Devblog 8

A new world map, new characters, security and Quests!

25 October 2018 by Jarryd Campi

Prior to this months update cooking was only really done via the stove prop. The stove would produce meals once passengers were seated at a diner booth, then the meals would be delivered by staff. There were a few issues with this:

-The time between the passenger sitting down, to the meal being produced, to the meal being delivered was quite long

-This meant that there were numerous bugs around meals being orphaned when a passenger would lose interest or have to disembark

-The whole process was really hard-coded and inflexible to work with, which made expanding the system difficult

So this month I’m trying out a new system! The new system starts with a newly repurposed Stove and a new Prep Table. The stove produces meat meals, while the Prep Table produces salads. These are then carried by staff to new buffet stands where passengers can purchase meals from. This completely eliminates the possibility of food being orphaned, since passengers receive the food when they purchase it (exactly like the existing vending machine systems). The diner booth prop still exists, as well as a smaller dining table prop for passengers to sit down and eat at.

Another wrinkle in this system is two new stockpiles - the Meat and Vegetable stockpile. Props can now specify a unique stockpile, rather than just using the standard Stockpile. These new food stockpiles need to be kept in cool conditions or they will expire. To help keep your food cool, there’s a new range of climate control props that allow you to heat up or cool down areas of your ship.

There’s also a new selection of visualisation tools to help you identify temperature on your ship and other information like rubbish density and passenger activity.

The route system in SkyCruise has gone through some interesting evolutions over the game’s lifetime. Initially, the system required players to set up a route manually, but testers found this really cumbersome and fiddly. Having to click 2-4 random locations just to get your ship moving was a pain, and players had to do it before they even got passengers on board their ship.

So I simplified that into a premade route system, completely hiding the world map. It was still running in the background (that system is what drives the background changes from grass to desert, etc) but was inaccessible, in its place you selected from 4 premade routes with a simple button click. This was an improvement in the sense that it cut down on unnecessary clicks by the player and was a lot simpler to understand, but it lost some of the sense of travelling. I’ve always wanted the player to feel like they are moving through the world and travelling in their ship, and this abstraction really hindered that.

So this month I started work on the third iteration of the map! It takes some of the simplifications of the second iteration and applies it to a more fleshed out world map from the first iteration. I’ve converted the old 2D USA map into a full 3D globe, with a selection of 95 cities to visit. Instead of multi city routes, you now get presented with three destination options based on your current location. There’s also a new set of buildings you can build onto the world to expand your range. You can unlock new regions with Headquarters, as well as expand your reach in those regions by placing Regional Offices. You can even install PR Offices to increase passenger happiness in areas.

You’ll find travelling between locations takes much longer than it did in the past as well. A trip that used to take 2-3 minutes can now take over 10 minutes. This makes travelling around the globe a genuinely challenging task.

Just having more places to visit is meaningless without having a reason to do so, so a new type of Contract is now available. While it looks and functions like a Contract, Quests are a new, more advanced type of repeatable objective. You’ll find quests that task you to transport Diplomatic Envoys, Sport Teams and special cargo from one place to another around the world.

Security staff are a new staff type that you can hire. Security staff will wander your ship on the lookout for crimes. Criminals will sometimes spray graffiti around your ship or steal from shops. If a criminal does these things while a security staff member is nearby the staff member will chase them down and subdue them, you’ll then receive all of that passengers money as compensation for the crime.

Passengers now have the ability to receive status effects for certain periods of time. These take several forms, both positive and negative and can be inspected by clicking on the passenger. Food now has the chance of making passengers sick, which will prompt them to throw up randomly and make a mess for your staff to clean up (although you can profit off this by purchasing a new Medicine Vending Machine). Alcohol now has the chance of sending people into a drunken rage, where they will run around the ship and attack props, you’ll need Security staff to calm these passengers.

They’re not all negative though, sleeping in beds now has the chance of making a passenger “Well Rested”, while eating meals from the new Buffet system can give passengers the “Well Fed” effect.

Finally made the switch over to the new Facepunch character this month, thanks to some staff outfits from Taylor.

Matt also got around to whpping up some food carts (I've updated all of the in-game carts to use these new models, but Ice-Cream and Hot Dog stands will be in a future update).

That’s about it for this month! All of this stuff is in this month’s update which is out now. Already a tester? Be sure to restart your Steam client to ensure you’re on the latest version. I’ll be sending out some more keys, so if you’ve signed up be sure to check your inbox. Haven’t signed up yet? You can register as a tester here, I send out keys once a month. Have fun!