DevLog #5 - Fatigue, Trello and Drug Vats

While fatigue is a mechanic in Pit Fighter Tycoon, it unfortunately affects me as a human as well. The gap between DevLogs is due to exactly that; so I’ve written some thoughts about that elsewhere.

Planning for the Future

Along with a planned return to monthly DevLogs, I have created a Trello board, where you’ll be able to see what I am working on at the moment. You can find that here!

I’ll be using it to keep track of everything as I move towards the next major milestone – Feature Complete!

Building Some Drug Vats

When I initially announced this project on Reddit, there was a significant amount of interest in how I learned to make the game itself. I’m hoping to shed some light on the art and UI side of things in this blog! If you’d prefer to not know how the game works, maybe skip this one.

Everything in the game has been built in Unity. While my art tool of choice is GIMP2 – as it is free to use (and superior to Photoshop for pixel art, in my opinion anyway).

This is the Training Interface, it’s currently a work in Progress so colours and design are subject to change.

 Work in Progress!

Work in Progress!

Most of the art here is placeholder for now. However, on the left side of the UI there are a series of Drug Vats. These will allow the player to prescribe drug regimes to their slaves, potentially killing them. I’ll write more about the mechanics when they are finished in the next DevLog!

Each of those vats is a UI object within Unity, which contain a number of image objects within them. At the top level, they just have an empty shell, which is done so that they scale properly with different screen resolutions. However they consist of a number of sub-objects, which is where all of the art is.

 Nesting objects underneath allows you to easily manipulate it

Nesting objects underneath allows you to easily manipulate it

Through trial and error I’ve found that using the Stretch setting along with anchor points seems to work best for UI Scaling.

 The UI will appear over the top when the mouse moves over it.

The UI will appear over the top when the mouse moves over it.

This game is very UI heavy, mostly due to the nature of it's genre. There's never a single 'right' way of doing something, just more and less appropriate/efficient ways.

Before creating nice looking art, you need to figure out the size and composition of the final image so that it actually looks right in the game itself. So, start with a rectangle, or square and place it directly in the scene. You can then figure out what size and shape your art should be.

The chair down beneath the drug vats started life as a maroon rectangle, then I began figuring out the shape and shading.

 Once you're happy with the composition, then you can make it pretty. Still has some distance to go I think!

Once you're happy with the composition, then you can make it pretty. Still has some distance to go I think!

The drug vats themselves also started as a plain object, so that I could quickly and easily mess with composition.

 Before and After!

Before and After!

The biggest technique for adding depth in Pixel Art is Dithering. You can read a solid overview on that here: Spriteland.com

Derek Yu also has a fantastic tutorial on pixel art, here: Makegames.tumblr.com

I’d strongly recommend making use of layers as much as possible. It allows you to break a complex object, down into more easily completed parts. You can also take bigger risks, as you’re safe with the knowledge that you can turn off a layer that simply doesn’t work with the image. It will also leave you better prepared for breaking up an art asset in the game itself.

The individual parts of the drug vat look like this:

 Explosion view

Explosion view

The background and liquid within are separate objects within the Unity Hierarchy as well, which will allow for a simple visual effect of the tanks filling up. It really all looks quite different when it's disassembled!

That's it for this Blog! Next time I will explain the mechanics of training itself, and how they impact the game. In the mean time, why don't you check out the Trello Board here: Trello.com

DevLog #3 - Ransoms and Slaver-Houses

There has been a bit of a gap in between DevLogs, as I’ve just finished working on a some large and interesting new systems in the game. Two of which I’ll be talking about today...

Slaver-Houses

In this universe, each Slaver who collects and fights humans is part of a larger organization called a ‘House’. Each Slaver House has it’s own Ship filled with Slaves that, like you, will travel the stars from Event to Event. They will battle their Slaves, purchase and build Arenas and pursue other sources of revenue in order to increase profits - but I'll cover that in another DevLog.

Customizing your Slaver House

At the start of the game you’ll be prompted to select a logo and a pair of colors - one for your logo, and the other is your primary color.

Choosing your Colors!

These colors will then follow you throughout the game, and are displayed on the things you own - like your slaves, or your ship...

Oh so pretty!

You’ll also get to choose from a number of Alien species, and pick yourself an adorable or horrifying portrait. There are no advantages or disadvantages for picking a particular species (sorry, no room for space racism here), so you can play as whatever you like.

Going for the Classic little grey man.

But other than just added flavor, why is this important? Well...

Ransoms

When one of your Slaves are victorious in the Arena, you’ll be presented with the option to kill or spare their opponent. Killing your opponent will please the crowd, who in turn will shower you with love (and Credits). But if you are benevolent and spare the Slaves’ life, you’ll get the opportunity to Ransom them back to their previous owner.

The ransom UI in action! Here you can see we have taken custody of ‘Stub Slub’, who was owned the Orgrod Mind-Flayers.

Each ransom has an expiry time, after which the ownership of the slave will change hands. This also allows you to increase the number of slaves you own quickly and cheaply. Collecting a new Slave can significantly boost your own house, open up new fights and earn you even more Credits than before.

But this cuts both ways!

If your slave loses their fight (perhaps due to a poor choice of opponent on your part), they will be taken hostage by an opposing house.

You'll then have 2 Cycles (in game weeks) to negotiate and pay their release fee!

Haddak'Katib is clearly a miser.

You'll have to haggle a price with the opposing Slaver. Some will pay almost any price for their valued slaves. Other Slavers will treat humans as bothersome livestock to be sliced up and sold on the organ markets after a defeat.

How they treat their own slaves will also affect how willing they are to negotiate a price.

Well, that was unreasonable.

This system will reward good fight selection and provide a solid incentive to not murder every opponent you encounter. More importantly, it will also punish you for bad decision making, costing you Slaves and additional Credits after a crushing defeat.

That's it for this DevLog! Stay tuned for the next one, which will cover how you can ultimately crush your rivals - or be defeated yourself!