Thursday, March 6, 2014

New version of Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead

My new world - mostly forest, so far. (Is it just me, or did they nerf the viewing distance at the start of the game?)

Check out my earlier posts on how to install and play Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead. I just wanted to announce that a new stable version of the game has been released (0.A Kaufman), which is available for free download here.

The complete changelog is here. I'll just mention a few changes below, though note that I've barely begun to explore it, myself. I did start a new game to try it out, but old games begun in version 0.9 Ma can apparently be transferred to this version. (Some terrain features just won't show up until you go to a new part of the map.)


Module manager. - You have the option to select mods whenever you start a new game. Four mods are included in the download - including one which adds dinosaurs to the game (no, I didn't try that, so let me know if you do) - and you can easily add others to the mod folder.

Fullscreen mode. - I like to play most games fullscreen, but not this one. I tried it, and it worked fine, but it struggled when I alt-tabbed out of the game and then got back in it again. Given that I need to check my notes during play occasionally, I prefer to play in a window.

Note that the width and height settings use different values in this version of the game. In the previous version, I set the width to 90 and the height to 30. This time, for the same size window, I had to set them to 240 and 62, respectively. (In both cases, I was using the Waldo 32x32 tileset. Waldo has abandoned that project, so let's hope someone else picks it up and continues with it.)

Safemode when driving. - This allows you to turn off safemode when you're driving a vehicle, but still have it working when you get out. (Safemode keeps you from overlooking a hostile creature.)

Vehicle facing indicator. - When driving, you can have an indicator on the screen to show which way your vehicle is facing. Toggle this feature on or off in the Options.

Sidebar style. - This isn't anything new, but I missed it in my previous game. By setting this to "narrow," you can see a larger area around your character. Things are crammed into the sidebar this way, and not as easy to see, but it's still worth it, to my mind.

Initial points. - If you prefer, you can increase the number of points you have available in character creation (letting you create a character with more skills, more traits, and/or higher stats). In the previous version, the maximum number of points was 25. Now, it's 1,000! Heh, heh.

Character Creation:

I'm not going to say too much about this, although there are new professions, new traits, and better handling of gender at character creation.

In the previous version, I played an unemployed man. That option is no longer available, apparently being replaced by Survivor, who starts with a pocket knife, a matchbook, and a plastic bottle of clean water. Nice, huh? (Note that the pocket knife and matchbook don't spawn with every character now.)

That's the one I went with (for zero points), but I was tempted by Backpacker, who starts with a leather backpack and a book which will teach one level in Survival, and by Ballroom Dancer, who starts with level two in Dodging - both also for zero points. I don't think those were new options, but there are many others, too, so it wasn't easy to decide.

There are new traits, and I took one of them: Weak Scent - for only one point. Zombies - and most other enemies - can find you by sight, sound, and/or scent. Since I like to play a cautious, timid character who avoids danger, I took advantages in all three: Night Vision, which lets me see better than the zombies at night, Light Step, which means I make less noise when walking, and now Weak Scent - each at the cost of only one point.

But note that Night Vision seems to have been nerfed considerably in the game (back the way it used to be, I think). In the previous version, I was really surprised at my sight range at night. It wasn't huge, but it was much larger than I expected. In this one, I can see only two squares away. That's one more than I could see without it, but still not very far.

Edit: I guess I was wrong about that Night Vision trait. What was happening - and this is pretty neat - is that weather conditions affect your viewing distance (and for all I know maybe other things, like the phases of the moon, too). Initially, I was outside at night in a thunderstorm, which is why I could see only a couple of squares away. But most nights are much brighter than that (which makes perfect sense, huh?). This is just an example of the complexity of this game, and the thought which has gone into it.

Other Additions/Changes:

Many mutations, more refined mutation progression. - I've always avoided mutations. As a role-player, that just seemed natural, I guess. But now, there's also Mutation friendly clothing.

View item on mouse hover. - If you enter a room with items scattered around, you can just move the mouse cursor over each to see what it is. That's nice.

Another change is that you can no longer see that there are items inside a container (a dresser, a refrigerator, etc.) unless you are standing right next to it. It's not just that you can't see what the items are, but that you can't see if it holds anything at all. You have to go over to it and look inside. I like that.

Fishing. - I haven't found a river or lake, in this game or the last, but if I do, I can make a fishing pole now. I wonder what I could catch? :)

Working Refrigerators.

Idling for vehicles, can effectively run as generators. - I'm guessing this is how you keep your refrigerator working, huh?

Allow filtering constructions by the ones you can do right now (can toggle). Inventory and crafting menus support listing items by category. - I combined these two. In general, there's better item handling.

Item spoilage rate varies based on temperature.

Shove items out of the way when closing a door. - Oh, now this is nice! If you've ever had a pile of corpses keeping you from closing a door...

Radioactive items. - Note that radioactivity causes mutations (although you can turn this off in the options, if you wish). Luckily, there are also items which can detect radioactivity.

Sleep increases rate of fatigue recovery and healing over time.

Add skintight flag for underwear-type clothing to negate layering penalties. - Use the + key to layer clothing ('s' toggles the selection of an item to move). If you put an undershirt, for example, next to your skin, it won't add a layering penalty.

First Aid and bandages take time to apply now.

Reduce rate of damage for "real armor" as opposed to "clothes".

Buffed most zombie HP (hitpoints). - These last two changes will definitely make the game harder, but I'm not sure how much.

More interesting gun misfire/jam mechanics, guns can take damage now.

Lots more terrain and furniture is now bashable.

Several new houses and other buildings. - Lots more content altogether, apparently.

Lots of recipes moved from auto-learn on skill thresholds to being learned from books.

Cruise control is now smooth, even the sportscar is drivable.

Sinkholes don't turn into pits after you step in them. - I've never stepped in a sinkhole, myself. Guys? :)

Believe it or not, this isn't the whole changelog. This was a big update, apparently. I've barely started to check it out, and I haven't tried to transfer my save game folder from the old version. But that is supposed to be possible.

I'm just not sure if I want to continue with my old game, where I've gotten pretty powerful, or play as a terrified, unskilled, poorly-equipped beginner again. The latter actually sounds more appealing.

The little I've seen of my new world, so far, is almost all forest (with a cabin in the middle of it, and a little bit of a town showing to the south). I've been there less than 24-hours, but I've already run smack dab into moose - two different moose, one after the other - which ignored me until I got right next to them (it was night, so I couldn't see them at a distance), at which point they proceeded to kick the crap out of me.

But I'm still alive, and there's a sporting goods store I might be able to sneak inside. If it ever stops with the acid rain. And if I don't run into a bear on the way. :)


Chimeradave said...

I was just getting used to the old version. I'm not sure if I want to update yet.

WCG said...

There's no need to update, John, although this version apparently fixes many bugs.

Also, note that you won't have to learn the game all over again. It's the same game, with the same controls. This just gives you more options when starting a new game, more content, some balance adjustments, and, as I say, bug fixes.

Oh, and the option to have dinosaurs in your zombie apocalypse (if the standard game is too easy for you, I guess). I'll have to check that out sometime, just to see what it's like. I can't wait to battle a Tyrannosaurus Rex with my makeshift crowbar. :)

Chimeradave said...

i'll fight them with karate. :)

WCG said...

In my new game, playing with this version, my character almost died by getting caught in acid rain. (I had to fight off an armored zombie German shepherd - an Alsatian, to those of you in Great Britain - with my makeshift crowbar, before I could run into a nearby house for shelter.)

But afterwards, when I looked outside, I found that the acid rain had killed everything else nearby. I'm pretty sure that never happened in the previous version of the game.

Likewise, when I'm in the evac shelter, I can go outside after a period of acid rain and find dead moose and other animals all around (far more food than I can use, especially since I apparently need a recipe in order to make jerky - or even canned meat - now).

This only affects my immediate surroundings, and animals just respawn again. Well, zombies will recover from being dead, if I don't butcher or smash them (and if they sense me, and come inside, they'll be protected from the acid rain, of course). But I thought this was interesting. An it is an easy way to 'hunt.' :)