This Grand Life prototype now available!

You can now download the free prototype from Itch.io, IndieDB or MediaFire.

It includes three tutorials explaining the basic game mechanics, set in the town of Tutorialville, located in the great country of Tutorialstan! The prototype also includes a work-in-progress Custom Game mode. It currently has a limited number of locations and includes the Chef career path, as well as some more ordinary occupations like janitor and salesperson.

You can also select your avatar and select some traits. Your starting traits is one of the important themes I want to highlight in the game. I want your starting conditions to have an impact on how difficult life is for you as the player. So hopefully you find that it’s much harder to have spare time when you are an alcoholic and need to drink all the time. Or find it easier to pay the rent when your rich parents give you free money each month.

I’ve found it challenging coming up with a cover image that represents the game accurately. At first I thought using a real-life city as the game map was a really cool game feature, but no one seemed to care! I spent hours and hours getting it to work! So I decided to go with something cleaner. As part of the design process, I came up with four key words to describe the tone of the game – humourous, personal, financial, choice. Then I looked up other life simulation games to see how they designed their cover art. Eventually I settled on having three characters, each representing a different part of the game. I commissioned an artist to create it for me:

The woman with the shopping bags represents buying and owning possessions. The man with a bag of money represents accumulating wealth. The student with books represents gaining knowledge through learning. These are the three main objectives in the game, along with the fourth objective – lifetime happiness.

So remember to try the prototype, which should give you an idea of what this game is about. It’s still rough around the edges and there isn’t much content, but the core mechanics are there. If you find it interesting, you can join our mailing list to receive news.

Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |January 2nd, 2017|GameDev|0 Comments

This Grand Life – New game announcement

It’s been a while since I’ve written an update, I had to take a break from writing after the roller coaster of releasing my last game on Steam. I’ve been busy working on the prototype for my next game in the meantime. At first I experimented with making a business simulation game. In this game you were a corporation. You would build businesses, purchase goods and try to sell them for a profit. It would be backed by a deep supply/demand and economic simulation. It was an interesting concept, but not immediately and obviously fun. I also realised the scope was too big for a solo dev, so put that project to the side.

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I was still interested in making some sort of economic simulation game, and was inspired by a game from my childhood, Jones in the Fast Lane. So I ended up with another prototype, this time with the player represented by a single person instead of a corporation. The player travels around a map based on a real life city, trying to satisfy their needs (hunger, fun, health, etc). At the same time, they must work in order to afford shelter, pay their bills and achieve their Life Goals.

Now this was a prototype I found interesting to play, and so This Grand Life was born.

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This Grand Life is a tactical life simulator with a focus on personal finances and time management. Cruise your way through life with a silver spoon, or struggle endlessly to find employment as a convicted felon. You cannot control your past, but you can change your future.

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Your life is divided into weeks. You try to accomplish as much as you can each week while economic conditions and special events create interesting choices to think about. Do I go to work this week, or take part in the Hot Dog Eating competition at the park? Should I spend time looking for a better job, or stick with my current job until economic conditions improve? There are lots of choices you can make that will determine your path in This Grand Life.

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I will be releasing the free prototype some time in the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can sign up for the mailing list to receive news!

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Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |December 5th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Release 1.10

An update has been released with a new Soil Mound building and various other improvements. Here is an example of a way you can use the new Soil Mound to dam a river:

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Release 1.10:

  • Added checks against possible cause of idling Pokians stepping on fires
  • Added a Soil Mound building to raise height level of ground using Soil Chunks
  • Greatly reduced bacterial decay rate of Soil Chunk
  • Replaced “Grass” and “Dirt” groundtype with “Soil”
  • Changed carnivores from finding nearest carcass to finding quickest pathable carcass to eat
  • Changed Pokians from finding nearest fire to finding quickest pathable fire to boil water
  • Fixed animal kills statistic displaying wrong filtered value after 9 days
  • Removed animal preference to sleep under a tree instead of a bush
  • Fixed Pokian drinking water from waterskin not showing progress bar
  • Moved all hard-coded object names into data files
  • Moved some hard-coded tool-tips and titles into data files
  • Task material lines now refresh dynamically while task query panel is open
  • Fixed stoke fire task not removed properly when fire is extinguished
  • Make ability only display in query panel if greater than 0
  • Added note to Extract tutorial that it can also be used for obtaining non-plant based food

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By |September 14th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Release 1.09

A patch has been released to allow stockpile templates:

20160906 StockpileTemplates

Release 1.09

  • Implemented player-created stockpile templates
  • Implemented right-click to delete existing stockpile on Stockpile Panel
  • Added info to abilities query to indicate which tool provides ability
  • Removed bogus “100% chance” from crafting/construction tool-tip
  • Cleared query panel if still open when object being queried dies
  • For tundra biome, reduce respawn rate/coverage of edible lichen and increase yield per extract
  • Reduced attack cooldown and slightly increased melee damage of some predators to make them more dangerous

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By |September 6th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Release 1.080

An update has been released with an overhauled tutorial and other improvements:

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Release 1.080

  • Overhauled tutorial:
    • Added Work Area tutorial
    • Split construction/building tutorial into two parts
    • Rewrote various parts of tutorial
    • Spawn a herd during Combat Mode tutorial in case there are no animals on the map
  • When assigning building for construction, create query panel immediately
  • Change amount displayed when designating water supply to amount of water in hex
  • If stockpiles full, Pokians cancel store task job instead of walking over to material anyway
  • Finished colour-coding query panels
  • Added bruises and cuts to Pokian Death notification
  • Added sleeping noises
  • Increased relative volume of eating/drinking/sleeping noises

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By |August 31st, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok has just released on Steam!

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Tribe Of Pok Release version 1.00 is out on Steam (and itch.io)!

What a journey to get to this point! When I started working on Tribe Of Pok in 2012, I never anticipated the game would evolve into what it is today.

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I will probably put out a few more updates to the game as I see how players interact with it. Almost certainly I will see things I never expected. The great thing about having all the different systems interacting like evaporation, fertility, temperature and humidity, day/night and seasonal cycles, food decay and diseases is the emergent gameplay that appears!

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Remember, we have our Wiki hosted by Gamepedia which has some interesting details on the game mechanics.

If you have any questions, we also have our forums.

And once again here are our launch trailers:

Steam | Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |August 23rd, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Beta 22 and Launch Trailer!

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The game is releasing on Steam on the 23rd August, here’s the launch trailer!

It’s only 3 days away, so this will probably be the final Beta and pretty much what the Release version will look like. There’s actually quite a significant change to the endgame in this version.

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Raw materials all have bacterial decay now. The decay is slow and varies depending on the environmental conditions and material type. This encourages the player to craft and build higher tier objects which don’t suffer from the same level of decay.

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I’ve also added a pregnancy/nomad modifier to avoid the cases where lots of Pokians die but you get new ones almost immediately because of a high prosperity. Now if you get a death, there is a reduction in the probability of pregnancy/nomads appearing. This reduction disappears over time. I was actually surprised by how often people died in player’s games. I guess testing the game for hundreds of hours means I know it too well!

Lastly, the steam trading cards are done and the theme is animals! Here’s a look at the bear trading card:

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And here’s the full list of changes for Beta 22:

Features

  • New version releases will no longer overwrite user config changes on Steam

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Gameplay

  • Slightly increased chance of water evaporation
  • Reimplemented puddles on game start so there is water present
  • Added bacterial decay for many raw materials
  • Added large water decay for dyes
  • Changed decay effect to show up based on how fast object is decaying
  • Increased default average foreign tribe starting prosperity
  • Added modifier for pregnancy and nomads chance based on recent deaths

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Bug Fixes

  • Fixed priority task extract not listing whether ground or object
  • Made destroying building from query panel and extract button do the same thing
  • Fixed oversized buildings not disappearing completely when destroyed
  • Removed redundant destroy building task
  • Fixed Pokian trying to enter a building that has been destroyed getting stuck
  • Added check for geovapour being too large and causing endless rain

Steam | Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |August 20th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Beta 21.02

Another quick patch for some minor issues!

Features

  • Removed annoying shaman rain notification

Gameplay

  • Made stone knife and waterskin bag as default desired for new Pokians
  • Changed walls from being impassable to very difficult to cross over

Bug fixes

  • Removed automatic start fire when stoke fire fails in case Pokian doesn’t have Spark ability
  • Fixed priority zero tasks disappearing from existence and leaving ghost icon
  • Fixed notifications not being blurred out properly
  • Fixed unable to extract walls
  • Fixed priority list not listing whole word for extracts

Steam | Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |August 12th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Beta 21.01

Just a quick update! I found a few problems with some of the less obvious aspects of combat. Apparently humans were ignoring the cool-down timing of their weapons and swinging like crazy regardless of their weapon type. Also, armor values weren’t being applied correctly for different types of clothing. They’ve been fixed, combat should be slower paced and a lot less frantic now!

Full list of changes for Beta 21:

Features

  • Added missing material name to task query panel for crafting/construction
  • Added button for saving stockpile name on stockpile panel
  • Allow longer typed tribe names on world generation page

Gameplay

  • Slightly reduced buffalo melee strength

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed game weapon cooldowns not being set
  • Fixed human cooldowns defined in xml being ignored
  • Fixed armor values of clothing not being applied correctly
  • Fixed unable to select attack target in combat mode when animal pushed off hex

Steam | Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |August 11th, 2016|GameDev|0 Comments

Tribe Of Pok Beta 21

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This update is quite substantial, lots of changes/additions made to make things clearer for new players. Also included is better task prioritisation, more balanced biomes and re-balanced animal combat statistics. Once again, this update is compatible with all saved games from Alpha 18 onwards.

It was quite interesting watching videos of people playing and interacting with the game in ways I never expected. One fairly common example was players assigning lots of tasks, way too many for the size of the tribe, and then wanting to cancel them. So I’ve added a button that cancels all unassigned tasks to make this easier.

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Here’s the full list of changes in Beta 21:

Features

  • Added height to hex query box
  • Added water table height info to world generation page
  • Added short biome description to world generation page
  • Added female dying sound
  • Added separate scavenger event if entire tribe wiped out
  • Enable camera movement even with management panel open
  • Added legend for task priorities in task panel
  • Added tooltip descriptions for animals
  • Display stockpiles full message when trying to store objects in influence area with no space
  • Made query panel actions change image when on/off for better context
  • Added “Delete All Unassigned Tasks” button to task panel

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Gameplay

  • Rebalanced tundra biome for more water puddles
  • Increased beach biome temperatures in winter
  • Increased semi-arid biome torrential rain effect in spring
  • Rebalanced animal combat statistics
  • Crafting panel no longer displays materials in area if material is in use

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Bug fixes

  • Made more scrolling buttons responsive to click
  • Fixed rainfall pattern not taking day modifier into account
  • Fixed rainfall pattern not taking decimal numbers into account
  • Set rain drop amount and global vapour increase to be the same for all biomes
  • Removed redundant tribe button in diplomacy panel
  • Fixed up Pokian Died notification formatting
  • Added “select target” title text when choosing animal to attack
  • Fixed being able to reset trap for buildings that are not traps
  • If fire building destroyed/removed, then actual fire is also removed
  • Fixed up “Need Tool” notification to be more descriptive
  • Fixed potential crash when removing lots of tasks quickly
  • Fixed tooltip showing up for map designations even when management panel open
  • Fixed being able to designate small building on top of designated oversized building
  • Improved performance when lots of tasks requiring materials assigned at the same time
  • Ignored crafting/construction tasks priority setting when not all materials are available
  • Improved labelling of task panel reasons for tasks not being done
  • Fixed game freezing sometimes due to task arrows multi-threading lockup

Steam | Itch.io | Twitter | Website

By |August 8th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments