Tremble mortals and despair blah blah maniacal laughter blah blah kill off a main character to prove I’m a threat etcetera etcetera blah blah blah. Nothing you haven’t seen before, let’s move on to the interesting stuff:
I have been trapped in the endless dull hell that is the content management system, hence the lack of blogmaking and/or world conquering. While I was adding some of the new head types back in January, I found the whole system a pain to work with, so I attempted to improve upon it.
The attempt went poorly and I systematically broke all of the things (ALL OF THEM) but the sunk cost fallacy is strong with this one, so I kept plugging away at it.
I eventually reached critical shark quota and realised I was doing things wrong, cut a few losses and managed to bring the game back to ‘workable’. At which point, after careful consideration of the pro’s and con’s of various options, I gave up.
The content management system is functional and a lot better than it was. Asset stats are all written to a single file, I can specify and write them via the Mutation Map editor, and they show up in the editor without me needing to manually type placeholder nodes into the mutationmap.txt file. All good, if somewhat dull, things.
It’s still not quite as streamlined as I was aiming for, but that’s not my problem now, ’cause I’m working on other things for now. Future me can deal with that. May the gods have mercy on his soul.
So I’m back onto fun stuff! Starting with this:
It’s the new User Interface for the nursery. The box on the left shows the current average of all player-owned creatures: the box on the right shows the ‘Target’, that you can set either from exported creatures, or by the gene editor.
Over time, the nurse bots will artifically select for creatures that match the genetic profile of the target, breeding those that do and culling those that don’t.
The bar just underneath the creature images acts as a progress bar of sorts. Each blue dot represents a creature in the nursery, and it’s distance along the bar represents it’s genetic distance to the target. As new creatures are born and selected for, their genetic distance will close and the distribution of dots will drift from left to right.
Things I learned today # 1: wordpress can do slideshows!
As you’d expect, evolution in the nursery is faster than in the wild, but it’s still not fast, nor perfect. Even with a few in-game hours, it’s unlikely that whatever you evolve will be an exact replica of your target. I consider this a feature rather than a bug: designing your own species should be something with a bit of weight and randomness to it.
As a result, I’m planning on adjusting the way exporting and importing works in 0.9.0. There will be two types of exported creature: Specimens (exported by selecting a creature and clicking ‘Export’) and Genomes (exported via the Gene editor). Genomes can only be used as targets: they cannot be imported as living creatures.
Oh, and you can now position the nursery anywhere you like on the map during world generation simply by clicking on the map preview. Which is neato.
So… where does that leave us, re: the 0.9.0 release? Yes, I’m aware it’s well overdue, and I’ve made some changes to the plan to compensate:
* I’ve dumped the original plan of overhauling the UI. It’s still a pain to work with, but I can’t justify the time it would take. I’ll focus more on incremental improvements over the next few version than on one big overhaul.
* As far as mechanics go, I’ve implemented most of them. In addition to splitting exported creatures into specimens and genomes, I still have one moderately-sized one to add: a messaging system to help keep you appraised of events in the world, particularly ones related to your species. Together with some sort of easier way to find your creatures in the world, this should help tie the whole ‘player-interaction’ update together.
* I’d also like to get a decent number of additional new head types in: we’ve got the grazing-mammal branch in (horses, bovines, dromediares), and I’ve started on the carnivorous-mammal branch as well (canine, feline, bear), but thanks to the decision to use internet assets I have a lot more assets waiting in the wings. Just need to spare some time to add transitional forms, fur polygons, texturing and stats.
* After that, it’s really all just polish and bug fixing. The nurse bots need textures and additional code to stop them from driving through walls, there are a few freshly minted bugs with the UI to iron out, the display of player-owned clades in the clade diagram needs to be vastly improved, and I still need to track down that persistent bloody stack-overflow bug in the clade diagram that causes the game to crash during long simulations.
I’m not ready to commit to a release date until all the features are complete, but we’re on the home stretch to kick the shuttlecock into the hoop for massive damage. Touchgoal!
I am not a sports person. The point is, the end is in sight, and I’m already planning out what I want to work on for 0.10.0.