Post news RSS Regulator City – Overcoming development struggles

(New gameplay video inside) - A struggle with Regulator City amounts to a long list of changes and big decisions for the direction of the game.

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Regulator City's development has been going through some rough times as I was stuck on certain ideas, design decisions, and just general focus of what direction to the push the game in.

The result of a good vacation, a fresh look, and some tough gameplay decisions did deliver a much clearer focus for the game, and here's a result of all that in a new gameplay video starring one of the main characters: Samuel 'Morph' Talpa. Below the video you can read some more of the struggles and solutions I worked on!

Many things have changed in all aspects of the game, for a large part because I’ve been struggling with Regulator City, and if you want to know more about that struggle then please check out last weeks video:

I’ve been slowly trying to fix the issues I’m having with the game, even tho I’m not exactly clear on what those issues were! A large part was some sort of creative block I guess, and I needed to change a few things in the game’s design in order to fix that creative block.

When you do open-development like I do, with almost weekly videos and talking about things in the discord, a lot of people have certain ideas and expectations of the game (mostly without actually playing the game) which can be a great asset for a solo game developer: you get to tap out of a large pool of ideas and suggestions.

BUT – and yeah, there’s a but: it can also be a terrible thing as you’re pretty much trying to keep everyone interested in the game and don’t want to let down people’s expectations.. which of course will happen! For me this meant that I was trying to do too much in a single game. Many people have seen this game as being a strategic/tactical game, where you give commands to your team and then they go in and do exactly what you told them to do…. which is great, but I was personally going for something a little different!

My main goal was creating a “cool action game” where you are part of a team that moves and operates as a single entity, and you might be the leader, but your team will mostly operate around you on their own. And that’s what a large portion of development time went into: creating Squad AI that behaves in a cool way.

Now THAT game is the one I’ve been making, and may of the other ideas and suggestions are based on more slow-paced strategic games, which are great games and ideas, but NOT the game I was trying to make. So it somewhat started to affect my game development process a bit, where I was trying to add all these things and make sure people wouldn’t get disappointed by the result.. meaning I was making a monster game that was a little bit of everything, but nothing specific.

I decided to turn things around and get some focus back on what my goal was. This means a few things that the current Patreon Alpha build has:

  1. “Dumbed down” enemies – their movement pattern and attacks are now more predictable, making it a lot more fun as a player to take them down
  2. “Declutter” the screen – less garbage pixels (icons which aren’t needed, less debris particles, less effects, etc). This makes things clearer at all times and doesn’t make you get lost in the action.
  3. “Declutter” the flow – less pop-up dialogs, replacing the “searching for items” with just seeing the item and being able to grab it, and other such game-design tweaks.
  4. Cleared up gamedesign – mostly for myself I had to get certain design directions more clearly on paper. So that I know what I’m working towards and regain focus on the important things that need to be added.

So for all Patron’s, grab the latest copy and check out some of those improvements. The difficulty balance is pretty far off the mark right now – so take things easy and slow, or you’ll die on the first level! I will start tweaking those things soon enough!

There will also be a new Steam demo coming soon, once I get things back on track with the game! So stay tuned for that

Full changes list of v0.30,31 and 32:

  • fixed: crash bug loading wrong template
  • fixed: render-blitch on some vertical cars
  • fixed: breach-door crash in HQ
  • fixed: city map remembers previous games when starting a new game
  • fixed: mission in cityview go from 1->2->4 ?
  • fixed: Squad car always does 1 hp damage to leader when getting out
  • fixed: camera-focus only if spot isn’t already on screen
  • fixed: mouse-aiming still off few pixels from target
  • fixed: throwing bomb/molotov also dumps the bomb/molotiv as “emptied weapon”
  • fixed: door not breachable by other team-member on players command
  • fixed: squad shouldn’t trigger tasks when player in (close)combat
  • fixed: player can grab 2 enemies at once
  • added: more soundeffects to events
  • added: HP-bars above target enemies
  • added: show Avatar face on Task screen – showing who is activating it
  • added: “inversed – automatic door” so that 1 button closes 1 door, and opens another (fun level design)
  • added: push-buttons/doors need power to work
  • added: new enemy AI code, more “stable” and less “random feeling”
  • added: Oozed-up enemies with special abilities
  • added: close-combat taking down enemies
  • added: squad will now pick up weapons that player ignored
  • changed: disabled manual building-unlocking (for now)
  • changed: Keycards are no longer hidden, more visual, improves gameplay
  • changed: ammo drops are more visual and happen more often
  • changed: ammo-bar in hud more visual/bigger
  • changed: Task interface improvements and smaller instruction text
  • changed: removed the Breach and Open door commands from the options – now just auto picks what’s needed/useful
  • changed: show left/right turn icons on the VAult taks buttons (and only unlock if turned the right direction)
  • change: Rewrite of enemy-AI
  • change: team-AI by default same for every general (more aggressive settings)
  • changed: show medi-kit in statusbar when squad member is down (game icon isnt’clear enough)
  • changed: removed hand-gestures (clutter)
  • changed: removed bullets – replaced with a single ammo box (clutter)
  • changed: dead bodies are darker/less visible (clutter)
  • changed: removed various debris and effects (clutter)
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