Bay 12 Games Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 8

Author Topic: Outer Colony  (Read 6500 times)

ZebioLizard2

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Outer Colony
« on: June 25, 2017, 06:39:59 pm »

Checked for this one and didn't see anything on it so decided to take it upon myself to show off this base builder/simulation game I found that I've been interested in recently!

https://youtu.be/dVWN0tk2Mvg

Outer Colony! A space age colony builder that reminds me much of Dwarf Fortress. I'm not very good with descriptors for it but you can try for yourself as they have a demo up on site

https://voyagergames.com/

Though it tried it's hand at Kickstarter he seems to be continuing on with development, though I'm unsure where he's going to be taking it

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/440978664/outer-colony/posts/1896053

Logged

IWishIWereSarah

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 12:24:59 am »

It looks like it could be interesting (and I just discovered from their website that there is multiplayer ! ), but I couldn't find, neither on the last kickstarter update nor on their website, what they will do now that their kickstarter campaign hasn't reached its goal.
They don't mention it, as if they'll continue like nothing happened....
Logged

etgfrog

  • Bay Watcher
  • delete & NULL;
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 03:56:26 am »

This is essentially dwarf fortress with aurora ui. I'll have to correct myself, this isn't dwarf fortress. There are some key things missing such as crops being replanted or keeping food and drink stockpiled. If you accidentally remove a building everything inside(that isn't living) and the building itself gets deleted and the resources disappear.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 07:24:21 am by etgfrog »
Logged
the spinning giant rat corpse hits the batman in the head.
It is broken.

ChairmanPoo

  • Bay Watcher
  • MY FACE IS MOST MUPPET-LIKE
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 07:40:24 am »

ptw
Logged
I am a heron. I have a long neck and I pick fish out of the water w/ my beak. If you dont repost this comment on 10 other pages I will fly into your kitchen tonight and make a mess of your pots and pans.

Everyone sucks at everything. Until they don't. Not sucking is a product of time invested.

ZebioLizard2

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 09:33:48 am »

It looks like it could be interesting (and I just discovered from their website that there is multiplayer ! ), but I couldn't find, neither on the last kickstarter update nor on their website, what they will do now that their kickstarter campaign hasn't reached its goal.
They don't mention it, as if they'll continue like nothing happened....
Quote
Next, I just want to assure everyone that development of Outer Colony will continue to move forward, despite the campaign's failure. This Kickstarter campaign was meant to serve as something of a litmus test for Outer Colony's prospects. Regrettably, we failed to gain significant traction, and despite my best efforts, the campaign didn't generate much in the way of media coverage.

This is OK! A negative result can be just as useful as a positive one, from a decision making standpoint. The campaign has demonstrated that we need to do a better job of marketing. The metrics bear this out, as we had well under 1,000 views in total.

It seems right now as if he is trying to figure out a better visual style that'll interest people more then the current 2D (without compromising gameplay) look so that it'll interest people more. Along with continued development.
Logged

etgfrog

  • Bay Watcher
  • delete & NULL;
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2017, 05:39:07 am »

So I've been playing this quite a bit more...apparently the ai can break the game rules in favor of itself. I've recently had an issue of a trading captain is taking the resources and money but not giving their end of the trade back. Then there is the ai figuring it can get the most out of resources by applying the refinery efficiency bonus onto the ore itself, giving more ore plus the refined materials.
Logged
the spinning giant rat corpse hits the batman in the head.
It is broken.

VoyagerGames

  • Bay Watcher
  • Lover of Dwarf Fortress, developer of Outer Colony
    • View Profile
    • Outer Colony's Website
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2017, 02:58:07 pm »

Hi, everyone! I'm the developer of Outer Colony, and I just wanted to post a reply here to provide some commentary and answer a few questions about the project. I suppose it's rather bad form that this is my first post on these boards, but I've lurked here for a while, and I just wanted to clarify a few things for anyone who may be interested.

First, huge thanks to ZebioLizard2 for making this thread! I'm always thrilled when someone stumbles across the project and takes interest in it, and I really appreciate your creating a topic about it here. I hope you can have a bit of fun with the game, especially in the future as we continue to refine and develop it.

Quote
I couldn't find, neither on the last kickstarter update nor on their website, what they will do now that their kickstarter campaign hasn't reached its goal.
They don't mention it, as if they'll continue like nothing happened....

The failure of the Kickstarter campaign was a minor bummer, but we're going to continue to develop Outer Colony, because of what the project is for us. There's a great deal more information available on our website and in various interviews, but Outer Colony is something of a personal project for me. On some level, it's really just about making the sort of game that my friends and I would like to play. I also see software as a mode of expression, like painting or writing, and I want to implement my own ideas about simulation and AI in a working system. So, whether other people play Outer Colony or not, its development will continue.

That being said, I'd love it if other people could have fun with Outer Colony, too! Anybody who makes anything can tell you that there's a certain degree of satisfaction that comes from other people enjoying what you've made, so I do aim to make the game as approachable and appealing as practically possible. As we've set up forums and attended gaming conventions, we've sorta' expanded the group of friends for whom I'm making the game to include many more people, and I try to incorporate their feedback into continued development.

The Kickstarter campaign really served two purposes. First, we wanted to see if other people would find the project interesting, and second, if possible, to raise a bit of money to help offset continued development costs. The campaign was more of a litmus test than anything, and it kinda' failed to generate much attention in its current form. We also, obviously, failed to generate any funding. Both of these things are OK.

It just tells us that we need to make more improvements and adjustments to make Outer Colony more appealing and fun, and I'll keep funding development myself. Specifically, I'm a software engineer by trade, and not an artist, so I have to employ other team members to produce the non-code assets that comprise the game. Again, it's a bit like funding any other hobby. Some people love motorcycles, some are home theater enthusiasts, and Outer Colony's just sorta' my hobby. Of course, it'd be great if other people liked it enough to help fund its continued development, but we're not quite there at this point.

So, work is going to continue, but we're going to try make some general improvements in response to the Kickstarter campaign's failure. I've been extremely busy with securing continued funding for the project by way of a new day job, and there's been a great deal of internal discussion about whether we should replace all our sprites with isometric graphics. Until these matters are resolved, there probably won't be a ton of highly visible development. With the little time I have to work on Outer Colony now, I've been focused on engine and rendering performance improvements that'll yield benefits regardless of a potential graphics overhaul.

Quote
This is essentially dwarf fortress with aurora ui. I'll have to correct myself, this isn't dwarf fortress.
Special thanks to etgfrog, who's been testing the game and posting bug reports to our forums. Your observations are astute and correct; there are a great many bugs in Outer Colony, of widely varying severity. Outer Colony is undergoing a bunch of changes, and the code base is not particularly stable at the moment. We've also got a very small group of testers – really, only a handful of people – so every time we get a new player, the game is always exercised in unexpected ways. I don't know if anyone ever demolished a light structure before that contained stockpiles, but you discovered a sort of dwarven atom smasher that shouldn't exist, in this case.

The same goes for auto-replanting of crops. We ultimately want a bureaucrat to manage this activity, but I just haven't had a chance to design and implement that feature yet. It's a high priority in our ticketing system, though, and as soon as I wrap up the current round of engine and performance improvements, I will get to this. Really, though, I'm immensely grateful for the time you've put in testing Outer Colony, particularly during this hectic stage of development. I hope you can find some time to try it out more (and hopefully have some fun) as later patches are released.

Quote
So I've been playing this quite a bit more...apparently the ai can break the game rules in favor of itself.

This is one of those things that presents a real challenge in developing Outer Colony, from a game design kind of perspective. I think the case you described here constitutes a genuine bug, because there's hard-coded logic to override a trading captain's decision making process to prevent this kind of scheming and radically inappropriate behavior.

However, there are many cases where the AI is a little bit too “tricky” (I'm not sure what the right word to use here is) for its own good. I think it's a bit like how really smart dogs will often do stupider things than dumb dogs, because the smart dog is trying to figure something out idiotically, while its dumber counterpart isn't bothering to try to figure anything out at all. In the case of the trade crew, if I leave them to their own devices, they'll often do terrible things that are “destructive” to gameplay.

The most common example is if a trader is generated with a party-animal kind of personality and experience set, in the past, they'd shirk their trading responsibilities and would just go to the nearest socialization area to have fun and try to have romantic encounters. Sometimes the idiots would decide not to go back to the ship when it was time to leave, and if a trade crew had multiple partiers, none of them would bother transporting traded goods to the appropriate stockpiles after a deal was brokered. They'd just be boozing it up and carousing in your socialization areas.

Even worse, eventually the pilot would get tired of waiting for them to return to the ship, and he's just take off and leave them behind. Then, your colony would be stuck with these weird free agent kind of denizens. They're not a part of your colony, as they're part of a general, non-player faction, so they don't even consider following any of your orders. They will, however, pilfer goods from your food stores when they start starving and create social friction by trying to romantically partner with locals. Sometimes they'll marry a local and merge into your colony, but sometimes they'll marry a local and take that local out of your colony's control, creating another weird free agent that's living in your lands.

I've had these pairings then reproduce, making whole free agent families, and just messing everything up.

So, this is a kinda' lengthy reply to the specific issue about traders you've described, but hopefully it illustrates some of the complexity in designing this kind of system. The NPCs aren't on rails, and they often behave in unexpected ways. These unexpected behaviors are sometimes cool, but are often damaging, and the further off the envisioned path the NPCs go, the more they compound the gameplay-type problems they've made.

To deal with these kinds of things for traders, I've written a series of pretty hard overrides into their decision making processes, but sometimes these overrides don't play nice with the general decision making mechanisms. It's a general problem that I need to fix with the system, but it's sometimes difficult to get specific NPCs to do specific things that are needed for gameplay.

Finally, since these are the Dwarf Fortress forums, I just want to comment on the relationship between Outer Colony and DF:
Quote
I'll have to correct myself, this isn't dwarf fortress.
100% correct. As far as I'm concerned, nothing will ever quite be Dwarf Fortress. I used to work on high fidelity simulations that grew from tens of millions of dollars of research funding, and from where I sit, none of them came close to being as comprehensive or holistically compelling as Dwarf Fortress. From a software engineering perspective, Dwarf Fortress is staggering.

Outer Colony's a bit of a different animal, in some ways. I don't really want to make it exactly like Dwarf Fortress, if I can help it, because Outer Colony will never be as good at being Dwarf Fortress as DF already is.

For example, I'm a multiplayer game fanatic. As soon as my family got its first 56k modem, I've kinda' exclusively played games with friends. Networking is built into Outer Colony from its very core, and it's designed as much (or perhaps moreso) for the multiplayer experience as it is for the single player one. Large swaths of Outer Colony are inspired by the work of Will Wright, particularly SimEarth. Raph Koster's writing on games and design of SWG have played large roles in shaping Outer Colony. I'd love to write a ton more detail about this, but Dwarf Fortress has left an indelible mark on computer gaming as a whole, and I'm proud to work on software that's a part of its lineage.

If you guys have any questions or feedback, I'd be happy to talk more, but thanks again for the post and all the help you've provided so far.
Logged

Madman198237

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2017, 03:52:04 pm »

I doubt anyone will complain at you for lurking, complimenting DF, and explaining your own game when people are confused.

Honestly, this looks interesting. I haven't tried it yet, but I think I might grab the demo later today. Bugs tend not to annoy me in projects like DF or something like your game, where it's an indie project by someone who's not really making much/any extra profit off of the game. They *do* annoy me in big-name games and game companies (I'm looking at you, Gaijin) who really ought to be able to figure these things out, but that's just me complaining about the ridiculousness of certain games.
Logged
We shall make the highest quality of quality quantities of soldiers with quantities of quality.

Gabeux

  • Bay Watcher
  • Addicted to building stuff.
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2017, 09:57:18 pm »

Very interesting first post there. Very cool to see a focus on Multiplayer on this type of game. PTW :)
Logged
It honestly feels like a lot of their problems came from the fact that their entire team was composed of cats, and the people who were supposed to be herding them were also cats.

etgfrog

  • Bay Watcher
  • delete & NULL;
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2017, 10:45:46 am »

Even worse, eventually the pilot would get tired of waiting for them to return to the ship, and he's just take off and leave them behind. Then, your colony would be stuck with these weird free agent kind of denizens. They're not a part of your colony, as they're part of a general, non-player faction, so they don't even consider following any of your orders. They will, however, pilfer goods from your food stores when they start starving and create social friction by trying to romantically partner with locals. Sometimes they'll marry a local and merge into your colony, but sometimes they'll marry a local and take that local out of your colony's control, creating another weird free agent that's living in your lands.
Would this be why animals will loaf around the initial stockpile so much?
Is there some sort of mechanic such as a secure stockpile that only the colonist can access? a door that only colonist can open?
In society money became a necessity for this very reason. Dwarf fortress tried to implement an economy system that never fully worked, or at least it was more of a pain then it was worth.

My only other thought is why not have leadership titles start off with only a single title for the initial group then expand when the 1 position cannot keep up with the amount of population. This could be a way of letting the AI have full control of the colony while letting the player intervene as they want, which was sort of the reason why distant worlds became popular.
Logged
the spinning giant rat corpse hits the batman in the head.
It is broken.

Zangi

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 11:42:27 am »

The solution to vagrancy should either be jail time and/our expulsion onto the next ship. 
Or give em some sort of priority/incentive to get onto the next ship themselves. 
Unintended behavior, if not a bug, you could introduce a way for the AI to deal out the consequences.

Anyways, sounds interesting.
Logged
All life begins with Nu and ends with Nu...  This is the truth! This is my belief! ... At least for now...
FMA/FMA:B Recommendation

etgfrog

  • Bay Watcher
  • delete & NULL;
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2017, 12:27:24 pm »

I decided to do something about all the critters eating the food, so I issued a kill order for them. There so happened to be 12 critters on the stockpile and the colonist pulled a gun from the stockpile that the critters were on then started shooting. I lost two colonists.

Edit: There was 5 ferngoose. Even in games geese are terrifying.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 12:45:10 pm by etgfrog »
Logged
the spinning giant rat corpse hits the batman in the head.
It is broken.

Madman198237

  • Bay Watcher
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2017, 12:39:10 pm »

So, I've started messing around with OC a bit.

One thing I've noticed right off the bat that the menu on the right side would probably benefit from some words. This is perhaps not the most common thing you might hear, but the game would be much more approachable if an in-game tutorial of some form is built that highlights buttons, one by one, walking you through the basics of creating a standardized outpost (Shelter, food, manufacturing of basic items, etc.)
Logged
We shall make the highest quality of quality quantities of soldiers with quantities of quality.

etgfrog

  • Bay Watcher
  • delete & NULL;
    • View Profile
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2017, 06:54:00 pm »

So I decided to start a colony with all colonists with max strength, stamina and dex. That ends up being 3 while I think 1 is considered normal. I had one person with all skills at 100 and set them to be the only one that would create lessons for children. The first child after the first lesson has 21 strength at 6 years old.
Ok, so maybe it was just that child that got the ridiculous boost due to the parent having a lots of skills...hm..I guess next time I should try all colonists with all skills.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 07:14:15 pm by etgfrog »
Logged
the spinning giant rat corpse hits the batman in the head.
It is broken.

VoyagerGames

  • Bay Watcher
  • Lover of Dwarf Fortress, developer of Outer Colony
    • View Profile
    • Outer Colony's Website
Re: Outer Colony
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2017, 02:45:15 pm »

Thanks for the replies, guys!

Quote from: Madman198237
Bugs tend not to annoy me in projects like DF or something like your game, where it's an indie project by someone who's not really making much/any extra profit off of the game. They *do* annoy me in big-name games and game companies (I'm looking at you, Gaijin) who really ought to be able to figure these things out, but that's just me complaining about the ridiculousness of certain games.

I'm of the same mindset on this one. I tend to cut projects a bit more slack when they're built with limited resources, and I never mind bugs in games that are still in development. After all, that's what a beta is for, in my mind! It's all about identifying the bugs and working to get them fixed. As a developer, I'm always kinda' amazed (and grateful) when people are willing to try Outer Colony in its buggy state and post issue reports to get it fixed.

In industry, a company usually has to pay lots of money to QA teams in order to get software tested and polished, and it's pretty cool that there are passionate people out there who are willing to help game development projects along by testing them.

At the end of the day, though, a game has to be *mostly* bug free in order for it to be fun. If it's crashing and wigging out and misbehaving all the time, the experience can't possibly be very good. When we eventually reach the point of cutting a proper, version 1.0 release, Outer Colony has to be much more polished and mostly free of defects, so I'm chugging away, resolving the issues that players report, and iteratively improving the system until the vision is fully realized.

Quote from: Gabeux
Very interesting first post there. Very cool to see a focus on Multiplayer on this type of game.

Thanks for the kind words, man! This kind of game does pose a bunch of technical challenges on the multiplayer front, and I think I understand why few people have tried it before. I've done some neat things with compression and building a highly optimized messaging protocol, but each client still demands ~30-40 kilobytes per second of bandwidth, and initial login times are rough for medium and large worlds. I'm happy with how it's working on the whole, and I've found that dedicated servers present some unique opportunities for collaboration and fun.

Quote from: etgfrog
Would this be why animals will loaf around the initial stockpile so much?
Animals loafing around stockpiles is mostly them being lazy. Many species love human food and will steal it, when given the chance, and after ripping into packaged meals and gorging themselves, they tend to just flop down nearby and sleep there, until they feel like mating or eating again.

Quote from: etgfrog
Is there some sort of mechanic such as a secure stockpile that only the colonist can access? a door that only colonist can open?

There definitely should be something like this, but there currently isn't. Right now, a stockpile is just an abstract concept, rather than a physical thing. It's a bunch of things piled into a particular world volume that's designated for that purpose. The are a couple answers for guarding stockpiles. Moving them indoors should make animals less inclined to raid them. If you tame a creature and assign it guard duty on a patrol route near stockpiles, it should kill any aggressive creatures that come nearby. And of course, you can manually issue kill orders to mop up creatures that do steal your food.

More features are needed to properly facilitate the defense of stockpiles, but they're just not there yet. Lockable containers are probably the right solution.

Quote from: etgfrog
My only other thought is why not have leadership titles start off with only a single title for the initial group then expand when the 1 position cannot keep up with the amount of population.

This is a really good idea, and I'm taking note of it now. Currently, bureaucrats need office space to function; they won't do their jobs at all without it, so even if I did automatically assign leadership roles to a starting NPC, he still wouldn't do his jobs without some further changes. I'm going to give some thought to how I should approach this problem, but other people have lodged the same suggestions with faster auto-replanting of crops, so I will aim to address this in a good way.

Quote from: Zangi
The solution to vagrancy should either be jail time and/our expulsion onto the next ship.

Fantastic call, man. That's a great idea, and it should be pretty easy for police to recognize vagrancy. I've got an idea for how to code it now. Beyond writing specific code to quantify vagrancy, it's just a matter of adding another law type for punishment configuration:

https://voyagergames.com/colony-law/

Quote from: etgfrog
There so happened to be 12 critters on the stockpile and the colonist pulled a gun from the stockpile that the critters were on then started shooting.
Hahaha, forum user Torvus has run into the exact same problem:

He describes it here, too:
http://forums.outercolony.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&p=553&sid=0eaab449c09fe792b0d285abf53e15e7#p509

To address this, I added a bit of logic for identifying sedentary creatures, then engaging them from a distance with firearms. These are the little improvements that progressively make NPCs a little more competent. I think you'll rejoice at this video:
https://voyagergames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Sensible_Hunting.mp4?_=1

Quote from: Madman198237
One thing I've noticed right off the bat that the menu on the right side would probably benefit from some words.

I wish there were a way for me to more smoothly convey this information, but for now, we've got tooltips. If you hover your mouse over the buttons, it should pop up a bit of text to tell you what each one does. More importantly, though:

Quote from: Madman198237
the game would be much more approachable if an in-game tutorial of some form is built that highlights buttons, one by one, walking you through the basics of creating a standardized outpost (Shelter, food, manufacturing of basic items, etc.)

Right on, man! If you click on the “Getting Started” button on the game's splash screen, seen here:


It should take you through the guided tutorial. The tutorial is still far from comprehensive, but it should get you through the basics of building structures, manufacturing, mining, planting crops, and other simple activities. I really need to expand the tutorial much further, but it's a painstaking, time consuming process. Eventually, I hope to cover more complex systems via the tutorial, and someday, I hope that I'll get there.

Quote from: etgfrog
The first child after the first lesson has 21 strength at 6 years old.

There's definitely a bug of some kind in the heredity system, and I'm not quite sure where it is. I'm almost positive I'm multiplying something somewhere in the equations instead of dividing, or something like this is happening, because those numbers should be borderline unattainable without dozens and dozens of generations of selective breeding.

Is it possible that the children were exposed to an exceptional toy of some kind? Torvus built an expedition where one of his colonists crafted an exceptional chemistry set, and this was the first time anyone had ever made an exceptional learning device. The numbers immediately got out of control, and it was like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. A child could play with the thing twice and become a hyper genius, which would then result in it crafting another exceptional item, and the process continued until he had scores of ultra powerful, impossibly high quality items. One exceptional toy is all it takes, right now, to catapult a colony into untold prosperity.

I never try to properly “balance” mechanics in Outer Colony, because it's not the kind of game that's supposed to have proper balance, from a design standpoint. Mechanics are emergent, and the nature of things in the world is inherently unbalanced. While I don't try to build StarCraft-style balance, sometimes formulas do need to be adjusted, to bring mechanics back into the realm of sanity, and this is one example of something I need to revisit.

I did manage to get a bit of development done this week during my spare time, and I've cut a new release to remedy some of the issues Etgfrog has found. You can see the release notes here, if you're curious:


http://forums.outercolony.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&p=612#p612

Huge thanks, Etgfrog! I really appreciate all the bug reports you've written up so far, and I'll aim to get the trader issues taken care of next. I appreciate everybody's input on this thread, and if you guys have any more input for me, post away!
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 8