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Messages - bigosaur

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Bigosaur / Block Buster Billy
« on: June 20, 2022, 11:08:33 AM »

I have been toying with an idea for a puzzle game for a while. I have released a bunch of puzzle games so far, with varied success. Rogue Bit has been the most polished product so far, but it's a game for a very niche audience of programmers and computer hardware enthusiasts. Seeders has been a hit and miss. It has awesome puzzles, but Box2D physics is somewhat inconsistent, so you often figure out a way to solve it and then spent of lot of time trying to execute. It removed and changed a lot of those in the Seeders Puzzle Reboot version, but it still isn't perfect. The Game is ON was a very fun game to make, but it doesn't seem so fun to play. The actual fun was coming up with a scene that fits the idiom, but trying to discover it while playing just doesn't feel that good.'

I took all these lessons from the past experience when making Billy. I wanted a game that has tight controls, so I picked the turn-based approach. The puzzles range from very easy, to very hard. Similar to Baba Is You, you can play with the blocks until something 'clicks' and you figure it out.

The game is powered by the same engine I used for Rogue Bit, so it scales the graphics nicely to 4K monitors and beyond. The fact that the mechanics are based on numbers and basic math, makes it translatable to every language. The only thing that really needs translation are the level names, but they aren't really that important to the gameplay as they rarely give a hint. Most of the time, the player has all the tools and is left to discover the solution on their own. I made a first level set which teaches you the ropes, so you aren't lost in a tough puzzle immediately.

Making this game was also fun for me. I had a very interesting approach for this one: I would get some basic idea, try to build a level from that and then try to solve it. When it was too easy, I would add stuff that make it harder - to the point where I felt like it was unsolvable. Then I would try to solve the level for 30-60 minutes, to see if I can come up with some original way. If I manage to do it, that's a perfect level. Of course, sometimes it really is impossible and I have to loosen some of the restrictions.

While developing the levels, I would often notice alternate solutions that require completely different approach. In such cases, I would split the level into two levels - and then edit each one to make sure either of the two approaches only work in one of the levels. I love that feeling when a player comes into the level thinking 'Oh, I know this' and then get stumped when they see that a single block is missing or something has moved by one tile and it requires a completely different way of solving.

I'm done with puzzles involving equations, inequations, adding and subtractions. I plan to add multiplication, and possibly variables and have about 120-150 levels for the final game. I plan to release on Steam and Nintendo Switch. Maybe mobile platforms as well? Not sure about that yet.

Huh, for some reason YT won't let me save the Rogue Bit or main SoaW trailers to playlists because they're set as "Made for Kids". I guess this is to stop people mixing kids and non-kids videos on playlists that kids will watch, but it's a bit odd.

I sent you the link to the original trailer file for Son of a Witch, so you can upload it to the channel directly.

It's a huge file, so I don't want to post the link public because all the search engine bots will start downloading it to index it and create a lot of traffic.

I sent it to your @exilian email.

Here are mine:

Bigosaur / Re: Crypto Miner Tycoon Simulator
« on: April 26, 2022, 05:51:44 AM »
Do you have a YT trailer for the game? I'm trying to collect ones from Exilian's game devs to have a playlist on one of our channels:

Yes, of course. Here it is:

Oh, I forgot Exilian allows posting YouTube videos...

Bigosaur / Re: Crypto Miner Tycoon Simulator
« on: April 21, 2022, 02:22:54 PM »

Bigosaur / Re: Crypto Miner Tycoon Simulator
« on: April 20, 2022, 12:24:45 AM »
After all the base game mechanics were implemented, I started to add different stories for each scenario. In one of those, you need to research quantum computing and build a superior AI.

In another one, you have to build solar panels and become carbon neutral while also helping your local community.

You can also launch your own crypto currency.

Or run your own exchange market where you need web servers, database servers and customer support.

It took me about a year to get to this stage and the game is now feature complete.

In the following months, I plan to add new features on top of these, add more NPC side quests and add more types of hardware.

The game will release on Steam on April 21st, 2022.

Bigosaur / Re: Crypto Miner Tycoon Simulator
« on: April 20, 2022, 12:19:51 AM »

Phone will be used for various in game events. You will get messages from NPCs, pay monthly bills, read the news related to market and new hardware, get alerts from your employees, get a bank loan. The make it realistic, you can also play a game on your phone.

Each scenario will have a story that plays out as you interact with various NPC characters via phone messages. Their quests will include mining, trading, research and more.

And here's what the graphics for the shop looks like now:

Basically, phone is for everything not directly related to mining. To set up mining, you click the items directly in your facility. For example, you can set mining option for a whole rack if you right-click the rack itself inside the room:

The biggest challenge for me was making a good noise, dust, heat simulation. This is what all other crypto mining simulation games are lacking and probably the reason why there are so many similar unfinished projects on Steam. It's complicated to do it right. It's especially tricky if you want to simulate a lot of hardware units and still have good performance.

The noise is pretty much straightforward once you learn how decibels work. Heat is another issue. It starts with electricity use and natural dissipation and then you have to simulate spreading and respect the fan directions. Additionally, I'm taking outside temperature into account because you can play the game in different regions. For example, the base temperature is higher in Africa. In the end, you also have cooling with air conditioners to spice it up a notch.

My initial plan was to also simulate day and night cycle, but as I played the game I noticed that I run it a full speed a lot. That's one day of game time in 3 seconds of real time. It makes the lights flicker so bad that I have turned it off and scrapped the idea.

Bigosaur / Re: Crypto Miner Tycoon Simulator
« on: April 20, 2022, 12:11:35 AM »
When the development started, I have decided to go with pixel art, as I can draw that much faster. I choose the isometric perspective, because it looks really good. There some games I love like Forager that have regular top-down graphics, but isometric seems to be more common for tycoon type of games as it gives a good sense of third dimension.

I had to add isometric support to my custom C++ game engine. It took a day to add it and a week to fix all the bugs ;) After a month, the game looked like this:

There were still some bugs to iron out, esp. with drawing order of stacked items:

In the initial versions I planned for PC building to be menu based, but then I contemplated that the game would be cool if you could actually build by moving components into their slots. It requires much more graphics, but I feel like it was worth it.

You can right-click to automatically slot items in appropriate slots. You can also click an empty slot to switch to the appropriate shop section. All the actions you can take are displayed at the bottom of the screen all the time:

Drawing pixel art for computer components is actually very interesting. I even made animation for the RGB fans using Aseprite.

For AI, I have designed a system where people would decide what to do based on priorities you set. For example, you might set someone to just install operating system, another person to do research and not care about anything else, etc.

And then I tested with dozens of them in the same room. It worked surprisingly well.

You might wonder, what would all those people do. Well, once they finish setting up the hardware, it's mostly a waiting game. So, I added research. People can perfect their skills, which broadens the types of tasks you can give them.

They can also research company technologies. These go into your company IP, and you can even have teams of multiple employees researching the same thing together to get it done faster. This way you can beat the market, for example by researching advanced mining hardware, or getting better solar panels before eveyone else.

Most game scenarios are tied to some type of research.

For rooms, there are 10 different floor tiles with different prices and dust factor. Dust plays a huge role in the game, as having high dust makes your equipment wear out faster, mostly due to fans breaking resulting in silicon overheating. Keeping dust low will be expensive. You will have to buy and install more expensive floors and/or use enclosed racks and PC cases with filters.

Each facility you rent or buy will have different starting floors which affect the price. So, you will be able to buy a room with concrete and replace all the tiles.

Bigosaur / Crypto Miner Tycoon Simulator
« on: April 19, 2022, 08:31:43 PM »

Back in March 2021, I decided it was time to start making a new game. I was looking at my strengths and weaknesses, and making good quality art is definitely the most time consuming. On the other side, programming is my strong side and it feels fun even when I have some hard problems to crack.

Because of this, I picked a project that's heavy on programming, optimizing code, etc. and doesn't require a lot of graphics. Still, there was a decent amount of pixel art to draw.

It's a management/tycoon type of game focusing on crypto currency mining business: building rigs, placing racks, managing cooling, dust, noise in your data centers, hiring people to help you, etc. The idea is to go back in history and start from year 2010. and see what it felt like to be mining back then.

The idea isn't new and there's a graveyard of failed projects on Steam. It turned out that making a complete game with this theme has many challenges. Still, there are new competing projects popping up every now and then and I had to double down on development, esp. in the past 4 months, not really allowing much time to communicate what I was doing to the outside.

In this series of posts, I will try to go back through the past year, and extract many milestones and interesting points. At the time I only had the energy to store the screenshots, but now that the first release version is ready, I can finally write something as well.

Bigosaur / Re: Son of a Witch: Devlog and general discussion
« on: April 18, 2022, 12:22:05 AM »
It's one of those things that I've usually found OK doing it on my own & focused

Yes. Going to hell definitely isn't something you want to be doing when you just want to have some fun with your friends. It can feel punishing even with the Halloween shortcut. It's a level that's meant to be hard and frustrating. I guess you completed all the other achievements, so that's why you do it?

On the other hand, I have watched videos of players playing Hell co-op in hard mode and completing it while having fun... so I'm sometimes not sure if it's hard enough.  >:D

Bigosaur / Re: Son of a Witch: Devlog and general discussion
« on: April 08, 2022, 12:37:03 AM »
Out of interest, why did you make it specifically giving a blood runestone

To make it more challenging. It was inspired by Spelunky's alternative ending of the game where you need to carry an item across levels so you cannot use your hand to hold a weapon. It changes the way the players usually play the game. I wanted the way you play to get to hell to be somewhat different and require more strategy. Of course, SoaW has more inventory space, so I added the king's scepter as well to the mix.

which is basically equivalent

It should be more like health down + one less inventory slot.

Bigosaur / Re: Son of a Witch: Devlog and general discussion
« on: April 07, 2022, 10:19:33 PM »
Had my first solo game in a while today, which unfortunately turned out incredibly frustrating, since I did the thing of finding a blood runestone on the battlements, using it, and then realising only on the catacomb level that actually I'd needed to keep hold of that thing the whole time for the hell portal :(


Just a reminder that you can use the /hw command to activate the Halloween mode and go to hell directly. Well, if you don't mind slight other changes like the annoying bats.

I will be continuing to support Tourney and work on 1.4.

It's nice to see that you are still updating it. Hopefully it will turn the tide on Steam review score and go from mixed into positive.

Bigosaur / Re: Son of a Witch: Devlog and general discussion
« on: January 09, 2022, 09:19:18 AM »
Thank you so much!  Keep it real, Bigosaur.

Oh, and my little brother wants to know what the inspiration for the spear-thrower’s 180 degree turn and throw move is.  It never fails to hit him, haha.

LOL. It was actually a bug in AI, but when it happened to me the first time, it felt so unique that I decided to leave it in the game.

Exilian Articles / Re: A Bad Pun RPG Idea Calendar
« on: January 08, 2022, 02:17:33 PM »
This was a fun read.

I've actually had an idea for a game called Pungeon for a long time. If I ever decide to make it, I'm going to have to consult you  ;D

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