New content is in progress for Alpha 17

Posted April 10th, 2017 by Tynan Sylvester

We recently asked whether players would rather have the bugfix-only update released, or if they’d prefer we just kept working and waited until we had new content to release.

The results aligned with my personal thinking, which is that the disruptive effect of a release (breaking various compatibilities) isn’t worth it for a bugfix-only release. So, we’ve been adding new content! Alpha 17 will basically be two updates combined, where one of them was a refinement-and-fix overhaul.

I’m not going to go into detail on exactly what’s coming (that’s what the update videos are for!) But here are some basic notes on things in progress. The update will focus on enriching the content in the world, and create more reasons to use the planet-travel caravan system:

  • Roads and rivers across the world (multiple categories of each).
  • Redone enemy base generation.
  • Enemy AI overhauls. They’ll be harder to cheese in various ways and act more sensibly.
  • A new class of incidents that initiate quest opportunities on the world map. These are driven by a new combinatorial “site” system that allows us to create destinations to go to out of multiple “pieces”. This creates more variation than we would get if we just had single quest destinations. Now we can take any “site core” from a library, surround it with “site parts” from another library and the system will generate them all together. So, you could have a core that is a stash of gold, and add on “manhunter animals” and “abandoned turret line” around it, and the map generator will combine those. The number of possible combinations can get large quickly. This update will keep it pretty basic, but for future updates I hope to have larger site part libraries, which will create massive variation.
  • People can tend their own wounds now!
  • Tons and tons of rebalancing and detailed redesign to make skills matter more, make the economy more coherent and balanced, make animal farming for meat viable, make cannibalism a bit less ho-hum, make surgery not absurd, make room stats matter in a sensible way, make storyteller incidents more varied, and so on.

Based on man-hours, Alpha 17 will probably be the most substantial update yet. RimWorld has become quite a beast in terms of design complexity, so it does take a lot longer now to design and tune things so they integrate into the rest of the game well, don’t overwhelm players with complexity, and don’t create weird exploits or nonsensical outcomes. But, that’s all part of the inherent challenge of designing a tightly-integrated, wholly-procedural colony sim!

Still working, no release date! To discuss this post, please join us on the forum thread for this post.

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