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The Front End

June 18, 2013 | Dukus | 55 Comments

My time the past two weeks has been adding the code and menus for scenarios, in game goals, custom map setup, achievements, and winning/losing conditions. Part of me really dislikes making and laying out user interfaces - it takes quite a bit of iteration for nice layouts and a bunch of code that is tedious to write but unfortunately is unique to each menu. I suppose not every part of game development is always fun.
ScenariosBuilding menus doesn't give me much to talk about or show visually. But since images are better than walls of text, here's an image of the new menu for picking scenarios. This menu is still changing, and these scenarios are just for testing and may not end up in the final game. But it will give you an idea of what I've been working on.
Scenarios are just one type of way to play the game. There's also sand-box mode, with or without user defined goals, user selection of map sizes, difficulty, and terrain type. There are also plenty of achievements being added that players can work toward. I'm also trying to figure out details for a few tutorial scenarios that will introduce the game to new players.
Like most games, I'm way over my expected time budget, but I think the extra work on the game is worth it. Regardless, it's a nice feeling to have a pretty stable build and be working on things near the bottom of my to-do list. It feels like the end of work on the game is in sight - whether or not that's true.
It reminds me of one of my favorite programming quotes. "The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time."
I wish it wasn't true, but it is.

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55 comments on “The Front End”

  1. When we will be able to play a demo? :DDDD take the time you need, and even if it is tedious do it your game shall look nice! Keep up with the esplendid work!! :3

  2. I think that on the "One With Nature" challenge, you should specify the values of high health and happiness. I am always annoyed by ambiguous values in games.

  3. I think those scenarios are actually one of the most appealing things I've seen about gameplay for Banished so far. I mean, I already love the concept and style, but these seem like really deep and long-term missions. From what I can read of it, Winter's Bane sounds like it'd be pretty challenging but rewarding to achieve. If you're still unsure about using these scenarios, I'd say keep them (unless they prove to be unbalanced/impossible). Seriously liking where this is going. Oh, and I too like that quote. If only it weren't true. And I'm with Orestes, I'd love to play a demo/alpha version.

  4. Looking good. I wasn't aware you were so far through production. I always thought following this would be one of those long term things where I would play when I turn 30.

    Best of luck.

  5. QUOTE: Part of me really dislikes making and laying out user interfaces – it takes quite a bit of iteration for nice layouts and a bunch of code that is tedious to write but unfortunately is unique to each menu.

    That is why I'm making myself a GUI library which would hopefully alow me to create ingame UI more easily.
    And since I'm developing it in a way so that it would be reusable with different graphical engines it would save me the hastle of rewriting everything again for my future projects.
    Unfortunately it is still quite away from being compleeted.
    And yes developing it is definitly not as fun as developing a game.

  6. Hopefully writing the dev updates isn't a tedious activity, because I think I could speak for many if not all of us when I say they are greatly appreciated and keep interest in this fantastic looking game high.

    A question I've wanted to ask is how much are the citizens able to be personalized? Can their names be changed (do they even have names), and would a child born to a couple carry on their surnames? It's a trivial thing, just something I liked doing in Tropico. It made me feel more attached to them.

    Thanks for all the work and your willingness to share the process!

  7. Good games take good time. Take your time and make it good. Players will whine a bit about delays, but they will whine a lot about an unfinished or rushed game.

    The game looks really nice and I actually hope to use it to make realistic villages for roleplaying games. Any plans on adding naming schemes to villagers, for flavor? Or would you rather keep a non specific culture/region feel to it all?

  8. You have a typo in last quote: it's 90/10,10/90.

    As for the game, i love the idea and can't wait to see beta.

  9. Looking great and the early scenario ideas seem very interesting. 6 months of winter? Brrr! I love the idea of lots of scenarios rather than just playing in a sandbox. Have you considered offering each scenario in a beginner/master/expert/elite mode that increases the difficulty or offering bronze/silver/gold awards for how well you do or how fast you complete the goals? That can increase the replayability.

  10. I have so much respect for what you are doing man. CAN'T WAIT to try it out! Looks amazing πŸ˜€

  11. I e-mailed you guys about helping you out on user interfaces, you didn't even answer. Boo!

  12. In my opinion achievements won't add any value to this kind of game, rather the opposite. I should be building a blacksmith because my people need tools, not to get that "build a blacksmith in 15 games in a row" achievement(*).

    (*)Not saying your achievements will be as pointless as my silly example, but I hope the general idea gets across.

  13. I too am wondering about a demo! Seems strange that you're putting all this work in for scenarios and tutorials prior to anyone seeing it. But I applaud your perfectionism πŸ™‚

  14. Should use webkit and then do it all in html/css/js for UI, much easier and more flexible

  15. @gg: In game the goals are laid out very explicitly and at anytime you can check which ones have been met. But I agree, the levels of happiness should probably be on the general description as well.

    @SilverWarior: My UI code is pretty easy to use, but however good a UI lib is you still have to write code to react to button presses, enable disable them based on state, set images based and text based on data, etc.

    @John Michaelson: The citizens have names, but at the moment you can't change them. There are no surnames.

    @Set: The game will not be free, but it won't be crazily expensive either.

    @Rod: That's an interesting idea for difficulty of scenarios. I'll give it some thought.

    @Metin: I really want to finish this game myself. Thanks for the offer though.

  16. Are you still planning to add LAN capability and/or fighting mechanics? I'm not gonna lie, I'm really hoping you do, this game could be really fun to play with friends, and all of my buds love your work.

  17. I bet the community here would help you with ideas for scenarios and tutorial. Quite sure some would at least if there would be a need for it. πŸ™‚

    Also, the art style for the menu looks nice, really like it. Keep up the good work πŸ™‚

  18. He's put a few bits of alpha gameplay on youtube which tells us a lot more about how it works than many big companies press videos do. Demos are cool but can involve a lot more work, being a one man project I expect more youtube videos are as much as we can hope for.

    On achievements, I hope like MrE that they are sensible ones e.g. have 500 citizens in the warmest clothing or survive 5 years with nobody dying of disease rather than contrived ones.

  19. These email updates are fascinating. While I'm simply an "end user" I've rather enjoyed learning about the development process. You are on your way to earning a customer and have certainly earned a fan of your style.

  20. @Rod, @MrE: Achievements will be reasonable and fairly difficult, and hopefully have little overlap with the scenarios. I dislike nonsensical achievements in games as well.

  21. Do you have a rough idea when we can expect the release or a Beta? Before you said mid to late 2013, now we're getting near can you be more specific, or as you mentioned, do you think there's still a long way to go?

  22. I appreciate it Dukus,

    i think you are doing very well and i can't wait to play man, come on!

  23. The sad thing (not on your part) is that you're more active with your future players than mega-corporations are, despite doing not only all the coding and model-design yourself, but also all the interaction as well.

    Methinks there's a lesson for the big boys here, no?

  24. I'm very excited to try this game - remember not to spend too much time testing it yourself when you could have alpha/beta testers doing it more quickly/for free.

    Best of luck in this final "90" percent!

  25. The time and dedication you have put into this game is inspirational. Keep up the splendid work!

  26. Trying to find a substitute game to play while I wait for the release of Banished. Anyone know of any decent similar games?

  27. Been creeping this game for awhile and I'm super excited! Keep up the hard work, can't wait to try the game!

  28. Great write-up, I am normal visitor of oneˇ¦s blog, maintain up the nice operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.

  29. scenarios seems more tailored towards players who want a greater challenge from the game as opposed to a newcomer wanting to learn how to play. maybe a small campaign would be better suited as a tutorial where you can separate what you want the player to learn into each level (an easier way to encourage/reinforce what the player has learned bit by bit) while leaving the scenario maps for the more experienced/hardcore audience (maybe even scale the scenarios to their general difficulty).

  30. Hi there,

    if I where you I'd put the OK button on the left and the CANCEL button on the right side.
    It might get quite annoying otherwise for some people. (OK left, CANCEL right is the usual layout on Windows, at least)

  31. can't wait for this game and i am hoping that the word gets to everyone so they can play it, keep up the good work.

  32. Maybe this has been mentioned, but how cool would it be to play a Song of Ice and Fire style scenario, with year long summers, and decade long winters? I think that sounds awesome. Such a cool game! Can't wait to play?

  33. If anything achievements should be a challenge rather than a farming thing. I mean a lot of games just make achievements that are like " Beat x Boss" or " Kill x 50 times". An achievement should be like milk 10 cows at night, lose 100 of your town fold to famine or spend 1000 hrs of in game time playing banished.

    I would love to go do those kinda things because they create stupid things for me to do when I am a bit bored of the standard play.

  34. As a senior programmer at a fortune 500 company, all I can say is wow. It is always nice to be reminded that no matter how good you are, there's always someone out there better than you.

    I can't wait to play your game; it will almost be like playing with someone's heart and soul, metaphorically speaking.

  35. Hi,

    really looking forward to this game and have much respect for your efforts.

    Try as i might i cannot find anywhere that gives an approximation at least of system requirements.

    Whilst i won't bore you with my specifications i think you're the one who might force me to purchase a new laptop πŸ™‚

    Can you shed any light at all on PC/laptop requirements please?


  36. @Saint

    I think he posted his specs somewhere in a previous post, try looking there.

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