Welcome to the Repopulate DevLog!
Firstly, and I’ll mention this in the first few posts; I am writing this about 5 months into development. So, these first few posts are more retrospective, looking back at key stages up to here. Anyways, onto the post!
I should make a game.
It’s a thought I’ve been having since before even starting my university course. I’ve been making Minecraft mods for years, I know how to write code in a number of languages now. But there was always one problem; the idea. I am terrible at coming up with a core idea for something. Give me the basics and I can flesh it out forever, but the starting hook is the real challenge for me.
But there I was, daydreaming at my boring old warehouse job post-graduation, and my mind wandered on to trying to figure out how many people you’d need to repopulate a civilization. Y’know, just normal casual thoughts that everyone has every day I’m sure. It led me to thinking that it could be an interesting game concept; have a bunch of creatures with various genetics, and then breed them to mix those genetics and increase the gene pool.
I liked the idea, and started working on a prototype. I’m a solo dev, so I decided to go for a 2D approach with pixel art to keep things nice and simple. A couple of days later and I had a bunch of procedurally generated colourful aliens:
From there, it was a pretty quick jump to a very simple breeding system:
This basically just took various genetic parameters from each parent and created a child with a gene half way. For the less variable parts such as face shape, it’d just select one of the parents at random. Genes did have a dominance value which was randomised and it was more likely to swing that way for these hardset values.
OK great – I have aliens and they can breed. What I don’t have is an attention span, so I shifted lanes and started working on where they would live. I knew the space they lived in was going to be a massive part of the game too so wanted to try and flesh out some ideas early.
I decided to make a sort of tower-based space ship, which had a central pillar connecting multiple floors. From there you could attach modules around the sides; with each module serving a specific function. For example, below is a central area and an algae farm module, for producing breathable air:
At this point, you could click on the door to select and create a module. I had made Oxygen, like above, Storage, which had some storage crates in for resources, and Empty, which was just empty. But I was already starting to get frustrated; for each one module I was adding, I’d have to make at least 4 different textures; oriented up, up-left, left, and down-left. I could use some scale flipping and moving things around for the other four, but that was still 3 more than I wanted to make. It was around this point where I came to the conclusion I’ve had any time I’ve tried to make a 2D game in Unity; everyone lies, making 3D is easier. So I archived the project, and started again in 3D!