Monday, January 5, 2015

January 2015 Update

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...

UI Design

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. 

Box Office

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.

Levelling up, Facilities and Staff

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