Welcome to this update! Let’s get stuck in!
My old implementation of equipment in game was, to be honest, not good. Looking back now, I don’t know what i was thinking. But now it’s better! I re-wrote how things like axes, pickaxes, shovels etc work in game. My old system revolved around the player “interacting” with resources based on what they had equipped. So for example, if the player pressed the interact button next to a tree and had an axe equipped, an animation was played and the tree would drop logs. This got pretty messy with how it conflicted with the interaction system and even worse, it meant that you had to be standing in a pretty accurate spot to hit the tree with the axe. Sometimes the animation would look like you hit the tree, but according to the game, you didn’t. With the new implementation things are handled a bit more like they should be.
When you press interact with a tool equipped you’ll swing that tool, if the tool hits something during it’s swing the game handles that. So if you swing an axe near a tree and the tip of the axe hits the tree, it’ll register. This is basically how it works in real life, and has made the whole thing feel, and work, a lot better in game too.
With the time spent fixing up how tools work I added the dig interaction and a simple shovel. You can now run around digging up fossils, complete with a little animation and particle effects! I want to fix up the item spawn animation so items actually fly out’ve the hole; and make sure the timings etc fit better but it’s certainly a lot more fun to run around and dig up fossils. As for the fossils: when you have the archeologist in town you’ll be able to speak to them and get the fossil evaluated and donate the fossil to the city museum out’ve town. You’ll get a nice bit of cash too to help with your town renovations in return.
Rubble and Ruin!
Before you came to town things got a bit run-down and villagers moved out. Story wise I’m still figuring this out, but in terms of gameplay this means you’ll be going round tidying up the town before you can start building new buildings and decorating. Each plot of land that can be used for a new home will need to be cleared of rubble before anything can be built. I added rubble and ruin pieces that can be destroyed with an axe or pickaxe; and have hooked these up to the plots so that they unlock when things are cleared.
Shopping and prices
The shop level is back in the game now in a basic state (it got removed with the rework of the town) complete with shopkeeper pig! I went through and set up items in game to have prices, and sale values. These prices are what you’ll pay in store for an item, or how much something you’ve crafted is worth. I built an editor window that enables me to get a quick overview of all the prices of things in-game; and also allows me to easily set the prices of crafted materials based on their ingredients with the click of button.
A while back I had interact and pickup on separate buttons, similar to Animal Crossing; it made sense, but after playtests, some questioned why they weren’t just the same button. Without any really good reasons at the time I decided to try out having pickup and interact on the same button. After running around with this one-button set up for a while I realized it really needed to go back to the two-button implementation. This was especially apparent when gathering resources; what if you’re standing in front of a tree and you want chop down the tree but not pick up the log in front of it, and vice versa? This became very frustrating as the player would 50% of the time not be able to do their desired action, based on what was in front of them. I’ve since reverted back to having separate buttons and it feels a lot better. I made a minor flow tweak too while I was at it so that the avatar now automatically re-equips anything they had in their hands prior to picking something up. So if you have an axe in your hands and want to pick up a log, the axe gets put away, the avatar pickup the log, and then automatically gets the axe back out again; making gathering resources a lot smoother.
The train arrives several times in town, and depending on your town different characters will come to visit. To let you know the train is here, and who’s visiting you’ll now get a little notification! All villagers that you’ve met and said hi to will be shown colored-in; but those that are new will show just a silhouette and big question mark. Who are they? Well, you’ll have to go and introduce yourself to find out!
Now when you click something you’ll get an icon telling you what you’ve clicked; if you click the ground you get a little symbol on the floor; click an interactable and you’ll see an arrow over it. This communicates to you what you’ve clicked and what will happen. It needs proper visuals, but just giving this small amount of visual feedback feels tonnes better.
I sat down and spent some time with the crafting interface to make it match the new direction from last month’s concepts. I also added little animations to make the feel of crafting a material more rewarding. You can now bring up a list of all the things you have unlocked that you can craft too, so you’re not just crafting blind. You’ll unlock more craftable materials as you play the game and get more experienced with crafting and these will get added to the list.
Designer UI Final Final 02 Maybe
With all this new interface stuff going on I decided to tackle the designing/making interface; both to fit it in with the new direction and, well, to make it work again (it’s astounding how quickly things break when you’re not working on them…!)
I had this idea for a long list of all the pieces you could use in your creation that you could browse. Before you’d have separate tabs you’d switch between to choose betwee metal pieces, wooden pieces, paints etc; but now they’re all in one list. Sounds messy? Well; these piece types are separated into sections, and there are little tabs next to these sections allowing you to “jump” to the section you want. This long-list gives a really nice browsing feel I think to the experience and feels a lot more free and natural than hiding types of pieces from one-another.
Along with the new scrollable list and colorful UI I made some fundamental changes to how adding pieces to your creation works. The old functionality still had some hang-overs from when it was gamepad based and felt awkward and clunky. Now, with a mouse the user expects different behaviors and I fixed up a bunch of these niggling things; stuff like clicking “off” an object to deselect it for example. I’ll be adding keyboard shortcuts for actions like undo a bit later; but one important factor of the interface that I’m striving for is to have one one-button click friendly. This means that everything you can do can be done with clicking or dragging the left mouse button. Now the interface got another step closer to feeling good with mouse input; I’m going to be getting some playtester feedback on this stuff again before I continue making more usability tweaks.
Bam! There you go! Another two weeks of progress! I hope you’re enjoying these updates! If you have any questions or wanna just come hang out, hop into my cozy Discord Server
Thanks for reading!