⭐ Forensic Friday 31: New Scheduler UI, and Website 👀

What’s up everyone! Back again for a Forensic Friday that if all goes to plan is actually on a Friday! More updates on our new UI, as well as a quick look into what we’ve been cooking with a revamped damage system, a whole new website, where we are along our road map AND some embarrassing stats (well for me anyway) :')

Let’s get this started!

The New and Improved scheduler #

This week of working on UI (theres just one more week left!) has had me refactoring and recreating probably one of the most complex menus we had. The scheduler. Surprisingly, its now even more complex. The original scheduler worked with the premise that with job, you can assign them a different schedule, then NPCs within that schedule could either follow the schedule, or be unlocked and follow their own schedule. Though it was a neat idea, it wasn’t very practical.

What if you wanted to split the builders into a day-shift schedule and a night shift schedule?

Well that was simply not possible with the old system. The iterative speed and design overhead of the new UI system we are using has made creating a more serviceable and powerful scheduler actually possible! This time around we focused on the idea of groups (mostly @dil’s idea). Basically we have groups, which holds a collection of NPCs. We also have schedules which can be made separately from groups. Then you can simply assign 1 group to 1 schedule. So a schedule can have many groups, but a group can only have one schedule.

By using this system of groups, along with a way to filter NPCs, so many possibilities open up. If you want to split your prisoners into 3 groups that wakeup and different times, offset by 8 hours each, that is possible. You can now very much keep your facility running at full capacity 24/7 if you master the scheduler. But don’t fret, you don’t need to be a master to use the scheduler simply. We plan to have quick set-up buttons which can do a variety of tasks in one push of a button, such as assigning all different jobs to separate schedules!

Old Scheduler The old Scheduler (not very practical)

New Scheduler The new scheduler with all its complexities and power

The one sad thing however with this new scheduler, and the new UI in general, is that a lot of the diegetic design is lost. This new UI screams FUNCTION OVER FORM, and whilst an elegant, streamlined, easy to use UI is the best thing we can have, sometimes its worth trading off some of that slickness to have UI that feels more unique and stylish. To combat this, we plan to have a pass over the UI and try and inject diegetic elements anywhere we can, whether that is the texture of paper behind some menus, or a few graphic elements like tabs, ink spots etc. But for now function over form is the focus. Our game gets deeper by the day, and the UI is the main way players have to navigate this immense machine.

New Scheduler

Health System and bodyparts refactor #

It wouldn’t be us without talking A LOT about refactoring and rewriting would it? All the way back during an early blog post => [7th blog post ever]⁠ we talked about rewriting the damage system, and it was definitely an upgrade back then. A lot of redundancies were removed but as it became apparent, we lacked future planning. A large part of this was the idea of modularity.

During a random discussion, it dawned on me that it would make a lot of sense for the damage system that NPCs were made of modules for their different body parts. Before, our NPC damage system was kind of a black box, you call a damage function with a set of parameters and it did something. Workable but not exactly expandable, and actually caused a lot of headaches (I’ll get onto those next). For example, let’s say your NPCs brains got impaled (absolute bummer for them), then you’d expect the skull of the NPC to also probably be cracked in some way? You’d also probably expect the outside skin around the head to also be cut. These are things that could have been done with the old system, by manually calling a multitude of attacks for each of these body parts (by body parts I mean skin, skull and brain in this case). However that is a dumb solution and really not friendly long term. What if someone or even us wanted to make their own body parts e.g. a special bionic arm as a mod, how would these fit into the game? If we decided in the future that people should have different parts of their brain, would this be possible without making even more manual calls for every time we want to damage someone once? Maybe not the best example, but hopefully you get the gist.

With our new “revamped” look, NPC body parts are now just modules, that are stored as a tree-like structure. NPCs start of with external body parts, that can house internal body parts inside of them, which can then in turn hold other internal body parts inside of them. This creates a structure whereby if a body part is attacked, we can now get better controllable behaviour for how that body part should react. Using the example before, the head skin would house the skull inside of it, and the skull would then have a brain inside of itself. It also means if someone loses an external body part, then all internal body parts that are inside of it can be recursively removed which wasn’t possible in our old system. It’s still a work in progress, but almost finished, and I’d expect by next week to give a full dive in with diagrams and everything!

Anomaly Poll Winner #

This weeks winner was S-0138: “The Steel God that won’t leave”. A personal favourite of ours and of course, created by the one and only @Dr. Kleine Evengald. We’ll be busy at work getting this into an appropriate document over the weekend, ready for Monday. As always, keep your eyes peeled for our mechanical monday, we’ll see you there!

New Website Under Construction #

The new website is very much under way! We have been thinking about all the failures of the old website, and on which things we could improve. Mostly being the presentation, in both style and effectiveness. On the new website, we will be displaying all the games major selling points front and center, coupled with spicy images to show off the game as best as we can! These selling points are:

Create and command your own top-secret facility, where the impossible is reality.
Unleash the power of AI storytelling and uncover mind-bending tales of love and loss.
Master the logistics of facility management, from electricity to waste disposal.
Expand your facility upwards into the skies, or deep into the depths of the earth.
Acquire and control a diverse group of prisoner test subjects and keep them in line amidst eldritch horrors.
Handle unexpected events and contain breaches with your elite OSTF team.
Conduct experiments with your collection of anomalies and unlock advanced gear for security and research.
Deploy field agents to manage public awareness and defend against anti-foundation attacks.
Call in the help of the Corporation’s elite Task Forces to contain the worst of breaches.
Request Ordnance from the Corporation’s arsenal when all is lost.
Immerse yourself in deep systems and lore, and strive to contain the uncontainable.

See some images below!

New Website 1 New Website 2 New Website 3 New Website 4

We also decided to keep all the main features on the first page as a long scroll, going into detail about what makes Containcorp and interesting game, and one that you should definitely try out! We didn’t forget to mention that the game is going to have multiple floors too! On other thing, probably our biggest mistake, is not including a mailing list on the original website. Mailing lists are a matter of life or death o((>ω< ))o. The website will be slowly worked on as we add all the features we thing it should have, which mostly boil down too: Epic landing page, home for our dev blogs, wiki for game and anomalies, links to Kickstarter, mailing lists, other projects and most importantly this discord. Oh, and maybe a link to the steam page, which will be up anytime between now and 6 months o( ̄▽ ̄)o

Roadmap #

Just a quick update on the road map. We are currently ahead of schedule 🥳

Only by about 1-2 weeks, but that’s still a positive. I’m still doing University exams personally, so everything that’s been done so far to do with body parts has been an extra bonus, while David’s UI do-over has been gathering serious speed - you’ll see more in the stats section of this blog post. We’re expecting that by next week, we’ll be finished on both of our current topics, and can move on to Money and Grants, as well as prison guards!

The Stats #

I know many of you have been asking “Where are the stats?”. In reality, no one has been asking that, but we have. So I present to all those interested, statistics about how many hours we have worked on the game. This isn’t in total, and isn’t even from the beginning of the project, so the true total since we started, is around the thousands :O

[TOTAL HOURS Since: 28/09/2022]
1st) David - 122hrs 42m
2nd) Dillan - 58hrs 35m 
Total - 181hrs 17m

Idk who that Dillan kid thinks they are but swiftly moving on…

Case Closed #

Well that was interesting. I never really know what to write in these sections other than case closed. Expect a blog post on monday with a new anomaly, and a new poll, as always. Once the UI stuff is out of the way, a lot of the very interesting features will started to be worked on. The all anticipated gunplay, the introduction of money to the game, and prisoners! This will be worked on for a few months or so, but marks a major turning point where our current collection of disconnected systems will start to mesh together into a whole. Whether that mesh will result in a engaging game, who knows, but as on recently, I have been becoming more studious with game design, and we have been doing a lot of thinking about the actual design of the game. (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧(๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧ Just having features won’t make a game fun, we’ll unless you are dwarf fortress and have 20 years of features o( ̄┰ ̄*)ゞ. Unfortunately, we don’t have 20 years. Though we are growing increasingly fond of Containcorp, we also want to move onto different projects after a few years, so we really need to the design solid.

I have also made a new channel detailing the roadmap, and showing where we currently are! ⁠roadmap.

That about wraps up everything, as always, thanks for reading, see you next week in Forensic Friday 32. Expect health system to be done, most if not all of UI to be finished, and “Money/Grants/Facility Guards” to be started working on. An exciting prospect!

The Team,
Plasmarc Studios