Forensic Friday 51: New Main Menu, Mod Support Finished, Roadmap on Horizon!

Hey! Another Friday, another Forensic-ing. That doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. It’s the first of September, 30 or so days after we started the utility AI! Quite the bump in the road it’s been. But as we have been saying a very much needed one. Hopefully, this is the last week that we never mention it! But, as with all game development plans, things always take 4x longer than you think. In this case, the refactor did in fact take 4x longer than we thought it would. We initially thought it would take a week, 2 weeks tops, but alas, for the entirety of August, this system has plagued us. Development Hell!

Excerpt from the About Us Section in our discord server!

Though we did get modding support out of it, which is pretty neat! Talking about modding support…

Mod Support Finished #

The good news #

Mod support has been completed in its entirety. The game is fully integrated, loading in as a mod. The only few small things that are missing, are adding new “Needs” (Desire system, see Forensic Friday 45 ), and also texture packs. Though we aren’t sure whether it’s worth it supporting the latter, it wouldn’t take too much work to achieve. But it’s something we will leave for a rainy day! The former is something we will also tackle later when the Utility AI system is much more mature.

Moddable UIs #

However, there is a significant addition to the modding framework. Moddable UI! Yes, the UI can now be extended. This is done through overlaying compiled interfaces from each mod. So it’s not exactly modding the original UI, but modders would at least be able to overlay whatever windows they want to, which is probably the most important thing!

What’s left #

There are still some things left, which I briefly mentioned in Forensic Friday 50 .

The modding framework still needs to support dependency load ordering and such, but is practically done. Us - Forensic Friday 50

Well… it still isn’t supported, but like all things, we can just raincheck it to a weekend. It’s not a crazily technical undertaking and is rather isolated from the rest of the framework. So it’s not at the top of the priority list right now. Talking about priorities…

Roadmap on Horizon! #

As you may all know, or not, we paused the roadmap this month to get knees deep in this new AI system. We promised we would be done, at most, by the end of August, and well… here we are. In Forensic Friday 49 I listed the things we had left to do. And we’ve hit most of those things actually! But since we decided to do emergency mod support (and one of us is on holiday right now (*  ̄︿ ̄)), things have been a bit slow on that task. But fret not! Here is what we have left to do…

Hauling & Builders are indeed done! (See the hauling video above) There may still be bugs to uncover, but very likely, they are finally done. It has been the feature that has given us the most friction when trying to make this transition to the new AI, but amazingly enough its simplified our codebase tremendously! In the order of thousands of lines. Who knows how horrific those line counts would have become if we never saw the utility AI light at the end of the development tunnel?

Over the weekend we hope to crack on the seal the deal with Utility AI and then back on the roadmap. But funnily enough, another one of us is going on holiday (and the other coming back), so there’s going to be a bit of a switcharoo next week. Even more interestingly, we happened to independently choose to go to the same holiday destination. Freaky!

Anyway, I can’t think of a clever way to segway into the next section, so uh… AI and UI are sort of similar… here’s the new main menu! Woah!

New Main Menu #

The modding actually required us to change the way the main menu loaded into the game. Which was the perfect excuse to redesign the menu to our current standards. Here’s the mockup. Pretty Neat!

It’s already been implemented into the game. Let us know how we did! Here’s the current in-game implementation.

And just for reference, here’s the original main menu! Let us know if you think the original was better so we can cry .·´¯(>▂<)¯`·.

What we changed and why #

There’s a lot of changes. Most of them come down to making things as readable as possible. In the old UI, the background whites clashed with the logo, due mostly to that unholy bloom effect. The text was also too large, and since the buttons didn’t have borders, it was not clear where you could click, and where you couldn’t! The biggest offence however was probably the UI changing and glitching whenever there was a transition. Too distracting! We opted to go for static backgrounds (that will change every time you launch the game) instead. We also added the new logo (a lot better than the old one, at least in our opinion!)

Anyways, give us feedback and whatnot! Can’t develop these things in isolation.

Changes to Discord & Marketing #

For those of you in the discord. Hey! For those of you not in the discord, this is a great opportunity to join. The link is at the top! However this is solely addressed to discord members, so if you are not one, unfortunately, a memetic hazard I have implanted in the next sentence will cause you to go blind momentarily. So keep reading at your own volition. You have been warned.

Anyway… we have made some considerable changes to the discord. The server is looking a lot cleaner, using Discord’s new Server Guide and Onboarding features. If you haven’t already, please go to the Channels & Roles tab and customise your channels!

All of this is in preparation for our increasing marketing efforts. We haven’t started yet, but we have a weekly agenda which we hope to fulfil. You can catch a glimpse of it below…

As you can see it’s pretty involved! But definitely something we need to start doing! If you have any ideas for community events we can run on a weekly or monthly basis, we are all ears! So far we thought hosting a weekly or monthly anomaly competition, with a monetary prize, would be an interesting way to foster a community around the lore side of the game. Let us know what you think. We were thinking the prize would be £10 quid, nothing too crazy, but we also aren’t asking for a full anomaly file, just an idea/concept, one that could complement the gameplay and lead to interesting gameplay decisions!

Call to Action #

We also implore you to go out and spread the word about the game. Whether that’s through social media, word of mouth or whatever. You’ll be surprised what a few people can do! And it’ll grow the community which is good for everyone!

Potential Controversy: Mythology Monday #

Mechanical Monday has been renamed to Mythology Monday. Which potentially may be controversial. But we think the name better suits what Mechanical Monday has slowly become. No longer is the focus on introducing mechanics, but rather world-building and submission polls. So, henceforth, all references to Mechanical Monday are illegal! For those not in the discord server, the only way to access Mythology Monday is through well… you can probably guess. Join if you want to contribute to the lore, and flex your writing skills!

Case closed #

Well, time to close this file. Archive it for a future us, who will look back on these development days with nostalgia. Or maybe we’ll never want to look back again. Probably that! To end on an image, because that’s always fun, here’s a sketch of the new storyteller! We haven’t decided what to call them, someone in our discord server suggested Masterminds. We also have Curator or Librarian on the table. We’ll eventually decide!

Case Closed. ❤
The Team
Plasmarc Studios