(((Steam page for Wishlisting! - Store.steampowered.com ))
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Hey everyone, it’s been another couple of weeks...so time to go over whats been happening.
To start, I finally put up the steam page for Bloom a little after my last video. Sadly no trailer yet, since I still need to get the unprocessed character sprites to get rid of their placeholders. But some screenshots are hopefully enough to show what kind of game it is.
I’ve also been making some posts on a few sites, like imgur, showing off some of the stuff I’ve made for the game, and the reception has been pretty amazing! It’s really encouraging to see people liking what is coming out.
Though I’ve also had a fair amount of trouble on sites like reddit. Moderators on the bigger gaming subreddits don’t let creators post about their own stuff, since they consider it spam… so if anyone runs across this and wants to really help out, I’ll post some links in the description to images I’ve done, along with the links to some popular subreddits if you’d like to post for me with the steam page.
Anyhow, overall, through the last week and half or so of the page being up, we already have over a thousand wishlists! And about 14 thousand page views. Which is a pretty good start I think!
I’ve also been learning a lot about how the algorithms work lately... and learning about the threshholds the game needs to reach before release.
Basically, from what I hear, to get bumped up as a popular upcoming game on steam you have to have some combination of minimum wishlists and page views. Generally I’m hearing about 5 thousand wishlists, and 35 thousand page views.
I don’t plan on releasing for another 2 months, and still have the trailer I want to make soon, so seems like everything is going pretty ok.
Oh well, all that’s the non game part of game dev. So let’s talk about what I’ve added to bloom lately.
After the last video, I went ahead and began tackling the home base that comes into play more towards the middle and end of the game. I knew I wanted some systems here that would give the player something to return to and build up as the story advanced.
One of these things was a garden where you could greatly speed up the rate at which you were able to gather seeds and other resources.
The general idea is if you plant something in this area, then when you return a bunch of seeds would be waiting for you to pick up. Or, you could switch into Aghor and have him actively garden and harvest if you wanted to speed it up.
I also wanted this area to be unlocked similar to the way something like Harvest Moon handled fields. So I added some large rocks that would keep you from being able to plant nearby until you broke them. Once you get the tool to break the rocks, it isn’t that difficult...but I figured the act of reclaiming the area would create a stronger feeling of achievement.
Anyhow, all of that is working now. I wrote the scripts that track the passage of time and the harvest event on all the plants on the map, along with placing the correct seeds in a pile and the rocks going through damage phases and being destroyed. I still have a couple small scripts to write for Aghors gardening abilities, so he can move plants and also deal with fruit plants, which the player can’t typically place.
But that’s easy to get through later when I finish it off.
Next up were the events for missions from the home base. Essentially at this point the core group of characters will be working together a bit more and being more pro-active in the world. So going out and helping others in need.
The system I came up with here depends on a few unlocks and advancement options, but the basics is that now and then visitors will come to the sanctuary with a situation and Ilana will be able to send one of the core group to deal with it.
Each of the group have their own talents though, so some would be better suited to situations than others. Like Sylph would be well suited for situations requiring stealth and would do poorly if confronted with combat.
Then, depending on who you sent and their condition, they would have a range of results when returning. And, if they did poorly, they could come back hurt and eventually be temporarily taken out of being an option to send anywhere.
I guess you could think of it as more of an optional mini game to reinforce the characters and story points….with rewards that allow the player to gain access to more upgrades and bonuses. I’ll probably use this to build on the characters more, with mini story arcs or other type of “choose your own adventure” scenarios.
I also planned out the upgrades and a couple more interactions in the sanctuary, but overall I think it should be a good optional area during the mid and late game, which will also come into play towards the end.
After all of that, it was time to deal with one of the core paths the main characters can go down.
Now, from the beginning, I’ve been careful to make killing of creatures a difficult thing to do. Since everything has energy and health, and most things will hit energy first, or even are exclusively locked to only damaging energy….that means the player fighting creatures make them fall unconscious long before they die and other creatures would eat them.
But I’d also planned on giving the player the chance to consume also…. Going down a darker path and philosophy at the prodding of some of the characters in the game.
So, that’s what I set up next. The ability chain that lets the player begin going down that rout after they get out of the intro area.
For this I had to first find the look, and then did some sounds and then the script that drove how it interacted with creatures. These abilities do a flat damage first, apply an energy drain to enemies and energy regeneration to the player, and also will consume unconscious enemies healing the players health.
They also all function off of the same ability, allowing you to charge up through several different stages that unlock as you advance down this path. Culminating in a very powerful temporary state that lets you increasingly drain and consume anything that comes near you.
Anyhow, all of that is meant to be a long path if players really lean into the consuming of creatures as they play and will let them face some of the harder enemies in ways they probably couldn’t without it.
Which brings us to the enemy robots!
Now, these were always meant to be extremely strong and something to be feared. But I’d been struggling with how to make them dangerous, without making them unfair….or too easy to sidestep.
For example, just increasing the health of these enemies and making them do more damage wouldn’t have done enough….as with enough practice you can dodge most attacks and work them down, even from a very low level.
Added to that is if they were difficult to fight, players would just shrug and dash past them to the next screen.
And if I made them do something like immediately immobilize the player if they got too close, then it would just be pretty cheap.
But after some thought, I came up with a good compromise.
First off is the aura that the melee robots have, which drain energy and slow nearby creatures a fair amount. This means trying to dash past them will be a bit more difficult, and they will have no problems chasing you down if you get close.
Then are the different classes of robots which work together to be very difficult...but still have ways to deal with them.
Such as the energy pump that I was working on the other day, which does the same energy drain in a much larger area...while also substantially increasing the regeneration of nearby robots.
You can shut it down temporarily by overwhelming it … but with other robots nearby, it will be difficult. Requiring more strategy to lure the others away or use other abilities to try and come up with a way to tackle it….or simply get around it without them killing you.
Basically, these things are meant to be feared and very difficult, while still being something you can fight with some thought, especially if there is only one…. Or later in the game if you grow strong enough to face them confidently.
It’s a different design philosophy, where creatures are obstacles...not necessarily targets to be killed. Sometimes an enemy will just be too strong to be reasonable to try and fight.
I think that sense of danger adds weight and tension to the world….and the players place in the world isn’t necessarily on the top.
Anyhow, still some tweaking to do, but I think it’s all coming together pretty well. And as I implement additional features and abilities, the game is definitely taking on more and more of a unique feeling.
I think when I first began, many years ago, I was picturing a game like the original Zelda…. But now, it’s firmly its own game, “Bloom”.