48 Hour Challenge #1 - Barry Dahlberg - Challgr #4

Right, I've been to the supermarket, I've cleared out my weekend and I have my idea, all set and ready to go. My entry will be a cross between an RTS and a Sim style game, where the goal is to manage a breeding park for an endangered bird while keeping out the predators and making sure the government doesn't cut your funding.

Oh and I think my programmer art will more than make up for the retro side of the theme! I will be concentrating on fleshing out the gameplay as much as I can at the expense of art and sound, I expect to have to deal with some interesting balance issues.

I will try to keep you posted on my progress once I start coding tomorrow morning, for now I'm sorting out exactly what objects I want to make it into the game and how they will interact.

Barry Dahlberg's picture

After a good sleep in this morning things are under way, unfortunately a construciton crew has decided to work out side my window, nevermind. I have the basic structure layed out and there are little circles roaming my "park" which represent the birds at the moment.

Next task is to set up the basic interface for selecting objects and menus. I'm taking alot of shortcuts due to the nature of the contest, will be interesting to see how this turns out.

souri's picture

Wow, looking forward to playing this game! I can't believe you can actually acomplish something like this in 48 hours!

I definately reckon some of these entries should go in for further development/shine, with artists around here contributing art.

Barry Dahlberg's picture

Hehe, well you might beleive it when you see it in action... I've been pretty slack, went out for dinner and stuff so I haven't made as much progress as I probably should have. I've spent quite a bit of time toying with the AI and testing it which takes a while.

Anyway, these things are in the game and working:

* Basic economy. Every 5 seconds the accounts get done. You receive money for each bird alive and well in your park, and you can also sell birds for a nice profit if you don't want them for breeding. You lose money for each ranger working at your park and must also pay maintenance fees for any objects such feeders you have placed.

* Birds. The birds are purposely very stupid so I have named them 'Ignorador', not a terribly good game but it's a play off the word ignorant which I thought was fitting. They currently hunt for food which you must give them to stop them dieing. A well fed bird who reaches adulthood (about a minute) can breed if it finds a good mate. Ignorador also panic randomly for no apparent reason.

* Park HQ. When something needs doing in your park a ranger will be sent out from HQ and will return once the task is done. Park HQ also allows you to hire and fire rangers.

* Park rangers. Rangers do the dirty work in your park, distributing food and equipment at your request. Rangers cause your birds to panic if they get to close which can be a bad thing but also allows you to herd them if you are careful.

* Feeders. The first piece of equipment available in the game, feeders randomly distribute food, easing the workload on your rangers. They are expensive to purchase and maintain but essential once your flock starts growing.

These are some of the things I have planned for tonight and tomorrow:

* Predators. Currently under construction, predators feed on the Ignorador and generally try to ruin your day. They will appear at random and having more birds and food in your park will make them appear more frequently.

* Wards. Wards are a simple piece of equipment design to drive away either Ignorador or predators. They are expensive but allow you a little more control over your birds and help keep them frm becoming food.

* Art. Currently everything is represented by coloured circles and while I know the code, I doubt many players will find it asthetically pleasing. I'll probably be doing some simple 1 colour sprites in MS Paint to make things a bit more obvious.

I hope every one else is coming along well, it always amazes me what people can manage in these sorts of competitions!

Barry Dahlberg's picture

Well other things have taken priority this weekend so I haven't got a whole lot done, I'll hand in my work shortly. It has been an interesting little task though, I might clean up the source and expand on it, see where I can take it.

I got some terrible little sprites in but I had to draw with my laptops touch pad so don't expect much!

Barry Dahlberg's picture

How To Play

You start the game with a Park HQ and a pair of birds, 1 male, 1 female. The basic goal is to keep the birds alive and healthy enough that they will breed, so you can expand your park.

On the left side of the screen is a menu of options and along the bottom of the screen is some status info. Clicking on any object in the game will change the menu and status line to suit. You can also return to the default menu by clicking on an empty area of the screen.

With the default menu showing, position the mouse near one of the birds and press '1' on the keyboard to select the first menu option. A ranger will set out from HQ and drop a piece of food for the birds to eat. Note that you only begin with 1 ranger and you can't give him orders unless he's in HQ, by clicking on HQ you can hire and fire more rangers to suit.

Money

The government funds your park but needs to see results. Every 5 seconds the accounts will be done and you will give/take money as follows:

+ $10 for per bird
- $10 per ranger
- $7 per feeder

You can also sell feeders and birds to gain cash in an emergency.

Feeders

Once you save a little cash you can place feeders in your park which greatly ease the workload on your rangers. Each feeder randomly drops food near it however you will need to keep an eye on your birds as they tend to crowd around and starve each other.

Looking After Your Birds

In order for your birds to breed a few conditions need to be met. First you must have at least 1 male and 1 female and both birds must have become adults which takes about a minute of real time. Secondly both birds need to be well fed, select a bird and check it's status line, you need to get hunger up to about 75%. Be careful because if hunger drops below about 25% the bird will die.

The birds are jumpy little critters and sometimes panic for no reason, causing them to run off in random directions. Rangers that get to close can also cause them to panic, you can use this to your advantage if you need to break up groups getting in each others way.

You can also sell birds for a nice price if they are getting out of hand, but make sure you always keep at least a pair you can breed from.

Predators

Predators will occasionally enter your park and prey on your birds and generally upset them. Predators will be more frequent when you have a large number of birds around. If a ranger comes to close they will leave the park so try placing food on them if they are getting to close.

General Tips

To begin with stick with 2 or three birds, they will be easier to manage and less predators will show up. Just trying to get them all fed can be tricky as they aren't very good at sharing. Placing food near by the HQ will shorten the trip for your ranger but don't place it actually on the building as the birds wont go there.

Once you can afford a feeder, place one out from your HQ a little and you wont have to manually feed them so much. Remember it still costs to maintain feeders so don't place lots unless you have lots of birds.

Be careful to make sure you have both males and females doing well in your park, otherwise you're not going to get very far. If 1 bird is getting pushed around and can't feed you can break the flock up by sending a ranger at them.

souri's picture

It reminds me a little of Harvest Moon [:)]. Nice game - you should definately expand on it! Add in more animals/jobs to do... if you're planning on working on it more, and you need some art, I could make the next Sumea Draw Club activity for this so people can contribute pixel art of character animations, farmhouses, animals and other stuff to spruce it up. Eventually you should have a whole load of things to place there!

Barry Dahlberg's picture

Haha, I have several ideas for directions to take it but I definately want to add more objects like feeders and things and more animals. If I get any further with it I'll make a post and try to find someone to help with art, it could look so much cooler.

Kane's picture

hey, love the game!

i can imagine it becoming addictive!

souri's picture

It stresses me out too much playing it. Especially when you have so many birds to look after! [:)] *shakes fist at foxes*
You've probably got it planned already, but a health metre for the birds would be uber nice. [:)]

Barry Dahlberg's picture

Currently there is no health meter cause there is no health, birds are either alive or dead. I plan to change it so that there is several meters like you have in The Sims, and health is one of them. When hunger drops it starts to take away from health etc. The new version will have a greatly expanded and improved AI system.