Hey everyone. Jumping straight in with an update on the new and improved crafting system this time around if that’s okay with y’all.
As we’ve talked about in previous Thursdoids, a large part of the crafting overhaul revolves around creating a unified, powerful and expansive system for machines, crafting stations and appliances. This covers all the different things you find around the world, and those crafted by yourself and your friends.
A primary piece of this puzzle has been in the creation of dev systems and methodology that allow for the hugely swifter implementation of far more varied/interesting crafting and devices – which in turn is a big thing for modders, and for the nu-medieval post apocalyptic society gameplay we will now cater for.
This has also been built, however, with a framework that will allow for a wide variety of other gameplay aspects – some of which will be a part of the initial 42 release, while others will be drip-fed into future 42 builds, and more still in the mainline builds beyond that. (The underlying systems will be available for modders from the word go, however.)
One of the advantages that the crafting revamp brings with it is the opportunity to provide engineering and electronics gameplay with a ton more depth. This system revolves around the concept of components.
An example of this would be a ‘power input’ component, which provides electrical power to a machine from an external wire. Another would be a crafting component, which would undertake a crafting recipe that can make use of any liquid or item within a machine’s resource component, that can store items, liquid or power. Importantly, every component also has an associated UI that’s been designed for player interaction.
This will mean as our library (and the community’s library) of components grows, we can quickly put them together to create all sorts of in-game machines and appliances. It’s also relatively easy to slap a UI skin on to each component (perhaps something already existing from the game, perhaps something new) to make them appear in the most appropriate way.
Components will also be moddable, so modders will be able to add new components that could then be used as parts of a machine’s in-game functionality and UI.
The end goal is to open this up to the player in-game, having these components as items obtainable through disassembly.
A burglar alarm for example will be comprised of a speaker component, as well as a battery input component and a motion sensor component. A player could feasibly go around collecting the components, removing the motion sensors and installing them around their base, wiring each of them up to lights to act as an early warning system.
Meanwhile the speaker component of the burglar alarm could be similarly wired up to a switch to allow people in the base to create a distraction sound to lure zombies away or into a trap.
These are just two potential gameplay moments plucked from the air, but good examples of a believable utility of scavenging components from real world items.
Putting aside all the new professions and skills coming to B42, this will finally provide engineering and electronic skills with a lot of cool utility – and make anyone with these skills a valuable asset to any survivor group.
This system will also be the bedrock for the crafting tree, providing functionality for the various profession workbenches, crafting stations and more primitive machines. For example, for the more medieval constructions, one form of power input available is rotational energy, allowing for mills and other contraptions to power machines and stations.
Ultimately our hope would be any machine or appliance on the map would simply be a combination of these components. Someone skilled enough would be able to remove them and put them together in any way they made sense: each component will have simple item, power, liquid or logic inputs and outputs.
Taking it a step further, it would also give us the option of making functional machines within the various industrial areas of the map – providing functional machines that could feasibly be utilized (perhaps even looted and taken back to base) and potentially making factory locations extremely high value targets for looting.
This will also, ultimately, add far more interesting gameplay to base construction and generator usage. We would have pipes and wires to facilitate the wiring and plumbing of machines and home systems together – rather than fudging water collector positions to make operable sinks, or just placing a generator next to a building and instantly powering it.
How far could this be pushed?
Well, in testing the system’s flexibility, Turbo grabbed some existing sprites from around the map to make sure the system was working okay for both our needs, and those of the modding community.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS VIDEO IS FROM A DEVELOPMENT TESTBED.
There’s no guarantee any of this will make it into B42, and likewise they are all built from random tiles that Turbs has nicked from our industrial sprite collection. This is all a part of testing the speed and simplicity of creating new machines – and from that underline how powerful the new system is.
Everything seen in this vid was put together with minimal specific code – and largely relied on existing components put together within the machines in the PZ script files along with new items and recipes.
We’ve got enough on our plate, so we likely won’t have a full suite of replaced ‘existing machines and appliances’ by the time 42 unstable rolls around but we believe that these new foundations for PZ’s crafting system will provide great opportunities both for our existing gameplay, and the gameplay we have planned for the years ahead.
This has certainly been the part of 42 that’s taken the longest to come together (not helped by dev illness and hospitalization in early development stages) but it’s also the stuff that we absolutely needed to nail to provide the huge boost in player and community creativity that we know it can provide. We’re at that point now, we feel, and look forward to showing off more applications in the near future.
A big Spiffo welcome to Patrick, an actual real American on the main dev team. Patrick is a software engineer who has been away working in academia on educational games for a fair while – but has his roots in more conventional gaming and has had his claws in various Tomb Raiders, Tony Hawk games, Ratchets, and Clanks over the years.
His primary mission is the implementation of ragdolls into the game – although initial work and experimentation is still very much exploratory.
We haven’t had an actual real American who remembers 1993 on the dev team for a while, so it also means he gets to answer a lot of questions about parking lots, drivethroughs and various other Americana. He is coping with this admirably.
A quick check-in with our (still WIP) animal tracking system. This could probably look a little better in terms of visual variation when it comes to animal tracks and direction, but is shaping up to be pretty fun.
In B42 not only will holsters be visible, but a new shoulder holster item has been added. Additionally we now have military webbing, which can be worn instead of a shoulder holster, and also occupies the spaces that fanny packs would occupy.
This webbing provides two additional hotbar slots, which we currently have set up for walkie talkies and knives, and also provide superior container option to fanny packs. Not only can these items be found as appropriate container loot, but also can be seen on both existing, and new, zombie outfit types.
Just over a week left if you want to buy yourself a Steadfast Spiffo, and say ‘fuck cancer’ simultaneously.
A changelist of all our pre-release and post-release patches since the 41 beta began can be found here. The Centralized Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send you update notifications once builds get released. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too. Experienced games industry gameplay coder and want to join Team Awesome? Jobs page here