Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Post-EGX, Build 1.32, dev blog video etc…

So we survived EGX! Me and Jeff from stargazy studios were manning the Production Line booth. TBH Jeff was there more than me, as I just get crushingly tired in the presence of lots of people, especially if they start talking to me :D. I realize now what an introvert I truly am. Still, it was great to watch people try the game for the first time, as it gave us a lot of insight into the really obvious mistakes I’ve made with the GUI and tutorial. The biggest and most obvious screw-up was the tutorial did not (and still doesn’t, as of writing this) explain to you that the middle mouse button, or ‘r’ key rotates the current object… ooops.

We also had some non-intuitive GUI, which we never realized, because presumably players of the game work it out, and then forget they were ever confused. here are some examples.

  • Some players got confused as to what was an export slot (for finished cars) and a resource import slot. I think I’ve solved that by adding little animated GUI for them:
  • Some players tried to place a slot down on top of existing conveyor belts, which in theory should work, but in practice doesn’t because the code just refuses to let you place a slot on top of any ‘occupied’ tile, even if it makes sense because you are aligning the conveyor tile of the new production slot with the existing conveyor tile going the same way. I now have code that detects that you are doing this and lets it happen, which feels so natural; now its implemented.
  • Some players tried to place a bunch of slots then drag a conveyor belt through all of them, which also makes sense but doesn’t work because of the way the drag-routing works, but I think I have a solution to that (maybe… it might be a bit hellish) This is one of those things that sounds simple to code… until you code it and realize how you still have to create a sensible route for the dragged path, and also ensure all of the directions line up…etc. I’ll think about it.
  • A few players didn’t seem to notice research *at all* and considered the game pretty much ‘done’ when they had shipped some cars, which is so very very far from the truth :D I’m going to have to work on some advice popups in the mid game to point out that you need to get some research done.

Anyway… we learned a lot, and met some of the games early players, and also some streamers and youtubers, and gave away 1,000 Production Line badges and a bunch of leaflets and stickers (I really should have ordered more than a token 100 stickers…). I find these shows tiring, but I think having a presence at them does help.

I also gave a very well attended talk on the show floor called ‘How not to go bankrupt’ which I’ll also be giving at indiecade paris, and maybe after that, I’ll put the slides online on this blog. That was a bit nerve-wracking, but also good to do, for PR purposes etc…

And so, because I like to be that indie who gets things done, I have returned home and immediately released build 1.32 of the game. There is a full breakdown of what changed in this forum post. I also recorded the latest developer blog video today:

Plus…we are close to releasing Chinese, Portuguese & Russian versions of Democracy 3. PLEASE if you have a steam build, check out the beta branch (even if you only play in English) and let me know if you encounter any text rendering issues :D

Exciting news on Shadowhand soon!