I'm an ex-long time "AAA" game programmer, now solo indie developer making GearBlocks, a game all about creative building, interactive machines, and gears - lots of gears!

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Hey everyone, time for a quick update on what I've been working on over the past month or so.

Scenario mode

If you've been following the development of GearBlocks for a while, you'll know that my plan for a long time has been to build something on top of the current open ended "creative mode" game-play. This is something I've been wanting to work on for ages, and now I've finally made a start on it! I'm calling it the "scenario mode", but you could equally refer to it as "campaign mode", "challenge mode", or "tutorial mode". The idea being that it'll be flexible enough to cater to all of these use cases and more.

My plan is to create a series of scenarios of increasing complexity to gradually introduce new players to the concepts in the game and act as a tutorial mode. Beyond that I'd like to include an additional series of scenarios for experienced builders to challenge them further, but that will come later.

Each scenario may have a limited selection of tools and / or parts to build with, and certain objectives to achieve. Once the objectives are achieved, the scenario is complete, and it may then unlock more scenarios.

The process for creating a scenario is pretty simple. You set it up in creative mode, save the game tagged as scenario, and then it'll be available to launch as a new game in scenario mode. This way players can create their own scenarios and upload them to the workshop!

So far I have done the following:-

  • Changed the UI and code to now refer to a saved "game" as a saved "world", I felt this made more sense because a saved "game" from creative mode can now serve as a template for a new game in scenario mode.
  • Modified the UI and code so that a new scenario mode game can be launched from any saved world that's tagged with scenario (this includes built-in, locally saved, and workshop downloads).
  • Implemented code support for parameters to specify which game features are allowed when a scenario is active (such as which tools are available, whether new constructions or parts can be spawned, etc.)
  • Added a scenario editor panel in the world tool UI for editing these parameters while in creative mode.

Here's what the scenario editor UI looks like right now.

There's still plenty more to do, for example:-

  • Add the ability to test a scenario from within creative mode without having to exit first and start a new game in scenario mode.
  • Implement an option to reset / restart a scenario while playing it.
  • Add support to save / load in-progress scenarios (not sure if this will be strictly necessary, but could be good for scenarios that take a long time to play through).

Beyond that I need to build out some features to facilitate creating objectives (e.g. special parts for start / end trigger zones, gates, etc.) but this is something I'll discuss in more detail in a future update.

Player tool model

I've also been mocking up some ideas for the player character's tool model, I'm sick of the crappy "box on a stick" placeholder that's in the game currently!

Originally I was thinking of having a separate model for each tool (builder, linker, painter, etc.), but to reduce scope and simplify things I've now decided to have a single universal tool model. However, when the player switches between tools, I still want it to visually represent this somehow, e.g. with a display, visual effects and so on.

I think I know the direction to go in now, and soon I'll be firing up Blender and getting to work on it.

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Indie developer of GearBlocks - a game about creative building, interactive machines, and gears - lots of gears.


I really would like to add something to the game. For example, new part) Just how to do it, I don't know(

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Hi sam! I very like you game)

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Latest tweets from @dangersamn

#GearBlocks dev blog update - Beginnings of the scenario mode! Tmblr.co #madewithunity #gamedev #indiedev

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Another #GearBlocks demo update just out, with UI and part behaviour improvements, plus a few bug fixes, on @SteamT.co

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Just updated the #GearBlocks demo with UI and workshop improvements, as well as bug fixes, available on Steam:… T.co

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Jul 22 2020

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