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Month: April 2015

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – April 26th

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – April 26th

Hello everybody!

This is Giles, he’s the latest playable character in Concrete Jungle:

giles

Giles is a farmer who enjoys punk music and home made cider! His play style is focused around building large rural blocks and farms. Unlike all the other characters, Giles can quite happily be competitive without leveling up his tech, instead making the most of the rural card buffing abilities. The general tactic with this character is to build your deck around the rural class cards (those farmland cards finally are useful!)

The other half is skill tree is based around Giles’ anti-establishment sentiment. These skills are mostly geared towards play in versus mode, and feature various ways to screw over your opponent. Examples include a ‘Dive bar’ that gives -1 to a random opponent’s house, a ‘steal points’ card and the infamous ‘demolition’ card.

Being the only British character in the game, he also has access to the skill ‘British Weather’ that causes all positive area effects to be nullified for the next 10 placements.

To counter all these negative-influence abilities, Giles also gets access to an ‘invert score’ card which can be used to immediately turn a negative score into a positive one or vice versa.

I hope you enjoy playing the game as Giles- he’s very possibly my favourite character so far.

farms
Trying to make huge farms in solo mode is a challenging but rewarding tactic!

Regarding the beta- it’s still on track for next month. Right now I’m aiming for mid way through the month, so that I have time to eliminate the most prominent bugs (alpha testing in happening right now). I’ll post more details in next week’s update about what to expect.

I’ll leave you with the latest top picks from the building roster.

The mansion- this building has some other visual variants too.
The mansion- this building has some other visual variants too.
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The Farmer’s Market- exclusive to Giles, this building helps buff nearby rural blocks.
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The Dive Bar mentioned above.
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There can’t be a character from the British countryside without having an authentic pub in the game!
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… And of course some kind of Stone Henge knock-off!

 

 

 

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – April 19th

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – April 19th

There’s only one thing I’ve been working on this week- Trains. Trains trains trains. I intended for this to only take a few days maximum, however, some problems arose in it’s implementation and it’s taken me all week. I think it was worth it though, I’m happy with the results.

train_system
The trains in Concrete Jungle take the form of elevated trains like those found in Chicago or New York.

If any of you are fans of MegaCity, you’ll remember the ‘train station’ as being a bit dull- it was just a regular building where the trains went into a tunnel. I wanted to actually make something resembling a proper train system for Concrete Jungle, but there were obstacles to overcome.

First off, the way the game is built means the buildings auto-generate the appropriate road systems around them- there’s not really any space for train lines in addition to that. Real cities have similar problems too! The solution was to have the trains be elevated above the road system, so they effectively take up the same space.

One method I thought of was just to have the train lines span an entire column, and effectively just go offscreen. It would of been quite an easy way to handle things- but where’s the fun in that?! So I opted for a full route-based train system that auto generates lines between train stations.

Unlike roads, the elevated train line can intersect city blocks if it’s not a block of houses. This is because, as you may of noticed, houses can form terraces (I put extra work into making the house graphic variants as it’s the most commonly used building). There are actually 16 different graphics for the ‘house’ structure. When the train lines intersected the house terraces, it looked weird and wrong, so I’ve made train lines go around these. With all the other buildings, there is enough space between them for the L train to intersect.

train_system_screenshots2

In terms of game mechanics, the train station is a fairly advanced card, that once acquired is cycled through in your deck. Every time you place a station, you can link it to another station and a railway route will be drawn linking them. Linking a station to another gives a positive area effect for the whole column at both the destination and origin- so it can be a powerful way of buffing entire columns. Either that or you also have the option to instead choose an economy boost which gives +1 economy for every building placed around the destination’s train station. As with all the cards right now, these effects are subject to change when I start to focus on balancing.

It’s taken longer than I wanted it to take, and they still need polish, but trains were the last big game system-y thing on the list. In the next few weeks I’m going to be working more on the playable characters and of course the rest of the buildings (including the 3x backer buildings!)

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle NIGHTS – April 13th

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle NIGHTS – April 13th

Hello everyone! A shorter, late night, past-my-bedtime update this week! That’s because I’ve been working on some new buildings again. I’ve just finished this gem:

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The Theme Park! I wanted to make this one bigger than 2×2, but it just wouldn’t make sense within the game mechanics (too much space!) So it’s a bit of a mini theme park with a sprawling roller-coaster.

I’ve started work on integrating the rest of the playable characters starting with the Mayor. I’m going to try and get a character added every 1.5 weeks, which should give the backer beta starting next month a few finished characters to play with.

Integrating the characters also means working on their character-specific buildings. So it’s back to the weekly building  thumbnail previews too!

As you may guess, one of the main themes for the mayor’s special buildings is ‘entertainment’. These buildings provide some pretty significant buffs but come at a high cost.

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The Helter Skelter. I’m not sure if Americans will be familiar with this name? In the UK it means a fairground slide.
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One of my favourites- the Ferris wheel. It’s not animated yet but it will be be in the final release.
The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – April 5th

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – April 5th

I hope everybody is having a great Easter!

I’ll start this update where I left off last time- publishers. I was wondering whether to try and acquire a publisher to help with promotion for the game. My mind was split between the straightforwardness of self publishing and the extra reach a publisher would provide. The results of the poll echo my own previous indecision!

pollresults

 

The yeses technically have it and I think that’s about where my decision making is on the matter too after doing some research involving fellow game devs. So what I’m doing right now is seeing what my options are- I’m in talks! I’ll only work with one if they can guarantee that I can retain all creative control and therefore deliver on the promises in the kickstarter campaign. It’ll be an indie friendly publisher or no publisher. I’m still happy to self publish if I either can’t find one who’s interested or the terms are wrong. I shall keep you updated on this!

So, the game! A few good additions this week. Firstly, the new main menus are functioning nicely, complete with a more comprehensive options menu. There is still work to be done with polish, but I’m pleased with how they look and feel.

There are some more additions to the gameplay too. First off, there are now little floating numbers that represent additions to the yellow and orange bars after you place a buildings:

feedback

This provides some nice feedback. It was previously there in the form of “+/-” text that flashed up by the side of the top right bars, but this is much more obvious and looks and feels way better. It’s way more useful for keeping track of your stats too.

The next thing is awesome. I’ve finally got around to adding in the randomly generated building and block names (or at least I’ve started that). That means some of your names are now in-game!

buildingnames
Btw, the ‘Queens Residency’ doesn’t mean the queen in living there! It’s just the name given to the city block. These names equate to the road, area, neighborhood, or in this case the name of the housing development.

This is a really cool little addition, it gives the city you’re planning a lot of character. It also makes it easy to see how many spaces left are in city blocks (in the screenshot it’s full- 4/4), so it should help with the understanding of the city blocks system too. It’s lead me to compulsively click on each building to see what random name the game has given it.

Which reminds me, I need to set a deadline on the entries for building names etc. I’m going to say end of the month.

That link again for anyone who hasn’t yet submitted their details to go in the game.

Here’s a few decisions I’ve made when in comes to sorting out the information I’ve collected/not collected:

-All backers can have their names in the credits, this is going to be opt-out thing. So unless you’ve specified otherwise using the form on the link above, if you’re a backer I’ll include your name in the credits. If I don’t have a name to use via the form, I’ll use the kickstarter username. I hope everybody is happy with this- I’ve chosen an opt-out system as I want to make sure I’ve included everybody!

-I’m going to do the same for the citizen databases (houses in the game are named after these backers). Using the form you can provide a citizen name, if I don’t have any data from you I’ll use a kickstarter username. If your kickstarter username is unsuitable for this, I’ll try and get in touch before release- but there could be a risk I’ll not include it or try and edit it to a suitable name. Eg. if there’s numbers in your username I’ll remove them for inclusion in the game.

-I can’t really do this for the specific building names, so make sure you fill in the form if you want your building name in-game!

There will likely be chances for me to amend the databases after release and include anybody I’ve missed in game updates, but to avoid disappointment I’d suggest not waiting.

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After all that work on the menus, I played a round on versus mode. The AI doesn’t mess around!

Til next week!