Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report – Placing Workers

In last week’s sprint report for my new game project Toy Factory Fixer, I talked about moving toys down the conveyor belt and spending potentially too long creating new art for the worker in the toy factory. I also worried about the lack of progress towards getting something playable, and I wanted to renew my efforts on prioritizing work that allows me to play test the game rather than merely look at it.

Sprint 7: main game loop

  • Create a way to hire and place a worker
  • Create player inventory of toy parts
  • Allow player to command worker to put toy parts together
  • Process a single turn sequence
  • End game when Bad Toy enters shipping container
  • End game when last Good Toy enters shipping container

I knew I probably added too many things to this sprint when I started, but I still left them all in the plan.

It took me a couple of days to get the worker hiring menu in. It ostensibly should have been easy, but I ran into a strange Z-Ordering issue, plus a problem with the menu code that was surprisingly frustrating. Otherwise, the work was straightforward but required some thought as it was a multiple-part problem that wasn’t obvious until I started working on it, such as needing to identify what was adjacent to the conveyor belt and what was still available once you place other workers down.

Now you can select the worker to hire, place the worker next to the conveyor belt, and confirm the placement of the worker there.

Toy Factory Fixer - Hire a Worker

Toy Factory Fixer - Hire a Worker

The little orange buttons are meant to be available locations to place a worker, but I think there should be a more subtle way to indicate those locations if I keep the mechanic in the future.

I managed to create a game ending when a Bad Toy enters the shipping container. It’s a simple screen that merely says “GAME OVER” for with a button to restart and a button go back to the main menu. I have ideas for improving it thematically, but I just needed a way for the game to end. It was quick and easy.

I did not add a similar ending when the last Good Toy enters the shipping container because there are no Good Toys in the game yet.

And there are no Good Toys in the game because workers don’t currently create toy parts by separating Bad Toys, so there is no need for a toy part inventory.

I ended the week by figuring out what the turn sequence should look like. Right now, toys are dispensed from the dispenser, toys are moved down the conveyor belts, and now there is a check to see if a Bad Toy made it into the end of the line.

Next, I want to add the following:

  • Find all unoccupied workers.
  • For each unoccupied worker, find an adjacent Bad Toy as pick-up-able by this worker.
  • For each tagged Bad Toy, have associated worker pick it up.

A worker who is holding a toy is “occupied” with the work of separating its parts, which also has a turn sequence.

And this is why I want to get the game play implemented as quickly as possible: I want to see whether or not this will feel as clunky as it sounds like it might turn out to be, and I want to change direction sooner if that is the case.

I am very aware that I am barely getting to the game play while I reach the end of yet another month. I’ve spent about 55 hours since the beginning of December, and while part of the work last month was spent figuring out a design and doing paper prototypes and doing some hopefully one-time setup for future Freshly Squeezed games, that’s a lot of time to go without a game to show for it. My Ludum Dare entries have been put together in less time.

There is very much a difference between 5 hours spread across an entire week and 5 contiguous hours. Besides focusing on the right work, I need to figure out how to be faster about the work I do choose to focus on.

The game ending screen above, for instance, was fast because I didn’t spend much time trying to make it look great, whereas the effort to create the worker sprite in the previous sprint was probably overkill for what basically amounts to a placeholder, even if I am proud of what I created.

But I feel like I am finally going to have something playable soon. I just hope it won’t be another month before anything interesting happens in the game.

Thanks for reading!

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