The purpose of these Dev Logs will be to share with everyone the creation process for Steampunk Panic. A way to look behind the curtain, so to say. Some of these Dev Logs will be simple, others will give plenty of in-depth explanation for how things work or why things were done the way they were.
More Device Concepts
While working on server code, our artist started tackling more concepts of what the device might look like. With Creating Steampunk Panic (Part 3), we decided on the basic shape of the device. Now, it’s time to explore what various parts of the device could look like and what we can do with them!
The Top Area
For the basic shape design, we had a gear exposed at the top. Originally, we thought it could spin slowly, indicating that the device is functioning and doing something. But it was a large moving piece and might not be as interesting, so we opted to try a static section instead. Several ornate art deco pieces were made for the top, each providing a fun and interesting silhouette.
While looking at these concepts, we thought it might be cool to switch the top of the device based upon the game difficulty the player selected. The higher the difficulty, the faster the timer gauge empties and the more points the player would earn per hit. Or, if not for the difficulty, maybe the player could customize the device by adding and removing elements. These could always be unlocked, or they could be unlocked by reaching certain score thresholds or playing a certain amount of times?
Next, we tackled various ideas for what the device’s body would look like, connections to the liquid level gauges, as well as what the fever mode button would be.
The body is rectangular in shape, but we can make it more interesting! We tried various edge treatments for the device, mainly keeping it symmetrical. There are 90-degree edges, 45-degree edges, curved and cut edges, etc. Just by adding a different edge to the rectangular shape, the device gains some personality, which is what we want!
The liquid level gauges had different connector pieces added from the gauge to the device, providing more fun silhouettes.
Lastly, the fever mode button had different shapes and layouts. A couple buttons we placed at the top-right, facing the player. I feel like these are the most noticeable for tapping, especially if they light up and start blinking. But we also tried some buttons that would come out of the side of the device, facing to the side. If the device was something that was actually held in your hand, these could be good locations as one of your fingers might actually rest on it. So, a dilemma appears: do we have a front facing button, which is more acceptable as a thing that you would tap, in regards to UI/UX? Or do we do the stylized side button that might not be as apparent, but helps make the device feel more like a real object?
Now, it was time to go crazy with what stuff we could put on the device to make it more interesting.
We added wires, gears and pipes … then tossed even more wires, gears and pipes! The device could become quite bulky with all the stuff we added, but it does help to make the device more unique. Also, again, we could provide these pieces for the player to toggle on and off if we wanted!
Score, Multiplier, and Face
Next up, we switched the placement of the score area and the multiplier area. In most games, we’re used to seeing the score at the top of the screen, so placing the score area at the top of the device makes more sense.
We also tried various treatments for what the score and multiplier area could look like. We added dials, borders and extra elements to these areas to give them more life. The score area is expected to be a rolling number counter, similar to what you would find on a number-based combination lock, mileage counter in older vehicles, etc. It should look mechanical and not digital! This means that as you play the game, the right most number (and the number to the left of it on higher difficulties) might be constantly spinning to the current number it should be. This might be confusing or hard to read, so we’ll need to see what it looks like in-game.
The multiplier area would use a different type of treatment for the numbers. We’re thinking flip-numbers, which could also use a small animation of the number changing. Again, if it is hard to read, we’ll get rid of the animation and just have the number change.
Then there was the face of the device. We cleaned up some of the buttons for this part of the concept so we can see the decorations better. We tried adding etches and designs to the face of the device, on the edges of the buttons, and added a bevel to the hit buttons. The bevel is nice to give the device some extra dimension and feel more real, but the flat buttons also work if they are simply frosted glass that are back-lit.
The device needs to be made of something! So, we tried a wooden device with metallic elements.
We tossed in sample colors for the liquid level gauges, to get an idea of what everything could look like. We also tried to make there be 2 accent colors for the device, such as silver and gold, or silver and copper. When the device only uses one color for the metallic elements, it does feel like the colored buttons might stand out more, as there is less crazy colors on the screen.
Oh, and we also added a button appearance to the bottom-right gear, to see if that might work out for the fever mode button.
The Hit Buttons
The center of the device has 4 buttons. These are what the player taps while playing. This hit buttons will be various colors and will need to look like they are lit-up. Again, the player needs to always tap a lit-up button. If they tap a non-lit button, the game ends. So, we tossed in some un-lit buttons as well to see what they could look like. The darker the better, so the player has a clear understanding of what buttons to hit and which ones to avoid.
We also colored in the fever mode button on the bottom-right gear to see if that works. We haven’t decided where the button should be, but this would a good time to test having it down there!
We also tossed in some glow reflection on parts of the device to see what that might look like. The original plan for Steampunk Panic was to make the device as a 3D model, and if the buttons glow, we could have that light extend onto the device! But we might go with a 2D version of the device instead, depending on time and resources, as 3D modeling is new for us. But making it 3D with moving pieces would look pretty awesome!
I’ve been doing a lot of work on the server side of the game and will talk about some of this in the future.
Android support is almost wrapped up, leaderboard support is almost done, and our monetization for the game is almost settled.
We’ll need to pick some music for the game and start designing UI elements (the menu, leaderboard screen, dialogs, etc.) that fit the art deco steampunk aesthetic.
I can’t wait to share more of this process with you in the next couple Dev Logs!