TERRATECH BLOGS

Dev Diary - 0.6.3 

By Jamie Finch, posted 11th August 2016

Jamie

Welcome to the Dev Diary for version 0.6.3! Following on from the goliath that was 0.6.2, we felt like it was a good time to expand on some features that have needed some love for a long time. Primarily focusing on AI, introducing the Scrap Magnet and a new Death Mechanic -- alongside a ton of polish tasks, bug fixing, quality of life improvements, optimisations, balancing and some secret stuff (yeah that's right...we've managed to keep something a secret this time). We're super excited to see what you guys think of how the game is coming along in this new update.

Chris

We’re using an A* algorithm to search for paths in the world. This algorithm searches along a grid of squares, which we check if they can be moved into by the Techs. We use a slightly modified QuadTree for checking if tiles are filled or not.

Once we had generated the path we needed to have the Techs follow it - here’s a drunken baby Tech trying it’s hardest…

To get the Techs to follow our new paths we had to re-write some of our older driving code - there were cobwebs and dust everywhere!

Next we had to get several techs following paths and, hopefully, avoiding each other

Django

A new menu to change the AI behaviour of your techs, but perhaps more importantly to some of you: changing which tech to control without having to double click! This has been a gripe for us for a long time and we’re very excited to get this new control method in. For those unfamiliar with radial menus, you bring them up by clicking (right click on tech in our case) and dragging in the direction of the option you want. When you let go the action is selected.

We’re bringing this one out with only one option enabled for now (drive). The other options are disabled while we wait for the AI to be up to scratch. Those familiar with the old AI options (dev note: The old menu was actually called ‘debug menu’!) might also note there is less options to choose from than before. We’ve been rethinking the way you issue commands, and will actually be allowing you to set the target for various actions through a second layer of this menu.

More on that when it’s ready, but for now we hope you will all enjoy being able to switch techs more easily!

With this change we’re addressing some of the frustration from overly penalising the player when their tech gets destroyed. You’ve just spent 4 hours making the best tech, only to have it destroyed in a fierce battle and no way to reclaim it. Those days are now in the past!

The new menu will give you the option to have your last used tech delivered to you as new, for a small recovery fee of course. Any blocks left over from your original tech will be ‘recovered’ from the world and go towards rebuilding your tech. If you can’t afford it (or rather just drive something else) there are 2 fallback choices. Don’t worry though, your old tech will be automatically saved as a backup snapshot in case you change your mind and want to order it later. Your first choice is moving control to the nearest of your other drivable techs. If this was your last tech the generous GSO offer to send you one of their default tech. In order to reduce the penalty at later stages of the game, we’ve updated these to offer better starter tech based on the GSO grade you are at.

In addition to all of this, we now create images for all the tech choices mentioned so you can make an informed decision. Also, we think they look really cool.

Expect to see these types of images in other menus in the future such as the tech loader and shop.

Greg

These are the different starter techs that Django mentioned above.

As you move up the GSO grades, you’ll have access to bigger and better versions of starter techs to respawn as, so that you’re given a fighting chance if you happen to get destroyed without enough money in the bank.

We’ve added a bunch of new harvesting missions to GeoCorp, such as cutting down trees, mining for specific resources and selling your produce. This is just the first batch and we’re aiming to include more in the future for those of you that are serious about harvesting.

We’ve also taken some time to do some general balancing such as reducing the length of night time...

...and balancing the Megaton Cannon’s explosion; the red blocks in the screenshots show the explosion’s area of effect before and after.

Jason

Work on the TerraTech HUD is an ongoing task. As new features are implemented we add more elements to the HUD. THis time last year I was working on a major graphical overhaul to the initial assets...

...that’s survived for some time but this month after colating lots of feedback from the community and taking into account the features we are planning to add in the 2nd half of the year we decided it was time to put some more work into the HUD again. It was quite a long process, balancing functionality and usability but the new design finally fell into place when I realise that world would not end if I moved the Block Buck counter. ;)

Many of the features like Granular Weapon controls, Shield, Light & Regen toggles are still a way off but the assets are ready for when they go in and the new HUD functionality and layout will make playing TerraTech a much better, more polished experience.

...and at the very least the Mission Log is collapsable now! :)

Now that the mini map can distinguish bases and movable techs from each other and with the advent of a more complex Mission System we needed a new set of mini map Icons. Allies, Enemies and Neutral Techs are distinguished by colour with different Icons for Bases. The Mission Markers cater for Missions, Undiscovered Missions with a circle overlay to identify the currently selected mission. Trading Posts, Blocks, Invaders and the Players SCU are also represented. The Mini Map screen has now been updated as well with Exponential range bands to represent the non linear scale on the Map itself.

John

We overhauled the radar system in order to fix a number of niggling bugs and hopefully make the display a lot more consistent. There were further changes to allow the user to track the nearest of certain types of object, regardless of how far away they are. For example, the player can now find the nearest vendor always displayed on their Radar. We also reworked the highlighting for the active mission (it is a ring around the active icon on the radar).

We also overhauled the population system. This was in order to fix a lot of issues and to support future work on improvements to AI and spawning enemies that operate as a group. We also improved the filtering of which enemy techs are spawned. Hopefully the enemies created by the population system are now far more appropriate to the stage of the game!

We have been working on performance improvements, as a high number of users are experiencing low frame rates. We were mainly focussing on slowness caused by having a number of large techs within an area. We optimised the targeting on the weapons, the wheel physics, the code which picks up resources in the crafting system, the regen bubbles and the remote chargers. We also tweaked the general timing setup to give less priority to physics when the frame rate becomes very low. I hope that the players notice an improvement. Be sure to let us know!

Anton

The thrusters have been changed so that they don't consume fuel so we have also updated the asset changing them from fuel consuming rocket thrusters to something more like the GSO hover tech.

Stig

Work has been going on for some time to create better tutorials in-game, having watched people playing TerraTech a the shows we do have been very helpful and instead of simply relying on text messaging in the game we re implementing a system to show animations for the basic controls.

Russ

The wait is finally over...the Scrap Magnet is here!

Be sure to join the discussion over on our Official Forums with any thoughts or concerns you have with the update. Enjoy!