Building equipment stores, a performance boost, and an editor overhaul.
Reducing Micromanagement With Building Equipment Stores
Community feedback is an important part of the Early Access process and a common theme is reducing any micromanagement burden. As your population grows, managing the gear on every unit can be tiresome. In the pre-release of Alpha 22
that is no longer the case.
Opening the new Equipment
tab on a production or military building now enables players to drag and drop gear from the village inventory and assign it for use by the building's workers. Workers will automatically equip gear based on ordered priority. For now, equipment further to the top left is given higher priority. In time, we hope to implement an internal gear rating stat to help us compare items to determine which is better.
Each item shown in a building's Equipment tab stacks and shows how many have been allocated. Darkened icons may show 0/2, indicating there are 2 of that item in stock, but workers aren't currently using that item. As one becomes equipped (1/2), the icon fills up until to half way with normal brightness, and when all are equipped (2/2), it becomes full.
Items can be dragged directly out of a building's equipment tab back into the village inventory, and will be removed from any worker who has it equipped. The worker will then try to equip another item into that slot should one exist in the building Equipment stores based on the priority rule.
Performance Boost / Engine Migration
June saw a challenging engine migration from Unity 4.6 to 5.1. Major code changes were required to the way we manage assets, shaders, and third party products. While that has limited the time we had available to work on other areas of the game, one of the key benefits is a performance boost of 25-37% depending on machine architecture. Players should now enjoy improved frame rates across the board, and may be able to increase their settings.
There is however a known issue preventing the game from running on Snow Leopard. We've filed a bug report with Unity (the engine developer) so hopefully we'll have a fix in the coming weeks.
The Editor was running a legacy UI framework (NGUI) to drive the toolbar and a number of the dialog boxes. As part of the engine migration, it was time to purge NGUI from the project, and while re-implementing the dialog boxes, add some extra touches.
and Kit Pieces
dialogs are now merged into one. A kits popup organizes kits into categories for quicker selection, while the addition of search enables level designers to search for pieces across all kits.
The new favourites tab lists kit pieces added by toggling the star in the inspector dialog, and the recently used tab does as you would expect.
We've also fixed the horizontal scaling of the toolbar, which would have affected players running at high resolutions.
One of the headline features we are launching in Alpha 22 is the terrain generator tool. Since it's first reveal in Dev Blog 35, we've added more options including support for the new volcanic biome.
The final Editor improvement is marquee selection. Being able to select objects by dragging a selection rectangle (aka marquee) is a huge time saver. Previously, you had to hold down left shift and click each item. The addition saves time, and will become the primary method for selecting objects, before grouping them and eventually saving them off as a prefab. At least that's what Alan is moving on to now that the terrain generator is all but finished.
Volcanic And Dwarf City Kits
Both have benefited from improvements, and are included in Alpha 22. We're working on an exterior location to test the pieces, and will be streaming level design sessions on Twitch.
A little teaser of something we're working on...