Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report – Communicating Good Toy Value

In the previous sprint report, I had created a number of enhancements to make Toy Factory Fixer easier to understand and play. More importantly, I got some great insight into how the Strong Worker actually works and decided I wanted to change it.

I had some big ambitions for this past week’s sprint, but other priorities took over.

Sprint 39: Training levels

Planned and Completed:

  • Show Good Toy rewards in crafting menu

Planned and Incomplete:

  • Make strong worker able to work on two toys at once
  • Show tooltips during game based on triggers
  • Create floor training levels/tutorial

While I managed to put in more game development hours than I normally do, the lion’s share of that time was actually spent on updating Toytles: Leaf Raking, my leaf-raking business simulation game.

Both Google and Apple have updated their requirements for apps in their stores, and so I needed to update the game to work on the latest Android and iOS devices. I have been putting it off, but with autumn starting in the northern hemisphere soon, and since the game is about running a business raking leaves, I wanted to ensure the game works for everyone.

Which meant that I didn’t get to make much progress on Toy Factory Fixer.

I did spend a bit of time trying to make it clearer to the player how much Good Toys are worth AND make it clear that they need to be shipped to get that value.

So after some good advice from people on Twitter, I ended up changing how money was shown in the game in order to create as concise a visual formula as I could.

If you recall from last time, I added the new pigeon gold coin, and any monetary amounts were shown next to that coin. The problem was that the icons to show “ship something to get XYZ money” were getting kind of long and awkward.

Well, rather than have the money amount next to the coin icon, I decided to put the amount on top of the coin.

Which meant I needed to change the saturation so that the letters read better. Here’s what it looked like before:

Toy Factory Fixer - coins in UI

And here’s what it looks like now:

Toy Factory Fixer - updated coin text

And now here’s the crafting menu with the formula shown:

Toy Factory Fixer - Good Toy value formula

I think the shipping chute could use some more work to make it clear what it is. I was thinking about changing it into a van or truck, so the toys jump off the conveyor belt into the back of it, and so a small truck icon should read more clearly.

And of course, if there is a truck, it should drive away at the end of the level, right?

I otherwise spent time working on designing tooltips. First-time players seem to struggle with understanding what to do in the game, and so I think it makes sense to throw in some animated arrows or word bubbles that basically say “Tap here next!” at the appropriate times.

I was also thinking about the level design, wondering if I could create two or three separate levels using the same level layout. Basically, in an attempt to make the game challenging, I might have made it too difficult. And my first few levels are called “training levels” so maybe it makes sense for them to go easy on new players. Maybe I can make three levels and call them 1st shift, 2nd shift, and 3rd shift, and each gets progressively more challenging. Then you can move on to the next level layout’s three shifts.

And of course, I would love to implement the ability of strong workers to work on separating two Bad Toys at once. I have also been thinking about what that means for the uniqueness of the Quick Sewing Worker. Should they be able to work on multiple Good Toys at once? Is it enough that they work on one Good Toy very fast compared to Normal Workers? Should they be able to do something else entirely, such as throw Bad Toys at the nearest idle worker?

And at what point is it feature creep as opposed to merely trying to make sure this game makes a good impression when it is finally released?

Thanks for reading!

Want to learn when I release updates to Toytles: Leaf Raking or about future Freshly Squeezed games I am creating? Sign up for the GBGames Curiosities newsletter, and get the 24-page, full color PDF of the Toytles: Leaf Raking Player’s Guide for free!