I was up late last night with Andrew prepping a stand alone copy of the GG:SoR prototype and submitting it to IndieCade for consideration in this years show (I also submitted Cephalopods). Then I was up relatively early today for my first ever real life guerrilla gardening experience! Sort of practising 'method game design'. Here's a gallery of photos:
I love that the little corner plot my sister Mara and I planted with local plants ended up with some kid's Pikachu painting on its 'please water me' sign. A video game related sign really does seems appropriate. The whole thing was organized by the awesome folks at the Toronto Public Space Committee who are involved in a whole bunch of community projects in the city and as it turns out the spot they'd chosen to garden was conveniently at the end of my street! It was a lot of fun and a lot less hard work then I was expecting with so many people helping out, I'm hoping to get out a few more times over the spring and summer and do some more. Maybe also make some seedbombs if I have a chance. EDIT: there's a posting with more photos up on the Toronto Guerrilla Gardeners Blog.
For those who are interested in what the new version of the game we sent IndieCade looks like here's an in game screen-shot:
As you can see the new GUI I talked about last post is in. It not only looks better but also makes it much clearer what flower is selected, how many seeds you have and whether or not it's a plant type you can throw over an area (left corner), or have to dig in a single spot to plant (right corner). I'm looking forward to showing this version to some new testers and seeing how much this helps them learn the basic game play. We also added more of the sounds I recorded before GDC in. Unfortunately some of it isn't working for me... we have this idea that smell-so-goods smell like tasty food to civilians, however most of AI "barks" I wrote to convey that idea just react to the smell ("Mmm... who's baking pancakes?") without making it super explicit that they're reacting to a smell ("Mmmm... it smells like fresh pancakes!"). Unfortunately the sprites are too small to clearly convey that they're smelling the flower's pollen so it just seems like they have a random love of various foodstuffs. I'm going to add a visual 'smell' emote to help, but now I know that I need to be overly explicit when writing "barks" like these for the final version of the game. It would probably also help to add a custom "bark" when they arrive at the flower, something like "huh, where are my pancakes!?". On the flip side the audio for radioing in a tree drop worked like a charm:
Because the prototype is a pretty stripped down and doesn't have any sort of scripting system for tutorials, the current playable version uses a series of short levels with one page tutorials in between. Clumsy and a bit text heavy but I'm hoping they get across the info someone new to the game needs to play. I'm pretty happy with how they look given the constraints.