So, I did survive my bout with plague. But it was weeks of being so very fatigued that I really couldn't do much of anything. It really knocks you down. But I have been back in the swing of things for several weeks now, and just not telling you about it! So ha, surprise!
With the tutorial mode basically complete-ish, I've moved on to hacking away at the underlying systems, to try to get to the point where you can play the tutorial as it would actually be experienced. One thing needed for that is a series of different shops that can pop up during your mission, to give you a use for all that dang money you're gonna find. And who do you think runs these shops? Why it's a familiar face of course!
Wow, some deep backstory here where we learn Mumbly Jim's last name! Or we think we do, because Jim Smith runs the Gemsmith, and he looks oddly similar. Who's the real Jim? Who's to say? Maybe we're all a little Jim.
I've improved the gem system dramatically to where it now makes more sense. Gems with fewer stats are now more common than ones with more, because the way they work is that you can combine any two gems into one. Matching stats upgrade by one level (up to 10, which is a huge boost - 10x the value you see in the screenshot! Of course those values are just what I came up with off the cuff, so they'll change). Non-matching stats get included in the final result, but if you have more stats than you can fit (3 max), then you get a random assortment from the non-matching stats. What this means is that it is very hard to make a gem with more than 1 stat at a reasonably high level, because while it's easy enough to hold onto one stat (only combining with gems that also have that stat), the only way to guarantee you keep 2 stats is to only combine with gems that have both of those stats, and that is quite rare. Or you can gamble and hope you don't lose your precious upgraded stat!
I still have several other shops to create, but now that I have one done, the others will be a lot simpler.
The other system I just started today is the Data system. Now this is a little spoilery
, so control your wandering eyes if you want to be unspoiled, but I figure anybody actually reading this is a pretty hardcore Hamumian, so you are getting the inside dirt!
Data is sort of achievements. You might earn one for killing 100 Pickles (well, maybe 1000, there are a lot of pickles), or whatever. But instead of just earning an achievement, you get a kind of 'commentary' that pops up (a lot like the lore audio in Diablo 3/4, or I suppose audio logs in most AAA games). It's available as text and audio, and you have the option to tell me to shut up, or to close the text and keep playing while my soothing voice entertains you until it's done. Whatever your preference. Some of these 'achievements' are as simple as "start playing the tutorial", because they also serve as the intro to each game mode. Other basic tutorial elements will be included here, like the first time you get a secondary weapon, one will pop up explaining how weapon switching works.
And of course, that's not all you get. The more data you gain on the elements in the game/simulator, the more you know about how to hack it... and perhaps you will become able to hack changes to the game itself? Who knows? (I do, that's the last really major system that remains totally undeveloped)