Dev Blog #28: V0.14, compass and new housing

Welcome one and all to our weekly devblog!

This week we take a look at a new feature we’ve been playing with – the compass and dive into the new housing where the peon system will be first introduced.

Let’s jump straight in!

The compass

It’s a feature that’s been hotly debated among the community and within the team.

Our goal with The Black Death was to create a world where players had to use the land, signposts and their own skill to navigate. In theory this idea is pretty cool, but in practice it doesn’t always quite work as intended.

The problem really became evident when we found players loging in and not being able to locate the home they had recently purchased. So we began to re-visit mechanics we could use to aid with navigation.

Adding a marker to the map to signify a players position in the world is an obvious route to take, but we felt this was a step too far. One of the games core principals is the harsh, difficult world and giving players their exact location goes against this mantra. After much discussion we settled on the compass, a feature we had been toying with internally for some time and mentioned by players in various idea posts.

A crafted compass was one option however, this would likely be a difficult item to craft because of the nature of this technology and the era the game is set in. Which, from a game play design perspective, has some issues. The people who will benefit most from this feature will be new players who wouldn’t have access to high end crafting.

As such we settled on a compass bar within the HUD. This gives all players an equal playing field when it comes to finding their way around the map. This will be in the next update for you all to try out!

Some quotes from the team about the new feature.

So the compass is intended to be a subtle navigation aid in the BlackDeath world allowing you to track locations that you have visited and just as important, your houses. The house will appear as the golden icon you can see hovering above the NESW gauge making navigating back to your abode that much easier – Mike

“We made a very simple prototype for a compass about 8 months ago as a bit of fun (which you can see on the left-hand side of the GIF). However, at that time a compass didn’t fit with the game design.

As we added housing mechanics it became apparent that we needed a way for players to be able to find the house that they had bought. We went back to the original compass prototype and decided that a Skyrim style horizontal compass would be more visually pleasing and an efficient use of space, so we went about creating a second compass prototype to get the new technical aspects working (Which you can see in the lower portion of the GIF). This new system also included a house location marker that moved with your compass. It ended up working well and we then concepted a final look, and once we had that we put it all together to create the final result that you can see at the top of the GIF!” – James

New Housing

In the continued work on new housing a 3rd set is being worked on, giving players more options when deciding where to set up their base camp.

These houses have a dual purpose, they will be the first to include hire-able peons, this allows us to test the new system in isolation away from already owned houses. This should allow us to squeeze out any particularly critical bugs before we start rolling out Peons to existing houses.

V0.14

Will be coming Friday! 🙂

See you all in Mercia

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