Finally. I decided there’s no point adding more stuff without seeing some feedback, so I sent it out for certification to MS. If everything goes well, it should be with you late this week or early in the next.
The major new feature in this release is of course animals and weapons: so far there are 3 types of bird, as described in earlier posts, 3 types of spear (both for melee and throwing), and stones.
Since the video was made in the last post, I improved AI of the birds. Now they can detect danger in two ways: by seeing it or by hearing it. Unlike the real birds, they only see forward (about 120 degrees), so you can easily approach them from behind. They also hear your footsteps from up to 5 blocks away, unless you are sneaking. The AI is fairly complex and based on modular, competing behaviors, which can be freely mixed and matched. Hopefully it will make it easy to extend. It definitely was fun to program and easier than I thought.
I am sure the whole system needs a lot of balancing, especially the weapons. Please forgive me if you find it too difficult/too easy. It’s only Alpha :-) Balancing isn’t a task for a single guy, that’s why I am releasing it. My plan for survival features in the game requires that it is difficult to catch a bird, and it takes proper gear and skills. If you just charge mad, you should never get anything. So, once you get the game, please let me know how close I got to this ideal :-)
Another thing in this version is food. At the moment you can only get it from birds, but eventually there will be more sources, including plants. You can eat raw food, but it is not very nutritious. It’s better to cook it first, using a furnace. Health regeneration is gone, so you need to hunt to stay healthy. To eat, open the panel with sleep/suicide buttons and drag a piece of food into the big box on the left.
Yet another major change is in the terrain generation. I reduced the frequencies of some noise generators, such as temperature and humidity. This should give you less random terrain with much larger biomes. For example it is now quite possible to be in the middle of a desert and not see the ends of it. It should also make navigating easier, because the terrain does not change so rapidly as you go.
And I extended the trial to 25 minutes.