Bytesize Adventures
Crafting bite-sized digital worlds

The beginnings of an art style – Mini Mob Development Diary #4

Time for another short update. I’ve spent some time away from the game recently to get some perspective which has helped me to clarify a way forward with the game. I can pretty much visualise the final game now which is helpful in keeping up momentum.

In terms of actual work, I’ve implemented the layout changes discussed in my last blog post. This screenshot contains purely placeholder artwork but you can see the overall layout of the game.

GUI Layout

The interface elements along the top of the screen account for your total gangsters, your new recruits complete with a timer counting down to your next recruitment phase, and a pause button to trigger the menu. At the bottom of the screen I’ve implemented a ticker which will display relevant information such as any fights currently in progress – all tied to a relevant street name. How useful this will be remains to be seen but I’m hoping to utilise it to add some character to the game.

The city is now central to the screen since this is where your focus should be. iPhone 5 users will be treated to a little extra negative space either side of the city. Elements are laid out relatively and I’ve very much built the game with both screen sizes in mind.

The ticker was interesting to write and is very easy for me to utilise. I have a convenience method that allows me to push a message to it and additionally pass a parameter to indicate that its urgent; this places it at the start of the ticker queue. These little systems seem easy but inevitably throw up challenges. Nevertheless they are extremely satisfying when you crack them.

I’ve been pondering the look of the game for some time and the city in particular has been a tough nut to crack. Its built up of zones that will be procedurally placed in order to create city variety. I’m hoping to write an algorithm flexible enough to feed players fresh zone types over a period so as to keep players engaged. I need to convey an Art Deco style with just the right amount of detail to be aesthetically pleasing at 64×64 points.

Here’s what I have so far. This will represent the style from which all other elements of the game will be born. Remember that a layer of traffic/people will be placed over this.

Zone style prototype

I’m now shifting focus to the visual feedback system so that its clear what happens when you occupy a zone. I’ll also be working on some new zone artwork.

More soon.