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Topics - Mike

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General Discussion / February 2018 Newsletter
« on: March 12, 2018, 03:51:58 PM »
Our February 2018 Empires of the Undergrowth newsletter is up! We go into a little more detail about the upcoming leaf cutter ants and include some juicy screenshots from freeplay mode - and we've included a "road map" for the rest of 2018!

In Freeplay mode, desiccated poppy heads will drop seeds when a heavy gust of wind hits them. These provide a long-lasting food source for your ants... but free food won't go unnoticed!

General Discussion / Screen Shot Saturday - Poppyseed Production (Freeplay)
« on: February 17, 2018, 10:45:23 AM »
In the upcoming Freeplay mode, there will be things called "landmarks". These are points in the map that will, at the start of the game, take a randomly selected form. One of these forms is a seed-producing poppy head.

These desiccated poppy heads will drop seeds, providing a regular food source for ants (you can see them on the sand).

We asked our artist Matt to make us a model for this - we weren't expecting him to also do a beautiful in-bloom poppy flower!

General Discussion / January 2018 Newsletter
« on: February 08, 2018, 05:59:48 PM »
Good morning, evening and variations thereupon everyone - we've compiled and posted our January newsletter for 2018! The newsletter focuses mainly on the upcoming Freeplay mode (which we hope to have out to you in its basic form in a few weeks).

You can see the full thing on our website. We go into quite fine detail of what is currently being worked on for Freeplay - a potentially endless game mode where you can build your colony at your own pace, save it, and come back to it as and when you want. Some other games call this sort of feature "sandbox" or similar.

General Discussion / Progress Post: The Freeplay Launch Screen
« on: January 28, 2018, 03:48:21 PM »
We haven't done a Progress Post for a while since we've been working away at the new stuff, but there's some interesting bits we can show you now.

Here's a preview of the launch screen for the upcoming Freeplay Mode! As you can see, there will be lots of starting options for this mode so you can play the game how you like.

Want a challenge? Have regular spawnings of aggressive enemies. Want a relaxed, endless sandbox-like experience? Disable nest invasion and your colony will never die! Or how about some occasional mega-tough single enemies? Enabling Uber creatures is for you!

We expect the basic form of Freeplay Mode to be out in February, and it will continue to be expanded on over time.

General Discussion / December 2017 Newsletter - A New Year!
« on: January 11, 2018, 12:39:38 PM »
Hi all,

We've just published our monthly newsletter. This month, we talk about how the amazing support from you guys has secured the future of the project, as well as the quality of life changes we've made to the game in the weeks since it's been released.

We also reveal the exact species that will be next to be added to the game (Atta cephalotes), a leaf cutter ant that collects leaf cuttings to grow fungus from. Head on over to our website to have a look!

Also, Redmoth27 - we included a screenshot by you :)

General Discussion / Forum rules - Spelling / Grammar
« on: January 09, 2018, 06:02:54 AM »
It is not acceptable to criticise forum users for their spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure or otherwise.

You do not know the backstory of any individual - they may not have English as a first language, may be forced to use a translation service, or may have difficulties such as dyslexia which makes things difficult for them.

It does not create the welcoming atmosphere we want to build around our community, and it is frankly embarrassing to have to read and address.

Consider this an official warning.

General Discussion / Happy Christmas from the Slug Disco colony!
« on: December 25, 2017, 09:27:39 PM »
Let's acknowledge the most important thing at this time of year - family. More specifically, colony. As we all move forward into the future in pursuit of new feeding grounds, we'd like to extend that good will out to all our burgeoning colonies out there. May your nests be merry and bright, and may none of your victories be slight!

Happy Christmas, from the Slug Disco colony x

General Discussion / Screen Shot Saturday - Screenshot Mode Thread!
« on: December 17, 2017, 01:09:47 AM »
Now that John's got the screenshot mode in, post some of your best here! Press F9 (by default) to activate it. The controls for it can be re-bound in the key bindings menu.

Here's a quick one I did, but I imagine much more interesting stuff can be done!

The November newsletter is ready! Read through the full thing on our website, here:

I'll copy and paste what I imagine are the most important paragraphs for you guys - what we're planning on doing next, and a rough idea of when the next content ready by.

Freeplay Mode

The first thing that we will be getting out now, after many requests and also ourselves getting antsy to work on it, is freeplay mode. Freeplay will be a much slower-paced, longer-form game mode where your colony will grow slower, taking on increasing threats in a saveable environment similar to the formicarium but separate from it.

It'll have a surface, a variety of starting options (including which species of ant you wish to play as, or if you want to import the properties of your formicarium colonies) and over time it'll be added to with new creatures, artwork, level options and balance changes. The nature of this mode means that it can receive updates much more frequently than the formicarium story mode.

It's John's baby, and he's really keen to get working on it as soon as he can (for now we're still dealing with bug reports and fallout from the early access launch). He hopes that it'll be much more of a community project than the formicarium mode, and he'll be doing live streams that you can join in, watch him do some development, and suggest things / ask questions. These may well be irregular at first, but in the new year it's likely these could well become scheduled and regular.

As far as time scale goes - we really want to get this fast-evolving game mode out into the wild sooner rather than later, and we'll be getting our closed beta testers on it as soon as we can. In a basic form, we may be able to get to that stage within a few weeks. After some closed testing (but highly unlikely to be as long as the early access beta period was), we'll get it out to all of you guys. The thought of watching your colonies grow over a longer time period delights us.

New Levels

In the next stage of formicarium mode (3.1, 3.2 and Formicarium Challenge 3), we want to introduce some new ants. In real life, leaf cutter ants form long trails to gather cuttings from the surrounding foliage, which they take to underground chambers. Here, a fungus grows from the decaying plant matter which is very nutritious and provides the colony with much of its sustenance. We have some ideas for introducing this mechanic to the game and some great community suggestions. The mechanics tend to evolve as we develop them, so we can't realistically talk about their final form just yet. But you know where we're headed!

Time scales are more difficult for this - there's a lot that needs to be prepared for a full-fledged level (as well as the design, there's a ton of custom scripting, artwork, music, and voice acting that needs to be written and recorded). Whilst John does regular updates for freeplay mode, you can realistically expect the next set of levels to be a few months into the new year. Again, as we all know from past experience, to put exact dates on things like this is fatal - issues crop up, have to be overcome, and things change. I think practically every developer working on an ambitious project has experienced this, and we've had plenty of these issues already!

General Discussion / YouTuber Highlight: KatherineOfSky
« on: December 09, 2017, 06:33:13 PM »
Every so often we'll be highlighting YouTubers or streamers that we think deserve some extra attention. This week, it's KatherineOfSky.

KatherineOfSky plays her games in a logical, well-thought-out manner and keeps the viewer informed of the reasons behind her decision making process. In this respect her videos work very well as a tutorial guide for people new to EotU. Outside of that, she's simply so entertaining to listen to that it's entirely no wonder that she's quickly become a dev favourite.

The whole of Formicarium on medium difficulty is now covered in her early access coverage, and she's now returned to try hard mode! With her methodical approach to finding solutions, no doubt she'll crack it.

General Discussion / Thanks for the crazy launch everyone!
« on: December 02, 2017, 11:11:13 PM »
Hi all!

Yesterday and today have been totally crazy for us. After the kerfuffle of trying to get the game approved (and finally doing so) then going live, we've had huge amounts of feedback and the response has been almost entirely positive. We're really glad you're enjoying the game and looking forward to more to come. The game is performing well on Steam which we're overjoyed about.

We've identified a fairly consistent crash that has to do with tile removal in the Formicarium - so that's out #1 priority to fix that (John and Matt are currently on it). There are also issues with some ants or creatures getting stuck / not being harvestable (this is an intermittent and old issue that comes and goes) so we'll be looking into that too.

Once we get our first glitch-fixing update done, then it'll be time for us to seriously start working on the next update. We're pretty sure (but not 100% certain) that the next ants we add to the game will be Leaf Cutters, which will include a farming system for them to grow their own food from leaves collected on the surface.

John is keen to get properly stuck into the freeplay mode - and he intends to make it more of a community thing, with lots of live streams to Twitch where you can watch as he works on it and make suggestions. Since there's not really the problem of spoilers outside of the mission progression setup, he's looking forward to being much more open with its development.

Now, we have a lot of stuff to do - let's get to it!

Thanks ant fans. Thantfans.

All four of our team members have aged about 10 years but, we've been approved for release on Steam and will be releasing TODAY!

Forget the drama of the last few hours. Just sorting out the exact details but we'll be streaming very shortly and can answer everyone's questions whilst John and Mike talk through the changes to the game. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding everyone! 😘😘😘

General Discussion / Early Access COUNTDOWN THREAD!
« on: November 26, 2017, 05:31:38 PM »
The early access launch is imminent! Post here if you're hyped. Or if you're not, I dunno. Anyway, from time of posting, 5 days!

News and Announcements / Newsletter: October 2017 (yes it is very late)
« on: November 20, 2017, 09:19:03 AM »
I know it's late, okay?? God, stop bugging me. Heheh, bugging. That's a pretty good joke.

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