It’s been a while since I made a proper update. The previous few weeks have been very hectic overall, and on top of that most of the game progress has been on fixing bugs and making minor tweaks here and there, so not really update worthy.
But now there’s been some visible progress! Vactrains are now a thing. They’re not quite functional yet, but I’ve managed to get building them down, and added the station building into the game. Vactrains are used to connect remote parts of the city.
I’ve rebalanced the entire set of buildings changing pricing the resource requirements as well as some of the output levels. The next step in building management will be to add in the availability conditions. Some buildings will be locked from start, requiring a specific population for example, or that the building is first researched in a lab (which is a building that itself requires a specific population). Given that the vactrainstation has now been finished, only one building remains to be made for the early access release (atmoport). The atmoport will be a building placed when you enter a new city. This building will be the place where goods and citizens can travel to and from your city.
Another thing I’m working on, that has been prototyped earlier, is being able to set different skies. This won’t affect gameplay, but can be used to add variation. Each theme comes with it’s own skybox, and sun color temperature etc.
One thing that I’ve noticed will be important is to convey when things are missing or going poorly in the city. Currently, I’ve added specific songs from the soundtrack to play only when things a recession occurs. I’ve added a feature that the city doesn’t light up at nighttime when there’s no electricity. When you’re low on electricity, a set of buildings will randomly not light up at night time. That way you get a visual queue that you need to expand power production. Once I add cop cars, ambulances and fire trucks, these will be more prominent on the streets when crime is high, health is poor or when fire safety coverage is low.
I’ve continued tweaking the economic system, changing costs and effects of policies and how long it takes for policies to reach full effect. Messages sent from the board of citizens and from conglomerates are now also saved.
Next week, vactrains should hopefully be finished completely. I also count on having most of the translations added into the game as well. I’m also adding some quality of life improvements like auto benchmark and some more options.
Like last week’s devlog, this one will also be rather short. I’m currently under a fairly heavy work load and on top of that, most of the work that goes into the game now are to system tweaks and improvements.
Work continues on tweaking calculations. More or less all systems, such as health, wages, unemployment and happiness, are interconnected. As such, balancing these systems out and avoiding extreme results is a bit tricky, but it’s getting there. The real test will come once the game releases into early access and a more diverse set of play styles is being tested.
I’ve also been polishing up the shaders in the game, adding vertex displacement to building footprints and making minor performance adjustments. I’ve also changed import settings for textures to decrease their size.
More localisation work has been done. Spanish has been updated, which means it’s almost finished. A first iteration of the russian localisation has been added, but will require some work (text size etc.). I’ve also added the Swedish localisation into the game. Work on the german version is ongoing and the remainder of the french translation should be done fairly soon.
I will be trying to get some more buildings into the game before the EA-release. Primarily decorations, like this forest:
There’s also been some minor stuff added. Cities can be named. The ui has gotten some minor adjustments and will continue to be improved in the upcoming week, especially the statistics panel which has been placeholder.
There will be no extensive devlog this week, since most of the work I’ve done involves system stuff and generally surrounding systems already in the game.
I’ve continued working on the vehicle system and squashed a few visual issues. Moving forward I can now start culling vehicles properly to allow more vehicles shown in any given view without tanking the FPS.
I’ve now also implemented a proper calculation of the wage level. The wage level affects the demand for labour, so if wages are high, demand gets a slight hit. Conversely, if wages are lower, demand gets a slight boost.
With welfare systems such as unemployment insurance, health insurance and retirement, these are generally designed in such a way as to replace wages while a person cannot work. As such, the city’s wage level is now a part in calculating the cost of these benefits. If the city has a high wage level, these benefits will cost more when people are unemployed for example.
The next step will be to incorporate the wage level into the tax income from residents.
Another thing that I’ve aimed to incorporate into the EA-release of the game is a vactrain system. I’ve started coding this into the game, and aside from registering stations, it’s almost ready to be tested. For next week’s devlog there should be a finished concept up for display.
There are still some bugs to be fixed here and there, and some UI adjustments left to make. But overall, what was intended for the EA-release is starting to get rather stable and polished. That means I can move onto doing some optimizations here and there to make sure the game runs really well.
/ Dispersing Minds