MicroTown - Rudy (Snowy Ash Games)
For the past few weeks, I have worked on mostly backend things and quality of life features, as well as tons of fixes and optimization.



Key changes

A major issue was being able to tell what items buildings have and what is happening with them. So the building inspection window now shows selected building's items. Firstly, this provides a straight-forward "explanation" about how the building processes these items. And secondly, it shows items that are going to be delivered (lighter yellow) and stored items that are pending for pick-up (cyan):



All other places where items appear and are delivered, like houses, construction, or storage, also show the same indicators:



And furthermore, the tooltip for each item "stack" provides additional information about the exact state of items being delivered or scheduled for pickup, including the distance the villager has yet to travel to fulfill the delivery:



Another annoying issue was trying to build "on trees", which is now solved by the builders clearing the area of any trees, shrubbery or flowers first:



Buildings can also be built on top of items, and the builder will move them away before construction. Furthermore, if these items are compatible construction materials, then they will just be directly used for construction instead.

Another nicety is task status icons for the top HUD overview bar that show the active trade, delivery and construction tasks:



A red icon would mean that the tasks are missing villagers and aren't being done.

I also moved the task information tooltip content to this section's tooltip and expanded it to show additional details.

I also added a much easier way to upload a save for bug/issue reports rather than having to manually navigate to the save folder and send the saves:



And a whole lot of other small things and fixes, including several optimization passes, especially for larger worlds.

Future plans

I may have again underestimated the time it takes to fix and adjust things. And I have a long list of tweaks, fixes and QOL features that I need to do. But for the next update I am primarily going to focus on some content addition. As the main goal, I really want to add proper animals to the game.

Full changelog

Changes

• Tradesmen can now also deliver their own building's outputs to nearby buildings as input or storage
• Building inspection to show its input and output items
• Building inspection input, output, stored, material, and house reserve and road inspection material item indicators to visually show pending and reserved amounts and have tooltips list these pending deliveries and pickups for tasks, including delivery distance
• Add in-game "soft" pause button and shortcut P
• Tooltips only update every second by default
• Add gameplay option for tooltip update frequency - periodic (new default) or continuous (old)
• Adjust Herb sprite
• Buildings can be placed on tiles with items
• Builder will move items out of a tile before constructing buildings
• Roads can be placed on tiles with items and built "under" them
• Buildings and roads placed on tiles with items that are compatible building materials will use them
• Buildings and roads can be placed on tiles with obstructing props (trees) and previously-discarded props (shrubbery, flowers) will stay
• Builder will remove props from a tile before constructing buildings and roads
• Add shortcut X for building and road deconstruction
• Population overview tooltip to separate number of idle vs carrier workers and also show these numbers for civilians
• Remove Tool label from top overview
• Add task status icons and label to top overview
• Move task info from population tooltip to task tooltip
• Expand task tooltip info with additional details and numbers
• Top overview labels to update continuously periodically
• Add "bug report" button to save/load menu that allows directly uploading a save

Fixes

• Incorrect road pending construction material counter
• Housing goal requiring more villagers than the houses that it requires can provide
• Lumberjack occasionally not cutting trees when using operation location
• Fix Ham description
• Crowded villagers getting stuck idling in a tile between finishing a task and reporting for the next one if there aren't compatible nearby locations to avoid crowding
• Idle villagers shuffling around will not choose inaccessible tiles (water)
• Villagers previously stuck in inaccessible tiles (water) will be teleported to nearby valid tiles on load
• Typo in tutorial text, in Medicine description
• Fix Water not being unlocked by Bookbinding or Brewing
• Fix building inspection arrow not appearing in correct location when some items are not yet unlocked by technologies (for example, Brewery before Beekeeping)
• Fix villager path-finding skipping certain tile points and in rare cases causing path-finding to fail
• Some villagers taking a very long time to choose the next task after having juggled idle tasks
• Lack of carriers causing items to (not) be delivered based on item type and ignoring delivery priority
• Fix P shortcut for pause not working
• Fix typo in controls info window
• Building and road pending material indicator/tooltip saying that an item is being delivered, when it's only queued
• Rare profile loading failure due to data conflict
• Forester not planting trees on Shrubbery or Flowers
• Task tooltip not grouping workers that are delivering/retrieving items as workers
• Restore the flag on the Town Hall
• Invisible sprites due to off-screen optimization issues
• Top overview villager count won't show the second limit number past 1000 and won't badly wrap when reaching high population
• Brewing Vats not switching production
• Paper Rollers using twice the amount of Paper Pulp
• Rare case of tree being still used after it's removed when workers aren't available to chop it immediately
• Occasional conflict between construction clearing tasks and regular tree chopping tasks using the same trees

Optimizations

• Faster thinking for villagers going to building positions
• Faster villager animation and other moving entity updates
• Much faster carried item updates and rendering
• Faster entity lookups with less lagspikes
• Building task checks with less lagspikes
• Task searches with less lagspikes
• Villager path processing slightly faster and with much less lagspikes
• Saving and future loading larger saves is slightly quicker
• Entities off-screen are not visually updated until visible (panning camera is slightly slower than idling, but still faster than idling previously)
• Less entity logical animation overhead
• Idle input processing more efficient
• Skip redundant entity transformations (rotation, scale)
• Faster entity ranged lookups
• Reduce save size slightly
MicroTown - Rudy (Snowy Ash Games)
Key changes

For the past few weeks I have been working on adding civilian needs to MicroTown, among many other improvements. The population is now divided into workers and civilians. Workers will continue as before -- carrying items, constructing things and working at buildings. However, civilians will not do heavy work and will instead supply houses with items from markets -- food, firewood, medicine, etc. Several new items and simple early production buildings have been added to that effect. Clothing finally has a use! 🎉

Each villager is now assigned a residence at a house:



Markets have been repurposed. Civilians will come to markets, where food and supplies are delivered:



They will take these supplies to houses, where they will be stored as reserves and gradually used up:



This also brings a large change to how happiness works, which is now primarily based on how well a house is supplied:



Each house will provide one or more (un)happiness points, depending on resident sentiment, which is mainly fulfilled by keeping the residence well supplied.

This means most existing villages will end up unhappy until the new supply chains are built. I decided not to penalize high unhappiness yet any more than the previous small reduction of worker operation speed. However, extreme-size villages may not make it past this update without making the mortician very busy.

The tutorial has been updated to include housing and market explanation.

Many other improvements were added. For example, workers will fetch their own input items if there's no one closer or carriers are busy:



Many usability thing are added, for instance, I'm working through the tooltips and trying to make them more understandable and explanatory and to avoid "hiding numbers" from the player:




Reflections

Adding this civilian feature set turned out to be a much larger endeavor than I expected and took 2 weeks longer than I wanted. Partly, because I was also adding a lot of enhancement based on feedback. And partly because it was a pretty large feature that I should have likely split into a couple smaller updates.

Future plans

There are still many improvements that I need to do. I will likely work on adding various report tools (like production rate overview) and quality of life improvements (like manually clearing forests) before other stuff. After that, I want to do another content update.

Full changelog

Changes
* Separate Worker and Civilian villagers (villagers working at buildings are now called "Tradesmen" instead of "Workers")
* Houses now have 8 resident slots that get occupied by villagers and are shown in building inspection HUD
* Add Woodcutter] (with Chopping Block) and Firewood unlocked by default; add goal
* Add Carpenter] (with Carpentry Table) and Furniture unlocked with Carpentry; add goal
* Add Potter (with Pottery Wheel and Pottery Kiln) and Pottery unlocked with Pottery]; add goal
* Bricklaying now also requires Pottery
* Warehouses can now also store Firewood, Pottery and Furniture
* Houses now have residential supply item stores for all food items and Firewood, Pottery, Furniture, Clothing and Medicine that are shown in building inspection HUD
* Tavern and Market Square no longer provide global happiness
* Market Square now serves as the parent building for individual stalls
* Food Stalls and Supply Stalls now supply a selected residential food or supply item respectively for Civilians
* Civilians "work" at Houses, bringing food and supplies from markets
* food is now consumed by its residents from Houses first; understocked and homeless villagers will consume food items "directly"
* Food consumption and production info in food tooltip
* Remove requirement for minimum distance between Taverns and Market Squares
* Houses now have a sentiment for each various factors, like having food and supplies
* Additional sentiments unlock when corresponding techs become available and sentiments become important to residents once the house is supplied for the first time
* Total sentiment in a House awards or deducts happiness for the village
* Happiness is now primarily based on the total sentiment of Houses
* Tavern now provides a sentiment point for nearby Houses and uses drinks proportionally to the number of nearby residents
* New villagers spawn from Houses (or Town Hall if there aren't any houses)
* Town Hall no longer provides housing, but initial population does not require housing to spawn
* Villager spawns faster in larger population towns and will not spawn if housing, food or happiness threshold is not met
* Villager happiness from population increases in "brackets" as population grows; shown in population tooltip
* Top HUD overview bar no longer shows Clothing
* Deliveries now have better internal priorities, for example items for processing or items on ground are now chosen first for deliveries
* Tradesmen at buildings will now fetch their own nearby input items for the building if they have nothing else to do
* Stored items (like at Warehouse) now shown as icons instead of text
* Brick and Glass production buildings are now in resource building tab
* Shift-building copies now also copies the storage item, like for Warehouses
* Monument now also needs Bricklaying and Glassblowing
* Arborist and Smeltery now have more worker slots
* Victory window shows total play time
* Items now shown in a single inspection box
* Various sprite and text adjustments, various UI tweaks and layout adjustments
* Item in-world stack sprites now visually show only up to 3 items
* Add tutorial steps to include Market Square construction and related features; tweak wording
* Tutorial arrow now point to in-world building for steps that need such selected
* No parent building in range reported as issue for auxiliaries
* Idle villagers will spread out instead of grouping up in large numbers
* Idle villagers mostly walk instead of run

Fixes
* Building deliveries being chosen by carriers closest to the building rather than the (closest selected) item
* Saved game times not being shown in local time
* Items rarely being ignored when differently prioritized for delivery
* Delivery proportions not adjusted when only one building at a time requested items
* Delivery proportions incorrect entries after loading older saves
* Starting to deconstruct and then cancelling for buildings with multiple production items (like Garden Plot) would have the production item record stuck
* In rare cases, a random consumed food item could stay reserved
* Goals with item consumption not triggering updates
* Mead to only unlock when both Brewing and Beekeeping are unlocked
* Error when moving mouse across tiles while confirming operation range range

Optimizations
* Faster item and building lookup for large quantities
* Faster delivery task assignment for large number of requesters
* Faster compatible worker search with many tasks and workers
* Slightly faster save loading
Agent A: A puzzle in disguise - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Sin Vega)

It’s been a tiring week, viewers. Lying on the floor going “uuuugh” all weekend, instead of merely for most of it, was not enough to dispel the curse I placed on myself last Friday. I did not know I was still able to dance for that long and not die. So. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been particularly sedate this week.

Which is lucky, because it’s been another week for Unknown Pleasures, our regular round up of the best spewings from the Steam hose that not enough people are playing.

Scraping the key against the outside of the lock for the ninth time while sobbing this week: puzzling spies, pinball mountains, and pseudocatholic guilt.

(more…)

MicroTown - Snowy Ash Games
It has been a busy time since the Early Access release on 30th August. I have received so much feedback and suggestions! And so many people have made videos and held streams. You guys are amazing!

Key changes

For the past two weeks, I have been fixing bugs and issues as well as adding most pressing quality of life feature requests. All in all, 14 patches were uploaded.



Among the top feature requests was the construction task priority toggle:



In fact, the construction HUD received a full overhaul to clearly show the progress and used/available/needed materials:



Similarly for deconstruction, which now reclaims some of the used building materials:



Both construction and deconstruction can now be canceled/reversed at any time and will account for progress and materials proportionally.

Other important feature interactions were changed instead; for example, you could previously Shift-click on an auxiliary building button to enable/disable that production:



But this wasn't obvious and required the player to fully read the button's tooltip. So I added a distinct toggle instead, which should be much more intuitive (and also turns green if compatible buildings are in range):



A lot of tooltips received improved information, such as the population summary listing a breakdown both by occupation and by task purpose:



This is still a very high-level overview and lots more work needs to be done to provide feedback on individual villagers.

A bunch of gameplay additions were also included. For example, a proper Mortuary and Graveyard for the deceased villagers:



Higher road tiers have also been requested and are now available, including an easier upgrade (you can also just "build" over old roads and it will upgrade instead):



And let's not forget the permanent speed-up toggle (Tab can still be held to temporarily speed up or pressed to toggle):



Future plans

I believe that a balanced long-term expansion and a more realistic civilian needs system are the most needed goals. Currently towards the end, materials simply stockpile, food is a non-issue, and majority of villagers just stand idle, while happiness skyrockets. Villagers are perfectly happy with their houses being cramped together in a giant patch with the nearest tavern 50 tiles away while food magically teleports to support them. In other words, changes will be coming to address unreasonable village logistics and layouts as well as balance higher population needs and (non-existent) resource usage.

Full changelog

Changes
* Building output items are now in separate stacks by item type (no more clogged up outputs)
* Framerate capped to 120 by default
* Added VSync toggle option, disabled by default
* Add separate building inspection auxiliary building toggle (instead of Shift-click)
* Tree Nursery minor update
* Add unit breakdown by profession to population overview tooltip
* Added toggleable construction (and material delivery) task priority in building inspection
* Clearer construction material info in building inspection
* Construction progress bar in building inspection
* Add Mortuary and Graveyard to bury Villager Corpses
* Shift-building did not set production item causing crashes
* Shift-build allowed placing copies of unique buildings
* Hidden goal display would not show complete goals for claiming
* Glassblowing not unlocking Sand
* New game window tutorial dropdown showing "Yes" when locked
* UI scaling graphics option (auto by default)
* Add Mead
* Construction and deconstruction of buildings and roads can now be canceled/reversed at any time
* Buildings and roads return a portion of materials when deconstructing
* Add Stone Road and Brick Roads unlocked with Roads knowledge
* Add road upgrading to higher "tiers" (including directly building on top)
* Add permanent speed up toggle in HUD and short Tab press to toggle
* Add update summary window when loading an older save
* Remove "display locked features" option
* Various sprite tweaks

Fixes
* Wrong info in some tooltips
* Tutorial arrow stuck between worlds
* Auxiliary building disable toggle not working for non-built buildings
* A couple rare crashes related to items at buildings
* Invalid production item in buildings due to version conflict
* Crash when units start idling after a job too close to the edge of the world (mostly on small maps)
* Buildings not updating values between save versions and potentially corrupting saves
* Catch and remove phantom objects like already-chopped Trees persisting through saves
* Extra objects like flag persisting through transitions
* Music starting to play on entering game when disabled
* Framerate was capped to auto-enabled VSync
* Abrupt window background blinking, smoother window transitions
* Items believing they belong to a phantom building between saves
* Minor tooltip typos
* Forester not planting more than 1 Tree per tile
* Items getting dropped from buildings between saves
* Goal HUD broken for matching goals between worlds
* Remedy attempt for a few crash cases
* Villagers occupying building worker slots thinking they need to observe minimum carrier limit
* Minimum carrier check ignoring idle (i.e. available for delivery tasks) units
* Multiple tasks at once over-assigned over the unit limit
* A delivery task marked as work task
* Buildings that need all auxiliaries (like Beekeeper) allowing auxiliary toggle
* Building inspection auxiliary button clickable area outside expected bounds
* Hide objective display once complete
* Units forever idling when surrounded by blocked tiles (like buildings)
* Workers of similar clumped buildings with multiple auxiliaries (like Carding Mill) would get stuck not doing anything
* Some items ignored for certain uses between reloads
* Forester would not plant different Trees together
* Incorrect sprite lookup for some buildings between saves
* Confirmation window passing through input to windows below
* Buildings keeping incorrect disabled production list (and toggle not working) between saves
* Buildings not keeping items properly stocked, like the Brewery, between saves
* Building not accepting deliveries between saves
* Rare delivery task assignment hang/error with many items for competing tasks
* Toggling production on storage buildings like Warehouse could fulfill construction materials
* Buildings under construction could get stuck if the builder leaves
* Previously-built roads before their time reverted back to dirt roads
* Woodcutters chose closest tree to custom operating range center instead of the building itself
* Windmill sails not spinning

Optimization
* Reduce memory juggling in some hotspots

Rudy
Snowy Ash Games
MicroTown - Snowy Ash Games
I'm happy to announce that the early access version of MicroTown is now live!



It's been a really busy time getting the game to a playable state. There is still much to be done, so I'd like to hear your feedback on the Steam forums, Discord or otherwise.

Rudy
...

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