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Author Topic: SITREP Saturday #12: The Next Big Thing  (Read 108 times)

Kyzrati

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SITREP Saturday #12: The Next Big Thing
« on: February 02, 2018, 05:43:03 PM »

Hope you're all enjoying the latest Beta 5! I'm of course already getting busy with Beta 6, but there's plenty of other stuff to cover today, too...

Stats

As usual following a major release, the leaderboards were reset. We're already seeing a lot of good runs this Beta, including a ++ extended end-game win which we didn't get to see last time:



Old leaderboards and scores have been archived, accessible at the bottom of the page, e.g. the final top scoring runs at the end of Beta 4:



Overall we're seeing significant improvement among newer players. I've also done a lengthy summary of stats for Beta 4, including highlighting certain achievements and an overview of general player performance and meta data.



(If you're interested in this kind of data you can also scroll back through the thread for stats on previous Betas since I don't always cover the same things.)

Beta 6?

So right now I'm in Japan to visit relatives for Chinese New Year (my son's on holiday so we can get out of town). We've been here for the past week and will remain for the next couple weeks, but it doesn't have much of an impact on progress. In fact, my workstation here is pretty much identical to my home setup.



That said, for a number of reasons Beta 6 will definitely take longer than the last couple releases. I have a bunch of family/personal stuff I've been neglecting lately to get Betas 4 and 5 out, so I'll have to work on that, but more importantly this year's 7DRL is coming up and I'm planning to participate. I could try to rush out Beta 6 before then, but double rushing (my normal speed is rush :P) is usually a bad idea, plus this particular release is going to add a rather big new system so it needs to be done right! I also shouldn't push my head too hard--I'm still spending 8 hours on treatment each week (when at home) for that concussion back in April, but it's stopped improving.

As for 7DRL, which is technically optional, I've already skipped the last five years worth of them as I focused on creating Cogmind, but I'm really interested in putting some new projects out there, and this time even though it'll slow down the Beta 6 release this particular 7DRL idea is something I know fans of Cogmind can get into so it'll definitely be worth it :D

Also with regards to progress in general, recall that in a past SITREP I talked about Beta 5 giving us a "clean slate" by finishing up all the near-term must-have features. Well, in the latter weeks of Beta 5 work I kept piling on so much new stuff and pushing others further down the list that it'll take another release or two to finish off those things after all :P. At least that's good in that we'll have plenty of little things to work on, too! In any case, the next release will of course be mostly about moving ahead with major features...

Next Big Thing

As per the roadmap, up next is... Achievements!

Yes, we're finally doing one of the things listed there rather than all the other secret/unlisted stuff I'm always throwing in xD

I've marked this one feature alone as taking three weeks, and I've heard some surprise at that number so may as well take this opportunity to give a rundown of what's involved. It's quite a lot of stuff!

On the surface it appears quite simple, and technically if you're just adding a handful of achievements for Steam it's really quite easy, yeah, but Cogmind's particular situation is going to include a lot more achievements, and a lot more moving parts, than your average game.

Here's a high-level TODO list of what it'll take to bring Achievements to Cogmind:
  • Research Steamworks docs for achievement specifications
  • Create and organize a list of achievements
  • Do an achievement UI mockup
  • Test how Steam achievements work in other games, and how they're presented on the player and community side
  • Create the achievement data, including names and descriptions
  • Implement an achievement handler, and check for each achievement at relevant points in the source code
  • Implement the Cogmind-side dedicated achievement interface
  • Decide how to integrate achievement notifications into several different existing UI systems
  • Find solutions for a number of tough achievement-related issues
  • Create icon art for every achievement (in both acquired and non-acquired form)
  • Test a selection of achievements in a non-Steam build
  • Build a system to communicate with Steam regarding achievements (prioritizing game-side data, rather than Steam-side like most games do it)
  • Add achievement data to Steamworks backend
  • Live test the achievement system on Steam, including syncing of old data on either end
  • Fix the inevitable oversights and bugs in the system before they reach players
  • Actually release it :P (after adding a whole bunch of other stuff that should go in the release, too!)
Oh my I've only barely started working down that list and writing it all out like that is making me go O_O. Heck there might be items I overlooked... Many of these steps certainly include numerous fine details, so the overall workload is not to be underestimated, but in the end we'll have a system that's robust, works for both Steam and non-Steam players, and can be easily expanded further in the future with even more achievements.

At least the art needs will probably be relatively easy to deal with. Because the achievement icons must be displayable in game (not just Steam), they must conform to the game's grid-based style, meaning the only real choice is ASCII like the rest of the in-game art. These icons also have to meet Steam's dimension requirements (64px), so this means they'll probably be fairly small and simple in order to still be somewhat readable at that size. I have yet to do any tests so we'll see. I'm still working on the achievements list at the moment.

I'll have more to share on this topic over the next month. Note that we have an ongoing achievements suggestion thread here on the forums from which I've been taking a number of ideas to combine with my own.

Meta

nuzcraft, one of Cogmind's most prolific Let's Players, got his first win recently and shared his writeup over in the Competitions board (he plays all the seed runs so you can play along as well if interested).

Over on r/Cogmind, GDFKTT shared a writeup on their first win as well, and a pacifist run no less.

Yesterday over on r/RoguelikeDev I shared some of Cogmind's debugging features that I use for development, so check that out if you're interested in some more behind the scenes sort of stuff. Some examples:

Highlighting map encounter prefabs, colored by their type (fluff/reward/danger/risk-reward...):



Visualizing squad routes:



Visualizing ambient sfx propagation:



Watching entity (robot) time values:



Checking cellwise cave-in factors as affected by explosions:



#13

The next SITREP will be February 17th so that I have more to show for it, since a lot of the current work is behind the scenes, but as usual I'll be hanging out on the Discord every day. Stop by!

(Note that also around that time there's the annual Steam CNY sale, so for those few days expect a 10% discount.)

Since a lot of the relevant SITREP discussion happens on Steam rather than in the forums, for reference here's a link to this same news on Steam. But feel free to post replies here, too :)
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