It’s been another two weeks which means it’s time for another changelog! The goal of this sprint was to wrap up the build mode that I’ve been working on for the last couple months.
The whole point of build mode is to make it easier to build your factory. In this mode, you’ll only be able to place buildings. Actions such as picking up items, mining resources, or interacting with machines is all done in the counterpart to build mode which I’m calling play mode. Because build mode is about building, I wanted to provide a more zoomed out camera with more of a top down perspective. Similarly, the hex grid that is drawn on the ground is only really helpful when placing buildings. So now toggling to build mode will transition the camera and enable the hex grid. Here’s what that looks like:
I also plan on pausing the factory in this mode to make it easier to build without pushers and rotators moving things everywhere.
While build mode is a lot more convenient for building, I wanted to do something to make it feel like it was still the little robot avatar that was doing the building. My solution was to add a build laser to the robot when you are placing new buildings. For now, I’m just using a slightly modified version of the mining laser, but I plan to revisit this laser.
The other change that can be seen in the gif above is how building previews look. In the last changelog, I showed off a sort of hologram shader when previewing a new building. Then when the building is placed, it animates into existence. I got some feedback that this animation was a bit jarring since the hologram looked similar to the completed building. Now the buildings animate into existence immediately and I’ve removed the hologram shader entirely. I also raised and added outlines to the previews prior to them being placed. I think this will be an area I’ll continue to tweak, so I’d love to hear what you think!
I also added a new panel to build mode that shows the total set of ingredients required to build all of the previews. This is useful for communicating which resources the player needs if they don’t have enough.
Another thing I worked on this sprint was a new belt placement system. The old one worked by dragging the cursor to a new location and it would create a path of belts to the cursor. When you moved the cursor, it would create a new belt path from the original position to the cursor. With the new belt placement system, the belts follow the cursor. This makes it easier to make specific shapes and results in less jarring changes when the cursor moves. There are still a lot of features I would like to add to this system (such as appending and prepending to existing belts) but I’m happy with how its working now.
The last thing I wanted to mention was some changes to play mode. One of the changes I made a couple months ago was to remove cursor aiming in play mode, instead option for a proximity-based interaction system. While I still like this approach, it does feel a bit awkward with mouse and keyboard at times. I’m experimenting with letting the mouse turn the robot around, while still relying on the proximity to interact with things. I’m not totally sure which option is best but this is something that I plan to evaluate in a future playtest.
Alrighty, that’s all for this update! Next sprint will be focused on re-adding a bunch of things that have been broken from previous migrations and redesigns. The goal is get the game back to a playable state so that I can start playtesting again.
Have a great weekend!
- Hex grid is now only visible in build mode
- Prevent placing buildings on top of character
- New cursor icon
- Recreated camera controller using Unity’s Cinemachine 3
- Added separate build and play mode cameras that transition automatically
- Create VFX for a building laser
- Reworked how building previews look in build mode:
- Remove hologram shader
- Show spawn animation immediately rather than waiting until after placement
- Raise all building previews
- Add blue shading and outline to building previews
- Add building requirements panel to show total set of ingredients requirement for building
- Support hover rotation in build mode
- Support pipette in build mode
- Character now aims at cursor in build mode when using mouse and keyboard
- Play mode toolbar can now be clicked with mouse to change held item
- New belt placement system that follows the cursor