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Looking back to dev journals we've released since the first one published.

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This is a repost from City of Steam Dev Journals

There are times when we actually want to keep some secrets. Other times when we run out of ideas for Dev Journals. Even more times when the projects we’re currently working on are too big to summarize in a Dev Journal. Which time is this? Who knows what is a Dev Journal, and what is a Dev Journal about Dev Journals….. Dev-ception…..

Ahem. So with Beta coming up, we have decided to look at some of the past Dev Journals that have brought us here. Especially with so many new friendly faces, we’d like this opportunity to show off our progress from humble beginnings to our upcoming Beta! While we do plan on keeping up with Dev Journals after Beta, we expect to be focusing on single large projects rather than a myriad of small issues so these may come more intermittently. But fear not! Here we go over some of the key Dev Journals that showcase the progress we’ve made.

First let’s go back to Dave’s first ever Dev post where he introduces the first interactive signboard designs. These Dev Journals give us the opportunity to share these changes and adjustments with you. The journal on GUI Changes wraps up the progress of how the interface designs have been reworked to what they are now. The start screen is another design concept that has seen some significant changes throughout development.

The Housing Dev Journals have proven some of the most popular reads. These were first looks at some interesting early concept art and designs in the Player House System. You can see how these ideas are further developed in later journals, such as here and in Colored House Concepts. In House System Peek, you can see these concepts fleshed out even further.

Using Unity 3D for City of Steam has allowed us to build smaller and tighter levels without losing quality graphics. People often hear the term “browser-based” and immediately think the worst, but we’ve definitely shown that browser games can look awesome too! What do you think about the Unity Journals showing The Risen or The Brood? Would you guess they’re in a browser game? Or how about theRobots Dev Journal, to see how we came up with all the different Grinder designs. The bestiary is another factor that is constantly being updated. Ratling Animationsshows animations of the different ratling besties that you can expect to battle (they are so Kung Fu…)!

For a look at how suburb designs are progressed, check out Harbingers’ Hill & Halyar’s Retreat. There’s some interesting before-and-after presentations of severalcityscape designs too. It’s cool to see the process of the changing artwork. The weapon upgrading system is another area where the changes and developments have immediate visual impact.

In some Dev Journals we bring you concepts and designs that, while we still like them, for one reason or another just didn’t make it into the game. One example is that of the Black Ghost, which can now only be seen here! There are plenty of other occasions where ideas get scrapped, check out these concepts in Dead Ends. In some occasions, such as in Barrel’s Folly, we find little projects that we thought had been trashed but are still plenty of fun. We wouldn’t want to waste even these small mini-games, so we threw them in for fun and to see what you think!

The World Machine is very cool (we think so at least) but also very complicated concept to get right. In Back on Track, Johnny shows some of the rough sketches the devs use when trying to work out how to make the mechanics of the whole thing work out. Combat is another design aspect that has changed significantly. From asemi-real to real time concept, you can check out the process here.

Did you see the short video of The Room for Rent? You can see how the thought process went from thinking it was just a cool idea, to mocking up the script, toworking with Big American Films to produce it. Soth, Ghan and Yunk are now some of our regular favorites. An unlikely trio, perhaps, but their individual traits seem to help them get along quite well.

One of the cool things about City of Steam is that it has the support of some great back-story and lore from the books and table games that have fleshed out a lot of details for the races and classes of Nexus. There have been some Dev Journal series where we have discussed all the player races of draugs, rivens, goblins,hobbes, orcs, Stoigmari, Heartlanders, Ostenians and Avens. With all these clashes of race and culture, there will inevitably be some racism and prejudices in the game. How will you deal with the bias your character may face?

Here at Mechanist, we’re very keen on taking into account the feedback from our players throughout the Alpha Tests. One significant design that was heavily influenced by player suggestions was the Marketplace. Loot pile mechanics have also been changed a lot thanks to all your feedback (or gripes). We were also really lucky to get to go to GDC in San Francisco this year where we had some great opportunities to meet gamers and industry professionals and get their feedback. Their constructive criticisms was really helpful in further fine-tuning our armor designs and even the death animations. Paragon Contributors even get to design their own in-game items. That’s how much we love player input!

Lastly, we know there’s a lot of interest in what goes on inside Mechanist. We’re not just faceless characters, we have avatars too! In the Mechanist Hat Rack you can check out what it’s like to work for a small indie game developer. From shady apartment room to an actual proper office (we can’t really believe it ourselves sometimes either), we’re excited at how the team is growing. We also interview our brilliant music composer, Daniel Sadowski, for an insight into the process of scoring for the game.

We’ll be back with more game development journals next time. Have anything you’d like more information on regarding development? Join us on the forums and chat to the devs in person!

- City of Steam Dev Team

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