An island above a portal

Welcome to The Void – Dev Blog 1

Greetings and welcome to the first of a weekly development blog post. I’m going to post these every Friday and use them to provide a retrospective of the development work I’ve been doing on Fringe Planet over the week.

I got some incredible feedback on Tuesday from some extremely talented people about Fringe Planet – one of the points mentioned during this feedback was that the game had an inconsistent art style – this has lead to the most visible development work. Though the art style is incredibly placeholder (mostly coder art) – I feel that it is super important to have a consistent look and feel for the game.

 

Fringe Planet is a world made of voxels – which all have straight edges. Particle effects and UI elements had a lot of curves to them. In combination this looked slightly strange, so I focused on removing all the curves from the game. I was honestly very surprised at how removing the curves from the UI made the game look a lot better.

The UI, before :

The UI, after :

As you can see, the change is subtle, but helps to unite the UI with the game area – I’m incredibly happy with the change. Additionally all the particles in the game are all square, rather than a circle – again this helps to unify everything.

So, that is the most visible change, what else have I been working on this week? I’ve done a piece of work on the orbiting islands – this was an optimisation piece which actually allows me to have an indecent number of orbiting islands. I’m doing this because one of the pieces of work I want to do soon is to have the orbiting islands interact with each other – i.e. changing each others orbits, and a lot more excitingly – colliding with each other and showering the place with broken off voxels. Will very much be some awesome eye candy when it is complete.

I’ve also done some back end structuring work on how items are stored – how to make an item, what materials it needs, how long it takes to build, where it is built, which peon attribute does it use in its various sums. Currently, peon stats will only change how quickly a peon builds an item – this is structuring work is aimed at adding a quality value into the game. Quality will effect the health of built items as well as any aesthetic bonuses the peons get for them. I also want to build in a failure chance, which means when a peon builds something, that an unskilled peon could potentially muck up and destroy the gathered resources.

 

I’ve also done some tweaking to how peons pick their tasks. They previously would pick tasks based upon the order in which the tasks were created, which lead to some quite silly behaviour. Now peons will always pick the closest task and have a mini-priority list. Survival items (firepits/beds etc;) are the highest important tasks, then crafting, then machines and finally voxel changes (build a voxel, mine a voxel) are last. This order will eventually be replaced with a task screen, that lets you determine on a per peon bases which are the most important tasks.

I also spent some time adding pause, play and double speed controls to the game. It’s been really interesting experimenting with how Unity handles time and seeing just how fast I can speed things up. The double speed is actually sped up 2.5x and gives the peons a very Benny Hill vibe as they zoom about building. And the pause feature actually feels fairly surreal, being able to pause a moment in time.

Finally, I’ve added some more memories to the game – this is a regular job for me, slowly building up a database of interesting memories.

So all in all, it has been a super productive week – I’m very happy with the UI changes and can’t wait to see what people think of them!

 

There is a lot more to read about Fringe Planet… why not try:

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