My apologies for not having updates the blog in awhile but as you all know real life can sometimes get in the way and the free time I’ve had has been spent working on the map. The map is mostly feature complete and the last week or so has been focused on adding detail to the map and chasing down bugs, neither of which makes for an exciting blog, but at this point it's what I’ve got to work with so let's see how it goes.
Adding detail, grasses, weeds, signage, used equipment, and decorations such as mailboxes, trash cans, and cardboard boxes, is tedious work but brings a level of immersiveness to the map that I feel is well worth the time and effort involved. It's not a step all map makers take but it's one that I feel separates maps such as Coldborough Park, Rattlesnake Valley and Sandy Bay from the ones which are quickly forgotten. Fortunately as I just mentioned there are modders such as BulletBill83, Somethingonmyshoe, and Oxygendavid whose work I can look too as a standard to strive for even if I fear in the end I may fall short of their mark. If you’d like to see the detailing process in action than i recommend checking out the OldGuy Farmer YouTube channel. Jerry’s done few map making vids and its his attention to detail that keeps me coming back to see what he’s working on. His latest project, Mountain Valley Farm may be small but it's packed with detail.
As I mentioned in my last post the mod testing team over at PC-SG has been helping me test the map and I got my first feedback report last week. Most of it was stuff I expected, ground in need of smoothing, particle animations where they don’t belong and building textures going black when viewed from a certain angle. Thankfully this is all stuff that easily fixable. There was one bug on the list that took us all by surprise and which none of us have seen happen on another map.
When we run a mission on an NPC field we expect to see wheat, canola, and barley, and if the map is so enabled crops such as oats or millet as well. We do not expect to see that the NPC farmer decided to plant grass, poplar or oilseed radish, but this is exactly what we found happening on Nagce Valley. Big Matt, one of the PC-SG test team reported that he had run a harvest mission only to have the NPC farmer replant the field with grass. After running a harvest mission on another field the NPC farmer planted poplar. The true slap in the face about the NPC’s crop choice is that you will never be able to harvest either crop. In Big Matt's words
"...fields 2 and 7 grew grass and poplar after initial harvest but after trying to get a mission from both of those fields several times with nothing offered the fields reset to an empty field and the crop/grass vanished and offered a seeding mission. New occurrence for me."
I was able to duplicate Big Matt’s observations by using the fastForward mod to advance time far enough ahead that the NPC started replanting their fields, sure enough poplar, grass, and oilseed radish soon appeared along with the other crops the NPC should be planting
More on The Curious Case of the Unruly NPC Farmer to follow.