Even though I haven't talked much about the game lately, rest assured, I'm still at it! Like I've mentioned previously, the freelance work has been keeping me from making too much progress, but I think I've managed to hit some milestones along the way anyway.
I've been showing the current Android version of Office Management 101 to some local game developers here and there, getting some encouraging words, but also learning a lot about the problem areas of my touch screen controls. They're definitely not very intuitive at the moment, so I'll have to look into that at some point. I also gave a short interview to a local game site (in Estonian, but Google Translate might help). The game development scene here is starting to come together more and it's been a great experience meeting like minded people.
Thanks to that I've also been able to confirm that the game works on OS X. I don't have a Mac myself, but a fellow game developer came for a visit the other day and we tested it a bit on his Macbook Pro. This means I can finally announce that Office Management 101 will be released for OS X as well!
Most of the past weeks I spent drawing and redrawing and redrawing the female character animations and thanks to the helpful people of TigSource and AGS forums, I've finally gotten to a point where I'm happy with the artwork. Now I also need to get the male characters up to date as well. All this work will be fed into the random character generator and I'll definitely write up a feature article about that system this week.
Now that I have the template walking and working animations ready and implemented in the game, I can finally demonstrate some of the AI and pathfinding systems. I've actually had them in the game for a long time already, but didn't use them for anything. The AI probably deserves it's own feature article in the future, but for now I'll just describe how the core of it works. Each characters has a tasklist, consisting of things like "work", "walk to someplace", etc. The tasks have listeners attached to them, that can fire when the task succeeds or fails for some reason. Which means chains of tasks can be formed - basically something like "walk to your chair and if successful then work". If the character has no tasks, then it just walks around idly. Currently tasks are added at random, but I plan to make it more dependent on characters stats.
I also made doors open and close when a character walks through one. Sounds like such a small thing, but somehow makes the game feel more like an actual game to me :) I'm already spending considerable time just watching the characters move around and going about their business, I imagine it's going to be way worse once there's more things for them to do. I hope I won't get too distracted by all that.
So there you have it. I want to start working on a pre-alpha trailer soon. I've got it pretty much planned out, but need some more animations first and I'm thinking of making a debug system that enables me to manipulate the objects in the game on the fly, so I can play out a certain scenario. I'm also considering making a short introduction video before that, just to give a better idea of what the game is like. Having static images are one thing, but as I've learned from those who have seen the game firsthand, a demonstration where you get to see things actually move is so much more interesting.
For any questions, suggestions or critique you can contact me via twitter, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or just leave a comment here.