So… I have been busy with both Steam Dev Days and then Political Animals, but still found time to crack on with Production Line. So far a lot of the stuff you have seen in the video and my earlier posts has been about the look of the game and the isometric factory, but I have started doing very early work on some of the business side of the game. For example, we now finally have an actual financial data dialog which pops up when you click on the current cash balance:
This is very early days, and some of those categories are not working yet. Currently the rent, wages, capital expenditure and raw materials / component stuff is in there and functioning. I thought it made sense to show data for 1, 7 and 30 days in the past to get different snapshots of how your company is doing, although maybe 7,30 and all time makes more sense? who knows… I suspect also a few line charts showing how those categories have changed over time would make sense too, eventually. I’ll likely get the income (broken down by model of car) working first, then add a simple overview, and then worry about finnessing the display of it all. Once the raw data is being collected, saved/loaded and displayed properly changing the display of the data is relatively easy.
My aim, in design terms is to have the player spend some time fussing about the layout of the factory, and the bottlenecks that will inevitably ensue, some time deciding which R&D project to undertake next, and some time looking at the numbers, graphs & charts associated with the business. I found it interesting how delicately the balance of component costs and production efficiency was micro-managed by Henry Ford for the model T. When you are making a LOT of cars, changing the size of a single component, or using a lighter material (just by 5%) for a specific component can save an absolute fortune. I want the player to have the option to really drill down into things and be able to spend money to optimize a tiny thing (such as the speed at which tyres are fitted) which only makes sense when you have 10+ tyre fitting stations, and thus a vast factory. My feeling is that a lot of ‘big’ strategy and biz sims lose focus towards the middle and end game, and it becomes a simple matter of just copy-pasting the same layout. With any luck I’ll be able to avoid that.
Anyway…something else I did recently was restrict the placement of resource import slots to specific ‘ghosted’ areas, to give the player less freeform control over layout. I want there to be a LOT of these, so it isn’t *too* restrictive, but a complete free-form approach is perhaps too dull :D.
Feedback vastly appreciated.