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Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report – Creating a First Level

In my previous sprint report, I said I was frustrated that my very part-time efforts on Toy Factory Fixer had to slow down due to other obligations.

This past week’s sprint was similarly slow.

Sprint 17: Make publishable

Completed:

  • Nothing

Not completed:

  • Create production-ready level
  • Create sound effects

I only worked for a few hours last week, much like the previous week. I needed time to prepare to give a presentation for the day job on Friday.

I explored what math model I could use to automate the calculation of a turn limit. My thinking was that as levels get created, it would be nice if I could just turn on shipping deadlines and have a reasonable deadline generated.

And so far the total number of the conveyor belt segments and the total number of toys seem to get me there, so long as I set things up so that a single worker has a reasonable chance of dealing with everything by themselves.

I found that depending on worker placement, I could finish shipping all the Good Toys within 5 turns of the deadlines I was calculating.

Once I added a second worker, I found that the minimum number of turns can drop significantly. And this makes sense: more workers means more productivity happening simultaneously. But I need to explore this dynamic more to see just how adding more workers impacts how many turns it takes to finish a level.

However, if I allow myself to put on my producer hat, I think it was a mistake to spend time on it. I still don’t have a good “first” level, and since I haven’t even made a level-generator or a level-creation tool for myself, let alone for players, did I really need to automatically generate a turn deadline?

So why was I working on it? Probably because it wasn’t exactly clear what it was that I should be doing.

I will say that I know that “Create production-ready level” isn’t a small task, but I think it is still very vague in terms of what it means to say I’m done.

What does “production-ready” mean? How do I know when I’m done? What are my criteria?

I know that I need to play around with the mechanics and see how they work together. I need to explore the play space, see what’s possible, and then figure out what makes a good introductory level.

But somehow I distracted myself with automating turn deadline calculations. I mean, it might come in handy later, but it could have waited.

Ah, well. Maybe this week will be more productive.

Thanks for reading!

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