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Month: May 2015

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – May 31st

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – May 31st

Hello folks!

A good week for progress this week. First off, the mac beta is live and you can download it along side the PC beta version on humble bundle. If you assigned Concrete Jungle to your humble account you can access the download page through there, if not then you can use the key resender.

Secondly, I’ve done a tonne of character and buildings work this week. The next character to be revealed is ‘Yves Laurent’:

Yves

Yves is a french programmer and conservation enthusiast. What he lacks in fashion sense he makes up for in intelligence! His main strategies involve maintaining a small collection of powerful cards while keeping his column target low. He can achieve this through his variety of character skills which involve cloning cards and sorting his deck. He can also gain the ability to ‘decline’ 1 card from the card shop every time the 4 choices are drawn in exchange for another, which is super useful.

He also has access to a load of science and conservation focused buildings. You’ve already seen one of his top-tier buildings, the Launch Pad, many updates ago. But here are some of the others:

The laboratory
The Laboratory
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The Radio Telescope
The Recycling Site.
The Recycling Site.
My personal favourite- the Fusion Power plant. Probably because it most resembles a building from Command & Conquer/Red Alert!
My personal favourite- the Fusion Power plant. Probably because it most resembles a building from Command & Conquer/Red Alert!

In terms of building count, at time of writing there are 165 cards total in-game, and 141 of those are buildings. My target for the full release is 150 buildings with subsequent updates taking that total to 200. I’ve still got characters to add and yet more buildings to include, so you can safety expect the number of buildings in the full release to be somewhere between 150 and 200 with the later (free) update to bring that to at least 200. That’s not including different graphical variations of the same building or cards that aren’t buildings!

Those of you playing the beta can play around with a decent chunk of the game’s buildings, but once I have them all in place I can start to balance properly through play testing.

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – May 24th

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – May 24th

Hello!

I’ve been really busy this week- the backer beta went live and I’ve been getting some great feedback! People seem to be really enjoying it which is the main thing. You can also expect a mac beta version soon- it should be around the end of the month, around the time of the next update.

Other than that, it’s been back to work on the game’s content. I’ve implemented another character this week- Horrace Murray.

horracejpg

Horrace is a twenty-something sports fan and graphic designer. His mission is to transform the local sports scene, so half of his skill tree is dedicated to that. The other half is based around hipster culture. He gets access to unique buildings such as a Stadium, Ice Rink, Sports Club, Design House and Microbrewery. Many of his skills involve drawing and swapping cards around, which will be fun in versus mode!

I’m pleased to say the pace is picking up with both the character implementation and building creation. Now I have almost all of the game’s systems in-place, it’s much quicker and easier to create the unique skill trees- as it often involves modifying my existing code rather than writing it from scratch.

In a similar way, I now have a substantial collection of 3D modeled building parts created over the course of the project I can use as a library for building creation. Most buildings require a unique 3D model or two, but having a library of existing parts makes the process a bit like constructing with lego- which is awesome! To finish, here’s the latest batch of buildings, mostly unique to Horrace:

A Microbrewery.
A Microbrewery.
A Coffee House.
A Coffee House.
The Ice Rink.
The Ice Rink.
and Sports Club.
and Sports Club.
The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – May 19th

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – May 19th

Today is a good day, because when I post this update it means the backer beta has gone live! So, if you’re a backer and had access to the preview version you can now play the beta version!

It will be hosted again by the awesome folks at humble bundle. Just like with the preview version, you will be able retrieve it with the key resender. Or if you made a humble bundle account, you should be able to access it through that if you clicked ‘claim this page’ when you downloaded the preview from them.

But while we’re waiting for them to host, I’m going to send all backers a kickstarter message with a temporary dropbox link- so you can play right now!

BetaScreenshots1

There’s such a leap over the preview version it’s hard to know where to begin. The whole game has been tightened up, there’s load more buildings and the introduction of playable characters and a whole new game mode! Here’s what’s in the beta as of today:

-120 buildings, 135 cards.
-3 playable characters, each with around 20 unique skills.
-The first 9 levels of the story/campaign mode
-A ‘custom game’ option with 2 playable game modes- solo and versus.
-Easy and Hard AI to play against with versus mode (each character AI has their own playing style!)
-6 Unlockable buildings

I’ve had some time to play test it and I don’t *think* there are any game-breaking bugs. There will be the occasional glitch, and maybe you’ll come across something I didn’t. The ‘classic’ mode and ‘load game’ are currently disabled as there are some issues with them, although you can ‘save & exit’ and ‘continue’ your game.

The AI is still on the tough side! Easy is fairly challenging, and Hard is a bit of a nightmare!

So I hope that keeps you busy! There is still more for me to do- implementing the rest of the playable characters and buildings is perhaps the most obvious. In theory that should go relatively smoothly as I now have the fundamentals in-place.

Another area I will focus on next is sound. At the moment the game has pretty much the same SFX as the preview version (although with the addition of some music by Saad Akhter Ali). I really need to get the game sounding good- at the moment the game has a tonne of visual detail but very basic sound.

BetaScreenshots2

I’m pleased with how the campaign mode is developing. It’s focused around building ‘Caribou City’ through it’s difficult transition to a new mayor. Along the way you’ll meet and unlock the characters by completing a series of pre-set levels. The levels contained in the beta are largely focused around teaching new players how to play. By spreading the tutorial out over a few of these and letting the player play with the basic concepts of the game first, I think I’ve improved a lot over the bare-bones tutorial I had previously.

I’ll finish with a quick Q&A which I hope will cover everything else:

There are only 2 playable characters in my game!
You have to unlock #3 through the campaign mode- after beating level 9.

Can I stream the beta on Twitch/Youtube?
Absolutely! There are no restrictions on this at all. Just be aware that the beta is currently limited to just backers and press, so any viewers wanting to play will have to wait a bit for the full release.

When do you think the full game release will be?
My original intention was to get the game done this month- but that intention was based around basically adding the rest of the content to the preview version. I received a load of good feedback from you guys from the preview version -*loads* of awesome ideas plus a few of my own I wanted to change and add. So, over the course of January-March I decided to revamp a lot of the core game, which was definitely for the best as the game plays a lot better than the preview version ever did. But it has come at the cost of delaying the game a few months. I wasn’t originally going to do a beta version, so this is my form of appeasement- I want to give you something to play in May! I’m currently aiming for a full release towards the end of the summer and shall continue regular progress updates until then.

Any word on night mode/voice acting/extra characters/buildings (ie stretch goals)?
They still are coming, absolutely! As stated in the kickstarter, I want to deliver these in the form of a free update after release, as they are significant additions that will take time and I don’t want to delay the game further. With the exception of the 2 extra characters, who will be in the first release as I want to add them as part of the campaign mode!

Will there be a mac beta version?
I’ll keep you updated- it depends on a few things right now. My intention is to get a mac beta version hosted on humble along side the PC version- stay tuned!

The game is too easy/hard, or x card is too weak/powerful
There is a significant amount of balancing still to be done on the game. My priority right now is getting all the content in the game and making sure everything works. I do a little balancing here and there when I get time to play test, but most of the balancing issues will be dealt with towards the end of the project (and will likely be an on-going process after release too!) If you have suggestions however, please feel free to get in touch.

Can I report a bug?
Yes, I’ve set up a bug tracker here. I may not be able to respond to each report, but just know that I will definitely read it and thank you for reporting it!

X option doesn’t work
The options menu is still a work in progress- most things work but some don’t. There will also be more options in the final game, specifically controller options and colour options.

I can’t see my backer/building name in-game
The beta is using a backer name database from March, so if you’ve submitted your backer naming requests recently, it’s likely not in the beta. Rest assured, all submitted backer names will be featured in the final game! I also have to work out how to put all your names in the credits, that’s still to do also!

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – May 3rd

The Concrete Jungle Weekly Chronicle – May 3rd

Hello everybody!

As promised, I have some details on the beta version I’m going to be rolling out to backers as a result of the delay of the final release until the summer.

I plan to have the beta ready in aprox 2 weeks- giving me enough time to iron out the worst bugs.

At time of writing, the game contains 3 fully playable characters- each with their own skill tree with 20 unique skills. A good portion of those skills are unique cards and buildings, while the rest have other various effects on the game.

You can play using these characters in solo mode (the game mode found in the preview version), or against the AI/local multiplayer in the new versus mode. The AI also plays differently depending on which character it’s playing as! I’m really pleased with the AI right now- I’ve spent most of the last week improving it and ironing out oddities in it’s decision making. It’s tougher than ever but I do plan on making some easier variations too before the release of the beta.

As for the buildings, there are currently 135 cards ready for the beta, with 120 of them being buildings! That’s up from the 50 cards in the preview version for comparison. I’m quickly approaching the target of 150 buildings for the full release (with free expansion to 200 post release).

It really is a much, much tighter game than the preview version- I can’t wait for you all to play it! It’s already hard for me to not sink a lot of time into playing right now which can only be a good sign. I’m currently addicted to playing the solo mode as last week’s character Giles– trying to build massive farms is fun.

It’s very likely there will be a bit more content included with the beta than what’s listed above- but take this description as a minimum of what to expect. I’ll also do a mac build, but this will arrive up to a week after the PC build- the PC version needs to be functional before building for mac.

Now the core gameplay is solid, the AI more or less complete, and the first batch of playable characters complete, I want to start putting together the story mode. In particular I want the first few levels to be a gradual introduction of the game mechanics, and act as a tutorial.

Since there are a lot of mechanics to teach, I came to the conclusion that a gentle learning curve would be best for Concrete Jungle as opposed to the preview version tutorial which tells the player rather than shows. I want to do something akin to the first levels of Plants vs Zombies, where you start out with the very basic mechanics, but crucially you are still playing the game- not just being told what to do. Gradually more and more complexities are introduced until you are comfortable with everything. That’s my goal.

Also the official deadline has been reached for backer building name submissions! If you haven’t submitted, do it quick– this is your last chance! As promised I’ve started working on the three top tier backer requested buildings. This week we have Camelot Castle requested by Laurence O’Brien. How could I say no to an epic Arthurian castle to go in the game?!

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As you might expect, the castle will be a high level, powerful but rare ‘landmark’ building.

 

I’m going to take an update break next weekend so I can focus completely on getting the beta ready. See you in 2 weeks with something awesome to play!