Update 1.7 - Cartographer's Journal is now on Steam

1:52 PM willsterling23 4 Comments


Update 1.7 introduces a number of new major features that will aid you in your quest to explore the world of Salt. This update also provides some bug fixes, performance improvements, and new content.

New Player and Quest Journal


You now have at your disposal an in-game journal, which works both as a quest journal and a place to make your own notes. Open the journal by pressing ‘j’. It is divided into three sections. The first section, the “Main” section, is for you to add your own notes as you please. You have unlimited pages to make as many entries as you want. As well as normal entries, you can also make links to subsections within the journal, allowing you to keep things organized.

The second section section, the “Quest” section, is not editable. Instead, quest entries will automatically appear here as you find new quests, and complete quest tasks.

The third section, the “Map” section, can be edited as you please, but it also closely integrated with the map (see below). From your map, you can add notes the correspond to certain locations in the world. This section will store those notes.



Map


The map has arrived to the world. Open it up by pressing ‘x’ or ‘m’. Keeping with the raw do-it-yourself style of Salt, this map starts out completely blank. It is up to you to fill out out as you travel. Mark location of islands as well as add icons that indicate what you find on those islands. As you explore and map the world, find ways to unlock new features and handy shortcuts within the map interface. As mentioned above, the map is also integrated with the journal to make it easy to make notes in your own words about what you find on the islands that you explore.



Button Changes


Be prepared to be thrown off kilter. Some controls have been changed. Most notably, the functions of left and right mouse clicks have been reversed. Left click is now performs the main interaction on items, while right click opens up the item details window. 

Also, the way you pick up placed items, such as those placed on your boats, has changed. You now press-and-hold the interact button (E by default).



More Lore


As well as adding some more lore books to the game, we have also flagged many of them as unique. This means that if you already own a particular lore book, it will no longer drop or be found in chests. This will both keep you from finding duplicates as well as making it more likely that you find a variety of lore books during your travels.


Revert to Last Manual Save Option


Some aspects of the game are saved when you manually save the game, but many things items, quest progress, and object on your boat are constantly saved. You now have the ability to revert the entire game back to how it was when you last saved the game manually. There is a checkbox to do so within the Load interface in Salt’s main menu.

Patch Notes


- Added Journal.
- Added a map.
- Added a new NPC to be found in the world.
- Most journals are now flagged as unique.
- You now press and hold the normal interact button to retrieve placed objects.
- Reduced the density of some cosmetic foliage on jungle islands to improve performance.
- You can no longer save the game while dead.
- Added option in main menu load interface to load the game as it was when you last manually saved it. This will revert all inventory changes back to that point.
- Made saving system more robust (less error prone).
- Some performance improvements.
- Swapped left and right click functions when interacting with items in your inventory. Left clicking now equips/activates the item while right clicking now brings up the item details window.
- Increased the resolution of some item icons.
- Added new lore books.
- Added a new quest.
- Ancient guardian rocks will once again deal damage.


- John Gamble (Lead Developer)

4 comments:

Cartography Release Date and New Pirate Islands

7:03 AM willsterling23 1 Comments


Ahoy mateys!

We've got a couple updates we'd like to give you today. First we wanted to let you know that our Cartography Update will be available on Steam this coming Monday (March. 28th). We also want to talk a bit about the next upcoming patch and what we have planned.


Cartography Update


This past week we've been polishing up bugs and preparing the Cartography Update for official release. We've almost got it ready to go and will be pushing the update out this Monday. This update contains a lot of features we've been wanting to add for quite some time now. 

First, it contains our brand new mapping system which allows you to create your own in-game charts. These charts allow you to add islands to grid squares, and then add icons and information to those islands. You can even upload your own icons!

We've also added a new player/quest journal in this update. This journal lets you create your own entries and sections so you can write down any information you find relevant. You may even just want to journal your adventure! This new journal also automatically updates with quest entries when you get quests in the game. 

In this update we've also made some small optimizations, bug fixes, added in new lore books, and even added a new NPC!


New Pirate Islands


With the Cartography Update almost ready to push, we've been working on brainstorming and designing the next update. Our next few updates will be adding in the remainder of the main story. One portion of this involves a brand new pirate island, so we're going to do this as a standalone update. 

We can't say for sure what all it will entail, but here's an overview of what we've got planned so far. 

These new islands are going to act as a kind of "endgame" pirate island. They will be tougher than any other islands and contain the best loot as such. These islands will have a few various types of pirates and even a Pirate King. In addition to more difficult npc's, these islands will have unique resources and the introduction of gold chests. 

We've got a lot of other ideas for these islands and will share more info as that update unfolds. 


Thanks for reading and as always let us know your thoughts!


- Will Sterling (Sound Lead and Game Design)

1 comments:

Cartography Update on Testing Branch

4:41 PM willsterling23 0 Comments


Hey everyone!

The Cartography Update is now available on the Steam testing branch. To join the testing branch, follow the instructions here. This update introduces our new in-game cartography system, allowing you to chart your world as you explore. If you haven't joined the testing branch yet, you can also try out the new player/quest journal!

To try out the map, hop in the game and press the 'm' key. You'll then be able to add islands to grid locations, and add icons to those islands. We've also linked up the journal so you can add journal sections and entries about a particular island.

We need your help finding bugs and polishing this up before the official push so please let us know anything you find! A great place to post your findings is on the testing branch forum.



Current Testing Branch Patch Notes

- Added a player journal.
- Added a map. The map starts out blank, so you will have to fill it out manually while you explore. You can open it by pressing ‘x’ or ‘m’. Note that this means that ‘x’ no longer works as an alternate button for ‘escape’.
- Added a new NPC to be found in the world.
- Most journals are now flagged as unique. This means that if you already have a particular journal item, then it no longer has a chance to drop.
- You now press and hold the normal interact button to retrieve placed objects.
- Reduced the density of some cosmetic foliage on jungle islands to improve performance.
- You can no longer save the game while dead.
- Added option in main menu load interface to load the game as it was when you last manually saved it. This will revert all inventory changes back to that point.
- Made saving system more robust (less error prone).
- Minor performance improvements.
- Swapped left and right click functions when interacting with items in your inventory. Left clicking now equips/activates the item while right clicking now brings up the item details window.
Increased the resolution of some item icons.


0 comments:

Dev Update: Cartography Patch and Feature List

6:38 AM willsterling23 2 Comments

Hey everyone!

We just wanted to give you guys an update on our Cartography patch and let you know some of the features it will contain upon release. We plan on releasing this patch to the testing branch next week and we want to thank you all so much for your patience during this update! Salt has needed a good in-game mapping system for quite sometime and we're happy to finally have one.

Cartography Features



There she is! The map. So as you can see the map will act as a sort of chart with a grid that you can open up and use whenever. You'll then be able to add islands to that char of various sizes. Once you've added the islands, you'll be able to choose various icons from the right side of the map and add them to the islands. You can even change icon colors by using various inks you find the in the game.

Cartography is going to make exploring a lot more fun and add a better sense of navigation to the world.


Journal Integration



If you don't know already, we recently released the player/quest journal onto the testing branch as part of this update. This journal allows you to create your own entries and sections in the game, and it also acts as a quest journal that has automatic entry updates for certain quests. 

In addition to this, we've added a journal icon on the map interface that you can click on and add entries and information specific to that island. 



We've still got a few tiny things to add but we expect this update to come to testing this coming week. As always, we would leave to hear your feedback! 


- Will Sterling (Sound Lead and Game Design)


2 comments:

Friday Dev Update: Clicks, Testing, Optimization, and Map Checking

8:53 AM Unknown 2 Comments


Reversing Left and Right Click on Items


This week, I posted a question on our Steam forums about reversing left and right click item interaction. The response has been strongly in favor of the proposition. It has always slightly bothered me that right-click was the primary item interaction button instead of left click. In the post, I told a little bit of the history of how right click got to be the primary interaction button in Salt:

Here is a bit of history on how the buttons got to be how they are now. Originally, you had to double-left-click items to interact with them. We wanted the inventory to be able to be scrolled by a single click and drag, and didn't want players accidentally drinking valuable potions and the like while dragging the inventory.
However, we realized that having to double click so much was annoying. We didn't have right-click doing anything at the time, so we made right-click perform the same function as double-left-click. Eventually, the double left click functionality went away entirely, and we are left with what we have now.

The functions of the buttons will be reversed in the next update to the testing branch, and subsequently, the next major patch.


Testing Branch


It is a very unfortunate nature of development that sometimes we mess up and miss something in our own testing, and errors slip through to you. None are at risk more than those brave players that play on the Steam testing branch. I really appreciate all of who do. You are the knights of Salt, taking the brunt of the bad bugs so the general player base can enjoy the game in bliss, unknowing of the valiant sacrifices made to protect them.

With the release of the player journal last week came a bug that caused items to disappear from chests placed on boats. Thanks a ton for those of you who quickly reported the issue so that we were able to get it fixed as soon as possible. It has historically been very rare to have item loss occur due to a bug, but as shown with this patch, it can happen. This week, I have done some work to add some more protections from item loss into the game.

First of all, I went through all of the code involved in item containers and saving them and made it a little bit more robust. I removed some unnecessary code and improved error handling. Secondly, 
I added a new option when loading a game that allows you to revert the world back to the exact state it was when you last manually saved the game.

For those of you that don’t know, the save system in Salt is semi-manual. Some things, such as your position in the world, are only saved when you save the game. Other things, such as your items, are saved continuously. For example, say you use a bunch of arrows to defeat a pirate captain, get some good loot off him, then quit without saving. When you return to your game, the arrows you used during the battle are missing, but you will still have the loot that you got from the encounter. 

I created a new checkbox at the bottom of the load game menu. Checking this will cause the game to load everything to load just as it was when you last manually saved. This will give you a useful option to recover your game should something go horribly wrong during play, as long as you don’t manually save it after said horrible thing happens.

Revert Save Checkbox


Along with all of this, it is still a very good idea to make a backup of your game save before playing on any newly-released testing branch patches. You can find information about save files by clicking here.


Optimizations


Also this week I have added in some code optimizations. Here is an explanation for those of you that have interest in the technicalities. As you play the game, all kinds of information is being loaded and unloaded to and from your computer’s memory. Many of the things that are loaded into memory are only needed for a very short time, and then need to be removed. 

In some programming languages, the programmer is responsible for removing those bits of data. If they never remove any of the data, the computer’s memory will fill up and the game will crash. In Salt, we use a “managed” programming language. This means that it has systems in place that take care of removing those unneeded things from memory so that I don’t have to worry about it.

There is a downside to this, however. Whenever the memory fills up, a program called the “garbage collector” goes through and cleans up the memory of all the unneeded stuff. It takes a little bit of time to do this, so when the garbage collector does his thing, it often causes a small lag spike in the game.

A lot of the optimizations that I did this week involved creating less garbage so that the garbage collector doesn’t have to run as often. In addition to that, I also made some of the commonly run game code a little more efficient. These changes are subtle, but build up as I do them over time to provide an overall smoother game experience.


Map Checking NPC


Robert is hard at work on polishing up the map and getting it ready for testing. I wanted to tell you guys about something I will be adding in very soon related to the map.

I am very excited about mapping the world of Salt, and one thing I really love in games is being rewarded for big tasks that I am excited to do anyway. It makes me double happy. This how we came up with the idea for an npc that will check your map for you, and give you rewards based on how many islands you have marked, and how accurate you are. 

He will also tell you this accuracy information. For instance, if you come to him and have 20 islands marked on your map, but you marked 1 of the islands in the wrong place, he will tell you that you have marked 20 islands with an accuracy of 95%. 

The physical rewards will come in tiers and always have an accuracy requirement. I will have to do some testing before determining how many islands and at what percentage accuracy are required for each reward.



- John Gamble (Lead Developer)

2 comments: