Time for celebration!
A free complementary strawberry for every attendant!
The first bit of roadmap has been finished: Robots are able to receive tasks to execute, and, after executing them according to the task specification, either start the next available task or bumble around while waiting for new tasks to appear. As a first matter of business, I of course enabled the capability to harvest strawberries existing in the world. The robots eagerly hurry out to the freshly marked fruit, collect the savoury treat, and return the harvested bits back to a storage building. As the strawberry regrows slower than a robot harvest from it, it will at some point deplete. When this happens, the robot finishes the harvesting task, and, upon delivering the last bit of delicious fruitness, will return to a waiting state until the next task appears.
The next bit of development will see the occurence of the first set of resources that form the first level of technology: Oxygen, Silicon, Aluminium and Iron, which just happen to be the four most common elements on our own planet earth. Next to Strawberries, these will be essential for increasing the prosperity of a small robot collaboration.
After a bit of a break, work on Red Robot continues on. Most of the last weeks has been spent on switching to a partial 3D look, queue screenshot:
As such, all acting parts of the game, that is buildings, environmental entities, units, enemies, etc., will still be 2D objects. However, all of them are arranged in a 3D environment, which in turn provides a more intuitive view (for example gauge distances from unit size), and new camera control possibilities. The core bit of functionality has been retained: For now, robot(s) move around to harvest strawberries from the plants and shuffle over to a base to drop them off. The gui shows remaining and harvested amounts at the selected berry, and so you can watch the little robots labour away.
The game focuses to a large part on resource management, the allocation of the current posessions to various tasks. As such, I like the mechanics to be more complex than “wood, stone and iron” for a couple of reasons:
- A greater diversity of resources will, to some degree, result in more depth, which is hopefully is more engageing.
- The game takes place in the future; robots (as well as some people) have already realised that there is probably more the grey-ish, shiny stuff than meets the eye.
- The main actors of the game are robots! Who better to know all the various kinds of elements that need to go in complex construction.
Of course, having a lot of resources also means a lot of load on the player, leaving possibly to much to explore in a too random manner. Even worse, if the various resources do not add depth to gameplay mechanics, it might feel like cheap grinding, as opposed to meaningful expansion.
Thus, I plan to not have all resources at each play-through: A single colony might just stumble upon, say, a fifth or so of the actually available resources over the first couple of hours of expansion. This will, to some degree, enforce a certain style of construction and play; however, all somewhat relevant mechanics should be available, but maybe reachable in different ways or even different orders. So, one player might be able to expand on powerful stationary entertainment early, while another player might be able to shield his moving units from most distraction, allowing her to reach out (but leaving her defences weakened in the meantime).
Additionally, players might be able to substitute resources from other processes. For example, one player has the fortune of a nearby oil well to turn into plastics (a well-known all-round casing material), while a different player might add a filtration station to the nearby ocean, harvesting micro-plastics from the ocean water. A third one might stumble upon an covered garbage dump while digging the ground, which of course could yield all kinds of other materials as well.
In the same manner, resource acquisition will completely replace the concept of research: Advancements can be reached by adding a new resource to the mix, which enables new mechanics, as well as rewards successful expansion.
Still, 118 resources will likely still be to much to manage, thus the help of diligent engineering robots might be required…