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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsBLEAK - Make millions miserable in the search of profit
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Author Topic: BLEAK - Make millions miserable in the search of profit  (Read 5599 times)
Raptorgeddon
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« on: July 21, 2015, 02:59:39 PM »



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A dystopic citybuilder / resource management game where you control the growth and development of a settlement for your corporate overlords. The aim is to let the player take a rag-tag bunch of refugees and and with a sprawling 1960's inspired concrete metropolis. Where other games in the genre base progression through happiness or population, BLEAK will focus on the profit of your settlement, forcing the player to make some dark choices in order to save a buck here or there.

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« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 03:22:06 PM by Raptorgeddon » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2015, 03:41:28 PM »

Originally posted Here on 08/03/2015.


Time for something different, I've broken ground on a personal project.
I'm going to be working on this game through the summer, with the intent of using it as a stepping stone for my Final Project in my third year, starting in September 2015. Right now, there's less than a little. There's two boxes as greybox assets for buildings, and a little red headbobbing thing that looks like Google Map's PegMan. He's got a hunger counter that goes down by one every second through InvokeRepeating.

This project is also going to be a vessel for me to learn the in's and out's of PBR shaders, C# scripting and putting together a Pitch Packet. Development will be a solo affair, with a friend offering their skills in Graphic Design and bookbinding here and there.
Devlog's will be whenever I can devote the time before summer, ideally weekly once summer begins.
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2015, 03:42:02 PM »

Originally posted Here on 14/03/2015.


Not a very big addition today, but an important one never-the-less. Looking into unity's TimeScale led to me cracking adjusting the simulation speed on demand. UI is placeholder, and the issue of it incorrectly stating that the game was paused will be fixed in the next iteration of the script.

A change in game ethos has led me to revise down the importance of the people in Bleak's gameworld. As such the hunger system detailed in the previous Devlog will be scrapped and replaced with a system closer to that of Anno 2070's population group based system.

But for right now, Red Pegman, esq. can bob his head forever.
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2015, 03:42:43 PM »

Originally posted Here on 23/06/2015.


Not a lot of work's gone on for this project and that's squarely on my shoulders. That being said I've done some things behind the scenes, writing up something to show people to explain the art style, for when the time comes that I rope in other people, or pitch the idea to the course tutors

Okay, so here goes.


A demonstration of the second piece of code written for the project. A simple two lines that calculates a unit price for a resource, by comparing supply and demand of that resource. It's more than a little simplistic as of right now, later iterations will be linked to specific game objects being present in the scene.



A mock up rendered to demonstrate an idea for the games initial loading screen. The game will clearly involve buildings and the idea to show the title as building lights makes some sense, if a little generic


An in progress model to demonstrate the particular look for the game I'm going for. Rugged and bulky, with dated 60's - 90's styling with the occasional sci-fi detail thrown in for good measure. Similar to that of Wolfenstein: The New Order, but not designed by hard-body maestro Tor Frick.


A mock-up of the games title screen, to help visualise the concept and eventually sell the idea to other people.


In a similar vein to the above mock up- this is a mock up of the map selection screen, presented to the player when they start a new game. Even at this stage I realise that what I'll be able to produce won't be the full extent of the idea, so it'll be reined in at this stage. The full idea of the game would be to have procedurally generated terrains and maps based on where the player selected, but ultimately the delivered project will likely only have one pre-assembled map.


The worlds of Robocop, Alien etc all have the staple multinational conglomerates, and Bleak will be no different. Containing a mix of references, parodies and unique companies, the businesses of Bleak will be cynical and gritty pastiches of corporate culture.
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Raptorgeddon
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2015, 03:43:10 PM »

Originally posted Here on 24/06/2015.


After much huffing, sulking and silently screaming into a mug of tea, I managed to plumb together two scripts and now trade prices automatically adjust depending on the number of production buildings in the game world. There's some cleaning up to be done, such as moving it from Function Update to a less resource intensive implementatio. There's no point in taking GIF's of the actual game scene just yet, it's just green cubes popping into existence on a grotesquely shiny plane. Actual in-game work will come later once more of the framework's in place.

I was also going to show the start of a style guide, but work can't begin on that until I find my copy of Lowry and the painting of Modern Life. The works of L.S. Lowry, to me perfectly marry gritty subject matter with a stylised, simplified look.


L.S. Lowry,1955, Industrial Landscape.

The washed out simplistic design of the buildings and features of Lowry's body of work would suit the style I'm aiming for, in my opinion.
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2015, 03:44:21 PM »

Originally posted Here on 20/07/2015.

It's been a fair while since I've done one of these, but not because I've been slacking.

Much.


First thing is this, which I realise looks like nothing in particular at all. At the time I intended it to be the start of a modular fence model, more important is the animation being an example of how I envision building construction to look like in BLEAK. Other games have gone for the realistic 'scaffolding goes up and the building's slowly constructed' route and whilst it works, it's usually quite benign visually, and kinda boring. The inspiration for this sort of fluid, unfolding is the game Offworld Trading Company which has intricate, detailed animations for its buildings. I'm also of a mind to try something like this because animating in this style seems relatively easy, and it's another string to my bow.



Second is this, a test of the Day/Night cycle, how the Land rover 109 inspired vehicle deals with being controlled as a Navmesh Agent and how the individual component handle the games Timespeed being adjusted. Apart from a few things that might need working out, everything seems to work fine with adjusted speeds.


This is an animation test of a small building. All the animations as of yet that are implemented are done within Unity through scripting.


A closeup of the above building in question later on, a Protein Farm which I intend the backbone of any food-producing colony. How it's producing food? Watch Snowpiercer.


Finally, showing off an RTS camera I shamelessly stole  borrowed from the Unity Forums. I'll work with it, add a few features I need but mostly this is exactly what I need.

And that concludes the GIF portion of this Devlog. Now here's a bunch of images.


a render of the finalised version of the Sci-Fi 109, complete with terrible gamma.


The above model textured and within the game in Unity


An in-progress version of a building that will feature heavily in BLEAK, the Panoptic Nexus. Currently the Nexus is a carbon copy of the BT tower, but later iterations will tweak and adjust the design


The Protein rack object, and the storage barrel taken from within Maya and the Storage Barrel rendered in Unity.


Work in progress 109 heavy haulage variant, knocked out from model to in-unity in a day, even including a horrible crash to desktop thanks to Maya.


A variant I was toying around with of the 109, which I think would fill the same niche that the Sinclair C5 would have had. I think this is really kinda cute, but that might just be me being weird.


A screenshot from Unity, showing a Terrace building model, the two variants on the 109, an equally placeholder person model replacing the old animated Peg Man, and the storage barrel. This was to gauge if the visual style of the game was working at this early stage. Minor tweaks were made to the albedo colour of the Terrace, and I've noted the accidental uptake of a colour scheme that strongly features contrasting orange and blue.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 03:51:19 PM by Raptorgeddon » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2015, 04:07:36 PM »

Looking at your map graphic I instantly thought of those 1970's educational programs. The ones with rather surreal music and equally surreal computer graphics. I am not sure if that is what you are going for?

If you are check out the satire "look around you"

and the 1984 film "threads" it's a little grim involving a nuclear strike but the matter of fact way of narrating it hearkens back to that vibe.
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Raptorgeddon
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2015, 04:14:52 PM »

Looking at your map graphic I instantly thought of those 1970's educational programs. The ones with rather surreal music and equally surreal computer graphics. I am not sure if that is what you are going for?

If you are check out the satire "look around you"

and the 1984 film "threads" it's a little grim involving a nuclear strike but the matter of fact way of narrating it hearkens back to that vibe.

In terms of inspiration, it's like a bell curve from 1960-90 centred on the 70's. Thank you for mentioning the educational programs, they're something I totally overlooked and are probably going to be a really substantial source of inspiration for the interface. I've seen the odd episode of Look Around You, namely the one where they bubble nitrogen(?) through water to make Whiskey. I'll certainly add it to the growing list of sources.
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2015, 01:42:04 PM »

Today I worked on Particles and rockets.


firstly there's this. It's a dust cloud. My intent for this is a bit of visual flair when placing or demolishing buildings. The Tenement model is going to get roughed up and made a bit more grungy, and it's going to litter the map in lines and blocks, suggesting the remains of a blasted and windswept Victorian suburb. I might give them a tangible game play value and have them give the player small amounts of resources when they're destroyed, like urban reclamation.


ROCKETS! The chosen epoch for inspiration firmly contains the Apollo program, which certainly had its influence on the sci-fi genre. The ICARUS ( Working Title) Rocket will be used as a medium-game building to ferry goods and materials to and from a lunar base, which I'd like to expand as far as another settlement, but I'm probably going to avoid that now thanks to Anno 2205's announcement. Both these examples are barebones and not particularly detailed, but will be worked on in further iterations.
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2015, 09:31:56 PM »

Cool twist on the citybuilder. Big fan of the genre, there's so many interesting and dark directions you could take this. From The Giver to 1984, so many possible inspirations and influences

So how does building a dystopia change up the gameplay compared to a typical citybuilder?
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2015, 05:35:50 AM »

Cool twist on the citybuilder. Big fan of the genre, there's so many interesting and dark directions you could take this. From The Giver to 1984, so many possible inspirations and influences

So how does building a dystopia change up the gameplay compared to a typical citybuilder?

There's much more outright exploitation, but that's more a 'story' thing. I suppose the biggest change is that most city builders, (Anno, Tropico, Simcity to an extent) whilst they're grand scale, there's still a focus on the people, through things like Cities Skylines' milestones related to population, Anno's tiers based on population group sizes and tropico's factions. I'm planning equivalents that don't deal with individual people. Things like tying milestones to your daily profit, group specific buildings are going to be tied to what percentage of your population are in that group.

Right now I'm planning three pairs of diametrically opposed groups, but at the moment I'm only going to implement one pair and leave the other two as stretch goals. At the moment these are the groups I'm planning

  • Academic / Luddite
  • Criminal / Prisoner
  • Worker / Unemployed

The other way I'm pushing the Dystopian narrative is through your building options themselves. I might backtrack if it gets too confusing but right now I'm going down a path of naming them rather obscurely, things like it's not a 'City Hall' it's a 'Panoptic Nexus.'

As for inspirations, there's a surprising amount of books and films that I'm going to trawl through, from Soylent green to 1984, Robocop and whichever Judge Dredd issues I can find.
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2015, 02:39:03 PM »


Used the Terrace model to map out a generic Victorian suburb, which i'll keep coming back to and expanding out as needs be. I'll probably return to the model and tweak colours on it, really push the idea that these buildings are old and uninhabitable.



Broke ground on placing buildings physically in the gameworld. It's going to need a lot more work, but it's a start. Next up is getting to appear closer to the actual cursor, and destroy any of the terraces it clips into. Then once that's sorted out, I'll maybe redesign the tower, break it up into several tiers, and animate its construction.

Now then, on to TIGSource related things. Is how I've done these Devlogs so far been okay? What would people change? Is the little and often thing working, or would less often and more about larger finalised implementations be better? More or less GIFs? Please let me know, It'll help in the long run.
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2015, 12:48:08 PM »

Posted these in the Screenshot Saturday thread, only makes sense that I post them here too.



Rough concepts of the splash screen, and the in-game interface.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 08:30:24 AM by Raptorgeddon » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2015, 11:11:33 AM »

Okay. So a little bit of a longer Devlog this time around. I've decided to slow them down a little so that there's actually more to show in an attempt to spark conversation.


I implemented the mouse interacting with the gameworld, to a minor extent. If I want to continue this way around I'm going to have to rethink things in terms of how the gameworld actually fits together. I had intended for the player to be able to place buildings free form in the game world, but will have to maybe revert to a more traditional grid system.

Also billowing smoke in the middle of the terrace is a modified version of the truck I've used so much of. They're going to be worked on a lot more, and I'm going to have to watch Mad Max: Fury Road for better inspiration, because that's going to be the vehicle of choice for the many many bandits and raiders attacking your export trucks leaving your settlement.

Something else I've added is the ability to pan the camera around a central pivot. I need to work on it a little more as it doesn't actually adjust how the camera moves around the world, meaning that edge scrolling and the WASD keys don't move the camera in the direction you'd expect.

I've also written up some more of the late-game ideas and features I want to implement.

Discontent
Discontent is  used to facilitate growth and building of structures. Discontent is a percentage scale from 0-100%. Intervals of 10-20% add new penalties to the game world, ranging from increased resource use to lower production. A discontent score of 100% is one of the games fail states. Discontent rises with certain things. Some buildings will provide a service whilst raising discontent, high populations will raise discontent, having low to no food stored will raise discontent. The Discontent mechanic exists to curb building beyond the limits of the money system, as building up too quickly will cause your citizens to riot. However some buildings like the Propaganda Centre and the Documentary Studio have higher outputs if operating under high levels of discontent.

Panoptic Nexus
The ‘city hall’ of the Bleak world. The starting point of every city. The Panoptic Nexus is situated in the centre of the map, and grows and develops with each and every profit milestone. Upgrading the Nexus unlocks new edicts, which bolster and change how other buildings and features work.

Milestones
akin to the milestone unlocks in Cities skylines, but instead of based on population, they’re based on currency, either in terms of profit, or balance. Per trade Profit makes more sense as balance can be idled and cheated

Edicts
Edicts are similar to the feature in Tropico which shares its name. Edicts are a way for the player to customise your settlements code of laws, for fun and mostly profit.

Populational Needs
the pairs of diametrically opposed groups both have maslovian pyramids, however one of them is markedly more complex than the other. (Science > Luddite) (Criminal > Prisoner) (worker > Unemployed)
The less complicated side to the pair does not have a victory state assigned to it, although the victory state of the more complicated side of the pair can only be achieved late in the game, and requires a lot of resources and capital to be invested.

Gameplay Tiers.
Gameplay is broken into three tiers. The first tier is where the game starts, providing the player with a basic set up that will keep a small population stable for a reasonable amount of time. However the player will have to expand and grow the settlement as currently it will not be profitable. In addition their population will grow slowly, accelerating during migration waves. This means the player will have to expand infrastructure to support their burgeoning population.

This leads into the second tier. At this point the player will have some form of export base, and will at least be breaking even. This tier opens up more production options, including the second stages of many production lines. However at this point, the discontent mechanic comes into play. The player then has to expand on infrastructure further, to ensure that the settlement doesn’t riot and tear itself apart. Additionally the player can now begin to specialise their settlement through focusing on specific population groups and passing specific edicts. Once the player has placated the population enough that immediate riots are no longer an issue, the game opens up into its final tier of play.

The third tier greatly expands on the population groups, with three of the six having victory conditions, the opposite three being without, but to make up for that they’re simpler and require less ‘upkeep’ choosing one or more of those three allow the player to focus on alternate win conditions through the contracts system.
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2015, 01:49:58 AM »

This project isn't dead, I swear

Now that’s got your attention, let’s get down to it.

Updates stopped for about two months, and there’s a reason for this. I Uni late august and before and after then I was either packing up or settling back down. Now I’m back and working on this four days a week because this is my third year project as well as a passion project.

Since work redoubled on this, the following things have happened:



Bleak’s Game Design Document hit both two thousand words and ten pages. Still relatively detail-light but writing’s still ongoing.



I fixed a nasty camera issue that had been confounding me for a number of weeks.



I consolidated the manufacturing and truck demos together, and fixed the building placement issue. Next up is adding building colliders to stop people overlapping buildings on top of each other



I also started throwing together more concepts for UI. It’s not going to really go any further than this until I do the visuals after Christmas, but it’s always good to keep ideas flowing.

And I’m going to start doing some spotlights on the separate population groups, what they do, and how you win using them. This’ll start tomorrow, with the normal, run-of-the-mill Worker.
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2015, 12:46:21 PM »


Today was mostly spent expanding on the ability to place buildings.



You can now select a chosen building using the buttons on the lower portion of the screen. Scale and size will be reworked later on in the project.



however the implementation as it is does have its fair share of issues, like being able to destroy the terrain freely,



and being able to place buildings on top of buildings, on top of buildings etcetera.
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2015, 03:02:32 PM »

looking very nice!
posting to follow  Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2015, 08:13:39 AM »


Not a lot to show off this week, it's mostly been a case of writing design documents and Art Bibles. I'm pitching BLEAK to my University course staff next Monday, and after that I can really knuckle down and get mechanics implemented and working.

Right now though here's what's been done this week. The camera's been replaced with an Orthographic camera, which will need a lot of tweaking to look better, but I feel adds a much better look to the game, and lets people get a hell of a lot closer to the models.

Also being shown is the expansions to the building production system. It's slowly going to be expanded upon with more and more buildings. Currently implemented is the Basic food production (The small blue-tarped building) and the Building Component factory (the big white placeholder) These both have purposes as production buildings. Next up is giving the tenement building a use, and wiring that back into the other buildings.
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« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2015, 10:17:20 AM »

Pitched the game yesterday, so all the writing and theory is ostensibly done for the moment. Now it's time to jump on the treadmill and get developing.



I spent today implementing a barebones version of population. Right now it's not wired into anything else, so it's just dependant on how many buildings of a certain type are in the scene. Obviously this is using greybox assets, I don't intend for all the other buildings in Bleak to be horribly clipping, garishly bright boxes.

Onwards and upwards!
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« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2015, 02:25:51 PM »



Sorry for the lack of an update last week. Small bits of additions and iterations here and there since then, and I didn't feel that the state the game was in last week was enough of an update to warrant posting.

So what's changed?

I've ditched the free-placement nature of the game. Everything now sits on a 10m x 10m grid. This was down to user feedback, saying that without more intricate systems in place, the lack of finesse would be irritating. Also added is a Minimap, as seen in bottom left. Moving the camera through clicking on the map is a feature I would like, but I'm not sure is entirely needed.

Population buildings now drain food resources, it's balanced so that it's 1:1 in terms of production to consumption, but that slowly raises Discontent (the tiny red face at the bottom left). Depending on balance, it might get bumped up so that one farm can support two buildings.

Shadows got fixed, they're now much more solid and have a much higher draw distance. If this proves to be a big performance hit, I'll have another look at it and readjust.

The terrace got remodelled, which can be viewed here

Next up for remodelling is the farm, which is going to look more recognisable once it's done, as well as have a larger footprint.



And for the longer term is this, which is a hastily written flowchart for an alternate way of placing buildings, which might remove some issues that currently exist in the game.

Anyone got any critiques, comments, cash payments?
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