Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Plant sharing and new screenshots

"Growsim" is close to a beta release, I can feel it in my bones.

All of the features and game-play elements are in place, so it's up to play-testing and tweaking.  A few interesting ones made it into the latest version--a couple of which I didn't think would work!  

I've added a plant sharing system to the game, allowing players to pick any cloned plant in their inventory and generate a text code than can be shared with any other Growsim player.  It's a simple copy and paste of text code; if you receive one, the game will load the code and put a clone of that plant in your storage; if you want to share a plant, the game will generate a code.  

Of course, the curious will have a field day with that one, but that's okay by me.  Since it's just a text code, you can paste into notepad and make changes, if you so wish.  Another interesting idea is to generate codes for some of your favorite or best plants and paste them into a new game to start with something special.

Another feature is the use of 'Unlock Codes'.  Every year completed, the game will award you with a code than can be entered in the options menu to gain a special bonus.  There are 21 codes in the game and codes can be entered at any time, but each code works just once.  If you're dedicated enough to write them down, or find out if someone else did, these codes can be used in a new game to start with extra perks.

Saving and loading games seems to work fine so far.  There is a quick-save button in the game (a one-click save option), auto-save setting, and five custom save games.  Games can be saved and loaded on the fly, making the above-mentioned features useful for trading clones or codes between your own games.  I'm sure the system will need some tweaking to make sure it runs without any serious hiccups.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"GROWsim" features: Starting a New Plant

Greetings.  "GROWsim" has a lot going on under the hood.  I'll try and lay out how one of these systems works and some of the reasoning behind the game-play.

When you start a new plant, the first choice is what type of seed to use.  There are 3 tiers of random seeds to choose from, each tier will have a higher maximum potency than the previous.  New plants are randomly generated based on the seed choice, with varying preferences and attributes pertaining to how the plant grows and what type of environment it prefers.  Matching plant preferences with the growing environment will maximize plant growth.

There is also a seed designer, allowing you to name a strain and select options such as potency, size, preferred climate, and life-cycle.  Each choice comes with a price, and designing the ultimate strain will cost quite a bit--but it's not all about the cost.  Larger plants will generally consume more nutrients and water, and require more light, to reach full potential.  This means more costs for you.

The other option is to use a clone.  When a plant is in Sapling stage, you can clip off healthy limbs to grow clones that will have the same attributes as the parent plant.

Selecting a seed type is followed by choosing a bucket size.  Larger plants will have a hard time reaching their potential in small buckets, and large buckets with small plants can result in too much water and food for the plant to use and the possibility of over-feeding.

The final step is to choose a rooting medium.  Each medium has its perks and flaws, so it comes down to a matter of experimentation and preference.  Do you try rooting a plant in soil to give it a sturdy base or in root moss to maximize feeding?

Until a plant is tested and its genetic attributes revealed, there is no sure way to know plant size, life-cycle, or environmental needs.  Once this information is known, you can customize the grow room to suit that plant.  With so many potential combinations, there should plenty of variety to keep you interested!

The goal is to avoid the unrealistic notion that a huge plant is best.  It's just as possible to have a crop of smaller, fast-growing plants and the turn-over will compensate for the difference in yields.  In testing, it seemed that the variety opened a lot of different strategies.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any specific questions or suggestions, please leave a comment.

Monday, November 4, 2013

New screens, big changes

Greetings.  A lot of work was done the last week or two on 'Growsim' and it's looking a ton better and the engine seems to be functioning as expected--barring tweaks for balancing.  I'm hoping to get a couple play-testers to give it a spin this week, so revisions will be forthcoming.

So what works?  You can choose different types of plants, each with randomly-generated statistics and preferences.  More expensive seeds have a higher THC level, but may have varying stats such as preferred climate, humidity, average size, and life-cycle.  There are literally thousands of possibilities when all the factors are considered.  Also, you can clone any plant that is growing into a sapling, so those interesting strains--or the ones you haven't been able to maximize--can continue on.

That's the biggest concept so far: figuring out how each plant grows, what it needs, and then working to setup the best environment possible for it.  Plants grow and flower; when you're ready, you can harvest the plant and let it dry.  Once dry, plants can be sold to patients or care centers to help pay the bills--or buy that next tier of seed.  Oh, and lest I forget, the custom seed designer works!  You can create your own strain of marijuana by selecting several options with varying price tags.

Here are some screens from the latest version:

The new grow room showing empty plants...

When you start a new plant, there are many options...

Each plant can be configured independently...