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The Jovian System Development Update #2.

MF

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Long overdue development update.

What’s the status of the game now?

Mechanically, it’s about 80% there. Content wise, 25%. That may not seem like a lot, but creating content is speeding up greatly as the systems get more fleshed out. There is no way the game will be done by early 2023, but Early Access seems doable. A combat beta before that.

The first area on Callisto is mostly done in terms of characters, quests and story. You can finish the first quest in the main line, get the modular space station mobile and travel on the world map. World map is a bit of a misnomer since you’re traveling around Jupiter’s orbital system but for gameplay purposes the term is accurate enough. You can add party members and select one or two from the roster to join you if you venture out with the shuttle pod. You can take them for useful field skills or their combat skills.

shuttlelaunchsmal.jpg


You can move the space station to orbit different moons, stations or stable orbits of Jupiter. You can also travel freely, but this consumes a lot of fuel. Compared to Titan Outpost, it’s as if you can move your entire base around the map and then shuttle to points of interest.

Jupiter’s radiation is extremely dangerous, and the deeper you get into its orbit, the more shielding you need. I really want to include Io in some form, but I’m thinking of changing the current arc I had envisioned there to something based on drones, because there is simply no way I can justify having humans there without venturing far outside the scope of hard sci-fi. Anyway, the jury’s still out on that one.

Before moving onto the next area and populating the world with locations, I decided to focus more on combat for a while again.

Combat

There are two possible combat encounters in the first area, although the game doesn’t necessarily have ‘combat encounters’. You can initiate combat and attack someone as long as you’re in an area that allows combat.

The first two encounters are on a moon, which means that there is minimal gravity. One character is carrying an angle grinder as a melee weapon, and I had yet to implement melee weapons when I finished the area.

This made me realize I needed a combat testing area that was more versatile than my abstract block area and the ship around which I built everything. I made a testing tool where I could easily add characters to a combat situation and put them on a map designed for combat. This works well, so I decided to add it to the game as a skirmish mode. I think turning this skirmish mode into a combat beta might be a good idea.

Character sheet at generation (still incomplete of course):
Character Sheet WIP.jpg


Anyway, right now the combat system works.

It’s not feature-complete yet, nor is it in any way polished and a lot of actions are not animated yet. But it works.

Characters can walk on surfaces when they have their magnetic boots engaged. When they jump off, they float freely in a zero G environment based on their momentum. You can apply thrust in a direction and change your momentum.

Characters can attack each other, damage calculation, resistances, etc. Right now, that’s all in. The AI can also shoot at you and navigate surfaces. They can navigate freely in the zero G environment. The AI even transitions between the two states with a semblance of intelligence, but that still needs a lot of work.

fightingindooorssm.jpg


I wrote a behavior tree system for the AI so I can easily add AI scripts to characters. This will give each enemy character a unique approach. I still need to see what works and what doesn’t. My first AI profiles started fleeing for cover when health was under a certain percentage, but in this game, sometimes cover isn’t what you want. Sometimes you only need to disable your magnetic boots and firmly jump upwards to get out of dodge.

I’ve also created a framework where I can attach code to characters that works in tandem with the AI and character status. Dialogue can be triggered when a character’s health goes below a certain level, or if their oxygen runs out, etc. so characters can beg for their life.

The Nitty Gritty

I’m sure you want to hear about how resistances work, what the different damage types are, how deep or shallow the health pool is and how many attacks you can get in a round. Stuff like that.

However, most of this is still in flux. I can give a specific example of a weapon as it is in the game right now, which is a good indication of how it will ultimately end up in the game.


This a laser weapon that consumes battery power quickly and isn’t inherently more powerful than a kinetic weapon, just different. It fires a short, intense burst of energy. It’s useful because it has zero kickback so you won’t go flying if you shoot it untethered in zero G.
cbeams.jpg


You can set it to low frequency mode and apply more heat damage, or high frequency mode and apply more electromagnetic damage. The former does more overall damage, but the latter has more penetration and higher critical chance. Criticals do not come in the form of increased damage, but in breaking or debuffing something for the target.


These are weapon modes. Some simple guns have just one mode, others have two or more, like bust fire.


Weapons can also have special effects. If you aim the laser for the eyes you can get a blinding effect. Most kinetic weapons have a rupture chance. Electromagnetic weapons have a stun chance. Others have armor destruction.


The damage types are :

Kinetic, heat, electromagnetic and radiation. Of course the last two are both radiation, but the latter is a combination of everything we typically associate with radioactivity. (keV to MeV, secondary gamma rays, etc.). There is a fifth type of damage that I’m intentionally leaving blank because I’m not sure if the system needs it yet.


If you get closer to Jupiter, everyone constantly gets hit with radiation type damage if they’re not shielded. This is an environmental hazard and important for positioning.


Speaking about shielding, armor works with a hard damage threshold to kinetic damage. Criticals can reduce DT permanently until repairs are made. Any penetration will cause leaks and significant penetration will quickly deplete oxygen if not patched during the character’s turn. If left unpatched, characters will suffocate in a few turns and seriously debuffed before that.


Other types of damage ignore DT and directly lower HP minus the victim’s resistance to those damage types.


The standard space suit without alterations has limited DT and limited heat and EM resistance. A suit geared towards combat you can get relatively early on has higher DT but limits movement.


You can wear suit packs. Right now there are two, both allowing for omnidirectional movement with varying amounts of thrust. A suit pack with embedded weaponry could be fun, but I want to cover all the basics first.

thruster.jpg


That’s it for now. I have lots more to write about and this is not a very structured update, but I don’t want to dump an info bomb in one go. I'll try to update more regularly with specifics.
 

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The Wall

Dumbfuck!
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Looks brilliant! Do you have hard on for minister in British government by the name Pretty Patel?

I saw her face again in your Dev Diaries. Maybe it's me
 

MF

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Thanks!

Nope, never heard of her in fact. Patel is a common enough Indian name.
 

ERYFKRAD

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Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
, and the deeper you get into its orbit
Hang on, atmosphere innit?
It’s useful because it has zero kickback so you won’t go flying if you shoot it untethered in zero G.
On the other hand, that kickback could be nudge in the right direction depending on where you aim.

Right now you're making it sound like grappling and wrestling moves are probably the safest moves in space on account of not flying off when you punch someone.
 

MF

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, and the deeper you get into its orbit
Hang on, atmosphere innit?

By Jupiter's orbit I'm referring to the entire system. You never get close to its atmosphere. Calisto is far out enough for humans to survive unshielded. Further inward that is not the case. Ganymede has a semi-subterranean heavily shielded settlement that is partially protected by that moon's own magnetosphere. On the surface you'd die in a couple of months. Europa has a really small research outpost in the subsurface ocean. No permanent human presence further inward.

On the other hand, that kickback could be nudge in the right direction depending on where you aim.

Right now you're making it sound like grappling and wrestling moves are probably the safest moves in space on account of not flying off when you punch someone.

Grappling moves are in, but designed to throw characters around rather than apply damage. Under the right circumstances they can effectively neutralize an enemy in a single move or save you from flying off, but usually it's safer to fire a gun. Depends on the situation.

Kickback can be useful. If you don't have thrust capabilities and you're not sticking to a ferromagnetic surface with your boots, tethered or holding on to something, firing a gun could be the only way of applying thrust you have. You can make a directional shot specifically for this purpose. If your boots are engaged or your back is against a surface, you can fire kickback weapons without issue.

Also, if your momentum is nonzero, it penalizes THC and increases dodge chance. That's a bit like Battletech, where speed is a factor in evasion.
 
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MF

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I got sick of testing melee with static characters so I decided to spend some time doing animations for them. Very time consuming compared to guns but heaps of fun. This one for the angle grinder turned out nice. Thought I'd share it.
GrinderAnimationJovianSystemsmall.gif

The blood particle effects are for gravity situations, in zero G blood will pool up but you can't see the animation as well that way.
 

MF

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What game engine are you using for this?
Unity 2021.2. Well, at this point actually it's more like my own engine built on top of Unity because the built-in stuff isn't very flexible and I'm working partly on TO's codebase. I'm basically using Unity as a render pipeline and object framework.
 

Nm6k

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I wanted to ask since you are kind of running you own group what is the interactions with the other factions going to like compared to Outpost
 

MF

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I wanted to ask since you are kind of running you own group what is the interactions with the other factions going to like compared to Outpost

Utgard spaceport on Callisto houses almost all factions, but when the game begins, that spaceport is wiped out. This is the impetus for the rest of the game and keeps all the pieces moving. You start out with a background, or as an independent contractor if you prefer. Backgrounds are companies or government orgs you worked for before the game starts.
Essentially because the spaceport is gone, it's every man for himself and factions are far more self-contained. Affiliation with the company someone worked for may increase your initial relation with an NPC or gain you access here or there but in a power vacuum nothing is guaranteed.

On Ganymede, for example, the 'factions' are starving and radiation poisioned people who got locked out of the main base, and people inside trying to keep people out to preserve their rations. Mostly divided by background but not strictly so. There are some overarching factions with pockets of power left here and there. You can help them capitalize on that or vice versa.
 

The_Mask

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Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I helped put crap in Monomyth
Is there any way to buy the game straight from you, without going through a retailer and giving them 30% of the money?
I don't want to go down a big rabbit hole, and I don't want to derail this too much, but I'm starting not to like Steam/GOG taking profits from single devs/you.
 
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Codex Year of the Donut
Is there any way to buy the game straight from you, without going through a retailer and giving them 30% of the money?
I don't want to go down a big rabbit hole, and I don't want to derail this too much, but I'm starting not to like Steam/GOG taking profits from single devs/you.
a purchase on steam + a good review is probably worth more overall than that extra 30%
 

MF

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Is there any way to buy the game straight from you, without going through a retailer and giving them 30% of the money?
I don't want to go down a big rabbit hole, and I don't want to derail this too much, but I'm starting not to like Steam/GOG taking profits from single devs/you.
I don't know yet, for Jovian System I'm still 100% in development mode and I haven't given it enough thought yet. I'll have to facilitate a bit of a buzz well in advance so I shouldn't wait too long with marketing stuff at least, but at least it can be wishlisted on Steam already. I made sure of that because I suspect that's one of the more important measures I could take.

That said, I did consider it for Titan Outpost but I don't think selling directly would net me much more and it definitely wouldn't scale. Payment processors take cuts as well, and bandwidth isn't free either. I did learn that I'll probably need a way to accommodate people who hate Steam.

I'm pretty happy with Steam. Worth the cut. Great platform, solid reach, rules that may seem strange at first but end up making a lot of sense. It's not too intrusive, DRM is mostly optional for devs. Good reviews really do help, I noticed a dip in response during sale time for Titan Outpost after a few negative reviews. Some made sense, but one had issues with 'racial slurs' and another that thought the game was 'ableist' for being able to play as an autistic character or something. They moved the game from 'positive' to 'mostly positive' which apparently hurts sales. But I digress.

I've gotten a lot more respect for Valve over the last few years.
 

Pink Eye

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They moved the game from 'positive' to 'mostly positive' which apparently hurts sales. But I digress.
Yeah. It's like that for Colony Ship too. All it took was a couple of negative reviews to tank the game's score from 85% to 84%.
LCL8L5T.png
I'm not sure if it hurt sales, but it's concerning since the game hardly gets reviews. So those few negative reviews it does get, tend to impact the score.
 

MF

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They moved the game from 'positive' to 'mostly positive' which apparently hurts sales. But I digress.
Yeah. It's like that for Colony Ship too. All it took was a couple of negative reviews to tank the game's score from 85% to 84%.
1% drop isn't that bad. The percentage amount of people that post reviews is statistically similar across the board from what I've read, unless it's being bombed which is clearly not the case here. It's got an order of magnitude more reviews than Titan Outpost has, for example, which probably means that it has sold an order of magnitude more copies so far. Colony Ship is in Early Access so it's probably OK. It's already a third of Age of Decadence and it's not even finished.

I don't think that's too concerning, but Vince hasn't done his 'taking care of business' post in two years so I don't know.
 

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