What do you know?

From the start I wanted OreSome to have progression for the player, for them to constantly be evolving their abilities. I also desperately wanted to avoid the usual game upgrades – percentage damage increase, decimal health increase and so on. So there’s none of that in OreSome.

Every upgrade adds real capabilities, either a new building or spacecraft to construct, a special ability for one of these (and no percentage improvements, actual new capabilities) or command tools that help the player manage their gear better.

The research system is also designed to allow the player great choice in which paths to focus their attention on – there are a number of trees, each which two options at each level. Yet since upgrades get much more expensive with every one purchased, you need to make choices with some care. Do you want that bot type you’ve be craving, or the frame that will complete your space station design?

More weaponry, or utility? Up to you.

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Help? Help!

I’m doing this on my own. “AHHHH!” is often the following thought whenever this occurs to me.

For now, it’s fine – but that may not be true for the whole project. I’ve lucked into working out how to do everything I want to do so far, from graphics to music, but that may not hold. If anyone has any ideas on how to improve anything or add quality easily, I really want to hear about it. It’s part of the reason I’m beginning this blog at a relatively early stage, to get feedback and fix things that seem to work to me, but not to the public. So, if any time you think I need to clarify, or if you think something just sucks, please let me know rather than just assuming I already do – often I will, but you’d be surprised what slips through the cracks. Constructive criticism will always be helpful.

On a similar note, soonish I’m hoping to get either a wide pre-alpha release or a limited release to trusted testers. It may end up being one then the other. If anyone has advice on this, or even wants to express interest in becoming a tester assuming I go down that route, do let me know here, or email me.

Any useful question, suggestion or similar will be replied to – but thanks in advance.

Dev Diary 5: Early Enemies

It’s just a brief video this time, but it gives you a look at four basic alien mobs, the Drifter, Latcher, Spiker and Bouncer (red, yellow, green and blue respectively). Killing these near your Builder Bot nets you research points in a different, colour coded category. When levels are unlocked, the corresponding coloured ore can be used to purchase research, with two items of research per level and five levels. Nothing is locked out, but the more you buy, the more expensive everything else is.

Telling Tales

I haven’t entirely decided how the story will be conveyed to the player – much depends on what resources I have available. For example, I have no voice actors to do radio messages or audio logs, which currently limits me to text. That might change in the future, but it does force me to think more stragegically.

I’ve gone for a show, not tell approach, setting a scene with unique objects and a few message ‘canisters’ to give an idea of what has happened there. The idea is to let the player’s mind fill in the gaps. The developers at Bethesda said similar things when constructing Skyrim’s locations, so I’m hoping being in good company will rub off. Populating the world with quests, puzzles, easter eggs and points of interest is a mammoth task, but I believe the simple approach will let me add lots of content quite quickly. The main thing that slows me down is creating art assets, but depending on what happens, others might be able to help at a later date.

Speaking of which, the art in the game (and everything else) is subject to improvement. It’s not quite ‘placeholder’, but  anything I can replace with something better will be ripped out without mercy. For now though, gameplay takes precedence over prettiness. I’ll talk about story specifics soon, but I want to get more of it into the game, ready to show it off before I do.

Dev Diary 4: Binder Bot

Another bot gets its own video here. It’s a utilitarian unit with a number of uses, so there’s enough material for a whole video. I mention a special ability in the video that isn’t shown – that’ll come in another video soon, showing special abilities for a number of the basic bots.

A Sense of Scale

At the start of OreSome, you will feel very small. I wanted the Builder Bot, when on its own, to feel weedy, near defenceless against what’s out there. With a few more items, frames and bots to shield it, that feeling will likely dip. Until you look at the map screen, that is. In these developer diaries so far, I only show the central sector. It is one of perhaps 500 semi-randomly generated areas, progressively getting more difficult to survive in the further from the centre the player gets.

My expectation is that players will build multiple bases and fleets of capital ships made from frames, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some choose to make titanic beweaponed roving space stations instead. I like the idea that the scale of the constructs becomes so immense. You might only start with a single small ship, but you progress to dragging around planets, stars and black holes as power supplies for your equipment.

You’ll have to get bigger if you want to explore, since your enemies most definitely will do the same – and multiply.