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Messages - PatchNoteBot

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1
New releases / Alpha 11 final progress update
« on: August 24, 2019, 11:00:19 AM »
Steam Post
Current Status
I’ve finished all planned feature overhauls/additions at this point (except for conventions, more below). Now I need to do some usability, bug/testing and balancing passes, and finally rewrite tutorials and mod documentation, before I can release the initial testing build.


Alpha 11 development is now creeping on its 6th month. Alpha 10 took about 5 months from start to the initial testing release and alpha 9 took about 4 months. As the game gets more complex, overhauling core features takes longer, due to all the side effects a change has on the game’s systems. With this in mind, I’m now pretty certain Alpha 11 will be the last major alpha release before I move on to the beta phase, so I avoid spending an entire year on yet another alpha. Beta doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t add new features, it just means I won’t be touching the core gameplay mechanics.

Convention mechanic delayed
I’ve decided to scrap conventions for the initial testing build. I don’t want to delay Alpha 11 any further. In Software Inc. terms, I haven’t even finished the design phase on this mechanic, so I’m putting it off for now.

Curve tool

You can now use a tool to click and drag walls to make them curve. Each segment of the curve must be at least 1 meter wide to allow for doors and windows, but the segment widths can be scaled dynamically while you are creating the curves.

Fires

A number of furniture now have a chance to start a fire when they break. Fires will spread and burn down furniture if not stopped, and die out after some time. All elevators in a building are disabled while the fire is ongoing. You can place fire alarms to alert people in a building and sprinklers to stop fires faster in a room.

Burglaries

Burglars will appear now and again and steal whatever they can. You can place security cameras around your premises to alert the police and hopefully apprehend them before they steal too much.

Inventory lost from burglaries and fires can be recouped by a new contents insurance feature.

Other notable changes
  • Updated to Unity 2017 for a ton of bug/crash fixes (This will deprecate support for Directx9, 32-bit OSX and Ubuntu version < 14.04)
  • Improved the porting task so you can add and remove operating systems and not get stuck on in-development operating systems
  • Software review system has been overhauled to give more control and be less vague
  • All mods can now contain localizations, which makes localization handling better in mods and allows a single mod to contain translations of its written content in several languages
  • You can now individually pick specializations in the new game screen



2
New releases / Alpha 11 progress update part 2
« on: June 23, 2019, 09:00:18 PM »
Steam Post

Current status
The base mechanic overhaul I wanted to achieve for Alpha 11 is pretty much done at this point and I’ve been working through the new big additions to Alpha 11 this past month. I still have to do a round of bug fixing and balancing when I’ve finished the additions, which could be quick or drag out, I can’t say for sure at this point.



New additions
To reiterate what I wrote last month, product updates will not be present in the initial test release, to avoid delaying it more than necessary. I’m only working on features that would break save game compatibility for the initial release.

Iterative development
Iterative development focuses more on working through a project several times, while reconsidering the design and refactoring, to end up at a final product, as opposed to the traditional waterfall model of working out a full design initially and sticking 100% to it throughout development.

You will be able to iterate on your design several times during the design phase to increase chances of creating a good quality product without too many bugs. However, a more effective use of your time will be to iterate during the alpha phase: When you finish a software review during the alpha phase, instead of not really being able to do anything about all the frowning smiley faces, you will be able to temporarily stop development to improve the design, based on your newfound knowledge, and increase the end quality of your product.

Publishing
You will now be able to hand off some of your profits to a competitor, to avoid having to print copies or micromanage your marketing efforts. You will even be able to fund projects with a publisher to get your company off the ground early on or to lessen risk later.

Frameworks
Game engines have been a special class of software, since they are the only dependency in Software Inc. that requires supporting the same operating systems when using them for development. In contrast to using a 3D modelling or music app for development, you can’t run your game without a game engine once your game is done. This added a bunch of unneeded complexity to the game, so they are being deprecated in favor of frameworks.

You will now be able to create a framework when developing any type of software, which can be licensed to other companies and reused in future projects to reduce development time. Game frameworks will be analogues to game engines.

Service role
As all roles now have individual specializations, the marketing role is being deprecated in favor of a new Service role, which can specialize in Marketing, Support and Law.

Lawsuits
You can now be sued by your employees or other companies, which requires service employees with the law specialization to fight.

Conventions
I called this "conferences" in earlier posts, but it seemed misleading considering what I wanted the mechanic to encompass.

You and other companies will be able to hold and attend conventions in a select number of conference halls with individual booth layouts. Each booth has an area which can be filled with equipment to market and entice convention guests. This will be purely UI based, there won’t be a fully rendered conference hall full of people, as that would require a whole alpha version by itself or maybe just a different game entirely.



Other notable changes
  • Lakes have been spread around maps
  • You can now place sinks, which employees will seek out after visiting a bathroom to avoid spreading germs. Failing to place sinks will lead to nearby employees getting sicker more frequently
  • Employee salaries are now calculated on an hourly basis and automatically scale with their hours, meaning you can now have part-time employees and you can no longer give employees extra hours without compensating them
  • Employees now dislike night shifts, which you can combat with a night shift compensation benefit
  • Sun position and color calculation has been revamped, adding a new colorful dusk and more striking shadows at dawn and dusk
  • Most modding features have tentatively switched to TyD from XML
  • Computer performance and price now dynamically scale based on other computers available, e.g. a computer from the 1980s wasn’t slow and cheap in the 1980s
  • Fixed roofs being hard to place adjacent to room walls


3
New releases / Alpha 11 progress update
« on: May 03, 2019, 11:00:17 AM »
Steam Post

Current status
Development has been progressing smoothly. I've almost finished the overhaul of the development mechanics, I still need to rewrite software types, balance and bug fix. When the overhaul is done, I have to add some new features, before I can release the initial test version, including conferences and publishing deals (You can read more about it in the Trello). I don't expect the initial test version to have the software update mechanic, as that requires quite a bit of work by itself. I expect to be able to add it without breaking save files, so it isn't worth delaying for.

What has changed
Education and specializations
Specializations are now split up into three separate levels, rather than one continuous value. Each level has a major impact on gameplay, rather than just being a quality multiplier. For programmers and artists each level decides what level of features they can work with and not the quality they add, which means the "minimum specialization" hack I added in alpha 10 is no longer needed. Product quality is now controlled by the base skill of an employee and development speed is simply controlled by employee satisfaction, making it much easier to guesstimate timelines in the game. This change will most likely also bring back the progress bar in the alpha phase, which I know was a major pain point for some of you.


Leaders and marketing employees now also have specializations, which means you no longer send leaders off to a single HR course, instead you unlock HR features by levelling up leaders' HR specialization.

As employees increase their skill in a role, they also slowly earn experience which you can use to unlock the next level for a specialization, making education more RPG-like, but also way simpler and more discernible.

Features and the design document
Most of the feature dependency systems have been removed, to declutter software and simplify creating new software. As such the feature tree has been removed completely. Software now consists of a few main features (up to one for each specialization) and contain a bunch of smaller sub-features that satisfy each target market differently. The main features can depend on other software, like how 2D graphics will depend on having a 2D graphics editor, but sub-features can't have any dependencies, other than their main container feature.


There are no longer patentable features, instead each specialization has a tech level that can be researched and patented. Each main feature has a tech level based on its specialization, which impacts the satisfaction of your target markets and development time.

The design document has been pagified to accommodate the new target market selection screen. It currently consists of 4 pages: General information, dependencies, target markets and overview/team assignment.

Level 3 features

Each "sub-feature" has a level that controls its impact and the required level of employees to work on it. The max level features don't add anything to product quality, but actually change gameplay in some unique way. To accommodate this change I've written an interpreter from scratch,  so you can write C# like code directly in your XML mod files, to add new and interesting features to your software types.

Other stuff
  • Software licenses are now only paid for needs (Not operating systems), and they are paid monthly during development, instead of as a onetime fee at the beginning.[/*]
  • The delay phase preceding the beta phase of development has been removed.[/*]
  • You can no longer "over-design" a product, the design phase just ends at 100%[/*]
  • The skill of applicants no longer depend on company reputation, but company benefits.[/*]
  • I made some 3D animal models in my spare time to practice, which will be spread around the maps.[/*]



4
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 28, 2019, 10:00:23 AM »
Patch notes have been updated.

5
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 21, 2019, 03:00:20 PM »
Patch notes have been updated.

6
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 18, 2019, 08:00:16 AM »
Patch notes have been updated.

7
New releases / Alpha 10.10 officially out
« on: February 17, 2019, 02:00:17 PM »
Steam Post
Alpha 10.10 adds the long requested feature: Paths. You can now build paths from the road construction menu and since employees walk slower on grass in this update, paths won't just be for looks.



Alpha 10.10.11 (2019-02-28)
Changes
  • Added ability to favorite furniture to put it first, and filter furniture by favorites
  • Added ability to fine tune sliders in options window using arrow keys while hovering with mouse


Fixes
  • Employees will now attempt to get at a section of path in different ways if it is blocked, instead of just idling
  • More work towards fixing save state corruption
  • Benefits requiring money upfront (e.g. company car) would be free when activating them for new employees
  • Fixed number keys getting translated as being 1 number higher in UI


Alpha 10.10.10 (2019-02-21)
Fixes
  • Possible fix for rare save state corruption
  • Fixed error sound still playing after successfully splitting a room
  • Fixed being able to put furniture in invalid rooms by rotating near a wall while placing
  • Improved feedback window content sizing at bigger UI zoom levels


Alpha 10.10 highlights (including Alpha 10.9.9)
Changes
  • Added path system
  • Added secondary role and task system, so certain tasks and roles can be prioritized over others
  • Ability to drag selection to rectangle to select employees, furniture and parking spaces (using multi select will filter by current selection)
  • Improved selection responsiveness
  • Employee walk paths are now drawn when selected
  • Snow is now dynamically added to exterior walls, roofs and paths (modding guide here: https://softwareinc.coredumping.com/wiki/index.php/Material_Modding )
  • Added grass (you can increase the amount or disable completely in graphics options)
  • Employees now walk 25% slower on grass
  • Added performance column to active deals
  • Road crossings are now added dynamically to improve look of roads and parking
  • Added warning to product detail window when product has no more people to sell to
  • Elevated roads no longer appear blocky in miniatures
  • Added footprints and direction to dirt, and improved dirt spread
  • Employees now actively look at what they're interacting with and randomly around when idling and walking
  • Replaced newsfeed with offline patch notes in main menu
  • Duplicate shortcut now works for rooms (in build mode) and room clone button works for furniture
  • Anchor grid is now mapped to G by default and mapping is shown on grid gizmo
  • Ability to use arrow, esc and enter key in save game window
  • Price overlay when building will now default to being colored according to current bank balance
  • Select building now includes roof in selection
  • Improved how game generates nav and build mesh boundaries for modded furniture when using AutoBounds. Specifically sets minimum width and height for nav mesh and converts build mesh to a line if very thin. This should fix bugs with cubicles, if updated by author (If you are re-using the vanilla cubicle, leaving out nav and build boundary from the XML would be the best solution)


Fixes
  • Fixed bug causing AI companies to sometimes heavily underestimate physical sales and not order enough copies
  • Fixed room textures getting purged on Linux when changing resolution (would cause rooms to be black)
  • Fixed options window spawning new controls every time it was opened
  • Fixed snow and rain sticking to screen
  • Fixed undo placing houses and skyscrapers in custom map mode not working
  • Fixed employees walking through houses in town maps after load
  • Fixed camera zoom being overridden by default value on load
  • Coffee liquid held by employees on other floors would stay visible
  • Fixed wall top edge sometimes having holes or poking out over outdoor areas
  • Clone/blueprint tool will now correctly handle (recursively) surrounded open spaces in a building when checking for collisions
  • Fixed FURNITURE_DEBUG lines not being drawn on top of everything else
  • Fixed path to log file on Linux sometimes being incorrect


Optimizations
  • Improved dirt mesh data handling
  • Optimized all particle systems and disabled particle pausing to try and fix crashes caused by particle systems



8
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 11, 2019, 09:00:18 AM »
Patch notes have been updated.

9
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 10, 2019, 02:00:19 PM »
Patch notes have been updated.

10
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 06, 2019, 05:00:15 PM »
Patch notes have been updated.

11
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 05, 2019, 11:00:18 AM »
Patch notes have been updated.

12
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 04, 2019, 11:00:19 PM »
Patch notes have been updated.

13
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 01, 2019, 03:00:21 PM »
Patch notes have been updated.

14
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: February 01, 2019, 02:00:20 PM »
Patch notes have been updated.

15
New releases / Patch notes updated
« on: January 29, 2019, 11:00:22 PM »
Patch notes have been updated.

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