Learning Factory Dev Diaries, Feb 2022: It's Getting Better
Fun fact: a month ago was our first anniversary on Steam. A year in Early Access - is that a lot or not?
We really can't say: hey, we've even nearly forgot about that anniversary! We're pushing Learning Factory towards release at maximum speed, and weeks and months just keep flashing by. Perhaps, the only times we can visually assess our progress is when we're updating our roadmap. Apparently, we've done a lot of stuff:
But let's review the most notorious changes from the past couple of months:
Cats are waiting in lines patiently at KOTOVOD and we're humbled by their attitude. But KOTOVOD was built for the sole purpose of pleasing cats (and, subsequently, establishing Catopia on Mars). So why not try and start offering them the good stuff while they're waiting? Enter Roadside Boutique!
The way we see it, this building adds more depth to gameplay in general and the concept of cats in particular. Cats are now more self-aware, as they can decide whether to stroll into the Boutique or ignore it. Previously, cats were virtually making decisions by clicking or not clicking ads in Advertising Cat Gates, and also by choosing whether to invite their friends to your Factory… But this time, you can visually see them decide and act out on their iron will! They will even occasionally let you know if and why they didn't like what's on the shelves.
And if they seem hesitant, you can always improve your sales by showing interested cats a relevant ad banner. This can be achieved by connecting one of our 2 new mahcine learning models, specifically tuned for working side by side with Boutiques. Since the goods are sold for low prices of 1-3 coins at the Boutiques, attracting cats with ads is usually a win-win kind of deal!
Catering to thousands of cats is not an easy task by default, but we've made it even more exiting! From time to time, legendary cats will roll by your Transporter belts. They have unique looks, phrases and requests. Here are but a couple of examples:
Exciting things have been happening not only at the Factory, but in the surrounding wilderness as well. Elevated terrain has made it back to Mars, previously unavailable due to complications in the terraforming process. Now hills are with us again, blocking the way and creating exciting unnecessary complications! Why exactly are they exciting? Because you can blow hills up, of course! Thanks to our new smart dynamite, you can make holes in the ground without being afraid of harming cats or key infrastructure (did we mention that it's smart dynamite?). You can even research a modification for it, that will specifically blow up plants or just the hills, for more gentle destruction.
But what if you like those hills exactly where they are, but you still need to make your way past them? Well, there's a tool for that! A new jetboard is a top-tier version of popular hoverboard gadget, allowing you to fly over the hills and even water! The art for it is not final, so we are to show it to you in its full glory later. However, there's an even more noticable visual feature: we have started working on new, advanced and improved character looks!
Again, this image is likely to change, as it is but an intermediate step towards total customization - something we're working on right now!
As for other plans for the upcoming: right now, our team is heads-down busy working on different biomes for future Mars! Frozen lands, the jungle, deserted areas - you name it! Naturally, those will affect the gameplay in mysterious ways (we'll keep you posted about the details).
Another thing we're about to start developing is some more music - because new biomes need their own atmosphere. Also because we want to make a cool new trailer, as the game visually changes in a drastic way.
Is this it? It never is, not for us. There are ongoing discussions at Luden.io's headquarters, on what direction the game's development will take next. We've got a lot of plans and ideas, and that roadmap we've shared in the beginning is still half empty (or rather half full). That said, stay tuned and, as usual, glory to science, glory to KOTOVOD!
In case you have missed our patch notes (which is rather easy since we release an update every other fortnight, here's a list of less spectacular, but very important improvements that happened since last December:
Ruins! The remains of the previous KOTOVOD campus will be emerging in the game. There are several types of Ruins that can appear on a map upon generation. You can also create your own Ruins in Scenario Editor.
A new Guide is dedicated to setting up and using Roadside Boutiques
New building: Item Splitter. For sorting items. Choose a category and an item you want to separate from the other goods and - voila!
If a cat has fulfilled all their wishes in the Pyramid of requests (again, go to the Wiki to check it out), they will return to the Factory with increased level of loyalty. More loyal cats are more likely to recommend the Factory to their friends (and less likely to dissuade them from coming, in case their shopping experience in a Store is unsuccessful)
Tutorial updated: new tasks added, older tasks clarified
Improved Wiki: crafting and item description added
Research queue display improved
Crafting queue display improved
Concrete Maker animated
New art for Drills: copper and iron Drills now look visually different
See you in the next edition of our developer diaries! In the meantime, we'd like to invite you to our Discord server, where the most exciting stuff happens: WIP-assets, feature discussions with community and, of course, cat memes: