26 November 2015

Bleak Devlog 26/11/2015

Today, not a lot got implemented. But that's not to say I didn't do anything. Today I'd like to talk a little about what has been implemented since the last devlog, and about the smaller inspirations for BLEAK.

The above screenshot is from Mohawk Games' product, Offworld Trading Company. This game was the main seed for the aesthetics from a gameplay perspective, with the works of L.S. Lowry providing inspiration for details and overall feel.

For the parts of the game where information needs to be given to the player, one of my intentions is to use the grinding, impersonal language seen in corporate and legal missives, such as this example taken from Google:
There's something about the language that's perfectly suited to the genre and to not capitalise on that would be a mistake. 

There has however been a minor graphical addition, in preperation for a feature that will be implemented sometime soon. Power Generation and use is a hallmark of the genre, and a fairly large aspect of modern infrastructure. Tying into the precedent of there being vehicles, but no requirement for roads, power as a requirement will be present in BLEAK, but power lines will not exist as requirement to utilise that power.

The issue is that they're still a staple of the english countryside, as the above image will attest. That image is of the winning concept in the National Grid's [year] design competition to design the replacement for the tradtional lattice pylon. Whilst an argument could be made for the pylons in BLEAK to stick to the traditional design, for the retro-futurism kick, I think a blend of the two designs will be the most interesting overall.

To that end, here's the pylons in game in all of their set dressing glory:

The underslung cables are a little hard to see, so they'll need to be thickened in Maya, but they'll do for now I guess :D

24 November 2015

Bleak Devlog 24/11/2015 - Numbers and Graphs

Very sparse in terms of actual game content today. Sorry!

But that doesn't mean that it's not an important. Lots of number crunching to come up with tentative values for all the goods and items available to the player.

However, there is one addition in the form of this beautiful thing:

Who doesn't love the idea of ruining someone's pastoral idyll through the use of a superheavy crawler. This is how the game starts, mechanics wise. Pick a spot, and your trusty behemoth with level anything in its way until it reaches its position and dumps the start of your dystopian empire down on the ground.

The farms are going to be remodelled, to keep more in line with the twee british idyll of the starting point.

Other additions include:

Tenement buildings have five variants that are randomly chosen when they're built

The game now supports negative height buildings, such as this claypit

There's a trade system, where you sell your crafted goods in return for raw materials.

The final deadline for this alpha version is the 7th of December, so brace yourself for a flurry of activity as I cover all of the bases in regards to the criteria I have to meet.

3 November 2015

Devlog 03/11/2015

Oh boy do I have a bumper update for you all today. My apologies for not updating this sooner than now.

Recently added is a main menu screen. the buttons are mainly for proof of concept reasons, and the underlying systems may be too work intensive to warrant creating for the May degree show.

Going forward, this map selection screen will remain for aesthetic purposes, with my follow-up goal being semi-procedural maps using UK Ordinance Survey data. This is incredibly long term and will probably not be in the May release of Bleak.

A minor addition to the buildings now allows you to do this, which is pointless, but it's fun to push the tiny people around, and at its heart, that's what BLEAK's about. Making life for your citizens as hard as possible, for whatever reason you want. In addition, everything's now aligned on a 10m grid, and buildings turn red if they cannot be placed, for reasons such as insufficient space, funds, resources and population. Later iterations will have a UI element to detail what's missing.

Some small steps have been made in terms of aesthetics, emission maps have been added, along with the shift to HDR rendering with a bloom image effect, the tilt shift's been increased but that's up for debate and finally, two greyboxes have been replaced with tentative final versions, the starting tier farm, and a claypit. The claypit was finished today, and on thursday it'll probably be made more shallow, to look more like a hole and less of a hollowed mesa.

And under the hood, changes have been made to the interactions between buildings and their relevant managers. Instead of the old system where the manager produced resources on occasion in numbers based on how many relevant buildings are present in the scene, the new system has the individual buildings running themselves, updating the manager on their own time. This has the benefit of making income and resource changes more responsive.