Monday, June 22, 2009

New poll, new social network pages

Poll results!

Diablo style - 41 (55%)
Ultima style - 2 (2%)
Sims style - 31 (41%)
Votes: 74

The big winner is Diablo style, that is, single click movement. But with Sims style (select to "walk there" from a context menu) a close second, I decided to implement both systems. You'll be able to switch between them from an option in the settings window. But, if for some extraordinary reason it's impossible to have both ways available, I will stick with the style that won.

New poll!!!

The new poll is about representation of entity properties. To be completely honest I'm not sure if that's the correct terminology for this.

Choice 1 : Numerical representation of properties
This is the system that most games use. For example, Sword Damage = 5, Armor = 10, Hunger = 20, and so on. Makes players know exactly where they are, but reduces the whole experience to a number game. Not that it's completely bad, let's face it: we all, at some level, gain satisfaction by watching numbers grow.

Choice 2: Use of adjectives to describe properties
This is an obfuscated but more immersive system. For example, Very Sharp Sword, Heavily Armored, Very Hungry. Makes it a little more difficult comparing properties at the beginning, but eventually grows on you. In the end, the more hardcore players end up finding out the formulas and translate these adjectives to a numerical value.

I'd like to hear what you thing the best system for a game like Start-a-town! would be. So don't forget to vote!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Update: Character sprites

Mister Default!
Mister Corporate Ladder!
Mister Punk!
Mister Girl!
Mister Emo!

These are some new sprites I made for the characters.

What I plan to do eventually is to have separate sprites for legs/pants, torsos and hair, and make the game dock them to the basic naked character sprite. Also the clothes/hair will be recolorable. Randomly generated NPCs will be given pairs of clothing/hair at random, but each piece of clothing/hair will probably have tags associated with it so the selection is more consistent with their personality. For example, emo characters will prefer dark clothing.

Of course this is all theoretical, and I may end up using a simpler system, although I hope I don't have to. This is too cool in my head!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Differences between Start-a-town! and The Sims

  • The Sims
You can switch between playing whichever Sim you like, whether they are created by the player or existing "neighbors" that came with the game.

  • Start-a-town!
You only create one playable character: yourself. The game obviously starts without neighbors. You get visitors randomly generated by the game, and if you think he would be a valuable asset to the town (in terms of their skills and personality), it's your task to convince them to settle in. From that point on, the only control you have over them is trying to influencing them.

  • The Sims
To build or buy items, you open up a panel, select the item you want and magically place it in the game world.

  • Start-a-town!
You still open a panel to select items, but you actually select blueprints. To build a wooden wall, you place the blueprint and, provided you have the necessary materials (wooden planks for example), you put your building skill to use, and... build it. Building takes too long? Have a skilled builder move into town. On the other hand, for items quite impossible to build (like computers), you have to order them to be shipped to you, or have a shop built to your town that stock these items (by influencing the shop owner what items to stock).

  • The Sims
You can redesign your neighbors' homes with complete freedom.

  • Start-a-town!
The neighbors build their homes by themselves (or by hiring an architect and/or a builder if available) on an area you designate for them (think residential/commercial zoning from SimCity). The building process will be procedurally generated, according to their personality, like painting the walls with their favorite colors or whether they like spacey or small and efficient rooms. It will be interesting to see what is being built (I realize this will be a difficult undertaking...). There could still be a way to make modifications though, such as to iron out any imperfections.