V0.28 Development Update  

 

Hi Everyone!

It's been about a month since my last dev update and I very sincerely want to apologize for the delay, as it's been a very hectic time both with work and in my personal life. All is well though and I've made significant progress in this time getting V0.28 ready for release, so I'd like to take this opportunity to run through all the new features that have been completed recently, including some brand new game mechanics. At the end of this update I will also summarize what work is still remaining and my current best estimate for when we'll be ready.

New AI - Stability System

An important new game mechanic I've been implementing and fine-tuning over the past few weeks is the new Stability System. Certain elements, e.g. hostile suspects and victims at the scene of an incident, now will have a stability score, indicating whether their situation is worsening, stable, or improving.

Understanding stability levels will be an important factor when deciding how to resolve a situation. If a non-compliant suspect is extremely unstable, it means they will likely take action at any moment. That could mean they flee, fight, or even surrender, depending on other variables. Such an immediate threat could make you prioritize speed over anything else, whereas a more stable situation would give you more flexibility.

And managing stability itself becomes a goal, since by stabilizing a situation you can buy yourself more time to plan, prepare, and implement a better approach. A skilled negotiator could calm a suspect down enough that there is no imminent risk of them fighting or fleeing, and this could give you enough time to establish a proper perimeter and marshal other resources.

Aside from hostile suspects, other types of elements will have stability as well. For a seriously injured person, for example, their stability score will show the severity of their physical condition and whether it is degrading or not. Some timely first aid could be crucial to stabilizing their condition until they can be transported to the hospital. In the future, as we introduce new incidents and new types of elements, there will likely be other uses for stability as well.

Currently, 3 small green or red squares appear next to certain elements to indicate stability. Officers must be in sight of an element to reveal this.

While certain activities, like negotiating, or providing first aid, will help improve stability slowly, certain events can cause it to degrade rapidly. Some suspects, for example, will completely destabilize the instant they see your officers, and will immediately fight or flee as a result. Similarly, get too close to a hostile suspect, or attack or attempt to arrest them, and watch their stability instantaneously bottom out. You'll need to be prepared for anything, but understanding stability will help you know what to expect.

New AI - Suspect Behaviour & Negotiations

In addition to Stability, hostile suspects now have a couple other variables that modify their behaviour, including Aggression (which affects their likelihood to attack), Fear (which affects their likelihood to flee), and Will (which affects their likelihood to surrender). Unlike Stability, however, these values aren't readily visible to you as the player, which creates some uncertainty as to how they'll behave. The plan in the future is for the player to have special ways to expose these values, and for suspect animations to partially reflect them (something which I've already partly implemented).

By default, officers will now automatically initiate a negotiation with any non-compliant suspect that isn't fighting, fleeing, or doing some other special action. In simple cases, this could involve the officer simply telling the suspect to surrender, and it's over quickly, in other cases, a negotiation could last for hours.

Currently, negotiation both improves Stability and reduces Will (which increases the chance of a suspect surrendering). Officers with the negotiation skill will, unsurprisingly, be more effective negotiators and will apply these positive effects more quickly. Conversely, suspects with a higher Resolve stat (another to add to their list of new stats) will be more likely to resist these effects.

A small negotiation icon appears briefly above the head of a suspect to indicate that a negotiation is making progress.

Although it's not implemented yet, in the future I plan to add more depth to the negotiation order, perhaps allowing you to focus efforts solely on improving Stability, reducing Will, reducing Aggression, etc. Let me know if you have any feedback about this and whether you think it (or anything else!) would be useful.

New AI - Fleeing & Chasing

I've spent a significant amount of time wrestling with pathfinding recently in an attempt to fix several issues with our new fleeing and chasing systems, and while some of that work is still (unfortunately) ongoing, I can highlight a few new things that you'll see in v0.28.

Anyone that can run now has three values: Speed, Energy, and Endurance. Speed represents their fastest running speed. Energy is a dynamic variable that drains gradually while they perform physical activities. When they reach a threshold they become Tired, and suffer various penalties, and when they hit an even lower Energy threshold they become Exhausted, and suffer even greater penalties. Energy gradually replenishes over time. Finally, Endurance affects the speed at which Energy is drained. Individuals with more Endurance will see their Energy diminish more slowly.

For officers, both Speed and Endurance can now be trained by applying skill points to these.

Speed and Endurance should now have a significant impact on an officer's ability to chase suspects.

Skills & Training

I recently finalized the skills that will be included in v0.28 (I was on the fence with a few for a while) which you can see in the image below. The plan is certainly to add more skills as new game mechanics are introduced, and I have enough in my head to completely fill the boxes below.

The skills that will be available to assign to officers in v0.28.

(More) UI Updates

Since we last spoke I have made even more updates to the UI. In particular, I've done all new incident and unit detail windows, added a bunch of new tooltips, created dozens of new icons, and redesigned the unit and officer management windows. Although I'm still working on implementing them, I've also completely redesigned the new unit and vehicle customization windows.

Updated incident and unit detail windows.

What's Left?

While we're definitely getting close to the finish line, I still have a few big things to finish up, including:

  • A couple more new incident types
  • The updated New Unit and Vehicle Customization windows
  • Major updates to the save game system to account for changes in many data structures over the past several months
  • The new basic tutorial/tips system
  • The new main menu
  • Final testing & many, many bug fixes
     

My current best estimate for when everything will be ready is about 3 weeks, so look out for an announcement at the beginning of November for a concrete date.

Thanks as always for your patience and I look forward to having another update soon! A video version of this update is underway and will include gameplay footage from the new version, so subscribe to our YouTube channel if you want to be the first to check that out!

Sincerely,

Nick

ReplyQuote
Posted: 16/10/2021 2:00 pm. Marvin Stackler and usman akther liked.

Cool! 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted: 16/10/2021 2:13 pm. Marvin Stackler liked.

ohja das finde ich sehr cool. ich bin schon gespannt 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted: 06/11/2021 2:56 pm.
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