Developer's Log #5: Searching vs Waiting


One of the benefits of a game being in early development is the flexibility to change core gameplay mechanics. And after receiving some much needed feedback, I've decided to change one of the aspects of the game that has been since its inception: searching locations.

Currently, searching locations consists of choosing a location, selecting a search team and then waiting several seconds for the search to complete. This period of downtime essentially acted as a timesink that the player had to wait to complete. During this time, a hidden roll was performed every second which determined whether a zombie appeared or not. Traits and stat increases could decrease this search time (and thus the chance of finding zombies), but ultimately it was a waiting game with no user input.

That new search mechanic will be retooled into something that will increase user interactivity, as well as increase tension (something I had hoped the old waiting mechanic would do). Players will still choose a survivor to lead the search, but then a selection of sub-areas will be presented as search choices. As survivors choose which of these areas to check, there will still be the opportunity to find zombies but the player will have agency over how to proceed. Once a required amount of sub-areas have been checked, the search ends and loot is rolled for as normal. Bonuses to the Search stat will perhaps highlight which sub-areas contain zombies or some other new mechanic. Ideally the probability of encountering zombies would remain the same under the new system.

This is one of the most major changes to Survival City so far and will probably require lots of testing to fine-tune. My goal is to roll out a weekly build on either Thursday or Friday to increase the development speed, though. I'm excited to see what other feedback I receive to make Survival City an even funner experience!