Devblog 5

New rooms, resources and loans.

26 July 2018 by Jarryd Campi

I’ve already covered some of the new systems in SkyCruise in the last devblog. These new features made it into this month’s update! There are four rooms available, from Dormitories that you can cram lots of bunk beds into, to Family rooms and Premium cabins. All of these rooms will attract different types of passengers, and your room count will determine your maximum passenger count.

Even if you’re an experienced player I’d recommend going through the tutorials again, there’s some new ones that go through rooms and resources.

It’s not just rooms that affect your passenger counts, your average happiness now acts as a cap. This means that if your passengers are only 50% happy, only half of your rooms will be filled.

The goal for these changes is to make your passenger count more tangible and understandable (the number of beds in rooms on your ship divided by the happiness of your passengers) rather than using invisible stats, levelling systems and tech tree elements.

There’s still more I want to do with systems like this, like measuring decorations in a room as well as some more interesting applications that I've been thinking about, like restaurants, saunas and more.

The new Resource system also made it into this build with a few tweaks from the last devblog. I implemented drag placement when placing circuits and pipes, so you can just click and drag to connect things. This was an important change because they were a pain to place in their first iteration. The drag implementation was pretty generic as well, so I can probably use it on future props that need to be placed like this.

The system will also create hazards if you overload your resources: placing too many power draining objects could start fires, and water leaks when dealing with water props.

One thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately is the default materials that you see when you first purchase your ship. For reference, this is what the default ship used to look like:

The white floor and the orange wall has been there since the very first build of the game (from October last year). A lot of the screenshots I see people share of the game showing their ship features the default materials - I don’t think the painting system is getting a lot of use.

While there are some gameplay changes planned to make painting feel more important, I had a hunch that this might just be down to the visual design of the paint. It was too clean and “finished” looking, and I think the orange and white worked too well together (orange and white is a pretty standard greyboxing colour scheme).

Coming up with something new was more difficult than I anticipated, there were some constraints and goals that seemed pretty conflicting:

-Needs to be ugly or boring enough that players want to replace it

-It’s the first thing people see, so it can’t be too ugly

-It gets seen before players purchase lights, so it’s quite dark

-It’s everywhere initially, so any tiling pattern will be really obvious

Howie took all of those goals and came up with some great looking concepts:

We ended up settling on the the last concept, although there are some other ideas in these images that might get turned into materials in the future. Matt then took that concept and made some in-game materials, I also added the ability for a material to have random textures to help alleviate the repetitiveness. The finished result came out pretty well:

Loans are a small new feature designed to help you out of a boring money grind. It’s reasonably common in games like this to just set the game to fast forward and wait for your money to roll in. WhIle you can still do that, loans provide a way to quickly jump start your cash to keep your ship growing.

It’s a pretty simple system, you just pick an amount (2500, 5000, and 10000) on the Financials screen and you’ll receive that immediately. Each loan runs for a different duration (12, 18 and 24 months) and you’ll need to pay back a portion of the loan at the end of each month.

Careful though, if you miss too many payments you may find some props on your ship could get repossessed!

The room system has rendered several systems irrelevant, so while I was removing these I went ahead and got rid of some other systems that aren’t quite working or need rethinking. Hopefully these changes make things a bit easier for new players to understand, as well as reducing the amount of general noise that you experience while playing. The removed/stripped down systems are:

  • Removed tech points, all tech is now unlocked instantly with cash
  • Removed the ship specific tech tree, only the global tech tree is available
  • Removed the monthly modifiers
  • Removed the monthly objectives

Some of these might be reworked and reintroduced at a later time, but this feels like a good first step.

All of this stuff is out in today’s update, so if you’re already a tester just restart your Steam client to get the update. I’ll also send out another batch of keys as well, so check your mail if you’ve signed up to test. Not signed up yet? You can sign up here to get a key for a future update.