After the Collapse is being released in Early Access. We know that many people are, understandably, reluctant to buy early-access titles nowadays. If you want to wait it out, it's perfectly fine and we sympathize with the sentiment. That said, we would like to say a few words on our Early Access policy:
It's important to note that After The Collapse is not our first game. Our previous title, Unending Galaxy, was a much more complex kind of game from a coding perspective. And while it wasn't in Early Access per say, it still received very regular content and maintenance updates for more than 2 years. We do not have an habit of dropping our projects, even when things are getting tough.
Secondly we're well prepared and organized, we have a public bug-tracking tool ready, a clear road-map and everything planned so far is well within our skill-set. Speaking as the main programmer here, I'm personally fascinated by base building games, I'm an avid player of Dwarf Fortress, Rimworld and others, and I have a lot of professional experience when it comes to artificial life and simulations.
Before continuing, understand that the following list (and implementation order) is is subject to changes. This is not an exhaustive road-map either, as it doesn't include every single new item, resources, or basic concept here. Instead it's there you give you a feel for the general direction we want to take with After The Collapse.
Those are planned for the EA release or soon after. They are practically “sure things” but actual implementation details can change.
Ammunition Handling: (Implemented) Self explanatory and this one has been implemented.
Large Scale: This one will get gradually implemented over time, as it’s more a principle than a feature per say. We aim for a larger population and higher mortality rates than in Rimworld.
Scavenging: (Partially Implemented) While your starting map will have enough resources to build a small, starting base, resources will run out, scavenging teams will have to be sent elsewhere to secure more resources. It will initially be menu driven, but thanks to our multi-threaded engine, in term, you’ll have the option to micromanage those runs. On your starting location, some of the existing buildings might be closed off. Those will contain goodies, but also dangers. You’ll be able to conduct some basic risk assessment before breaching in.
Underground Layer: (Mostly Implemented) Depending on your base’s location, you’ll be able to explore and exploit a dangerous underground layer (be it a sewer or a cavern). This particular feature is not going to make the cut for the initial EA release, but it will definitely happen quite soon after.
Those are features that will be fleshed out between EA and 1.0. As such, I can’t go into much details, and the community will have its say in it when the time comes.
Environmental Threats: I’d like the steer away from the bandit and zombie-like enemies tropes a bit. It’s not like there won’t be such things, but games like STALKER paved the way for more varied threats. Radiation clouds moving around the world map (closing and opening paths to other locations) is the first example coming to mind. And with radiations come mutations (because video games) good and bad.
Dynamic World: This is another of those that will likely be expanded over the whole development cycle. But, I’ll mostly focus on it during this phase. The general idea is that players will be able to control some territory outside of the base and eventually repair production centers (ammunition factories, for instance) to supply your base. Locations will change hand. Nests of mutants will need to be cleared out before they start creeping into your base, and so on.
Diplomacy: I want something a bit more subtle than the more or less fixed allied/foe settings for inter-faction relations and with a bit more variety than just raids and trading caravans.
Prisoner / Workcamp: Take prisoners and put them to work. Simple idea, more complex to implement properly.
Advanced Medical System: Procedurally generated illnesses and treatments, radiation poisoning, proper blood management. We're planning to implement a pretty realistic medical system before getting out of early access.
This is for 1.0 and after. As you may know if you’ve been following Unending Galaxy’s development cycle, 1.0 is just a number to us. It means that we think the game has enough features to hold its ground on its own. It definitely won’t prevent us from continuing the development “as usual”. In any case, we’re entering hypothetical territory here.
Light 4X: I guess it’s gradually becoming this studio’s identity. Simply put, I want to put the world map to good use. Build new bases in increasingly dangerous territory, take over your neighbors, rebuild a civilization. You get the general idea. I have some experience in that domain, but it’s a tall order nonetheless. Our UI system isn’t as flexible as was the previous one, so there are some hurdles to overcome.
Story Mode: Entirely optional, obviously. But a general complaint with base building games is that there’s no ending per say. That’s a subject I would be interested in tackling by adding interlocked quests. The idea is to push the player into more dangerous territories and toward a big confrontation and an end state. Actual content and goals have yet to be determined, of course.
What NOT to expect
And, obviously, there are things I don’t feel like they’d fit the bill. Either because they are too costly in development time or don’t work with our thematic.
Multiplayer is out, for the same reasons it’s out for every other game in this genre. We might, however, implement something via Steam Workshop (with locations made by other players being added to your world, as an option). This is *very much* an hypothetical.
On the base building part proper, I intend to keep things focused on what make sense in a post-apocalyptic world. So no HD-TV, dozens of different crops or bionic limbs. Those are things people can add through modding anyway. Also, while relations between your survivors will definitely be a thing, it will be more a case of getting rid of the black sheep than building some kind of utopia where everyone is constantly overjoyed.