DEV DIARY №20 - Optimization, interface and new units.
Good day everyone, The Crust is back with you!
It's been more than a month since Steam Next Fest and we're back with an update to show you what we're currently working on and tell you about our future plans.
At the very moment, we are focused on a few key areas:
- Optimization: we are working on the technical aspect of the project to achieve better performance results and to avoid all the possible game crashes as well;
- User Interface: working on improving the current interface and adding new elements to it to make it as user-friendly and information-oriented as possible;
- Colonists: further development and troubleshooting of the content related to colonists and the living quarters system;
- Storyline content: re-work of existing story quest chains and continued development of the main storyline - Chapter 2 of Company Mode;
- Creating new units.
Our future plans
First of all, the most important news: the next time you will be able to try the new version of The Crust will be January 8, 2024 as part of the next festival on Steam - Festival of Capitalism and Economy, which will be held from January 8 to January 15. In this version, you will be able to try out colonists and other new mechanics. However, keep in mind that it will be smaller and shorter overall than the Steam Next Fest version from October this year. If you want more, there's a solution for you!
The campaign on Kickstarter will launch around the same time as the January festival and will allow you to get involved in the deeper development of the project. What kind of slots will be available?
- First up, exclusive access to the closed test — all backers enjoy unrestricted entry to explore the latest and greatest version of The Crust whenever they please!
- Extra perks like an exclusive rover, a colonist bearing your name, and the chance to introduce your own quests and characters into the game, along with other bonuses, will be unveiled closer to the campaign launch.
Conveyor System and Resource Movement Refactor
We've optimized the way resource movement on the conveyor belt is calculated. Now, instead of calculating in each section,
we do it in a straight line up to the nearest distributor. This change enhances efficiency in resource transportation.
This and several other architectural improvements have resulted in more than double the performance increase when player has a lot of conveyor belts. The architecture changes have also added flexibility to the future development of the conveyor system.
We're continually enhancing the game interface to seamlessly guide players through every aspect of gameplay, offering maximum information while maintaining a minimalistic and tidy design. Here are the key updates:
New notifications continue to roll out in the game for all occasions, providing even more information about what's happening in your base and beyond.
Drones additional tooltips
Drones now feature an extended visual notification system that more accurately shows the drone's current status
Mining drones now have a dedicated indicator that shows the status of the oxide extraction cycle from the vein:
The resources that are moved by the robot have been added to the tooltip
This may not be as important for the drones you're already familiar with, but for a future Hauling drone, it will be an extremely useful feature.
New block of minor notifications
A new type of notification is being created that will be responsible for time-based events and quests:
In-game Encyclopedia rework
The pages are no longer duplicated, the system for adding new pages has been improved, and the overall mechanism of the th Encyclopedia has been improved. Now the it is a useful tool where the player can find information about resources and modules, find gameplay tips or re-watch tutorial videos.
Pop-up screens rework
The pop-up screens and their interaction with each other have been completely redesigned. Now you will not get into softlocks when the desired dialog box failed to appear. Also, the they do not interfere with each other and will wait while the player is in different interface modes.
Electricity, Water and Oxygen System Re-work
Thanks to a lot of community input, we identified a problem in the Energy system that was causing a crash under certain circumstances. We have adjusted these three systems and managed to fix them to further improve performance and stability.
Simplified the math
We have simplified the calculation of module energy consumption when modules are idle - previously modules consumed 20% of their peak value, even in cases where they lacked the resources or energy to start production
Now the module does not consume anything until the production cycle is running:
Previously, a portion of the system was scripted in Blueprint, which had some performance limitations but offered flexibility in testing new ideas and balancing the game. Now that the mechanics are finely tuned and balanced, we are overhauling the remaining components of the system in C++, providing performance improvements and more predictable scaling behavior. This applies equally to the water and oxygen distribution systems.
The campaign and story play a significant role in The Crust's gameplay, and we're actively addressing this aspect. Our focus is on two main tasks: editing the current content and creating new material.
Upon analyzing your feedback from the festival, we've concluded that the amount of text and dialogues should be reduced in the initial stages. We've already edited the text, retaining educational elements and the most intriguing verbal clashes between characters.
Additionally, we're reorganizing the dialogue trigger system and the integration of dialogues into gameplay to enhance the player's experience without causing interference or distraction. After reviewing numerous hours of gameplay, we've implemented additional ways to activate dialogs and the ability to block them if the player is in interface mode, where distractions are unnecessary.
Bugfixes and minor improvements
Thanks to the active support of the community, we've identified and fixed quite a few bugs, along with implementing numerous improvements based on player suggestions. Thank you, you're incredible!
Here are some of them:
- Fixed lack of building cells in Hangar;
- Vehicle build module now responds correctly to unplugging and lack of power;
- Fixed the ability to send vehicles inside the module with manual control tools;
- When you open the wiring menu, the power laying mode is automatically enabled;
- Cicking on a pole turns on the wiring mode automatically;
- Fixed clicking on vehicles through the module;
- Fixed drone charge reset on loading;
- Fixed missing logo animation on drone charger;
- Fixed a resource tooltip when it was on the ground ;
- Fixed resource tooltip being shown when the resource it self is far gone;
- Fixed resource tooltips on tier 2 and tier 3 Storages after loading;
- Fixed the textures of the FCC model: the correct textures for the ruined material have been set;
- Increased electricity node size by 15%;
- Fixed a bug where it was impossible to select a conveyor segment if TAB was pressed while selecting a conveyor;
- Fixed a bug that allowed to select a conveyor and then delete it, leaving its outline hanging;
- Added correct material visualization for constructing and dismantling the Rare Earth Element refining module;
- Added cargo pod light bulb immisives;
- Fixed battery status after loading;
- Fixed single storage icons after loading - now they correctly display the stored resource;
- Fixed nanotube storage after loading;
- Increased the size of the tooltip for robot mined resources;
- Normal collision has been generated for ruins so they don't interfere with selecting vehicles and modules that are standing next to each other;
- Fixed outline duplication in small solar panel after loading;
- Added correct indicator at the end of a truck's path if it goes to unload a resource on the surface;
- Fixed visual dust bug on the truck;
- Added animation reactions for the Smelter to different smelter states;
- Added Single Regolith Refinery animation reactions for all conditions (speed, off, etc).
In the next diaries we will detail the colonists and show the new units.
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