UI overhaul, Soundtrack | Farlanders devlog #7

Greetings 👋,

First of all, I want to thank you for your kind words in the previous update. It’s very touching and meaningful to all members of our small team. I’m sorry that I didn’t respond personally to each comment, that’s mostly because for some reason I don’t feel comfortable when people say nice things to me.

Currently, the game development is going with a good tempo, we had some difficulties with getting back to work, but it’s all good now. I also spent some time looking for new people to join the team (will talk about it).

I decided to change the format of this devlog and instead of the video I made an in-depth text version. Hope you will enjoy it.

UI overhaul

Probably, in this update, the most time was spent on overhauling the user interface. It was planned a while ago, but we were waiting for game mechanics to settle. I want to thank Alex from Crytivo who helped me with the redesign. Overhaul affected almost every UI element in the game. Some were beautified, while others were reworked from scratch. As you can see below, the game screen was changed significantly.

Game screen ui

To me now it looks more clear and consistent. But I’m most proud of what we’ve achieved with building preview and tile selection panels. Building preview appears directly near the building icon that you hovered over. Information is divided into blocks and depending on the building some blocks might be disabled/enabled. For buildings that have a unique action, we will also display a block with a simple “GIF” that will show how the building works. For this panel, I took some inspiration from the Terra Nil demo, which is a great game btw.

Building preview

For the selected tile we have a similar interface, but with few twists. Some blocks that are no longer important (like allowed terrain) are removed, and instead, there are a few new blocks: building progress, minerals capacity (for factories, or mineral tiles), research progress (for anomalies research), and others. Also in the top right, you can see a module button, which could be expanded into a fully-fledged interface for modules installation.

Tile selection

Another interface that was tricky to make is the trading screen, before this version we’ve already made a few iterations on it. This time we made it as simple as possible – each trading proposal has a number of traded goods, a price that you pay/get, and a green/red bulb indicating if the offer is good.

Trading screen

Proposals for sale are located in the same column as proposals for purchase. In the future we might make few small changes to it:

  • Display icons under each column (resource) that are representing factors that are affecting the price. The main factor would be low/high demand for a specific resource. If you buy too much water – prices for water would go up
  • Somehow make it easier for new players to understand that after selecting a trading proposal you still need to wait for 1 turn for it to be delivered

Loans & Parties

In the previous update I mentioned that mechanics in the game are more or less finalized, but as you already know with release dates, I shouldn’t be trusted too much 😳. So we’ve added a couple of new small mechanics, that should complement the game economy, or in other words, give you more options to spend money. Those are:

  • Loans. Get money immediately, pay back each turn with interest
  • Parties. Pay money to organize a party and get a temporary happiness boost. Note that each party requires a specific location, e.g. Park to make an open-air concert, or Airport to make an art exposition
Loans screen

New buildings

There are also a few new “buildings” to fill the gaps in the gameplay.

  • Swimming pool. Built on the water source, and increases happiness in the area
  • A drill machine, destroys neighboring walls (those that are underground)
  • Explosives, or a bomb. Makes a boom which creates a canyon. Might be handy when you want to create a water source in the middle of 3×3 ground tiles
Drill machine
Ground explosion

Winter event

In addition to the dust storm event that can mess up your colony in a few turns, we’ve added a winter event. During winter color palette changes to make your eyes rest a little from the overconsumption of orange. Surface water sources are frozen into ice which melts back into the water after winter is over. Water will stay in a liquid state if it has a water pump built on it, or if it has a special dome building that preserves above zero temperature.

Winter has come

The Winter event will not be available in the scenarios presented in beta 2, it will be included in one of the campaign missions.

Other changes

  • Go back option in the migration dialogue. No more annoying mistakes when you miscalculate the amount of free houses for new colonists
  • You can go bankrupt if your balance goes below a certain limit (the value is scaled to the colony size)
  • New anomaly types, each type gives certain rewards: science points, terratech resource, electrical components, etc. This also includes surface minerals, that are easily accessible and might help to grow your colony faster in the early game
  • Slight rebalancing & other changes that I forgot to mention
Surface minerals

Soundtrack

From the beginning, I wasn’t sure whether we should make an OST for Farlanders (that costs money!), or just keep using free music (under CC license) which is good, but not unique. But at some point, I thought “there is already so much time and effort spent on the game, it deserves its own soundtrack”. So be it, as a teaser you can listen to the newly composed main menu theme.

Music is composed by Danil Dunets, you can listen to his other works here. Also, to sweeten the pill for the delayed release, we’ll give a free digital soundtrack to those who’ve pledged $15 or more (Martian+ tiers).

Further plans

For the game to be considered released we are lacking a campaign and playtesting with polishing. So our main focus, for now, is the Campaign. There is already some work done on gameplay and narrative, but I won’t spoil anything since it might change anyway. To make writing better compared to the prologue we now have Shervin Zadeh, a talented writer, who did writing for Luna’s Fishing Garden, another great indie game!

I’m making a final call for those who have pledged $250 or more and haven’t fill the google form that I was sending. Please fill out the forms, or contact me anywhere.

Also, I want to know your opinion. Would it be fine, if we will release Kickstarter exclusive skins with some delay, in the first post-release update? I’m considering this option because it will let us save some time and resources, since Serhii, the original Farlanders artist, is currently unavailable.

That’s it you can join our Discord server, or follow me on Twitter, and maybe someday I’ll start posting something interesting there 🤔, or even change my “ugly” avatar to something more professional.

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