Forensic Friday 12: Re-Evaluation Priorities & Design Dump
I have woken up from my desk to bring Forensic Friday! It’s been a while since the last Forensic Friday, and as per custom we are posting this one day late. Breaking the trend of no notable updates, we finally have some news! Since 2nd year of university is coming to a close we are starting to pick up work on the game again. We had a little moment of realisation over the past few weeks, that being our priorities. We haven’t been focusing our energy in the right places, which has lead to more frequent and longer burnout periods. In any games development, getting the game playable should be the first and foremost goal. We, however, have lost sight of this goal; and for quite some time. Thus we sat down, scrapped the entire project task tracking board, and redid it using the glorious MoSoCoW prioritisation. It stands for:
- Must haves
- Should haves
- Could haves
- Won’t haves (for near future)
This method was perfect in evaluating what was needed to make a playable product. Every feature placed in the Must haves are essential for the game to be playable, and thus if every feature in the Must haves are implemented, we have a playable alpha!
\(@^0^@)/ (Though it may not necessarily have content or be fun). Then If everything in Should haves is implemented then we have something that more enjoyable to play and would very likely pass as a public alpha. Moving onto the Could haves and beyond, we go anywhere from alpha to finished product. This is mostly the polishing region and the content adding region.
After all this re-evaluation we realised many of the features we had been working on were on the Could or Should haves, meaning we were working to the game being complete, but not in the fastest way. It’s like building a house without creating a floor plan first. I can say with confidence now a playable alpha is not as far as away as we initially thought; and a positive side effect from all this re-prioritisation is that most of the pressing features that need to be implemented are actually quite interesting! Below is listed all our current priorities:
Our Current Priorities #
Asterisk means that we have partially finished that feature
Must Haves #
- Structural Integrity*
- Category C NPCs (Prisoner NPCs)
- Piping System
- Scientists NPCs
- Security NPCs
- OSS - Off-site security
- PGs - prison guards
- OSTF - On-site task force
- SES - Special engagement squad
- SRRT - Strategic Re-containment Response Team
- Field Agent
- Subjects (Anomaly) NPC
- Hiring NPCs
- NPC AI Groups
- Losing conditions
- Prolonged debt
- Too many escapees
- Too much general population knowledge
- Too many deaths
- Losing raid
- Contract system
- Contracts with containment procedures with a time limit
- Government Grants
- Daily money stipend
- Corporation Grants
- Complete Options menu
- NPC Equipment System
- Id card system
- Complete Saving
- Get saving working with multiple floors
Should Haves #
- Cook NPCs
- Work Prioritisation system*
- Research system
- Tech tree
- Ventilation System
Could Haves #
- Water Flooding System
- From pipe
- From shower heads
- Refrigeration System*
- Janitors NPCs
- Maintenance system
- Doctors NPCs*
- Mental system*
- Facility Raid system
- Capturing anti-group personnel
- Administrator NPCs
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Redo Damage System with component based paradigm
Won’t Have (For Now) #
- Modding support
- Blueprint system
- Field Exploration
- Containment Breach Mode
- Multiplayer cooperative construction
This is our current prioritisation for now, in order of how we will implement it. While I finish up on the structural integrity stuff (I promise it’s almost done, just a few quirks to iron out), Dillan is going to make a start on Category C’s a.k.a Cavies/Convicts/Prisoners. These NPCs are quite a major portion of the game and will breathe a lot of life into it, so they are quite an important feature, and will be given time accordingly. If you want to find out more about all the planned ins and outs of Category C’s, check out the last Forensic Friday!
For all of these we tried to think what was Integral to the gameplay loop, whilst doing this we also spend some time further expanding into how different features will actually work. This was a major problem we were having that was slowing down development. Many features were not fully specified so when it came around to implementing it, we wouldn’t know where to start. This lead us to skipping more important things, opting to implement things that were easier/already implemented. Now with further details about how various features will work, we have regained the vision(⚆o⚆). But what is the vision you may be asking?
The Vision #
The vision is not actually anything tangible. I am just trying to be dramatic. Though I would love to share our design thoughts about various upcoming features!
- Scientists (Scientists are the general group of staff who deal with research and study of anomalies)
- Scientists have specializations in many different fields.
- They work in a laboratory room.
- Different items and workstations in the laboratory could receive a boost if a scientist has the right specialization. This could promote players to build separate specialized labs over a single generalized lab.
Jobs, Fields and Specialisations #
Job Title (affects lab bonuses)
- Every scientist has a job title in which they are employed. Scientists prefer to work with colleagues that have the same job title.
- If 50% or greater of a lab is occupied by the same job title, that lab gets a bonus for any research done in that lab.
- Head Researcher
Preferred Scientific Field (Affects Research bonuses) #
- Every scientist has a scientific field in which they specialize.
- This affects Research bonuses.
- Every research item has one or more associated fields.
- If scientists with the appropriate field are assigned to research the item, the research gets a speed bonus.
- Fields and Subfields:
- Computer Scientist
- Physicist ⁃ Geologist ⁃ Astronomer
- Chemist ⁃ Nuclear Technician
- Biologist ⁃ Neuroscientist ⁃ Biochemist ⁃ Virologist ⁃ Botanist ⁃ Zoologist
Each of the sub-fields can also provide a bonus. This allows the player to create even more specialized labs If they so desire.
Scientists can become a specialist after sufficient training and experience on-site. Every Scientist has a certain specialization they are working towards. This allows the player to pick which scientists attend experiments to get
experience for them if the player really wanted a Containment Specialist.
- Containment Specialist
- Anomalous Materials Specialist
- Anomalous Behavioural Specialist
- Anomalous Radiologist Specialist
- Anomalous Data Analyst Specialist
- Anomalous Emergency Response Specialist
- Environmental Remediation Specialist
- In the anomaly menu,(or contract menu) you can see a list of experiment proposals scientists/head command/a government(from any country i.e. Chinese, American, etc) that requires you to perform on a specific anomaly.
- This experiment has a list of conditions that need to be met to be able to have completed it i.e.
5 Convicts are in the containment cell, the anomaly is aggravated, the anomaly kills at least one Convict, the anomaly doesn’t breach containment, etc
- Successfully completing experiments can increase the amount of money the agency grants you whilst giving you
Research pointswhich can be spent on researching new technologies from the tech tree.
- The type of research points you get depends on the type of experiment
- The number of points you get depends on your
rating * difficultyModifier * scientistExperienceMultiplier * scientistBonusMultiplier
- These technologies can vary from better armours, better doors, weapons, etc.
- These can all help in containing bigger, more dangerous, and exotic anomalies, earning you more money in the process.
- If an experiment is unsuccessful, however, this could risk a containment breach or just the mere loss of a few personnel, but this depends on the situation.
- Every Scientist has
experiencewhich is rewarded if they participate in an experiment.
- Every scientist also has a specialization goal.
- When their
0.8, they become a specialist in their specialization goal.
- This gives them buffs to certain things.
Research and Tech Tree #
- Research is accessed via the Research Menu.
- Has 5 branches:
- Fixtures (Maybe Comfortability, or Utility)
- A research tree is displayed where the following actions can be taken:
- Research items can be clicked revealing information about:
- Research Cost
- What items are unlocked
- Research items can be initiated by spending Research Points
- Research Points are split into various types:
Technological Research Point- Research tech-based items
Physicological Research Point- Research physics-based items
Biological Research Point- Research biological-based items
Chemical Research Point- Research biological-based items
- Once initiated, researchers can be allocated to perform the research. The research will be progress anytime that the researcher is working.
- Researchers can be swapped and reallocated anytime.
- As long as there is one researcher allocated, research will progress.
- All research items can support up to 5 researchers working at one time.
- The tech tree should focus on:
- New personnel.
- New gear for personnel (armour and weapons).
- New placeables (walls, floors, doors, appliances such as CCTV) that aid in security and containment of cavies and anomalies.
- Upgrades to placeables
- Civilian communication.
- Anomalies would all be pre-written.
- They all have containment procedures.
Containment Procedures #
- They would all have certain attributes which can make their containment hard. For example:
- Needs to be
[observed by X amount of people]
[for a maximum of Y minutes]
[observers must be younger than X years]
- Needs to be
- Must be
[subjected to a magnetic field of W tesla]
[for an infinite amount of minutes].
Formalising Containment Procedures #
- All containment procedures are is a set of steps that all must be satisfied to effectively contain an anomaly.
- Containment procedures should not be hardcoded, but emergent attributes that exist because of the anomalies behaviour.
- So this means for every anomaly, there should be a way to counteract its behaviour to contain it. Such as if an anomaly phases through walls, place a wall it can’t phase through.
- Containment procedures consist of 2 things:
- What we need to build to contain it
- Protocols we need to enforce to keep it in containment.
- The latter is harder to represent in code. The former is just a case of adding, or using an existing buildable item in the game.
Containment Protocols #
- Ideally it should be accessible from a menu.
- In this menu you could create protocols for an anomaly under your possession as well as view all the protocols in place.
- These protocols could be generalized into categories of actions that NPCs should, can, and cannot do.
- These protocols can be represented as templates that have empty fields that can be swapped out with desired information
- Every protocol can have a priority that determines whether it is a critical protocol:
- High Priority
- Low Priority
- Some anomalies could have hidden attributes that pop up randomly and need to be dealt with.
- These hidden attributes are not mentioned in any of the anomaly document.
- Ideally every anomaly should have at least 1.
- This would be some sort new behaviour that only gets activated under certain conditions or after a random period of time.
Corporation Grants #
- The player would receive grants from the Corporation, which could involve tasks such as needing to build a containment chamber for an anomaly before a certain time.
- This could help guide the player initially as they get the hang of the game. After completing the grant successfully, you would get money to help expand your facility.
- This incentivizes the player to continue expanding, building containment cells to contain more and more anomalies, and focusing on research to unlock better tech to make the process easier. This would overall keep the game pushing forward.
- There are 2 types:
- One-time Grants
- Continuous Grants
One-time Grants #
- One-time Grants have 3 attributes:
- Goal - A Checklist or condition
- Sign-on bonus - Money received when taking on the grant
- Reward - Money received after the grant is fulfilled
- These grants would be accessible through a menu
- Only one grant can be accepted at any one time.
- All unchosen grants disappear when one is chosen
- A notification would appear if an accepted grant is completed
- When completed, new grants appear. These grants are not necessarily the same as before.
- Grants can never appear more than once.
Continuous Grants #
- Continuous Grants have 4 attributes:
- Description - What the grant entails.
- Base Stipend - Default amount of money given
- Interval - How regularly the stipend is given
- Requirements - What is needed to keep the grant without penalties
- Occur at regular intervals such as a daily stipend
- Are affected by real-time changes such as containment performance
Administration NPCs #
There are various NPCs where there can only be one instance on the site. The roles are:
- Site Administrator - You choose one at the beginning of the game.
- Site Librarian
- Site Curator
- Site Containment Manager
- Containment Officer
Each of these roles provides bonuses to the site and can be acquired through the bureaucratic side of the research tree. The administrator is the only one acquired at the beginning.
Facility Raids #
** Overview** #
After enough anomalies have been captured the facility will start getting raided. The raids occur every set random day from the last, with increasing intensity the more anomalies are contained.
The Raid #
- An alarm sounds 5 minutes before the raid giving some time for the player to prepare
- When the rain starts, a group of raiders from 1 to 20 people (depending on the difficulty) spawn on one of the corners of the map
- If the raid is particularly hard, some could enter in dropships.
- The raid is over then all the raiding party has either:
- Been killed
- Been apprehended
- Difficulty is measured in levels
- 1 - 2 to 4 raiders ⁃
- 2 - 2 to 8 raiders ⁃
- 3 - 4 to 12 raiders ⁃
Metal Alloytier weapons
- 4 - 4 to 16 raiders ⁃
Graphene Alloytier weapons
- 5 - 8 to 20 raiders ⁃
Exotic Alloytier weapons
- 1 - 2 to 4 raiders ⁃
Capturing raiders #
- Unconscious raiders can apprehended
- This turns them into a prisoner
- These prisoners can join the rest of the Category C, or can be kept in separate cells and be interrogated
Case closed #
Phew! That was a pretty hefty post; and there’s a lot I omitted and didn’t touch upon. However, these are most of the major features that now actually have a loose specification. Now all we have to do is implement it all!
In other news:
Our Patreon tiers have new flashy tier images! This is apart of a move to start expanding our outreach more and begin to build a community again.
But I think it’s best to leave this lengthy post here. It’s great to see you guys again. Til the next one!