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Captain’s diary #21: Trade contracts, the terrain grid, new machines

Welcome everyone, Captain Filip is back! As we are full steam ahead on the Beta, I will give you updates from different areas of our work - new grid, vehicle barriers, contracts, and some new machines! But also about the earth day festival. So Captains, let’s dive in ;)


Earth day

I would like to mention that tomorrow, Friday, April 22, is the international Earth day – an annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This topic is actually quite close to the Captain of Industry since, even in the game, you have to protect the environment or face the consequences (of course, the reality is much more complicated than our game).


In COI we also aim to illustrate what can happen with modern-day civilization if you stop feeding it with heaps of coal and barrels of oil. And the game will also provide you with more capabilities to aim toward a self-sufficient colony over time. But we also always try to bake in the real world trade-offs because there is no silver bullet. As there are so many burning topics such as the energetical absurdity of some of the biofuels, lack of effort to reprocess spent uranium fuel, several countries lacking clean water access now or in the near future - further raising energy demands, over-fertilization causing environmental damages, or just the fact that fertilizers largely depend on minerals mining. But let’s be optimistic. Humanity always finds its way!



To celebrate the Earth Day we have joined the Earth Appreciation Festival on Steam, so feel free to check it out for a selection of post-apocalyptic games!


Terrain grid

Many beta players have asked for a grid on terrain during construction so they can align buildings properly. Also, players have correctly noted that seeing small height differences on the terrain is really hard.


To address both of these issues, we have implemented a new terrain grid system. It shows a standard square grid on flat areas and contour lines on slopes. This way, you can easily align buildings on flat terrain and see height differences on slopes at the same time!


New terrain grid that shows contour lines on non-flat surfaces

Grid line thickness is adaptive based on the screen resolution and zoom level so that they are visible in all circumstances but not too thick and distractive. When zoomed out, the minor subdivisions disappear, revealing a larger grid 16x16 tiles, so that it is aligned with mining and dumping designations that are 4x4.


Smallest subdivisions fade-out when zoomed out.

From a technical point of view, the grid is computed in terrain on GPU shaders and has a very small performance overhead. The grid is automatically displayed when building something but can also be toggled in the overlays menu.


The golden peek with the new grid enabled. The thickest contour lines are every 16 tiles.

Vehicle barriers

Sometimes it might be useful to restrict vehicle access to some areas, mainly from an aesthetic point of view. We have added very simple vehicle barriers to help with this. You just need to promise us that you won’t be using it for making mazes, ok?


Vehicle barriers blocking access in between storages.

Contracts

Some folks who follow us more closely might know that we promised to deliver the contracts as a new feature for EA. Contracts are basically trade deals you close with other world villages. They differ from quick trade quite significantly because they are meant to serve as permanently established routes. You also need to assign at least one of your cargo depots to a contract in order to perform it. Your ship will load the products to pay with and deliver you the products you have bought. You pay small monthly unity for each established contract and unity based on traded volume. However, it is still cheaper unity-vise than running a world mine and the contracts can be very profitable. The more advanced products you sell, the better margin you make. The contracts are infinite and serve as your endless source of materials. They are specially designed for end-game transition where mines start to run out, or mining becomes less efficient.


New contracts panel is located the bottom of the village UI

We have also noticed that several players and content creators mentioned that it is hard to find all the trades and contracts spread across the world map. So we have built a dedicated window that serves as an overview for all the trades and contracts available. Let’s use that opportunity to show you all the contracts we have added to the game. You can notice that when you hover over the golden diamond icon it tells you the production estimate for some more complex products to get an idea of how lucrative a particular contract is.


Contracts exchange whatever quantity is delivered. The dropdown on top allows to select the size of a ship used for better estimates.

You can use some of the contracts to source extra resources for your island. But some contracts allow you to transform the industry on your island. For instance, your island can buy crude and sell diesel and profit on some of the side products thanks to advanced refining capabilities. Or you can turn your island into a farming giant and exchange food for energy commodities. You can have the most advanced production of microchips and profit on raw iron. Or combine multiple ones to get even more advanced combos. And we will certainly get new ideas during EA.


To help with the extra pressure on trading we are also adding bigger cargo depots. You will be able to build a separate depot with six cargo modules and subsequently upgrade it into eight modules to increase your fuel efficiency even more.


Limo ship in action with a very stressed Captain inside.

Villages

We have also redesigned world villages. You no longer “repair their infrastructure” but provide donations. Each donation increases your reputation level, and reputation levels unlock more trades, contracts and increase pops adoption pool.


Your reputation now matters!

Food chains

As we continuously progress on the food chain development, we release updates on that as well. Last time we covered chickens. This time let’s take a look at the other new additions.


Mill

New machine in the house is a food mill. It converts wheat into flour for future bread making. But also enables to produce cooking oil or corn mesh.


New mill, milling things to be milled

Fermentation tank

The main purpose of this tank is to produce ethanol and antibiotics for your health industry (oh, did I just leak something out?). Ethanol is either produced from corn mesh (made by the mill above) or sugar (made from sugar cane, more details on that in the future).


Fermentation tanks converting corn mash into ethanol and CO2

The cool outcome of the fermentation tank is that you can use ethanol directly in boilers. But the real killing feature is when you combine it with cooking oil to produce diesel. But this section is about food, so let’s not dive into fuel again unless we consider diesel to be a truck food?


Chemical plant with the simple to pronounce transesterification recipe that reacts fat with alcohol to create biofuel.

And that’s all I have in this update. Thanks for reading, and see you in the next one!