Toytles: Leaf Raking Progress Report – Grumpy Dialog and Release

As I said in last week’s report, my sole focus was on adding the grumpy dialog.

Sprint 8: Grumpy dialog

Last week’s sprint plan was:

  • Give each neighbor unique text as unhappy clients

After only 2.75 hours of game development, I have finally added the ability of your worried clients to say something. Funnily enough, it took me about 40 minutes or so to write all of the new dialog, and I wish I had done so the week before.

The rest of the time was spent verifying that everything looked fine in terms of formatting, testing the game on actual hardware, and creating and uploading the releases to the App Store and to Google Play.

It was the most straightforward sprint and was done somewhat early, but I then updated some screenshots that were out of date and updated the Toytles: Leaf Raking player’s guide to reflect the changes I made related to waiting for the rain to stop.

I probably could have done more, but last week a hurricane hit Iowa.

My son once asked worriedly about hurricanes in Iowa, and I reassured him that those only happen near oceans, and we’re landlocked.

So it turns out that I am wrong. Sorta. It wasn’t really a hurricane. It’s a weather phenomenon I never heard of before called a derecho.

A derecho is a huge, sustained set of storms that can move incredibly fast. I didn’t know it was coming, and I drove right into it. One moment the world seemed fine, and the next moment, I saw horizontal rain and my car was getting buffeted by the strong winds. I learned later that the winds were going between 70 to 100 mph, so hurricane-strength.

I was driving to get a laptop activated for a client for my day job, and when I showed up at their offices, no one was around. I called security, who told me that they were sheltering in place due to the storm.

I said, “So you’re sheltering, but I’m…not?”

He said, “I don’t know what to tell you, sir.”

I ducked into a conference room with no windows off of the lobby and waited for the storm to pass.

Driving home, I saw a lot of large tress had been toppled or lost major branches. Power lines were done, and some areas looked downright dangerous to get through.

We lost power for a day and a half, as well as an 80′ tree in our backyard and some food in our fridge and freezer.

And there are still communities without power today.

I didn’t work on anything those two days we were without power. I think the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disaster that affected millions of people across a number of states was too much for me to try to be “productive.”

This year really is something else.

Polish and content

One thing I found myself struggling with was knowing which neighbors were clients. You can’t tell from looking at the neighborhood view. You have to visit them and see if you have an option to rake their leaves.

So I want to add some indicators to let you know if a neighbor is your client. And if I do that, I might as well also have indicators to show you who your ex-clients and worried clients are.

I’d also like to start adding more variety to the existing dialog. Right now, for a given state of the game, a neighbor will say only one thing. I’d like to have them say one of many things.

That is, a prospective client currently only says one thing as a prospective client, but I’d like them to say enough different things that each time you visit them they have something unique to say.

It requires a little code but a lot of writing. I’ve been thinking I need to create a tool that lets me more easily create the dialog in-game so I can see what it will look like while I write it. So, more code and a lot of writing?

Let me know what you think, and thanks for reading!

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