Back On Track
After a very rough start to the year, full of illness and delays, things have got a bit better lately since we released patch 18.104.22.168 last month. We still aren’t at 100% speed but we’re making slow and steady progress. A new patch is already well underway as this dev blog will show.
The crisis earlier in the year was terrible at the time. I even begun to wonder if we could finish the game. We couldn’t do anything except wait. However, in the long run, this proved to a great thing for me, personally. I finally overcame my fears of delays and the public... Because we were stuffed. Sometimes when you hit rock bottom its easier than trying to keep afloat. You realise nothing that bad actually happened. It is only a video game after all.
I’ve been able to relax and enjoy making the game without worrying about the business aspects since then. If it stresses me out, I don’t do it. A lot of our success is down to good fortune. I’m not going to risk my health and sanity over making a game (or money).
If we ever make a game afterwards, I hope I shall be a lot more chilled about it. This has meant withdrawing a bit, ignoring social media, and gaming news but peace of heart is priceless. Things work out.
I’m really happy how the team handled the delays. We’re doing this for the fun of it mostly (any minimum wage day job would pay better) and everybody stuck together and supported each other during the delays even though things looked uncertain occasionally. Some of us didn’t even know each other before starting this game (we’ve still never met the whole team in person) but there’s a team spirit and faith in the project that keeps us going. I don’t think there’s ever been a day of drama team-wise since we started.
It’s good to be making games and realising that all that nonsense people say about the business side of things really doesn’t matter, provided you’re not in it to get rich.
The next update to the game is going to bring a heap of new features. We haven’t been able to really deepen the city-building side of the game for a while but we can finally get around to it now. Here’s some of the things we are working on right now, which will be coming in the next patch.
Wind Turbine & Electricity
This is now already in the game and working (on our end). The new turbine building will be one of the most advanced things you can build. It will charge up batteries that can be used to supply power to your buildings. (The building model is still being worked on).
It’s up to you what building to give power to, one by one. Each building now has an upgrade. We’re in the process of adding in lots of them. Each upgrade costs a battery. Batteries might be hard to come by and charge (we’ll see when I balance it) so you’ll have to pick carefully. Generally the game will be a bit harder at the start until you upgrade.
Restoring power to your shanty town is a sign it is becoming more advanced, more like how life was before the war.
The upgrades for each building vary, but there are some player requested ones like bigger storehouse capacity, longer repair duration, and scavengers will get a boost that makes them less likely to die in the middle of nowhere.
This is related to the wind turbine. When you upgrade a building, a light will appear on it. This lets you know it’s got power but it also makes your town look really cool when it gets dark outside (using the day/night feature from last version). By the end of the game most of your town could be lit up, showing how you’ve restored civilization.
Adam has been really busy holding the fort lately through the sickness we’ve suffered and I’m really happy to say he’s added another new building this version.
You can now invite an independent trader to come and live in your town by building a certain structure. This will unlock the barter system. Essentially you trade what you have an excess of for whatever you need. No more having to destroy goods!
This is balanced at the moment so that it’s a last resort because the trader will rip you off, but if you can’t face another salvage trip, or you want medicine in a hurry, this is one way to get it.
(The UI is still a work in progress and will be prettier!)
Nick has been busy redoing the camera system in this version. Hopefully this is the last thing we need to fix up as we’d much rather make new content, but the camera was really cranky.
He has made it practically impossible to get stuck in scenery now and has smoothed it out so it feels a lot nicer even if your PC is chugging a lot with the game.
In addition to that, we have added in some player requests like edge-scrolling and sensitivity options.
Work in Progress Buildings
The above is stuff we’ve added in the last few weeks but there’s a lot more I’d like to put in this patch content-wise. Nani has been busy making models...
This picture above shows the in-development Water Boiling Facility, Courthouse and Refrigeration Unit buildings. All 3 should hopefully be coming to the next version. I’ll explain more about their use in the next blog. Certain buildings (like the fridge) will need electricity to even work. (We’re still working on the models.)
Other Plans For This Version
Depending how things go, we also have plans to introduce a basic research system so you can unlock buildings, which will add some extra planning to the game.
We also are going to slightly complicate the resources so that more advanced buildings need more advanced materials, which requires some processing. It won’t be anything that complex but just an extra element of strategy.
It’d be nice to also add in another social issue to deal with.
I’ve heard players’ request a nice, big flat-map to play on so we might add that in as well (we actually use one for testing so could just add it!)
We are still recovering a bit with doctors and medical problems to deal with but my goal would be to get this version out over the summer. I really don’t have a firm plan for it yet. When it’s ready, it’ll be out and I will try to keep people informed via blogs. There’s a lot of content like this coming to the game. Nothing amazingly game-changing but just more and more to do.
The best way to reach me is on our Discord server. I generally check it each day.
Thanks To Our Players
I just want to say an extra thanks to all the players and supporters of the game who left us a nice message or a word of support during the delay. The vast majority of people on Steam are actually very cool and really get what the game is about. That aspect didn’t change when we stopped being a pre-alpha. Players do have a role to play in helping get a game out and knowing the audience was behind us certainly sped up the recovery process. Thank you from everybody on the team!
I will see you in the next blog, whenever that might be.
The Road to Release
Every month we release a personal and honest look at the making of Atomic Society.