Learning Factory Dev Diaries, Nov 2021: New Landscapes, New Mechanics And Some Rafts, Too

Wow, has it really been just one month?

It almost seems too hard to believe, because SO many things have changed in the game since then - and we just can't stop working on adding more stuff, right as you are reading these lines.

Let's try and summarize the most important stuff that's happened recently, shall we?

New Trailer & Your Help is Needed!

This issue of developer diaries is accompanied with us releasing a whole new trailer for Learning Factory! It’s not just updating the graphics to the latest version, as we did before: we’ve filmed and edited it in accordance to the feedback we received from players and fellow indie developers. More cats, less uncertainty of what the game’s all about!

It was also part of our plan of re-inventing our Steam Page, to make the essence of the game clear to our future players. We’ve updated descriptions, screenshots, GIFs and whatnot… But we still ain’t 100% sure if the message we’re trying to communicate is clear enough.

That’s where we need you, the community! We’d like to ask you to turn on your phone camera, point it on the screen with Learning Factory Steam page opened, and record 1-5 minutes of your impressions. We will make sure you get a honourable mention in the game’s credits, as this feedback helps us improve the game tremendously!

If you’re ready to participate, you can find all the required info (along with a sample video) in this Google form

Rivers, Lakes and Rafts

Previously, KOTOVOD was standing confidently on a huge chunk of land. It could definitely use some landscape. We have lots of plans for making the landscape of the game more diverse and interesting. The coolest things (like, biomes!) are expected to start emerging a bit later on, but you can get the taste of what's coming - that's what newly introduced lakes and rivers are for.

As it sometimes happens with us, we were not planning to implement water obstacles at this stage of development, but while we were designing Hardcore Tutorials (see below), we’ve been experimenting with terraforming tools in the Scenario Editor… At some point, we’ve added a river just for the hell of it… and it looked SO good on the map, it was an instant keeper!


So, these days rivers are present on the campaign map (starting from version 0.10.45; if your saved game is from an older version, you’d need to start a new campaign), along with a bunch of watery map presets for the Freeplay mode. Feel free to experiment with them, they’re adding a whole new level of challenge for your logistics skills!

Of course, rivers can be easily crossed under the ground (for now, that is), but we’ve also introduced a new tool to help you on the surface: please welcome the mighty ‘Beaverborn’ Raft! It's built of Wood, it's crafted in 'Terraforming' tab and it supports Optic Cables and Transporters, along with your character! Use it wisely.

Hardcore Tutorials

Hopefully, we all can agree: lengthy tutorials are just BORING. We respect our players and their time, that’s why we are trying to make that mandatory part of the game as compact as is reasonably possible.

Still, we’ve found out that some players have issues with understanding some later stage, more complicated game mechanics. It’s totally on us, as it is our job as developers - to make the game comprehensive and comfortable for you. We’ll keep improving UX, and in the meantime - please feel free to check our new ‘Tutorials’ section in the main menu.

There you will find answers to the hottest questions! How to build a tunnel? How to connect machine learning models into networks? How to disconnect them?! And if you’re completely clueless, there’s a ‘Factory 101’ tutorial, which helps you learn the ropes of your campus. See? We’ve got you covered!

Let us know if there are any other issues you’d like us to clear out? There’s Discord for that!

Deposit

Of course, all money from sales in Cat Stores will ultimately be used for funding researches and pushing cat science forward. However, it used to be that all money were automatically spent on funding ongoing research projects. But what if you were looking to save money for hiring that genius of a cat researcher? Or maybe you just wanted to get filthy rich?!

Previously, the only way to accumulate money was to either put research on hold or become super effective and generate way more income than you were spending. But from now on, you’re welcome to redistribute some of your funds to your Deposit. It’s very simple:


1 - Click ‘Deposit’ button in the Inventory
2 - Choose the share of your income that will be stored on your Deposit
3 - If required, select the limit of money to be accumulated on your Deposit
4 - You can also instantly transfer half or all your money from your Deposit to working funds, and vice versa

What would you like to spend that precious dough on? Don’t hesitate to send us your ideas, we’re always happy to discuss them as we’re thinking of more ways to use them in the game. But there’s that one feature we were planning to add from the very beginning of the development…

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Ads

Are you familiar with feeling that frustration, when certain goods are just sitting in your Storages, because cats who are supposed to buy them, just don’t arrive from the Gates often enough? Well, there now is a solution! They say you need to spend money to earn money, so please welcome the newly invented Advertising Cat Gate!


Not only it brings cats to your Factory, it allows you place paid ads in the cat internet, giving you a chance to invite kitties of your choosing! Since it’s the future here at KOTOVOD, you don’t need to other with coming up with ad campaign concept and reaching your audience: just throw some money into the Advertising Cat Gate, and let computers do the job! Follow these easy steps to success:


1 - Select one or more desired cat types
2 - Choose the amount of money per ad. Obviously, the more demanding cats won't click on some cheap banner, so plan accordingly
3 - Watch your campaign unfolding! If a cat has clicked an ad, that kitty will emerge from the Gate
4 - Remember that you can pause your campaign at any time
5 - The part of ad mechanics, involving simulated annealing, will be revealed a bit later on. For now we’re looking into several options: our initial plan was to implement it in the form of procedurally generated ad banner… But this very likely to change

What Else Is New?

Smaller awesome stuff is happening here and there. Our Graphic Card Assembler is now animated, adding even more motivation for you to research it (in addition to being able to produce video cards in unlimited amounts):


Perks for cat researchers in Labs have also been made more comprehensive. Also, no more spawning of scientists with mutually exclusive perks! Some of them can also get productivity boosts if receiving certain kinds of data from Data Storages:

What’s Next?

We’re now working on a rather experimental mechanic, that goes under the code name ‘The Flask’. To describe what it does is not at all an easy task. Its mission is to bring closer the gameplay and the story. The way we see it, it should become the narrative center of the game — for those who think that chill cat Factory building is not enough and keep asking ‘Why?’… As we see it now, it will be a series of gameplay challenges, that push the story forward and impact your Factory both in terms of gameplay and visuals.

We won’t go into too much details at the moment, because, as it happens in video game development, things might turn out unexpectedly and the concept will change, maybe even more than once. For now, just know that we are thinking on how to add more sense to what’s happening around KOTOVOD

In the meantime, our artist Sergei from Siberia, keeps making the game prettier for you! For the past week, he’s work is all about METAL (and making new key art for Learning Factory, too):


And here's your monthly portion of our bosses' photos:


See you in a month with yet another report, friendly engineers! But if you've got thoughts to share, there's no point in waiting, come talk to us directly: