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Freshly Squeezed Progress Report – Optional Deadlines and Deeper Insights

In last week’s sprint report I started taking steps to make the game Toy Factory Fixer releasable at least to play testers.

There are things as a developer I could tweak in code, but I want to give the player options to make changes, and so I continued that work in last week’s sprint.

Sprint 16: Make publishable

Completed:

  • Create way to choose if game has deadline or not

Not completed:

  • Create production-ready level
  • Create sound effects

I only managed to work a little over 2 hours on the game last week. Between a few deadlines at the day job and needing to investigate my son setting up his own Minecraft server using a website we explicitly told him he couldn’t do, I found myself using the time I normally would work on game development to do other urgent things.

In a way, I’m frustrated because while I know there is still quite a bit to do to really finish Toy Factory Fixer, it feels like I am letting my foot off of the gas pedal right when I’m nearing the end.

I have averaged a little over 5 hours a week on game development these last three months, and it is noticeable when I put in less time last week.

I managed to implement a configuration for the player to choose whether or not to play with a shipping deadline, which is kind of like providing a way to choose an Easy or Challenging mode.

The game is still completely silent, and even though I’ve been listening to some music that may or may not make it into the game, I think at the very least there should be sound effects to give the player feedback when something happens or when they perform an action.

At the very least, I don’t want play testers to say, “You should add sound effects” when they could be focused on any of the other things I haven’t considered instead. B-)

As for putting together a good production-ready level, I spent some time doing some deep thinking about the dynamics of the game, and I was blown away when I realized that an assumption I made about the best location for a worker was completely wrong.

Toy Factory Fixer - Worker placement

I figured that a worker placed so that it was near the greatest number of conveyor belt locations was the best. I figured it meant more opportunities to pick up Bad Toys.

But it turns out that the best location is a function of the worker’s toy separation rate, the toy’s health, and the distance between opportunities to pick up a toy. In the screenshot above, a Bad Toy will pass by above and below the worker. If a worker picks up a Bad Toy, during the time spent working on separating that toy, other toys will continue along the line.

When the worker is finished and becomes idle, another Bad Toy within reach can be picked up. It is possible for the next Bad Toy to have moved on too far for the worker to reach if the worker is too close to the turn.

I am still working on balancing numbers such as the number of stitches a toy has or how much strength a worker has, but this kind of analysis hasn’t been done yet, and it is already giving me insights into what makes for a challenge, what is too easy, and what might be impossible.

Now I just want to spend more time on actually making it.

Thanks for reading!

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