Expedition Overhaul Part One [v0.8.3.1]


Welcome to the 0.8.3 update!

As explained in my previous devlog, this update (and the next) is focusing on the expeditions. A very short summary would be that we can now manage multiple expeditions at once. Of course, as with all major updates, it runs a lot deeper than that. As usual, this article will focus on the main changes while you can find a complete changelog at the very end. Without further ado let's get to it.

Enjoy!

Expedition Overhaul

The city map and expeditions are no longer completely abstracted. Both became tangible things connected to the game world. To explain that in simpler terms, you are now able to given direct orders to your expeditions, tell them to move to wherever you want them to, and change you mind mid travel. You can move them on the world map like you would move a survivor in combat mode. You can loot or attack multiple locations with the same expedition and decide when you want them to come back home.

More importantly, you're no longer permanently limited to run a single expedition at a time. Unlocking specific technologies will increase the maximum amount of expeditions you can run simultaneously to a maximum of 4 in a vanilla game. I made a lot of adjustments to the UI and help screens to make the transition as smooth as possible. For instance, you can track the status of each expedition in the optional panel on the right side of the screen (can be toggled on/off in the filters), clicking one panel will center the screen on the expedition or its garage if it's not off map.

The Garage building

This new building is pretty much the heart of this update. Your first garage is unlocked with the Exploration technology and will allow you to setup and manage one expedition. Other technologies will permit you to build more garages for more simultaneous expeditions (radio, logistics and garage maintenance).



Garages have to be built on the surface, in a spot from which a vehicle can path to the border of the game map. This is where you can assign a vehicle, people and items to a specific expedition. New vehicles can be found by exploring specific location on the map and from research. Items, right now, can only be found while exploring the city. Vehicles and items will determine how many people you can bring with you, your movement speed and can also influence how good will be your group at given tasks.

Once satisfied with your choices, you can launch the expedition. The selected survivors will hop in the car, leaving any useless cargo behind (and releasing their claim on any personal bedroom or pet). The car will exit the game map and will then be available on the world map. From there, you'll be able to order it around, tell the expedition to path to any point of interest, attack hostile locations, loot or take control of others.

Loot Management

It's now possible to order your expeditions to loot a location until it's empty or until their cargo hold is full. If you change your mind, you can order your expedition to stop the looting session at any time. To recover the cargo found during your looting session(s), you'll have to manually bring the expedition back home.

You can also decide to get rid of loot you don't want to make room for more useful stuff. It means that don't need to go back home each time you collected too many stones. To do so, simply open the expedition's cargo screen, click on the item you don't want and a menu will appear allowing you to select how many units you want to get rid of. The menu is still a bit ugly, but I'll get that fixed soon.

Important Changes

Of course I had to tweak some features to work with this new system. Here are the most important points you should be made aware of:

  • The whole expedition tech tree has been changed. Techs to increase movement speed, range or capacity have been scrapped. Instead you'll get techs to repair better vehicles than your default car. The best cars can only be found by exploring specific locations.
  • Expeditions can be renamed like you would for a survivor: by clicking on their name in their associated panel.
  • People you rescue while looting a location will automatically be sent to you base. You no longer need to wait for your expedition to come back home, instead a "recruitment" event will popup roughly 12 hours after your expedition is done with the looting.
  • There is no longer a limit to how far an expedition can travel to. Once you can send your first expedition, the whole map is available to you. It might just take a while for your guys to travel, especially with the default car. In the same spirit, the amount of people you can bring is only determined by the vehicle you'll be using. Same goes for the cargo space.
  • Taking over a production center will no longer "consume" the expedition. Instead, you'll be asked to select people who are still in your base. Once the repairs are over, the expedition will be available again and ready to go do something else.
  • It is now possible to conduct diplomacy with other factions early (before Radio) by sending an expedition to their headquarter and opening diplomatic channels.

Interactive Events

I'm particularly proud of this one and you'll see a lot more of it in the future. While traveling, expeditions will occasionally encounter situations requiring your input. They might have found  something worth investigating, been attacked by bandits, and so on.

You'll be offered different options with different outcomes. Each option will generally be testing a particular statistic tied to the expedition. A positive outcome might give you loot or a bonus while a failure might damage or even kill some of your people. Once the situation has been resolved in a way or another, the group will continue on its merry way.

This system replaces completely the old non-interactive travel events.

No More Lemmings

Survivors had a bad habit of trying to retrieve absolutely everything (dead bodies included) that has been dropped on the ground with no regard for their own safety. In some situations, it could easily lead to their death, causing even more people to get killed trying to retrieve all the shiny loot. Basically this:



Well, no more.

First, as long as you're in combat mode, civilians will automatically ignore any dead body or dropped loot. The game will assume that if you're in combat, it's probably not a good moment for your peons to retrieve loot.

Secondly, 2 checkboxes have been added in the faction menu, as shown in this screenshot:



They are kind of self-explanatory. If unticked, survivors will no longer try to retrieve dead bodies or loot coming from dead things, globally. When the situation is resolved, you can tick those checkboxes and they'll start doing it again. Tiles with "forbidden loot" have a distinctive icon.

Of course, items dropped by factories, raze orders and so on will still be collected.

Also, knowing that there are some cases when you'd want to prevent dead people's loot from being retrieved globally, but still want a specific tile to be collected. Well, it's also possible! Just "raze" the tile you want your settlers to collect nonetheless, the "no collect" icon will disappear and your guys will consider the location safe.

I think it's a slightly more elegant system than adding zones everywhere. At least I want to give this system a trial run. If it's not satisfactory, it won't be a problem to switch to something more involved.

AI Tweaks and Fixes

I also fixed several minor issues with the survivors' AI. Most notably, there was a problem that if something is being constructed next to a depot, it could temporarily prevent people from accessing it, causing any survivor trying to do so to freeze in place. Survivors are also much better at recognizing that an order has been canceled or is not longer possible to complete: instead of pathing all the way toward the no-longer-relevant-destination they will switch to something more productive.

Savegame & Mod Compatibility

This version is not compatible with previous save-games. If you want to finish your game, you can roll back to the previous version as usual (right click on ATC in steam, properties / beta tab). Most existing mods should be compatible, including those adding or altering city locations. Mods altering expeditions or adding travel events are not compatible but shouldn't cause any major issue.

Closing Words

So this is the first part of the expedition overhaul. It's setting up solid foundations for the more content oriented "Part 2". Switching to a proper "scene" to handle the city as a whole instead of relying on smokes & mirrors took a while, and made me rewrite things I never thought I would need to, but I'm pretty happy with the end result. A lot and I really mean A LOT of new content can now be added to this part of the game.

Speaking of new content, Part 2 will add the ability to manually handle most combat related stuff during expeditions. It'll also add new things to interact with on the map like travelers, merchants, other factions' expeditions and roaming beasts. It will also add new terrains (rivers, lakes, chokepoints) alongside new items and events to form a more interesting and cohesive experience.

In any case I hope you'll enjoy this update, because it was a real pain to write :D

Cheers!

Full Changelog

  • AI: People are better at detecting that their job target has been destroyed and will no longer travel all the way over something that no longer exists
  • AI: People are better at detecting that a raze order has been canceled and will stop earlier
  • AI: Minor optimizations to the job dispatcher
  • AI: Survivors will automatically ignore jobs to retrieve dead bodies (and loot dropped from them) while you're in combat mode
  • Balance: Marked clothing items as rare to make them less common during trading
  • Balance: Due to the more permanent nature of expeditions, members will 'unclaim' their private room(s) when leaving
  • Balance: Radio and Logistic techs both allow you to build an additional garage (see below)
  • Balance: Made sure that city locations with high tier loot (military base, police station) are always at least somewhat defended
  • Balance: Razing spider webs (the decoration) will give spider web (the item) when disassembled (might only work on a new game)
  • Balance: Stairs can only be destroyed when they are the ONLY item in the selection (to make the clearing of rooms with stairs less "risky")
  • Balance: Expedition members will slowly heal damage when not receiving/executing orders 
  • Balance: Expedition loot order duration defaulted to "Until Full" (it just makes more sense given that the job can be interrupted)
  • Balance: Farms will favor dirty water over cleaned water whenever available 
  • Balance: Fixed exploit where shooting down some of the animals (cows, sheep) would yield the same as butchering them 
  • Balance: All bodies will decay no matter if inside or outside of a corpse disposal (just a lot slower when not) to make some scenarios less of a pain
  • Content: First part of the expedition overhaul (multiple groups, new UI, equipment and transports)
  • Content: New garage building to manage individual expedition settings
  • Content: Added several new "travel items" which are used to improve an expeditions' performances
  • Content: Loot in an expedition's cargo space can be destroyed to make room for more important stuff
  • Content: New trade/loot tables and technologies to integrate those new items into the game
  • Content: New transports for expeditions can be found through technologies, some of which can only be found during expeditions.
  • Content: Reworked the expedition tech tree to accommodate the new changes
  • Content: Looting action for expeditions can be run "until the cargo is full / place is empty"
  • Content: Diplomacy can be conducted before the radio technology by sending an expedition to another faction's main base
  • Content: Random events during expeditions are interactive now, giving you control on how to deal with the situation
  • Content: Added "Police Station" to the list of explorable map locations
  • Content: The retrieval of dead bodies (and/or their loot) can be disabled globally in the Faction menu
  • Content: Loot disabled that way can selectively be retrieved using the raze order
  • Engine: Added ability to cap the spawn of hostiles with RaiderAI, especially useful in Last Stand scenario (settings.json -> RaiderAICap = max number)
  • Engine: Reworked the save/load logic and format to accommodate the changes (+ some future proofing)
  • Engine: Initial loading time very slightly reduced (more parallelism)
  • Engine: Switch from/to world map is now instant
  • Engine: Regular code and data cleanup to keep the rot away
  • Engine: Reduced CPU usage of farms (not that it was high to begin with)
  • Graphics: Zones and rooms are a lot more transparent but with visible border lines, making them less intrusive graphically
  • Modding: Removed "CanDrop" and "Tradable" from item data, as it was a duplicate of the "DontDrop" and "NeverTrade" tags. Adjusted all items accordingly.
  • Modding: Cleaned up base files of outdated fields
  • Modding: Clutter with a MaxCount per map, can have that count changed via techs (see garage & expedition tech tree)
  • Modding: Techs are used to unlock new transports for expeditions (see garage & expedition tech tree)
  • Modding: Filters used for expeditions loot (and pharmacy) got the new WantedName field: overrides all Allow/Deny. Used to force a particular item in the loot table.
  • Modding: Added "ForceHostility" field to map POIs (the mapgen will use this to override the tile's hostility if it's lower than the value)
  • Modding: New interactive travel events can added/customized (see files data/travelevents)
  • UI: Right clicking items' checkbox in the depot menu will display their associated info screen
  • UI: Added new menus to handle the expeditions from the world map
  • UI: Expedition message log is kept when saving/loading a savegame
  • UI: Added scrollbar to the optional 'research completed' panel
  • UI: Added widget to the right side of the screen to display the status of each active expedition/garage (can be toggled on/off in Filters)
  • UI: Title and text in the recruitment menu is context sensitive (recognizing if from an expedition, escaped prisoners or simple visitors)
  • UI: Added specific item info screen for the new expedition related items
  • UI: Updated help screens and the encyclopedia article about expeditions
  • UI: Pressing the "go to map layer X" shortcuts is now working even from the world map
  • UI: Slightly reorganized the Faction menu (settlement tab is shown first as it became the most useful now)
  • UI: More information in game log when razing something as a way to indirectly document the changes about stairs and loot
  • UI: In the encyclopedia, techs which can only be looted will appear as such instead of showing a "research difficulty" rating
  • UI: In the depot menu, items are sorted alphabetically
  • UI: Minor graphical improvements, text alignment in various menus
  • Fixed: Some mob types (under rare circumstances) could be incorrectly be flagged as neutral in the user interface
  • Fixed: Rare pathfinder issues (on very narrow/long paths) caused by a change in 0.8.2.4
  • Fixed: Bow from tribals, if used, could propagate pandemonium infection to unintended target. The bow can no longer drop.
  • Fixed: The panel shown when you research a tech, find it in an expedition, or find it in loot always had the same title, which might have been confusing
  • Fixed: Texture for settlers in some menus could be outdated (still wearing an armor they no longer have and so on)
  • Fixed: When renaming a survivor or animal (or expedition, now) pressing the WASD would still move the camera around
  • Fixed: Potential crash if one of the survivors is exiting the map (for an expedition) while still being selected
  • Fixed: Potential crash on the save/load screen if a savegame from a NEWER version is present in the folder
  • Fixed: In some underground scenarios, "surface events" could still happen before the player breaches the surface (for good this time, my bad)
  • Fixed: Multiple uncommon/rare issues on the world map
  • Fixed: Filter menu panel was slightly too short to fit all elements
  • Fixed: the 'Escaped Prisoners' event would display an useless dialog box below the message from the faction.
  • Fixed: Annoying bug where settlers would seem locked trying to get to a depot when something is being built at the spot they'd use to drop items in said depot
  • Fixed: Debris (from clutter having been shot at) would resurrect themselves if the game is saved/loaded before the debris disappear
  • Fixed: Dead NPC and settlers would emit a dying sound when a savegame is loaded
  • Fixed: Repair zones couldn't intersect with other zones (or each other) making them very annoying to setup
  • Fixed: Gun turrets placed on the map during map generation could spawn "decayed" (without the shooting part)
  • Fixed: Job manager wouldn't notice if incapacitated people died before being move, keeping the jobs stored for longer than necessary
  • Fixed: Issue with dead body disposal job that could cause settler to "move" already deleted bodies

Files

after-the-collapse-win-64.zip 449 MB
Version 0.8.3.1 Jun 18, 2021

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