I’m back with a new progression video. I had skipped the last month update due to not having something useful to show off. I had optimized the engine and went from 20-25 fps to a stable 60 fps in my test environment. But it is really hard to display the effect of a performance optimization 😉
At last I moved the level generation from a designed and semi-generated approach to the new, completely procedural, in-game level generator. In combination with the reworked sewer level design finally something to show off.
Here is a new video dev-log showing the sewer level generation step for step.
This time a progression video to show off the new tutorial system, the garrison system, new difficulty levels and finally a much needed end game screen.
Currently we are working on expanding the room system to support a more compact dungeon design. This will most likely result in an improvement of the room art and additional game mechanism, so stay tuned for the next update.
The focus of the last two month was the transition of the game from a developer version to something you should give someone for testing. That is polishing the art, the interface, play testing, tweaking the game mechanism, finishing all the incomplete stuff like guides, descriptions, animations, missing items and a lot of balancing.
But I’m really satisfied so far. I’m able to beat the level in half an hour, knowing exactly what to do. Others needed one to two hours, which should be a good play time for a standard level. Thought, there is still enough to do, the game level is in a good shape and I think about doing a closed test next month.
Besides all the game testing and balancing I have finally added large creatures to the game, a garrison game mechanism, guard towers and more minions. There are currently around 10 kind of minions, mostly gnoblins. And eventually I added some new nasty creatures with some surprising special abilities.
Here’s the November update, this time without images or videos.
Currently I’m tweaking the game flow. After the recent tweaking I’m quite happy with the early game, but it lost some focus when entering mid to end game stage. To counter it, I want to add different Gnoblins, which are specialist in certain tasks. I believe, that the player will be able to control the game flow more by luring certain Gnoblins into his dungeon, but only testing will show.
Other than that there’s a lot of ongoing testing and polishing of the UI. Improving just little UI features add often so much to the game experience, that it is really worthwhile to spend the time.
Here is the September developer log. This time I’m showing off the development of the mining interface over several versions. Even if the current interface version seems to be a logical way to approach the interface, lot of constraints and limitations often ensure, that you need lot of design attempts until you come up with a suitable solution.
The real challenge in designing the mining interface in Gnoblins was the dungeon building system. Most dungeon building games are grid based which makes dungeon expansion a lot easier than the room-based dungeon expansion approach used in Gnoblins.
Here’s the august update. This month I worked on improving the accessibility of the user interface. A lot of the more complex features have been moved on the main screen, especially the mining map has been removed and integrated directly in the game world now. I will show off the improvements next update, after testing and tweaking it a little more.
For now here an other improvement. A major goal this month was to increase the readability of the game world. The old version was too dark, your minions were hard to discover and it was not really easy to check what your minions are doing at the moment. Therefor we updated the rendering, make it more colorful and activating the toon-shading again to improve the perception. Further on I added new icons hoovering above your minions to show what they are doing currently.
Here is a comparison of version 0.2.39 and 0.2.40.
Although I added a new quest system, which will be introduced in one of the next updates.
There is not a lot to show this month. I’m currently working at the creation of the first 5 levels. This is done in several layers or iterations. Starting with a concept, then the rough layout, adding the player side features(what rooms, what spells, what minions), then the enemy side features etc. At each iteration I need to play-test each level.
At the moment the concept, layout and player side features are done and I’m importing the minion and enemy creatures.
Still there a some game features which needs some fixing or re-work. When you experience a game mechanism in a game, it is most likely the Xth iteration of the original planed mechanism. Just having an idea and implementing it doesn’t work, only play-testing gives you a glimpse of if the mechanism is really working in your game or not.
So, the month is almost over and no update up-to-now. There’s not much to show off. For one I was on vacation, on the other hand I play tested a lot and refined/rebalanced the game play.
The gameplay is more streamlined now. I have removed the crafting screen and transferred the game mechanism to the main screen. For one you no longer need multiple steps to craft stuff, you can hire minions directly from the main screen, research has been automated, you no longer need to craft interstage products. All this removed a lot of complexity.
On the other hand minions can carry objects now, which adds a lot of visual feedback of what minions are doing at the moment. I.e. wood logs needed to be transported to the carpenter shop for further processing and downed minions are carried to a bed room to recover.
And eventually you no longer need to place single furnitures, instead you can construct whole rooms. I.e. a bed room or a guard room. Here is a screenshot of the four most basic rooms every dungeon need as foundation.
It is time for an other developer log, this time in video form. In one of the previous videos I demonstrated the water simulation capabilities in Gnoblins and I have promised to talk about further simulation stuff. Being a dungeon building game, Gnoblins has a quite dynamic level layout and the water simulation doesn’t make it easier leading to some interesting questions.
How does water interact with the level, with objects, with plants ? Where do plants grow ? Mushroom ? On soil, on rock ? In light or darkness ? These are all questions I wanted to consider when developing an environment simulation and you can now watch the result in this video. Have fun and stay tuned !
Currently I’m playing around with the material system of Gnoblins. Many models in Gnoblins are recoloured dynamically to have the option to quickly add new colour variances. I wanted to add material which looks more like metal which isn’t easy when working with handpainted textures only. I’ve come up with a system displayed in here:
As you can see, there are several materials displayed. For one I just recoloured the skin and clothes, or make the gnoblin look like gold or silver and play around with other effects.