Hey guys and gals!
It’s been a while since I last wrote any updates here, mostly because I had to take a freelance job to continue funding the development of the game, but that in turn has left me little time to work on the game for now. I’m definitely way behind any schedule I had going, but luckily the few hours I’ve managed to squeeze in now and then have still been quite productive. I'll still try to attend the local event held next weekend that I mentioned last time, but mostly to just to see what other game developers are up to in the area instead of showing a demo of my own game.
First of all, in the end of April I launched a new website/landing page for the game at OfficeManagement101.com! Be sure to check it out if you haven't yet.
I upgraded the LibGDX library that powers the game to version 1.01 along with everything new that comes with it, which streamlined the development and compiling process quite a bit. Thanks to that I even got a HTML5 version of the game running in a browser, but it would take a lot of further optimizing to make it playable on a sensible framerate, so I’m scrapping that idea for now. LibGDX now also enables to packet the game as an executable so the players don’t need Java installed on their computers, which is great in my opinion. A Mac version is also possible in theory, but I’ve yet to test it. I’ll announce it as soon as I have confirmed that the game can be run on a Mac.
As for the actual game, one thing I’ve added is a simple shader that darkens the outside tiles at night. Click here to see it animated.
I also drew one of the essential items of the office - the coffee vending machine. I’ll probably also make a smaller coffee machine that is cheaper and can be placed on tables. Coffee will give energy to the staff and help to keep them going longer. Ironically I personally don’t drink coffee at all, so I’ll probably have a small percentage of the characters not be interested in it, just to reflect that anomaly.
This past week most of my game development time was spent on making a random/procedural character generator, which would combine different body part sprites. Being a solo developer with little art experience, drawing and animating things takes considerable time. I figured having such a generator would take some of the load off in the long run, while still providing a variety of different looking people. To start off, I first drew and animated the base sprites for both genders and called them Adam and Eve. And like a true serial killer I’ve been chopping them into three parts - heads, bodies and legs. The generator picks a random combination of those parts and puts them together and adds accessories like hats, glasses or necklaces to some. I’ll also keep the option to have full size sprites in the game just in case I need to draw characters that are shaped in some non standard way. If anyone's interested I'll write up a longer and more technical feature article how I implemented it all.
Somewhere down the line I also might add an option to customize the characters by sending them to a plastic surgeon or something similar.
The current Eve walkcycle only contains 4 frames, two of which are identical. Ideally I'd like a few more frames squeezed in there, but unless I manage to hire a full time animator, it's just too much for a single developer to handle in a reasonable amount of time. It was also pointed out that her legs may be too far apart, so I'll try some more edits before calling it a final version. Feel free to give your input about her as well.
So for the seeable future I’ll somehow have to tackle both the freelance work and the game development. It’s gonna be tough and leaves little to no time for anything else, but I’m prepared to make sacrifices to keep going in a steady pace. I hope anyone looking forward to the game won’t be too disappointed with the delays and the support I’ve received so far has helped me a lot to keep my eye on the eventual goal instead of just giving up. I’m very thankful for that everyone!
I'm always open to any questions, suggestions, critique or just some encouragement and your feedback always helps! You can contact me via twitter, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or just leave a comment here.