Game Design Game Development Geek / Technical

Freshly Squeezed Progress Report – Finishing the Final Training Level, Muting Audio

As I said in the previous sprint report for Toy Factory Fixer development, I had spent time adding feedback to the player and fixing defects, including a major one that ended the game prematurely even if you had plenty of toys to craft.

I continued work on finishing the last of the training levels in this past sprint.

Sprint 45: Training levels

Planned and Complete:

  • Create floor training levels/tutorial

Unplanned and complete:

  • Allow player to mute SFX and music

The only task I wanted to focus on was finishing the final training level that introduces the sewing specialist. Originally the layout was derivative of a level I was using to do general play testing and experimenting, but I modified it so that workers placed near the beginning of the conveyor belt were less effective than those placed farther down the line.

Toy Factory Fixer - original play testing level layout

Toy Factory Fixer - finalized training level layout

Most of my time was spent designing the production runs of toys, and my main worry is that this training level is too intense.

Toy Factory Fixer - too intense?

However, it is possible to finish the level with an A+ rating in all three criteria.

Determining the First Release Criteria

Since I finished creating the level and it was the only task in my sprint, that meant I had time to work on something else. But what?

I decided that at the very least the player should have the option to mute the sound effects or music, so I started working on that functionality. It is mostly there, and the only thing left is to make the button labels change from “Mute” to “Unmute” when pressed.

Meanwhile, every Saturday I try to work on a non-routine improvement, and one of my goals this month was to put together a solid set of criteria for things that must be done before I feel comfortable creating a v1.0 release of this game.

So here’s the list I came up with:

  • Number of levels
    • 4 training levels
    • At least 1 non-training level
  • Polish
    • Worker grunts need to be worker-type specific
    • Need music/audio background for main menus
  • Need call to action (sign up for GBGames Curiosities)
    • Main Menu
    • Options Screens
  • In-game help
  • Create a strategy guide
  • Allow player to mute

I decided against any kind of persistence for this first release, even though I have some ideas and plans for it, such as a factory map with levels/floors that unlock as you finish them.

I’m most sad about not creating a Free Play level, which is a play tester request that I loved and also had plans for. Also, having only one more non-training level for a total of five levels may not sound like much when many other games have something like 20 or 100 levels, but this is a v1.0 release of a free game. Maybe I’ll work on a new update that includes more levels and features if there is enough feedback from players, but for now, I need to cut scope if I want to release this game anytime soon.

Then again, I keep worrying that these training levels are way too hard, and I think that I could always create shorter, easier versions as the training levels and use the existing level designs as more intense versions of them. I had originally envisioned the idea of reusing a level layout with different “shifts”, so each shift acts as a separate level with different production runs. So I could take the existing four levels and double it to eight levels if I create easier versions of them, getting both quantity AND an easier onboarding process for new players. Hmm…

Now, dear reader, you tell me. Is this actually feature creep, or is this just the nature of wearing multiple hats, including the producer hat?

Thanks for reading!

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