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…
Welcome to the first Sundae Summary! With these regular (i.e. weekly) summaries I will try to provide regular insights into the game’s development progress. Additionally, I hope to trick myself to keep on working on this thing for somewhat longer.
To keep up with the alliteration, this first Sundae Summary will focus on the second most important resource: Strawberries!
Strawberries have been—according to legend—the initial spark that incited the robot awakening. The storied First Taster CB-174 opened the figurative eyes of the robot workforce to the exquisitly grandiose flavour of the tasty fruit, and ever since then, robots have been on the lookout to ensure regular tasting sessions for them and their fellow robots.
Within the game, strawberries appear as wild fields of several fruits (for now; in the future, robots may be able to cultivate their own fields?). Worker robots will hurry to field and carry the precious treats back to any free storage building. At the start, this is just the base, however the robots may build additional, dedicated storage buildings to service the front-lines if needed.
For now, these are just stored, and, once the store is full, nothing else happens. So next up, all mobile robots (and maybe even some immobile, like defences?) will require regular strawberry-servings, bevor they start to despair: They will move slower and slower, and at one point, just stop and give in to the hopelessness that is a non-strawberried existence.
Let’s hope that nobody will ever let it come to this.