Weeks 149-150: Back on BotJuice!

A rest week and then an ok week!

Since the Wasteland Standoff week, I’ve taken a week to rest, bugfix Wasteland Standoff and gather my mental energy to pour into finishing BotJuice, starting on the subsequent week. And that was last week and it’s mainly the one I’m going to talk about here!

botjuice3

I’m still not sure about this idle animation…

So yes I’m back on this game that I had already spent four weeks on. Bringing it now to five, and going onto a sixth and hopefully final week.

It’s been interesting! But difficult!

My issue with this game is that it feels very far from my comfort zone, which would be more action games and very simple mechanics and lots of visual polish. This game is a strategy game, and its mechanics have to be at least a little complex. It’s a genre I have little experience with and I just jumped into it without thinking about it enough.

And so came the painful realization that I had no idea what I was doing, pretty early in development. And I dragged that feeling, pretty much up to last week. Before I left the game three weeks ago, the intended mechanics (from the beginning of development) were all there, but they didn’t work as nicely as I hoped, which called for a (very scary) design review.

And so I did that! I listed the issues I was seeing with the game and I thought up solutions. And doing this turned out to be a lot less hard than I anticipated! (still super stressful though)

The main issues with the game were:

  • Hoarding resources was extremely easy and so the whole-resource side of the game didn’t really make sense at all.
  • The gameplay was too fast. It’s supposed to be a more fast-paced strategy game, but not to the point of a session being over in 30 seconds.

 

For the latter issue, I ended up separating unit-moving and unit-painting-the-floor. Painting the floor is now that much more of an active process, and it takes more time than simply moving around, which gives it strategical weight, yet is still necessary to win the game. (yay, solving issues AND making the game more interesting!)

For the resource issue, I knew I had to put a heavy restriction on production buildings, like you could only build them on certain tiles, or their price would be much higher and maybe get higher as you build them… or I could get rid of them and units would have to harvest resources instead.

In fact, what if I got rid of production buildings entirely? For both resource and unit production?

That’s what I went with! There are now resource tiles on the board, and they generate resources over time. Units can harvest those resources by walking on those tiles. Also, units can simply duplicate now – a costly and lengthy task that will create a new unit nearby upon completion.

(wall-building stays in the game for its obvious strategic value, so technically there is still one building in the game)

botjuice4

On top of all this, I’ve been working on the control-flow, enhancing the GUI, implementing task cancelling, and adding key combinations. If you hold the juice button and press the keys to move around, the unit will automatically move and color the tiles on which it steps. Same goes for building walls.

I’m actually pretty happy with how the mechanics stand right now! My main worry is that mechanics are too shallow for this kind of game to be fun. (that’s often the risk with the minimalist approach) We’ll see how it goes when the game actually gets played for the first few times!

Which is the goal for the coming week! The priority is to put the game into a playable form, with a simple lobby to wait for other players before the game actually starts, and then a game-over condition, and a game-over screen.

Then sound effects and some graphic work and the game will be complete! (some modifications will still be made thereafter, at least for balancing, but still!)

That’s the plan for this week! I’ll let you know how it goes in the next weekly recap!

 

As usual I want to thank all my Patreon supporters for their incredible support! Here are the names of the 3$+ supporters:

★Joseph White, ★Spaceling, rotatetranslate, Anne Le Clech, bbsamurai, HJS, slono, Austin East, Jefff, Meru, HERVAN, Andreas Bretteville, Bitzawolf, Paul Nguyen, Dan Lewis, Dan Rees-Jones, Reza Esmaili, Thomas Wright, Chris McCluskey, Joel Jorgensen, Marty Kovach, Cole Smith, Tim and Alexandra Swast, berkfrei, Jearl, Flo Devaux, Johnathan Roatch, Raphael Gaschignard, Eiyeron, Sam Loeschen, Andrew Reitano, amy, Jakub Wasilewski, Gruber, yunowadidis-musik, Max Cahill, hushcoil, Jacel the Thing, Pierre B., Sean S. LeBlanc, Andrew Reist, vaporstack

This week I’m finishing BotJuice! 🤞

Have a very nice week!

Take care!

TRASEVOL_DOG

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