Hour 94 - Savvy with Systems
Not the most glamorous of updates today, but some important systems are now in place and I think I've finally honed in on a definite scope and final destination for the game. Despite being such a simple project I've still suffered from wanting to do too much and the scope was starting to get away from me.
To counteract feature creep and endless development, I'm setting a release date: May 21st, 2018. Which also happens to my birthday. To accomplish this I'm abandoning some ideas completely, and streamlining others. The final project may be a little rough around the edges, but I think can keep the core "vibe" I'm going for in tact.
One aspect I'm abandoning is my desire to have a game free (or almost free) of user interface elements and text/tutorials. I really like that concept, but the game I'm building just isn't lending itself well to that style of presentation, and I think coming up with elegant solutions would just be too time and resource intensive at this stage.
To that end I've now added a seed selection UI which can be dragged in from the side of the screen and used to pick a seed to plant, instead of having to navigate inside the ship and pick a seed manually. I'll probably leave that behaviour in place as an optional method, but it's just far too clunky during normal gameplay. Art is very much placeholder at the mo!
I've also added a message box system which will be the vessel for a (hopefully not too intrusive) tutorial sequence at the start of the game in which the player's (now sentient) spaceship will walk them through the basics concepts and mechanics of the game to get them started. The ship will also provide a few hints and tips to keep players from getting stuck.
I've written a preliminary script for the tutorial sequence and it's already quite wordy, so I decided to implement a simple localisation system. Now, I don't intend to actually localise Plantasia properly (although I may include some simple Google translations) but even just for English it's handy having text in a single database that I can tweak rather than scattered throughout the game's assets.
The main gameplay feature update in this update is the new home island variations. These are unlocked when the player finds them buried on other planetoids and each island will have it's own theme/biome (e.g. snowy, wetlands, etc.) which will determine which plants can thrive there. Again, I'm trying to keep the scope simple here!
I've also added a basic save game manager which will eventually keep track of plants and their status. Currently it just tracks which home planet islands have been found and unlocked.
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