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Quick Update, August 21

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Lots of stuff is starting to come to fruition this week and I'm excited to get the next update into your hands soon!

Dancing Revisions

Playing music and dancing are supposed to be reasonably engaging activities. Not just something to do while you're AFK, but actually something to do... a fun little group activity that has benefits for performers and onlookers alike. To help make that idea real, the next update has a major revision for player dancing: synchronized dance moves.

When three or more players dance together, the game will give them "dance moves" to perform. Some moves are just "perform dance #3" (which just requires you to press the appropriate dance ability), while others are things like "turn around and perform dance #1" or "say 'hey' in nearby chat and perform dance #5". Players have a few seconds to comply, and if three or more dancers manage to follow the directions in time, that boosts the rewards from the performance.

The rewards for dancing without doing the moves are much smaller than before, in order to make room for more rewards for successful synchronization. But it's still true that just dancing while AFK gives some benefits.

I've played with this system on and off for a few weeks, adjusting it to try to make it pretty engaging. I think it will be pretty fun when multiple dancers are in sync. It can also get pretty tiring -- you have to pay constant attention! But that's okay, since again, this isn't supposed to be an all-day thing. My hope is that eventually players come together to dance and play as a sort of "event" (perhaps an impromptu one, perhaps as a guild scheduled thing, whatever). It's designed so that a large number of dancers can get big benefits with a half-hour of performing.

I'm sure synchronized dancing won't be to everybody's taste, but I hope it tickles certain players' fancy. There's a little bit of room to creatively follow the instructions the game gives you -- the "dance moves" have a lot of leeway in them.

Playing music also needs to be revised to fit this idea of being an event, rather than just something you do while AFK. But I have very different ideas for musical instruments, and my experiments here are still very early and need more time. (And they need some new GUI features... so music revisions might be postponed for a while. It will depend on how creatively I can use the existing GUI... so we'll see.)


GUI Tweaks

The new GUI is still several months away, I think -- through no fault of Jon (the programmer contracted on it) but just due to logistics of getting everything organized right. In the mean time I wanted to spend a little while on some very-highly-requested features of the old GUI. Some requested features are hard and not worth trying to do in the old GUI, but a few were more doable. So I did those.

First up is a "repeat" button for recipes. Instead of clicking for hours, you'll be able to click the "repeat" checkbox and let it do its thing.

Next up is "GUI scaler" which lets you make the GUI windows larger. (It can be very hard to read the chat text on a mega-resolution monitor.) This isn't an "easy-to-code" feature, but I had actually started working on it long ago, so I basically just finished up the easy parts. Since it's not a complete solution, not everything gets rescaled, but windows like chat, NPC dialogs, and the inventory and recipe windows do. Tooltips and frame widgets (like the health bars) don't. So it's not perfect, but hopefully it makes the game playable for more people.

I also fixed some bugs with the screenshot feature and a few other little things like that.


Work Order Adjustments

Thanks to everybody who reported work orders that suck! At first I was trying to fix individual work orders but it soon became obvious that low-level work orders are just systemically crappy now. So I've revised the formula for cash payouts again. This should make most of those really terrible newbie work orders better. Not amazingly great, but worth doing for newbies, as intended.

I've also continued to adjust recipes and item values that make no sense. For instance, dragon and gryphon statuary now has much higher cash value, and the golden statues are now more appreciated by NPCs who love gold.

There's still a lot of work needed to make all the recipes and item values sane, but it's happening one step at a time.


There was also a new patch for Unity this week that has some fixes to pathing -- that's the thing that's causing monsters and pets to move poorly sometimes. I'm still testing the patch-fixes to see if they help... but so far I can say that at least things haven't gotten WORSE, so that'll go into the next update too, along with some of my own work-around code that may help as well.

I also have some little surprises in the next update that I won't spoil here.

The next update will be "soon"... definitely by next weekend!

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