Sometimes the reason developers are secretive about what they are working on is because a lot of game making is really boring. I have spent the last two weeks working on code to make a subway car move across the world. After these two weeks I don’t have a great new screenshot to show you or a video that will induce the uninitiated into anticipation. However, I do have some new robust code that will keep schedules for all of the vehicles.
In order to get time travel to work in City Tuesday, everyone must be scripted. The trains must run exactly the same every play through. Therefore, I spend a lot of my time making sure that the code is precise enough to make the train hit its marks yet robust enough so that I can change it on the fly if tomorrow I decide the train should arrive at 3 minutes and 15 seconds instead of 4:32 seconds. When I make that change, all the screens between the start and finish must slowly increase the train’s speed so that it will arrive at the time I now specify. It is a discrete problem that is magnified over the course of the train ride. If each screen is off by a tenth of a second then by the end of a 10 screen trip the train will be off by a full second. Getting the equations right and accounting for the edge cases (like I want to make the train slowly accelerate) are what bog you down. I could spend weeks on this problem and not have anything to show for it. It can make a part-time developer like me sweat as my targeted release schedule gets pushed out like the train that I am programming.
However, that is all done now. This morning I got the time code working just right and without any bugs standing in my way I should be able to add a new bomb puzzle. I had to get my vehicle code perfect because this bomb that I will be implementing relies on a series of garbage trucks picking up the trash cans from around the city.
Keep checking here for updates.
I have been positing visual proof of City Tuesday’s progress on www.screenshotsaturday.com so check there.
Here we are on another Tuesday, and time for an update on the game. I was dark most of last month because I was on a 3 week tour of Italy and Switzerland for my honeymoon. I will spare you all the lovey-dovey details but what you should care about is that I saw TONS of signs that are amazing. Two centuries ago the world’s artists would go over there on their Grand Tour to learn about classical art. Now I go over there to see Europe’s city planning and graphic design. By the way, Switzerland has Italy (and probably the world) beat in the readability and follow-ability of their signage. Sometime soon I will dedicate a whole post to the signs I saw but for now let me show you this one:
So the big news this week is that I am not one of the coveted 8 games included in the Summer Uprising (I came in 15th). I am disappointed because it would be so much fun to be on a tour like that. It is like not making Varsity and so you don’t get to go on all the cool trips upstate and wear that full colored Jersey on Fridays. Oh Well. I did loose out to some really great games and I can’t complain that the voters are dumb and only vote for shooters because I mean, one of them is a model train simulator, that is awesome! Looking at the list of nominees there is only one game out of 8 in which you fire a gun. It really is an interesting mix.
One upside to missing the Summer Uprising Boat is that now I don’t have to get my game done by August 22nd. City Tuesday’s unique repeating time mechanic has increased development time greatly. Every single character in the world is a scripted being that must make their mark every time. They also have to act like humans so they have to hand things off to one another, they must be able to run sometimes, climb into cars, put things in cars, and, thanks to some weekend crunch, sit down. Yes they can sit (but not read a book). So it means I spend a lot of time just trying to get a boring stick figure to do very boring things. I feel like a clock maker who doesn’t know when to stop making things complicated. If you want to hear a great short story that sums up my experience with this game listen to this short story on the New Yorker fiction podcast (it isn’t boring so don’t skip it.) **bonus point is that you find out where I got the music in my trailer.
When all of the characters are assembled together it will look like a living breathing city. I would like to do an updated game play video but for a while here it is going to be “look at him, at precisely 2 min and 33 seconds he sits down on the bench and opens the paper! It is not until a lot more stuff happens will there be some cool videos that I can show. So stick with me and in a few weeks I will make a trailer that will be awesome.
Alright, got to get back. Talk to you later.
If you are interested in reading more about City Tuesday I have been featured in a couple articles:
Game Guide Dog
Interview at the California Literary Review
Indie Games Blog