What we’re working on.

Just wanted to give you a brief update on what we’ve been working on.

Progress

The past few months have been full of refactoring, polishing, bug fixing and content creation.Here are a a few bullet points:

  • We have been testing the game more frequently on Mac and Linux using FNA. In particular we’ve been fixing critical bugs that were causing the game to crash on Mac and Linux related to graphics peculiarities on those systems that are not present in Windows. This is still very much a work in progress as newer Macs seem to have other unrelated problems that we need to work out.
  • Submitted DwarfCorp to the Boston Festival of Indie Games. Made it to the second round of judging. We will know if we made it into the showcase by July 15th.
  • Improved creature AI, fixing several bugs that caused Dwarves to and other creatures to get stuck, and allowing Dwarves to cook and craft in their free time.
  • Added new professional sounds to the game (miscellaneous sounds e.g. doors, muskets, environmental effects, sounds for magical research and cooking etc.)
  • Did a live recording session with musicians from the Berklee college of music. The score will soon be partially orchestrated with live strings, accordions and percussion.
  • In the diplomacy screen, creatures now talk/babble with a made-up language and have more interesting dialogue.
  • The old GUI has been completely removed from the game. Everything is now using the much faster GUI we developed over the past few months. This gives a significant performance boost.Here is an example of the new GUI (still a work in progress);
  • You may also notice that Dwarves have more “fluff” now, including their gender and hobbies, and you can more easily manage their tasks.
  • Added new pixel-animated particle effects, including this cool explosion effect

Chickens getting trapped by exploding bear traps (click to animate)

  • The first “mega beast” in the game, the Giant Snake, which appears rarely in deserts and is extremely powerful

  • New biomes/plants including apple trees and deciduous forest

  • New block types for building, and new resources for building materials including brick and glass (manufactured from dirt and sand, respectively). Also the ability to dynamically tile blocks vertically, allowing us to have cool effects like these vertically stretching Gothic windows

  • We’ve added the ability to directly control Dwarves. This is a project we’ve long intended to make work. By selecting a single Dwarf, the player can control the dwarf using the arrow keys or WASD plus jumping. When the Dwarf goes underground, the camera follows him/her and automatically slices. We did this to make navigating underground spaces and 3D structures easier, plus its just cool.

  • New animated flags. Some creatures can carry these flags, and they will appear on the balloon port. They have dynamic textures/colors that you can select.

A swimming dwarf with a flag (click to animate)

  • Graveyards. When Dwarves die, they generate corpses which their friends bury in the graveyard. Dwarves occasionally go to the graveyard to sit and talk with their fallen comrades. Necromancers arriving at the colony sometimes seek out graveyards and raise dead Dwarves, turning them into skeletons.

  • Animal pens and Animal Husbandry. Dwarves can “wrangle” certain animals and bring them to animal pens. Once inside, the animals can’t escape and can be used for their meat/eggs. Some animals now mate with other animals, producing babies. Animals auto-sort into their pens depending on species.

  • Treasury. We are currently developing (but aren’t yet finished) with physical representations of money in the form of coin piles. In addition to starting with a balloon port, the player also starts with a treasury. When the treasury gets full of money, a new one will have to be created. Physical coin piles get created representing the player’s total money. Dwarves take money from the treasury when paid, or for trading. War parties also sometimes steal from the player.

  • Tutorials. After doing some play-testing, it became clear that the game is getting to the point where it desperately needs a tutorial. We put together a simple tutorial system that displays help messages in response to player actions. The tutorial state is saved, and can be disabled altogether.
  • Goals and Stock. We spent a lot of time going over the question “What to do about company stock? Does it still make sense to use it?” this led us down the path of developing actual goals for the player to accomplish. A goal is simply a scripted series of events that the player can play through that has a win or lose condition. We’ve put together a basic series of scripted events that can be strung together into a particular goal. For example, we developed one simple story-line involving a necromancer requesting your assistance in a war against the elves in exchange for gold. Initially, we were going to use Stock as a reward, but began to realize that Stock is a rather redundant resource, and have now opted to remove the concept of “Stock” altogether from a mechanical standpoint. This Goal system is still a little underdeveloped, but now that we have the core components in place it will be easier to add scripted content and stories to the game.

Status of the Project, and the Future

We now have a clearer idea of where we want the project to go in the near future. We are targeting a Q4 (September – December) 2017 release on Steam. At that time, you will be able to buy the game (price TBD). The project will still be open-source in the sense that the source code will be freely available on our github page, but we will be transitioning to paid builds that automatically update. At the moment, we only plan to distribute the game on Steam; but we will be exploring alternate distribution methods as we get closer to release.

Our burn rate has been pretty steady, and we have continued funding through Q4 2017. We plan on having all the remaining backer rewards (physical copies of the game, soundtrack, and creative rewards) completed by that time.

3 Responses to “What we’re working on.

  • mklingen
    5 months ago

    Just realized I had accidentally disabled comments when I updated the site CSS theme. They’re back online now.

  • No longer DRM-free. Awesome, just awesome…. 🙁

  • Being able to control the dwarves seems to be really interesting 😀
    Good luck guys!

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