Hello everyone, first of all I would like to thank everyone again who has participated in the closed alpha. The feedback I received was very positive and the bugs and feature requests were beyond helpful. A lot of people provided detailed feedback which I am very grateful for.

I’ve also decided to push the release date back to April 14th, the content of the game has expanded quite a bit from where I originally wanted to launch. The extra time will make a large impact on the reception of the game on its first release day.

I am also letting in a new batch of players this month. I have had multiple people ask this and I will answer this again: you are allowed to make YouTube videos on Boppio and you are allowed to stream it on Twitch or any other platform, I do not care 🙂. The only thing I would ask that content creators keep in mind is that not everyone has access to the game and its really not realistic for me to give access to people on demand.

To say the least I’ve been extremely busy this month and I’m excited to show off some of the big changes.

Building UI Updates

The building UI has been completely redesigned. The new building menu contains a ton of the information that was missing that users pointed out. The main important points are that the ratios of items are now displayed and the power usage and production for buildings is now also displayed. I’ve also added a fuel indicator that will give players a better idea of their fuel usage.

The Steam Engine now shows its fuel consumption and power production.

This new UI is especially helpful with more complicated buildings like the assembly machine, which shows you the consumption and production rates of all items:

The new UI allows you to plan your base your effectively, telling you exactly how many items are consumed and produced by each building.

The rates displayed depend on the selected recipe. Values currently do not show for fuel but I will add this in the future.

Storage Chests

Some common feedback I got from the previous release is people want to be able to store or destroy items. The main thing I can provide for now is a way for people to easily store and inject items into the item transport network, which is similar to what other games in this genre allow.

Render of the new storage chests

This also addresses an issue that a lot of players had, and thats jams in the network. These jams are caused when an item arrives at a building and the building cannot accept that item because its input slots are full. This can cause other inputs from reaching the building and basically permanently jamming that building and obstructing all other buildings that use that route.

Adding storage chests to your network prevents jams because items have somewhere to go temporarily while they are not needed. Items in storage chests will be used before items in output slots of buildings.

You can probably tell that these models are a bit different than the existing artwork. These models will be the first of many models created by our new talented 3D artist Josh. You will notice a substantial change in the art in the game over the next few patches as Josh’s work finds its new home in Boppio.

Habitat Changes

The Habitat is now also able to store items. This should allow players to easily inject items into the item transport network in the early game.

Items placed into the habitat can be used by the item network.

Eventually I will make it so that you can enable/disable the functionality where items can be taken by the item network, however for now this feature will always be on.

Error Feedback

One common piece of player feedback I received is that sometimes the game is not allowing the player to do something and there’s really no indication to the player that something is wrong. Just “nothing happens”. I’m addressing by giving the player an error message at the location of the error, like so:

Error messages will now inform players when they try to do something the game considers invalid.

This is something that should have been in the game for a long time, but as a developer I do tend to forget that a lot of features in Boppio are not as intuitive as I would like them to be.

Screen Resolution and Quality

Every game developer has a constant struggle between making their game look good and maintaining acceptable framerates. Boppio is substantially more gpu intensive compared to other games I’ve worked on and as a lot of players have noticed it looks pretty bad on low quality settings. However, to combat this I am changing the lowest default settings to the following:

Unity quality: Medium
Detail quality: Medium
Texture quality: Low
Screen Resolution: Full screen 720p

This means that even if you have really low end hardware, like an old Intel i3 with integrated graphics with only 4GB of ram, you will still default to medium quality, however your resolution will default to 720p instead of 1080p or 1440p. 720p is a much better experience than the alternative, which is removing a lot of the details which gives Boppio its visual fidelity and keeping 1080p or 1440p. However, you can lower your quality settings further if you are still having trouble getting an acceptable framerate.

As of this release you will be able to configure the screen resolution and full screen mode in the quality settings menu. Also anyone who has set their quality settings to low will be reset to the above quality settings.

Fluids

I don’t have any visual updates for this, however the coding required to add fluids into the game is complete. You won’t see any buildings in this patch that utilize this new feature, however in 0.1.4 there will be many new buildings that I’m excited to show off soon!

Steam Cloud Sync

For those of you who don’t know what Steam Cloud Sync is, it basically allows you to automatically upload your game saves to the cloud so they are available to you on any machine across multiple platforms.

I have a bit of personal frustration with this feature, because it doesn’t even require any coding to enable and a lot of developers just choose not to enable this feature. I think of the many many times I’ve had to manually backup and transfer my own game files between the many machines I use on a daily basis. So I wanted to make sure that nobody has this experience while playing Boppio 🙂

Bug Fixes and Improvements

Here is a quick breakdown of bugs that have been fixed and improvements that have been made.

  • Fixed small typos in the space assembly building
  • Items can now be rerouted if they they arrive at their destination and the slot they are going to is full. They can only be rerouted to storage (e.g. storage chest or the hub). This will be improved upon further later.
  • Fixed an issue that would cause the technology menu to be misconfigured for the first frame it was displayed causing a “flash”.
  • Fixed an issue where the wood cutting axe model wouldn’t show unless you were on the highest quality settings.
  • Fixed an issue where water was not rendering at all on low settings
  • Iron ingot icon is now much darker (was too similar to the wood icon)
  • Fuel Indicator when building has no fuel remaining.

There was a terrible crashing issue that affected many players this patch. I believe part of this issue was the way I was managing this feedback effect:

Each one of these “feedback” instances spawned as a new canvas in Unity. Over time I believe this issue was the main source of crashes for player.

Whenever I experienced a hard crash (which really shouldn’t happen in Unity) it was while using shift to quick remove items from a building. I’m hoping this solves many users frustrations with this issue.

I’ve also added an indicator for fuel in buildings:

There is now an indicator that shows the player how much time is remaining for a burning fuel unit.

I personally hate reverse progress bars, but in this instance I think its the better UX than a filling progress bar. The fuel bar also moves very slowly so its much less jarring.

Rebalancing

These are changes that aren’t fixes, but were changes to the way the game plays

  • You now automatically run, no holding down shift!
  • Crafting rate for iron plates changed from 10 per minute to 30 per minute.
  • Many technology requirements have changed, however if you have already unlocked a technology you will still have that technology unlocked.
  • Sending items to a building using shift-left click has been reworked a bit.

New Hires (Contractors)

This month I opened up many new contractor/freelancer positions at Boppy Games. I have received over 100 resumes and portfolios for multiple positions and I have conducted 12 interviews so far which took a substantial amount of time away from developing this patch, however this should be the final hiring push before the game is released. Once this is out of the way and the new hires are working I will be completely focused on improving the Boppio experience.

The amount of resumes I’ve gotten at this point has been so substantial that I’ve actually had to remove all public job postings, as we’ve already have a vast amount of applicants who are more than qualified and motivated to fill all open positions. Thank you to everyone who took the time to apply.

Conclusion

Thank you again to everyone who continues to play Boppio and give feedback, it really helps a lot. I’m hoping that everyone is enjoying the game. I will have a very large update coming out next month and I’m hoping most people will come back and give it a try.