captions

This is the scriptable object that will allow for quickly updating the help system. Allowing for quite a good deal of customization.

  • Title: The title of the help gif/video.

  • Video: This is where you’d drop the actual file.

  • Captions: This gameobject would have been saved via the caption system seen above and include all the needed captions for the gif/video.

  • Help Image: No video? No problem we can also use a screenshot or diagram etc.

  • Help Info: This is the text displayed in the large help window in the menu.

Scriptable in-game object

We'll continue to work on improving early game mechanics and fixing all the bugs you guys have found over the last few builds. Thanks again for the continued support and issue reporting.