Hey everyone, hope you're all doing well!
Wow, January is over. We got quite a bit done this month, from continuing AI task framework, to campfire creation & a little lighting mini-game, to a basebuilding control re-write, and even some inventory stuff. Alvaro and I averaged about one commit a day each, totaling 61 commits for the month. We're super proud of our efforts and the results, so let's talk about what we did this month.
I didn't originally intend to have a typical inventory system for Woodbound. By typical, I mean the kind of thing you'd see in Rust or Don't Starve, where you have tiles that represent the items you have, which you can arrange in rows or grids or whatever. There's nothing wrong with those systems, in fact they're very effective, but in the interest of keeping physical interaction a major point, Alvaro and I brainstormed a bit took a bit of a different spin on it, translating inventory into 3D space:
So the basic idea is that different items take up certain tile spaces, similarly to games like Diablo, but instead of doing it in 2D, you arrange them physically in 3D space. So different inventories (carts vs backpacks vs your hands) have different amounts of space, layout shapes, etc. The translation to 3D allows you to add verticality to your inventory arrangement, based on the presence of objects on the grid space below on the Z axis. Or, in normal human terms, you can stack stuff:
This'll be a really cool way to visualize what items you have with you, as you'll actually be able to view and itemize everything in your cart when you transport items around, or push things around in your bag to make room for something you've found. If you have space in your inventory, the game will auto-sort items you pick up the best that it can, but the goal is to steer the player in the direction of being more conscious of the stuff that they're gathering, as it all has a cost in terms of weight and space and time to move it.
The campfire setup & activation is pretty much done, moving forward I'll be looking at temperature effects & options for cooking stuff on/putting out the fire. Setup requires you to, just like basebuilding, place an outliner of the campfire where you want it to be, and then provide the resources to build it. Once you have your campfire built, you can initiate a little fire starting mini-game:
One neat thing to note is that the number of strikes needed to light the fire, as well as the strike success zone, are scalable, so when it's raining or your campfire is wet, lighting a fire becomes much more of a challenge.
Basebuilding got another update, or rather a re-write, to make things more compatible with gamepad controls. It feels waaaaaay smoother now:
The new update also allows for multiple-story buildings, something the old system didn't handle very well:
I also changed up the plankXplank function to allow for manual input, so the player/AI can/will place boards piece by piece:
Another neat thing that this brings is the possibility of partial/incomplete structures: ideally you'll want to have the villagers helping you with building construction, but if they need to eat or the village is attacked, they'll stop what they're doing and take care of business. So over time you'll be able to see your village building and expanding, board by individual board.
I spent a few hours adding some controls/reference building for villages, which included setting up boundary volumes. I didn't like using a box volume shape to visualize the village, so I added a little loop to build walls along the bounding box edges:
The individual posts will account for terrain height with controllable slope considerations, so a village can be placed on a hill or in rough terrain, and the walls will auto-build accordingly.
I also plugged the procedural houses into the village actor for some very surface level testing, and while there are still plenty of bits to work out, the fact that I can just drag in one actor and have a large portion of the village architecture generate itself is pretty handy:
In addition to laying the foundation for inventory, Alvaro has been working on AI, and holy crap he's made some serious strides this month. NPCs assigned the Surveyal task can now look for vantage points, climb trees to get a lay of the land, and those assigned the Forestry task will search out trees, cut them down & transport the logs to a village-generated or player-dictated log-stack area:
The next step for AI is the base-building task, having them place the planks piece by piece. Once all these are in place and animated, it should look and feel pretty amazing.
This month we'll be focusing on wrapping up the first three AI tasks & the inventory framework, prettying them up with some nice animations and UI polish. We'll also be expanding the procedural foliage system we have set up to place more actor types, for things like berry bushes and fruit-bearing trees, so that we can start to feed the survival loop a bit more. If we keep on pace with what we completed in January, we may even have room for some other stuff, so keep an eye out in March for the next devlog.
Thanks for following development, we really appreciate all the love and support!