This is another major update and the introduction of the first NPC characters to help the player. These are Harvester Pioneers that can remove trash, cut down dead trees and harvest mature crops. You can enlist them by placing and using a Pioneer Console. Using their help you’ll have more time to focus on more creative tasks.
This was a major undertaking for me and it took months and several thousand lines of code to get the pathfinding and AI to work correctly. I was getting nowhere for several weeks, but I didn't give up, and now I'm really happy that I didn't. I can continue to improve the system I've developed and I can use it in future games I make as well which is really fantastic! I couldn't use the inbuilt Unity navmesh because it is just too slow for my purpose because the players are constantly changing the world so I had to write my own system that focuses on updating my navigation data only when there is a change on the navigable area.
These updates apply to both the demo and full versions of the game:
- I’ve improved game performance by reducing all rendered texture size to an eighth of what it used to be. Graphics should still look sharp and if you find something that isn’t then let me know about it. Reducing the rendered texture size means less has to be loaded in memory and it is easier for the graphics card to handle the textures.
- I’ve developed my own navigation and pathfinding system based on the A* algorithm and it is turning out better than I hoped. In the background a navigation area is being calculated whenever foreground and relevant props tiles are changed and I’ve made my calculation pretty smart by only recalculating the areas that have been changed. This has a real positive impact on performance and I’ve also written my AI pathfinding code to be efficient and fast and only recalculate when needed. This is much faster than the inbuilt Unity nav mesh and has opened new gameplay doors for me and for HBTR. Over the month of December I’ll be developing NPC AI and you’ll see HBTR have a touch of colony sim get added to it.
- I’ve called my AI characters called Pioneers and you can now enlist the first two Pioneers; Steve and George who are harvesters. Place a pioneer console in the world (available at level 1 and already unlocked!) By default they will automatically remove trash and if you buy them an axe and a scythe they will remove dead trees and harvest mature crops. Make sure to have a bed and prayer stand in the world so they can recharge their energy and spirit.
- I’ve added a detailed player guide on how to play and succeed in HBTR. You can access the guide through your super kitty. You click on kitty and then select the How To Play Guide button.
- Exp and money from sky nodes now scales as you level up which makes them useful even as you continue to level up.
- I’ve improved my camera zoom system so you can now zoom out about 30% more.
- I've added new soundtracks for the Polluted World and these are created by Liborio Conti and freely available from his website. I'm experimenting and so far these soundtracks sound like a fair match in setting the mood for when the game starts. I don't want the player to feel dread and think something terrible will happen at any moment. Rather I want the player to get the feeling that they are the source of hope and inspiration and are on a mission to change their land for the better.
- You can now buy/produce 5x at the stove, water dispenser, flour mill, fridge and pantry which saves a lot of time and clicking!
- I’ve updated plant and tree growth code to make sure that crops and trees can’t suddenly grow to full height in just one growth interval. I’ve also made crops and trees grow a bit more slowly when pollution is medium or high.
- I’ve changed the pixel fonts in the game to a modern clean font. There’s lots to read in my game and the pixel font causes too much eye fatigue and is difficult to speed read.
- I’ve randomised commodity prices with the river men so you don’t always get the same selling price for each of the four commodities.
Stay tuned for updates, and play the demo and give me feedback! I'm aiming for mid Feb 2023 release!