NovaMundi: Week 118 report

NovaMundi is now available on Steam Early Access! get it now or wishlist it if you like what you see.

These past two weeks we focused on improving the exploration aspect, as well as tweaking a bit of the game balancing; we produced 5 versions ending up in v0.27.0.

José Manuel standing next to the Indipayacu lagoon (“Water sun”, in Inga language), in Sibundoy valley, Putumayo. (Copyright Manuel Gomez)

Exploration

I jumped the gun and removed the “time compression” mechanics, which were creating a lot of confusion with the players. So what’s all this about?

Before this change, you saw your expedition move at a constant speed on the map, no matter how tired they were or what terrain they were traversing. Instead, the speed at which the time moved forward was affected by different factors; this was made out of convenience to avoid the player being crawling in the map which might be frustrating and boring. However, we found out it was difficult to communicate the actual speed you were walking, and instead, players sometimes felt days were too short, or battles were happening too quickly.

So now the actual speed at which the expedition moves will be affected, and players will get immediate feedback when they are moving slowly due to burden, fatigue, or rough terrain.

In addition to this, individual biomes can now affect movement speed, including rivers being very slow to cross (now serving as a natural barrier for exploration), in anticipation of a future scenario where you’ll be able to use rafts and canoes. We are also checking this now when you camp (so you can no longer camp in lakes and swamps, sadly :))

A related small but important change was making time STOP completely when the player is not moving; this was something long overdue since it’s equally important for the player to be able to stop and think anytime during exploration as they can during combat.

Finally, did some small tweaks to the terrain grass patching so it looked less sharp (it started looking weird some versions ago and it had a big visual impact).

Game Balancing

On the playthroughs I made and based on the player’s feedback, I found out the game was a bit too easy on the latest versions. The following actions were taken:

  • The number of available units in towns, both as a gift and for hire, has been greatly reduced.
  • The amount of Experiences Points acquired in combat has been greatly reduced
  • The hit points have been duplicated for ALL units.
  • Increased damage, range, and attack speed for all ranged units.
  • Increased damage for all Spanish units.
  • Fuhuta (Panche blowgunners) and Spanish (bow) hunters have been removed from military

Countering to this, the power curve was flattened so you start meeting powerful parties more gradually. This is still being balanced and I still believe the first battles should be a bit more exciting, especially since you start with a big party, battling 3 or 4 enemies is pretty unexciting.

El Gallinazo peak, near Pachavita, Boyacá (OC Antoine VX)

User Interface

The Expedition Status screen was overhauled with smaller portraits, and now displays the expedition stats for its current burden, and all items on the expedition using tabs (not only the useable ones)

The barter screen was improved visually, but more importantly, I added a command to “match” either the offer or the request, making it much quicker to set up offers. I also added a short but hopefully useful onboarding for people to understand a bit how it works. We also have new art for some items.

As for the Transfer Items screen, I made some improvements to the “Transfer All” button so that the Blessings are included, as well as partial quantities of stuff when you cannot carry all of it. The food surplus, i.e. the rations you will waste due to them expiring before time, is also now displayed both when bartering and getting loot or gifts.

Project

I created a first version of the Roadmap, following the suggestions of Kay Tila in our discord community, we need to put some love on it since it’s an important tool for people to know where we are heading (especially given we are on Early Access). We are going to be adding more detail to it, as well as concepts of what we are going to do.

I would also like to highlight the work we are doing with José Manuel Gomez, a Muisca descendant, historical-cultural researcher, and linguist from Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He and his family have their origins in a village in the town of Pachavita in the department of Boyacá, Colombia. His knowledge and experience in all aspects of the Muisca’s culture and language are critical for us to provide a proper representation inside the game and make the game serve as a tool to teach and preserve the traditions and history of these indigenous people.

José Manuel, standing next to his great-great-grandparents house in Aguaquiña, his family’s village (Copyright Manuel Gomez)

Our visual artist, David Florez, finished a new art for the project, depicting a party of Muisca explorers crossing a cold Paramo (Andes tundra). We went thru two iterations, improving the clothing of our party to better protect them from the weather’s inclemency.

We featured this new art prominently in our participation on Steam’s Open World Sale last weekend. I believe it was a good chance to increase visibility, especially because of the high number of concurrent viewers to our stream (compared to our normal audience numbers). Our E.A. numbers (for sales and wishlists) are still low, but we keep working steadily.

New Units

We are working on two new units. More info to come soon!

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