This is the first ever weekly update for Project Urban Tale! I know this is extremely early and why the hell would I even be posting something so raw like this, but you know what? I have commited myself to write up weekly updates for this project, and I wasn’t really going to share those updates at first but, what harm is there? I went looking for what some fellow devs did and checked Factorio’s dev blog (one of my favourite games of all time), and you know, its just super cool… you look at their posts from 2012 and its so relatable… a small group, making a game they have no idea will work or not… trying stuff out… its history, and this is a great way to make history last!
So without further ado, this week I have focused very heavily in the world simulation by creating new entities for the world. It will be my focus for the updates to come as well, as for this game the world needs to feel both alive and responsive to whatever is going on in the world. I want the game to be as systemic as it can be and the secret to get that right is layering. Layering systems in a way that interesting interactions emerge, even if I had not foreseen them. But, to get there, we have to start somewhere, and this is where I decided to start:
New Character Type – Citizen
Our everyday John Smith (ha, I have nephew John Smith), has a house, a job, and goes to work every day following a very strict routine. Pretty boring, but they are legion and are at the core of the people you will be wanting to sway over a playthrough.
New Character Type – Family Member
These rely on the player to bring them food, they sleep to recharge their energy, they eat off of the fridge… and not much else right now. I’ll soon get them to wander around, and hopefully one day build some more depth into them, but their purpose is creating an anchor to the player… something the player feels compelled to do (spending money to keep them well), while having to sacrifice other tasks that actually bring the player closer to a good ending.
New Character Type – Food Stand Owner
Just like the citizen these are randomly generated, have a house, however their job is very special at the food stand. This is one of the main sources of food for the player throughout the game, however they also have working hours, go home to sleep… therefore the source for food for the player will vary depending on time and playthrough. And, if something happens to stop food stand owners from performing their everyday lives… food will be harder to come by.
New System – Inventory
I wanted to try and make the UIs and interfaces in the game something interesting, more of a toy than just means to an end… and what better way to do that than have the inventory actually being a bag where you drop stuff into? By drop stuff into I mean actually dropping it, physically. You can carry around as much stuff as you can fit in your backpack, you can try to make a pyramid for all I care haha, but, space is physically limited. This same concept will be applied to basically all other interactions I can, such as storing food in the fridge, buying stuff from vendors and so on. Lets see if this pans out to be something cool but I do think it adds flavour to the game. The trade off is that it is more of a manual task for the player, so I will have to evaluate as time goes by wheter this is cool or just a nuisance.
New Interactable Object – Bed
Allows the player and other NPCs to sleep and recharge their energy. Only the bed’s owner can sleep on it, so each family member has its own.
New Interactable Object – Fridge
Allows the player to store food for its family, by dragging food items from its backpack into the fridge (manually dragging). Once food is in, the fridge detects it and stores how many calories it has inside. If family members are hungry, they will check this info and, if there’s food, they will rush to eat, consuming whatever comes first. The fridge is owned by a “family” instead of a single owner like the bed, which means it can be shared between multiple NPCs.
New Interactable Object – Food Stand
This will be the main food source for the player, specially in the beginning of the game. It needs to be manned by the Food Stand Owner dude described above, but is still a work in progress.
Fixes and Improvements
Given how early a state the project is in, this is a given! But this week specifically I have worked on optimizing the characters and shaders and trying to define a proper art pipeline moving forward. Still need to define a few things, try out a few things to get work from photoshop into the game.
And thats it! Hopefully next week Ill have another update ready and hopefully with as much stuff as this one! Thanks for reading and any questions, please let me know!