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Author Topic: SITREP Saturday #51: Another Big Bang  (Read 2242 times)

Kyzrati

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SITREP Saturday #51: Another Big Bang
« on: September 01, 2023, 05:39:13 PM »



The world is expanding, again! Beta 13 is adding more maps, and that means... more lore, NPCS, and lots (LOTS) more tech. Nearly 100 new items are coming, together with multiple new bots, new AI behaviors, dozens of new encounters... all the sorts of things one needs to keep new maps interesting and replayable.

I'm glad at the decision to have released Beta 12 as a standalone when it happened (Scrap Engine, Garrisons, ECA, etc). Even though some of it was technically not yet fully integrated into the lore, it would otherwise have been quite a long wait for all this stuff without much in between to keep it fresh, except perhaps the possibility of special events, but I'm avoiding such detours for now in order to be able to focus on this sizeable expansion, Cogmind's largest to date.

Consider it a major post-1.0 expansion (with its own complete arc), just without the 1.0 part ;)

Today I'm here to share with you a little mid-cycle update to give you an idea of what's up. I've streamed the first major prerelease version of Beta 13, but other patrons have been doing that much more frequently in recent months, over on the Roguelikes/Cogmind Discord server. (Other than making an exception that one time, due to health reasons I've not been able to keep streaming for a while now, but I'll get back to it eventually.) Anyone interested in the latest news can find me hanging out with the Cogmind community every day over there, and I also post some updates on Patreon regarding upcoming features, but checking out other streams or player reports is another good way to see how new features are taking shape.

Subcaves

The first new map has been mostly completed, found right at the first depth and essentially offering an alternative start that skips some early floors, but can also be quite dangerous.

It was when I put out that prerelease that I did a one-off stream to fool around there and see how it plays:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP9NKqVwNgM

To avoid spoiling the explorers among you I won't be detailing what you'll find within, but for those interested in more information, the video above visits a couple times as an introduction, naturally along with commentary.

I will say it's a fairly large map, and rather different from other caves in a number of ways, most importantly featuring several new types of inhabitants.

A debug shot showing encounter classifications as distributed across a particular procedurally generated Subcaves map (connections between encounter areas not visible):



Combat Log 1.5

As a common request by patrons during past feature voting, Beta 13 includes a revamped combat log. I was considering writing a blog article about it, but never got around to doing that beyond what was posted to Patreon, so since I can't point you to the blog, I guess I should at least run down a summary of main points here.

The combat log update is a decent one, but I wouldn't call it a 2.0 because this isn't a major overhaul, per se. The format is essentially the same as before, just lots more info is being added, alongside an important new functionality. I admit the results are growing on me, despite not being a "combat log user" myself, but no, this will not get me to start taking it seriously as part of my own play :P. The main goal is still to not require use of the combat log, just maintain it purely as a tool for those who want to more deeply analyze some specific encounter or setup, or just really like poring over ever more log data.

For quite a while I wavered back and forth between expanding the existing combat log content or completely rewriting the architecture from scratch to possibly support new features, even starting some work on the latter idea which showed promise since it would theoretically result in something easier to debug and modify, not to mention allow some even more special functionality, but I noticed it would encounter some of its own unique roadblocks so gave up on that approach and decided to just deck out the existing combat log with most of the relevant data people would like to see there. It's looking nice.

The combat log still supports the original five different detail levels, though this update is mostly for players who prefer the "Full" detail setting, so I'll be focusing on that here.

Of course, with all that extra potential information to display, we're ideally going to have a new way to view it, more than the mere 6 lines of log space we normally have (a limitation that made me less eager to greatly expand it in the first place). What I did to facilitate searching back through longer sections of intense combat is have the main/normal combat log itself serves as a scrollbar for an expanded view that appears when and only when the combat log is manually scrolled back.



You'll still have access to the expanded and configurable automatic on-map version of the combat log, as the action is playing out, though this new feature is more for further exploration of details after the fact, which is clearly what you're after if you're scrolling back through the log anyway. Scrolling to the bottom of the combat log, or performing any other action, automatically hides that view again so you can get back to playing.

(By the way, I also renamed that top-center multiconsole mode from "CALC" to "COMBAT," to reflect the fact that it really is a combat log these days--it's original purpose, when added by request, was simply to allow players to see all the factors included in hit calculations! A bit of Cogmind dev history there from, oh, a decade ago...)

As for the contents of the combat log, when set to Full it should be a good bit easier to follow the entire flow of a battle as you know it, details and all. I won't claim that it's perfect, an unrealistic goal in part because you don't always have perfect information anyway, and how to display such situations in an understandable manner gets incredibly complex.

Here's a sample expanded combat log pointing out some of the new data:



First of all you'll probably notice that separate turns are easier to differentiate due to how only new turns are marked with a number (though I did not extend this feature to other logs or standard combat log presentation, just this one).

Drilling down into the details, the rest should be pretty self-explanatory. All critical effects are now indicated where applicable, as are disruption, penetration, heat-triggered meltdowns, and more.

Melee combat is also more detailed, explicitly indicating sneak attacks and follow-ups.



Also terrain destruction!

As you can see, for combat purposes there is much less need to mentally merge the regular log and combat log to get a clear picture of what happened during an encounter. The combat log was originally designed purely as a supplement, providing additional information not present in the main message log to avoid doubling up between the two and thereby keeping the combat log short, but now that there are ways to see more of it at once, pretty much the entire process can be followed in the combat log when desired. In the interest of keeping the main log self-sufficient for those who don't want to bother with a combat log, there is indeed now duplicate messaging in some cases (although sometimes appearing in a different form).

The updated combat log also actually does multiprojectile weapons properly, and in a nice format, giving you a tally of the portion of shots that hit followed by what is hit:



In the past multiprojectile weapons were not even compatible with the combat log at all, with additional projectiles past the first just appearing scattered in between later messages, since it wasn't originally built to support them.

Another new addition to the combat log: programmer hacking.



Overall Beta 13 has a lot of nice QoL updates, the combat log just being one of the more expansive projects in that category.

New Tech

There are so many new toys in Beta 13, toys that enable whole new types of builds, or support existing ones.

As usual I'll be leaving the details to your discovery, but sharing the art for some of them couldn't hurt ;)



71 new items have already been added, with plenty more on the way. Of course the majority of these exist because new enemies and friends alike need them to operate, meaning you'll be finding new bots to salvage for material, perhaps whether they want you to or not :P

For example the new Multitool that Artisans use to build and reconfigure their creations, in your hands can also be used to repair damaged machines and restore them to functionality, among other capabilities:



On that note, a handful of item abilities are a bit more extensive and need more space for a complete description, so that's handled by the QoL department which has inserted a convenient new button to access it if necessary:



After Beta 11 did a good job of finalizing the core parts, I've again taken to using the helpful spreadsheets put together during that period to continue balancing in the same vein, like with this propulsion data I was using to add several new types:



Scraptown

I'm currently working on a major new faction, one mostly concentrated in a new map of their own, but with the potential for significant reverberations throughout the world. The United Federation of Derelicts might like to meet you. Or not, depending on what kind of Cogmind you are :)

Depending on how long Scraptown and all the other related features take, there's a good chance I may end up deciding to release this expansion before its full story arc is complete, since it will require a third new map (a new Research branch) and that would of course extend the production time. We'll see just long it takes.

That's all content to come, though. In the here and now, note that the leaderboards now more explicitly indicate the location of each win (as originally reflected in the scoresheet) instead of showing all wins as simply "Ascended."



Beta 11 Stats

It's been a while since they came out, but there were no other announcements in which to mention them since, so some of you might not be aware that earlier this year after Beta 12 released I did the normal survey of select stats from the previous version, Beta 11. As usual there are tons of charts, graphs, and data to pore over, things that were relevant to look at after that transition. It was a particularly interesting one considering the rebalancing that occurred in that release.



Thanks for all your support! It's been great to hang out with all the wonderful folks in the community, really keeps me going and looking forward to introducing the UFD in all their derelict glory :D
« Last Edit: September 02, 2023, 03:24:48 AM by Kyzrati »
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