Faction Warfare Update

Here is the last major update for our 0.6 branch, introducing the faction warfare system!

While the previous update added the ability for you to claim resource production centers on the map, this one is doing the same for other factions. It’s introducing numerous new late game systems while balancing the economy. I also included a few community requested features, for good measure. As usual, the following article is going to detail the main new features and changes. You can find the full change-log at the bottom. Let’s dive in!

Faction Warfare

As the name implies, the other in-game factions woke up from their slumber and can take control of production centers. After a few in-game weeks (so you don’t have to rush toward it either), they will start to build up strength and gradually take over nearby production centers. Generally speaking, factions will avoid confrontation with each other unless there’s nothing left for them to grab in their sphere of influence. As such, you don’t have really to worry about them attacking you until you’re ready. I added a bunch of help menus and screens to explain the system organically. But, still, here’s a quick summary.

Each faction has a bunch of variables defining how aggressive it is, how quickly it growths, if it’s going to mass troops or just spam small groups. It’s not yet visible in the user interface, but their description tends to be accurate. They will try to expand as much as they can without interfering with anyone else’s business. When it’s not possible anymore, factions who are neutral or hostile to you (or other groups) might declare war on you and send a squad against one of your production centers. Once locked into a war, you can’t buy your way to peace for a whole week, but they might still offer peace beforehand.

Friendly factions (+50 rep) will never attack you. You might want to look at the rest of this article before thinking that you can stay safe forever, though.

That being said, you can defend yourself. Productions centers under your control can be fortified from the world map. And you can take the war to other factions by attacking their settlements. Again, attacking a location under someone else’s control is a declaration of war, and you won’t be able to make peace for seven days.

Abominations

This is, again, very late game content. Once the faction warfare has been up and running for a few weeks, there’s a chance for a specific world event to trigger. You’ll be warned, and get a specific help popup when it happens.

Simply put, a new faction will appear on the map, it will be overpowered and hostile to everyone else. They will relentlessly attack other factions’ settlements (yours included) and periodically send raids against your base. The only way to get rid of them is to send a very well armed raiding party against their “nest”. Even with top of the line weapons and armors, you’ll have to send multiple groups to their death, or wait for their forces to deplete.

Due to time constraints, those are fairly basic monsters for now. I’ll gradually make them more interesting and unique over time in both layers (world map and base level).

Balance

I spent some time balancing various aspects of the game to make sure that the late game isn’t as trivial as before. The main problem, in my opinion, is that money was incredibly easy to generate due to merchants being way too generous. From now on, merchants will buy stuff at 40-50% of the value, down from 80%. That alone, coupled with the fact that you’ll have to keep other factions happy and still reinforce your settlements, makes money a much rarer commodity. To make that a bit more fair, requesting caravans no longer cost reputation points.

Also, farms require less water, and cattle needs much less wheat to live, but starving cattle can no longer get pregnant. Generally speaking, they will spam less jobs, leaving room for your settlers to do other stuff. Random caches and loot you can find when you have an expedition running is also much less likely to contain tons of rare weapons/armors.

Oh, and taking over production centers now requires the “Logistics” tech which is just after radio in the exploration tree. It’s to prevent you from bum rushing production centers before both you and the AI are ready, and it’ll also display a relevant help screen.

User Interface

Nothing major, mostly stuff you’ve been requesting. There’s a new “mail” icon under the game-log, clicking it will open a menu displaying the last 100 messages. I also added a specific right-click menu for “seed” type items showing what they do, the plant’s health and stats. Basically now every single inventory item can be right-clicked for proper contextual information. The expedition menu, when selecting settlers will also show their equipment, making the process a lot less cumbersome.

Oh, last but not least, the save/load menu takes much, much less time to show up now. It no longer load all the screenshots in advance, which was causing the delay when you have many save-games.

Events

Outside of the “abominations” related event, there are two new ones to shake up the late game a bit.

Firstly, factions can get a leadership change. It will change the leader’s portrait, but more importantly, it will reset your relation with said faction to neutral. Which means that buying your security is no longer a 100% sure fire way to avoid conflict. On the other hand, it doesn’t discriminate, it might very well make a very hostile faction neutral toward you.

Secondly, occasionally, prisoners might escape from another faction’s base and demand asylum. There are a few ways to play that one out. You can send the prisoners back for money or reputation, while accepting them might either cost you reputation or even cause a war.

Bug Fixes & Misc

There were very few bugs to fix for once which is kind of a good thing. I still found a couple possible crashes (generally very specific ones), and a few behavioral problems. Namely, I found 2 cases where a settler wouldn’t properly assign themselves a job or couldn’t properly queue a nearby one. It should be making people a bit more productive. The rest is mostly cosmetic stuff. However, due to the size of this update and it’s nature (late game content), I fully expect you to find new and interesting bugs, especially when it comes to the factions and events. As usual, those will be fixed via hot-patches.

Another massively important feature, at least on an engine level, is that we can now run multiple events simultaneously. In practice, it means that you can ask multiple factions to send you trade caravans at the same time. Also, the game is no longer waiting for a particular event to finish before firing another, as such a trade caravan might be attacked by wildlife, or you might get 2 raids near simultaneously.

Don’t worry, the usual limiters apply, so you shouldn’t get overwhelmed, especially in the early game.

Save Compatibility

Well, yes, it’s technically compatible with the previous version. By that, I mean that the game won’t crash & burn the second you try to load an old save. That being said, it also means that every single faction will have the exact same behavior. Changes in the tech tree and general pacing might make some features and feedback a bit confusing as well. If your save had an event running, that event will most likely be a bit buggy, but it shouldn’t impact the game much as far as I can tell.

On a related note, adding/modifying events or changing a crafting station’s recipes no longer requires a new save or to destroy/rebuild the station for those changes to apply. Those were recurrent problems when updating the game. It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to kill old save-games in major future updates, but it’ll make the transition less annoying for those updates that don’t technically need to restart the game from scratch.

Personal Notes

To be honest, writing this whole faction warfare layer has been a real pain, and testing it properly takes ages (to a point that I’m sure I missed some issues). Still, I’m done writing the whole interface/system. From a gameplay perspective, it’s still a bit basic, especially on the diplomatic front, as I couldn’t fit everything I wanted in there without delaying this update much further. But, improving upon the current system, adding new events and behaviors is now quite easy. As such, you can be sure that I will continue improving it in parallel to writing the new 0.7 branch.

That being said, outside of the ability to manually control your raids (which is still planned, don’t worry, there’s still a few more things to finish first), this 0.6 branch should give you a decent idea of the final product. It’s technically 70% base building, 30% faction warfare in the endgame. With a bit of imagination, you can see where I’m going with that. Assuming you’d enable “story mode” in the final product, you would have to conquer and maintain specific locations on the map, pacify other factions, and build some high level, high demand building to get you out of this hell-hole.

Another interesting thing I noticed while writing this update, is that my engine is perfectly able to handle the addition of removal of factions “on the fly”. So while it’s not yet possible to just invade the main base of other factions, it’s something I will be able to add in the future. Heck, we could even have (occasionally) purely procedurally generated factions showing up under specific conditions.

Note to Regulars & Early Followers

One of my early promises was to allow you to manually control your raiding parties. And given this 0.6 branch’s focus, it’s fair that most of you would have expected that feature to be included here. Yet, it’s not there. Let me explain why.

There’s no technical problem preventing me from adding this feature. The game is perfectly able to “add another scene where the player is locked in combat mode in a specific map”, well it’s not like it’s a “switch” I’m purposefully disabling either. Code needs to be written and all that, but it’s not a show stopper. The problem is two fold. Firstly the map generator is still extremely basic. Sure, I could send you in a map and do that stuff, but that would be yet another roads + buildings map you’ve seen over and over again, despite supposedly being in a mine, a farm or a commercial center. Secondly, the combat AI is currently absolutely terrible. I mean, it’s serviceable enough in the context of a base builder (and even then, it’s still way too easy to exploit or make it bug out), but in what would amount to an active pause “xcom-like” game, where you don’t have to worry about anything else but the combat itself, there’s no way a semi-decent player could lose.

If I was going to enable this feature now, it would mean that most players would always win any encounter unless I was going to spam dozens of enemies, wrecking the balance in the process. Also such a major feature would be made public with extremely underwhelming maps. It would completely negate any hype or following I got making it public in the first place, and no amount of post announcement updates would fix the damage. And as much as I love all of you, adding another “not yet ready for prime time” feature would cost me big time.

Let me finish 0.7 first, to make the base building part really interesting, and then 0.8 will be (partly) dedicated to the procedural map generation and combat AI stuff so I can add this feature properly. I know, it’s barely believable for a “steam dev” to know what they are doing, but I do actually have a plan and a road-map!

Full Change-log

  • AI: Factions, after a few weeks, will start to grow and claim territories on the map
  • AI: Each main faction has its own settings and behaviors (mutants are more aggressive, federation is more passive, and so on).
  • AI: Active factions have the ability to reinforce their own locations with more troops
  • AI: Factions can declare war on each other (and make peace)
  • AI: Combat AI is better at deciding what to do when equipped with melee weapons
  • Balance: Natural tree growth makes for less dense forests (was technically included in previous hotpatch, it’s just a refined formula)
  • Balance: Most traders will buy your products for a smaller fraction of their price than before (70-80% down to 40-50%)
  • Balance: Requesting caravans from other factions no longer cost reputation points (it still need to be positive, though)
  • Balance: Random loot found during expeditions’ “travel” less likely to contain multiple counts of rare and expensive weaponry/items
  • Balance: Starving cattle can no longer get pregnant, to prevent an exploit allowing to manage a pasture with next to no fodder
  • Balance: Wheat is more nutritious, making cattle farms less of a hassle to maintain
  • Balance: Taking over production centers require a new technology now (Exploration => Radio => Logistics)
  • Balance: Offensive expeditions are slightly more difficult
  • Balance: Farms require water 20% less frequently
  • Content: New world event: Invasion from mutated monsters (late game content: new hostile faction, difficult)
  • Content: New world event: Faction leadership change (change leader portrait, reset relation with player)
  • Content: New local event: Escaped prisoners (several variants)
  • Content: Added tomato seeds, plants and food recipes
  • Content: Farms on the world map no longer all produce the same stuff (potatoes, tomatoes…)
  • Content: Locations under your control can be reinforced (with money) so they can deal with potential attacks
  • Content: You can request caravans from multiple factions at the same time
  • Content: Factions who’ve just attacked you (or who you’ve attacked) will refuse bribes for a few days
  • Content: Added cold weather (plants need less water but get minor health damage. people walk slower and need more food)
  • Content: Hostile occupants of the underground bunkers have their own passive faction so they are no longer tagged as “fauna”
  • Content: Mutated monsters drop valuable remains
  • Engine: Overhauled how the event manager works, allowing simultaneous events
  • Engine: Updating a crafting station’s recipes (in a new update) no longer require the player to rebuild said station
  • Graphics: Pigs & sheeps got their own footprints instead of using the human ones
  • Graphics: Gave some of the faction flags a small makeover
  • Graphics: Couple more updated sprites (items mostly)
  • UI: The item list at the top of the screen contains more items (from 5 to 7)
  • UI: Save/Load menu takes *much* less time to show up but the savegames’ screenshots only appear when selected
  • UI: Added load screen with random tips when loading savegames
  • UI: Gamelog can show more entries at the same time (from 5 to 8)
  • UI: Added button below the gamelog displaying a scrollable menu with the last 100 messages
  • UI: You can queue the building of multiple zones by keeping [shift] pressed while placing them
  • UI: Added weather info to the bottom menu
  • UI: Settler selector for expeditions show weapons & armors
  • UI: Added right click menu for seeds to all panels (as with all other items, it displays the detailed info)
  • UI: Max game speed increased to x3 (from x2.5)
  • UI: Added ability to sort the settlers by arrival date in the population menu. Under “Sort: Misc”
  • Fixed: Destroying a stair doesn’t remove the part in the other map layer
  • Fixed: Expedition menu’s summary would show the focus and other irrelevant info when the expedition type isn’t loot
  • Fixed: Possible crash in the game log (never occured as far as I know, but a bug is a bug)
  • Fixed: Farm related jobs wouldn’t check if the settler is in the correct scene (occasionally causing settlers who are above ground to do stuff in the layer below)
  • Fixed: Some events in the game log weren’t clickable but should have been
  • Fixed: Double clicking on the save/load menu was acting a bit weird
  • Fixed: Wild animals wouldn’t attack nearby people on their own
  • Fixed: Uncommon bug causing a settler to temporarily “freeze” over a tile containing items
  • Fixed: A couple cases where a settler would fail to properly pick up a job (settlers should work a bit more efficiently)
  • Fixed: Completely filling a pasture or safe zone with walls would cause a crash

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