This has been another week of “other business” for me! What free time I’ve had left has been split between writing some small quality-of-life tech around running code asynchronously to make better use of multi-core processors and putting together a long-term plan for Jellyfish. We’ve got a lot of interesting ideas and I look forward to sharing some of them with you!
Hey guys, this week I began designing the Mission state-machine in excel. This will serve as the template for programming/implementation. Basically this is the second to last major step before missions are in-game.
Again much of the week has been me working more on the desk. Sadly we cant really show it off until it’s all implemented and making sense. This of course means we have many things for not just me to make graphics for but for Adam to make do the things they should in a nice manner. We’ll show more of that once it’s working and all neat and stuff.
I did however finally get around to addressing the module doors, they were originally made a long time ago in a bit of a hurry. This combined with the progression of work done on a project shifting the style and goal slightly (or severely, depending on the case) over time bit by bit had them looking “not great”. So I re-imagined them in a style more befitting Astrobase Command’s retro futuristic style.
Another busy day for the crew working on the station. It looks like they have already grown accustomed to the new doors.
We’ve started the process of reviewing our corporate presence in the vastness of the interwebs.
It turns out that in the process of launching a Kickstarter and experimenting to find an effective means of communicating with all of you, we took some initiatives that are no longer being sustained. We’re trimming away the dead branches to make everyone’s life easier.
Over the past several days, we’ve shut down some extraneous YouTube and Twitter accounts. To keep up to date with any future posts, follow the Jellyfish Games YouTube account and keep tabs on us Twitter at @jellyfish_games.
Hey guys! This week I continued to work on missions. I think I’ve landed on something interesting, and I’m doing a more formal design doc (typically we don’t do these) to organize my thoughts and make sure there aren’t any gaps in the design.
This week I continued work on the desk and the stuff on it. Specifically the Rolodex cards and the Datapad Cartridges. Since these are things that we have had versions of for a long time it ends up taking a bit longer not only to figure out how to iterate on the previous solution in a manner that is better in every way but since it’s later in the cycle it means they need to be more well made and have more details than the previous iterations of the same object. In part since the final versions will need to be better looking but also because future changes to them are likely smaller tweaks if anything.
I’ve mostly been busy with other studio business this week. However, I have been working in my spare time on our in-house Unity framework. I’ve been moving systems I want to carry over to other projects into it. This will make it easier for me to start new prototypes with a suite of pre-existing tools, as well as cordon off a section of the code that is not to be messed with.
Being a good coder is all about being mindful of the trade-offs in every decision. In this case, you have to weigh your desire for architectural perfection against getting the damned game out of the door. So, with this framework approach, you can have the best of both worlds: a protected set that you try to make as good as it can be and the rest of the code-base, which can be the Wild West.
This week has been one filled with desk-work and paperwork for me.
Paperwork as part of the chores when running a company as well as research on how to continue that more efficiently. The desk-work being the assets for the desk in ABC. Nothing to really show you guys yet as it all needs to finished before it will make any real sense without hour long explanations accompanying the screenshots/videos.
This week was a light one for me as I had other obligations. I still managed to knock out some admin tasks as well as participate in some design discussions revolving around desk usability. It’s really an important and fascinating topic because I’ve never played a game that strives for the experience we’re looking to create with that. It’s a difficult problem with a lot of trade-offs to consider.
Luckily, whenever something is too difficult to make a call on, we have the luxury to just jump in and prototype it. This allows us to spend less time theory-crafting and we can evaluate an idea on the merits of the prototype.
This week I’ve been working on the desk’s Rolodex and it’s cards as part of the re-working of the desk. The cards are a bit complex since they need to be able to display stats that update over time, even as the player is watching them, and show full graphics portraits of the crew. While that in itself isn’t too tricky it hits a bump in the road since it also needs to not only be a physical object on the desk and it needs to conform with the tech style and level of the game. Since we’re aiming for a more retro futuristic style this limits for example what a super thin display can do. I think we’re definitely getting there with the version we’re at right now, but the proof will be in the pudding when we have it fully, or fully enough implemented to actually interact with it and see how well it actually works.
Now that personality traits for game characters are finally finished, I started assembling the next layer of the system which is missions. Missions interact with character traits and the trait structure, as characters make decisions while on missions using on their personality. If you remember, I’ve previously explored several ideas and methods across 3 mission prototypes developed over the last year or two. Last week, this week, and probably for a few more, my focus is on putting together an awesome mission design out of what I liked in the prototypes. Only a few challenges remain that my brain is tasked with untangling.
This week I focused primarily on desk usability. We added a new stamp to make approving paper-based forms more satisfying. It’s simple, feels good and makes a satisfying plastic “kachunk”. I also made it possible to stamp documents a bunch of times and anywhere on the paper, so we can have funny moments stamping like madmen.
I also worked on a bunch of quality of life improvements, like keyboard shortcuts to launch a datapad program, clicking the desk edge to open the desk and giving papers slight rotations when putting them down on the desk so they all look perfectly aligned.
All this work will continue to reinforce the feeling of being in the leader’s seat, as opposed to being this disembodies omniscient god micro-managing everyone.
This week I finished up the game-final personality system design. It was a huge effort, but it’s finally just the way it needs to be. :slightly_smiling_face: Next up is moving onto the game-final missions, which on my end is the last major piece blocking a public release!
My week has been spent working on the desk, creating assets for Adam to implement. Mainly it’s been focused on how to make the in-box and cartridge-case do their job better. As you might understand, the underlying goal for our work for the last while has been to improve the desk, the items on it, and the players interactions with it.
Since we’re using the desk instead of having a hundred GUI windows to click buttons in, it becomes extremely important that we get the desk right. It needs to not only allow the player to easily and clearly perform actions but it also needs to make sense in the universally recognized physical space of a desk.