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1057108 Posts in 42938 Topics- by 34884 Members - Latest Member: huntermusicandtv

October 24, 2014, 10:58:05 PM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogsMini Metro [playable build + Greenlit!]
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Author Topic: Mini Metro [playable build + Greenlit!]  (Read 20182 times)
peterc_nz
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« on: January 16, 2014, 01:18:14 AM »

Mini Metro
Make the trains run on time.

Elevator pitch
Mini Metro is a minimalistic subway layout game. When you start, your small city has only three unconnected stations. Your job is to draw routes between the stations to connect them with subway lines. Everything but the line layout is handled automatically; trains run along the lines as quickly as they can, and the commuters decide on the best trains to board and where to make transfers. So there's no need to worry about all that boring stuff.

As the city grows and changes, more and more stations pop up and you have to build new lines, adapt old lines or retire them completely. The game ends when one station has been overcrowded (contains more than five passengers) for too long. Each game is relatively quick, around 5 minutes, and longer once you're more skilled.

Alpha build

The playable alpha build has just been updated and is available here. Drag between thea shapes (stations) to connect them with a route. Extend routes by dragging the terminator. Shrink routes by dragging the terminator back over the last station. That's it! The next thing on my to-do list is to ship an updated alpha build, so fingers crossed it shouldn't be too long before that's out.



Development
Mini Metro started out as Mind the Gap, a jam entry in Ludum Dare 26. It's been in progress since then and really should be out by now but it isn't because gamedev. But it's getting there!

Mini Metro is being developed in Unity using Matt Rix's Futile framework, and is targetting tablet and desktop platforms, and anything else it makes sense to put it on to. It plays well on an iPad and iPad mini and is playable on monster 6" Androids.

The game is *mostly* done. The game itself is all-but coded (just a couple of bugs to sort out). We're working on game balance and pacing right now. Still to do is audio (got some great things planned here), in-game icons, final UI, and I'm sure countless other little things that I haven't even thought of yet.

The Dinosaur Polo Club website has a few articles about the development process. I wouldn't call it a devlog exactly, more a collection of random thoughts about Mini Metro and our game development experience in general.


Devlog
I hope to update this thread every week at least with progress we've made, and responding to feedback when I get the opportunity. We'll see how that goes; work is mainly part-time so there may be some lean weeks.

As always, any feedback is appreciated! Thanks for checking us out.

« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 11:26:40 PM by peterc_nz » Logged

Gorman
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 01:42:45 AM »

Soooo, I'm a bit of a fan boy of this game. I recommend grabbing a cup of joe and trying out the build.  Its a zen like time building up a nice efficient network of tracks... until it all turns to mush.... Looking forward to trying out the alpha.
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travisofarabia
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 07:41:11 AM »

This was something I very much enjoyed and look forward to seeing more.
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 02:25:51 PM »

@travisofarabia: Hey thanks for giving the build a go, glad you liked it! Hopefully we'll have that up-to-date build out soon.

@Gorman: Ta Gorms! That's exactly the kind of gamefeel we're going for. If anything the current build is more hectic; we want to make the player feel never quite on top of things, a finger-in-the-dam scenario.
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 05:46:56 PM »

Alpha build

We've finally cleaned up all our horrific placeholder assets to the point where we can publish an alpha build. It's available in the usual place.

Usability

The feedback we got from the first alpha build gave us some very useful usability feedback. The usual stuff you expect when a game's been in closed development with no playtesting for a few months! The hitboxes on the stations were too small. Nowhere did we tell the player how  many lines they had available or could unlock, which drastically affected how they chose upgrades. The click detection is a little gammy. When stations spawn on top of existing lines, it looks as though the station is connected to the line. Lots of little things like that, issues I may have been aware of but, as a coder, managed to explain away to prevent myself from doing work. Smiley

Most of the issues have easy fixes that are now live in the updated alpha, others will require a little more work.

Balance

We're still working on getting the upgrades and train speeds and capacities working well together. As it stands, for example, the carriage upgrade is in all ways inferior to taking an extra line. We're playing around with some ideas on how to change the upgrades so there isn't a dominant strategy. I'd like the end-of-week upgrade selection to be a difficult choice no matter which two you're presented with.
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ryansumo
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 06:06:01 PM »

Oh man, glad to see you guys finally got to polishing this!  As soon as I saw the screenshot I was like, heeeeey I know that game! Please tell Robert I said hi!
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2014, 12:41:54 AM »

Hey Ryan! Yeah it's been consuming most of my free time for the last far too many months. Just told Rob you said hi, he says hi back. Smiley
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Keen
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2014, 01:42:53 AM »

This game is really addictive. Are there multiple levels in it yet? I havent got past about week 3.

I think some kind of "zen" mode would be really cool. Where you dont lose from overcrowding and dont have to hook up new stations that spawn (and they go away after a while of inactivity). So the focus for that mode would just be to try to make the most efficient and large network as possible. Score could be based on number of people served per minute or something.

I noticed it sometimes hangs forever (infinite loop probably) while dragging a line, possibly only after disconnecting it from a station.
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 01:57:10 AM »

@Keen: Glad you like it! There will be levels but not in the Angry Birds sense, more like Super Crate Box. The level in the alpha is based on London, we've done NYC, and we'll most likely ship with at least Paris and Wellington (our home town) as well. Each will have a different upgrade path, colours, and geography.

I'd thought about adding a zen mode pretty much identical to what you'd described, even down to the scoring! The stations would spawn more slowly as they filled up, so to maximise your score you'd have to get trains passing through them as often as possible. We'll definitely look at adding that if we have time. Good to hear there's interest in the idea.

Gutted to hear about the infinite loop, I just quashed what I hoped was the last one. Are you playing the most recent build, alpha2? If so, and you come across the bug again, could you please email me a screenshot at [email protected]?
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Gorman
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 02:41:38 PM »

I managed to score 488 but I have no idea how and have spent about two hours trying to recapture my past glory.
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oyog
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2014, 11:35:37 AM »

This is great, and crazy addicting. How long is there between upgrades? Not knowing kind of kills the suspense of waiting for an upgrade for me.
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AegarPyke
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2014, 01:27:19 PM »

Very nice game. My session was cut short by a crash bug, though.



As the red carriage was moving from the yellow triangle station to the red circle station, I removed the line. This seemed to be a valid move since I tried it a few times before (on other lines) and it worked, but in this instance it caused the game to lock up.

But yeah, this game was a wonderful mixture of relaxing-yet-stimulating. I'd definitely play more.
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The Geartower: Indie game design, development, and deconstruction
peterc_nz
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2014, 05:59:48 PM »

@oyog: Upgrades appear at the end of each week - Sunday night / Monday morning.

@AegarPyke: Thanks for the screenshot and the description! I just fixed an infinite loop for alpha2, and it appears the fix introduced a far more common crash. Droop

Top priority now is fixing that crash! We have a couple more alterations we'd like to make before the alpha3 build goes up - some balancing changes and in-game tutorials.
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2014, 02:37:16 PM »

We decided to go ahead and push alpha3 live with just the crash fixes. Tutorials and balance changes will wait for the next release.
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billyboob
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2014, 02:37:35 AM »

When you have a loop route there's only the single handle. Is there a way the player can decide which way around the loop they want to make changes to the route e.g. lmb for clockwise, rmb for counter?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 02:45:56 AM by billyboob » Logged
oyog
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2014, 08:22:11 AM »

@oyog: Upgrades appear at the end of each week - Sunday night / Monday morning.

Heh. Got so into the game I didn't bother scrolling the rest of the way down the page. Thanks.
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2014, 07:45:21 PM »

When you have a loop route there's only the single handle. Is there a way the player can decide which way around the loop they want to make changes to the route e.g. lmb for clockwise, rmb for counter?

At the moment, no, when you grab the handle it removes the last link that was placed on the line. That's a great idea though! I hadn't thought of using the right mouse button.

It's been tricky designing the interface, we want to keep it minimal and elegant but that can come at a cost of intuitiveness. We don't want to put lots of little handles and widgets and buttons on the screen, although that would make aspects of line editing easier.
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peterc_nz
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« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2014, 10:31:27 PM »

@oyog: Upgrades appear at the end of each week - Sunday night / Monday morning.

Heh. Got so into the game I didn't bother scrolling the rest of the way down the page. Thanks.

Fair enough, it is a silly place to put the instructions. Smiley Thank you for highlighting that the upgrade screen isn't entirely clear. It was going to be modified before release anyway, now I'll make sure it's clearer that it signifies the end of one week and start of the next.
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Pemanent
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« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2014, 10:40:59 PM »

Yeah this is really great. This is just the surface too, you could push this idea so much further, but even now with just this it's awesome.

Most of my issues with it were already brought up and they were all usability nitpicks.

Have you considered ios? This seems to be perfect for that market.
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Jad
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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2014, 02:22:49 AM »

I play this with this music in the background, and my life feels a little better. Thanks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0gyk9_QmBk
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