Thursday, 9 April 2015

Still Hacking

Well so much for keeping up with the blog. Every spare hour I've had over the past 2 months I've been spending on development so writing about it has taken been taking quite the back seat. I honestly don't know how indie developers find the time to keep dev blogs up to date. Well in news, I've had a chat with my boss about my day job, and I'm going to be cutting back from full-time to part-time, something almost unheard of in the games industry in my experience. This should give me not only at least another 20 hours a week to spend on HTP, but hopefully more time to keep this blog up to date and even, heaven horbid, have some free time!

HTP has come a long way since I last wrote, not only in terms of gameplay, but in visuals. I've replaced the previous placeholder UI with a 3D UI that whilst more or less functions the same way, looks much better. I always try to tell myself that graphics aren't that important and can just be added last, but it's hard to keep your morale up when all the other games you play look so much better than your own. I probably spend about a month completely redoing the UI engine and even though it has hasn't changed the gameplay much, it just *plays* better now. It also looks and feels more 'cyberspacey' than before.

(Please excuse the low quality/huge download size of the gifs, I'm new to this)

This isn't to say I haven't been working on gameplay at all. I've done a lot of work on the AI. Procedurally generated users now have lives, they go to work, they go out for lunch, they hang out in bars after work, and they go home to relax and sleep. They bring their mobile devices, connecting to networks with wifi as they move around, and have different routines depending where they are. If you, for instance, were to hack into a system administrator's workplace's sprinkler system while they were at work, and schedule a sprinkler test, they would be evacuated from the building and thus the network, leaving it more vulnerable to attack. You will even be able to get someone fired by planting illegal files on their machine and notifying the authorities. There is still much work to be done here, but the design is shaping up quite nicely to allow for some very interesting emergent gameplay.

I'm pretty happy with the visuals and UI at the moment, and I don't think I'll need to do much more work there for a while, leaving me free to get my teeth into the really juicy gameplay and AI behaviours. This is good, since it's something I'm much better at, and since very shortly I'll have much more time to spend on it, things should move very quickly. Exciting times

(I love how the 3D UI benefits from the crash post-effects in such an awesome way)

Thats all for now, once I move to part-time work over the next week or two, I'm going to try and plan my more plentiful time and make sure to allow for some hopefully weekly time to document my progress here.

Hack the Planet!

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