Finalizing Content Additions

As I mentioned in my last update post, I’ve been working hard to add as much fun, interesting, and engaging content into Outer Colony as possible. The last few weeks have been an extremely busy time of head-down programming, making the last big push to finish developing new additions for the public demo release. I think I’m finally there. In some of my play throughs this weekend, it feels like there’s a lot going on in an Outer Colony world to directly confront and challenge the player, which is exactly what I’ve been working toward.

Polishing and testing of all the new content will have to happen as part of our quality assurance push to release, and there will obviously be much more programming to fix bugs as they emerge in the testing process. However, I’m putting an unofficial freeze on new features and large content addition in an effort to focus sharply on QA and release preparation. I’ve got to write a bunch of user help articles and tutorials to explain dozens of features that aren’t yet covered on the site, but once the user help pages are complete and internal testing is done, we should be ready for a public release!

I’m not quite ready to publicly name a date for release just yet, as QA is a notoriously variable process when it comes to software. We’re getting closer, though, and once I start getting comfortable with Outer Colony’s stability and performance after significant real world testing, I will pin down a date and announce it here!

To hold everyone over, I’ll enumerate some of the new content additions from the last few weeks and share more game assets! As pixel art isn’t yet complete for all of these features, I’ll only be sharing imagery when I can, but all the sprites are turning out excellently. There will be more detailed articles coming on most of these points, but I’ll just provide a brief overview for now.

  • Expedition Diplomacy: A formalized system for specifying how your colony treats outside entities.
  • Local Trade: A ship-less mechanism for trading with other colonies that are located within walking distance.
  • Narcotics: Certain consumables now exhibit psychotropic properties, which have all sorts of effects on NPCs.
  • Pre-Fabricated Structures: An alternative to free-form construction, light structures are portable and simple to set up. They should be helpful in a variety of gameplay circumstances, and they should help new players build more easily.
  • Creature Taming: Wild creatures can now be captured and trained, with domesticated creatures serving a variety of uses.
  • More media generation variety and media content. NPCs in Outer Colony write all kinds of things, and other NPCs consume this media, which exerts an influence on their thoughts and world views. An article on the media system should be coming soon.
  • Added more features to the crime and punishment system, like new crime types and a more user friendly way to manage police assignments.
  • Robot NPCs: These are a new class of NPCs that are different from humans and creatures. They have their own goal selection mechanisms, their own physical parameters, and unique behaviors. They’re manufactured like crafted items, rather than born.
  • Title Screen Track Complete! Brian Fairbanks, Outer Colony’s tremendously talented composer, has knocked out the menu track for Outer Colony. I really enjoy it quite a bit, and it puts me in the mood for building, discovering, and exploring! Listen to it here, on SoundCloud!
  • New Minor Factions and Events!
  • Added the Quar’thanid minor faction. The Quar’thanid are an indigenous people known for their practice of shamanism. They’ll sometimes set up villages near a player’s colony. A variety of benefits can be gained by befriending them.
  • Added the Iron Gear minor faction. The Iron Gear is an organization dedicated to furthering furthering robot and artificial intelligence technology, with the ultimate goal of wiping out humanity and supplanting it with robots. They are universally regarded as a criminal, terrorist organization. They will attack any virtually any humans they find who do not belong to the Iron Gear, and they have access to specialized, illicit technology, which they use against human populations they encounter.

    IGB2

    A typical Iron Gear structure. They build high tech research labs and manufacturing facilities.

  • Added ship wrecks. Periodically, ships from outer space will crash land on the player’s planet. These can contain rare items and other…things…
  • Added the Bounty Hunters’ Guild. The Bounty Hunters’ Guild is a minor faction whose members track and apprehend fugitives throughout the galaxy. Migrant NPCs that move to your colony can come with serious baggage, and those with criminal pasts may receive an unpleasant visit from the Guild. As leader of a colony, you’ll have to decide how to deal with bounty hunters who have targeted your citizens.
  • Added the Cult of Oren’dar. The Cult of Oren’dar is a mysterious, secretive organization that practices an esoteric religion and moves in the shadows of the galaxy. Regarded as strange and frightening by outsiders, their members are reported to wield occult powers. Using influential writings with memetic properties, they recruit new members wherever they appear, sapping the strength of nearby settlements until they’re absorbed into the cult.

    Cultists

    Sprites of robed cultists.

  • Added Dr. J. R. Rubicon. Dr. J. R. Rubicon, rogue biologist, galactic explorer, celebrity chef, and beloved children’s author, is one of the galaxy’s foremost celebrities. A visit to your colony from Dr. Rubicon can yield all sorts of benefits or horrors. He wields advanced technology biological technology, and he’s been known to share the results of his secretive research with his truest friends and allies. However, it’s rumored that he conducts genetic experiments on unwitting populations, and whispers of alleged romantic deviancy have recently filled Core World tabloids.

    TSW

    Dr. Rubicon’s research ship and home, The Star Wagon.

    DrR

    Sprites of Dr. R.

  • Added fire physics: Fires can now be intentionally set using lighter tools, and fires burn and spread in the world as appropriate.
  • Secrets! Secrets abound in Outer Colony. Hidden professions, secret events, and other concealed aspects of the game are stashed throughout OC worlds. I won’t write about them further, as that would make them secrets no more! I love secrets in games, though, and I hope that intrepid players can piece together clues I’ve scattered throughout worlds to uncover all sorts of fun and awesome experiences.

There have been a ton of new additions aside from these, but I just wanted to provide an overview here of some of the new content that’s been added to Outer Colony in the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to writing more detailed tutorials on all of these things, and I’m even more excited to thoroughly exercise these new additions in preparation for the demo release. The next couple of months are going to be a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to share Outer Colony with real players out in the world!

Posted in Game Design, TFR Updates