Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 5.47.55 PM

One thing I’ve been somewhat proud of throughout development on the different iterations of MMORPG Tycoon and MMORPG Tycoon 2, is how I’ve avoided putting everything on a grid layout;  how objects can be angled, and placed in all sorts of different places;  things generally aren’t confined onto any single “grid”.

But as I’ve worked with the game more and more, I’ve slowly been moving away from that.  Over a year ago, I changed the terrain system to be based on a grid (albeit a disguised one), and I felt like that gave the user bigger, “chunkier”, more meaningful choices to make.  It’s much more interesting to have to make decisions that affect a big area, than to make tiny decisions that affect a small area.  Similarly, choosing whether to place something in one place, or a hundred meters to its left, is a more interesting decision than deciding whether to place it in one place, or a few centimeters to its left.

And as time has gone on, I’ve been coming to realise that MMORPG Tycoon 2’s building system is falling into that problem;  by allowing players to place buildings absolutely anywhere and at any angle, it’s largely de-valuing the choice of precisely where to place things.  And so I’m starting to play with the idea of constraining buildings to a “building grid”.

This functionality will come along with features that allow players to create buildings in whatever shape they choose, instead of needing to accept pre-created buildings.  I’ve been considering adding rules about visibility;  say, any building that’s more than four stories tall would be visible from far away, and therefore wouldn’t need to be “discovered” by subscribers, the way that other buildings must be.  (But simultaneously, they’d give no discovery bonus when found for the first time).  I’d also want to add some rules about floorplan, which would make players sometimes prefer to have large buildings, and sometimes smaller ones, but I’m not sure precisely what those rules would be.  Perhaps larger buildings provide better services?  Needs thought!

Over the past few weeks, more sound has slowly been coming into the game, and we’re very close to starting the second round of UI design work;  I’m very much looking forward to that!

Milestone 12 will contain this new building system, along with a few other big features.  The plan is that once milestone 12 ships, that build will go out to testers for feedback.  I haven’t yet decided whether to handle that testing on Steam itself, or whether to perhaps do it on, or somewhere else.  It would be good to have proper forums for wrangling that feedback, and I don’t believe that Steam offers those until you’re actually available on Early Access, which is still a ways off for us.  (Although the game’s Steam build is working right now across all platforms, including cloud sync for saved games!)

Has anybody here done anything with/through  And if so, was it a good experience?  Very interested in thoughts or experiences!