Tactical Overlay – Mini Mob Development Diary #5

Mini Mob is going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment with my motivation on the project dipping significantly. I’ve faced this in my last few projects and it has resulted in the projects being shelved.

Its funny because its not something I really suffered from in my earlier projects. I’ve been mulling over what may have caused it. Perhaps its that I have placed a higher expectation on myself for this game, or maybe I’m just at that painful “middle phase” of a project where its predominantly just work. I don’t know, but I do know that I need to push through it.

So where am I at with the project?

I’ve scrapped the art style from the last update. It simply didn’t work once it was tiled, I think because it has such an odd perspective. I’ve ended up adopting an isometric view (for the artwork, its still a grid underneath) to create a more cohesive city. Thankfully this has solved my tiling issue. I’ve also adopted a black an white colour palette to give the city a noir feel. I think it works better than the art deco palette I had originally selected.

mini mob art style

I have a new graphical issue and that is one of variety. I’ve created 4 zone types so far with subtle variation but the city still looks very uniform. I think I’m going to have to experiment with some slightly crazier designs to inject the variety that I’m after.

In other news, I’ve been playing around with a tactical overlay. I want to visually show the player which zones go into calculating their chance of winning a fight when they attack. I’ve implemented an initial concept whereby when you attack a zone, the surrounding zones are highlighted in blue and red if they are owned by the police or the mob (and therefore affect your odds). It’s effective up to a point but currently other visual aspects are clashing so its not clear if its going to fit well in the final design.

mini mob tactical overlay

I’ve also removed the defence values from every zone so that they are only visible when you tap a zone. This adds an element of discovery that was present in the original game. I quite like it but I suspect some players will prefer the efficiency of seeing all of the defence values at once. We’ll see what feedback I get once I enter the alpha phase.

I’ve added a new recruit timer to the interface. The graphics are purely placeholder but the idea is that you get a visual representation of when your next allotment of reinforcements will arrive. This is essentially a countdown timer but in playing with it I decided to reverse it so that it fills up. This is a subtle change but it turns the action into something positive rather than something negative (something filling up rather than something depleting). It amazing how that can alleviate some of the time pressure you feel when playing.

Next up is to work on the movement for the vehicles and people during a fight. This involves both logic and some basic artwork for vehicles and people. I want fights to be dynamic based on objects interacting rather than a static animation.

I’d also like to get a first iteration of the defence value graphics in place.

After that I’ll be blocking out some of the other screens in the game. Perhaps we can discuss overall gameplay flow and the meta-game next time.

Thanks for reading and hopefully a few of you out there are still interested in the game.

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