We Come Bearing Gifs
2017 has been a long year, tiresome for many.
So how about we end it with a bang and freeze your browser with a huge gif-laden post highlighting the coolest aspects of Pathologic 2 that you haven’t seen before?
It’s not a full report, mind you. But we haven’t been sitting on our hands, and there is progress to share.
So now we come bearing gifs.
Pathologic 2 is a very sensory game. It’s depicts a disease that, among other things, is spread through bodily contact, so we want the player to always be conscious of what their avatar is touching. At the same time, showing a clunky animation each time you eat a slice of bread would be annoying.
The compromise was to make the inventory UI slick and minimalistic, while highlighting the high-resolution image of everything you’re looking at. It doesn’t emulate the feeling of touching objects with your hands perfectly, but it does make the process of using items less mindless. Previously the hi-res image was only available on the item inspection screen.
To be done: More QoL improvements, like tooltips better explaining the ways you can interact with items. And an improved item inspection screen.
The same thought went into the looting process. We want the player to be mindful of the objects they’re interacting with, while not annoying them.
So we’ve made looting faster (you can quickly grab items with a right click), but added a sort of mini-game to it. Now each container is separated into several ‘drawers’, and each drawer can contain its own secrets, like being locked or infected. So rummaging through them is a risk-reward process.
To be done: Playtesting the whole thing, and more.
While there is no global reputation in Pathologic 2, a local one makes way more sense. If you’ve done something questionable, like stealing or killing someone, the town won’t throw its every guard in your general direction—but the small community affected by your actions will remember. This adds a layer of complexity and an additional factor to keep in mind while choosing your path across a number of districts.
The New, Cool-Looking Map of Pathologic 2 reminds you of that, as it does of the major NPCs. It also looks cool.
To be done: In Pathologic 2, the map will actually only show you the names of the places you’ve already explored. But this is yet to be implemented, as is the Mindmap integration.
The first iteration of melee fights is complete. We’ve only tested them in separate environments for now and are yet to see how they play out on the actual town map.
To be done: We’ll start with fighting a bunch of people and go from there. And in the game.
Shooting, reloading, and the very important art of falling down dead are implemented already, but we’re not yet happy with how it feels. Pathologic 2 is not a shooter, of course, so there’s no need to refine perfect gunplay, but the player is supposed to feel something when they press the button.
To be done: More refinement, durability affecting gun usage. Also we need to record more ungodly screams of dying people.
Everything that has to do with your patients’ (victims’?) bodily functions is now moved to a separate multi-purpose screen. Need to learn a person’s condition? Heal them? Or cut their heart out? All done through the optimistically-named Autopsy interface! No more looting bodies as if they were cupboards.
To be done: The Autopsy screen is working as intended, but we’re planning to refine the ways the options it provides actually connect to the core loop of the game.
A barely-remembered mechanic from the original Pathologic returns in full glory—because it was actually a good mechanic that simply slipped past many people’s radars. By spending certain resources you get an option to see the signs of the plague better—so as to avoid… or investigate them.
To be done: Improve the visuals, balance the resource consumption.
While the general mood in the Town still is (and will purposefully remain) unnerving and desolate, its inhabitants are gradually becoming smarter, learning new behavior patterns and animations. They don’t even constantly have to stand now!
To be done: The task of adding more content is never done.
We’re gradually building the Town, adding new locations and states. It’s an arduous process, especially since a world this large strains Unity somewhat.
But the sense of place is also arguably one of the most crucial elements for a game like Pathologic 2, so we’re making sure every corner of the Town feels right. The Town has been fully built already, although ~1/3rd of it is still very rough.
To be done: We’re yet to create the ‘burnt out’ districts that would satisfy us (that is, the ones that used to be infected and are now deserted). And clearly the remaining 1/3rd of the Town needs to be fine-tuned.
All the major NPCs have been modelled and are gradually being brought to life. It is, once again, an arduous process, since each of them has a unique set of animations, that express their characters, and animation is on the long and expensive side when it comes to production. We are very happy with some characters and want to work more on others.
To be done: More animation, maybe some changes to a couple of characters.
...More Work Ahead
To be done: Do you really need to ask?
Though the process is not without challenges, Pathologic 2 is coming together nicely. A lot has been done and a lot remains to be added, refined, and fine-tuned. We have not been sitting on our hands and have no intention of doing so in the future.
Happy holidays—and see you next year.