A new update after a long hiatus

Hey again, everyone~
Well I took a 2 month break for various reasons, some of which was the holidays. Now I’m back to try and work on it a lot again, and speed things along. I already have a pretty big update for you all. 😀

-Polished up some text on the death screen. It was inaccurately saying that it was a WIP. (WIP is pretty relative, this being an alpha, but… yeah)
-Fixed many issues that involve changing what part of the UI is focused (mainly tabbing or clicking between chat and the map/scenes)
-“bottoms” description will no longer describe underwear/crotch as being underneath a bare body when not wearing bottoms. (teaching computers to write English is hard)
-Fixed a bug where some clothing descriptions(adjectives, namely) didn’t show.
-Fixed it not re-focusing the map when you end an Event. Before there was a bug where you had to hit space, tab, or click the map. Also sped up how fast Events close.
-Fixed some of the text from the terminals in Outpost 833.
-Fixed a general issue with the tokenizer on the server that makes sense of psuedo-language functions. (empty function arguments now pass an empty string to the functions)

-Added a new zone: “The Colony”. It can only be acessed via “Wilderness Research Station”, rather than from the map of the solar system.
-Updated the Wilderness Research Station’s map to make the entrance to the Colony more apparent.
-Removed that bar at the top that had the settings and online players count. (I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to waste all that space before)
-Chat is now smaller when it’s not focused.
-Adjusted some styling so clickable buttons stand out more.
-removed some old placeholder Events.
-Added “exploring”. More details are below. In short: it’s a way to have Events that don’t immediately pop up when you enter an area, but instead one must explore an area.
-Added a way to wash clothes/bodies in the bottom. It uses the new “explore” system which will come up along the edges of the Wilderness Research Station. At the moment, it’s missing complete writing.
-Added the ability for Events to award stat points. This is primarily for quest rewards.

First major thing is the “exploring”. Originally you only encountered scenes for moving, and they’d pop up. But that doesn’t fit for everything. While I liked that for what I had, traditionally in these games you move around, it explains the area to you, and you can “look ____” or something. That’s what the “explore” button is for. It’s for when you’re in an area to interact with something, but it would be annoying to keep popping that up every time. In this case I wanted to make it so someone can wash their clothes or self anywhere around the shore of the Wilderness area, but it’d be so annoying to keep popping up a “Do you want to wash your clothes?” every time someone moved along that area.
I even made it so something can be optionally explorable, but also roll on entering the area, or can be explore-only, or only come up on a roll on entrance.
This actually represents a bit of a challenge. Initially I was thinking, “Oh I’ll just mark these squares that have explorable zones and feed those along with the map data once at the start,” but then I saw the issue where there could be explorable zones that are only explorable when someone meets some criteria. So instead, I have it work just like the scenes that pop up(Events) where it rolls to see if an area is explorable when someone actually goes onto it. Right now this is an issue, but when I move movement to be client side with interpolation, it could become an issue of there being a delay after moving onto an area before it says that. With a slow internet, someone could pass right by and never have seen a notification that they could have explored it. A solution to that would be to precompile them all at the start for each character, and send them like I originally said. That also means recompiling the list every time someone completes a quest, talks to an NPC, or their character is modified. That could use a significant chunk of resources.
For now, that’s nothing to worry about. But later on, when I recode how movement works to use interpolation, it’s going to be quite a pain to code. Nothing I can’t do, but I worry about the performance impact. At the moment, though, I’ve been so anal about efficiency that the game server handles nearly 200 people while only using about 5% of the resources on a little server that’s about as powerful as a $150 netbook. So there’s room to spare in adding things that are strenuous on it. While I plan on throwing out most of the client code and redoing it, the server code is something I can use as an MMO server for any sort of game, so I’ve been meticulous about it.

As far as the “removed placeholders”. Well I originally had some ideas that I don’t think I’d really be able to flesh out in time since they’ll need a lot of build up with the characters. While that’s a good thing to have, it’s a lot of writing that’ll be less apparent. Instead I wanted to do a straight forward thing with a “queen” type of personality, so I added the Colony.
I’m going to be going over all the characters to add some more return visit sort of writing, so there’s less of the same being repeated. I also have more to add to the Outpost.

Finally, I fixed a tonnnnn of bugs. I went through them one at a time nailing almost all of them.  I know there is still a bug where you like… keep moving after an Event has started, snapping to it after it’s done. Events are supposed to kill movement so I’m not completely sure what’s going on there right now. I also plan to completely rewrite the movement, which is sort of complicated, when I move into a beta stage. So it’s a pain to spend potentially hours fixing that one little bug when I’m just going to throw out all that code later. :/  I think that bug is also responsible or getting “stuck”, so I don’t know, I might have to look into it sooner.

There is no new writing in this update. That’s what I’ll be working on next.

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