Where Cataclysm DDA is headed? !?

If I missed a discussion on this, please forgive me and someone please sticky it in the forums. I searched and did not find it.

Does CDDA have a long term road map? I see a lot of work being done on ‘improvements’. When translated into sarcastic-an (not a real language): “People are doing code commits like crazy left and right for their pet ideas and bug fixes.”

But what is CDDA supposed to look like when all this settles down? Where is the 5-year business plan? Where is the classy power-point presentation from the CEO to the shareholders?

Where is the 5-year business plan?
LOL WAT? People are just having fun adding some code at their leisure.
"People are doing code commits like crazy left and right for their pet ideas and bug fixes."
Where is the classy power-point presentation from the CEO to the shareholders?
LOL WAT? It's an opensource project, we don't need any "power-point presentation".

I think it’ll be headed right here, taking some (but not all) of the features from here and here. Further you mentioned “when it settles down”… not allowed!

Most people are adding content within the current framework.
The main devs and some committed individuals are making Cataclysm a better codebase to mod in, along with increasing content.

At least that’s how I see it. O.o.

Yeah, don’t forget that we accept content from everyone. Mostly we’re working on making the codebase cleaner and more extensible so we can start doing better work with it, we right now don’t have any concrete plans for the future. So any suggestions you wish to make are of course welcome.

Don’t forget that this project just sprang out of a mod I was working on, it really wasn’t ever going to be more than a bit of expanded crafting, except people just kept adding more and more awesome stuff.

It’s a good point though, the contributors individually have their own visions for where we’re headed, but these visions aren’t really documented anywhere. I don’t have a roadmap or powerpoint for you, and I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can share my personal mission statement for dda.

The zombie apocalypse happened, now what?

To unpack that a bit, I’ve been running “what would I do after the apocalypse” scenarios in my head since my first brush with post-civilization fiction (Robinson Crusoe, when I was 10 or so) and intensifying with exposure to the post-apocalyptic genre (starting with Day of the Triffids, when I was 13 or so), zombie movies in particular (all the classics, too many to name), and other post-apocalyptic games (fallout of course, but DnD scenarios requiring extreme self-sufficiency are also common).

I want to build dda up to be able to simulate (yes, I said it, simulate) as many of those scenarios as possible. If it’s something you’d likely need to deal with in an actual end-of-the-world scenario, I want it in the game. This includes things we have, like managing storage, acquiring food, infrastructure breakdown, transport, and self-defense, and many, many things we don’t, like stealth, migration, NPCs, physical/mental conditioning, long-term injuries, social issues, and community-building. The hard part from my point of view is balancing that with a UI implementation that allows that really deep simulation of the survival scenario, but in a way that doesn’t make you angry just interacting with it. Luckily we have some contributors that are way better than me at building these interfaces, like the cool 'V’iew items menu, and another item management interface that’s coming soon.

Cutting across the grain of FEATURES like the above is CONTENT, like locations, items, crafting recipes, and monsters. This brings us to probably our biggest medium-term goal at the moment, which is moving CONTENT out of the source code (where only other C++ hackers can get at it) out to config files, so that we can open it up to more of the community. You can already go into data/raws/monstergroups.json and adjust spawn rates for most of the monsters*, and data/raws/professions.json to make your own starting packages for characters**. A major feature of GlyphGryph’s item rewrite is that all the items will be available for modding. We’re in the middle of stage one of this, which is pushing the data out to data files, the second phase is adding features that allow for different game modes, classic zombie mode is sort of a prototype for this. In the end, you’ll be able to configure a whole lot of the game without knowing what C++ is***.

*The exceptions are things where the map generation code decides that a turret needs to be placed at a particular location, if need be we can make that configurable too.
**I don’t remember if this is in 0.4 or just in github. Regardless, the professions are still a bit in flux, with more configurability likely to be added to them soon.
***By the way, if the JSON is problematic, don’t let that put you off, we’re pushing things out to JSON mostly because it was the easiest format to add from a technical point of view, we’re planning on revisiting that at some point and settling on a format that focuses on ease of modding

I’m glad this topic was brought up, because I agree that it’s helpful to agree on a direction for the game. Even if that direction is “make it more awesome than it is now” - and especially if we can agree on what kind of awesome.

I don’t personally have a cohesive vision of what I’d like from the game long-term, in part because I’m fairly new to Cataclysm. However, Kevin’s vision sounds like something I can get behind. Something that I would like to see is expanded crafting/tinkering, and the addition of power and wiring and such. Hopefully in a way that’s thematically appropriate to a post-apocalyptic setting.

Professions (and the JSON file) made it into 0.4, from what I’ve heard. And yeah, they’re still rudimentary, and I have plans to flesh them out over time.

Relevant comment: I personally found it awkward trying to serialize to JSON using our current framework (I took a stab at getting player saving JSONed, but got fed up partway through). However, I don’t know if that’s a limit of picojson, if I wasn’t using the right techniques, or if it’s just that converting string concatenation into deeply-nested JSON is painful in C++.

I think CDDA is currently in so called “mechanics sandbox” stage of developement. You cant start finetuning the balance until you have mechanics that work and show how far things can be pushed. Expect the balancing or “where are we going gamewise” question to pop up by the versions 0.8+ onwards. As soon as mechanics are established something called “plot” can be added or refined.

Currently the game content is 98% emergent, it comes intuitively from sandbox setting itself. “Direction” is simply to explore the limits of current game under constraints given by game. There is main plot, but its extremely vague and can be ignored totally.

If you want to add to game developement this early and set distant goals then I simply suggest writing high quality fan fiction, the more elaborate and enjoyable it is the more likely it is going to guide where the “story” - thus the game ultimately - is going. Developers are often delving into technical details even if they have rough idea what this game is about - but still its technical details … thats why there is open headspace in writing novels about this virtual world - those novels can help to shape the possibilities.

It seems to be heading into Day-Z, Half life 2 and Fallout 3 New Vegas mixture. I hope there is some separation.

This is only the start of something bigger.
The first pillar of the house.
It could be a mansion if we give the workers more time to work on it. Let them fix things in the blueprints, fortify the new pillars, close holes on the ground…
When the house is done, we will start having “long term road maps”

My purpose in asking the question stemmed from curiosity, but it has brought to light something:

The wider the scope, the more generic and atomic the simulation rules need to be. This means we need to consider that all of our implementations need to create realistic output for realistic input in addition to enabling the entertaining fantastical output for fantastical input. (For instance, do we need a d20 combat system or actually calculate energy delivered to target and calculate target’s reaction based on a full physics material model).

People wanted to jump down my throat for asking where the project was headed, but without this question being asked we are more likely to program ourselves into corners. We will waste less time if we ask it and realize that we collectively have huge expectations and need to make sure we have the foundations to support the dream.

Some of the core coding team is now abstracting like crazy, trying to divorce content from procedure. This is good. Go team.

I see cata going way of dwarf fortress in terms of Sandbox>community modding/content>directional guidance.

Dwarf fortress can easily be turned into something quite similar to CDDA already, and seeing CDDA becoming a modular rogue-like sandbox would be fantastic. I can already tweak small things to taste (item values, movement costs etc etc) making the game much more fun for just myself and not having to sacrifice to make someone else happy.

once the code base gets sorted we’ll see huge leaps in functions, interface additions and general expansion of content. (This isn’t just the work of one person like DF is after all)

By this time next year CDDA will be truly amazing