6 December 2015

Bleak Devlog 06-12-15

Final update before everything that's been worked on thus far is handed in for Christmas.

So here's the last minute mechanical additions to BLEAK.

Power, as a resource has been added. It works a little bit different to the other resources as it's not produced regularly, instead being produced in one lump sum when the building is created. That total is then subtracted from by any power-producing buildings (currently only the Brickworks, but that's going to change after Christmas) and the remainder is sold on to the BLEAKverse equivalent of the National Grid. Power currently has a value of 5 Currencies for every nebulously-defined unit, so right now it's not a particularly useful money making idea, given that the only implementation thus far of a power producing building is:
A solar array, it's small, produces one whole power, and probably isn't very good value. It's got an upkeep cost of 4, meaning that you're only getting 2 currencies back from it.

What? It's a Solar Cell, in England. What did you expect it to do. The solar arrays inefficiency is also down in part to certain hallmarks of the dystopian genre, Solar just isn't grim enough. It's too clean and harmless. Coal, Gas and Nuclear is where it's at in the Cyberpunk Dystopia's BLEAK takes its inspiration from.

Here's an example of how the solar array looks in the two lighting states. I know the shadow is super low resolution, but you're never going to be playing at this zoom level, so it's okay.

And here's a gratuitous shot of a settlement, with a meagre turnover, and no power surplus.

5 December 2015

Bleak Devlog 5-12-15

So yeah, as mentioned in the previous devlog, today is about the creative process behind making assets. The example for this will be the Housing Department, the 'manager' building for the generic population type.

This is a building in my hometown, which although it's freely available online, I've felt the need to pixelate out any identifying marks on the photo, for as much good it'll do. Why this building though? Well, it's familiar to me, and looking at it, you've got to agree that it's drab office exterior is perfectly generic for the purpose we need it for.

Google Maps shows us that the building's an L shape, so let's work with that.
It's basic, and servicable, but one of the narrative themes for BLEAK is that everything that's happened, when it happened in the BLEAKverse, it was bigger, badder and just generally more. So let's bring that into the visual design. What's better than an L? Well I'd say a U shaped building, since it'd have another wing, and the benefit of the courtyard being enclosed, with the two wings looming over it.

So let's see how that'd work.

Well, that looks better, doesn't it! This design also has the added benefit of making more efficient use of the 30x40m footprint I've given it. Whilst stranger, tetris piece shaped buildings is something that I'd love to have done, to implement it now is much more work than I'd feel comfortable undertaking.

And here's what the 'final' design looks like:

Not much changed from the sketch, other than the addition of a courtyard area, which eventually got filled by a pointless statue, because oh lord do I love the concept of these kind of Plop Art decorations

2 December 2015

Sneak Peek #2 - 2-12-15

I lied about the next update being a look into my creative process, here's an impromptu Video!


Bleak Devlog 2/12/15

Fair amount of work has been done since the last update. In no particular order, here's the big changes

Primary control of the camera has been switched from WASD keys to the Keyboard Arrow Keys. Whilst WASD is more common for control schemes, this switch frees up the QWERTY key line for hotkeys.

Hotkeys you say? Why does Bleak need hotkeys all of a sudden?

Because gone is the old buildings area of the UI, instead now replaced by this smaller, lighter, brighter, more adjective-y Contextual area. Contextual in the sense that it changes depending on what building in the game scene the player last clicked, to take a leaf out of Starcraft's book. The different panels can also be accessed from the QWERTY keys, providing the contextual building has been built at least once.

To help sell the mood in the upcoming private alpha, I've added a tentative musical track, which can be listened to here. Music fans might be able to recognise this as a portion of Holst's Jupiter Movement. For the purposes of BLEAK however, it's been slowed down 50% to turn this recognisable, patriotic tune into something quite redolent and sinister. It captures the mood of the game quite well, and suits as a useful track to convey what I'm looking for in a main track.

The map selection screen got an update, it's now got another side that details what the player's going to expect on the other side of this screen. It's just got the one map, and I don't think there'll be any others for the hand in, so there's an element of fiction to this screen, but it's helping to convey what I want to get across.

And finally, I'm proud to announce that the generic buildings no longer include any temporary greyboxes, although that's not to say that what they do have are the finished assets.

Next devlog: A glimpse into the creative process behind Bleak.