Cataclysm 2

A development blog for Cataclysm 2, the sequel to the popular post-apocalyptic roguelike.

Anonymous asked: Guns, mods, building architecture. Do tell.

Uhhh, kinda vague there, but I’ll do my best.

Guns are simplified compared to C1 (and especially compared to DDA).  I wanted each and every gun to be distinct from all others in a way that’s noticable to the player, so there’s no list of 500 guns which are each distinguished by having some stat be 3% higher than another otherwise-identical gun.

At present, there are 7 handguns, 3 shotguns, 6 SMGs, 5 hunting/sniper rifles, 4 assault rifles, 1 machine gun, plus a nail gun and a crossbow.  There’s   Those are plenty of variety!  Each one is fairly unique, meaning that the choice of which gun to use is a meaningful one.  There’s 8 calibers (plus nails and crossbow bolts), and with the exceptions of .22, 9mm, and 5.7x28mm, each caliber has 2-3 varieties (standard and armor-piercing mainly).  Later on I might add incendiary rounds or other special rounds.

Guns look pretty much the same as they did in C1/DDA.  Damage is derived from the ammunition, though some guns modify it slightly.  There’s also accuracy, recoil, durability, capacity, and time to reload and time to fire.  The biggest distinction is in the class of firearm; handguns are fast to reload and fire, and use common/cheap ammo, but suffer from relatively poor accuracy and recoil.  Assault rifles are accurate, usually low on recoil, and hold lots of rounds, but they use rare/expensive ammo and are slower to reload and fire.

Many guns have a variety of fire modes; single shot, burst (2-5 rounds) or full auto (5-30 rounds).

Gun mods aren’t in the game yet, but they’ll probably look pretty similar to C1/DDA as well.  Modifications to the gun’s stats, and occasionally something special (scopes improve accuracy at long range, mods might add or change firing modes, change the caliber used, etc).

As for buiding architecture… I’m not sure what you mean there.  All buildings are defined in data files, which basically look like ASCII drawings of the building.  These files allow for some randomization,so the building is less predictable; also, for any given building type there’s lots of layouts (for example, there’s 15 gas stations), so repetition is kept to a minimum.

Larger buildings, like malls, are made up of “puzzle pieces.”  There are maps defined for a mall tile with 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 mall neighbors (2 neighbors can either be straight across from each other, or a corner piece).  Again, each puzzle piece has 6-8 layouts defined for it.  The pieces are correctly rotated and made to line up nicely for each other, so the result is a mall with randomly placed shops, bathrooms, aisles etc.

rogueesp asked: Why progress is soo slow? And also, I've read something in the DDA forums about you comparing in a vulgar way C:DDA with C2... It's that true?

Well, I’m getting married in two weeks… and that’s kept me pretty busy.  I’m also busy with a lot of other stuff in life, so I sadly don’t get much time to work on Cataclysm.  Sorry!  Also, I’ve been focusing what little effort I have in Edigotia lately, simply because it’s more interesting to me at the moment.  I’ll circle around and get back to work on Cataclysm sooner or later, I promise!

I’ve said basically three things about DDA:

  • Large parts of DDA are poorly designed and/or coded.  I have to admit - probably 90% of this is my fault, since most of DDA’s code is from Cataclysm 1.  When I compare the two, it’s mostly to say that I’m designing Cataclysm 2 from the ground up to be well-coded and easy to mod, and I want to make it clear that C2 will be much better designed than C1/DDA since it’s being written from scratch with a finished product in mind.  Again, these comments are mostly me saying that my old code is bad.  Most of DDA’s additions are well-designed, especially considering the mess they had to work with.  Cataclysm 2 is better because it’ll be less of a mess.
  • There are some gameplay and UI choices in DDA which I don’t like personally.  That doesn’t mean I think it’s a bad game, or that I think these choices are objectively bad; they just aren’t what I’d choose.  Obviously lots of people thing that these are good choices, and that’s fine.  DDA and Cataclysm 2 are pretty different with different gameplay, and comparing the two is really like comparing apples and oranges.
  • I didn’t like the way that DDA’s Kickstarter was handled.  I have an earlier post about the specifics of this here.

So I’m not really badmouthing DDA.  There’s some problems with it in my mind, but those are largely personal tastes.  I think that the majority of what the DDA team has done is great work, especially given the state of the code when they picked it up.  I think it’s really cool that they’ve had success with a mod of Cataclysm.

Unfortunately, so people on the internet loooove drama, so I’m sure they’re blowing up my minor criticism into some kind of fight or bad-mouthing on my part.  Please don’t perpetuate this kind of sad, obnoxious behavior.

rogueesp asked: Hello. I just wanted to ask; why you don't open a paypal account and a blogger and leave this tumblr for questions and such? With paypal we can donate you, with the blogger you can upload progress in a more clean way, and with the tumblr the question will not make interference with the updates. Cheers :)

Regarding Paypal, I haven’t done anything worth donating yet!  Once I’ve got some releases out and I’m putting out updates at a faster rate, I’ll probably stick one up.

I had a hard time choosing a platform for this blog, and I settled on Tumblr… I don’t think I’ll be opening up another one.  For progress news and releases, I’ll be putting up an actual website (with forums and other stuff as well).  I might use Blogger at that point to make things easier on myself, we’ll see!

klaymored asked: Hello, Whales. I'm a big fan of the original Cata and wanted to ask a question about NPCs. Will they have different sayings and accents between factions? I know you don't want to focus on irrelevant things that make the game complex, but... -cont-

-cont- but since you plan to make the game dependant on NPCs, dialogues are going to be pretty important to the game. Like if you hear a lot of strange religious chatter, you understand that’s a Cultist NPC. Thanks and I hope you can respond soon.

I should clarify - I don’t want to put a lot of focus on things that clutter the game or make gameplay complex without adding fun as well.  Neat little well-thought-out details like this are definitely a good thing!

Cataclysm 1’s NPCs used a speech randomization feature to keep things varied, and avoid typical RPG NPC syndrome (where every time you talk to a villager, he says the exact same line).  In Cataclysm 1, lines of speech looked like “<name_g>, we <really> need to talk!”  When the NPC actually said that line, <name_g> would be replaced by one of ten options, including “friend,” “buddy,” or “fella.”  <really> would be replaced by a different pool of ten options, including “really,” “urgently,” “definitely” or “most <really>" (which in turn would stick in another word from the pool).

In Cataclysm 2, I’m planning a similar system, but as you suggest it could be expanded to further define the characters.  Cultists could use their own replacement pools, and their own set of lines, to give them more depth of character and make it clear that this NPC is into some weird stuff.

On top of that, certain NPCs could have their own specific dialects.  The “cowboy” dialect could include “partner” and “fella” amoung the names; the “kid” dialect could include “mister” “old man” and others.  By combining the two systems, we’ll get NPCs who not only have speech patterns determined by their factions, but also peculiarities that set them apart as individuals.  Should be cool!

Anonymous asked: This isn't really a question, but it seems like a good way to get a message to you. I enjoyed the heck out of Cataclysm, and have been playing a lot of DDA lately. I thought your original game was brilliant, and I thought the community mods (eventually merging into DDA) added a lot of content and enjoyability. However something is just not quite right in DDA. Just today I saw this blog, and learned you were working on Cataclysm 2, and let me just say I am glad to hear it. Much respect, sir.

Thanks for the kinds words!  This kind of thing is really good encouragement to keep me plugging away.  I agree that the community mods - and the community in general - are really excellent!  I’m lucky to have such creative, friendly fans of my work.

Anonymous asked: Talk about the weather.

No concrete plans here yet - it’s not high priority (compared to core gameplay features), but it’ll show up eventually.  I’m planning on something very similar to Cataclysm 1, though probably a little more gentle on the player (no more acid rain, for one thing).  It’ll be possible to have different types of weather at different locations on the island, and even to do some (very simple) weather patterning, so that a storm will sweep across the island, getting wider and bigger before dispersing.  This could allow some interesting options like a weather machine to seed storm clouds at a particular location, or a radar system that lets you see what the weather is like in various places.

vipches asked: Well, I think is not good Idea to make text icon on here, but still.... I got some thing for ya! ︻︼─一 ︻┳═一 ▄︻┳═一 ▄︻┻═┳一 do you enjoy it???

Hahaha, I do, very good!

vipches asked: Hey, Whale, how's going on those months? hope you still got something in you, Whale, what you thinking about some melee weapon can have some short attack range? I mean, I think some bigger weapon like shovel and pickaxe, that weapon should be huge enough to attack in a short range, like this "@ Z" distance should be enough to reach the zombie and hurting it, I don't think any melee weapon should can only use will you very closeing in enemy, what you think?

I have been considering this!  It’d add some neat depth to melee combat if certain weapons could hit a monster two (or three?!) tiles away.  And it’d be relatively easy to code, too!

Another similar idea I’ve been toying with is the idea of safety ranges.  The idea there is that some weapons are safer to attack with by virtue of letting you maintain distance.  If you attack with a knife, you have to get close to the enemy, and that’ll make it easier for them to hit you back.  On the other hand, if you attack with a long spear, you can keep them at distance and make it hard or impossible for them to attack you.

enkiduofvideogames asked: Also, Cataclysm&Star Trek inspired the idea of a spaceship based roguelike. The premise being that your ship is damaged in a catastrophe and you are the only one able to save the ship. The interior changes little beyond where breaches & caved bulkheads occur, or where whose quarters are. Player would have to contend with fixing the ship & avoiding death by exterior events , including a boarding party by an enemy faction & raduation bursts. Unfortunately I have zero coding skills. any tips? :B

Your idea sounds very cool, I like it!  Have you heard of or played Faster than Light (FtL)?  It’s a similar idea, though yours sounds more challenging (and more interesting in some ways).

My biggest tip would be to learn to code!  Unfortunately there’s a TON of people with cool ideas for video games, and unless you’re good friends with a programmer, you’ll have a hard time finding one who’s willing to make your vision a reality (unless you want to hire and pay one, and programmers generally don’t work cheap).  Programmers, especially game developers, tend to have their own ideas for games, and they’d rather work on their own project rather than a stranger’s.

The bright side is that programming has never been easier to learn!  I’m not a big fan of Python, but I must admit it’s a good first language to learn.  Google around for “python tutorial,” or better yet, “python game tutorial,” and I’m sure you’ll find some helpful step-by-step lessons that’ll get you off the ground.

The other thing I should mention is that games take a long time to create.  Unless you’re making something relatively simple, like a Pacman or Tetris clone, expect to have to put in months of work just to get a prototype (that isn’t much fun to play) released.  Knowing how to code is a vital skill, but perseverance and hard work is at least as important.  Hang in there, good luck, and please let me know if you come up with anything cool!

Finally, I’m not familiar with too many programming communities, but I do know that the roguelike community is a great one.  We’re all super encouraging and helpful, and happy to answer some questions or debug your code.  Come visit #rgrd on Quakenet!

enkiduofvideogames asked: I've been a fan of Cataclysm for a while now, it's just been so different from other Roguelikes. Regarding the problem of cliffs you had back in april, as u probably know, cliffs like to b made by breaking hills apart between landmasses. So why not apply the same principle to your coding, making a "hill" between the island and a point in the ocean and then cutting it off. this could also create a more varied coastline as coasts tend to be, and could be changed per different parts of the world.

Actually, this is how map generation works - almost literally!  When we’re generating islands, we do so by creating a height map - we start with a high point (usually near the center of the island) and slope downwards in all directions.  As we expand outwards, there’s a small chance to create a “cliff” - to suddenly drop our altitude by a large amount, quite often to zero (sea level).  This does, as you say, create interesting coastlines!

Right now, the height map doesn’t actually do anything beyond decide where the coastline is, so there’s no actual “cliffs” - just sudden beaches.  It’d be interesting, if a bit tricky, to add actual cliffs, where the edge of the land is significantly higher than the ocean.  This is tricky not only in generating maps, but also in representing this situation clearly to the player in a 2D format.