Exploration Refactoring

This ends my first week using Scrum (see earlier post). While I didn’t complete everything on my to-do list (testing and balancing are for suckers), the system really helped me plan ahead and finish tasks. It’s also super simple to write the update notes this week; I just copied everything from the Completed list.

This week I took a look at exploration. Having the player click on the map, then click on the Explore button felt awkward. I did some research playing A Dark Room and realized I didn’t have to let the player see and do everything right from the start. Letting the player discover and unlock things as they go can be interesting. That’s also why technologies remain invisible until the player can unlock it: it prevents information overload.

I also realized that goals should be viewable at all times. Locking the tech tree in the home cave prevents the player from figuring out what resources they need right now. I limited the Ponder button to the cave because 1) the tech tree looks like a cave wall and 2) I thought it would be interesting for players to plan out their days every morning. Turns out it wasn’t so interesting.

Thus, I removed the Explore button and added location exploration events for players to randomly find. To get the player started, the home Cave now includes the Gather button to get a little bit of all resources, but also to give the player a chance to come across random events, namely, unlock location events. This also opens up the possibilities for specific cave events in addition to random morning events. Yay!

Update notes:

  • Stamina: Added stamina to the game. Each day the player starts at 100 stamina. When stamina reaches zero, the day ends. Note: stamina balancing not yet implemented: it minimally depletes
  • Skills: Resource gathering skills are now visible on the HUD underneath their respective resource amounts. Unlock the Club technology to see Meat and Fish skill go up.
  • Story Events: Events can be stringed together. I’ve added events for an alien experimenter who observes you over time. He’ll randomly pop in up to three times for the chance to get some major rewards. Hint: Knowledge-based technologies please the alien.
  • Locations are now unlocked through random events.
  • Ponder (viewing the tech tree) is accessible everywhere
  • The Cave has a Gather button: gets a little bit of all resources
  • Increased location resource amounts
  • Removed Explore button from travel map
  • Debug: Added FPS counter
  • Bug fix: Clicking on current location from the travel map will close the map

Play it here!