How Would You Like It To Work?

On December 1, 2011, in King Machine, by bateleur

I spent last week fixing my pooter, which was generating pretty regular blue screens of death thanks to a dying motherboard. I'll spare you the details. Suffice to say it works again now!

This week, I've been improving King Machine's basic building UI.

Building a fence in King Machine.

This is a process I've left much longer than I should have done for the simple reason that the old UI worked. I could build more-or-less anything I wanted with it. As a result, improving it didn't seem like a priority. Also, perhaps more relevantly, improving it was less fun for me than designing levels, making machines, creating artwork or coming up with new machine parts.

The problem is, there's a big difference between being able to make something with the old UI and the process actually being smooth enough to be fun. Players in King Machine will need to build a lot of stuff and if that process is fiddly and demanding it's not going to make for good gameplay.

So what have I changed?

The main difference now is that there's no need to use the menu at all to line up objects in basic ways. Clicking on the edge of an object will align the edge of the object you're holding with it and pull those two edges together. This makes it far, far quicker to build walkways and surfaces your bot can travel along. Clicking on a face of an object will align the closest face of the object you're holding to it and pull those faces together. This makes it much easier to build complex structures with all the relevant parts lined up correctly.

I'm also experimenting with automatically switching between grab mode and build mode. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it's quite common to grab something, carry it for a while, then want to build with it at the far end. On the other hand it's annoying to have the game switch modes when you didn't want it to. I'll probably need to wait for playtest results with this feature to work out if I want it.

Next step is to rethink how wiring and logic work. These are the aspect of the game most strongly tied to earlier versions of King Machine, so I've been reluctant to mess with them. On the other hand, you know what they say about sacred cows.

They go "moo".

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