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Monday Dev Update #15

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Hello there and welcome to this blog.

We've been hard at work on the Outpost-building system described in previous blog entries. Typically, those are the slow progress updates because they require a lot of groundwork to be laid out before anything really comes through. So from a list of many items, you will spend a lot of time on the first two items or so, before you can do anything to really begin. Anyways, let's get into what we've been up to for the past few weeks.

Outpost Crisis Mechanics

In our previous update, we were dealing with the Crisis mechanics: if Outpost resources dropped too low, a Crisis Event might pop up. We successfully completed that logic according to our plans. We have a Crisis Check, a Type of Crisis determinant, a Crisis Gravity parameter and some basic Crisis Events.

  • Crisis Check occurs at Resources Thresholds

  • 4 Categories of Crisis: Security, Management,/Economy, Cultural, Logistical/Industrial

  • Basic Crisis Gameplay Goals

    • Security: Defend Outpost from Bots for time duration

    • Management/Economy: Recover Missing Item

    • Cultural: Complete a Number of Interactions within time

    • Logistical/Industrial: Carry # of objects to a central location before they're all destroyed

  • Crisis Gravity Level influences difficulty for the above events:

    • Security: More or less bots attacking Outpost

    • Management/Economy: More or less obstacles on the way to Item

    • Culture: More interactions to complete within allotted time

    • Logistics/Industry: Less amount of time between each object's destruction

  • Crisis Gravity can be lessened based on what Facilities the Outpost contains

  • Crisis Messages inform you of the current Crisis's goal

Raiding or getting raided is par for the course for Wilderlands Outposts

The next step for this was to add the NPC contributions to Crisis: for example having guard NPCs in your Outpost would obviously play a part in whether or not there would be a Security Crisis in the first place. However, in order to get there, it was necessary to address first the mechanics by which you may get NPCs in your Outpost. And that is:

Outpost Building Mechanics

Your Outpost is a general "zone" containing a central Hall, customizable, as well as a number of slots for various facilities. From the Outpost, you will plan your expeditions, watch your characters live their life, and intervene in that life as you customize and improve the Outpost. This is a part where RPG meets RTS meets Life Sim.

The Facilities present in the Hall give you options as to what you can do from your Outpost and what is likely to happen in it, as well as what type of NPC is likely to come visit. It's a very intricate system so for now, let's focus on the Outpost Building Hall and keep the broader presentation for another time, when we can all shoot it on video again.

Outpost Halls contain 4 types of slots: Facility, Extension, Common and Fixed

  • Facilities are what you will build to add functionality to your Hall (Lodgings, Kitchen, Workshop, etc)

  • Extensions add specialty features to Facilities. Example:

    • A Foundry or Woodworks added to the workshop to enable metal-working or wood-working

    • A Pantry gets added to the Kitchen, adding quality of life and better craftable foods

  • Common is the public Mess Hall, living space in which Characters will eat, chat, and drink, sometimes sleep

  • Fixed are the tiles whose functionality is predetermined based on the Hall Model. You can only upgrade them

Basic Hall Layout. Different Halls may offer different basic layouts.

The rules for Facility-building are what we have been working on more recently and are as follows:

  • Click on a Hall Tile to select the Facility you want to build

  • Facilities cost Resources, initially and then daily

  • Facilities employs Labour, nameless little NPCs that wander by your Hall looking for work

  • Facility Construction begins at 6:30am each day and ends for the day at 6:30pm

  • A progress bar is added above the Facility tile being built on

  • It is possible to increase Labour assigned to a Facility's Construction

  • If Resource shortage, Construction is paused. If the shortage gets too long, Construction gets aborted

  • Facility Construction goes on day after day until the Facility is completed

  • When a Facility is completed, a portion of the Labour involved in it will claim its pay and leave your Outpost

  • Various Facility-based options enable you increase your Outpost's Labour Retention

  • Facilities will require Operators to run autonomously, add to the Outpost and produce for it

  • Certain Facilities will unlock Events, that you can then trigger, at the cost of Resources

  • Certain Facilities will add to Outpost Stats for various effects upon the Outpost's life

  • As mentioned initially, Facilities will play a role in Crisis Events

Those are the things we have been setting up this past couple of weeks. We should finish them entirely this week and, by the end of this month, wrap up the Outpost development systems completely. Outposts are very, very central to gameplay so it's a big hub of features. Once that is done, we will move to the Camping mechanics. The features list we provided in Update 13 is a MVP list, that is a list of features for Minimum Viable Product.

Given the nature of Winterfall, a MVP for us is already far, far bigger than a regular MVP for, say, an action game or a platformer. It's only made even bigger by the fact that Winterfall is a systemic game, that is a game where all kinds of systems run constantly to generate gameplay opportunities. In that type of setup, you can't have a proper picture of the experience until enough systems are actually functional.


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