Nothing makes me happier than starting this blog post with a new title. Holy $#@% you guys. It took a while to get that backend overhaul done but it’s done damnit and now it’s time to go hard on the fun stuff; balance, polish, and content. While those three words seem relatively straight forward, maybe they aren’t, especially when it comes to this beautiful disaster we call Super Truck Life. Effectively, balance means pushing numbers around. For example, the upgrades purchased at the garage scale way too fast and become almost completely unaffordable pre-ascension. That’s a balance issue. We’ve already reeled in the multiplier and it we’re testing it; it feels way better. Polish is basically taking something we did a century ago and revisiting the layout, icons, fonts, button placement, sounds, etc where applicable. An example of polish would be adding sounds when claiming badge rewards because right now there aren’t any at all and it provides the player with no feedback. Content could cover a lot of things, but really this means adding ascensions, radio stations, events, and mini games. We’re doing all of these things, and prioritizing accordingly. Speaking of which, here’s what’s in this week’s patch:
- Fixed a wallet bug where purchasing something was taking more cash than was required — thanks Spooble, you’re awesome
- Fixed the “why am I naked” bug where you would load in occasionally without pa(i)nts on
- Fixed a performance issue that was causing the crate to stutter/freeze on opening
- Loot table overhaul (details below)
- Crafting overhaul (details below)
- Garage upgrade balance
Before we dive in, feel free to jump ahead if you don’t want to hear all about loot and crafting. There’s going to be quite a bit to cover and even though we have offline progress now it’d be great if you weren’t earning it while in a coma from reading through things you don’t care about.
We’ve definitely mentioned the loot tables more than once, but those words are drowning somewhere in a sea of blog posts so here’s the recap: loot feels ok. It should feel good. A lot of crates were being opened and not a lot of drops were happening. On top of that, the ascension increasing the loot quality with the tiers intact was a little confusing and the % range on tiers was limited. Basically we built a beautiful little loot system that almost immediately started to hulk out of its shirt and starting breaking furniture. We needed to simplify, and sometimes simplifying means starting over. So we did. Here’s how loot currently works:
- There are 11 loot tiers: cracked, common, uncommon, rare, epic, legendary, heirloom, insane, overpowered, dan’s, endless
- Each part has roughly an 7-8% stat range: cracked – 1% -8%, common – 9% – 16%, uncommon 17% – 25%, and so on
- Ascensions determine loot quality: it is possible an ascension level 0 (haven’t ascended) rare engine is weaker than an ascension 1 (have ascended) uncommon engine regardless of the tier
- Loot tables are determined by a singular table with percentages. Cracked might be around 60% and Epic might be closer to 10%. This never changes
- All loot tiers are available from the beginning of the game until the end with the exception of Endless gear which is, unsurprisingly, only available on the Endless Road
This felt messy; it wasn’t “bad,” but it also wasn’t “awesome” which is kind of our baseline goal for all of our systems, especially the one with the biggest rewards. We could have simply shifted some numbers around to make better gear drop more frequently, but that didn’t feel awesome either. Here’s what we did:
- There are still 11 loot tiers. However upon further evaluation we decided that the word “uncommon” was stupid and boring so it is now officially “mighty.”
- Each part has roughly a 9-10% stat range. This may seem insignificant, but it’s much easier to determine if you got a “good” part or a “crappy” part at first glance: cracked – 1% – 10%, common – 11% – 20%, mighty – 21% – 30%.
- Ascensions no longer determine loot quality. An epic engine will always be better than a rare engine. This simplifies the system and the player experience a lot. Going from a rare at 31% to an epic at 50% is a much more exciting jump.
- Loot tables now change based on ascension, because tiers are subtracted and added, shifting probability; see #5
- Legendary is the highest loot tier until you ascend the first time. Once you ascend, the heirloom tier is unlocked, and the cracked tier is gone forever. Eventually, the common tier drops off as well, while higher tiers keep unlocking
Basically loot is simplified, more rewarding, easier to identify and compare, and we’ve shifted the probabilities around a lot so better drops with bigger ranges drop more often. Over multiple ascensions certain tiers will drop off to remove clutter/garbage, while every ascension introduces a new loot tier and target for our more min-max players. This is a vast improvement over the previous system, and feels substantially better. It’s in testing on our end; right now we’re just trying to determine if the tables are fair which is a little tough with a small focus group. Soon enough, we’ll be relying on player feedback to make sure we get that balance right.
Crafting is an entirely different issue but requires a much smaller explanation; it’s almost unapproachable until you’re absolutely rich. That’s a problem. The recipes required a lot of pieces and scrap. A lot. They also didn’t really provide the bonuses to justify the cost until much later in the game as I already mentioned. To double down, the recipes didn’t necessarily make sense, or follow a simple pattern. In other words, it didn’t feel intuitive because it didn’t meet expectations. If I’m building a slightly better version of an engine which required 1 engine piece, I would expect the new engine to require 2 engine pieces. That’s not really how things worked and it gets confusing quickly. We needed to fix that too.
Over the weekend, we went through the entire crafting sheet and shaved a ton of requirements off, made sure every subsequent recipe followed a specific pattern, and reduced the absolute $#@% out of the scrap costs. Scrap is much more supplemental now, and much less substantial. Anyways, we’re testing this too.
The crafting system will likely go live in the near future, but the loot system won’t. We need more ascensions/content for the loot overhaul to make sense, but we have plans for that too, like the ascension skill tree that we’ve already built wireframes for that I’m going to casually mention then expand on next week right before I end this post incredibly abruptly.
Until Next Time,