Version 1.165 - Stats Overhaul, In-Game Editing, Tag highlighting, and more!

This is a pretty HUGE update, so let's break it down! The biggest changes first:

New Statistics / Body Overhaul

Since the beginning, NeuraCritters have been limited in physical diversity to some very basic stats: size, speed, strength, diet, and color. Colors were expanded to include secondary colors and patterns, and temperature preference was added, but still, there wasn't a lot of room to differentiate or specialize.

Well, things are a-changin'.

In addition to size, diet, ideal temperature, and reproduction commitment ("parenting"), Critters now have TWELVE separate individual statistics which determine their abilities. These are split across four general categories, each of which follows its own set of rules.

Many of these traits have a "Minimum Expression Value" -- if the stat is lower than this number, the Critter won't have the trait. The higher the stat is, the more powerful the effect.

  • JAW TRAITS define the Critter's mouthparts, in both function and appearance. Only the two highest stats are expressed.
    • BITE is the familiar toothy jaw that all previous Critters had, and works the same way as Strength used to - it determines direct damage to other Critters, cracking nuts, and how quickly food is swallowed. Minimum expression value: 10
    • GULP gives a Critter a wide, expanding jaw that sucks water (and anything else) inside. It may also form a suction seal on larger Critters and allow them to piggyback along. Minimum expression value: 20
    • DRAIN gives a Critter a piercing proboscis which can absorb energy slowly from what it pierces. This is pretty specialized, and works best in combination with other traits, so expect it to be rare! Minimum expression value: 20
  • FIN TRAITS determine the Critter's swimming abilities. These are not mutually exclusive, but as total investment in these stats goes over 100, the metabolic costs escalate considerably.  None of these has a minimum expression requirement.
    • SPEED is mostly unchanged.
    • AGILITY is a new stat that takes over control of rotation power from Speed.
    • EFFICIENCY (or "streamlining") not only reduces the energy cost of movement, but increases maximum speed as well.
  • SKIN TRAITS are all-new stats for defense. Previously Strength was used to calculate damage resistance to both attack and touching walls. Now, three new stats take over. These also affect the Critter's appearance. Only the highest 2 are expressed.
    • ARMOR is the new stat for defense against biting. Gives the Critter a scaly shell. Minimum expression value: 10
    • SLIME is the new stat for protection from walls. Gives the Critter a slippery slime texture. Also makes a Critter less likely to take damage from other Critters' spines (see next!) Minimum expression value: 10
    • SPINES give a Critter bony spines that cause damage to other Critters on contact. Minimum expression value: 20
  • GLAND TRAITS allow Critters to repurpose their Musk glands for new purposes. All random Critters still start out at 100 Musk and 0 in the other traits. Only the highest 2 are expressed.
    • MUSK - a new stat for an old ability. If the "Gland Ability" neuron (renamed from "Scent Release") is activated and the ability is not on cooldown, the Critter releases a burst of Muscone into the water that other Critters may detect by scent. Minimum expression value: 20
    • INK - the Musk glands release a cloud of ink which obscures vision. Minimum expression value: 20
    • SHOCK - the glands generate a pulse that can stun other Critters close by. Minimum expression value: 20

With so much added complexity to our Critters, expect ongoing balancing on these traits going forward.

In-Game Critter Editing

Speaking of stats! You can now edit all of a Critter's stats in-game. With a Critter selected, just click the "Unlock" button to the left of the information panel and handles will appear on the editable stat sliders. Go nuts. Make a tiny vampire parasite or an enormous whale.

New Dropdown Interface for Charts

The top of the window was getting pretty crowded, and there was DEFINITELY not going to be room for a whole new set of buttons for charting ALL those new stats. So now there's a simple dropdown menu that provides the same functionality. Hover over any item in the list and the chart will update to show that information. Click an item in the list to "lock" that view even after you close the list. Hit the little graph button to the right of the list to toggle that lock on and off. 

Highlight Critters by Tag

Another neat thing about a dropdown for charting/highlighting info -- now we can add new items to chart dynamically! Any tags you've applied to lineages through the Taxonomy view will appear in the list, allowing you to highlight the living Critters with that tag and see some basic information about the lineage.

New Synapse Type: Multiplier

A fourth type of Synapse is now available to evolve or for you to create in NeuroSurgery mode: Multiplier.

As it sounds, this Synapse type will amplify or dampen the Neuron it's connected to, multiplying the target neuron's state by a value equal to the Synapse's strength times the state of the origin neuron. (If more than one Multiplier connects to the same target, their multipliers are added together before being applied to the target.)

Other Tweaks and Bug Fixes
  • Added "Reset" Button alongside "Clear" in the main menu - allows you to re-start the timer, and purge all Critters without losing your simulation settings OR level elements. (Clear Level eliminates all objects, not just Critters.)
  • Improved handling of taxonomy trees when species are Merged into level
  • New diffuse highlights for Critters replaces the hard circle backdrop
  • New species naming options and methodology to reflect the additional stats
  • Fixed maturation speed bonus from ideal temperature - eggs and juveniles in water close to their ideal temp should now correctly mature faster
  • Protein bonus from eating corpses now respects diet stat (100% pure herbivores digest zero protein from meat)
  • Fixed netgraph outline image sticking when selected Critter is destroyed
  • No longer need to press Enter in Synapse Row/Column editing to save values
  • Wall damage no longer scales with Critter size

Thanks for reading! If you create or evolve any unique Critters, share them with the Discord!

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Stunning update. 

What's the version numbering scheme? This feels more than a slight update to 1.162 which is what calling it 1.665 implies :)

Haha, the numbering scheme is kind of whatever. As the numbers get higher they are tending to increment more slowly (I never want to run into being at 1.99999999..

The only thing that really matters is that the numbers be distinguishable to the Version Migrations system.

Speaking of which: Another change in this version is a Migration that will automatically assign Agility, Armor and Slime to your existing critters from previous versions, based on their Speed and Strength stats.