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Development of BBTV Android game

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Shy Start

Hey all!

I created this Dev Journal a little too late: Big Boss TV is about 75% ready, and should be released on the next 30 days.

I started the development in April I think, but mostly as a side project. Only in the last 30 days I was able to focus 100% on the project.

For more info on what is BBTV, take a look on its Indie page:

Well, to make this entry a real Dev Journal entry, today I focused on crafting a document that defines the semi-final set of images needed for the game to send to the artist. When this set of images is ready the game will be around 90% complete, and I will then send the final document with the remaining images.

On the programming side these are the 5 main activities that need to be done before release:
1) AI of the enemies
2) Balancing of the game (adjusting the price and scores of movie tapes, adjust the ad tapes parameters, a little tweak on news tapes, and a big overhaul on the audience formula, and some tweak on the antennas)
3) Define and create the other cities and countries
4) Craft the tutorial
5) Create help panels for each of the rooms

I'll try to keep this up to date on the next 30 days - and beyond, eventually.




Country/City/Area Module = OK

Hey Again.

I've just finished what I've been working since yesterday: a way to dynamically load the countries, cities and areas. Before doing this I had only 1 city, and it was mostly hardcoded.

Just as a little extra info:
Country: this is the name of the region (not exactly a Country, but thats how I call it internally) which comprises a few cities. I created this concept to be able to put pre-requisites between a group of cities, lock them (so a player can buy a pack of cities via IAP), give bonuses for a pack of cities, etc. Examples; US East, Europe, Tutorial...

City: a single level. This is what you actually play. Each city has a Building associated to it, which is where your company is located. Examples: Miami, New York, Paris, Tutorial #1, Tutorial #2...

Building: the layout of the commercial building where you actually play the game. The building is comprised of many Floors (which contains Tiles and Doors).

Area: area (or Neighborhood, but internally I call it Area) is a subdivision of a city. When playing a level, you can have up to 1 antenna per area, and you compete inside that area only. If you're the only player with an antenna on a certain area, you are more likely to get a better audience than on an area with competing antennas.

This is basically the #3 task from the previous Journal entry.

Besides being able to load each level, I have populated the definition files with all the data: 14 cities, 4 countries, 20-something areas, and the definition files for the building layout (which is 1x1 with the cities, so 14). Now the game is fully customizable using parameter files - no more hardcodes! I just dont have the creativity right now to actually populate all the cities, I have simply copied the layout for all the cities, so the building as of now is exactly the same on the 14 cities.

I will craft the Tutorial cities buildings to make it very simple, with only a few floors, a few doors, etc, so it gets easier to grasp the game concepts I want the player to grasp (let the player get a bit lost on the building on more advanced cities). But the remaining cities I will definitely not design them anytime soon.

Now I'll pick another of those 5 tasks, don't know which yet.




Finishing the Tutorial

Yersterday I couldn't work very well on the tutorial, as I spent most of the day in a meeting with a friend who will do the remaining art of the game.

So today I focused 100% on it and it's mostly ready - wrapping it up, these were the main activities:

- Created both panels (the sequence of steps on the left, and the panel with the details on the current step)
- Created the content (script) for the first tutorial city (it's currently with 16 steps)
- Finished and tweaked the tutorial engine (triggers, delays, etc)
- Changed the initial Boss speech inside the Boss room to match the tutorial (instead of telling the usual, the boss says like "Hello, welcome, let me tour you on the building")
- Spent a while fixing and tweaking the end-game and match restart: it wasn't properly working yet, so the game would crash when the match finished. Now it seems to be working fine. A couple of bugs would arise when starting a 2nd match (some variables werent being properly reset, especially some related to the tutorial itself)

Here are 2 screenshots of the tutorial. Yes, the art isn't ready, so please disregard the crappy visual of the panels .

Now I'll skip to the next activity then when I have the panels ready I come back to this activity to finish it (create the script for the 2nd tutorial city and a few other things).

Actually Im not really sure which activity to pick now. I think I'll go for the computer AI - it's not gonna be easy, but will certainly be interesting.

Btw, I will need some volunteer help in the near future. I will post here an entry with more details, but the main thing I think I will need help will be play testing for balance/difficulty, because I need some people that dont know the game very well yet to tell me if it's too easy, too hard, etc. I will need some help on improving the text of the game also, since my English sucks.





BBTV - Progress on AI

Hey again!

I'm currently working on the AI, and since I don't have much experience in AI I'm posting on the forum to get some ideas/directions. So instead of duplicating the text, I will link to the forum thread. And since the post there is lengthy no one replied, it feels very much as an entry here on the journal .

Link: https://www.gamedev.net/topic/647966-help-on-game-ai-design/

For newcomers: BBTV is a TV management game being developed for Android (to be released in 3 weeks).
Here's a link to its Indie page: https://www.gamedev.net/page/indie/project.html/_/simulation/big-boss-tv-r11





BBTV - Checkpoint after AI

So, the AI task took a bit more time than I expected.

Anyway, it's somewhat finished, and I don't plan to spend any more time on it for the next 2 weeks. The only thing I know I will have to do is to break the AI into some personalities: at least 2 are mandatory ("hard/intelligent AI" and "easy/dumb AI"), but I plan to add a few more to make the AI gameplay less predictable/boring (thanks for the suggestion Ben!). And of course, on the final testing/balancing days I might do some tweaks on the AI.

But for now I can consider the AI task finished, and now it's time for a checkpoint. On September 10th I started this Dev Journal listing 5 major programming tasks needed before release. Here is the updated list, and also below it some new tasks (not necessarily programming):

[s][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]1) AI of the enemies[/font][/color][/s]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]2) Balancing of the game (adjusting the price and scores of movie tapes, adjust the ad tapes parameters, a little tweak on news tapes, and a big overhaul on the audience formula, and some tweak on the antennas)[/font][/color]
[s][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]3) Define and create the other cities and countries[/font][/color][/s]
[s][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]4) Craft the tutorial[/font][/color][/s]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]5) Create help panels for each of the rooms[/font][/color]

Well, to be honest the #3 and #4 still need some tweak, but mostly on the data customization (and not programming itself). The #5 task has the programming mostly done, but Im still not sure how I will craft the help, that's why I didnt focus on it yet. And #2 I need to do it urgently, I plan to start it today or tomorrow. So, the other tasks:

6) Adapt the game to the art being made by the artist (most screens won't change, but some will, for example the main menu will change a lot)
7) Separate the game graphics into HD and non-HD, to make the game playable in low spec devices (most low spec devices I try fail to open the game)
8) Create the IAP part (not sure if this will make into the initial release)
9) Setup the ads (interstitial, shows when day finishes and the avatar leaves the building for the next day)
10) Update/rework the Save and Load mechanism
11) Play testing (closed beta, or external balancing)
12) Marketing stuff (setup entry on Google Play, create screenshots, create video)

I will probably do the #7 (HD / non-HD) now, then go for #2 (internal balancing). All except #8 (IAP) are mandatory for the release. Task #11 (external balancing) depends on #2 (internal balancing) and #6 (new art) being finished. These new tasks are relatively simpler when compared to the initial 5 tasks, so Im still confident on the planned release date (well, as long as the artist deliver all the images on time!), which is October 11th.

For those reading this dev journal for the first time: BBTV (Big Boss TV) is a TV manager "Tycoon" game where the player runs a TV station against 2 other computer-controlled players. Here is a link to its Indie page: https://www.gamedev.net/page/indie/project.html/_/simulation/big-boss-tv-r11




Hiccups After Last Entry

After I "finished" the activity described on the last post (removing the hardcoded map/building parameters), I was going to start the Tutorial activity, which requires that the map is fully parametrized, because I'm creating a whole new layout for the building.

It turned out to not be fully customizable yet, I still had many side effects when changing the building height: the bounding area for the camera was hardcoded, and will have to be reset on every match. Besides that, I'm having a few other similar problems, which is making me to basically rebuild all the screens whenever a new match starts.

Not a big deal but will make me lose a few hours.




Current Activity: Tutorial

Well, a couple hours after the last post's hiccup I was able to fix the bugs and started the Tutorial activity effectively.

I still didnt have a clear idea on how the Tutorial would work, so the task consisted in planning/drawing the solution, and then coding it. Initially I had planned something more hardcoded, but ended up taking a more customizable route. In general lines this is how it was planned:
There will be 2 tutorial cities, the first explains the basics of the screen, movement, etc. The second explains a bit more of the game concept (buy tapes, get ad contracts, etc). This was how I had planned the tutorial originally, so nothing new here.
Graphically the tutorial will be consisted of 2 panels, one always visible that shows the list of steps of that tutorial, so the player knows where he is, and how long will it take to finish. The other contains the details of the step, so it only opens when the step begins, or when the player clicks on the first panel.
Internally the tutorial is a list of steps, which contains some data such as the step instructions ("Now you have to go to your office so you can do something...") and the trigger to complete it (Trigger = enter the Office room).
All the steps are loaded dynamically, allowing easier customization.

I finished the mechanics for the tutorial, tomorrow I will focus on the graphics programming (both panels described), and then I will think a bit better about the tutorial "story" and populate the steps accordingly.

Oh, as a side note, I also bough a SFX/Music pack today and added the songs to the game. I was using some free songs but that had 2 problems: I had to credit a lot of people (due to each song being done by different people), and some songs I didnt like very well. Now Im with much better songs and only 1 person to credit (which is optional, since I bought it, but I plan to credit him). I kept 1 song of the original free selection which was a very good match which the News Room, so I will probably only keep this single free song.

For firstcomers: I'm making an Android game that is a TV manager (or "tycoon") game, inspired on the classic Mad TV. I plan to release it in about 25 days.

Here is a link for more info on it (video and screenshot): https://www.gamedev.net/page/indie/project.html/_/simulation/big-boss-tv-r11




Another Checkpoint

Hey all.

Sorry for the absence this last week. It's been a very busy week on BBTV.

Starting with the bad news: the game won't be released next friday (Oct 11th) as previously planned. But on the bright side, I still plan to complete the game by that date, but I will need at least a week to improve the balance and work on the final tweaks.

The art is coming up great, the artist is really good, besides drawing well he understands the "idea" behind the needed drawing and suggests some changes and improvements to the flow, no being limited by my lack of creativity as it usually happens: the artists I worked before usually get your idea and draw it better, so they are usually limited by my creativity. Fortunately this is not the case.

I'm having to adapt a few things due to this, but it's worth it, it's much better than the version I was using as a test. I will post some screenshots tomorrow. With the 4.3 Android update I lost the root of my device so I wont be able to record a video until I re-root it, so the video will take a few more days.

So, for the checkpoint:
[s][font=arial]1) AI of the enemies[/font][/s]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial][font=arial]2) Balancing of the game (adjusting the price and scores of movie tapes, adjust the ad tapes parameters, a little tweak on news tapes, and a big overhaul on the audience formula, and some tweak on the antennas)[/font][/font][/color]
[indent=1]20% done: did a little work on this but Im not happy with the result, I will probably have to spend a few more days on this.
[s][font=arial]3) Define and create the other cities and countries[/font][/s]
[s][font=arial]4) Craft the tutorial[/font][/s]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial][font=arial]5) Create help panels for each of the rooms (0% done)[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]6) Adapt the game to the art being made by the artist (most screens won't change, but some will, for example the main menu will change a lot)[/font][/color]
[indent=1]30% done: Adapted the main menu and the gameplay HUD buttons. Still need to adapt the panels (room and HUD panels).
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]7) Separate the game graphics into HD and non-HD, to make the game playable in low spec devices (most low spec devices I try fail to open the game)[/font][/color]
[indent=1]60% done: Adapted all the pixelart images and the images that aren't being remade by the artist. Managed to make the game run on an old device I have to test, which was my goal, so Im satisfied already.
[s][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]8) Create the IAP part (complete)[/font][/color][/s]
[s][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]9) Setup the ads (interstitial, shows when day finishes and the avatar leaves the building for the next day) (complete)[/font][/color][/s]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]10) Update/rework the Save and Load mechanism[/font][/color]
[indent=1]30-40% done: doing this for the last 6h or so, it's a large effort, I plan to finish by tomorrow afternoon
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]11) Play testing (closed beta, or external balancing) (0% done)[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=arial]12) Marketing stuff (setup entry on Google Play, create screenshots, create video) (0% done)[/font][/color]

Well, hopefully next week I have it all wrapped up and start the final tests.

Will keep this updated! Best.




BBTV - Some Screenshots

Hey guys.

It's been a great and busy week in development. I will post a couple screenshots showing the new art: new Main Menu, new in-game HUD (orange menu on the top and bottom), new random panel (Audience report).

Some icons are not final yet, but those screenshots show almost final art. Some other screens are far from being ready (the artist didnt finish yet). He promised me to finish the art by friday (initially I planned the art to be ready on Sept 30th), so I plan to finish all the art-related coding (ie, redesign of all screens) on the middle of next week and then start polishing to release. Hopefully it's finished (not the way I wanted it to be, but still releasable) in 10 days or 2 weeks.





BBTV - Beta Started

Hey guys!

I have updated the main indie page with screenshots with the latest art (final, in most cases), and also added a link to participate in the beta. If you have the time to play around 1h and help me balance the game, I would appreciate it very much :) .

Link to the Indie Page: https://www.gamedev.net/page/indie/project.html/_/simulation/big-boss-tv-r11

Here is the link to the Beta (using TestFlight): http://tflig.ht/17yeNTU





BBTV Beta Migrated to Google Play

Hey guys.

I have migrated the Beta to Google Play, so you dont need to sign up on any 3rd party sites, and the app download is managed through Google Play itself. Much better :) .

Simply join the Google+ community and then click on the Beta Opt In link.





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