Since last update, changes can be placed into two bins:
- An Art Deco styling pass
- 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.
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.
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.
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