Smalltown Grocery – DevLog 3

I must admit, the name “Smalltown Grocery” is growing on me.  I may leave it as that, as mundane as it sounds.  lol

Anyway, I have some sad news to announce.  If you’ve been following along, you may have noticed it’s been a while since my last post.  In fact, it’s been 15 days.  (Half a month!  Holy cow!)  That’s what entering a game jam does to your productivity and workflow on a personal project.  It brings it to a screeching halt.  Let that be a warning to you, if you are a fellow aspiring game developer.  Game jams are fun, but they have a way of barging in and taking over.

Luckily, The day after I wrote my last entry (January 22nd), I did a little bit of work on Smalltown Grocery.  Here, let me make a new gif…

I created shelf items!  Yay!  I revamped the boring-looking art a little bit, too.  I’ll explain the shelves in a minute, but first I’ll tell you what happened.

I went looking around the world wide web for some inspiration.  At the end of the last DevLog, I noted that I needed to get to work on developing this game’s design more thoroughly, but I was hitting a block.  I couldn’t think.  But I knew there were other shopping games out there, so I went looking.  I found the typical lemonade-stand-type of game and diner-dash-type of game, and even a kid’s math game, but those aren’t really what I want to make.  I suppose the diner-dash-type comes the closest, but it lacks the depth I’m looking to create.  (I went looking for links just now, but I can’t seem to find again the things I found two weeks ago.)

But then I found “Supermarket Tycoon Prototype” and struck gold!  This was very close to what I was envisioning.

After watching the video, and reading the info and comments, I found the game on steam.  It took a bit of doing since I’m not as familiar with Steam as I probably should be, but I was able to find it and actually play it.  I have to say, Toby Kellaway (the game’s author) shows brilliance in this game, in my opinion.  It was inspiring.  Kellaway’s use of color and light-hearted character sprites heavily influenced the change in my art’s direction.  I don’t know if I’ll keep the character this way (since I’d like to keep the overhead view constant), but it sure has an appealing look to me.  I am definitely going to be using the color coding of shelf categories.

Speaking of shelves…

If you notice in the gif above, I was able to give each shelf 30 items.  (The game speed and movement speed was sped up for testing/debugging purposes.)  These items are arranged in 10 rows of 3.   The shopper chooses a shelf from which to get an item (randomly, at this time), takes one item from a randomly chosen row, then chooses the next shelf he will visit.  Each shelf has its own 3D array.

item[row, stat]

row number = (0-9)
0 = quantity (0-3)
1 = face position (0-2)

So when the shopper takes an item, it subtracts 1 from the quantity in that row, and adds 1 to the face position (product facing).  This way, later in development of the game, I can have the employee come along to face the shelves and/or fill it with more items by easily manipulating this code.  The drawing of the shelves and items use these arrays to position everything.  I surprised myself when I got it all working.

But then the Jam happened.  Now I’m stuck trying to finish that game.  Read all about it in the next blog post!  🙂

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