Posts Tagged ‘Game Development’

Symbll days 7 & 8

17 December, 2009

Symbll Day 7:

I worked on the map structure of the game, and made a simple mall design. In essence there are three different types of shapes that can be used in creating the layout of the mall: straight, diagonal, and curved. Each of these shapes can be rotated 90 degrees, which will allow for almost unlimited customization of mall layouts. Each shape is set in a square, and each square can be placed on a grid, I’m still working on how big the grid should be, and how big each square of the grid should be as well. I don’t think there will be too many constraints will computing power. I’m thinking of making it just black and white for now, and as minimalistic as possible.

I worked out how the icons will fit into the map as well. Each square of the grid will have the potential of storing a shop. When a square is occupied by a shop an icon displaying the nature of the shop will appear. I’m still wondering how shops will be placed inside the mall though. I want players to be able to select where a shop will be placed, because this is an important aspect of the game. A player will have to arrange stores to play with shoppers psychology, as well as increasing a shop’s interest in staying at the mall. The two options I am considering would be: a shop requests to be placed in the mall, or a player requests a certain type of shop to be placed in a square in the mall. The second option would just have the player decide as soon as the square is built what type of shop will be placed there, such as a retail store or fast food. Shops will then automatically appear. The first option would be focusing on a shop requesting a space in the mall, and the player finding an appropriate spot on a shop by shop basis. I’m not sure on this one because it might be too demanding on the player if 10 store requests appear every minute. I think this will have to be decided once I actually write the game, when I can play a little bit with the timing of events.

I also came up with a monetary system that wouldn’t involve numbers. The system would have five rows with ten columns each. The first row would be coins, the second row dollar bills, the third row dollar signs, the fourth row vaults, and the fifth row banks. A coin would be the basic unit of money, 10 coins equals 1 dollar bill. 10 dollar bills would equal 1 dollar sign, and so on. 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000 units would be shown, and a player will know exactly how many coins they have. So, if the player has 2 dollar signs, a dollar bill, and 9 coins then the player has 219 coins. The calculation wouldn’t have to be made in numbers though, because profits and losses will be described in these units. A wall could cost a dollar sign, so when a player has a lot of money, a dollar sign will just be taken out of their display.

Symbll Day 8:

I’ve been thinking a lot of how the game will look. I’m thinking minimalistic, but should it be in color? Black and White has always appealed to me, but I can see how players might be turned off by such a simplistic and “emotionless” atmosphere. I’m thinking the walls will be solid, the floors will be empty except for icons. I’ve been looking at mall directories, as many as I could find online. I want the game to look like a mall directory, and I want players to focus more on the game play than what the game looks like. I’m going to constantly work on removing distractions from the game play. Does this remove some of the fun from the game though? Will people want to play for a 3D experience where it feels like they are walking through a mall? Could this possibly be the future of online shopping, where you create an avatar and walk through a virtual mall to shop? I might explore that idea more. Marketing would be a lot more organic. I think for the game I will just keep it top-down, 2d and as minimal as possible. There will be the shoppers of course, which will add chaos to the floors. OOOoooooo. I just thought about describing the details of a store and how many people are currently in the store. If a player hovers over a shop icon with the cursor then information will pop-up, like how much they are paying for rent, how many people are in the shop currently, how many shoppers per day on average, and like/dislike of the mall environment. I’ll have to figure out how to display averages.


Symbll Day 5

14 December, 2009

Possible core mechanics/what the players will be able to do:

  • A player will drag and “snap-in” walls onto a grid. The walls can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. These will make up the structure of the mall
  • The view will be over head, the map can be rotated clock-wise and counter-clockwise. Using the arrow keys or bumping the edge of the map with the mouse will move the map. Both mouse buttons held down will allow for dragging the map. Scrolling the mouse wheel or page up and page down will change between floors.
  • A player will be able to click on shoppers and find out what they are thinking and feeling through bars and faces
  • A player will be able to click on shops and find out how much business they are attracting, along with any information that is needed in aiding them (competition, locational issues).
  • A player will be able to name their mall and will be able to use a user name.
  • A player will be able to play without having to manage each shop within the mall.
  • A player has the option of setting routes for security guards, maintenance workers, or janitors.
  • A player will have the option to select from a set of icons to use in the game, they can import their own.
  • A player will be able to save at any time, and there will be an optional autosave every ten minutes.
  • A player can guide shoppers but can never control them, placing objects will affect the shoppers.
  • A player must keep shoppers coming into the mall to continue playing. If there are no shoppers then the game is over.
  • A player must keep at least one shop inside of the mall, otherwise the game is over.
  • A player must have funds to pay for upkeep of the mall. They will be able to play without funds, but shops will likely leave without proper mall upkeep, and shoppers will soon follow.
  • An upkeep cost will be placed on the mall based on size, amount of shops, amount of shoppers, and misc events, and will need to be paid every month in the game.
  • The player will be given offers and opportunities from each shop, the shops are competing with each other to maximize their profits.

There will be more, and these are kind of broad, but I think its a start. I will have to link all these ideas to icons and symbols. I think the shops might prove to be a little tricky, because I have to show competition, and its not the easiest subject to explain with symbols.

Symbll Day 4

13 December, 2009

I worked on some scenarios today for Symbll. I figured working out some scenarios would help me think of variables that I need to create. I also worked some variables, but I won’t list those, there are quite a few. I’ll stick to the scenarios:

  • Have x amount of people visit your mall after y amount of time
  • Have x% of people purchase items inside the mall in y amount of time
  • Have x amount of stores in the mall after y amount of time
  • Earn x amount of money in y amount of time
  • Spend x amount of money in y amount of time
  • Prevent x amount of security issues within y amount of time
  • Have x% of people with y amount of happiness
  • Have x% of people in the mall with starting cash of more than y amount
  • Have x% of people refer your mall to friends (virtual, not live friends)
  • Have x amount of shops that pay over y amount of money over z amount of time
  • Have x% of shops that are content with how the mall is being managed
  • Prevent x amount of shops from leaving over y amount of time

I’m still working on more, but those should be enough to create a bulk of my variables around. A lot of them have to do with time, happiness of people, happiness of stores, amount of people, and money. I’m going to start working on putting those into spreadsheets so that I can work on them easily and refer to them quickly.

I’m thinking about the amount of uncertainty in the game itself. I want there to be “random events”, but they can’t occur all the time or there won’t be any structure. The cause of events is going to play a big role in this, and there might be event records to keep track of events within the game. I want to give players perfect information of what is going on in their malls (unless there is a difficulty where information is purposely not given accurately). The higher difficulty would probably involve hiring a staff that reports to the player, and learning how different people act in different situations. That might be out of the scope of this game.