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To secure and speed up the release pace, and minimize the occurrence of delays, you can support us on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/winterfallgame




Our recent efforts have focused on tackling one of the last two items in the Wilderness features list: Outposts.

The logic for this is simple: the blueprint used to build and customize an Outpost is a scale up of the Camp-building mechanics. Scalability and adaptability drive the design of Winterfall, allowing us to cover a lot of ground by using the same mechanical structures in different parts of the game.

What is that blueprint, you ask?


Let's get into it, after some pictures.


Rebuilding the Hall

An Outpost is made of a Hall as well as some facilities around it. You've seen an excerpt of a piece of a Hall in the Trailer through this picture:

That scene, however, was built when I had no idea what I was doing regarding basic scene-building logistics so it became an expensive mess of hundreds of items that didn't survive the project developments too well.

So in order to properly design the Hall in preparation for the Outpost mechanics, I had to begin rebuilding everything from scratch.

The logic being that while the Hall itself is a fixed, static buildings, parts of it can be customized from a "tiles" system. Essentially, the Hall in its basic state is made of empty slots, which you can fill up with "Room" tiles which we call Facilities.

Facilities include all the usual: a mess hall for meals and feasts, a workshop, lodgings, all that kind of stuff.

So here are some screenshots of the tentative Hall rebuild according to that "tiles" system.



Now, let's talk about the logic before we go to the dev items.


Logic


Think of an Outpost as both a base of operations and a living community.

The Outpost System deals with the following mechanics:

  • Gathering & Spending Resources for the Outpost

  • Developing the Outpost physically by adding Facilities and People

  • Dealing with Crises bearing down upon the Outpost

Logic - Gathering & Spending Resources

  • Resources can be materialized from working Resource Nodes, or can be found in certain areas

  • Those Resources materialize as "Carry Objects" (crates, bags, etc)

  • Those Carry Objects must be carried to the Outpost

  • Once delivered, those Carry Objects update the Outpost's Resource count

  • Various factors cause a daily expenditure of Resources

Logic - Developing the Outpost physically by adding Facilities and People

  • The Outpost is built on a Grid

  • This Grid contains 4 types of Cells, with different rules

    • Facilities Cells, where basic Facilities can be built

    • Extensions Cells, where the above Facilities can be extended

    • Hall Cells, which are the default central area Outpost denizens will linger at

    • Preset Cells, which already contain predetermined Facilities that can only be upgraded

  • Facilities require Operators, specialized denizens that will operate them

  • Facilities have two main types of impact:

    • Open up new interactions/actions

    • Lessen the severity of adverse events called Crises

Logic - Crises

  • The evolution of Outpost Resources, as well as various events, will generate Crises

  • Crises generate high stakes gameplay goals and/or dilemma prompts

  • Success & Failure at Crisis Handling shape up the life & death of the Outpost

  • Specialized Facilities and Operators may lessen the severity of Crises


Development


Outpost Basics

  • Added a Permanent Hearth to the Outpost, ensuring respawn possibility in case of Woe

  • Outpost UI now displays counters for Food, Supply & Treasure

  • Outpost now contains a Drop Off area into which to drop aforementioned Resource objects

  • Resources in Drop Off update Resources Counter UI

  • Resources in Drop Off are "stowed" at 6pm

  • Drop Off no longer active between 6pm and 6am

Outpost Status

  • Outpost Health/Quality of Life now marked as a percentage (HP%)

  • Outpost Material Security now marked as a percentage (MP%)

  • HP/MP UI Display

  • People in Outpost incur HP Cost/day

  • Facilities in Outpost incur MP Cost/day

  • Daily HP/MP Cost UI Display

  • HP/MP status updated at 10pm

We're currently implementing the Crisis mechanics, which should be done very early this week.

Next, we'll be dealing with the mechanics that enable Facility-building in the Outpost.

This may lead us to either finishing things up with adding Outpost NPCs mechanics, or digressing to Camp-building.


Outpost NPC mechanics promise to be quite an involved deal, which is why we may want to finish up Camping first.

Some systems are that kind of rabbit hole, where you do know where you begin but it's impossible to know where you'll end. Winterfall contains a lot of those, so careful consideration will have to prevail here.


Thank you for your patience and continued interest!


Greetings,


To secure and speed up the release pace, and minimize the occurrence of delays, you can support us on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/winterfallgame


The past two weeks have been very busy, with game work primarily, as well as other, unrelated work (gotta pay those bills that won't pay themselves).

At the moment, the roadmap for the mechanics of that specific segment of the game contains 27 items, of which 6 remain to either update, finish or fix, the rest is done. Here is a a picture of said roadmap, or more like Checklist. It's indicative, so it's missing a lot of finer detail and specific bits, including and especially stuff that's already done:


Once that roadmap/checklist is done, we'll focus on strictly gameplay material: tuning the gameplay/experience of those systems; because unfortunately, having lots of systems doesn't in itself suffice to create or guarantee a game experience so a good amount of work will be needed to ensure actual playability and even fun.


There is a similar list for the Character (Creation, Growth, Meta...) and Strategy (Base-building, Base Life, Base Defense, etc...) layers of the game but for the time being they must remain under wraps. More lists also need to be summarized and curated for other aspects of the game (Relationships, Storytelling, Combat & Crafting come to mind...) but you know where the current priorities are at the moment.


With that being said, here is the list of what was taken care of this past couple weeks:


Mood

We are reintroducing Player Mood, a key mechanic to the Survival component of Wilderness gameplay, by which events shift the Player's Mood positively or negatively, all within in the following logic:

- Player Conditions (Survival Needs) decrease Mood as they rise or better Mood as they fall

- Fulfilled Player Urges improve Mood, skipped or unfulfilled Player Urges lower Mood

- Mood can then be used at Campfire or Hearth to acquire "buffs" or clear debuffs

In the original system, Mood evolved specifically, from one particular Mood to another. Currently, it's only a score, positive or negative, indicating a good or bad Mood but not more specific than that. We will move towards restoring that system in future updates and will tell you more as we do so.


Notice Update

Notice is the system by which the Player's presence in the environment is signaled to said Environment. In turn, the Environment may react with Events of increased severity as Notice goes up. It is therefore in the Player's interest to watch their Notice footprint so that it doesn't get in the way of progress or interfere with actions and interactions.


- Notice has been separated into two: Local Notice and Global Notice

- Local Notice affects the current Area the player is in and rules local incidents (Ambushes, Patrols, etc)

- Local Notice is triggered by:

- Detection by Eye of the Wild Critters

- Destroying Obstacles

- Making Fire/Hearth outside of Landmark Areas

- Global Notice carries across the entire Region and rules global events (Weather, for example)

- Global Notice is triggered by:

- Fully Recalling a Faded Structure

- Harvesting % of a Resource Node

- Claiming an Area


Patrol Stealth Update

- Patrol Incidents now function as proper goals, updating as needed:

- Avoid Patrol, if the Player is yet Undetected

- Escape or Overcome Patrol if the Player is Detected

- "Hiding Spots" are spawned at Map Generation

- Hiding Spots can (and should) be Discovered by interaction

- When trying to Avoid or Escape a Patrol,

- The System will indicate the direction of the nearest Discovered Hiding Spot to the Player

- The player can then enter that Hiding Spot, or any Hiding Spot along the way

- If the Hiding Spot is not in the Bot Line of Sight at entry, the Player will be Hidden


Surveying Incidents

- Critter

- An unaware Critter will walk into the Player's vicinity

- The Critter may turn into an "Eye of the Wild"

- "Eyes of the Wild" increase Local Notice when they Detect the Player and escape him/her successfully

- The Critter can detect the Player by Line of Sight or by environmental Motion

- The Critter will run away from a Detected Player

- The Critter will try to reach the nearest Escape Spot

- Tracks

- Tracks appear by the Player

- Examining Tracks will reveal a Direction

- Walking in that Direction will reveal further Tracks

- Tracks are generated in the way that prevents backtracking and crisscrossing

- Walking up the chain of Tracks will lead to a Tracking Outcome

- Patrol

- Patrol Bots spawn & flock together - Patrol Walks to nearest Hostile Camp

- Patrol has a Line of Sight

- Standing in Line of Sight causes Detection - Patrol Detection have a displayed Detection Area Boundary - Standing within the Detection Area Boundary triggers a countdown - Detection if Countdown reaches 0 - Escape Detection Radius Countdown refills by 1/s after 3s out - Detection causes Bots to Chase/Attack Player - Player Goal updates accordingly from Avoid to Escape to Defeat Patrol - Escape or Avoidance can occur through Hiding Spots - Hiding Spots = auto success to Escape when colliding with them - Must first Scout (F) Hiding Spot for it to show up as Escape goal - Can still use unscouted Hiding Spot. It's just not Pointed to - Hiding Spots have Active/Inactive state toggle


Mood

- Conditions (Survival Needs) increases lower (negative) Mood. Conditions decreases increase (positive) Mood

- Urge fulfillment increases (positive) Mood. Failure to fulfill Urges decreases (negative) Mood.


Stamina, Regen & Conditions Fixes

- Restored Passive Stamina Regeneration in Locomotion Mode

- Restored impact of Stamina Loss & Regen on Conditions (Survival Needs)

- Thresholds of Stamina Regen increase Hunger

- Thresholds of Stamina loss while Running or Sprinting increase Thirst

- Thresholds of received Stamina Damage increase Injury

- Exertion increases passively as other Conditions are triggered


Everything else was mostly mechanical nitty-gritty and updates to functions, which there was a lot of.


Our next moves will be with Outpost Mechanics and advanced Hearth Mechanics, as well as a sprinkling of gameplay fixes and additions.

We are on track for a completely functional Wilderness tech demo for the end of the year. Wish us luck!


Take care and thank you for your interest, patience and support!

Greetings,


To secure and speed up the release pace, and minimize the occurrence of delays, you can support us on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/winterfallgame


Last week, we talked about the new features in the Incident System: Animal Spawn, Tracks Spawn, Patrol and Ambush. Over the past week, we extended some of those features in various ways. As we are not quite done and satisfied with the degree of completion of so said features, let's reserve them for next week's dev update, where we'll be able to talk about them in greater detail. Let's show instead some pretty pictures and talk about World Rebuilding.



The attached screenshots were taken in the rebuilt/salvaged version of a number of areas (all in the same general region) that have appeared previously in the Winterfall social media posts as well as videos. Maybe you'll recognize some of them.


Building the game world for Winterfall has been one of the most challenging aspects of the work over the years. Mostly in three ways:

  • First, learning the tools and fundamentals of level building and all the mistakes and sins that go with it,

  • Then, trying to come up with custom solutions to fulfill requirements for how things must work (assets, work process management, etc)

  • Finally (going on at the same time as the other two), losing the work a few times due to various incidents.

Like pretty much everything else about this project, complete satisfaction is not there yet. There is a level of engineering that is still beyond our means that would solve the bigger issues. So there too, it's important to be able to content oneself with the state of things as they are, knowing that the future will get things closer to how they "should" be.

One of the bigger changes I'm looking forward to in the future, will be to the way worlds are actually built. Right now, it's individual, hand-placed little items (there's hundreds of them, mostly rocks). Every tree, every platform, every wall, every rock, anything that's part of the environment is one item, at its given scale, put there by a manual process. There is no procedural generation or such.

It's very time-consuming but I like it because it creates very personal things and the work process puts one in a kind of meditative state: you need to focus, but not focus hard, so while your immediate attention is on the task, your mind can wander off.

It's kinda fun and produces very interesting results, but it's far from ideal.

It was actually something that took me a ton of time to get into initially because I never liked the process of making landscapes and environments out of stacked, combined and overlapped objects, always thought it was messy and counterintuitive... but the freedom you're allowed is kinda limitless, so...

Anyways, the big future change I'm looking forward to is getting custom "area islands" built as single objects so that instead of placing every little item manually, "world island objects" can instead be put together in the scene. It will scene building, processing, and will also make modding much easier.

If instead of placing 1000 objects in the scene to build a decent landscape with a proper level of detail, you can get away with placing 25 and get a result that's not only as satisfying visually, but also more economical in terms of processing power and required skill level, that can only be better.

For now, we work with the little stuff, with the single pieces and the individual props. The screenshots come out well, the landscapes are pretty nice, it does the job. Eventually though, there'll be that migration. When it occurs, I'll be more than relieved!


And as usual, you can:

Thank you very much!

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