NEW PATCH IS OUT NOW - ZOMBIES NOT INCLUDED V0.0.10

We are back once again with our usual round of bug fixes, optimizations, and new content. However, we’re also introducing you to a rather unusual specimen of the Nugget species. This erratic, demented, and somewhat ingenious Nugget is called the Witch Doctor, and they’ll be taking care of your people’s ailments from now on. Those poor, unfortunate soulsThis means that Nuggets can now fall ill (well, become unwell when falling in general, really) and get hurt while performing certain tasks. They will thereafter require medical attention from the local Witch Doctor in order to recover. Witch Doctors spend their days collecting herbs for remedies and “treating” the sick and injured. You’ll know something mildly toxic is brewing when smoke rises from the Witch Doctor’s hut. But, hey, at least it’s better than no treatment at all, right?

We are also officially moving on to Alpha from Pre-Alpha (yay!). In this Patch, we're introducing a prototype version of the Nuggets’ artificial intelligence update. You'll notice a lack of Resource Gathering controls and other micromanagement controls that you had to use earlier in order to control Nuggets. This is just the beginning of things to come, and we're working on a far more complex version that will allow Nuggets to make wiser decisions and live their life like more organic creatures. It is a very challenging task, but we have the foundation now.



Let’s talk about where we’re at right now. We're very nearly done with Stone Age mechanics and have begun working on the advanced Nugget AI and City Expansion mechanics. After these two major systems are done, we're going to move a lot faster. There are plenty of things in the pipeline that are not yet ready for testing, but stay tuned for some incredibly awesome content in the future.

The first iteration of the Creator Power menu is also being added. More powers will follow in future patches, but you should definitely take a look at the mini
blog at the end for details on the current powers and the system in general. Be sure to read through all of the changes on the way, too. Many are very significant.


BUG FIXES

  • Nuggets no longer use huts that they do not own
  • Fixed an issue with farmers executing survival tasks while being assigned to farmer jobs
  • Small fixes to Epicenter and building models
  • Fixed a bug with the Farm where Nuggets would become stuck after leaving the building
  • Fixed a bug where Nuggets were starving even if there was a dish in the Eatery
  • Farm paths are now properly connected to the planet’s surface (no more floating Nuggets)
  • Eatery paths are now properly connected to the planet’s surface (no more floating Nuggets)
  • Fixed an animation bug when a crop was canceled
  • Reduced mouse wheel sensitivity
  • Fixed "Lorem Ipsum" in crop description in the Farm panel tooltip
  • Fixed an issue where destroying the Constructor’s Hut wouldn’t remove Nuggets from the task
  • Farm tooltip warning fixed
  • Fixed a bug when a Nugget dies in the Farm
  • Corrected water output vs usage display in the UI
  • When placing a building, unimportant objects and bushes in the construction zone are now properly destroyed
  • Buildings that are destroyed now also destroy all assets from their construction
  • Added GoTo thumbnail buttons to the Construction Panel
  • Fixed the invisible objects issue after grabbing something with Creator Powers
  • No longer displays icons after a Nugget’s death
  • Fixed pump water consumption bars
  • Fixed a bug that occurs when a male dies before an approaching female arrives to initiate the mating process (necro what?)
  • Nugget list panel scroll system fixed. Zoom no longer works when the cursor is over the panel.
  • Fixed the light shafts not fading properly issue
  • Fixed the news filter not applying to new messages
  • Clicking on the Nugget in the Nugget’s ID panel will center the camera on the selected Nugget
  • Fixed a few Linux-specific bugs, such as the error texture for the splash screen, start menu backgrounds, and some shader issues. Better Linux versions will now become available as we have changed our Linux workflow and dedicated more resources to Ubuntu development.
  • Fixed environment Particle effects, fireflies at night and dandelions along with the dust are back.



NEW CONTENT

  • “F4” button will now hide the HUD for when you want to take screenshots or record videos of your awesome planet!
  • New AI (prototype - see ‘mini blog’ below!)


  • Every now and then, Nuggets will become injured. This (in the future) will make them work less efficiently and possibly even begin to lose health over time. This is exactly where the Witch Doctor comes in. The primary purpose of a Witch Doctor is to heal injured Nuggets. However, they will first need to prepare remedies, which require Witch Doctors to collect herbs out in the wilderness (in the future, herbs can be grown in Farms in the same manner as crops). While injured, Nuggets will stop their tasks and proceed to the Witch Doctor’s hut where they will lay down on a stone bed, if there’s an empty one. The injured Nugget will then be healed over a certain period of time until they’re ready to work once more.


  • A Nugget’s life is rich in events and emotions that can be hard to follow. For this reason, we have added status icons above their heads. Whenever a Nugget is changing his/her task, an icon will appear for a short time denoting his/her intentions. Critical conditions will be shown with a permanent icon until the Nugget’s state changes. We show statuses for all buildings in a similar fashion. We believe that this will help take your civilization management skills to the next level.


  • Now Nuggets will be assigned to their own Hut. If they have no hut, they will be tasked to build one.
  • Added the Creator Power Menu, which allows you to select from 3 powers (including 2 new ones). Read more about it in the Mini_Blog below.
  • The Inconceivable power makes the selected female Nugget immediately find a mate to increase the population
  • Construction Influence prioritizes a building under construction to be built first, or causes Nuggets to repair an existing one
  • Added Residential (Hut) Panel
  • Bushes now have a ‘Herb’ resource for use by the Witch Doctor
  • Implemented game settings for status icons. Toggle (show/hide) building/Nugget icons
  • Implemented random injures and messages for them
  • Farm:
    - Implemented cancel button for the current crop
    - Implemented critical message when Farm is full
  • Implemented "GoTo" and "Demolish" functions to all key buildings
  • Settings screen update
  • Constructor’s Hut model updated
  • Image effect settings addition: Quality settings for the sun shafts effect are available, with other image effects like SSAO coming in the next release.


UI/UX UPDATES

  • Implemented the Creator Power Menu. Press your middle mouse button to open the menu. There is also a button in the top left corner of the Main UI to access the menu.


  • Settings screen: added options to toggle status icons for buildings and Nuggets


  • Creator Power Menu: implemented Creator Power points


  • Witch Doctor panel implementation: Now you can heal your Nuggets!
  • Worker ID card text fit fixed. Also deleted a few unnecessary tooltips.
  • Farm Panel: added delete button for current crop
  • Proper Esc menu will be displayed when esc key is pressed
  • Implemented the Nugget Hut panel. You can now see the names and statuses of the residents of every hut.


  • Food quantities should no longer show unnecessary decimal places
  • Demolish buttons added to every key building
  • GoTo button added to every worker slot so you can now click on it and the camera will take you to that Nugget
  • Main tutorial updated: added info about Creator Powers and Creator Power points.
  • Added new tutorials for Eatery, 
  • Added new tutorials for Witch Doctor’s hut, and 
  • Added new tutorials for Residential Buildings
  • Eatery ‘eating spots’ now have a GoTo button - which will take you to the selected Nugget
  • Construction menu 
  • Engineer’s Hut render update
  • Nuggets List Panel scrolling fix: you couldn’t scroll while hovering over Nugget info before
  • General Scroll fix: when you were scrolling over panels, the planet would zoom in/out as well. This issue is now fixed.



GAME BALANCE CHANGES


  • Unlinked well from the pump. Now it can be built without a pump.
  • Lowered food decrease tick rate along with thirst tick rate
  • Decreased cooking speed in Eatery
  • Lowered Pump output from 10 to 8
  • Lowered Large Stone HP from 100 to 90
  • Lowered Medium Stone HP from 60 to 55
  • Lowered Small Rock HP from 40 to 35
  • Increased Farm HP from 250 to 500
  • Increased Eatery HP from 200 to 500
  • Increased Water Reservoir HP from 400 to 1000
  • Increased Well HP from 100 to 150
  • Increased Cemetery HP from 200 to 400
  • Witch Hut HP 550
  • Slightly increased food depletion tick rate
  • Slightly increased thirst depletion tick rate



PERFORMANCE CHANGES

  • Significant rework of pathfinding system: currently at 100 Nuggets with playable framerates on mid-range hardware. Not even close to done yet, though!
  • Several new caching systems to reduce memory thrashing. (This means less “stutter” or pauses while memory is cleaned up mid-game.)
  • Cleanup pass: removed a bunch of memory leaks
  • Significantly simplified some physics interactions related to the Nuggets
  • Changed how biome audio location tracking works: now follows the camera movements to only update when absolutely necessary. This was a significant performance drain, and is now barely noticeable, with the added benefit of position smoothing to prevent the ambience from “jumping” to another location.
  • Increased CPU allocation to several tasks during initial load; may reduce load times in exchange for a FPS drop on the load screen for some
  • Pathfinding generation at load time rewritten: average time is now 200 milliseconds instead of 15-20 seconds
  • Texture size optimizations
  • Added a max amount of concurrent audio sources to prevent abuse
  • Terrain/object snow processing has been moved almost entirely on to the GPU, improving performance and allowing for proper snow buildup/melting simulation. Read more about it in the Mini_Blog below.



MISCELLANEOUS

  • Replaced input handling system entirely. First step towards fully bindable inputs and (one day, maybe) controller support.
  • Adjusted mouse trail intensity.
  • Rewrote the temperature system to be much simpler to edit, as well as improving the seasons panel prediction accuracy to be within half a degree of the actual temperatures.



KNOWN ISSUES

  • Animals are still disabled - system rewrite in progress
  • Distribution Centers and Stashes disabled while being redesigned
  • Removed damage from collapsing buildings
  • Disabled the tree power for now, since it's too buggy to release
  • Currently only the Engineer profession (in the Constructor’s Hut) is auto-assigned. Other professions (Farmer, Doctor, etc) still need to be manually assigned.
  • There is a known issue with Inconceivable where the ability only works on female nuggets of age who aren't fertile, but can become fertile.


Mini_Blog: AI Prototype

Hello Creators, ‘Grey’ here again
We have another big project this month: AI self-determination. Essentially, we’ve built a bit of a prototype that lets the Nuggets make their own decisions. They’ll feed themselves, harvest resources, help build new constructions and even assign themselves to the Engineer profession when there’s building to be done. (More automated professions to come in the future.)

The main effect on gameplay is that you are no longer forced to micromanage your Nuggets. They’re not the sharpest fellows, so your help will still be most useful, but if you so desire you can sit back, relax, and watch your Nuggets go about their daily lives… just don’t expect them to progress far without you. :)

There are of course caveats; as this is our first pass over this change, it’s likely to have lots of bugs (we’ve already squashed a bunch!) and changes are definitely already planned for it. We have begun work on a much better implementation which you’ll hopefully see in the next few months, that will play the same (or similarly) but will give us considerably better control over how it all works ‘behind the scenes’.

 This new system will also be the basis for creatures that you (the players) don’t rule over… competing Nugget civilisations, aliens… even the poor missing animals.



Mini_Blog: Creator Powers Menu and GPU Snow

Hello everyone! I’m Lucas, one of the programmers, and I work on a lot of various systems, but my specialty/favorite is anything graphics related. I’ve been with the team for quite a while now, so I figured it was about time I write a mini blog detailing what I’ve been up to.

This month I spent a large amount of my time implementing the new Creator Powers Menu, which allows you to access more powers than the basic interaction power previously implemented (though this is of course still an option, and your bread and butter). As stated in the patch notes above, you can open/close it using either the middle mouse button, or by clicking on the selected power icon in the top left corner of the main UI (next to that energy orb that shows how many Creator Points, or CP, that you have). You’ll accumulate these points over time, and they’re the basic currency for using your powers.

  Upon opening it, you’ll be given the choice of three color coded categories: purple Interventions, yellow Terraforming, and  blue Disasters. Currently, the only available God Powers are in the Interventions category to the left: Basic Interaction, Inconceivable, and Construction Influence, as I spent the majority of the development time on setting up the underlying system and the UI, paying special attention to ensure a good user experience. Also, many of the others require other systems to be in place before it makes sense to add them. However, as the base system is in place, it’s now much easier to add the individual powers, and you can expect more in the near future.

Anyways, you may find yourself asking, “What exactly do these powers do?”, which is a valid question to which I shall offer some answers:
Basic Interaction is the one you all know and love; pick up objects and throw them around to help/show your displeasure/have fun. Useful for gathering resources and placing them near the epicenter, or for smiting Nuggets with a well placed stone.
Inconceivable, a word which does not mean what you think it means, is also the power that allows you to bypass the biological limitations placed on Nuggets and instantly fertilize a female Nugget of your choice. They will then seek out the nearest male and “expand the population” post haste. Useful for the obvious reason of having more Nuggets to torment/make worship you.
Construction Influence lets you take the role of foreman and direct Nuggets to complete a particular building before others, or mark a building for immediate repair if already constructed. Useful if you placed multiple key buildings, but don’t want to wait for the first ones to complete, or if you have a building in danger of collapse, and want to make sure it’s taken care of promptly.

I hope this explains things, and that you enjoy your newfound abilities (just remember that with great power comes no responsibility if you’re a deity)! P.S. Using a power reverts the selected power back to the basic interaction power, unless you hold ‘alt’ when using it.

But as I said before, my true passion when it comes to game development is graphics (I’m responsible for a lot of the technical stuff like the atmosphere, terrain, etc., but not any of the actual models, those are the work of our incredibly talented artists). As such, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to talk briefly about the new GPU Snow system I recently implemented.

As long time players/observers will know, I implemented basic snow almost a year ago, but it left a LOT to be desired; not only was it incredibly slow and performance, heavy, but because of this, we could only update it in a few steps per month (latest was using 8 steps over 4 seconds twice a month), causing it to appear/disappear in quite noticeable jumps. Another limitation was that the shaders only had access to the current local temperature, with no sense of “history”, causing the snow to instantly appear/disappear when the temperature changed, rather than naturally build up/melt.


I’ve been thinking about this on and off for a while now, and I finally came up with a system that I feel is far superior. Where before whenever we wanted to update the information available to the terrain/objects, we had to modify the texture on the CPU’s main thread, which meant a lot of valuable time per frame spent on this, which is why we could only do it occasionally, and even then it caused slowdowns. The new system takes a smaller input temperature map texture that we only update once on the CPU, rather than a full sized one updated once per step. This is passed to a special shader I made that upscales it on the GPU, and every frame both smooths the upscaled temperature map on one color channel, and updates the new “snow buffer” on another, which is just a value from 0-1 that gets added to/subtracted from based on how cold it is at that point. And since this shader is a normal shader model 3.0 shader (anything in the last decade), it should run on any system, unlike a lot of the GPU calculation methods that require newer hardware that supports DX11 or OpenGL Core.

So to recap, the new system means: much better performance, higher resolution information available to the shaders, and actual simulation of snow accumulation/melting, rather than just showing what temperature it is at a point. Thanks for sticking around while I geek out about this new feature, and I hope you all enjoy the patch!


Thank you,
Crytivo Games Team!

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