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First I'd like to begin with, I am so excited! It's been a little over a full month since our Indiegogo campaign which went super fine. During that campaign month, the game lived its first "alpha testing". During that testing session, we discovered that many aspects of the game needed improvement and lots of work sometimes because of the 2D engine not being able to crunch enough numbers for the game to be enjoyable. This caused me a lot of worries which is why during the last month:
The game has been totally rewritten from scratch with a new engine.
Yes that's right, what you played has been trashed. It's been a long painful learning month but I'm extra proud of the results and the game will look & shine as good as it primary was inside my head.
But wait it's not over, trashing what has been done brings another advantage: The whole game concept went back to the planning board. Don't worry though, it's still the same game, basically the same goal and for the same audience.
Last week I published a GIF of what the new engine looks like, here it is:
Ready to see what brings these changes? Check this out.
Changes the game rewrite brings:
- Introduced new camera & zoom controls! Now you can move the camera around using WASD and the mouse scroll to zoom in/out.
- New engine now renders lights & shadows!
- Better GUI (graphical user interface) in the game, bringing cool features such as resizable windows, and lots of stability.
- New engine is faster & stronger now supports hundreds on-screen employees at runtime compared to the old engine was supporting only 20!
- New Time Manager, days will now use a complete time-based system instead of the old simple day-based system. (That means there will be date AND time in the game)
- Better collisions and AI. Employees will try to find a way of getting where they need to go by themselves and won't stop pushing everything in the way to get to that destination (pushing other NPCs not objects!)
- Fullscreen support (any resolution) & Resizable game window!
- Better debugging & logging features for alpha/beta bug reporting.
- Lots of new possibilities for introducing mods to the game! (More details will be announced in the future about that one).
Changes to the game concept/story:
Please keep in mind that these are planned changes/features and might not be part of the next alpha.
- You'll now have to select a primary character who will later become the CEO of your game studio.
- Game will be more story-driven, based on that selected primary character.
- More decision-oriented and event-driven (hard choices to make which might result in breaking an employee's heart for the good sake of your studio, etc).
- Introducing more advanced Artificial Intelligence for employees. They will now move by themselves and will be wise enough to decide wether they should work or leave the office.
- Contracts & Employee Attributes have been scrapped and are in an ongoing brainstorm (details might end up in a next Vision article, stay tuned)
- Game will now have a day/night cycle, so employees will have to leave at night and get back to work the next morning, etc.
- New character classes will be introduced such as IT Guys and Janitors. (Janitors will work during a night shift (during the night)).
Want more details about the new engine?
The new game engine is basically Unity. But as some might already know, it's a 3D engine and we're building a 2D game. So a lot had to be developed such as 2D path finding, 2D pixel perfect cameras to have that perfect 2D look, 2D lights, character animations, character movement and so much more. So yes basically it's Unity but with a whole layer of goodies made by myself and some awesome helpers I had while learning the whole thing.
The game is now programmed using C# but uses JSON for many of its data-related applications. Which means there's a good chance of supporting super simple JSON mods ;-)
Want to try the new engine?
A demo of the engine is available right now, featuring a very simple demo of the starting area with lights & shadows, basic character movements (click on character, right click to move), camera controls, basic time display and a FPS display to monitor performance.
You can download it here! It's only for Windows right now, having a problem? Please go on our forums, we'll make sure to fix your issue!
What about the future?
The game is now going back to its "less secretive" state, even if there's still lots of stuff to announce but since that other stuff isn't ready yet we'll hold on a little before announcing anything else.
Looking to know when will be the next alpha? All I can say right now it's that development is going very fast and we might open up alpha tester registration next month ;-)
That's a lot of changes for the past month, I hope you understand why the month has been silent. I really needed to concentrate on that hard task of rewriting the game but now that it's over and all the changes are on the table, development updates, vision articles and all that good stuff will come back live every weeks!
Comments? Suggestions? Please join us on the forums, we really throw a bunch of goodies to the community so if you like the game take a second to check them out. (That lights & shadows demo GIF have been there since last week so there's definitively things you'll see on the forums that you won't ever see on the blog and you'll get a chance to chat with the whole team!)
I really cannot wait for next alpha testing session! Stay tuned.
Thanks for your patience, and for being awesome fans!
[Original Article: Indiegamestory.org]