It’s almost time to announce our next epic update (epic being monthly major feature updates). But not today. Suffice it to say, I’m excited. I bring a long and storied background in creative writing with me wherever I go. The next epic update offers an exciting opportunity to join my two loves: making games and stringing together lots of words.
One area of opportunity that we’re well aware of is the tutorial. As was so aptly demonstrated by a Penny-Arcade comic regarding Mass Effect, when designing games it’s easy to forget that without properly informing players, the game systems and mechanics are an impenetrable black box. Especially if your game is simulation heavy. And as the developers, of course, we’re know what buttons and leavers are available to manipulate the game state. We tried to make it as intuitive as possible. The messages and achievements are a part of that.
But frankly, it could be much, much better.
Concurrently with the next epic update, we’re looking into throwing some words and systems at demystifying the citybuilding process in NewCity. One of the great joys of being a game developer is that you can justify almost any game purchase and playtime as “market research.” Well, I’ve been researching tutorials and the UI elements needed to make them work, and I think I have a good plan of attack.
One thing that’s sorely needed in my opinion is the “Tutorial Popup”—a UI element that takes center stage and freezes time so you can digest the info it contains. Something like an “Ok” button at the bottom dismisses the element and resumes normal play. All well and good, but there’s something else most of the games I’ve been researching have, and that’s a single source of truth. An in-game manual, if you well. It’s often the source of the info offered by the Tutorial Popups that you can revisit as desired, leafing through virtual pages of a sprawling encyclopedia that covers everything you need to know to play the game.
I’ve been playing a lot of Dawn of Man lately and their system is just about perfect. But of course, the quintessential in-game encyclopedia is the Civipedia in the Civilization series. So by now it’s probably apparent what a good part of the epic update will entail. The exact specifics and release date are yet still subject to change. But this is all part of a larger movement toward breaking down the barriers between a newcomer to NewCity and the metropolis in their heart. Expect to see more details as we can provide them. In the meantime, I’ll be playing and prototyping.
Deep in the dark C mines lies the code that shall change NewCity forever. And I’m determined to find it.
Questions? Comments? Feedback on the game? Sound off on our Discord.
As always, we’re incredibly thankful for our great community across the web. We love seeing the hard work and attention to detail you pour into your cities, and it inspires us every day to keep building. Thank you again for your support.
If you want to play the game and haven’t got it yet, head over to our Steam page. We’re also on Reddit and Twitter. Give us a follow if you haven’t, and we’ll keep you up to date on what’s new with New Cities!