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14 Sep 2020
by Oleg Simukov

Hi! Here are Veom Studio moonwalkers. In the previous development diaries, we told you about a lot of stuff but did not mention the most important thing of the game – people. Well, it's time to make up for the delay. Today we will talk about those who work on the lunar base — colonists.

Initially, we have set a goal to show them as real people, and not biorobots mindlessly following the orders of a player. While working on this idea, we were inspired by the projects of other studios who created such games as Frostpunk, Surviving Mars, Little Big Workshop and many others. We were trying to find examples of the best and most suitable solutions. The main references for us became the Sims series and This War of Mine. As a result, based on the motives of Sims and the status effects from the game from 11 Bit studio, we created our own unique system of characteristics and effects, which together turn simple 3D models into almost living and breathing characters. Let's take a closer look at them.

Each resident of the lunar base has three basic indicators: Energy, Hunger and Comfort. The first two indicators are intuitively simple.

Energy is a characteristic that determines how tired the character is. It can be called an indicator of fatigue. That is, the less energy a person has, the less they want to work and the more they want to sleep or eat. Hunger expresses the body's physiological need for food as a source of energy. If Hunger level is too low, a colonist will ignore their work and search for food instead. If there is nothing to eat, they may die from malnutrition.

Comfort is a more complex general indicator that characterizes how pleasant or unpleasant it is for a person to live and work at the lunar base. For a player, this characteristic may seem abstract. The fact is that the comfort of the colonists is influenced by many different factors: whether a person likes their work or not, how well they sleep and eat, whether they have the opportunity to relax and have fun, whether their health is good, in which team they live and work. This list can go on infinitely. This was made possible thanks to the effects system.

To make it easier for you to understand, think of board games, where the effects are often presented in the form of cards. For us, they are cards that can express almost anything.

Let's analyze the system by example. Let's say, an employee has had an injury at work. They get an injury card, which will affect their Energy and Comfort indicators. Because of the low Comfort, the colonist becomes sad, and therefore they receive a Sadness card. But, luckily, they turned out to be born a tough guy: their wounds heal quickly enhanced by another card. Having rested, eaten and cured the wound in the infirmary, our employee is no longer sad. They are ready to work hard and... yes, you've guessed it. They get a new card boosting their will to work and decreasing their energy consumption… That's about how it works. There are a lot of cards, and they all form a genuinely real-life behavior of people.

It is worth saying that the current graphic representation of the colonists is not yet finished. Right now, we are working on integrating an adaptive animation system based on immersive kinematics, that is, a system that will make body movements more realistic and natural. The clothing of the residents of the lunar base will also be different to show their current place of work. For example, colonists dressed in gray either do not have a permanent place of work or are employed in the service sector – kitchen, service, and the like. And of course, we can not do without spacesuits! They are essential to let people work on the surface of the Moon.

That is all for today, but we will definitely speak about the colonists in the future. In the following entries we will speak about the visuals and animation. To stay in the know, follow us on social media and on our website (see links in the description). Bye!