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Nailing It - Craftomation Dev Diaries, November 2023
Since it's been less than a month since the previous edition of these diaries was out, we haven't introduced much content to the actual build… On the other hand, there have been a lot of discussions, drafting, and decision-making. Some exciting news is waiting for you below!
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Is it Early Access Yet?
The Early Access release was looming for months now, but there was no particular date for it, as we were analyzing your feedback and considering the amount of features we want in the game by the time it heads to the shelves of Steam.
After many hours of meditating over the calendar, discussing stuff both internally and with our friends in Valve, we finally agreed on the date, which is… not to be disclosed yet, naturally: we want to be entirely sure everything's in place before we make the big announcement. But rest assured, that there is a date nailed to the wall sometime around our studio.
And it's probably safe to say that you should follow the news especially closely in the mid-winter. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
Lots of other stuff is nailed to our physical and metaphorical walls these days, as picking a release date also implies having a list of things to be done. And boy, do we have a list! The top item on it would be to create a proper (though temporary, reserved for the EA stage) final goal for the game.
One of the options was to have the players build a rocket to send it to other planets for further expansion… But we decided that this task would probably be too big for the current stage of development. Maybe we will return to it later, but for now we agreed to stick to the core theme of the game: terraforming.
Terraforming in general was on our minds after we studied the most recent feedback. Apparently, many players (ourselves included) are starting to get somewhat frustrated in the mid-late part of the game: new mechanics and new lands emerge, but the player still has to expand their base by placing new Bonfires along instructing Craftomates to fill them with fuel, over and over again.
Looking into how we could make the gameplay less repetitive, we've drafted a couple of ideas which we will be experimenting with over the next couple of months.
One way to make things easier would be adding one item every decent game must have: dynamite! It will temporary unfreeze surrounding areas, allowing you to harvest some vital resources without crafting additional Bonfires.
(Actually, it might not be dynamite in the end - we're discussing the visuals of this device right now: if you have your own ideas, let's discuss them on Discord, shall we?)
Another step would be to return CargoMate to its’ initial form. Some players were disappointed with the temporary nature of Craftomate that we introduced a couple of months back. Apparently, this way it is too cumbersome to include Cargomates into perpetual processes.
Now they're here to stay, and what's even more exciting: we'll allow Craftomates to take out stuff from a Cargomate's backpack on the go! If you were looking for a mobile food dispensary, this might be you chance to write a program for one:
But perhaps the biggest issue that we were looking forward to get to for a long time - is an interface to help the players better manage Craftomates. We want you to be able to tell one robot from another without having to hover your mouse over them, so we'll think on improving the coloring mechanics first.
After that, we'll start working on an interface for sorting Craftomates by various features. Also, we want to introduce a feature that would display the current path of a Craftomate upon hovering mouse on it.
As of right now, Ivan the programmer is taking a little vacation, to prepare his mind for the final leap into the release. But before he went away, he rolled out a couple of important QoL features, including nested tooltips (which you can even pin to stay on the screen):
And that upgrade for ‘Find & pick’ node that allows you select a source for a Craftomate to pick items from:
Once Ivan gets back, he will start off with making counters (finally!) appear in the game, and then proceed to making that epic robot-management interface. This is going to be a fun winter!
See you again in a month with more Craftomation-related goodness!
In the meantime, here's another bunch of things that you can do to help Craftomation 101 see the light of release ASAP:
Share this post with a friend who might like Craftomation 101
You can even scribe yourself into the game's credits: most of our games’ localizations are community-made, and we now have a spreadsheet for those who are willing to help us translate the game into their native language
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