Dev Blog

Hi, this is the Stranded III development blog (see also Forum Thread, Comment Thread).

Overview (110 Entries)

Entry 110 - Various Things & Bamboo - November 19, 2022

No Custom Character Controller
In dev blog #99 I mentioned that I wanted to write a custom character controller. Well.. I gave up on that idea. Getting it right is simply too complex and time consuming (and also painful). I decided to go back to the built-in one because it does the basic things (which are actually quite complex) really well. I'll just have to be a bit creative to work around all the issues it comes with.

Making Things More Simple
Complexity isn't always fun and I'm sure that most survival games reduce complexity for that reason.
When testing the game I came accross the problem that when hitting items (lying on the ground) accidentally and picking them up, they will get separate stacks per health value in the inventory. I asked myself if this complexity adds anything to the game. I mean: What's the point of this if health of items doesn't even matter? I could of course make health matter but that's no fun either. People would just throw away damaged items and pick up better ones if possible. That would just add more grind and feel annoying.

Therefore I decided that simple resource items don't have a health value. Items without health also won't have a health bar in the user interface. I'm still unsure what happens when you hit such items. I'll probably make them indestructible in the game world.

All the mechanics are still in the game though. So it's still possible to give every item a health value if you want to. This is important for tools/weapons/armor which lose a little bit of health every time they are used.

Dialog Progress
I showed the dialog editor in the previous post and I worked a lot on fine-tuning it and actually displaying the dialogs. You can instantly test and preview your dialogs from the editor, starting at any dialog step you want. Moreover I implemented a lot of tags which can be used in dialog texts. This way you can add delays, effects, colors, sounds etc. at any point in a dialog text. To make it easier to use these tags I made a little dialog text editor which shows a preview of the text and which also offers buttons to easily add tags. Moreover it comes with auto completion for loca keys.
IMG:https://stuff.unrealsoftware.de/pics/s3dev/editor/dialog_text_editor_pre.jpg

> Dialog Text Editor

You also see here that a single dialog step/text can now be split into multiple parts with the <part> tag. The dialog text editor has a little input at the bottom which allows you to choose which part you want to preview.

Localized Media
Stranded III allows you to load sounds, images and texts from files (e.g. in dialogs, entities or script).
If you now put a file in a language folder (containing localization) or any sub folder of a language folder the game will automatically treat the file as a localized file.
This means that it will always try to load the file from the localization folder of the currently active language (the one selected in the game settings). If the file doesn't exist there, it will try to load it from the English localization folder as a fallback. Just a tiny but super useful feature which makes creating localized content easier.

Bamboo Plants
I made several bamboo models for different growth stages. Here's on of them:
IMG:https://stuff.unrealsoftware.de/pics/s3dev/models/bambooplant_pre.jpg

> Bamboo Plant

You can cut down bamboo plants and will be able to build & craft stuff with the bamboo.

Research: Grounded ∗ ∗ ∗
Grounded is absolutely amazing! I already mentioned it in an earlier post (not sure which one) but I didn't play it back then. The full version was released recently and it's included in Xbox Game Pass. The most interesting part of Grounded is probably the new setting. You are a kid that has been shrunken to the size of an insect and the setting is a backyard. You don't log trees but blades of grass and you don't fight big animals but ants, spiders, larvae etc. Your task is to survive and to get back to your original size.
I really like the art style, the stuff you can craft/build and the UI/UX. There's only one huge map (the backyard) but it has a lot of hand-crafted content, various biomes (pond, sandbox, hedge, ...) and a basic but entertaining story line.
An interesting mechanic are the mutations. These are basically perks which are either unlocked over time when doing something often or when completing certain parts of the story or fighting special boss enemies. You can only activate a limited amount of these mutations at the same time though which is kind of cumbersome. I often forget to switch which results in having active mutations which don't help me at all in my current situation.
Except for these mutations character progression is mostly based on the equipment you craft and use/wear and on collectible items which you can use to buy upgrades.
So if you like survival games and didn't play Grounded yet I highly recommend to give it a try! It's one of the best survival games I ever played! https://grounded.obsidian.net/

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