Why Not Games




City: Construction For Communication

Written: 2016-03-03

I've just added a number of features intended to represent concepts that the game struggled with earlier. These feel underdone and amorphous at the moment, but that's only to be expected. The game is now much more capable of communication and some tinkering should help give it clarity.

Screenshot

Insights

These are things that you can use to modify towers and producers to do generate more currency, do more damage or generate entities. You pick up insights by completing work and from various game events and can then slot them into your towers. This was meant to be a replacement for the system where you chose a trait for your tower when it leveled up, which in turn was supposed to help with personalization of the towers.

In its current form, it is very confusing. It's hard to keep track of what is being made and what each of the pieces do. Additionally, the player is simply flooded with them and that makes the problem much more acute. My belief is that with some UI changes to make the system clearer and some parameter changes it will be easier for players to grok, but that the systems themselves need some streamlining as well.

Tower Attributes

These are like insights, but cannot be slotted in and out. They are responsible for making towers do things like make creeps and generate wishes. Although they cannot be taken out of a slot, the player can use producers to get rid of them. In essence, this represents doing something like talking about an irrational association that you've formed until you no longer believe it.

I like the interactive way of removing these that the game supports, but the insight feature that this feature builds on has flaws. This feature could also do with some tinkering.

Minor Traits

The minor traits have been fleshed out a bit. Now, they can do things like generate creeps when other tasks are active, modify will and generate wishes. This is a fairly straightforward feature and does good for the game. These minor traits are not quite fully developed yet, but this helps push it a little bit closer to complete. My hope is that I can merge them and tower sources as they both occupy a lot of the same space right now.

Expanding People

People now can generate wishes for the player, such as the wish to talk to that person. Actions like talking now take a specific person that they are done with. So you no longer simply talk, you now talk to someone. People store traits, which describe who they are, and opinions, which describe how you feel about them. These determine your likelihood of success for actions, it's a lot easier to talk about code issues with developers who are your friends what with managers who are not.

These features have been a long time coming, but the game is not yet in a state where they can be fully judged. I need to put in a fair amount of content to fully understand this feature. It does make the game far more expressive however.

Memories

The game now generates memories of your play sessions. They are much more likely to appear during emotional peaks, but can be generated at any time. They store the active elements of the game at that time and the emotions felt and can have insights based on those attributes derived from them. They need to have their collection aspects emphasized though. Part of their purpose is to serve as a way for the player to look back at the evolution of the game and they need to be better realized to achieve that.

Conclusion

The game is now expressive enough to handle everything that I want it to, but it is still missing some key parts. The game isn't weird enough yet. It is supposed to represent a mind, which is a capricious beast, and instead plays out very predictably. Additionally, the game has a lot of gnarliness left in it. My next set of work is going to be about unifying the game once more and so has a lot to it. When that is done however, the game should be stable enough for me to start work on the art and comprehensibility of the game.

- @murthynikhil

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Written for Why Not Games.