So.. it looks like we’re suddenly submitting for the IGF! There wasn’t much time this week, but we’ve been trying to fix any show stopping bugs and make the first-user experience better. To help nudge the judges along, some simple tutorial popups went in and there’s new visual feedback on the matter and coin collection. There’s also a simple first version of the order framework, where the Robo Exec orders particular types of soup to satisfy hungry planets.
This will be this first time Inc has been played without one of us there to observe or answer questions, so it’s a real usability test. If judges can’t make it to any fun stuff, it’ll be such a waste! >_<
Here’s a soup factory I made today (shortly before it was destroyed due to a bit of a power supply issue). Time to break it on down FUNKY style!
The farms for mushrooms and Tomatys are tucked away in the mountain on the right. Conveyor belts ferry ingredients into funnels (still debug with no art) which transfer them to adjacent buildings. The soup then gets carried to the waiting launchpads.
Next step was going to be building more factories and launchpads, to really scale up production. Would also have needed more greenhouses and a larger area for farming Tomatys to make enough soup.
Even with basic defenses it held out ok, but it turns out power generation was a insufficient. When I eventually got attacked and all the towers started shooting, the base immediately ran out of power and I got promptly overrun (still valiantly tried to hold it myself with fists of justice!). I probably shouldn’t scale up so quickly next time without appropriate power supply. ^^;
There’s some ongoing ideas that we’ve mentioned, but let’s discuss a few more here just to see what comes up.
The original idea for turning the local fauna & flora into soup came from a restaurant concept, where players would shoot the soup into customers’ mouths until they exploded from gluttony. Then used their corpses for yet more soup. Deliciously macabre!
The restaurant was meant to be the bait to lure customers in, but galactic food tourism could work too.
Design-wise, this could create some weird balances between the player and their primary income source (you have to use your main export as tower ammo?). It might also discourage exploration as you can just call down your ingredients. Still, it’s an idea!
This also creates awkward questions from the local galactic police. What if they were the waves of enemies you needed to fight back with towers and defense?
So our original end-game idea is still that you eventually make your own soup company and ‘go indie’. That’s still on the table. How about this one from Yamatron though. To escape your soup making forced labour, you eventually research a secret soup factory where you can turn YOURSELF into soup. Then launch yourself into space to escape your punishing salary-man existence!
Again, all just ideas, but ideas don’t impact development. To actually implement any of these would require lots of design gaps to be filled in though. Still.. it keeps coming up. Bad ideas tend to just get left behind and forgotten. When you ‘chasing the fun’ though, the best things are just unstoppable magnets, and people swarm to them.
PAX in 3 weeks. It is insanely close now. We had to take time and do a little compatibility work for our Indie Megabooth target hardware this week. The upside is, it’s given us a jumpstart to support for some slightly older machines.
Anyway, TOOLS! We’ve been tidying up lots of systems this week in anticipation of PAX. Cutting back on some ideas that are still a little rough-edged, and polishing up the fun stuff. Here’s a few tools that will be making an appearance at PAX (assuming you research them). You can build them at your factories.
If you want to dig large areas or some tough rock fast, you want one of these. Just don’t get carried away. :)
You can take on way more enemies personally with one of these. The extra range adds safety and there’s small combos with an uppercut for extra damage.
We’ll have LOTS of Inc related swag to give away at PAX, so come say “Hi”! Details of the swag to come in the following weeks.
Only one month left till PAX!! It’s starting to loom really ominous now in the near distance, and we still have so much to do! We spent this week AGAIN working on usability and first-time player experience.
Starting the game now has you fall from orbit in your rocket ship which explodes shortly after crashing. It serves no functional purpose, but provides precious context for people who just picked up the controller and want to play! We want players to feel abandoned together on this strange alien world moments after their wreckage has exploded.
You can also melt your own ship wreckage down into matter if you want. :)
We also added a transceiver as a test this week. It’s still rough but we like the space it occupies so far. Having a direct line of communication to the player is handy for delivering info but, you don’t want it to annoy them while they’re playing. The transceiver only mentions player-reaction dependent events and does so quietly in the corner of the screen.
One month to go and we’ll be at the Indie Megabooth at PAX! EXCITED! :D
Our first time player experience has been the focus again this week! We’re still working to make Inc more accessible and easily understood by first time players (looking forward to everyone getting some hands-on time at PAX!).
Aside from the expected hovering icons & highlights, one of the more interesting additions has been the new blueprint feedback. Blueprints now show the amount of remaining matter required to build, and update live while you spray matter into them.
And here’s some super-secret footage of us working away on a Friday!
It’s been a long time! I’m the beer & robot loving artist Yamatron!
This week, I will write about how I create a design implementation plan of the “office” building. The Office building if the first to come out in the game. Here, you can check soup recipes, or receive a command from the Soup Co. RoboExec says “Make soup!”. The “office” is actually a spacecraft sending all players from Soup Co Central office to their planet.
Flow of design:
1 Rough sketch
2 Created in illustrator
3 Fit the image of the game in Photoshop. (outline+texture)
4.Try to put the material into games. (I also create parts to animate here.)
5 Modification from design feedback.
I want to write more detail of these steps again sometime! Various buildings will still come, so enjoy!!
Wow this week was crazy busy!! o.O We focused a lot on usability and control improvements, making it easier for first-time players to understand what’s going on. Here’s one of the additions.
Unsupported or unconnected rocks will fall and kill you. This is a fact. They never used to give you any warning though. Just, suddenly the whole roof would come down on your head and it was GAME OVER! You’d be left heartbroken.. *sniffle*
This cracking effect we added at least gives you a heads up now before your whole world comes crumbling down..
Clone life seems pretty good. You’ve got a nice desk job, you’re happy filing soup invoices. Then the boss sends you to a strange alien planet with orders to “MAKE SOUP!!” So we’ve been tuning the balance between player and environment lately, keeping in mind your Robo Exec enforced soup labour (I may have said too much. Hope he isn’t listening).
Navigating around the map has become more critical to survival and the controls are reflecting that. Finding and choosing a starting spot rich in resources for your base is an actual adventure. The control decisions you make about jumping a sinkhole, dropping down ladders into a chasm, fleeing or staying to fight some wildlife, have now become life & death decisions (as they should be).
Even with the tighter controls though, we were struggling to make informed decisions about getting around the immediate environment. So it’s about time we added some extra animations to the player character to help!
The character now teeters on higher ledges that could be dangerous. If you’re rushing, you’ll still miss these though so, spelunk safely! There’s also a fall damage animation after high drops! Previously, fall damage wasn’t obvious so after a few drops, you’d suddenly die, then say “oh, I was taking fall damage that whole time?”.
Lastly, we’re trying out letting the player eat soup ingredients to get some health back (eating takes a few seconds though so do it somewhere safe!). Don’t eat all your stock or there’ll be nothing left to export. :)