29 January 2016

Devlog 29/1/16

Experimenting regarding UI, this time the Trade panel. As it was, the trade panel wasn't really fit for purpose, being severely overdesigned and missing core features. This soon-to-be-implemented replacement will hopefully be easier to follow and use.

So the main feedback I've gathered is that as of right now is that the progression of the game is a little hard to follow. I've resolving this partly through making the progression more visually apparent through enabling the relevant placement buttons as the prerequisites are met.

And to make things a little easier to follow early on, this lil guy's going to be making an appearance over important buildings:

28 January 2016

Photoshop experiment #1

Experimenting in Photoshop, if I wasn't such a fan of how the UI's developed so far I'd totally try and carry this through into the actual game. grin emoticon

25 January 2016

Bleak - Milestone one, Playtest included

Hi all, had a peer review session and I've got a sizable amount of feedback. I'm going to widen the net somewhat more by uploading the build and asking for further feedback here.

What I've got so far is as follows:

The aesthetic of the finished assets look good.

As is, the game's kinda confusing and overwhelming
It needs a win condition and a tutorial.

Comments and Observations:
The logo on the main screen is very pixelated.
All of the main screen UI is over sized compared to what it needs to be
Maybe slow the spinning on the main screen

Image of the settlement in the map selection screen is quite pixelated (and also outdated)
Crawler segment takes a little too long and could do with being tweaked
Cursor can get lost when it's on a dark background
Maybe add a particle effect on the crawler when it demolishes an object
Swap ALT with ENTER in regards to camera rotation, given the switch from WASD to Arrow Keys.

you can download the game files here from Google Drive. Please bear in mind that this build is Windows only at the moment. A Mac build may be incoming.

22 January 2016

Devlog 22/1/16

Hopefully not the last Devlog of January, but here's what's gone down since the last one.

There's been a large push to implement the buildings that currently are not, and here's the point we're at now:
 As you can see, there are many greyboxes which will need to be removed in the coming weeks.
In the image as-is, there are:

  1. Tier One Generic Tenenment, the backbone of your city.
  2. Tier One Generic Farm, The breadbasket of your city.
  3. Tier Two Shale Gas Array, Gotta get the few precious hydrocarbons that are left!
  4. Tier Three CineStudio. Even in the grim, dystopian future that awaits us all, cheap consumable hollywood media needs to be made.
  5. Tier Three Uranium Mine (Placeholder Design) - There's green glowing rocks down there, get them and get energy from them.
  6. Tier One Claypit, The first step in making any building, is making the bricks and making bricks needs Clay.
  7. Panopic Nexus, your home-away-from-home. Hopefully it'll look bigger and better as time goes on, but sadly that's not implemented yet :c.
  8. Housing Authority, the bureaucratic centrepoint to being able to build all those useful things like farms, tenements and clay mines.
  9. University, the central hub for those brainy folks you predominantly hire from.
  10. HMP Bentham, the central hub for those down-on-their-luck folks the afore mentioned brainy folk 'hire' to do the heavy lifting.
  11. NIPS Regional Ofice, The place where you'll negotiate the licensing deals to operate your productions as a franchise of the NIPS conglomerate. They're in everything you know! From Cars to bullets, High end fashion to branded drinks, all is NIPS in the end.
  12. Tier One Coal mine. Not-so-glowing rocks, that you can dug up and burn to keep the lights on.
  13. Solar Panels (x2). Once hailed as the ecological solution to all our power needs, they're not a forlorn reminder that the hopeful years never really paid off. Like the loans given to the Eco-friendly companies that have since folded.
  14. Coal Power Station. It's big, it's ugly but it gets the job done. It also won't be quite the carbon copy of Battersea when I'm finished, I swear.
  15. Academic Student Housing. Where the soon-to-be-brainy folk live.
  16. NIPS Motorcar reseller. Take off the Brittech badge, replace it with a shiny NIPS badge and some faux-wood finish, and you've got yourself a luxury vehicle. 
  17. Tier Two Motorcar Showroom, lack of jobs, food and et cetera dragging your people down? Give em something to strive for, like the new Brittech 119, six wheel drive!
  18. Tier Two Prison Block, despite our best efforts to get it changed, it's still illegal to let prisoners sleep outside, so to utilise this wonderful workforce, you'll need to build some of these.
  19. NIPS Pharmaceutical dispensary, NIPS-Branded headache tablets have been guaranteed to be up to 100% as effective as the generic brand!
  20. Outlet Mall, Under the NIPS Banner you should feel no guilt over fleecing your patrons for everything they have here/
  21. Cineplex, where people go and pay a serious premium to watch a NIPS-Approved flick, whilst stuffing themselves with butter-and-salt drenched polystyrene.
  22. Luxury Outlet, since not even the 1% can avoid being scammed out of their not-as-hard-earned money. 
Still to Implement are:

  1. Tier Two Shale Gas Power Station
  2. Tier Three Nuclear Station
  3. Tier Two Generic Automotive Plant
  4. Tier Two Chemical Synthesis Plant
  5. Tier Two Pharmaceutical Dispensary
  6. Tier Three Rocket Fuel Cracker
  7. Tier Three VAB
  8. Tier Three Spaceport
  9. Tier Two Inmate Processing
  10. Tier Two Labour Yard
  11. Tier Two Assembly Line
  12. Tier Two Market
  13. Tier Three Import Office
  14. Tier Three Sweatshop
So as you can see, I've technically surpassed 50% in terms of actual content. Not quite seeing as many are still using greyboxes, and even more have no assigned variables for actual production or function, but that will come in time.

Here's the screenshot without the annotations, if you're interested.

If you've got any questions, comments etc. Leave them here OR at the end of the month I'll be partaking in the Reddit /r/gamedev Quarterly Showcase!

And before I go, here's one of the films that the cities in BLEAK will be capable of producing:

15 January 2016

Devlog - 15/1/16

So not much development wise has happened, nothing that's tangible and easy to show anyway.

Biggest change is that I took one script, and split it into six separate components because it was physically hurtful to look at given how out of control and overgrown it had become.

But that's not the only thing that's happened. Below is a mockup for what I'm envisioning the Bleak UI to look like, if it's too small, clicking it will take you to the full-resolution version.

there's also a small amount of colour correction going on, which I'll hopefully implement into the game itself soon :D

8 January 2016

Bleak Devlog - 08/01/2016

Still not used to writing 2016. Suppose it has only been a week after all.

After spending some time looking into the changes brought to the project after upgrading to Unity 5.3, which mainly entailed implementing the new SceneManager items, I started to implement more buildings. They're not fully plumbed into the various systems, but that won't take long. The placeholder assets I made are as follows:

These two represent the Coal power station on the left, which will be based on the iconic Battersea Power Station, and the Artistic Bureau on the right. The Artistic Bureau allows you to place space-filling decorative items around your city, like walls, checkpoints, roads etc.

This block of eight buildings belongs to a mid-game resource that until someone takes offence to, I'm naming NIPS. NIPS are an abstracted resource, they're stand-ins for those crazes that appear every few years. Each faction will have at least one building that allows them to create NIPS from one of their finished resources, which can be anything from bottles of SEPSISCOLA, Surplus military munitions, pharmaceutical drugs, and feature films.

This devlog sponsored by Sepsisco. The Sepsis Globule is ©2090 SEPSISCO, INC.

5 January 2016

Devlog - 05/01/2016

Had a lovely break from this project for Christmas, and I hope everyone reading had a good time too.

Getting back into the swing of development by updating the much-ignored character model.

This model replaced the incredibly old placeholder character I affectionately nicknamed Red Pegman all the way back in March 2015. It's done a wonderful job in project since then, but it's no longer fit for purpose. It's way more detailed than it needs to be, given the physical scale of the game. Back to the drawing board then!

So after some brain storming, and some quick sketches, these options were modelled. From left to right we have;

  1. A transparency-equipped texture of the Unicode 'MENS SYMBOL' seen adorning toilet stall doors everywhere. The initial inspiration for the character stylisation, but that's no reason to keep it. This massively drops the polycount, from 156 to 2.
  2. An optimised version of the placeholder model. The distance between the populace and the camera is large enough to negate the benefits of any fine detailing, so I can skimp on the polycount quite significantly, this version has a polycount of 90, which I could conceivably take even further lower, but that depends on how it looks during gameplay.
  3. The original model. This'll only stay if there's absolutely no possible replacement.
  4. A further stylized design based on a lowercase i, Prison Architect uses 'i' to denote people on the UI screen in one instance, so I thought I'd give it a go and see how it looks. This takes the polycount to 78, but much like #2, it could be taken even lower.
  5. The same idea as #3, except rounder, polycount of 138. which is probably too high for a meaningful replacement.
  6. Experimenting with alternate body shapes, this one hints at a figure, bulging out at roughly mid-torso height, and tapering to a point. The memory of Red Pegman lives on! This one's got a polycount of 44.
  7. Same as #5, except with the quite dissonant circular head replaced with an octahedron. With a polycount of only 16, if this looks suitable, it'll help reduce the amount the game has to render.
  8. Same idea as #5 & 6, but more cylindrical. It having a polycount of 60 means it's more than twice as small as the original.
Why am I so focused on the polycount of these models, when in the grand scheme of things, they're incredibly small already? That's because there's going to be quite a few of these characters meandering around the game space, and I don't them to drag the game down to a snails pace.

 Here's a shot of the designs taken from within the game. Even then, this is at twice the normal max zoom, so in normal play you'll struggle to see them like this.

The most you'll see of them are like this, despite the distance, they all seem to he holding up well, apart from #1, which is the very thin black line furthest to the right. This can be easily fixed by scripting a behavior so that the plane always faces the player, preventing it from being seen from a very oblique angle such as what is happening above.

If anyone has any comments, queries or suggestions, I'm happy to help!