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Polishing Mars - Learning Factory Dev Diaries, November 2023
We found ourselves in a situation a couple of days ago: apparently, all the game’s mechanics are in place. Of course, there’s still a lot to do in UI/UX, QoL (and other fancy game dev abbreviations), and tons of tasks in the art department. There’s one big part of the game to be shaped and implemented (more on that below), but the big stuff is in place!
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If you thought that means there won't be new content, you've probably joined us just recently: those following us these years know that we're adding new stuff to our games all the time.
It's just at this stage of the game all of our own ideas are pretty much there, so we're relying on stuff based on the feedback from our community. Take this bunch of brand new engineer's little helpers:
The names are self-explanatory (hopefully). According to our players, those become extremely handy in the late stages of the game, when factory-building gets real.
These beautiful creatures will help you in further de-spaghettifying your Factory:
If you have an idea for a building of your own (or just want to chat with us and like-minded devs), we're happy to lend you our eyes and ears on our Discord server:
The last couple updates brought lots of smaller alterations here and there, which change the game quite a lot. Perhaps, one of the most prominent experiments of the month was re-balancing our terraforming system. As you might know, tiles differ not only by visuals, but also by efficiency/fertility level. It influences the rate of growth for plants, as well as the work of certain buildings.
For example, if you'd place a Fishing Spot, you can hover upon a tile in its’ operating area to spot the difference:
Previously, the way to maximize the efficiency of tiles was to replace them with handcrafted tiles. A side effect of that was that some players would fill the whole map with those tiles. While we're totally ok with such style of play, we'd like the players to experiment some more, trying to overcome the natural obstacles of the landscape - at least, in the early stages of the game.
Hence the experiment: researching terraforming tiles now costs more than before (while the price of production of tiles themselves remains the same). At the same time, we've introduced another type of Fertilizer that helps maximize the efficiency of any tile, without changing its type. It becomes available early in the game, giving you the opportunity to maximize your tile-based production before you delve into intense terraforming. And, as always, your feedback on this risky enterprise of ours is very welcome!
While we're speaking about tiles: we have re-rendered some stuff (again; will do much more), including, but not limited to, the Rafts:
And look at those juicy red mutant Apple Trees from Mars (along with Fertilizer Sprinkler in action):
We've improved the tutorial. We've added chatGPT-made translations (in addition to commuity-made translations) for unofficial languages. We've added some sounds for cats and their surroundings. We've made a whole new section in the Statistics tab, where the data is displayed in the form of tables:
Heck, we made dozens of changes here and there, big and small! Our patch notes are becoming longer with each update we release. All these efforts serve but one purpose: achieving Catopia. And it is closer than it seems.
How to Catopia
We have started contemplating Catopia almost a year ago. It was the goal of the game from the very beginning but we could not decide what it is, exactly. Until recently, that is.
Catopia milestone can already be reached on the Research Tree, and provide a nice bonus for those who make it. However, the endgame part of Learning Factory is still in development.
But today we're proud to announce, that we have recently agreed on the mechanics, along with the genral concept for establishing the perfect cat society! And it will emerge in the game sooner than you might think.
In the meantime, here's a little teaser image (that we have randomly found on the web to use as an internal reference):
If it hardly makes sense or does not look epic enough, our only advice: just you wait!
Catopia, apparently! But wait, there's more! Our artist Sergei has freed up some time to make Learning Factory UI shine! Here are some sketches:
Just to make clear: those were already discarded, and won't make it into the final game. But it does instantly change the look of Learning Factory, don't you think?
And of course, next month there will be polishing, more polishing, and then some.
Hear the smell? It's the smell of the year 2024 coming our way. It's the smell of upcoming Learning Factory release! See you next month, and don't forget to pet your cat on a regular basis!