6th April 2015 | Posted by: Damien
Happy Easter everyone! Sorry about the delay with March's devblog, I needed something to talk about before I posted up. These last two months I have focused mainly on the technical side of Showtime 2. I have been migrating code and designs over to the new .NET framework and that has been quite a time consuming process. What I can tell you about this process is that I have discovered countless new ways to write the code and make it more efficient. This has led to faster loading in-game and a much cleaner way of approaching certain tasks and little effects within the game. It is a very challenging process though and unfortunately one of those things that cant exactly be hurried up.
The joys of programming!
I am pleased to announce that Showtime 2 will come complete with a ton of Steam achievements for all you trophy hunters out there :) I know a lot of you wanted to see the Steamworks API integrated into Showtime 1, which was all but impossible at the time, so I opted to include them in-game instead. However with using the .NET framework this process is steamlined and Valve have done a great job in providing assistance for ways of integration. I have yet to establish the limit for Steam achievements but I'm aiming for about 40 - including some from the original game. Trading cards will also be made available on Steam day 1 for all you collectors out there.
I got a request to show off a little more of the box office and how that's shaping up. The box office will now contain a Top 20 list of the week's top films, as well as a little icon where you can view the weekly takings from each region of the world via a drop-down. You will also be able to sort the list into a monthly run-down of chart data if you are so inclined. As with Showtime 1, the pie chart will make a return for visual representation. The game will also have a Year to Date section, where you can view the Top 20 movies of the year as well as a return of the Hall of Fame -- which will be limited to a Top 10 list.
I am currently looking to expand the Hall of Legends list for a local Top 10 list of all top grossing films through ALL of your play throughs of the game, as well as AI opponents. I am hoping to expand this to also include an Online Top 100 list where you are able to compete with other players and upload your high scores to the internet.
The AI I have designed to be more aggressive in Showtime 2, studying which genres you like to stick to and releasing competing movies on the month's you expect big returns. This encourages players to change it up to stump their AI opponents and ultimately bring a diverse range to their filmography. This will all be explained more in-game through the tutorials.
And lastly, I have started work on the upgrade system for the game. I have done away with individual staff hiring and instead opted for a “Research Budget”. You can choose how much you would like to allocate to each department, or focus all your attention on a specific area: Film Technology, Sound Technology, Facilities, Sound Stages or Sub-Genres. Each facility will come with their own specific unlocks which make them more efficient too. You can ultimately tailor your research to the areas you wish to focus on. The screenshot provided is not at all final, but a very early representation of what I’m talking about here.
Thanks for reading!
19th February 2015 | Posted by: Damien
Firstly I'd just like to say thank you to all those who have been commenting in the board below. I read them all and although I dont always have time to reply I take all suggestions and comments seriously. So thank you to everyone who has taken the time.
Secondly, this month has been pretty big for the game albeit rather slow in terms of development. I have decided to shift platforms and see what else was on the market to program the game in. Everything from C# to .NET to Xojo to even Unity Engine. I spent about 4-5 days "porting" the code over to these platforms (each!) to see how fast I could recreate the game and how everything was shaping up, so work on adding new features has been slow. But i'll touch down on what has happened...
Themes/skins will now be present in the game. It was something I wanted to do with S1 but wasnt able to in the end with how the design worked, but starting from the 20s all the way up until the 90s there will be seperate skins. These change when you move into a new decade and are (hopefully) reflective of what was 'popular' or the common themes. For instance the 20s is a black and white TV style theme where as the 50s theme is more shiny, daphne blue. You will be able to disable these from the start of the game and through the options menu, or just choose a theme you most prefer from the get-go (these will need to be unlocked though!).
A lot of players from the first game wanted to see some sort of soundtrack accompany the game. Those people will be happy to know I have a wicked soundtrack lined up. It is comprised of a number of licensed, creative common and custom-made tracks, including some amazing tunes from Viktor Ståhl (check out his Spotify page here). The game will feature a growing soundtrack and adapt as you make your way through the 20s-30s-40s, etc. Its something I'm quite pleased to introduce. You will of course be able to switch to your own player at any time and can even separately adjust the volume of the music player, but with the incredible soundtrack I have lined up I highly doubt that :P
I got a lot of requests from people wanting to create their ultimate super-hero movies and now that's entirely possible... Roles have been given a makeover to allow players to fully customise the characters in their movies. You can now assign up to 12 characters (6 leading and 6 supporting roles), as well as 2 cameo appearances and of course the usual speaking and background extras (which have had their maximum value bumped up to 100). When you add a new role to your film, it will be randomly assigned a character role, which you can change if you wish. From here you can also assign the role a gender before proceeding onto the casting stage. For sequels, your roles will be automatically generated, and you can remove/switch them around as you please.
I for one can't wait to make an epic Batman franchise! I even started building one in the pre-alpha (check out the screenshot! :P)
Lastly I would like to discuss platforms for the game. The game is currently in development for Windows 7+ and will support Windows 10. The engine I am rebuilding my source code in is designed to allow multi-platform support, so I wont rule out porting to Mac or Linux systems when the game is closer to release. Porting isnt an easy thing and my resources are limited, so my focus is on Windows at this stage. Thanks for reading!
23rd January 2015 | Posted by: Damien
Hey hey! This is the first of (hopefully) a stream of monthly updates for... Showtime 2! I've been working on this game for a while now. I received a ton of great feedback and feature requests from Steam players and unfortunately I wasn’t able to add them to the first game. So as a side project to updates, Showtime 2 [S2] began. So, without further ado I present to you...
I spent a great deal of time on the interface. I wanted it to feel familiar but also fresh and vibrant. Showtime was quite a dark game, so I opted for lighter colours this time. The resolution has been bumped up to 1366x768, a 16:9 aspect ratio. Showtime in comparison was 877x683, so significantly smaller -- however it was never designed as a full screen game. I took on the feedback I received from everyone on Steam and so I'm sure this is something a lot of you will be happy to see.
You may be asking, why not 1920x1080? And the answer is that although this is an ideal resolution for someone like me, and many others, the standard for a lot of players is still 1366x768. The game is able to be upscaled, but it can’t be downscaled. So the trade off in this case was finding a resolution that is able to be played on laptops as well as large monitors. This resolution will hopefully keep people happy.
Upon launching the game, a screen will appear which allows the user to select between a traditional Windowed mode or Full screen. The game handles scaling the same way games like Prison Architect does; by changing the resolution of the OS when the game starts and restoring the resolution when the game closes.
Another feature I am quite proud of in early development is the tutorial system. I learnt a lot moving from Bestseller to Showtime in terms of improving the tutorial system, but a lot of players still found it a little confusing and lacking in explanation. So this time, I've gone all out! In Showtime, 33 tutorial popups helped to guide you through the game. With this new dynamic tutorial system, I aim at 120+, as well as the "help" icons making a return from the previous game.
It has been difficult however in finding a balance... as a designer its hard to overcome tutorial-fatigue ("oh mannn annnootthherr popup! GO AWAY!") while still explaining all of the features available in the game. So i'm doing my best in that regard and I think the final system will be quite good. The option to turn off the tutorial will of course be available in-game as well as when you first start a new game.
The box office design will probably look very familiar to players. I really wanted to keep things similar to how they worked in Showtime with some minor improvements. You can now click on any of your movies to move directly to their respective filmography page. This was a big feature request in the first game but something I just wasnt able to do without (believe it or not) major tweaking to save data files. I had considered bumping it up to a Top 20 list and played around with it but ultimately it felt unnecessary. Once a film drops out of the Top 10, it's no longer relevent anyway and you can see how well its doing from the filmography page anyway. Still, this is something I've been umming and ahhing over so if you have any input on this please feel free to let me know.
Apart from what I’ve just discussed, I've got a list of about 50 feature requests from people from Steam. Not all made sense, but the majority certainly did and I've made it my mission to cram this game with as much content as I possibly can while still maintaining that Showtime-flavour. Among the biggest upgrades is certainly how Facilities, Staff and Research is handled. The player will now LEVEL UP their facilities, and research items in order to make bigger and better movies. You can still purchase upgrades. Likewise, staff can be hired to research better industry items faster and these will generate points you can "spend" around your studio.
Talent handling has been completely overhauled :) I'm really happy with the way its all shaping up. You will now be able to view a talent's profile at any time. Characters are no longer limited to "works best in..." genres. Instead, they will level up in every genre depending on how often they work in that field. So you can cast and develop very diverse actors/directors/producers. You will also be able to view their full filmography (including seperate acting, directing and producing credits), and finally any awards the talent has won. Actor's will also have busier schedules... AI studios will hire actor's for projects before you can have a chance to get to them, so talent contracting will be more important than ever in securing premium talent for your movies.
Thanks for reading and this time next month I should have another update ready for you all :) Cheers