Dev Log #55 :: Test Build Delay

Howdy Folks!

In the previous dev log I mentioned that I planned to have a Test Build available this week. Some of the content has taken a bit longer than planned, though, so the Test Build has been pushed back. Let’s take a look at what’s taking so long.

Power Generation

One piece of content that needs to be in place for the new starting conditions is a change to electrical power generation. I had originally thought I could put in a temporary setup using the existing systems and re-work the power system later in the planned utilities update. This turned out not to be the case and led to working on a new power system now.

The existing electrical power system has a few issues, but primarily the existing system was not very performance-friendly and didn’t allow for the content that I’d planned for.

The Old System

In the previous system, a power generator created power packets that were sent through conduits and consumed by machines that need power. Since a generator provides these packets at a constant rate, to improve performance I slowed down how fast packets traveled through the network. As more generators and conduits are added, it takes longer and longer to get power to machines in need.

This system also doesn’t support power storage, or sending/receiving power on the planet’s surface.

The New System

The new power system makes use of power networks. A power network is a collection of connectors (conduits), consumers, creators and storage objects. The backbone of a power network is made up of connectors. As connectors, or conduits, are placed, they get added to an existing adjacent network, or start a new network.

In this system, electric creators, or generators, no longer deliver power at all. The power network has an update cycle which handles delivering the power to the consumers and electrical storage in the following way:

  1. Get the total amount of available power generated from creators on the network
  2. Loop over all consumers and provide power. Deducting the consumed amount from the total available.
  3. Any remaining power on the network is then delivered to power storage (Batteries) or lost if storage is full or doesn’t exist.

The update cycle is much faster than the old system and far simpler to calculate. This allows machines to get the power they need almost immediately.

In the old system, all machines that needed power were considered “always on” and consumed power even if not actively in use. In the new system machines will only consume power when actively being used. A research station, for example, will only consume power when a colonist is actively researching on it.

The new power system is also designed to function between the facility and the surface. The elevator and the main facility on the surface act as special power connector types that will allow for a power network that connects from the facility to the surface.

The system is mostly complete, but I’m still running internal tests and various UI elements are being updated to better present the new power system.

A New Start

So what does all this mean for the new starting conditions? World generation has been changed, and, when starting a new game, you will no longer have an elevator, bio-refiner, coal generator and recharge station. The surface side facility now has a built in solar panel and, in order to get initial power, you’ll need to build the elevator.

Solar power from the surface facility will only provide power during the daylight hours. Batteries have been added that can store extra power for later use.

Additional research projects have been added to unlock power storage and power production objects.

New Colonists

The new colonist models will also be in the upcoming Test Build. The colonist models have been completely redone including new animations, textures and hair models.

Underground Plants

As part of the new world generation there will be naturally spawning underground plants that can be harvested by colonists. These native plants will spread over time and can be useful for early game food.

TL;DR

Test Build delayed. More information coming. The following will be included in the Test Build branch when it is available.

  • New power generation system
  • New colonist models
  • New starting conditions and game balance
  • New naturally occurring underground plants that can be harvested
  • New research branch added for power objects

Thank you all for the great feedback on the game, here and via the Feedback Survey. I had really hoped to get the Test Build out this week, but things definitely took longer than planned. I’m super excited about the new content and hope to push an experimental version on to the Test Build branch soon.

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