Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead - Official Forums

Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead => The Drawing Board - Suggestions, Comments, and Future Plans => Topic started by: Kevin Granade on June 07, 2015, 11:44:49 PM

Title: FMS: Frequently Made Suggestions
Post by: Kevin Granade on June 07, 2015, 11:44:49 PM
This is a list of frequently made suggestions, and the current stance on how viable they are.
Broad categories are "This is already implemented", "Someone is working on it now", "This will go in as soon as someone implements it", "This doesn't fit the main game, but would be fine for a mod that ships with the game", "We might add support for it to the code, but we won't/can't distribute it with the game", "This isn't reasonable to implement", and "We're not adding support for this to the code even for a mod".

Player abilities
Psychic powers: mod only
Not happening, it simply doesn't fit the theme of the game.
However, we'd be happy to have support for it in the code so that a mod can have psychic powers.

Magic powers: mod only
Not happening, it simply doesn't fit the theme of the game.
However, we'd be happy to have support for it in the code so that a mod can have psychic powers.

Poop and related bodily functions: NO
No, just no, not even in a mod.

Bathing/accumulating scent: mostly no
Every way we look at it, this seems like it would mostly be a pain to deal with for the player and not fun if it simply accumulated over time.
One approach that might work would be specific monster attacks that make your scent stronger that you'd have to deal with somehow.

Craftable Automatic Weapons: mostly no
We limit crafting for the most part (exception, see cars) to things a single survivor with limited tools can create, and every reasonable plan for automatic action guns I've seen has required rather extensive tooling that's not available to the survivor (metal folding/rolling machines, presses, drill presses).
The absolute closest thing to an automatic weapon I've been able to come up with that would be reasonable to craft is an old-school Gatling gun, and a motor for same to up the rounds per minute.
At some point in the future we might build up tooling to the point where automatic weapons manufacture becomes feasible, at that point we can revisit this.
For further discussion on the subject, see

"Enhancing" or "modding" melee weapons: ok for a mod
People frequently suggest that we add a system where melee weapons can have mods attached to them like guns can.  There are two problems with this.  First I've never seen a sensical suggestion of what these mods would be outside of fantasy type things.  Second, the mod system for guns is TERRIBLE and I don't want to just duplicate it, someone would have to come up with something much better before it would get added.
The damage melee weapons cause is a complex combination of dynamic leverage as they are swung, weight distribution, and the interaction of the striking surface(s) with the target, and that doesn't even get into the complexities of maneuvering past a targets defenses without opening your own guard.
I'm strongly against "moddable melee weapons", because I don't believe you can come up with a simple system for determining the resulting parameters of said weapons that makes sense enough to be worthwhile, and a system complex enough to do so would be more trouble to maintain than simply enumerating the weapons you can make.

Recover liquids from the ground: No interest/wouldn't work well
This keeps being suggested, but it's just not reasonable to recover spilled liquids from the ground and then get any kind of use out of them, since in general they'd be so adulterated by whatever would get mixed in with them that they wouldn't be fit for any purpose.

Player making noise to attract or distract zombies: Would go in with an implementation.
Nothing wrong with this idea, but no one has gotten around to it.

Electrical power transmission: varies
This covers several sub-suggestions that do or do not work for various reasons.
Bring back a municipal power grid: not feasible to implement
This isn't feasible for several reasons.  First, the assumption is that the grid is wrecked.  After a disaster of this scale, it frequently takes dedicated teams of technicians working overtime days to weeks of work to restore the grid to working function, and that's with near-unlimited resources, no additional disasters happening, and specific restoration plans in place.  For a survivor it would be simply impossible, and even for teams of survivors it would take a prohibitive amount of time to do, and it would be much easier to simply cobble together a rough point-to-point power transmission system.
Second, this would be extremely difficult to support in the game engine because once you surpass a certain scale you need to keep every connected electrical device loaded and periodically processed in order to keep track of power usage.  The only way I could see this working is if you ran through a series of missions to reclaim a town, and as part of the missions some power generation plant was assembled, and the town was wired up for it.  At that point we could hand-wave the power usage tracking because the faction would be running the plant, not the player.
Short-range power transmission (scale of a single building): Partially implemented
Currently you can hook up multiple vehicles with jumper cables so they can transmit power, and this even works if some of the vehicles aren't in the immediate area.
The plan is to extend this by building "appliances" that you can hook into this grid, but you interact with them using the construction and menus brought up with 'e'xamine instead of going through the vehicle menus.  The main thing holding this kind of thing back is generators, which for game balance should make lots of noise and attract monsters, but monsters aren't very good at dealing with this yet (see hordes).

User interface
Nestable container model for inventory: Will go in as soon an there's a good implementation/someone is working on it.
This is a really old and good one, the problem being the most straightforward implementation of it where you manually manage all those containers is a terrible interface.  (see DF adventure mode)  For this to go in, it must default to the inventory system doing all the work for the player, and the player only specifies what goes where occasionally.

Separate limbs for monsters: not useful
The suggestion is usually along the lines of, "add limbs to monsters so they can be crippled".  The problem with this approach is you can add crippling attacks much more easily by just applying a crippling effect to the monster, there's no need to track per-limb HP for monsters to make it happen.  Aslo, a limb system for monsters would be much more complicated than the one for players, since monsters have a more variable number of limbs, so we couldn't even just use the code from the player-based system.

Targeted attacks on monster body parts: not useful
A similar suggestion is to allow the player to target specific monster body parts in order to achieve specific effects such as stunning with headshots or slowing by hitting the legs.  A much simpler system is to have the player declare the effect they want rather than something indirect like targeting a limb, then we can be more flexible about how the attack plays out based on the combination of player abilities, weapon used, and monster type.
For a better outline on what we DO want to do, see
Title: Re: FMS: Frequently Made Suggestions
Post by: Kevin Granade on June 20, 2015, 06:52:44 PM
Vehicle additions
Caterpillar tracks/tank treads: As soon as someone gets around to it.
The way treads would work is they'd be very tough and have a very large amount of traction, along with a somewhat incidental property of needing to take up several squares.  Also if any section of a track were destroyed, it would render the entire unit non-working, and probably keep your vehicle from moving at all.
Things that need to be implemented before treads proper are:
Traction system, where there's a tradeoff between amount of traction and amount of friction, so higher traction means you have more grip, especially on loose surfaces like mud or sand, but you have higher friction, so it reduces your top speed and fuel efficiency.
A way to handle installing and destroying multi-tile components in vehicles.

Walker legs: mod only, if someone can figure out how to make it work
This doesn't really fit in the game, vehicle sized robotics balancing and walking around is too far fantasy scifi for the game.
Also I can't even see how this would work in the game, so I can't put forth a plan for including it for mods.

I should be able to run my APC on solar panels
A modern solar/electric car that can even approach continuous locomotion is massively under weight compared to a standard car, and even then tends to only be tested in highway conditions where stops and starts are nonexistent. Even if we crank up the efficiency of cells to their theoretical maximum (by roughly 5x, which would be a reasonable thing to do with "quantum cells" from labs), we're possibly reaching enough power to operate a small car at a reasonable duty cycle, but its not remotely reasonable to run a heavy utility vehicle from solar, much less an armored vehicle.
Title: Re: FMS: Frequently Made Suggestions
Post by: Kevin Granade on July 05, 2015, 03:46:22 AM
Gun Behavior
Hit multiple targets with a shotgun: Kind of yes, but really no.
For some examples of 12-gague 00-shot patterns, take a look at
tl;dr at 45 yards, which is outside the maximum effective range of the round in the first place (I've seen anywhere from 25 yards to 35 yards claimed), the spread was between 27 and 33 inches.  Even at this extreme range, the spread is still less than one in-game square, so you're effectively never going to hit two targets standing side-by-side.  What might happen is you get some kind of "graze" one one target, and the shot that didn't hit the target will continue and possibly hit another target behind it.
Title: Re: FMS: Frequently Made Suggestions
Post by: Kevin Granade on August 04, 2015, 04:59:40 AM
Project organization things:
We should vote on this: Nope
The project isn't a democracy, no number of "me too"s or votes is going to change something we've decided on.

The method for users to influence development is via debate. This is intentional, not due to laziness.
Debate sidesteps all the nasty problems around deciding who gets to vote and enforcing that everyone gets the right amount of voting power etc. and validates that people actually know what they're asking for.

A good reason to make a change has more impact than any number of votes.  A lot of the issues in this thread are good examples of this

The project is run by me ("owns" the project, final say on features), a small group of core developers who review and merge changes, and a much larger group of contributors who make pull requests on GitHub.  There are also translators who are effectively independent and a handful of people other me with moderation rights on the forums.  Mod authors who host their own mods are also independent.

While we (the core contributors) ask for feedback and discuss issues on the forums pretty regularly, we aren't asking for a vote or community consensus, just feedback and discussion.

Places where votes and popular support are important are which parts of the game are in most need of bugfixes or new features, sometimes a dev (myself included) finds themselves between projects and is just looking for something to improve, that's when making it clear what needs improvement the most can make things happen.

Steam Greenlight, other app stores: not opposed, but we aren't doing it or endorsing it either.
Many of the core developers, myself included, are actively hostile to Steam, mostly due to their encouragement of DRM.
Even with that aside, it's just a ton of work for not that much benefit from the project's point of view.  If someone wants to integrate with some packaging system, even whatever Steam uses, they can feel free to PR it, but I'm not aware of any devs being interested in anything except packaging the game for linux repositories.

'Fixing' savescumming (in either direction): no.
People periodically point out places where savescumming breaks some part of the game, and likewise people point out "savescumming features" they want in the game.  The answer to both is no.
If you encounter a bug while savescumming, you need to reproduce it without the savescumming.
Savescumming is not a normal part of the game, and I have no intention of ever adding features that facilitate it, like auto-backup of saves, tracking multiple saves, or the like.
Title: Re: FMS: Frequently Made Suggestions
Post by: Kevin Granade on September 03, 2015, 05:15:00 AM
Dual-wielding weapons: Not practical
"dual wielding" as in holding a pistol in each hand and firing both simultaneously is NOT going to be effective (I'm not saying it won't go in, just that if it does it will be ludicrously ineffective because of pelalties).  The rationale for why this is so have been well-outlined already in the thread ( and I'm not going to get into it.  This will probably be represented in a very high rate of accumulation of recoil if you try to do this, most likely paired with an accuracy penalty.

Likewise, wielding and attacking with two melee weapons isn't going to have any benefit over wielding a single melee weapon in both hands, either you're going to be able to attack faster and deal more damage with the same weapon, or you'd be able to use a larger, more damaging weapon at the same speed and much more damage per strike.  Attacking with one weapon and defending with another has a completely different set of tradeoffs, and might be overall beneficial, especially if one of the items is very good at defending, like a shield.

"holding something in your off-hand" is something I want to support.
If you're holding something in your off hand and a gun (even a small pistol) in your primary hand, you'll have a penalty assessed due to lack of stability. Probably based on the weight/volume of the carried item, so e.g. a small flashlight or a small melee weapon might have a minimal penalty, but another pistol is relatively heavy and might cause you problems.

Along with adding support for holding items in the off-hand, we'll get stricter about tracking how many free hands you have to perform actions, and automatically perform the actions needed  E.g. if you want to light a stick of dynamite and throw it while you are wielding a gun, the actual actions performed will be:
'a'ctivate dynamite ->
put up gun, take out dynamite, take out lighter, light dynamite, put up lighter
(you end up holding dynamite (lit) in your primary hand)
't'hrow dynamite ->
throw dynamite, draw gun
You may notice this sort of thing will "waste" some time by performing unnecessary actions sometimes, for example maybe you want to light and throw several sticks of dynamite in a row, in that case you'll want to holster the gun first to avoid triggering the item swapping stuff.

On the other hand, this buffs pisols relative to rifles or shotguns, as it's much faster to holster/draw a pistol (especially if you have a holster)

Even for simple stuff, like opening a door, if you have both hands occupied, it will put up an item, open the door, take out the item again.

I want to stress that when this happens (which will be a while, it's pretty invasive and complicated), we will be VERY careful to not cause disruptions to doing things simply, with the extra actions just costing in-game time.  If you're in a hurry though and need to make every second count, it will be better to think ahead about a sequence of actions and try to minimise this sort of overhead.
Title: Re: FMS: Frequently Made Suggestions
Post by: Kevin Granade on November 16, 2015, 05:07:03 PM
Bring back acid melting items: Grossly unrealistic
There's no level of acid strength where it makes sense for it to dissolve large volumes of items on the ground, but isn't invariably fatal on contact with a survivor.  If someone has some actual facts about how acids work when in contact with large volumes of various substances, including flesh, that contradict my understanding of this, we can talk, but refering to the previous state of the game or other games isn't going to get you anywhere.
The previous mechanic where it was sort of dangerous to the survivor but massively damaging to items was a game-ism, and it's most likely not coming back.  The popularity point of view seems to be a wash as well, because there seem to be at least as many people strongly in support of removing item-melting as there are who want it back.

Bring back acid rain: Partially
The old implementation of acid rain had a massive world consistency flaw, given the lethality of acid rain when exposed to it, and its frequency, nearly every animal on the planet should be dead after about a month.  This includes most of the invasive creatures, because it would kill them too.  There are two options for mitigating this issue.  One is to make it incapacitating instead of lethal, in which case animals would be harmed by it, but not killed, so in general populations would be unaffected.  The other is to make it a highly localized or rare phenomenon, and kill any creatures (and probably plants) in the area when it occurs, whether the player is there or not.  Again, if it's rare populations would recover over time and be mostly unaffected.  With the second event though, you'd get cool trails of death scattered around in your game world.
Title: Re: FMS: Frequently Made Suggestions
Post by: Kevin Granade on January 24, 2016, 08:21:22 PM
"Seeing as we have nanobots and power armors...", "We have teleportation, so it's not unreasonable to have...": Irrelevant
This isn't a suggestion, but an argument that comes up in support of suggestions or alterations to the game.  It comes up constantly so I'm putting a note about it here.
If you make this argument, you will not only not make the intended point, since the argument is nonsensical, but you will also damage your credibility with me personally, and I suspect with the other contributors as well.  I am absolutely sick of reading this, and I am even more sick of responding to it, so I'll just refer to this post from now on.

The supposed lack of "consistency" between super-science elements of the game and mundane elements of the game is intended.  The setting of the world is current-day New England (America if you don't recognize the region name), with isolated[/b] science fiction elements, such as super-science items that generally appear in "secret research labs"* or deployed with military units.  The existence of super-science items does not imply that every aspect of daily life is imbued with elements of fantastical science.

* Yes we do a fairly bad job of labs feeling like "secret research facilities", but bear with us and/or make suggestions about making them feel more like that, that is the intent.