It has been around a month since I made Intelligent Design available as pay what you want early access. I have had lots of great feedback and want to thank everyone who has downloaded and played the game. In particular, those of you who have donated by paying above zero. Today I'm going to announce some features I want to add to the game, which require some monetary investment. These are features I will add as soon as I raise the funds through donations, much like crowd funding stretch goals.
Before I talk about the stretch goals I want to talk about the current state of the game. Today, instead of developing, I spent the morning actually playing Intelligent Design. I started with a new world and slowly tried to build an ecosystem. The loop I fell into was spawning some new species in the day time and observing the outcome in the night. I watched as I climbed the on-line leader board, starting down at around 60th place and managing to get up to 8th. Using collectors I harvested biomass and spent this on radars to expand my influence. To my surprise some plants managed to evolve in such a way that they could send their seeds miles and lots of mini island ecosystems appeared, far from where I was working. I set up a force field to try and evolve some effective carnivores in isolation, then released them into the world to control the herbivore population.
All these things are what I wanted the main loop of the game to be. When I made Waltonia (which can be thought of as a predecessor to Intelligent Design) I fell victim to feature creep. Every idea someone suggested or I had I just pushed into the game. It became very complex and impossible for new players to approach. This is something I want to avoid with Intelligent Design, for that reason I'm happy that the core features of the game are complete. In the rest of this article I'm going to detail the remaining features I wish to add, some of which are stretch goals based on how much money is raised through pay what you want.
- In Intelligent Design there is a climate model which effects the wind and moisture levels. These in turn effect the motion of seeds and the survivability of plants. I will be adding some way to monitor these, probably a weather station building with a wind vain and moisture indicator
- Something I really want to add is cross world migration. At the moment my thinking is that the longer you play the game and use portals to request creatures and buildings, cracks will start appearing in space. Any of your creatures or seeds which pass through these cracks will appear in another players world and vise versa.
- Having fewer features means I can spend more time on polish. That means things like a better save system with multiple save slots, a decent main menu system, more sound effects, such as creatures calling when they spot danger, and anything else you guys suggest.
Outside of server costs, all of the above goals do not need any further investment from me. These next goals require some investment. Currently I've made $18 from pay what you want, as soon as I reach the following targets I will spend the money on that particular goal and then start saving for the next. I'll update my current total as it changes on the itch.io store page.
- Graphs ($40) - A large part of Intelligent Design is observing dynamic changes over a long period of time. To really see this you need graphs of population history. I thought about making my own graph library, but the unity asset store has an amazing looking one which costs around $40 at current exchange rates. I will also, probably before I reach this stretch goal, make the game output all the data you could ever want in text files, so you budding ecologists can do some proper analysis.
- Xbox One Controller Support ($70) - This one is simple, I need an xbox one controller to test xbox one controller support. A few players have reported problems with the controller and I'd like to fix it.
As always if you have ideas for features I'd love to hear them, put them in the comments to this, anywhere on the itch forum, or our subreddit. If you would like to contribute to the stretch goals you can by purchasing the game or telling any friends who you think would be interested about the game.