Early Access Update #25 – Animals Pt.1

Friday evening/Saturday morning, depending on where you are in the world. It can only mean one thing! It’s update time. Something a little different this week, I’d like your feedback on something so there’s a straw poll link at the end. We’ll cover that when we get there, just a heads up not to skip the end! 🙂

Right, grab your tea and let’s go.

So 0.2d is here at its mainly bringing a few pre-cursor updates to animals. In last week’s update I showed fish and a small update to the sheep, so check that our here if you missed it. All that’s really left to show are wolves! First though, here’s a complete changelog for 0.2d, currently available through the beta channel:

  • Sheep now eat grass.
  • Animals now die if they are in water too long. They still go a bit crazy if they get in there however, better AI is on the worklist!
  • Fish now spawn in pools around the levels. (Currently just aesthetic, mechanics to follow)
  • Added wolves. (Currently just aesthetic, mechanics to follow)
  • Sheep and pigs now only spawn during midday
  • Changed the height of the background of the levels
  • Fixed a fairly large bug with item icons and crafting
  • Fixed an issue with animal AI where they would spin on the spot!

I’ve done a bit of work on the day/night cycle this week, mostly under-the-hood stuff, and I’ve defined a few day states:

Dawn – soon as the sun comes up until it reaches its highest point.
Midday – sun full up until it starts going down
Dusk – Soon as such starts going down until it’s gone
Midnight – The whole time the moon is out.

During dawn and dusk wolves will now spawn around the level. Here’s what they look like:

I was hoping to have their behavior coded as well but it’s taking a bit longer then excepted, so like the fish they’re currently just aesthetic. They do however act a little different to normal animals. Sheep and pigs are timid, meaning if you click or attack them they’ll run off. Wolves are tougher and just sit there and take it! This passive behavior will soon be replaced with offensive behavior and they’ll stack everything!

Small change here that I think makes a big difference to how the level feels. I’ve lowered the backgrounds to the tops of the mountains and hills and more in-level with the player.

While working this week I fired up an old test level and noticed the level felt much more open. The only thing that was different was the height of the level background. After applying the same to the levels I really prefer it. This screen shows what I’m talking about:

I think the later feels much more open and freeing!

Bit of a tangent here, but debugging a game is mostly a nightmare. Working on the wolves this past update was the worst yet. Wolves only spawn at dusk and dawn, and a day cycle is ~15 minutes, so am I supposed to wait until that time came around to test anything? That obviously isn’t feasible, so what you end up doing is coding dev features. For example, to speed up the day I made it so that when I hold the ‘+’ key the sun speed up 100x.

While this works, what you end up with is developer features scattered throughout your game. There as a ‘bug’ a while back where pressing the middle mouse button spawned a water block … that was a testing feature I’d forgot to turn off. The answer is a dev console. I’ve wanted one of these for a while and decided now was a good time to get working on it. Hitting F1 in-game brings up this console and allows me to type develop commands.

The following gif is a bit pants. If anyone knows how to record high-quality gifs let me know! We’re looking at the lower left. I’m using the console to modify the time of day:

Why am I telling you all this? Well, I’m leaving it in. It doesn’t do much right now, infact you can only set daytime, but over time commands can be added. I’m of the opinion if someone wants to manipulate the game in Samphi then go right ahead. Want 9999 of an item, go for it, edit the save file. That’s why it’s in plain text. When multiplayer comes these features will all be disabled though! Nobody likes cheating online.

Currently supported commands are:

  • set time dawn
  • set time midday
  • set time dusk
  • set time midnight

Have fun!

So I’ve been thinking about multiplayer lately. Multiplayer was very nearly included in the initial release, but after press played Samphi they almost unanimously felt that I should spend time polishing things instead of focusing on multiple, so that’s the route I chose. On release I said multiplayer would follow in the coming weeks …

I’m torn between wanting to pack in as much content as possible and working on multiplayer. The choice is simple:

Work on new features and put multiplayer on hold for longer
Put a hold on new features and finish multiplayer.

I want player feedback on this, and the best way I could think to do that was with a quick strawpoll. Sorry to have you following links, but if you could drop your vote it would be really helpful! It will help me see what you guys want most next.

Strawpoll Link

Thanks in advance if you complete it, your feedback is very helpful. No worries if not.

Now that the animals are draw and their spawning code is all sorted I’ll now start adding their behavior. The fish in the pools will affect fishing and wolves will attack livestock! That’s why I called this blog ‘preparation update’. It’s put a good few things in place ready for further work. So that’s what’s next. 🙂

Enjoy your weekends friends, and how about we meet back here same place next week? Cya then! Ciao.

As always you can show your support and keep up to date with development by following me here:

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Greeny Games Website[www.greenygames.com]
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