After The Collapse 0.8.5: A New Frontier

Hi there!

So, this is technically the second part of the Expedition Overhaul, but it became much larger than anticipated. We have a lot of content to go over and not everything will be covered in the article. As usual, I will only list the major changes in this article. Please, look at the changelog for a complete list.

Enjoy! 🙂

TL;DR

  • Explore a whole new array of worlds, buildings and locations
  • Setup traps to kill your enemies without risking your life
  • Optional manual combats during expeditions (work in progress)
  • New event and questline systems
  • Get rid of enemy factions permanently

Manual Expedition Battles

The promised feature is finally here! I know, it took a while, but here we are. Simply put, you can decide to play combat encounters yourself instead of letting the dice rolls decide. When you select this option, a map will be generated. The nature of said map depends on the location. Right now, only the various factories, the lumber mill and the military base have dedicated buildings and/or layouts, the other locations use a generic layout (a single large building). Enemy selection depends on who (or what) is currently controlling the area. If it’s another faction, you’ll encounter their soldiers, otherwise it might be infected or some hostile fauna.

The battle will happen in a “time bubble”, your base and the rest of the game will be paused. You don’t have to worry about missing a trader or being attacked. Of course, your goal will be to kill everything hostile on the map or die trying as, right now, there are no way to retreat (it’s going to be added later on, don’t worry).

Also, ammunition handling is disabled during those fights. Simply put, both you and the enemies have infinite ammo. It’s unlikely to change as there are no simple, non cumbersome way to make that happen (both code and gameplay wise) . The whole system is still a bit bare-bone, the difficulty ain’t really scaled to its automatic counter part. The enemy placement is not really adapted to the task. And most locations are using the same map layout. Still, the base system is there and it goes without saying that the following patches will be improving the whole thing.

Improved World Generation

Bored of that big and repetitive world map? Well, me too! This is why we have new world presets, rivers, bridges and the ability to have multiple, smaller cities.

See this nice button in the top right? It opens the menu in the center. A menu from which you can choose between 3 (currently) different world map generators. And yes, as usual it can be modded. It’s not just cosmetic, for instance, the Dead Lands map will be mostly desert and scorched biomes while New Eden will have no hostile biomes at all. Rivers are not just there to be pretty either, they block the path of your expeditions (until you find the new amphibious vehicle) which will have to use a bridge to go on the other side.

The improvements don’t stop at the world map either. New buildings have been introduced (various factories) and locations like the industrial zone, the factory and the lumber mill can be settled into. Additionally the amount of buildings in non city/roadside maps is now proportional to the size of the Playable Area. In other words, gigantic maps no longer feel so empty. Finally, the placement of buildings in Village type maps looks more organic.

Quests and Dynamic Locations

Building upon the interactive travel events from the previous update, After The Collapse now includes the ability to build multi stage questlines. The first introduced quest is the new Bandit Convoy event (it’s repeatable). Occasionally, your expeditions will encounter a very well defended enemy convoy. The game will offer several methods to deal with the problem (or ignore it). Assuming you manage to intercept said convoy, one of 3 rewards will get unlocked, 2 of them are rare or expensive loot, and the last one will continue the quest further.

Of course I won’t spoil it further, but going through that quest several times will definitely highlight the abilities of the new system which will be extensively used in future patches and updates. If you’ve ever played Space Rangers or Frostpunk, this kind of short interactive stories should immediately feel very familiar.

Additionally, now that the world map is really dynamic, after unlocking the Radio technology, you’ll occasionally receive radio transmissions from various sources. It might be a trader in your vicinity, a group of civilian asking for help, and so on. Those events will generally add a time limited location on the world map for you to explore. Beside the time limit, the main difference between those locations and the usual ones is that exploring them will trigger a dialog box (like the one in the screenshot above) or a small quest.

Spikes and Traps

Due to popular demand (and completely unrelated to this update’s thematic), you can now build a variety of traps, from simple fall traps your survivors have to reload manually to automated metal spike traps powered by your generators.

Ever thought about building an underground lair filled with your creatures but wondered how to lead your enemies there? Well, with those new fall traps, any hostile stepping on one of them will fall down in the layer below giving a free meal to whatever is crawling there. It’s still a bit basic, and probably not very well balanced, but I think it makes for a fun addition to the defensive roster.

Stuff People Wanted Very Much ™

In no particular order:

  • Factions can now be wiped out. Yes, no more pesky factions stealing all your outposts. You will have to conquer or at least wipe ALL their outposts before you can attack their HQ, though. I’d love to say it’s a game design choice, but it’s more of a technical one at the moment.
  • A “Prison Guard” skill/job has been added, which should make it easier to keep those prisoners fed. The value for that skill has absolutely no relevance right now.
  • To give people more stuff to do in the very early game the “Advanced Carpentry” tech has been removed, Looms and Tanner no longer have a tech requirement and the rest has been put in more relevant techs in the main branch. Additionally you can craft your own (colored) caps and padded vests at the loom.
  • People with a large screen resolution will be very happy to know that you can choose how many resources you monitor in the “resource info panel” (at the very top of the screen). It’s in the general settings, pay attention to the help bubble if you change this setting mid-game.

Balance, UI and Improvements

Turrets have a way more useful right click info panel / encyclopedia page. Same goes for the new traps. Speaking of documentation, an article about the Pandemonium virus has been added to the Encyclopedia. It explains in details what it does, how to detect it, and how it’s transmitted. All of which might be very critical details for at least some of the scenarios.

The option to focus an expedition loot session on a particular category, which in practice adds stuff (that might not be there initially) to the location’s loot table, is still there, but using it “consumes” the building 4 times faster. So, yes, you can still loot a lumber mill for weaponry and ammo, but it’s gonna empty it much faster.

And of course there are tons of fixes, tweaks and minor improvements on top of all this.

Savegame & Mod Compatibility

This update is (surprisingly) compatible with save-games from previous versions. There are a couple limiting factors, though:

  • The Prison Guard job/skill will be disabled by default on all settlers. You’ll have to manually enable it.
  • In the previous version the Genetic Abominations nest (assuming they spawned) might be invisible or impossible to attack or both. It’s a bug that has been fixed here, but it’s a problem that cannot be undone.

Mods for previous versions (unless hopelessly outdated) should be compatible. The only thing is that any mod relying on the now defunct Advanced Carpentry tech might need a small update.

Closing Words

I’m very happy with this update. Between the manual combat system which now has solid foundations for me to build upon and the quest / dynamic location combo there’s a lot of new and pretty unique content that can be added in the future. Best thing is, it’s entirely data driven using elaborated text files. It’s now perfectly possible to add quests telling the player to visit several locations, build specific unique techs/items, and deal with problems going beyond the base building itself.

Speaking of quests, it’s likely that in a very nearby future, the more Sci-Fi elements of the tech tree (sentient robot building I’m looking at you right now) will only be unlocked through such quests which would make a lot more sense.

Of course, I need to warn you. It’s a very big update touching on a ton of things, as such, you can expect new and interesting bugs. They will be dealt with in the usual follow up hot-patches.

Speaking of bugs, now that most of the work for the 0.8x branch is done. I will take some time to focus on some of the few remaining long standing (but elusive and relatively uncommon) bugs  and glaring omissions while improving the newly added systems described above.

Now, I’m going to take a week off because it would be nice to see the sun at least a couple times before September 🙂

Full Changelog

  • Balance: Removed “Advanced Carpentry” tech, moved associated items to early branches of the tech tree
  • Balance: Loom and Tanning stations no longer have a tech requirement
  • Balance: Hospital bed moved to medical tech (from defunct adv carpentry)
  • Balance: Pool table and large still moved to the construction tech (from defunct adv carpentry)
  • Balance: Interactive events during expeditions are slightly more frequent
  • Balance: During expeditions, focused search (for loot) consumes the “loot left” variable a lot faster (x4) than a standard search
  • Content: Combats during expeditions can now be done manually. This is still experimental and will be improved upon, but it’s there
  • Content: Some map locations have unique combat maps (factories, lumber mill) while others use more generic buildings
  • Content: Genetic Abominations’ main base got its own unique buildings for manual combat
  • Content: Expedition transports have a new “Noise” value which influences the chance to trigger hostile events
  • Content: New category of defensive items: Traps (which completes the already existing artisanal mines)
  • Content: Added several types/quality of spike traps, causing damage and bleeding (at various levels of the tech tree)
  • Content: Added trap door which will make someone fall in the layer below (various versions at different level of tech tree)
  • Content: Added recipes to build caps and padded vests to the loom (those are mostly decorative pieces of equipment)
  • Content: Shamblers and tribals are marked as part of the new “Infected” faction
  • Content: Lumber mill added to the list of locations you can settle in
  • Content: Factories & Industrial zones added to the list of locations you can settle in
  • Content: Multiple world presets making for more diverse world maps to visit
  • Content: Expeditions are moving slightly faster when on roads
  • Content: Added “Prison Guard” job/skill, used to determine who can feed and recruit prisoners
  • Content: Some scenarios have been edited to enforce specific city layouts
  • Content: Enemy factions can fully be destroyed by conquering all their outposts and then attacking their base directly
  • Content: Occasional (time limited) traders can spawn on the world map, send expeditions to them
  • Content: Sometimes, after radio tech, people might contact you and ask for help (besieged communities)
  • Content: Several new random travel events for your expeditions to deal with
  • Content: One long, multi staged travel event with multiple good and bad endings (repeatable)
  • Content: Special, time limited, locations may appear on the world map as the result of various events
  • Content: New amphibious transport for expeditions (can be acquired during a special event in the mid/late game)
  • Content: New map location : water tower, produces daily fresh water
  • Engine: Removed a bunch of no longer used textures and animation files (old versions of crabs, mantis, spiders)
  • Engine: Code sanity pass, less code, faster code, better code ™
  • Engine: Adding new job/skills no longer require to break savegame compatibility (the new skill will be toggled off, tho)
  • Graphics: Added and improved some of the base tiles
  • Graphics: Made world map lighting a bit higher for general visibility purpose
  • Graphics: Trees & rocks on world map are more representative of what the location should contain when settled in
  • Modding: New trap component which can be put on clutter
  • Modding: Added LUA hook for ClutterData.UpgradableTo
  • Modding: Added files (mapgen/worlds/*) to change the procedural generation of the world map
  • Modding: Added NoiseModifier and CanFly fields to TravelItem (change likelihood of some travelevents, and CanFly allows to fly over rivers)
  • Modding: Added “DeletePOI” (deletes the POI the group is located on), “MapEvent” (launch the selected game event), “Tech” (get a tech) results to travel events
  • Modding: Travel events can test for vehicle noise, any Skill/Stat (best qualified member), an item being installed on the vehicle, if the player has/lacks a tech
  • Modding: Travel events can be tagged as “Mature” (true/false), and can be put behind a “TechRequirement” for them to trigger
  • Modding: Travel event menu can handle any amount of choices instead of just 3 (will add a scroll bar if too many choices for the panel)
  • Modding: Game events can now spawn points of interest (EventSpawnPOI, see data/events/poi_*)
  • Modding: Point of interests can trigger travel events when being explored (replaces loot)
  • Modding: Point of interests can self destruct via timer
  • Modding: World map can be tied to scenarios (Scenario’s WorldMap field, “default” is the default map, duh)
  • Modding: Added “TrapImmune” (default false) info to NPC data files (so cars or flyers don’t fall into traps)
  • Modding: Factions can have distinctly looking HQ (by using the FactionHQ true/false POI field)
  • ProcGen: The world map can now contain rivers and lakes of various sizes and shapes
  • ProcGen: Many new internal parameters when generating world maps (city size/spacing/count, biomes, brigdes, roads, custom locations)
  • ProcGen: New map buildings: wood and coal processing factories, recycling factory
  • ProcGen: “Random” building placement mode (used in villages, outside city and some underground locations) has been improved
  • ProcGen: More diversity when it comes to floor types in buildings
  • ProcGen: In several map types (city & roadside layouts excluded), the total amount of buildings now depends on the map size
  • Steam: Moved/renamed the achievement previously associated with Advanced Carpentry to Manufacturing
  • Steam: Added achievement for breaching a secret military bunker
  • Steam: Added achievement for finding the amphibious transport
  • Steam: Added achievement for wiping out another faction
  • UI: Input value for factory recipes no longer capped to 999 items (4millions instead)
  • UI: Information panel / encyclopedia page about placeable objects indicates if they block path or not
  • UI: Tweaked world map menu to allow for the selection of the different world presets
  • UI: Panel informing the player that one of their outpost was attacked/stolen got a button to center the map on the location
  • UI: Tweaks to pharmacy select screen (people sorted by name, animals show ownership)
  • UI: The amount of items in the resource panel at the top of the screen can be changed in the game settings
  • UI: Right click info menu has specific information regarding traps
  • UI: Right click info menu gives more detailed information about turrets and interactive items (beds, recreation)
  • UI: Less wasted space in the inventory panel of survivors
  • UI: Added article about Pandemonium virus to encyclopedia
  • UI: Improved French translation, courtesy of Piebleu
  • Fixed: Minor issue when an agent is changing layer / using stairs which could cause hostiles to shoot at a location the agent is no longer at
  • Fixed: Bug that could cause barracks in the military base map to spawn without the intended rooms
  • Fixed: Not all zombie and giant crab variants would be counted toward their respective achievements
  • Fixed: Light sources not deleted when a world map is being generated again by the player
  • Fixed: Tribals would sometimes incorrectly be spawned as part of the bandit faction
  • Fixed: When the UI scale is not set to 1:1 (default), clicking/dragging on the minimap wouldn’t work as expected
  • Fixed: If an expedition is clicked just after loading a savegame while the game has been kept paused, it would cause a crash
  • Fixed: Alignement of light sources after switching to map mode while the game is paused
  • Fixed: Some of the “ambush” monsters located in buildings wouldn’t be animated properly until the room is explored by the player
  • Fixed: Some items supposed to spawn outside of a building could occasionally spawn inside instead
  • Fixed: Escaped prisoner event could make the escapees spawn in a non valid tile (within a wall)
  • Fixed: Missing ammo info indicator in some places
  • Fixed: minor issues in factory queue
  • Fixed: Survivors could get stuck if they try to retrieve (non weightless) ammo when their inventory is full
  • Fixed: Dead bodies couldn’t be selected anymore (which was a problem with things you can butcher)
  • Fixed: Regression bug that was preventing the user from installing artifacts/backpacks from their individual menu
  • Fixed: Heavy CPU spike when having a lot of wandering pets and placing a pasture in a location they can’t access
  • Fixed: Possible crash tied to emergency shelters
  • Fixed: Abominations’ HQ wouldn’t properly create or delete itself when the late game event is triggered (regression bug in 0.8.3)
  • Fixed: The ‘action’ menu for expeditions wouldn’t always update properly when the expedition arrives at a destination (if the expedition is kept selected)
  • Fixed: The pause and encyclopedia menus were not keeping track of the active pause and would reset it when closed
  • Fixed: Rain not providing enough water to farms anymore
  • Fixed: The “Raze” job could, under a very specific set of circumstances I’ve yet to replicate, crash the game. The job will just be canceled instead.
  • Fixed: Survivors would occasionally try to dispose of the body of things which are bound to disappear within seconds (dead giant spiders for instance)
  • Fixed: Code typo which could lead to subpar world map generation and building placement
  • Fixed: A location could change hand while the player is attacking it, which could lead to unexpected declarations of war
  • Fixed: (Modding) MainBasePoI field in factions’ data would be ignored
  • Fixed: (Modding) Building.HasRoof had no effect

 

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