CDDA Design Philosophy?

Hey all,

I am kinda new to the game, as you might been able to tell from my posts (and post count!) … I was curious to understand what the the contributors and project leaders have in mind here.

Let me say than I think you guys have created something truly awesome here, with a level of complexity that is unrivaled by any other survival type game I have tried to date.

There is the core survival game - food, water, sleep, disease, infection, etc.
Which goes in hand with the crafting, and somewhere I read that the design philosophy is to keep crating to what could be realistically achieved by an individual in an aftermath setting.

Then there are the zombies and monsters as the threat (other than just fulfilling basic needs of survival).

And then there are a bunch of systems that seem to me, at least, to make the above somewhat imbalanced, and thus lead to my question about design philosophy.

Cars. Cars are the best and the worst. I can only applaud and sit back in awe at the amount of work that hos gone into the vehicle system. It is awesome. However, vehicles seem to upset the rest of the above - the very worst enemies the game can throw at you, can all be run over by anybody fresh out of the shelter who finds a working car (especially a military vehicle). Once you get some mechanics under your belt, you can create truly legendary mods of destruction that can kill anything, break into any bank vault, military base, etc.

Bionics. No downside. Stuff more metal in a body than can possibly be stuffed into single human. Armor, weapons, tools, power for other tools of destruction, water for goodness sake.

Mutations. I have only started to tinker with this, so I don’t yet know how this affects game play.

I appreciate that you have created a sandbox, and lots of thing are getting introduced, but I was curious to understand the long term vision of the game, and what you are all thinking about doing to bring the game into a state of balance.

Bionics are set to be hit with a pretty big nerf stick shortly - there will be hard limits on how much can be installed. I am both happy about this and tremendously sad.

Mutations are a mixed bag - there’s no way to guarantee getting only good ones (which are indeed very nice), but even beyond that, there are some hard limits on how much better you can get this way (the best stat mutation gives +4, for instance, and it replaces the earlier ones, so no infinite stats that way).

Cars. Yeah… there’s some truth there, though I would also say that you do take a good bit of damage when you run over any significant group.

You are missing power armor… that’s CRAZY powerful, and really, any military installation that had some power-armored troops ready to go should have survived the apocalypse just fine. Not sure how they are going to square that particular circle.

Yes, good news about the bionics, I saw a pull request on GitHub about that. Very nice.

Also, I agree about mutations, especially since even with the Robust Genetics, its a dice roll.

Regarding cars - while cars do take some damage, having a built in welder is basically a get out of jail free card. It would be a nice limiting factor if the welder needed some resource to work … say one sheet metal to go from each color (red to pink to yellow to light green to green) per area. That would make things a bit more challenging.

Yes, I forgot to mention power armor, I have three suits of it - light, standard and heavy, and running off my bionic Power Armor interface bionic, and since I have 3,000 power, and joint ratchet plus solar power bionics, I can pretty much go all day. My only weakness is I haven’t found a helmet, so turrets can really hurt me.

The one weakness is that my tactical pouches and MOLLE packs aren’t protected, so too much fighting and find myself with no ability to hold anything.

It would be interesting to see more enemies which cause problems for our vehicles. Some examples;

Spiked Zombie - This zombie’s bones have grown into sharp, jagged spines which pierce through its own flesh. This provides the zombie with a natural armor which can cause damage to melee attackers and flatten car tires.

Stone Zombie - A rather large zombie with skin calcified into a thick, hardened mass, flexible only at the joints. Even the expression on its face is fixed. It is rather slow, but delivers a crushing bashing attack. Causes significant damage to ramming vehicles while taking reduced damage and has a high tendency to bounce instead of being run over.

Oozing Zombie: This zombie’s body is dripping with a thick slippery black mucous. Hitting him causes you to skid out but also leaves a slick which remains a skid hazard until it rains.

It would also be very good for necros and masters to always try to remain very near walls and vehicles. These guys are described as having greater intelligence, so they should really even try to avoid being hit whenever possible.

I also think hulks should be able to send you into a skid if you drive past them too slow…

I feel like mutations are nicely balanced. Keeping more good mutations becomes progressively harder as you mutate more and more. More chance to get a bad mutation from a given category, more chance to purify good mutation and stuff like that. It’s all very random and even Robust Genetics make not as much difference.

As of CBMs I juse propose associating semi-permanent encumbrance with them. You can in fact install lots of metal shit into your body but it will be cumbersome to move around.
Also they probably should be quite vurnerable. Once again if you get hit hard enough, chances are CBMs is going to break. Not all CBMs are put into superalloy boxes. They should be ESPECIALLY susceptible to electric shock.

Power armor just needs some countermeasures for game enemies. Perhaps a weak spot. Most full-body armor IRL is really weak at joints. Joints have to be elastic after all. Also power armor should be pretty susceptible to EMP, strong electric shocks, explosions and radiation. The latter two are definitely something that no armor can ever protect against. It should be noted that 99.9% of armor won’t protect you from strong punches. They might not be penetrative but they surely will cause a huge acceleration and make the user inside suffer from G-forces. So hulks vs. power armor is something to fear.

There are a number of effective nerfs we have planned to vehicles.
Handling traction will render most basic cars incapable of navigating reliably off road, especially if they are heavily loaded. This will make truck type vehicles with high traction much more useful, but also conume more fuel. Additionally, vehicles should lose traction when driving over corpses, making plowing through hordes much more difficult.
Damage from a typical car hitting a person-sized creature is very low, most existing cars should be taking fairly heavy damage from hitting zombies. Heavier vehicles would be able to handle these impacts well.
Various monsters should be able to climb onboard slow moving vehicles, making plowing through a horde more dangerous.
The tools used to heavily modify vehicles, especially very large ones should be more extensive. Both engine lifts for all but the smallest engines and car lifts for certain midifications should be added.

Others have ourlined the balance points of mutations.

Limited capacity for installing bionics and more extensive tool requirements for bionics should help a lot.

Power armor
The heavier power armors should be unmoveable if not powered.
I’m considering making the power source required for power armor be eare and uncraftable, much like in fallout 4.

On the subject of power armor, why can’t you wear oversized gear over it? I’m mainly talking things like backpacks which have adjustable straps to make “larger” people able to carry them.
(Do backpacks have the oversized tag?)

Maybe a system to force power armor (as wearable gear) down to the lowest equip level, and anything with the oversized tag (within reason, maybe a new “Over PA” tag) able to be worn on top of it.

From this discussion (

@Kevin - those changes sound excellent! Especially the car based ones. I like the idea of bringing my mobile fortress (after the difficulty of building one) to the edge of town and then having to sneak in at night to load up on food and other supplies.

Are there any thoughts around allowing a vehicle to tow another vehicle, like the way you see RV’s towing a car today?

About bionics… i am afraid that adding a limit to bionics will get people stuck with bad bionics that they can’t remove - is there any removal feature planned for bionics?

There already is one - have a cutting tool and a first aid kit, open the bionics menu and hit ‘-’.

Still spitballing here, but what if hitting a boomer could obscure your windshield and effectively blind you? Windshield wipers would have to be added to counter this, but could lead to some interesting scenarios. Imagine your windshield being torn off because you hit a boomer…

I’d flesh this further by making the wiper blades have a high durability while inactive but become much more vulnerable while turned on. The logic being that the survivor would be able to easily protect them in their resting state, but using them obviously requires them to become exposed. That way, if something like the above situation were to happen it would be completely your own fault for forgetting to turn them off.

We’ve put a lot of thought into towing, it’s possible but really tricky.

Difficulty acknowledged and appreciated… in the shorter term, any chance we could get a way to combine and split vehicles? That would be a decent hack until “real” towing is in (and could still be useful even then, say, for trailers that hold vehicles and such).

Im not sure what you mean by “combine” that doesnt imply all the same problens as towing.
There are three issues:
Vehicle parts overlapping (like a car hauler or trailer), this is mostly an infrastructure issue, and is less tricky and more lots of code.
Flexible linkages and rotation, is the really nasty one, I have some ideas for how to make it work, but it requires completely overhauling how vehicle rotation and steering work.
Joining vehicles is fairly simple as long as neither of the other two issues is involved, so a bike or motorcycle hanger that picks up the smaller vehicle and holds it adjacent to the main vehicle would be fairly straightforward.

[quote=“Kevin Granade, post:15, topic:11719”]Im not sure what you mean by “combine” that doesnt imply all the same problens as towing.
There are three issues:
Vehicle parts overlapping (like a car hauler or trailer), this is mostly an infrastructure issue, and is less tricky and more lots of code.
Flexible linkages and rotation, is the really nasty one, I have some ideas for how to make it work, but it requires completely overhauling how vehicle rotation and steering work.
Joining vehicles is fairly simple as long as neither of the other two issues is involved, so a bike or motorcycle hanger that picks up the smaller vehicle and holds it adjacent to the main vehicle would be fairly straightforward.[/quote]

Picking up a bicycle / motorcycle and shopping cart takes care of a good portion of my use cases.

If you could build one that could pick up a decent size wreck (fit vehicle in hollow U shaped vehicle to keep the carrying vehicle balanced) that might take of most of the use case without involving either difficult case. Doesn’t exactly look like a real world tow truck though.

That’s exactly what I was talking about.

I got into this game within the past year and overall think the game is incredible - one of the best ever. But, I’m questioning some of the design direction and additions lately. Seems to be an emphasis on adding hassle and tedium, neither of which equate to challenge - just annoyance and wastes of time.

From what i understand, it’s not tedium that’s being added - it’s adding things that will stop certain playstyles from being “the only single good playstyle ever! You have to build a rolling fortress or else you are playing this game wrong!!!”.
But yeah, after adding all the tedious things that make playstyles equal, the nice and fun additions should be next.

It will be a little sad to see some of my favorite absurdities being nerfed, but I can see why (especially the bionics, as much as I love playing a heavily-'meched character). And none of the changes are really crippling, in some cases like the vehicle changes it just pushes the power curve a little further into late/endgame (having to get mechanics 8+ to repair military stuff).

I would definitely love something like a bike rack though. Something that can quickly attach a small (~1x1-3x1) vehicle to a larger one, without having to completely deconstruct and re-construct the smaller vehicle all the time.

I imagine a 1-tile vehicle would be relatively easy to do an attachment for, if you could figure out a way to treat it as a virtual part of sorts, you would just install it to an available tile. Not sure how multi-tile vehicles could be handled, though I guess depending on how the code handles it, it might be possible to make a modular bike of sorts: you’d have 2-3 “1-tile vehicles”, that are actually only functional when attached to each other.

While that would result in not really eliminating the “decon-recon” problem, since you’d still have to take the modules apart and put them back together, it would at least streamline the process for things more complex than a trunksled.

Though, then there’s the problem of how to treat motors on the carried vehicle… if they’re active then either you’d need really high mechanics to mount anything with its own motor or you’d risk allowing “engine-modules” that bypass the skill check on multi-engine vehicles. If they’re not active then the modular bike trick wouldn’t work, and we’d be back to the problem of how to handle more than one tile. I suppose one compromise, though one that would likely be a headache to code, would be to default to installing the engine in an “inactive” state, but with the ability to “activate” it if it wouldn’t exceed the number of active engines your Mechanics skill allows.

Though a side-effect of that would be that while running a huge number of engines simultaneously would still be skill-capped, making super-hybrids that can run on just about anything as long as they only run one engine at a time would become possible at low skill levels. I do not know if people would see that as beneficial or detrimental.

Definitely a hard problem when you consider how it might interact with existing systems.