SRG Update #18

Since the last update, BAWD’s basic gameplay loop has finally closed, though it is yet untuned: Play yields credits, credits yield module upgrades, and module upgrades yield improved play and (in my opinion) enjoyment.

I’ve also re-introduced the “difficulty”/”block power” concept from the game’s previous life. At a certain depth, your blocks aren’t powerful enough to continue clearing, and you must invest in the power module to go further.

This isn’t a mechanic I love, but it feels necessary for the time being. What I don’t love about it is that it’s essentially an arbitrary gating mechanism for the sake of having some kind of thing to grow against. That’s not how I like to design things, but in the absence of a better-designed mechanic, something must still exist.

One aspect of it that is slightly redeeming is that deeper mining isn’t just “more mining”, but “significantly more profitable mining”. The tiles are worth more, there are more precious metal pips, and the pips are also worth more. In that sense it provides a gradual speeding-up of the gameplay loop, while also creating increased risk for failure: you’ll have to restart at the surface, meaning less profitability until you can get deeper into the mine.

The leveling up of abilities should help make those subsequent digs less punishing, but it’s still something you don’t want to do.

Beyond these gameplay changes, I’m working on a flurry of UI/UX changes to help polish the game in anticipation of a Q4 release. There are a lot of tasks that qualify as “polish”, but I think they’ll prove manageable.

Posted in BAWD, Developer Blog Posts, Games, News, SRG Updates

SRG Update #17

Since last update, changes can be placed into two bins:

  1. An Art Deco styling pass
  2. Adding the in-game shop

Between these two changes, the game is feeling much, much closer to completion. The remaining pre-ship to-do list is fits on one screen, now.

 

Styling Pass

The styling pass was to follow on update 16’s point about how “completion exposes flaws”. I felt that leveling up the visuals might help shake out miscellaneous mediocrities.

The main issue it exposed was an animation problem in the mining gameplay which, in my opinion, significantly reduced mining intuitiveness. The fix turned out fairly straightforward, and really does make the mine gameplay feel a lot nicer. I find that small bugs that cause significant visual glitches during gameplay can deeply undermine the feel of ‘play’, because you lose faith that the system is coherent and consistent.

 

Shop Implementation

Similarly, implementing the shop makes the game have an actual gameplay “loop”, at long last: success ⇒ money ⇒ upgrades ⇒ success. Through this, BAWD gains that controversial “RPG-style growth mechanic motivator”, for better and worse. It does make the game feel like it has some kind of “point”, which is generally a good thing.

That is to say: Some players will now feel a compulsion to acquire upgrades, and a sense of satisfaction when they do, whether or not they actually enjoy the gameplay enough to spend time on it without the carrot pulling them forward.

BAWD was always intended to be an RPG-ification of the various classic ‘falling block puzzle’ style of game, so this is all more-or-less according to plan. 

In the longer term, I want BAWD players to feel driven more by a sense of exploration than the simpler, more base “upgrades!” reward cycle, but in the meantime I think it serves as a good foundation for fleshing out the experience.

 

Up Next

My efforts now are primarily directed towards getting to “Shipped!”. The list is short:

  • Tighten up the ‘meaning’ of upgrades
  • Tune abilities and rewards appropriately
  • Add music/SFX
  • Add tutorials, options UI, policy links, credits
  • Fix any remaining bugs

Excitebike!

Posted in BAWD, Developer Blog Posts, Games, News, SRG Updates