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Shipping lanes and nearly names

Right, that's it I've avoided doing this for far too long. This week is shipping-lanes-or-bust-week. In the end, games like Before are all about controlling and moving and transforming resources, and a vital part of that is allowing players to chose how those resources move around. At the moment, your resources only move from one island to another when you manually move a ship to a port on one island, load it up with stuff and then move it over to a port on another island to unload. This works fine for specific trips when you need a few of a particular thing, but often you need to say things like "Send all the iron on this island over to that other island, forever". So that's the focus

Workers and tiles, oh my!

Well, for this week I think that image almost speaks for itself. We have workers with tools! And texturing on the tiles! I'm just speechless at the amazing jump in quality this has brought in, and so grateful to the artist for bringing their amazing skills! You can find them at One important public service announcement though : In Unity, always remember to mark your Normal Maps as such. Don't be like me and waste 4 hours looking for every other possible reason things don't look quite right! I also did some play testing with some other game developers, checking that someone completely new to the game could work out how to play. That was also really

On Research

Today I'm not going to talk about what I'm doing this week, mostly because I'm not sure (which is why this is a day late). Instead I'm going to describe how Research is actually going to work (everything going to plan). In city-building games like Before, you need to unlock new buildings at a rate that allows players to understand them as they're learning. If you started the game with 100 different things you could build, the amount you'd have to understand all at once would be paralyzing. Even once you know the game, it's much easier to play if buildings become available to you in a sensible order and rate, again so that you aren't overwhelmed by choices when you're just starting out a n

Art and Research

Arg, I left writing this till too late in the day, so bullet points it is: Started getting the first assets from the new artist and they're amazing! The lighting/post processing isn't great yet, but it's getting there Added ancient rubbish heaps that can be scavenged for resources and knowledge. Lots of planning for the long-term playability of the game. Stuff like multi-planet campaigns, player edited planets, item trading and so on. Added a simple leaderboard Started adding Research to unlock new buildings, then had a big discussion and wound up deciding to change how I was doing it. This is taking a while, but it's a great big feature, so that makes sense.

The only constant

Hi everyone, There's kinda not much to report here at the moment. I've recently had a couple of really good conversations around the current direction and long term appeal of Before, plus some time to think about them. The upshot is that nothing much is changing of what I've made so far, but the trajectory for future development is changing quite a bit - for the better, I hope! But as is so often the case in game development, nothing is quite ready enough to share yet. I'm setting aside a decent chunk of this week to think through the changes, and some upcoming milestones, in order to get a good plan in place - everything goes way, way quicker if you start out knowing what you're doing an

On tutorials and playability

The focus this week has been on a big push towards improving the usability and 'discoverability' of Before. What I mean by that is that the best way to enjoy learning a game is for everything uninteresting to be obvious - in this case stuff like how and where to place buildings, what different buildings and resources do and so on. That way they get out of the way, and the player can get on with the fun stuff. What that means for this week was lots of work on what is displayed on the building cards, so that it's clearer what different buildings do, what they take to construct and so on. The card for Port buildings - where resources are transferred between islands and docked ships - was a pa

Spaceships and buttons

Happy New Year everyone. Welcome to 2019, will someone please tell me why we don't have personal teleporters yet? Surely it can't be that hard! I've had a bit of a break - did Christmas, had both my brothers and their kids in the same place for the first time in about 5 years, went to a Folk music festival over New Year, heard a band that might be perfect for some of the musical needs of the game - and now it's time to get back into the swing of things. I have done some work too though. On Friday I went and added all the buildings needed to construct a spaceship and escape the planet, which is the first win condition. Being able to slap all that in really quickly is really exciting! No s

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