Are you controlling the game, or is the game controlling you?

After we released the first milestone, 0.1, I realized that instead of going for new features, I need to focus on the playability of the game and better control. Our game is not intended to be played where you control individual characters, as with classical strategy games. Rather, you do global planning of work needed to accomplish the tasks you want done, setting up your crew based on priorities you set, then you watch things happen.

The side effect of such a system is that you can become frustrated, as you simply don’t know why the F**K something is not happening — or something else IS happening.

First, watch this video:

My solution is composed of two major features.

First I added a ton to the user interface. You can see list of all jobs in the game, and focus on the related object(s). You can see on each object what job is available, and if somebody is doing it. You can see on each character which job he is doing.

But that’s not all. Because if something is not happening it’s hard to know why. Therefore I added something called “Last Status”, which will tell you if somebody tried to do that job and why he failed — missing resources, can’t find path to the object, object below is not built, etc. It’s now very clear.

And to make it even more clear I added an option to directly order somebody to the job and the result is shown on the screen. Ideally you will see it in the progress, but if not you will at least know what the problem is.

You can also see in the video other additions to the UI — like a list of all resources in the game, etc. I’ll show more in the next videos.